Duo AIM to lead the way to flotation

A VENTURE capital company headed by two Suffolk-based entrepreneurs has raised £75million ahead of a planned flotation on the Alternative Investment Market.

A VENTURE capital company headed by two Suffolk-based entrepreneurs has raised £75million ahead of a planned flotation on the Alternative Investment Market.

Panmure Capital (PC), currently a joint venture between stockbroker and investment bank Panmure Gordon and banking group HBOS, specialises in providing late stage funding for companies seeking an IPO (an Initial Public Offer of shares) or a trade sale.

A new public company, shares in which are due to start trading on AIM on January 29, will be known as Loudwater Trust Ltd, with PC founder Richard Wyatt and colleague Edward Forwood as executive directors.

A total of 75 million new shares have been successfully placed with a range of institutional and high net worth individual investors at £1 a share, so raising £75million before expenses.


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A third Suffolk resident, Lord Stevenson, chairman of banking group HBOS, has joined Mr Wyatt and Mr Forwood in buying a reported 3% stake.

Institutional investors backing the flotation include UK hedge fund Lansdowne Partners and US-based fund Moore Capital, which will each own around 10%. HBOS, which currently owns half of PC, will own 49.9%.

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Loudwater will initially acquire a portfolio of five investments from PC for around £7.3million, including a stake in Maxjet, the business class-only airline operating between London Stansted airport and New York, Washington and Las Vegas, which plans to list in July.

The company intends to use proceeds from the share issue to build the portfolio to least 15 companies, with investments generally being restricted to no more than 10% of its gross.

Mr Wyatt, who was executive chairman of Panmure Gordon until July last year, and is also a director of community media group Archant, which includes the East Anglian Daily Times, said: “Panmure Capital has now evolved into an independent AIM-listed investment company with increased committed capital.

“Loudwater intends to provide its shareholders with attractive returns through judicial late stage equity investment in growth companies for which a listing or sale is becoming appropriate. This is a relatively unpopulated space in the funding chain and we look forward to developing our portfolio of investments and helping companies realise value through IPO or trade sale.”

Mr Wyatt, 47, has nearly 25 years' experience in UK equities businesses. He trained as an investment manager at James Capel and held senior roles with Natwest Capital Markets, Schroders and Citigate before partnering Lazard in acquiring Panmure Gordon and then merging it with Durlacher to create a corporate and institutional broker. He acted as executive chairman of Panmure Gordon from April 2005 until July 2006, and remains a non-executive director.

Mr Forwood, 48, has had an 18 year career in managing, advising and investing in technology and other early stage companies, having initially trained in corporate finance at Hill Samuel Bank Limited and Ernst & Young, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with KPMG. He spent seven years at Durlacher, latterly as director of private equity, before which he co-led two management buy-ins of technology and engineering companies.

HBOS chairman Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, 61, who will be one of five non-executive directors of Loudwater, is also governor of the Bank of Scotland and a non-executive director of The Western Union Company. He also previously chaired publishing group Pearson plc.

Outside business, he is chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, chairman of Aldeburgh Music Limited, a director of Glyndebourne, and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London.

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