A conference is to take place in Perth, Western Australia, on November 1st for which key players on London"s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) will be flying out to give the pros and cons. Seems they are a bit tougher than the Aussie rugby league boys. The major sponsors will be WH Ireland, the UK brokers who will be listing Gympie Gold on AIM next month and have Consolidated Broken Hill and Consolidated Minerals up their sleeves for early next year. They are working with Capital Group, a well known PR/IR outfit in Australia which has recently opened a London office under the extrovert Leesa Peters, formerly with Ludgate Communications.
The programme for the day looks pretty hectic, but should provide Aussie companies keen to know more about AIM with most of the answers they need. It kicks off with an introductory talk by Terri -Helen Gaynor of Capital Group and then Professor Ian Plimer takes over to chair the rest of the day. Ian is Professor of Geology at Melbourne Univerisity and a director of Consolidated Broken Hill, a company which would have listed on AIM by now but has been distracted by its decision to bid for Pasminco"s assets at Broken Hill in tandem with Clough Engineering.
The first speaker would have been Simon Brickles from the AIM department of the London Stock Exchange. Unfortunately he is too busy to make the trip and all his minions seem pretty busy too. However David Youngman of WH Ireland will be giving a talk on the role of the NOMAD (Nominated Adviser) and the AIM broker. These roles are split in order to boost the level of surveillance and compliance in a market that is a bit less regulated than a full listing in London.
Two lawyers, Roger Davies of the Australian firm Blake Dawson Waldron and Andrew Wright of Fox Brooks Marshall in the UK then discuss and answer questions about the legal aspects of an AIM listing for a full forty minutes until coffee time. Doubtless they will have much of interest to say from the point of view of both the northern and southern hemisphere and the subject is vital to a potential AIM candidate. But coffee will probably come not a moment too soon as lawyers are rarely amusing speakers. And they will be followed by Gavin Buckingham, a partner in Andersen, explaining the role of the reporting accountants in the AIM admission process.
The space between coffee and lunch will be filled by Tony Shearer and Leesa Peters. Shearer used to be with Old Mutual International , the South African finance house which took over two London brokers, Albert E. Sharp and Greig Middleton. Tony is now a UK fund investment consultant which must be closely akin to an investor relations specialist. Anyway he will be telling the audience what UK institutions look for in AIM investments. This should be pretty interesting stuff as it will help companies to fashion their presentations to fit the bill. Leesa will then round off the mornings proceedings by analysing the separate roles of the UK financial public relations investors, brokers"s analysts and the media and how they impinge on the life of an AIM candidate.
The afternoon session will start with Clive Donner, who manages Rothschilds Golden Arrow Fund in Australia, giving the Australian investment perspective. By this, presumably, is meant what Aussie investors think of companies with a dual listing on the ASX and on AIM. This will be very interesting in the light of the arbitrage which often seems to exist between the two prices and of which London brokers Williams de Broe took full advantage when Aquarius Platinum listed on AIM a couple of years ago. Minews has often commented that there is good money to be made in the period between an Australian company deciding to list on AIM and when it actually does so, but we all now operate in more uncertain times.
John Morris, the managing director of Gold Mines of Sardinia will then talk about his experiences in managing a company which was the first to obtain a dual listing on AIM. That was some time ago and the move made obvious sense as Sardinia is in the northern hemisphere and thus outside the radar screens of Australian investors. Only now, however, is it really being taken seriously in London following the major new gold discovery at Monte Ollestadu in the east of the island. This has tipped the balance so much that GMS is now moving its domicile to London. John will be followed by Alan Stein of Fusion Oil which had a slightly difficult birth in London, but is now going well. His talk is entitled "Good guys, bad guys and how to spot them". Doubtless he will give some fascinating insights. We cover his company on Oil-Barrel.com so presumably qualify as good guys.
Delegates will be able to mull over his experiences with a coffee before Paul Atherley rounds off the afternoon. Paul brought Murchison United, the Tasmanian tin miner, to London very successfully, but in recent months has been involved in prolonged negotiations to buy Rio Tinto"s share of the Neves Corvo mine in Portugal.. Hopefully this will be concluded soon and if the Portuguese Government gives the go-ahead before November 1st he will have a fascinating story to tell. The conference should certainly help a number of Australian companies to make up their minds about an AIM listing It makes a lot of sense for those with, or seeking, projects outside Australia. And it helps the raise the profile if accompanied by a fund raising.