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Inspace float to lead to spending spree

ANALYSTS are expecting this month's flotation of Inspace on the Alternative Investment Market to trigger a series of purchases by the social housing specialist.

The float is expected to value the company at £80 million and will see the firm, which demerged from parent Willmott Dixon in January, join fellow social housing specialists Connaught and Mears on the junior market.

Willmott Dixon and the Willmott and Dixon families own a substantial chunk of the firm, which was set up two years ago following a reorganisation of Willmott Dixon's support services activities.

One analyst said it made sense to take advantage of social housing's good ratings in the City.He said: 'The float will allow for several options.Willmott Dixon and the families can cash in their shares.

'Inspace could be a bid target itself or it will start making strategic acquisitions because it can pay for bids with shares rather than cash.'

An Inspace spokesman said the float, masterminded by executive chairman Colin Enticknap, a former boss of Willmott Dixon, meant acquisitions were on the cards. He said: 'It gives the company access to capital and allows Willmott Dixon to focus on building.'

Last year, Inspace's pre-tax profit was £6.3 million on turnover of £107 million.