BusinessCompany NewsS&W to list in 2008 as profits surge by 39%

S&W to list in 2008 as profits surge by 39%

Smith & Willamson has targeted 2008 to list on the markets, chairman Gareth Pearce has confirmed

After months of speculation, Pearce told Accountancy Age that the
firm was looking to 2008 for the flotation. ‘We are committed to a public
listing,’ said Pearce.

But the timing of going public could be affected by the condition of the
markets, or the firm’s performance. ‘If it’s all good, we would do it sooner
rather than later [in 2008], but it wouldn’t worry us if we wait,’ said Pearce.

A listing would help the firm raise its profile to potential customers and
staff, Pearce added.

Pearce made his comments as the group posted £25.3m profits for the year, its
highest ever figure. The group’s profits before tax grew by 39% on 2006, and fee
income leapt by 13.7% to £150.5m.

The group also defended its foray into the controversial litigation funding
market, saying that it would not help fund ‘speculative’ litigation.
S
&W
will provide funding for claims around liquidations, where
liquidators would normally struggle to bankroll litigation claims on behalf of
creditors.

Auditors are wary of the new type of legal case funding, since they are often
regarded as deep pockets by liquidators.

Stephen Cork, head of restructuring and recovery, said the group could
potentially help finance claims against other accountants, but claims against
firms were always a possibility during liquidations.

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