Weetabix looks to take AIM

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The Independent Online
WEETABIX and Fuller's real ale could be two of the first items on the menu at the Alternative Investment Market, the junior stockmarket that opens for business next June.

Last week the London Stock Exchange unveiled preliminary plans for AIM, which will build on the present Rule 4.2 matched-bargain facility to create a new market for smaller companies. It will take the place of the 13-year-old Unlisted Securities Market, due to close in 1996.

Fuller Smith and Turner, the west London brewer of Fuller's Pride and ESB beers, is the only survivor from the first companies to be quoted on the USM in 1980.

'We were quite happy on the USM,' said Paul Clarke, the finance director, 'but it's being taken away from us. We shall do whatever is of most benefit to our shareholders - go on AIM or have our shares traded under Rule 4.2. We're an old-fashioned brewery, and we shall wait and see what happens.'

Weetabix, the British family-controlled cereal maker, has had its shares traded on a matched-bargain basis for many years. But Richard Wood, head of marketing at the company's stockbroker, Charterhouse Tilney, said that it might now move on to the AIM.

'It's going to give companies a higher profile,' Mr Wood said, 'and that may suit the Weetabix management if they can obtain it at no extra cost.'