Entrepreneur Jim Penman, owner of the Jim’s Group franchise, says he is planning to list the company by the end of the year to raise more capital and expand the business, with the eventual goal of turning the group into a billion-dollar entity.
Penman wants to raise an extra $10 million by the end of the year in order to focus on new business ventures and expand the current number of franchisees.
“I think we’re a good prospect for listing,” he told SmartCompany. “We’ve got a strong name, a strong history, we’re 22-years-old and we’re the largest of our kind in the country.”
“We’ve got potential and there are a lot of things we’ve been held back from doing because we just haven’t got the capital.”
Penman recorded revenue of around $450 million during the 2011 financial year. The group has 3,000 franchises across 28 categories including plumbing, mowing, pet care, accountancy and insurance.
The announcement comes at a questionable time given the volatility of global markets, but Penman says now is the right time.
“One of the biggest issues we’ve been facing is finance. It’s becoming increasingly difficult, and we can’t persuade the banks to lend. If we can get some extra finance, we can move into ventures that we think will be extremely profitable.”
Penman also says he would be reluctant to find a private investor, saying he doesn’t know if he could find the right kind of personality to invest.
“I don’t know if anyone is interested in a minority shareholding. It doesn’t hurt to be a public company; there are certain amounts of discipline that comes with that.”
A listing would bring new challenges for the company, but Penman feels up to the challenge. In fact, he says the Jim’s Group could be a billion-dollar company eventually, noting continual growth in franchisees.
Last year, franchisees grew 4%, although Penman says it’s getting harder to find more.
“We have this great reputation, and our awareness is up there with McDonald’s. I see Jim’s as being a billion dollar company with the right kind of capital and the right kind of people on board. There is so much we could do.”
The plan comes after an interesting few years for Penman. In 2009, a legal tussle began over claims Penman had attempted to dismiss his British business head.
Last year, the company also ran into trouble after the owner of Jim’s Plumbing in South Australia was hit with a wind-up notice application by the Australian Taxation Office.