Young’s to spark rush to AIM

AIM could be set for a deluge of applications for a spot on its exchange, after Young’s Brewery revealed last week that it was planning to move across from the main boards.

Link: Profile: Cobra beer king Karan Bilimoria

The London-based brewer, which has a market cap of £105.5m, is making the move to AIM in order to simplify its three-tiered share structure, without losing the tax benefits provided by this arrangement.

There are more than 1,600 companies currently listed on AIM, and more could follow now that Young’s has moved from the FTSE All-Share. Chris Searle, corporate finance partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said AIM was growing in popularity for companies seeking alternatives to the main exchange.

‘The number of companies listed has increased markedly,’ Searle said. ‘Regulatory requirements and costs are lower and there are tax benefits.’

Searle said older family businesses, like Young’s, stood to benefit from the tax advantages of an AIM listing.

Young’s is planning to convert all of its b-shares into a-shares, and then move the new enlarged class of stock from the main board to AIM. The Inland Revenue treats AIM stocks as unlisted and so does not levy inheritance tax on these securities.

Peter Whitehead, finance director at Young’s, said the move to AIM was as a result of tax benefits, rather than because of an FSA rule change which will demand 75% shareholder approval for such a switch.

Related reading