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Event Review April 21st saw the Blackthorn Focus event AIM Investor Focus run for the sixth time. Four AIM-quoted companies participated. An AIM Prospector staff writer met with executive directors of each company. Here is the lowdown on all four.

Christie Group

Christie Group is the leading UK provider of intermediation services (‘Professional Business Services’ or ‘PBS’) for the purchase and sale of property-based small and medium-sized businesses. The company also markets stock and inventory systems (SISS) to retail businesses throughout the UK and continental Europe. The PBS segment is reviving strongly alongside the UK economy, with commission/fees from trade sale transactions increasing with property values. PBS fee income is now back to 2007 levels. SISS growth is driven by trends in the continental European economy. Operating profit has been growing sharply since 2011, such that 2014 operating profits were more than double the previous year. The PBS business retains significant spare IT capacity. High operational gearing within this part of the group points to further sharp increases in profitability should business trends continue. The outlook statement with 2014 finals confirmed management expectation for growth in 2015. Once the inevitable distraction of the General Election is over, investors might begin asking if EPS can recover to 2007 levels i.e. around 19p per share. At that time, shares in Christie Group traded comfortably above 250p.

Christie Group (LON:CTG) Market cap

EMIS Group

EMIS Group provides unique access to UK patient data with a dominant market share (greater than 50%) in connected primary (GP) healthcare IT in England. Accreditation requirements for the handling of personal medical information create a high barrier to entry in this industry. With only two competitors in this space, EMIS has a strong platform for continued expansion into the rest of the UK. Organic operating margins improved significantly in 2014 but are probably now close to the maximum achievable. Overall margins have declined slightly with recent acquisitions in the segments of Child, Community & Mental Health (CCMH), community pharmacy, and secondary/specialist where competition is stronger and more numerous. EMIS pointed to further growth in 2015 with lumpy contract income imminent from the secondary/specialist Ascribe acquisition this year and next. In the medium to long term, EMIS is sure to benefit from the outgoing government’s commitment to integrated care in the NHS. This is part of a Five Year Forward Plan set out in October 2014. EMIS is also a likely beneficiary of the initiative to integrate health and social care systems in Manchester that was announced in February 2015. Potentially, EMIS could be an appealing partner for a multinational medical services group attracted by the UK’s centrally funded and increasingly integrated NHS system.

EMIS Group (LON:EMIS) £33.2m

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May 2015 AIM Prospector  
May 2015 AIM Prospector  

Featuring nine AIM-quoted companies: Christie Group, EMIS, Fairpoint, H&T, Keywords Studios, Miton Group, NAHL, SCISYS and Universe Group.