Advisory firms boost capital raisings

A SMALL group of Perth-based corporate advisory firms have established a growing niche in equity capital raisings for Western Australian businesses.

Poynton and Partners, Grange Consulting, Argonaut Capital and Ascent Capital are not stockbrokers but collectively they raised nearly $150 million last year.

Grange and Ascent have specialised in tidying up failed companies, vending new businesses into the listed shell and proceeding to raise additional equity.

A prime example is Grange’s backdoor listing of retractable syringe maker Unitract via Musgrave Block Holdings.

It listed in November 2002 and raised $3.9 million at 20 cents per share.

During 2003, Unitract raised a further $20 million at $1.75 and $2.50 per share, and the company is now developing a production facility in Sydney.

Poynton & Partners’ main focus is helping Western Australian technology companies tackle the global market.

The company usually gets involved at an early stage, providing strategic advisory services and raising seed funding, and takes clients through to a listing on an appropriate stock exchange.

Its clients include CustomVis, a developer of laser surgical equipment.

Following a seed raising for CustomVis in 2002, Poynton and Partners raised second round funding of $5 million from US, Swiss and South Korean investors in early 2003.

It then listed the company on AIM in conjunction with NOMAD broker Collins Stewart, raising GBP10 million ($A24 million).

Other clients include Clinical Cell Culture, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Ocean Power Technologies, which listed on AIM in October, Structural Monitoring Systems, QR Sciences and Conve.

In a big year for the firm, Poynton and Partners also advised Multiplex on its IPO and Kerry Packer’s Publishing & Broadcasting on its acquisition of 14.2 per cent of Burswood from Bill Wyllie and Jack Bendat.

Argonaut Capital and its subsidiary, Siafu Securities, raised $30 million for a range of listed companies, including aspiring gold producer Centamin Egypt, Amcom Telecommunications, Ausdrill and QED Occtech.

The capital raisings coordinated by advisory firms are often done in conjunction with broking firms, blurring the lines of responsibility.

For instance, Grange Consulting coordinated a $7.5 million placement for Konekt (formerly Startrack Communications) while Burdett Buckeridge Young was broker to the issue.

Both firms have been credited in the league table with the transaction.

Grange raised a total of $50 million for more than a dozen companies last year while Ascent Capital raised about $13 million in 10 different transactions.

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