The Plus Markets Stock Exchange Group is set to close after failing to find a buyer. The Group put itself up for sale in February and no longer has the cash reserves to continue operating.
The self-described ‘next generation’ stock market will wind down its activities over the next six months and has promised to assist companies whose shares are traded on its exchange with finding another suitable arrangement.
The company blames over regulation for its collapse, Chief Executive Cyril Theret warned that rules put in place since 2007 are discouraging smaller businesses from floating themselves on stock exchanges, which is having an adverse effect on growth: “ The danger is that excessive regulation combined with adversity to risk is essentially creating a negative impact on growth” he said.
“In this country there is no appetite for early stage investment, if we are not innovating and allowing small and medium businesses access to investment through listing, how will we grow?”
The majority of the 156 companies listed on Plus Markets, which includes Arsenal FC, the Brewer Shepherd Neame and Quercus, the publishers of Stieg Larsson’s wildly popular Millennium Trilogy, will most likely end up listed on rival exchange AIM.
The company made pre-tax losses of £1.4 million in the six months to July 2011, the seventh consecutive year it has posted a loss. Plus Markets was originally an offshoot of Ofex, an exchange for stocks that required less regulation than the London Stock Exchange.
In a press release the company stated: “Due to the on-going operating costs of its business in the context of its regulatory status, the company’s cash balance has reached a level at which the board has informed the FSA that it intends to commence a process of orderly closure.
Theret, who had been Chief Executive of the company since 2010, closed by saying “It is a huge disappointment that we have to shut down after all the fighting we’ve done to keep going”..