Evolution set to chew over Panmure bid

STOCKBROKER Panmure Gordon yesterday thumbed its nose at larger rival and potential bidder Evolution, insisting that it is firmly on track with its strategy as an independent firm.

Evolution said that a “possible offer” for Panmure was one potential option being weighed up by the group’s board, led by chief executive Alex Snow, though it stressed that plans are at a very early stage and that no formal discussions have yet been initiated.

“The company is keen to assess Panmure Gordon’s upcoming trading results before determining whether there is any merit in taking its deliberations further,” Evolution said in a statement to the stock exchange.

Panmure countered its rival’s declaration with an indignant reply of its own, arguing that it “is a well capitalised business, with a well respected brand name and… 64 corporate clients in the UK”.

“Panmure has a strong footprint in the UK and US with significant growth potential and has a clear international development strategy in both the Middle East and the emerging markets as an independent entity,” the group added.

Panmure, which is due to report first half results next Wednesday, said that QInvest – Qatar’s largest investment bank, which last year snapped up a 44 per cent stake in the firm – is supportive of that strategy.

Evolution’s interest is the latest development in a lengthy saga of consolidation in the City’s small to mid cap broking sector, which has taken a heavy hit from lower activity levels during and in the wake of the financial crisis.

The news sent Panmure’s stock rocketing on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) yesterday, adding 8.6 per cent over the day to close at 31.5p.