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Number Of AIM-Listed SMEs Could Double

Small Businesses Are Displaying 'Hunger For Expansion'


The number of Alternative Investment Market (AIM) businesses being listed in the UK could soon double.

This is according to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, which showed there is "hunger for expansion" among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Around 15 per cent of the organisations that were included in the poll are already AIM-listed and a further 15 per cent said they plan to follow suit in the near future.

The economy has recovered in recent months and studies by the likes of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Federation of Small Businesses have shown that 2014 has the potential to be a solid year of growth for British SMEs.

Patrick Haines, regional head of advice at Close Brothers Asset Management, said AIM listings can provide company owners with an explicit value of their organisation.

"British SMEs are showing a healthy appetite for growth and floating on AIM can play a crucial part in this, as it can provide a good platform to raise capital for investment," he commented.

Around 90 per cent of firms that have listed on the AIM have noticed a positive impact, while 43 per cent described the move as bringing "significant" benefits.

However, Mr Haines warned that SME owners should not float their business until they have sought expert advice.

"With hunger for expansion comes the need to plan for changes. As a business grows its monetary needs often alter, as do the personal finance needs of the business owner," he added.

Earlier this month, CBI director general John Cridland said that Britain is now starting to see the "right kind of growth" in the economy and this is giving businesses more confidence to grow.

He added that merger and acquisition activity could rise in the coming months, while firms are feeling more inclined to invest in new technology and advertising. Export activity and gross domestic product growth are both predicted to rise throughout the course of 2014.

Expert Opinion
So much research in recent months has pointed towards the simple fact that the improving economy should mean good news for small businesses with big plans. Innovative and forward-thinking firms are expected to be in a prime position to take advantage of opportunities which higher levels of confidence in the economy should bring.

"As a result, it is unsurprising to see many more AIM listings being expected in the coming months. We would urge businesses to ensure they are prepared to achieve their goals by putting a solid support network in place, which includes key advice on issues including legal matters.

"All companies want to grow, but it is important they are prepared for the inevitable growing pains which can emerge during such a process."
Fergal Dowling, Partner

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