UK – The 76.8 million euro flotation of Epic Brand Investments on the Alternative Investment Market shows there’s still life in the UK private equity market.

Consumer brands company Epic says it is placing 50 million pounds (76.8 million euro) at one pound (1.54 euro) a share “to acquire consumer brands in home and personal care”. It shares began trading today and at 12.30 London time were trading at 102 pence.

Epic will invest in so-called “orphan” brands in conjunction with the Lornamead personal care group.

The 50 million pound placing is the second largest on AIM this year, after the 172 million pound (264.3 million euro) placing by insurer PRI in June. To the end of November, 875 million pounds (1.34 billion euros) had been raised on AIM, down from 1.23 billion pounds (1.89 billion euros) for the whole of 2001. Both figures are well down on AIM’s record year, 2000, which saw 3.1 billion pounds (4.76 billion euros) raised.

EBI’s board includes Mike Jatania, chief executive of Lornamead, Vincent Campbell, a director of Barings (Isle of Man) Ltd., Verwet founder Jan Verstijnen, Francois de Visscher, a former executive at Smith Barney and Jo Welman, who is chief executive of Epic Investment and a former fund manager at Barings Asset Management.

Welman said: “I have spent the past few years exploring the possibility of bringing institutional funds alongside the Lornamead Group and I am delighted that EBI achieves that objective.

“We believe that our experience in investment management and corporate finance, coupled with the proven track record and industry credentials of the Lornamead Group, will enable us to create a strong investment opportunity in this untapped market.”

“We will provide investors with income through dividend payments and capital growth through share buy-backs when assets are disposed.”