AIM suspensions hit record number

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The Independent Online

Shares in a record 13 companies were suspended from trading on the Alternative Investment Market yesterday after having failed to get their interim or annual financial results published on time.

Among those on the list were World Travel Holdings - the company that bought Sir Bob Geldof's operation as well as the London-based delivery business Room Service. "It's very simple. Annual results have to be published within six months of the year-end while interim results have to be published within three months," a spokesman for the London Stock Exchange said.

"If you don't publish [the financial results] within the stipulated time-frame, you're suspended but as soon as you have published, you're reinstated," he added.

The beginning of July traditionally witnesses a rash of suspensions since many companies have a September or December year-end meaning that 30 June is a popular deadline and a year ago nine companies were suspended from trading on AIM. But this year there are more companies listed on AIM - around 700 in total - than ever before. "[Small to medium-sized enterprises] are having a tough time in this economic climate. And, when times are difficult, many companies find it more difficult to put out their results," one market source said.

The rules on publishing financial results are designed to protect shareholders by ensuring they have up-to-date information on the businesses they have invested in. Similar rules govern companies listed on London's main market.

The LSE said 12 of the 13 companies were suspended for missing the six-month deadline for filing 12-month figures while one company, Vianet, was suspended for missing the three-month deadline for filing its six-month figures.

By the end of trading yesterday, however, two of the 13 companies - a recruitment firm Constellation and a production firm Equator - had published their figures and their shares were trading on the market again.