Four firms pressing ahead with flotations

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The Independent Online
Four companies are pushing ahead with flotation plans despite the recent crop of new- issue disasters and stock market volatility.

Ashbourne Nursing Homes, SeaPerfect and JJB Sports are all presenting themselves to the City for the first time this week. Thorn Lighting will announce its flotation price on Thursday.

'It is only when you are lingering around the City that you realise there is a concern about recent floats faltering,' said Martin Feeney, finance director of Ashbourne, the nursing company with 1,599 registered beds in 19 homes.

Charterhouse, the merchant bank which is underwriting the issue in full, is determined to raise pounds 50m to pay off debts and, after a couple of years, allow the four institutions that backed last year's management buyout from Stakis to cash in some of their investment.

David Whelan, the former Blackburn Rovers footballer, is equally determined to raise pounds 8m to build a warehouse for his growing sports retailing chain and invest in 30 shops.

He does not think City anxiety about new issues will affect him. 'We are not a management buyout, we have a proven track record and we do not need the money to repay any debts,' he said.

Today, SeaPerfect, the Chilean and South Carolina clam and scallop growers backed by William de Broe, will unveil plans to raise pounds 30m for a new European venture.