Press releases 2002
18 October 2002
AIM Company of the Year
Majestic Wine plc was voted "Company of the Year" at the seventh annual AIM Awards, at a ceremony in London last night. The AIM Awards are sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in association with the London Stock Exchange.
AIM is the London Stock Exchange's market for young and growing companies from all over the world, and the AIM Awards recognise outstanding companies quoted on the market across a range of categories.
So far this year, 129 new companies have joined AIM, including 53 IPOs which have raised over 300 million and accounted for almost half of all IPOs in western Europe. There are now 696 companies on AIM, including 52 international companies.
Simon Brickles, Head of AIM at the London Stock Exchange, said:
"Other markets may be in full retreat, but AIM continues its advance. We have more domestic companies than ever, more international companies, more market makers and more advisers. The success of these winning companies during a particularly difficult year demonstrates that the mettle of a market - and the character of its participants - is shown best when the going is toughest."
Mark Speller, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said:
"Despite the extremely difficult economic and financial market conditions of the past 12 months, many of AIM's companies have shown great resilience. The continued strength of the AIM market has been demonstrated by the very high quality of entries to this year's awards, and Majestic's success shows how a well-managed company with a clear strategy can outperform."
Category winners were:
Company of the Year - Majestic Wine plc
Majestic operates the largest wine warehouse chain in Britain, specialising in the sale of wine by the mixed case direct to the public. For the year to 1 April 2002, the company reported turnover up by 21% (including acquisitions) to 104 million and pre-tax profits, before amortisation of goodwill, up by 34% to 6.1 million (including acquisitions). The main driver of this success appears to be Majestic's format, where the company trades from far larger sites than its high street rivals and couples this with unrivalled service. The strategic acquisition of The Wine & Beer Company, for 7.25 million, in October 2001 has also given the group additional momentum.
Other nominated companies in this category were: Connaught plc, CRC Group plc, Genus plc and Mears Group plc.
Entrepreneur of the Year - Mark Blandford, Sportingbet plc
Mark Blandford is Executive Vice Chairman of the Group and the founder of Sportingbet. He has over 17 years bookmaking experience, having previously built up a chain of UK betting shops between 1984 and 1990, when all but one of this chain were sold. Mark then built up a second chain, which he sold to the Tote in December 1997. Mark founded Sportingbet in 1998 and has built the group into the world's leading Internet bookmaker. The group moved into profit in the year to March 2002 with turnover increasing from 324.7 million to 991.5 million and customer numbers jumping from 90,065 to 558,587.
Other nominations in this category were: David Stone (BioFocus plc), Mark Tincknell (Connaught plc) and Simon Cole (UBC Media Group plc).
Best Newcomer - Synergy Healthcare plc
Synergy is a specialist provider of medical support services to the UK healthcare market. It provides sterile and non-sterile services, theatre management services and waste management services predominately to NHS trusts. It delivers these services via a logistics and information technology platform common to all of the group's activities which enables cost reduction per service. The company floated on AIM in August 2001, since when it has acquired Hays Clinical, a leading provider of instrument decontamination and sterilisation services to the National Health Service and private hospitals, for 11.5 million.
Other nominations in this category were: Home Entertainment Corporation plc, Parkdean Holidays plc, PRI Group plc and Telford Homes plc.
Best Performing Share - Cassidy Bros (up 129%)
Cassidy Bros, based in Blackpool, are designers and manufacturers of the Casdon range of toys, which is based primarily on children's role-play look-alike toys. Two of these, a Hotpoint Washer and a Hotpoint Cooker, have been very successful. The shares rose 129% over the period following impressive results.
Best Use of AIM - Telford Homes plc
Telford Homes is a London based housebuilder specialising in the redevelopment of "brownfield" sites within residential areas principally in North and East London, and other areas close to the M25. The management team is highly-regarded, and floated Telford on AIM in December 2001, fresh from their successful flotation (in 1995) and subsequent trade sale (in 2000) of Furlong Homes. In that period, Furlong grew turnover from 8.8 million to 33.9 million, while pre-tax profits rose from 621,000 to 6.6 million.
In the first four months of trading to end March 2002, Telford achieved turnover of 8.8 million and pre-tax profits of 1.3 million.
Other nominations in this category were: Connaught plc, Synergy Healthcare plc and ukbetting plc.
Best Technology - Zytronic plc
Based in the North of England, Zytronic has an established reputation as a world leader in the customised development and manufacture of optical filters to enhance the performance of electronic displays and specialised and transparent composites for niche markets. The company's principal products include a unique range of touch screens based on projected capacitive technology (Zytouch), and the main customers include the military, computer, telecommunications, medical and lighting equipment manufacturers in more than a dozen countries in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
Other nominations in this category were: Akers Biosciences plc, NeuTec Pharma plc, Pilat Media Global plc and Tissue Sciences Laboratories plc.
Best Research - RedSky Research
RedSky Research are the publishers of the AIM and Ofex newsletter, a monthly investment magazine aimed at the junior markets. They also publish the Deal Monitor.
Other nominations in this category were: Durlacher AIM Guide, Growth Company Investor/Aim Guide online, Seymour Pierce and Teather & Greenwood.
Best Communication - Mears Group plc
Building and maintenance group Mears is no stranger to the AIM Awards, the company having been nominated in a number of categories at previous dinners, and Bob Holt being the AIM Entrepreneur of the Year for 2001. Mears was formed in 1986 and floated on AIM in 1996. The group has developed very successfully, providing maintenance services to the local authority, social housing and Ministry of Defence sectors. Interim pre-tax profits to June 2002 were 31% higher to a record 1.58 million on an 8% rise in turnover to 38 million.
Other nominations in this category were: Domino's Pizza UK & IRL plc, Interior Services Group plc, Oasis Healthcare plc and UBC Media Group plc.
- ends -