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01 Feb 2021 | 15:48

Auction Technology plots London IPO

(Sharecast News) - Auction Technology Group said it expected to float on the London Stock Exchange to speed up its growth as auctioneers move online. The London-based company operates a network of more than 2,000 auction houses around the world that creates a bigger pool of buyers and a higher profile for their auctions. Bidders are attracted by the range of items available and a growing interest in second-hand items, Auction Technology said.

The group concentrates on three sectors: industrial and commercial equipment, arts and antiques, and surplus and returned retail stock. Auction Technology was founded in 1971 as the Antiques Trade Gazette and still publishes the magazine as part of its marketing.

Auction Technology is owned by private equity firm TA Associates, which bought the business and a similar US company, Proxibid, a year ago to combine the two operations. TA bought both businesses from private equity sellers.

In 2020 the combined group reported £22.3m of pro forma adjusted earnings with an adjusted margin of 42.6% on revenue of £52.3m. Auction Technology's standalone business increased revenue by 12.4% and Proxibid's income rose 40.4%.

John-Paul Savant, the company's chief executive, said: "We believe there is huge scope to further enhance the offering we bring to our customers. Our industry is large and global, but still in the early stages of its shift from offline to online, and a rising consciousness about the importance of buying sustainably is driving the appeal of second-hand goods and the circular economy."

The company said if it goes ahead with the flotation it would list on the main London market and would target a free float of at least 25% of the company. As well as raising money to fund growth the IPO would "provide a potential liquidity opportunity for existing shareholders", it said.

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