London’s Junior Market Grows For First Time Since 2007

Accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said 20 companies floated on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the three months to Sept. 30, while 16 delisted. This was the first time more had joined than left since the third quarter of 2007. “More companies are again looking at an AIM initial public offering as an opportunity for growth,” said Laurence Sacker, Partner at UHY Hacker Young. AIM’s attractiveness to UK retail investors has been boosted by the government’s decision earlier this year to allow AIM stocks to be included in individual savings accounts (ISAs) – popular tax-free products – for the first time. The research showed 56 companies joined AIM in the 12 months to the end of September, raising a total of 881 million pounds ($1.42 billion) – up 70 percent on the previous 12 months. The overall value of companies listed on the AIM market was 67.7 billion pounds as of August, according to data from the LSE, down from a peak of 97.6 billion pounds in 2007. Stronger equity markets have helped revive new listings in Europe after years of subdued activity due to the financial crisis, with London one of the busiest destinations. Separate data from Ernst & Young over the weekend showed that, when the LSE’s main market is also included, more than 3 billion pounds has been raised from London listings so far this year, double the amount raised in the whole of 2012. Sacker said next year also looked busy for AIM, but the market is still a way off returning to previous levels – in the 12 months to Sept. 30 2007, 8.8 billion pounds was raised by AIM IPOs. “The deal pipeline is looking healthy. 2014 could turn out to be a real bounce-back year for AIM, although getting back to the level of new listings we saw during the boom years remains a pretty remote prospect,” he said.

London’s luxury segment keeps shining

Upstairs, the rooms have blonde wood floors and stark white bedding, with lots of natural sunlight. Its Ian Schragers latest hotel; he opened it in conjunction with Marriott International . Im sure it will be a hit with locals and travelers since when I was there for its opening it seemed as if it had always been on the London scene; everyone in its public areas seemed quite at home. During my trip I stayed at The Savoy , right near Covent Garden. The hotel is extremely high end and its lobby bustles with locals and guests. Its fun just to sit and watch everyone coming and going, youll get a real taste of London life here, as this is where residents of the city come to celebrate special occasions in the restaurants. Kaspars is the hotels new seafood dining option; I can fully recommend it and suggest requesting a seat that has a view of the River Thames. The Savoy also serves an excellent afternoon tea, which also brings in affluent guests. Its a stunning setting, all under a glass cupola, truly worth going to have a look even if you dont want to stay for tea. If you do go for tea (I actually making a reservation), youll want to dress up in your finest. You might instead opt for a drink at the snazzy Beaufort Bar, just across the way in the hotel. I have yet to do this but its on my bucket list.

London is lively with luxury hotels (Photos)

Although initially due to open this past spring, the 40-million ($64-million) project has been hindered due to delays in construction, including the recent replacement of the contractor, which have been attributed to restricted access to Londons first elevated hotel, rather than concerns with developing in the luxury market in general. Investors making waves Currently making waves in the London market is investment management company Prime Investors Capital Limited with the planned conversion of one of Londons most iconic Grade I listed buildings. The 99-year lease of Admiralty Arch was bought from the government for 60 million ($96 million) with plans to turn it into a 100-room luxury hotel. PIC founder and CEO Rafael Serrano told Hotel News Now that London has outperformed compared to other investment asset classes and that he strongly believes its a question of supply and demand. Prime London is definitely one of the strongest markets in the world. We believe that this will remain the case as long as the very simple formula of supply and demand continues. We do not see any competition for Prime London in Europe, and we think that demand will continue to grow as uncertainty remains in other markets, he said. Serrano was the developer for the super-luxury Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, which opened in 2012, and he has his eye on several more projects in London as well as New York. The oversupply obstacle The inevitable question of potential oversupply does not appear to concern investors. Ellis at Numis Securities cautioned that although London is unique, no market is immune from unforeseen circumstances. London is a truly extraordinary market. The contrast in the U.K. between the regions and London has been stark since the financial meltdown, and this just shows how attractive London is as a market.