THE British are coming and they want our growing companies.A delegation from the London Stock Exchange, its second board the Alternative Investment Market and pre-growth company board OFEX, gave a seminar in Perth on Monday attended by representatives from 100 companies.There are 22 Australian companies listed on the LSE, nine of them are from WA. The bulk of companies are in the resources sector but the delegation indicated an interest in WA’s biotechnology and science sectors.AIM head Simon Brickles was at pains to point out that the London bourse was not trying to steal listed companies from the Australian Stock Exchange.“We see ourselves as a complementary market. Indeed it is a good thing if companies keep their listings on their local exchanges because investors want to know what stocks are quoted at on their local exchange,” he said.The AIM has traditionally been a London-only board. It has only recently been internationalised.It is claimed to be the fastest growing market in Europe and boasted 94 initial public offerings last year.LSE head of issuer services Philip Mastriforte said the London exchange offered access to international capital.“I think we offer a competitive price to the New York exchange. There is more trading of stocks in London than in New York and on all the European stock exchanges combined,” he said.Mr Brickles admitted costs were an issue when seeking funding on the London exchange.“A London listing is not cheap, but once you’re on the exchange there are no further fees unless you’re doing something like a reverse takeover,” he said.“We’re trying to get more advisers in Australia to help keep the costs down.”There are only two Australian nominated advisers – Macquarie Bank and the Perth-based Resource Finance Corporation.OFEX communications director Jonathon Jenkins said 100 per cent of his exchange’s overseas companies were from WA.“However, we only have one inter-national company – Pan Palladium,” he said.Mr Jenkins described OFEX as a stepping stone to the more senior London markets of AIM and the LSE.OFEX is not owned by the LSE.Mr Brickles said the LSE offered a “ladder-based” market that could help companies to develop.
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