Beeson falls to a discount on debut

Beeson Gregory, the stockbroker, yesterday saw its own shares drop over 20 per cent on their debut.

Beeson Gregory shares - priced at 300p - sank as low as 230p yesterday morning before closing at 272.5p. The offer, which was six times subscribed, was pitched at the top of its price range of 250p to 300p, valuing the company at £164m.

A director of a rival broker said: "If you're the broker, for any company to go to a discount is embarrassing. If that's yourself, it must be crucifying."

Beeson Gregory, founded in 1989 as a small company stockbroker, has reinvented itself as a specialist in small technology companies.

John Moxon, a founder director of Beeson Gregory, said: "At the time we were doing the pricing we could easily have gone way beyond 300p. But a week is a long time in investing. With the timing of an issue, you are, to some extent, in the hands of the gods."

It is thought that most of the selling - 3.4 million shares changed hands - was by retail investors, who were allocated 10 per cent of the issue, and may have been spooked by recent tech sector turbulence.

This year Beeson Gregory bought Index IT, an incubator for tech companies. About £20m of the £27.3m net float proceeds will be used for investment capital for this business.

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