Brexit jitters and the collapse of the oil sector have been cited for a dearth of IPOs on AIM, while businesses appear to have been exiting the junior market at an alarming rate.
Figures compiled from UHY Hacker Young revealed the number of new listings on the alternative bourse fell 29% to 41 in the year to September 30.
The latest to cancel its debut as a public company was Pure Gym. And, while this was to be a main market listing, analysts said it was symptomatic of the malaise that was also affecting AIM.
Worrying also for the London Stock Exchange, which manages Britain’s growth market, was the number of firms exiting.
A total of 107 have de-listed, compared with 89 in the comparable period last year.
Laurence Sacker, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Depressed oil prices and this summer’s Brexit woes have taken their toll on AIM this year.
“Dozens of companies have quit the market as a result of their financial difficulties.
“This is particularly obvious in the oil and gas sector. This industry has always been a rich source of companies for AIM, but the continued slump in oil prices has put many energy companies in a delicate financial position.”
“AIM faces a double whammy – just when it needs new blood in the form of IPOs, the number of companies choosing to float on the junior market is dropping.”
Sacker said there is anecdotal evidence of a recovery with investment banks and nominated advisers predicting an “uptick” in activity in the coming year.
“It’s entirely possible that this rising tide will lift AIM,” he added.
“There has been an increase in interest from overseas, with investors attracted to the weaker pound, and the domestic economy has started to recover from its post-Brexit jitters.”