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London could see flurry of IPO’s

Despite apparently flagging IPO appetite among certain businesses, this morning has seen three privately owned companies announce their intention to float in London.


Healthcare IT specialist, EMIS Group, has announced its intention to float 25% of the company’s share capital to raise £50m, reflecting a total market capitalisation to £200m.  EMIS Group will join the Alternative Investment Market, London’s junior market, if the IPO is successful.


The EMIS Group was established in 1987 following initial work by doctors who identified a growing need to computerise ‘cradle-to-grave’ patient records. The privately owned company has grown substantially since that initial start-up and now the company holds around 34 million patient records on its platform, representing 52% of all GP practices in the UK. EMIS generated turnover of £58 million, producing operating profits of £15.8 million. The £50 million fund raising will be used to develop and launch the company’s latest product – a web based platform which will allow secured, shared access to patients electronic health records.


Joining the main board of the LSE,  youth fashion retailer the SuperGroup, parent of the SuperDry brand, expect to issue shares worth around £125 million, while the Promethean Group, an educational technology developer also intends to list on the LSE.


The fast growing youth-brand retailer, the SuperGroup intends to use its £125 million fund raising to accelerate the group's growth plans. The company currently operates via 40 standalone stores, 3 outlet stores and 54 concessions in the House of Fraser department store. SuperGroup intends to extend its product lines particularly across women’s-wear, shoes, underwear and accessories. The company also plans to progress its incubator brands such as the SurfCo California and 77Breed brands.


Promethean's IPO is scheduled to complete during March, the company’s ActivClassroom product suite comprises interactive tools and resources. According to Promethean the ActivClassroom has an effective learning environment which delivers significant and measurable improvements in student achievement. As at 31 December 2009, Promethean's ActivClassroom was being used for 12 million students internationally, its interactive display systems are installed in more than 550,000 classrooms in 100 countries.


Over the previous two weeks the IPO market has been stifled by the withdrawal of 10 planned floatations including the high profile £650 million New Look IPO which was shelved last Friday. New Look, controlled by private equity groups Permira and Apax Partners, blamed ‘volatile markets’ for its decision to abandon the IPO. Blackstone private equity group also dropped two planned floatations last week - Alton Towers theme park operator, Merlin Entertainment, and airline ticketing business, Travelport.


Whilst certain high-profile private equity floats have struggled, Friday’s AIM market floatation of Oxford Nutrascience (AIM: ONG) proved more successful, albeit on a smaller scale. The consumer health company placed 62.8 million shares at 1.75p, raising £1.1 million before expenses.

Disclosure: no positions