MARTIN & Co’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange will usher in a period of major growth.

The national lettings and property sales franchise based in Bournemouth, floated on the Alternative Investment Market at the end of last year.

Chief executive officer Ian Wilson told franchisees at the company’s annual meeting on February 1 at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire: “City financiers loved the Martin & Co business.

“They decided we are a properly run, rock solid business of probity and they have written out some big cheques.

“This business has had the slide rule run over it by 60 of the most scrutinising people in the City and they have decided to invest in us.

“We are determined to use this investment to take the company to the next level.”

Wilson said the stock market listing had given Martin & Co access to capital markets and the opportunity for major invest-ment.

“We have £4m in new money in the bank to invest and we are going to spend it on you,” he told franchisees.

The company has nearly 200 franchise territories and has identified another possible 200 for development.

Buying up competitors will also be a key objective.

Wilson said every single year has been a record for Martin & Co.

“In fact, every month of every year since 2005 has been better than the same month the year before.”

The company has added 10,000 managed properties to its portfolio every three years and aims to add 10,000 every two years from now on.

Wilson added: “We are still primarily a lettings business. It will always be the ballast at the bottom of the ship, keeping us steady and on course.

“But we have big ambitions, especially in sales.”

Founder of the company and chairman, Richard Martin, said he believed the company could come to dominate the estate agency market in the UK.

“The next five years are uncharted waters. We are on a new voyage as a public limited company.

“This is the dawn of a new era for Martin & Co.”

Martin established the company with one office in the West Country in the mid-80s.