EcoSecurities management in line for flotation windfall

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The Independent Online

Another company looking to exploit the new market for trading in carbon emissions unveiled plans yesterday for a £135m flotation on the Alternative Investment Market before the end of the year.

The Oxford-based EcoSecurities is looking to raise almost £54m to fund expansion and raise its profile. The company sets up and runs projects in South America, India and Africa to reduce carbon emissions, so earning "credits" can then be sold to energy-intensive European companies in the mining and oil industries to help them meet carbon-emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Its clients include Shell, the World Bank and the Japanese, Danish and Austrian governments. The listing will see EcoSecurities' management - including the Brazilian founder and managing director Pedro Moura-Costa and the American chief executive Bruce Usher - scoop millions of pounds. Executives own about two-thirds of the company, but none plans to sell down his stake. The rest of the business is owned by the US agricultural giant Cargill and US investment group MSM.

Private investors will not be able to buy EcoSecurities shares at first. They will be placed with City institutions by the broker Hoare Govett, underwritten by ABN Amro Rothschild. Investors will be hoping for a better return than was delivered by its rival AgCert International.

In September, AgCert shares halved on the back of a shock profits warning that saw its chief executive sacked. AgCert, which raised £61m when it listed in London in June, admitted that it would miss sales targets this year and next.

The company blamed delays in the building of manure pits in Brazil and Mexico from which it intended to capture and burn methane - a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

AgCert's construction plans were delayed by up to a year, preventing the company from collecting as many credits as had been planned by the end of this year. It blamed problems in buying the flares to burn off the methane, regulatory issues, adverse weather and soaring costs.

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