Mark Watkin Jones, left, with Grenville Turner, chairman of Watkin Jones plc

Watkin Jones makes largest AIM debut in two years

Paul Unger

The 225-year-old developer-contractor from North Wales became a publicly listed company on Wednesday, offering 45% of the company’s stock to the junior market of the London Stock Exchange to fund growth in the student accommodation and private rented sectors.

The family-owned Bangor-based company successfully raised £131.3m by placing 131.3m existing and new ordinary shares with investors at a placing price of 100p a share. Watkin Jones’ market capitalisation on admission, based on the placing price, was £255m.

Among the investors buying into the company were Miton, Schroders, GLG Partners and BlackRock.

Mark Watkin Jones, chief executive of Watkin Jones plc, said: “The strong reception that the company has received from investors has been very encouraging and we are delighted with the success of our admission to AIM, which is a significant milestone in the evolution of our business. The Board joins me in welcoming all of our new shareholders. We now look forward to implementing our strategy and leveraging our position as a leader in the UK student accommodation development market as well as expanding our business further into the private rented sector.”

Watkin Jones’ listing is the largest Alternative Investment Market IPO, or initial public offering, fundraising this year and the largest AIM IPO of the last two years.

Since 1999, Watkin Jones has delivered over 28,000 student beds across 88 sites. The company has been responsible for over 50 residential developments. The company turned over

Zeus Capital acted as nominated adviser, joint bookrunner and joint broker to the company with Peel Hunt as joint bookrunner and joint broker. The company’s ticker is WJG.

Shares edged up to 104p in the first minutes of trading, which began at 8am.

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Good luck to them. Fair to say their projects are not known for beautiful design but great to see a local family business make the big time and hopefully some of that cashed-in wonga will be spent locally

By Meandmemum