Share indices in the week to 25 January 2002
Trying to arouse interest from the City is hard enough for the industry’s superstuds, so imagine what it is like for those with even less in the way of financial Viagra.

To put it another way, if Berkeley, Amec, Persimmon and Taylor Woodrow, which are all worth about £1bn, struggle to make headway, what are the prospects for our little friends who tip the scales at a mere £20m?

This group, which includes Montpellier, Artisan, James R Knowles, Send and Propan Homes, has found a home on the alternative investment market, the stock exchange of choice for smaller companies.

With its lower costs and more relaxed regulations, AIM is a friendlier place than the stock market for small yet ambitious firms. Montpellier moved from the main list to AIM for these reasons last year. The only problem is that it is nowhere near as liquid as the big market, and many a share has wallowed. Some times the firms must wonder why they bother.

But there are some AIM-listed firms that have done well out of it. Connaught, the Exeter-based contractor and facilities manager that specialises in long-term contracts with councils is one that springs to mind. Its share price stands at a healthy 310p and the firm is worth £31m.