Jasmin Electronics Plc of Leicester, the electronics group which made Business Expansion Scheme history last October by launching the largest unsponsored issue under the scheme so far (CI No 544), reports that its decision to do without the backing of a City institution was bang on. Founding director Ray Shaw reports that subscriptions are still coming in and, to date, more than UKP900,000 of a targetted UKP1.58m has been received. The closing date for the issue is April 27 and Shaw is confident of a resurgence in interest this month prior to the end of the current tax year, when he believes the UKP1.58m target will be reached without much difficulty. The company advertised its issue widely in the press again over the weekend to keep the pot bubbling. Jasmin has tended to attract smaller investors, reports Shaw, with an average investment of UKP2,500 – the minimum per investor is only UKP550 and investors get relief on their full investment at their marginal rate of tax, which means that even for a standard rate taxpayer, that UKP550 will cost only UKP390.50 if the shares are held for five years, and thereafter the first sale of the shares is free of capital gains tax. Although Shaw is happy enough to have the small investors on board, he believes that with a bit more press coverage at the time of the launch, institutional interest would have been stronger. Nevertheless, Shaw is emphatic that a carefully planned Business Expansion Scheme issue should not need expensive City sponsorship, which even in the case of the best sponsors usually takes at least 6% of the money raised, and with the less reputable sponsoring houses can take 15% or more if the issue only reaches its minimum subscription level. Sponsorship costs were quoted of up to UKP200,000 before Jasmin’s issue, says Shaw, which in his opinion would have been a complete waste of money. Other companies may well now follow Jasmin’s example.
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