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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Firm Aims to Be First Russian Consultant to List in London

IMS Group said on Friday that it planned to sell shares in London this week, which would make it the first Russian marketing and consultancy firm to conduct an initial public offering.

The holding, which is majority-owned by board chairman Greg Thain, said it would list on London's Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, by Tuesday. "We were ready to list in August, but our advisors asked us to wait until now," company spokeswoman Aelita Purnashkina said.

The London Stock Exchange operates the AIM market.

With the move, IMS becomes the latest Russian company to seek a listing on a foreign exchange, with Russian and CIS companies raising more than $5 billion in offerings so far this year.

IMS did not say how much of the company would be sold, but Thain has previously said 30 percent of the company would be floated.

IMS hopes the offering will raise ?15 million ($26 million), which will go towards expansion into India and Eastern Europe, The Sunday Times reported in September.

Its sales in the first half were $18.3 million, according to The Sunday Times.

Natalya Stepanyuk, head of market research firm IQ Marketing, noted that much of IMS's success came from its "expensive foreign executives" and conservative business practice.

Both factors could play to the holding's disadvantage, said Svetlana Sukhanova, a senior analyst at Alfa Bank.

"The marketing business is based on personal contacts, and the company's strategy to keep its key account managers is not yet clear. [ISM Group] has been very closed," Sukhanova said.

Founded in 1996, IMS has 3,000 employees across Russia, Ukraine and Kazahkstan. The holding consists of 12 business units, including IMS Retail, IMS Financial and Integrated Trade Marketing.

Canadian investment broker Canaccord Capital is handling the listing.