Investbx, the Birmingham-based share trading scheme, has announced a second company is set to ‘float’ itself.

Engineering firm Key Technologies sold shares worth nearly £2 million on the Colmore Row-based trading platform.

The firm, formerly known as STS International, will be using the new equity funds secured during the Investbx admission process to invest in carefully targeted acquisitions with a view to seeking a quotation on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) within the next three years.

It is currently owned by the directors of private investment firm Grove Industries and the management of the company, and operates through four divisions at four sites around the UK, including its HQ at Cradley Heath.

The company, which raised £1.8 million in the fund raising that accompanied the lnvestbx admission, has 232 employees and declared annual sales of £18.7 million in the year ended June 30.

In the same year, the company reported earnings after eliminating the charge to profit of issuing share options, before the amortisation of goodwill and before taxation of £2.3m, up from £1.4m in the previous year.

Its customers include the Ministry of Defence, BAe Systems, Thales, and Network Rail.

When Investbx was launched last year, it was tasked with helping the region bridge the £500,000 to £2 million equity gap by connecting investors with businesses in the West Midlands.

Using the online trading platform, companies can raise capital for growth in exchange for shares, with Investbx introducing the investors on behalf of the applicant.

Investors are provided with impartial research on which to base their decision and, via an auction-driven platform, have the capability to trade shares.

West Midlands-based entrepreneur David Grove, chairman of Grove Industries and of Key Technologies, said: “There are some exciting opportunities for the Key Technologies business to develop further and the financing base that we have now secured through Investbx will mean that the company can accelerate growth in the business and build shareholder value.

“This is just the kind of business that the West Midlands region needs to continue to develop and grow to secure an ongoing strong international business base.

“Investbx has helped us to connect with investors in such a way that we are able to take the business further along the growth path with the help of additional equity financing at reasonable terms.”

Sue Summers, the chief executive of Investbx, said: “Having a company of this nature and prestige join Investbx is excellent news.

“It demonstrates that there are companies who – even in the current economic climate – are looking to the medium term and also shows that the Investbx concept is perfectly suited to securing the finance for SMEs at this particular stage of their growth.

Key Technologies were advised in the deal by HBJ Gateley Wareing and Vantis. The company operates through four divisions including defence, based in Hampshire; a contract electronics and wire harness manufacturer; and signals, which supplies specialist electronic and electromechanical products for the railway industry.

The signals division is located in Dorset and Cradley Heath, where the switchgear and motors divisions are also based.