Murgitroyd set to raise its trade mark with AIM listing

MURGITROYD, the Glasgow-based European patent and trademark legal practice, will make its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on Friday.

Keith Young, chief executive said yesterday that the company has successfully placed 2.47 million shares at 121p with a range of institutional and private investors including UK venture capital firm 3i.

The company is listing on AIM, designed to provide liquidity for fast-growing companies, but the market has lost 70% of its value since March as the high-tech sector, which accounts for more than a third of the companies, crashed.

Young said: "I’m not nervous about the AIM market as a whole but just a little bit excited about where it could lead for us. We know we have a great future, and with this the group will go from strength to strength."

The placing has raised 2.67m net of expenses for the company, which will have a market capitalisation of 10m. Since 1987, the company has witnessed turnover growth of 20% per annum. Figures for the financial year ended May 31, 2001 show turnover was 7.75m with an operating profit of 391,000.

Founder Ian Murgitroyd said: "The flotation of the Group was so well received by investors that the issue was oversubscribed. This clearly demonstrates confidence in our prospects. The listing on AIM will accelerate Murgitroyd’s expansion in Europe and enable us to take advantage of future opportunities."

The proceeds will be used to restructure their financial base and to expand Murgitroyd’s growth into European markets by establishing offices in key European locations. They already have offices in Aberdeen and Belfast and facilities in Dublin, London, Munich and Nice.

Murgitroyd’s strategy also involves acquisitions, and admission to AIM will aid the raising of additional finance for the future development of its business .

Edinburgh based Noble & Company acted as both nominated adviser and broker to the flotation . They were also involved in the only other Scottish listing earlier this year with property group Halladale.

Hugh Nash, director of Nobles and veteran of the Halladale listing said: "Even at a time when market conditions are uncertain, investors will back a company which can show a profitable track record, a strong management team and an impressive growth profile."

Demand for patent attorneys, who have to study for seven years after graduation, exceeds the supply by 10% in 2001. Nash estimates that will rise to 25% by 2004. He added: "When Murgitroyd approached us nine months ago to say they were considering raising money, the first thing I noticed was the fact they’ve been profitable over the last twenty years. If you have a unique proposition and a history of growth and profits, raising money is not too difficult."

Murgitroyd specialises in intellectual property services, including filing, prosecuting, litigating, licensing, assigning and renewing patents, trademarks, designs and advising on copyright for the major global sectors including technology, engineering, electronics, chemistry and biotechnology.

Clients range from large multinational corporations to individual inventors and both in-house and external patent attorneys.