Ready, Aim – float: IPO activity on London's junior market is booming this year

William Turvill
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Overall, 27 floats have been made on Aim so far this year, compared with 13 on the main market (Source: Getty)

Time Out, Joules, Hotel Chocolat and a northern discount loo roll business called Accrol are among the 27 companies to have floated on London’s junior market so far this year.

While the London Stock Exchange’s main market, in common with other big exchanges, has experienced a slowdown in initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, the alternative investment market (Aim) is comparatively booming.

Read more: Meet the companies that have ignored London's EU referendum IPO freeze

Some $1.2bn (£925m) has been raised through Aim floats so far this year, according to Dealogic – a 72 per cent increase on the $700m raised at the same point last year and the second highest amount raised in the last eight years. The number of floats increased from 24 in 2015 to 27 this year.

All Aim floats so far this year (from Dealogic)

Pricing date Company Total deal value ($m)
17-Mar-16 Watkin Jones plc 187
09-Jun-16 Time Out Group Ltd 131
10-Jun-16 Draper Esprit LLP 114
23-May-16 Joules Group plc 113
03-May-16 Midwich Group plc 110
29-Apr-16 Morses Club Ltd 100
03-Jun-16 Accrol Group Holdings plc 92
05-May-16 Hotel Chocolat Group plc 81
12-Feb-16 Shield Therapeutics plc 47
15-Mar-16 Blue Prism Group plc 30
15-Jun-16 Comptoir Group plc 23
29-Mar-16 Harwood Wealth Management Group plc 19
27-May-16 Directa Plus srl 19
06-Jun-16 Mereo Biopharma Group Ltd 17
09-May-16 Oncimmune Holdings plc 16
04-Apr-16 Pacific Industrial & Logistics REIT plc 14
14-Mar-16 Yu Group plc 14
14-Mar-16 Cerillion Technologies Ltd 14
29-Mar-16 MaxCyte Inc 14
08-Jul-16 Dorcaster plc 13
11-Apr-16 Osirium Technologies plc 12
12-May-16 Green & Smart Holdings plc 6
02-Aug-16 Franchise Brands plc 5
26-Jul-16 SEC SpA 4
27-Jul-16 WideCells Group plc 3
12-Feb-16 Circle Property plc 2
12-Feb-16 Cogenpower plc 1

It’s a different story on the LSE’s main market, though, where $2.3bn has been raised across 13 deals so far this year – down from $8.8bn across 28 deals at the same point last year.

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“Aim has been relatively active in terms of IPO activity, and also greater quality companies raising large amounts of capital,” Lucy Tarleton, PwC’s capital markets director told City A.M., who suggested the main market had suffered from referendum uncertainty and wider economic problems in the first half of the year.

She added: “It’s nice to see that there are some good businesses coming through on Aim and we certainly hear that there will be some main market activity coming as well.”

Liberum tops Dealogic’s top IPO bookrunner list for Aim so far this year, taking a 26.3 per cent market share, followed by boutique Zeus Capital with 19.9 per cent.

Zeus chief executive John Goold told City A.M.: “Brexit or not, Aim is going to exist and young companies are going to want to come through.”

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