Italian public relations firm SEC is hoping to float on AIM and expand into the UK market. The media business says it wants to raise between €4 and €6 million.
The announcement follows anecdotal evidence that Italian companies are shunning Italy’s own version of AIM, called AIM Italia, in favour of the UK market. We wouldn’t be surprised to see other Italian businesses follow SEC if its IPO is successful.
SEC wants more capital to fund future opportunities; this includes acquisitions and recruiting qualified staff, and increase its reputation within the communications sector.
It is in advanced talks to buy a London-based agency that specialises in corporate and public affairs and has turnover in excess of £3 million.
SEC provides public relations, advocacy and integrated services and support to more than 500 clients. In 2015, it reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €3.4 million on revenues of over €21 million and compound annual growth rate of 44% over the last two years. It hopes to pay dividends.
Founder Fiorenzo Tagliabue comments: ‘The listing will give us precious resources to provide additional drive and enthusiasm, with a particular and strategic attention to the opportunities offered by the digital field.’
SEC benefits from increased regulation and aims to reach the top of the PR industry, which is dominated by US and UK-based network operators.
The firm is also targeting Latin America and Asia, representing more than 10% of the top 250 PR companies worldwide, illustrating further potential opportunities.
Founded in 1989, the company has grown organically and through acquisitions, with operations in Italy, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
Former Sportingbet chief executive Nigel Payne will be non-executive director, so too David Mathewson who was finance director of Playtech (PTEC) for three years. The chairman of the plc business will be Luigi Roth, former director of tyre giant Pirelli.