Plus gets £5.5m Middle East investment

Plus gets £5.5m Middle East investment

Plus Markets says a group of investors from the Middle East has agreed to invest up to £5.5 million for a 19% stake in the UK small and mid-cap exchange.

A syndicate of investors has set up a special purpose vehicle, Amara Dhari Investments Limited, to subscribe for up to 73,333,333 new ordinary shares at 7.5 pence each.

The deal is conditional on Plus receiving a minimum subscription of £5 million and on the passing of the shareholder resolutions at a meeting on 25 September.

Amara Dhari's shareholders are involved in a variety of sectors in the region, including real estate, construction, insurance, banking and brokerage. Plus says it will look to exploit these associations to increase revenue and create a presence in the Middle East.

In a bid to get Amara Dharito to introduce business, Plus has agreed to issue Amara Dhari with a warrant to subscribe for up to a further 58,000,000 new ordinary shares at 5 pence each. If this is fully exercised, Amara Dhari will be investing a total of up to £8.4 million before expenses.

If the subscription goes through, Hisham S Al Otaibi and Ahmed Al Asfour will join the Plus board with Giles Vardey and Ian Salter stepping down.

Simon Brickles, CEO, Plus, says: "We are very pleased with this capital raising initiative - it substantially strengthens our balance sheet during these sensitive times in the market and will support our continuing efforts to build market share and take our place in the exchange environment. It will also further enhance our international activities by creating a bridge to the important and vibrant Middle Eastern market."

Separately, Plus says that it is now trading in all Aim securities following its out-of-court settlement with the London Stock Exchange earlier this year. The exchange says "early indications" suggest it has achieved "significant" market share, especially in non-order book stocks.

However, the group warned that its soon-to-be published interim results for the period until 30 June 2009 will include costs related to the LSE litigation.

Plus also says "the primary markets are currently extremely challenging with a dearth of companies coming to the market".

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