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ASOS seems happy to be AIM's standard bearer

ASOS is almost the size of a FTSE 100 company, so why is still listed on AIM?

picture of ASOS logo
Biggest company on AIM

Online clothes retailer ASOS plc (LON:ASC) produced another very solid trading update this week

The AIM-listed group reported sales up an impressive 26% in the four months to June, which looked even better set against the tough times reported by both its bricks and mortar and online peers.

It’s growth like that has led to a meaty market value of £4.7bn, a level that would put it on the threshold of the FTSE 100 if it had a main market quote.

Which brings us on to the two questions that are always asked when ASOS puts out a statement.

Can it maintain the growth rate? And why is it still listed on AIM?

Analysts see little problem on the first score. Indeed, such has been the success of ASOS’s expansion into the US and Europe that some believe it may struggle to keep up with the demand.

Tax breaks still apply

On the second, perhaps the question shoud be why would it want to shift.  

Given it size now it’s easy to forget ASOS was once a start-up itself and that the tax breaks that come with being an AIM-listed company still apply.

Nick Robertson, for example, is one of ASOS’s founders and while no longer chief executive is a non-executive director with a 6.6% stake.

AIM -listed companies are considered unquoted and so entrepreneur’s relief is available, which reduces any capital gain tax bill to 10% instead of 28%.

READ: ASOS expects to reach top end of sales growth guidance this year after solid trading update

Of course, Robertson may never sell his stake but, if he did, that tax break alone would save him around £54mln at the current price.

The fact that London junior market is quietly enjoying a pretty good year may be another factor.

Money raised through secondary issues is up, some 23 companies have joined and the average performance of those that joined the market in 2016 in a 58% gain.

The average market cap on the junior market is also at a record high, though this may reflect the  dominance of ASOS  and its clone Boohoo.

On those numbers, AIM looks in rude health so who can blame ASOS for staying put and taking a lot of the credit.

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