Software provider Escher Group plans to raise £13.4m in AIM float

 
Elizabeth Fournier
ESCHER Group, a Dublin-based provider of outsourcing software to the postal industry, is planning to raise £13.4m by floating on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), in a listing that would value the company at £28.7m.

The company, which has grown pretax profits from $700,000 in 2008 to $4.3m in 2010, is raising the money via a placing of ordinary shares, with the stock expected to make its debut on AIM on 8 August.

Escher’s flagship product is its Riposte automated postal counters, used by customers including Austria Post, Deutsche Post, and Norway’s Posten.

The technology is even installed in one pub on the Isle of Man, allowing patrons to weigh letters and print postage while indulging in a pint of the local brew.

Escher is run by chief executive Liam Church, who worked for the Irish postal service for 22 years before joining Anshe, a rival company that was taken over by Escher in 2000.

Church, who owns 28.75 per cent of the company, will not sell any shares as part of the float, nor will vice president of sales and marketing Fionnuala Higgins, who also has a 28.75 per cent stake.

The terms of the admission document include a 12-month lock in period, meaning that the directors will not be able to sell out of the company until a year after its first day of trading.

“We’re looking forward to life as a public company and to being able to take advantage of the many growth opportunities open to us,” said Church.

Panmure Gordon was sole broker and co-financial adviser on the float, with Chrystal Capital Partners as co-financial adviser.

MEET THE ADVISERS

HANNAH WOODLEY
PANMURE GORDON

HANNAH Woodley, an associate director in the corporate broking team, led the team at Panmure advising Escher Group on its AIM listing.

Woodley joined the stockbroker from marketing hedge fund Essential Capital Management, and previously worked in equity sales at Noble, having cut her broking teeth at Collins Stewart.

Since starting at Panmure in April last year, Woodley has worked on fundraisings for several AIM-listed companies, including a £69.8m rights issue for Faroe Petroleum in April 2010 and a £16.6m fundraising for UK drug discovery and development company e-Therapeutics.

She also worked on Lonrho’s £19m share placement in May this year, after the company transferred its listing onto the LSE’s main market the previous month.

Woodley graduated with an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Birmingham, before studying for her MSc in international management at Kings College in London.