Commoditrade, the metals investment company backed by the flamboyant City entrepreneur Andrew Regan, revealed it was in preliminary talks regarding a sale of the company yesterday, sending its shares up almost 17 per cent to record highs.
The auction for the group is likely to be hotly contested as buying the company will give the new owners access to the London Metal Exchange, where only members are allowed to trade. In a short statement issued yesterday afternoon, the company said it was in discussions with a number of parties, adding that a further statement would be made in due course.
The group's shares have soared since April, when it bought a stake in the London Metal Exchange trading team of Sucden, one of just 11 companies that trade on the exchange floor. Others include Barclays and UBS.
The group raised more than £10m at 12.5p a share to help fund the £24m acquisition. Last night, the stock closed at 36.5p, up 16.8 per cent on the day, and almost 200 per cent since the start of the year, giving the firm a market value of £135.5m.
Commoditrade was founded at the start of last year, and floated on the Alternative Investment Market in March 2005, when the company raised £515,000 via a placing at 5p a share.
Corvus Capital, in which Mr Regan is the chief executive and largest shareholder, owns 21.1 per cent of Commoditrade.