John Adair (above), chief executive, says: “This is good news for all shareholders and it will now mean we can go forward and grow the business.”
Adair says the AIM's simplified administration and reporting requirements mean the comp-any will be able to save money. For example, acquisitions bring about a Class One circular on the Stock Exchange – effectively a professional fee – that can cost some retailers more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Analysts say moving to the AIM makes it easier to raise funds and allows companies to have more direct control of their business. But they warn relaxed reporting regulations can make AIM shares more risky, although this is offset by enterprise investment tax breaks.
“This is not a risky move,” Adair insists. “It makes perfect sense for a retailer of our size. There is no down side.”
The company, in which Johan Holdings has a 69.47 per cent share, has been listed since 1948. In spite of the buoyant UK car market, tight new car margins led to disappointing 2003 results. William Jacks' profit before tax was £825,000, down from £5m in 2002, which included £4.2m worth of exceptional income from the sale of the group's Mercedes-Benz territories. Share prices moved up six per cent to 86.5p after the AIM announcement. During the last 12 months they peaked at 93.5p and hit a low of 59.5p.