• Jim Durkin, CEO, Cenkos

    “For the last ten years, Cenkos has been committed to bringing together capital and enterprise and to playing an ongoing role as a leading stockbroker in fostering shareholder returns”

Sponsor foreword

We are delighted to be sponsoring the second edition of the London Stock Exchange Group’s report, showcasing companies which inspire Britain. Since the publication of the first edition in 2013, the UK economy has continued its recovery path, which has translated into broad-based growth for businesses. Alongside stronger economic fundamentals, improved market sentiment has played a critical role in supporting business growth. Access to capital, together with entrepreneurial talent, is the most important enabler of growth.

Equity finance has always been an ideal way to fund growth companies. It is permanent capital that takes a long view. The initiatives implemented in the last 24 months such as the inclusion of AIM stocks in ISAs, the abolition of stamp duty on AIM stocks and the continued impetus of VCTs, EISs and SEIS has helped to leverage the market’s impact and reach. Initial public offerings in London hit a seven-year high in 2014, with 58 companies joining the Main Market to raise £14.1bn while 80 companies raised £2.8bn from listing on AIM. The level of secondary fundraisings for quoted companies has been equally strong.

Despite the anticipated political and economic uncertainties in 2015, we see continued support for promising businesses with ambitious managements. For the last ten years, Cenkos has been committed to bringing together capital and enterprise and to playing an ongoing role as a leading stockbroker in fostering shareholder returns. This commitment sits at the core of the virtuous cycle of investment and reinvestment in the leading businesses of the future. We are excited and encouraged by the diversity, track record and potential of the companies identified in this report. The range of sectors and geographies and evidence of innovation create optimism for the future, but we must remain acutely aware of the resources required for these businesses to succeed on an international scale in what is a fast-moving, dynamic and competitive global marketplace. As market participants, we feel a responsibility to play our part. We enjoy bringing companies and investors together and offering them advice for the next stage of their growth journey.

AIM has been a vital source of capital for such companies and Cenkos has contributed significantly to that. Since we opened for business in 2005, we have raised over £11bn for a large number of companies. Fund raisings have varied in size from £1m to c.£1.5bn and our doors are always open to any companies that wish to discuss their capital needs.

Jim Durkin, CEO, Cenkos


Accelerating growth

Cenkos securities is helping some of the UK’s most promising businesses realise their potential.

Cenkos Securities is an independent, specialist securities firm. Like many of the companies profiled in this report, we are an entrepreneurial, growing business.

We share a passion for growth. In our short history, we have raised more than £11.5bn for our clients through the public markets in order to fund and accelerate their growth.  We are extremely proud of their success. 

Through AIM and the Main Market of London Stock Exchange, the UK equity capital markets provide an excellent source of long-term funding for UK businesses with ambitious plans. In addition, the UK markets benefit from an exceptionally strong base of institutional investors with a long-term investment horizon who understand and support growth companies. Their commitment to growth companies spans many decades and is essential in scaling up promising businesses to become industry leaders. 

“The uk markets benefit from an exceptionally strong base of institutional investors with a long-term investment horizon”

The improved market environment we have experienced over the past 18 months has created an opportunity for companies to access the capital markets for the first time through an IPO. Cenkos has been very active in advising and raising funds for some of the most exciting businesses joining the market. Many of the companies in this report will benefit from accessing the equity markets in the future and we look forward to helping them achieve their goals.

We are proud to highlight Benchmark Holdings, one of our clients who joined the market to access funding and accelerate its growth. Its IPO has been transformative.

  • £11.5bn – Cenkos has raised more than £11.5bn for its clients through the public markets


Making its mark


Benchmark was founded in 2000 when Malcolm Pye, Roland Bonney and Ruth Layton set their sights on building a profitable business based on the growing need to create greater sustainability in the food chain. Changing consumer preferences, stricter regulation and outdated methods of operation were putting pressure on food businesses and supply chains.

Malcolm, Roland and Ruth’s unique combination of practical, scientific and corporate insight, and decades of experience, meant they were perfectly placed to develop solutions to meet these challenges.

With four divisions and bases in 11 countries around the world, Benchmark is engaged with the world’s major industries at every stage of food production to help repair and build a global food chain that is more efficient, economical, ethical and environmentally friendly, and that can serve the future of humanity.

All the markets in which the group operates are growing rapidly, driven by a global need to find more sustainable food sources. Aquaculture is a particular focus for the group, as it now provides more animal protein to the global market than beef.

The directors believe that Benchmark’s success can, to a considerable extent, be attributed to the early decision to become part of the development of the rapidly emerging global aquaculture, sustainability and technical knowledge transfer sectors. They believe that this, coupled with a high level of reinvestment and management’s ability to move quickly to access opportunities in these areas, has allowed Benchmark to become a leader in these markets.

Benchmark listed on AIM in December 2013, to access capital to fund its ambitious expansion plans, enhance its profile with customers, partners and suppliers and attract high-calibre talent. It initially raised £28m at admission from some of the UK’s leading institutional investors. Since then, the company has made four international acquisitions including aquaculture vaccine and development assets from Zoetis Inc. and the purchase of the world’s renowned salmon breeding companies, Salmobreed and Stofnfiskur. This double acquisition was funded via an additional £70m in December 2014, and has enabled the company to create a new business division in animal breeding and genetics.

“Our admission has benefited us in ways we had not predicted and has increased our credibility among our clients and partners,” says Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye.