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Gloom, not Doom: finding reasons to be cheerful about the Aquis Growth Market.



July 18, 2023

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Steve Henney, Co-Head of Business Development, Aquis Stock Exchange
On a typical British summer’s morning, there are two ways to look at the sky. Do you focus on the clouds, or the shards of sunlight that shine through, suggesting a brighter day to come?
I think it would be a statement of the obvious to say that this is the toughest IPO market I’ve ever experienced. I could have written a blog about whether this is caused by global conflicts, inflation/cost of living crisis, or whether it’s more structural and public markets have been left behind by more dynamic private arenas for capital raising. Whatever your view, I think that would have made quite a depressing, and at this stage unoriginal, blog. What I’d rather focus on is some of the more positive highlights from the Aquis Stock Exchange this year:
• One of our companies received a bid – although it’s a shame to see a company like National Milk Records leave our exchange. From an investor’s perspective, news of the recommended cash offer at an 87% premium to the previous days’ closing price will have been a real endorsement of their investment decision…
• As of the end of June, the total value of the companies on the Aquis Stock Exchange has increased from £1.5bln to nearly £1.8bln over the prevailing 12 months.
• The average market cap of companies on our Access segment has increased from £5m to a little over £8m.
• 40 companies have had a positive or neutral share price performance since the turn of the year.
• Another two companies are progressing from our Access segment to Apex in July – making it three for the year so far.
• 35 companies have used equity to grow their business or incentivise staff on our exchange since the turn of the year.
So quite a few reasons to be cheerful from our perspective as an exchange, and several of the constituents on it.
Finally, from an IPO perspective, there is no shortage of companies looking to raise their profile and to attract growth capital as part of a public market listing, and our offering of a simplified straightforward process is clearly resonating. At present, we have over 40 companies across several sectors, geographies, and sizes at various stages of exploring an IPO.
All these companies are looking for what a public market can bring them – a diversified shareholder base, a long-term platform to raise capital and profile obviously, but also for equity financed acquisitions and an effective way to reward staff.
Hopefully, the stats above show that although it’s a difficult time from a public market perspective, companies can still progress with their strategic objectives and investors can still make money.
It’s tricky for sure, but don’t let it put you off entirely. There are still exciting growth companies to be discovered.
To leave you with a quote that sums up my message above “Remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
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