Small Talk: Domino's savours its move to the main market
Monday 19 May 2008
Domino's Pizza must be one of the best-known names on Alternative Investment Market, but not for much longer. The group once famous in the US for its 30-minute delivery promise is growing too big for AIM and will move to the main market today.
The move offers lots of advantages. The stock will be available to many more investors, restricted by the terms of their funds from buying AIM stocks. Likewise, a main market listing will attract much more analyst comment, helping to drum up more interest in the group, which is performing well.
The company listed in London is the UK and Ireland franchise of the bigger US group, which was controlled by the private equity group Bain Capital in the early part of the decade. The British and Irish arm has been listed on AIM for nearly 10 years, with the new chief executive, Chris Moore, saying the move to the main market is a "rite of passage".
However, there have been a few problems in recent years. Last summer certain franchisees were accused of underpaying some staff in a scandal highlighted by the BBC's Newsnight programme. Several employees alleged that the group was unlawfully docking their pay, some of the complainants suggesting they received almost nothing after the deductions, which the company denied.
Mr Moore, who took over the helm after the controversy, concedes that several franchises did not have human resources or health and safety paperwork up to date, something that is now being put in order.
For investors, the move to the main market is a tasty prospect. A number of independent analysts are queuing up to recommend the stock, saying that it is a good time for the group that has a 39 per cent share of the home delivery market, and at a time when consumers are trading down.
The company's next results are out in July, by which time we should have some indication on just how well it is delivering, in every sense.
When George Bush eventually leaves the White House next January he will probably have to hand over the door tag giving him access to the Oval Office. The information on that door tag is managed by AIM-listed Intercede. Its systems allows organisations to use data held in smart cards to control access to different parts of a building.
The group will announce its preliminary results on Tuesday, which the house broker, KBC Peel Hunt, reckons will be a triumph.
The finance director, Andy Walker, says that results will be line with the upbeat guidance given earlier in the year.
Mr Walker believes the future is looking good too. One of Mr Bush's legacies from his eight years in office is the $3 trillion spending on homeland security, of which Intercede has "had its fair share".
Controversial ID cards in the UK and security for the Olympic Games in 2012 will also provide opportunities for the group.
As security systems become more sophisticated, using more complicated biometric and other personal information, Intercede has the opportunity to thrive.
The group may already be attracting suitors: this month the company had to issue a statement saying that it had had no contact with what Mr Walker describes as Indian "outfit" Bartronic.
Film deal is just the job for mobile games firm
It cannot be terribly easy working with a giant of the movie industry like Paramount. But when an opportunity emerges for an AIM-listed company like Probability, with a market capitalisation of about £11m, they really cannot turn it down, no matter how testing. Probability is a mobile phone gaming group, with a range of slot machine, bingo and other games played over customers' cellular phones. The recent past has been tricky, given the problems faced by online gambling groups in the US. Legislation that in effect ended UK operators' presence there came into force a week after the company's initial listing. But now it has landed agreements with Orange, part of France Telecom, andThe Sun newspaper, and last month Michael Spencer, chief executive of Icap, invested £1.7m in the group. Last week it signed the deal with Paramount, for a three-year licence to brand mobile slot machine games with three ofthe filmmaker's mostfamous releases; Grease, The Italian Job and Elvis's King Creole, the first content being available to the public next month.It is hard to get thechief executive, Charles Cohen, to give details of the deal; Paramount is sensitive about allowing the finer points of their agreements to see the light of day. But after a tricky start to life as a listed group, Probability is getting closer to the jackpot.
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