Exchange to launch new shares market in June

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The Stock Exchange will launch its new AIM market for small, young and growing companies on 19 June, and participants forecast it could attract 100 entrants in its first 12 months.

The Stock Exchange said the planned market, which is to replace the Unlisted Securities Market, had received support from Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade.

The exchange said its consultations had shown strong support for the concept of AIM, and the rules were framed to offer wide accessibility and lower costs, while providing an orderly and regulated market.

"Trading will be subject to the same level of surveillance and supervision as on the official list," the exchange said in a summary of AIM rules, adding that the shares would be traded on Seats Plus, the trading system scheduled to come on-line in June.

AIM's rules would place no restrictions on market capitalisation, length of operating record or percentage of shares in public hands.

"Companies will be able to raise capital and to trade their shares on a regulated market, raising their public profile at the same time," said Michael Lawrence, chief executive of the Stock Exchange.

AIM could have more than 100 entrants in its first 12 months if companies currently trading under Stock Exchange Rule 4.2 join the market in strength, according to accountancy firm KPMG .

If not, then a figure of around 30 entrants might be more realistic for the new market, KPMG said.

Neil Austin, head of new issues at KPMG Corporate Finance, said: "It is important for AIM to work if smaller companies are to have better access both to capital and, for whatever reasons they may have, to a market for their shares."

He added: "The business economy needs AIM and it is a good initiative, one that we shall be fully supporting."