Midland chartered accountants and business advisers Dains says it has had a record six months after advising on deals worth £80 million.
They ranged from food manufacturing and distribution to government-funded vocational training, and included transactions including corporate acquisitions, management buy outs, restructuring assignments and due diligence.
Dains now claims that having completed 18 deals in the six month period, while continuing to advise on several further transactions plus a pipeline of early stage assignments, it has become a significant player in the region’s small and medium enterprise (SME) market.
Simon Bursell, Dains Corporate Finance partner, said: “We saw a booming mergers and acquisitions market in 2007-8 driven in part by the Government’s changes to capital gains tax.
“However, we still have a strong pipeline of ongoing transactions and continue to see new opportunities.
“The appetite for mergers and acquisitions in the SME market appears to be holding up although there is rightly a degree of caution as we wait to see how the underlying economy fares.
“Certainly there is still an appetite from the banks for good quality lending propositions, regardless about what you may read about the ‘credit crunch’.
“Access to specialists in raising finance has become more important, though, in securing the best terms.”
Separately, Baker Tilly has claimed that despite stock market turbulence the AIM, which cele brates its 13th anniversary this month, remains a powerhouse for growth companies both in the UK and overseas.
It carried out a survey that found that the total market capitalisation of all AIM companies is more than £90 billion – four times higher than five years ago.
It also found that the average market capitalisation of an individual AIM company today is £54 million, more than double the average size five years ago and nearly seven times the average market capitalisation of a company listed in AIM’s first year.
Charles Fray, partner at Baker Tilly’s Birmingham office, said: “Today’s market conditions are facing uncertainty and this, combined with AIM’s record performances of recent years, makes comparables hard.
“However, viewed over the longer term, the market has performed beyond all expectations. Today, AIM is an established player, with plenty of room for further growth.”
Other key findings of the survey include:
* 2,989 companies have been admitted to AIM since launch – more than half (55 per cent) in last five years;
* 343 overseas companies have listed on AIM – more than 80% since 2004;
* The largest individual market capitalisation on AIM has tripled in five years reaching £2.4 billion in April 2008;
* AIM’s turnover reached £75 billion last year, compared with £6.6 billion in 2003;
* The total amount of money raised on AIM since its launch is £58 billion;
* The average failure rate over the last four years has been less than three per cent per year.
Progress has, however, slowed this year, according to Baker Tilly.
The amount raised by initial public offerings (IPOs) in the year to the end of April were 76 per cent below the record levels of last year - £349 million vs £1.4 billion in 2007.
Also, there have been only 15 IPOs on AIM so far this year compared with 52 for the same period last year.