Stock Exchange trading records are smashed

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The Independent Online
JOHN WILLCOCK

Financial Correspondent

Records were smashed on the London Stock Exchange's markets in 1995, with record trading, record market value for UK companies and a trebling of foreign listings over 1994.

The Exchange's annual round-up of the year published yesterday also highlighted the successful launch of AIM - the alternative investment market - which attracted 121 companies in its first six months.

In the domestic equity market, the Exchange said that a record pounds 646.3bn of UK and Irish shares changed hands in 1995 - up 6.6 per cent on the previous year. Strong trading in the latter part of the year helped 1995 become the seventh consecutive year of increased turnover in domestic equities. At the beginning of December the Irish exchange split off to form its own, separate market.

The FT-SE 100 soared 20.3 per cent over the year to end 1995 at an all- time high of 3,689.3, up 623.8 points.

The London Stock Exchange said the year saw a slowdown to 190 in the number of UK and Irish companies joining the Official List after 1994's record 256 newcomers. New issues in 1995 included 75 companies moving up from the unlisted securities market which AIM replaced .

A further 22 companies were relistings. National Grid Group, capitalised at pounds 3.5bn, was the largest UK company to join the Official List by value in 1995. Albright & Wilson was the year's biggest money raiser, coming to the market to raise pounds 470.3m.

The value of the 2,084 UK companies on the Official List rose 17.5 per cent to an all-time high of pounds 895.1bn.

The Exchange said that London did particularly well in attracting international companies seeking a listing. Over the year 38 new foreign companies, more than treble 1994's figure, got a listing. Together they raised a total of pounds 3.6bn.

In August, the Exchange changed its rules to allow global depository receipts to be traded for the first time. These are certificates which represent shares in overseas companies. They allow market professionals to invest in shares which are traded on exchanges not easily accessible to foreign investors. This may be because of exchange controls or settlement and ownership restrictions.

Of the 38 new foreign listings 23 were GDRs, raising pounds 2.8bn. The continuing growth in GDR activity reflected the demand for capital from emerging markets, the Exchange said, and this should prove a big growth area for London.

South Korea was most active with eight new issues, followed by India with four and Taiwan and South Africa with three. Indonesia listed two and Poland, the Czech Republic and the Cayman Islands one each.

Market Report, page 18.

Highlights of the Stock Exchange year

A record pounds 646.3bn of UK and Irish shares changed hands in 1995 - the seventh annual rise.

Record market value for UK companies. The value of the 2,084 companies on the Official List rose 17.5 per cent to pounds 895.1bn.

AIM attracts 121 companies in its first six months of trading.

A slowdown to 190 in the numer of UK and Irish companies joining the List after 1994's record 256 newcomers.

London attracts 38 new foreign companies for a full listing, more than treble 1994's figure.

Gilts turnover set a new record in 1995 with trading reaching pounds 1.57bn, just up on 1994's pounds 1.54bn.

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