As the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) reaches its 20th anniversary, accountants and business advisers BAKER TILLY is warning that many Scottish companies are missing out on the opportunities that the market has to offer.
Launched on 19 June 1995 with just 10 companies, there are now over 1,000 companies listed on AIM from over 40 sectors. However, only 34 of these are Scottish, and only three are based in the North East of Scotland despite the significant wealth creation in the area over the last two decades.
Since its inception in 1995, AIM has provided small and medium sized businesses access to long term international capital through a market specifically designed to suit their needs. Over the last two decades, it has welcomed more than 3,500 companies, raising more than £90bn through Initial Public Offerings. It is estimated that AIM supports 430,000 jobs and contributes £14.7bn to the UK economy.
Says EWAN GRANT, Baker Tilly’s Head of Corporate Finance in Scotland, “AIM has been a major success story and has established itself as the world’s most successful growth market. AIM listing provides firms with unrivalled access to international capital, increased status and public profile, so it is therefore perplexing as to why so few Scottish firms have taken advantage.
‘The fact that there is no regional stock exchange in Scotland and only a small broking community might be part of the answer. However, the default position for companies in Scotland appears to have been the trade sale or private equity route with an IPO seldom being considered as a strategic option for ambitious businesses.
In our view, businesses should perhaps broaden their horizons and consider the benefits of a listing. If they do, we might be able to celebrate a significant increase in Scottish based AIM companies when the market’s 25th anniversary comes around.”