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Herbal alternative

Kenshodo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, has found a great cure for economic blues: Chinese herbal medicine. And it has its sights set on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (Aim) for its first market listing.

The move comes as a surprise since the company's stock is not even listed in Japan. But Japan does not have a reputation for supporting its smaller companies.

Aim was chosen for a number of reasons. First, Kenshodo plans to expand its business in Europe and should start exporting its products to the UK and elsewhere in Europe by the end of the year. So it wanted to make its name more widely known in a key market. Second, the company is impressed by the speedy listing procedures of Aim.

As for the third reason, Kenshodo may be taking advantage of the fact that there are a number of delicate London bankers walking around for whom aspirin can no longer quite cut it. "We have a number of clients from the banking world who come to us with problems," says one local Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. "Mostly it's just the usual hypertension and high blood pressure from working too hard for too many hours in the day, but we do get the odd person complaining of gout."

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