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Eurozone crisis gets blame as AIM companies head for the exit

The Eurozone crisis has heaped pressure on the junior AIM stock market, with 24 companies quitting and just 16 joining in the final quarter of 2011. That compares to 22 departures and 26 arrivals in the third quarter, said accountants UHY Hacker Young.

In the whole of 2011, there were 69 new listings against 65 the year before, and the number of departures dropped from 158 to 116. Several cited "financial stress" as their main reason for quitting AIM.

Laurence Sacker at UHY Hacker Young said: "Although AIM has clearly pulled through some very difficult times, it has not been immune to the current problems with the euro. In the short term, a full recovery in the IPO market seems unlikely. Investors have retrenched into defensive assets and until they have confidence that politicians have fixed the Eurozone crisis once and for all, they are unlikely to return to the AIM market en masse."

The firm said nearly 4 out of 10 of the companies that left AIM did so through takeovers, with many unable to raise fresh funds through rights issues or share placings. The total raised by new issues was down by 44% against 2010. The amount raised through flotations fell to £513 million in the 11 months to November 2011 from £908 million.