AIM attracts three newcomers

Music firm hopes to set tills jingling with 'War of the Worlds' rock show
A clutch of three new AIM flotations announced yesterday included Jeff Wayne Music, which will be the only pure music industry investment on the Stock Exchange apart from the media industry, writes Peter Rodgers.

The company is the UK's biggest producer of advertising jingles, with 8,000 ads under its belt, and is raising pounds 4m in a placing that values the group at up to pounds 13m. It will use most of the money to promote expansion in the US and Europe.

About pounds 500,000 of the proceeds will also be used to fund the development of a world tour based on Jeff Wayne's financially successful but otherwise unremarkable rock musical version of HG Wells' War of the Worlds, which has sold 6 million albums since 1978.

The prospectus is likely to describe this tour, a large-scale hi-tech sound and light show, as a high-risk venture.

As well as producing advertising soundtracks for big agencies, Jeff Wayne Music runs a research service for clients looking for existing music for film and TV, and a multimedia division producing and supervising soundtracks for businesses other than advertising. Durlacher is nominated broker to the issue.

Chemical Design Holdings is raising up to pounds 1.5m in a placing on AIM, through the same two firms. It will be valued at about pounds 5m. Chemical designs and supplies software for pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, for use in techniques that aid the production of large numbers of new compounds.

For every new drug on the market, 10,000 different compounds must be made and tested for biological activity. Clients include Hoechst Marion Rousell, Glaxo Wellcome, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Pfizer, and Peptide Therapeutics.

The third flotation is Cirqual, which makes aluminium and plastic extrusions and hopes to raise pounds 2m-pounds 5.8m by a placing through brokers Neilson Cobbold and advisers Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance.

The flotation is expected to value Cirqual, a group put together from existing businesses only last year by the investment group Gartland Whalley and Baker, at pounds 16m-pounds 20m.

The chairman is Tony Gartland, who oversaw the rapid growth of FKI, where he was chief executive in the 1980s.

The placing is to reduce borrowings and allow the company to make new acquisitions.

AIM celebrated its first anniversary last Wednesday.