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AIM set to strike new admissions record

         Following a roaring performance in terms of new admissions and

         money raised on the AIM market in 2004 the first quarter of 2005

         is set to witness a new record in the number of companies admitted

         to AIM (130) but also the market's lowest fundraising performance

         since the forth quarter of 2003. In the first three months of this

         year a total of almost £519m has been raised. The figure

         represents a drop in new funds raised of 43% on the previous three



         "Whilst  total admission numbers may be about to set a new record,

         fundraising  levels  have been below expectations and funds raised

         underpinned by a small number of substantial equity issues each in

         excess  of  £20 million", says Philip Secrett, partner within Grant

         Thornton's  Corporate  Finance  team.  "Following  the  Exchange's

         clampdown  on  the  number of cash shells coming to market through

         the  introduction of new AIM Rules to come into effect on 1 April,

         a large number of cash shells have been squeezed under the wire to

         beat  the deadline, meaning that over half (53%) of this quarters'

         intake  of  new  companies  have  been  shells. 

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