IPO pushed back for Australian Family Lawyers

IPO pushed back for Australian Family Lawyers

Offers for a backdoor listing of Melbourne-headquartered Australian Family Lawyers (AFL) have been extended by almost a month while the company undertakes discussions with the ASX.

A reverse takeover of Navigator Resources (ASX: NAV) was approved by shareholders in April with expectations the IPO would raise $6.5 million by the time offers were due to close on 1 May.

However, today NAV announced it had raised $5 million with "strong subscriptions" from a range of existing and new institutional and retail investors.

This means the company has surpassed its minimum subscription rate, but Navigator has indicated it will postpone the closure date for offers until May 29 with the hope shares will start trading again on 7 June.

Proposed new chairman Grant Dearlove (pictured) says the strong investor support for AFL through the IPO process is testament to the significant opportunity available for it to become the country's largest national family law firm.

"Currently our market is worth $1.1 billion in revenue per annum and in contrast to personal injury law, there is no dominant or national player despite the fact the markets are of a similar size. This represents a significant opportunity for AFL," says Dearlove.

Prior to April's extraordinary general meeting to decide on the scheme, the IPO's lead manager Bell Potter advised it had already received firm commitments in excess of the $4 million minimum.

The law firm is set to join the likes of Slater & Gordon (ASX: SGH), Shine (ASX: SHJ), Xenith IP Group (ASX: XIP), QANTM Intellectual Property (ASX: QIP) and IPH (ASX: IPH) in the listed legal space.

However, with the current subscription rate its market capitalisation would be much lower than these companies at just above $11 million.

Founded in 2016 by Edward Finn, AFL provides advice to clients with regard to divorce, separation, property and children's matters. According to its prospectus the company notched revenues of $4.8 million in FY18, which was up by 86.9 per cent on FY17.

During FY19 EBITDA has reportedly grown by more than 27 per cent.

According to an ASX spokesperson, there were 21 backdoor listings in 2018 compared to 31 in 2017. This year there has only been one so far, not including AF Legal.

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