Benchmark Holdings plc, an established international animal health, technical publishing and sustainability science business, has successfully listed on AIM valuing the Company at £125m (at 23rd April 2014).
Benchmark Holdings plc (AIM: BMK), was admitted to trading on AIM on December 18th, 2013 with an initial market capitalisation of £87.5m.
In an oversubscribed fundraising led by Cenkos Securities and supported by Equity Development, Benchmark successfully raised £27.5 million before expenses through the sale of new ordinary shares at a price of 64 pence per share to a diverse range of investors, including Invesco, Slater Investments, Lansdowne Partners, Hargreave Hale, Polar Capital, Miton Group and high net worth private investors.
In addition, existing shareholders sold shares worth £17.6 million. Total gross proceeds from the placing amounted to £45.1 million, making this the largest fundraising in the healthcare sector in 2013 on AIM.
Benchmark plans to use the proceeds of the fundraising to invest in high quality scientific research and development, to enhance its business development team, to expand its core businesses and enter into new segments which fit synergistically with its existing businesses. The proceeds will also be used to fund the expansion of Benchmark’s manufacturing base, as well as selective acquisitions.
Equity Strategies who advised the Company on the merits of an IPO against other strategic options and also provided employee share scheme advice to the Company and helped to select the non-executive directors and the other advisers to the IPO. Equity Strategies has been retained by Benchmark to research acquisition ideas.
Malcolm Pye, Chief
Executive Officer, said: “We are really pleased that Benchmark has been so well received. The quality and breadth of our new shareholder base is evidence to the confidence people have in our Company” “Our goal has always been to become a world leading specialist in the development of a sustainable food chain with a particular focus on the development of aquaculture health. The AIM market will provide Benchmark with access to capital and tradable equity, enabling us to pursue a strong pipeline of potential new products and technologies and continue to build the group by acquisition. The team and I are looking forward to this exciting new chapter in Benchmark’s development.”
Notes to Editor:
Founded in 2000, Benchmark represents a new model in sustainable business development. Over the last decade it has built a profitable group of companies on the economics of a sustainable food chain. The company is growing in response to a rapidly increasing demand for sustainable food chains, and in particular for seafood, from both mature and emerging markets. As demand can no longer be met by declining wild resources, it will necessitate the growth of sustainable farming systems around the world. Benchmark is an ethical company with an explicit policy based on the "3E's" definition of a sustainable business - ethics, environment and economics - which guides its strategy and operations.
The Group operates internationally with offices in the UK, Ireland, Norway, USA, Brazil, China and Thailand and, as at 30 September 2013, employed 157 people, approximately half of whom are educated to degree, professional specialist or PhD level.
Fish Vet Group and Benchmark Vaccines form the group's largest division, Animal Health, focusing on aquaculture health. The Group is exposed to the growth trends and drivers in aquaculture and in animal health, which are large markets. Aquaculture accounted for $119 billion in 2010, and it grew at an average annual rate of 8.8% between 1980 and 2010. Since then the aquaculture market has grown at an average annual rate of 6.3% (source: FAO - The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012).
With 13 online publications in three languages, the Group's technical publishing business, 5M, sits primarily within the agriculture segment of the STM (Science, technical and medical) publishing market. 5M also offers 4 distance learning courses in Sustainable Aquaculture in partnership with the University of St. Andrews. These online courses allow students to continue in work while studying part time, in order to attain a recognised certificate in the profession without taking time out of work. 5M plans to expand this programme to new territories, in particular in the US in combination with the University of Maine and in South America.
This division is made up of companies working in collaboration with its customers on research and development of sustainable food and farming business management and technologies. Verdantix estimates the global sustainability consulting market to be $13.8 billion. Of this $1.2 billion is categorised as strategic and management consulting services and $12.6 billion relates to technical sustainability consulting. trieSM operates in the sustainability, strategic and management consulting sector while FAI and RL Consulting operate in the technical sustainability consulting space.
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