Essex, UK-based Akhter Group Plc has decided to reschedule its flotation, initially planned for July, blaming the general lackluster performance of smaller companies in recent new issues. Founded in 1979, Akhter offers software, hardware consultancy, maintenance and training, as well as a successful line of removable hard drives known as caddies, which it sells mainly to the public sector. The company was expected to have market value of $100m and last year saw revenue of $59.9m, with pre-tax profits of $10m. Frank Moxom, associate director of corporate banking at Societe General Strauss Turnbull Corporate Broking Ltd, the organization handling the flotation, cited a story in the Financial Times referring to the unaccountable nervousness of the market in small issues to back up Akhter’s decision. That’s certainly borne out by the people we’ve talked to, says Moxom. He adds: small to mid-sized companies have been under-performing in recent floats – there’s also a liquidity issue – institutions are finding it difficult to allocate funds. Strauss Turnbull commented: we have concluded that the interests of the company’s employees and existing shareholders would be best served by waiting for an improvement in the sentiment and general condition of the small to mid capitalization market place. So what are the prospects for the removable hard drive manufacturer? Says Moxom: I can’t give a precise answer but we’d be looking to [reschedule the float] for the first opportunity – which would obviously be some time in the autumn. However he stressed: we haven’t changed our view of the company, we still believe it’s strong…our message is very much ‘watch this space’.