The new Guernsey-registered Indian Film Company (IFC) has started trading on London 's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) today, after raising $109m by going public. Shares rose 20% on their trading debut.

IFC, a Bollywood film production and film asset management fund started by Mumbai-based giant Network 18 Group, plans to deploy 40% of those funds immediately by acquiring and producing a slate of 14 films, some of which had been housed at Network 18's Studio 18 division.

IFC's non-executive chairman Shyam Benegal noted those films were in various states of production, from those ready for release this summer to those in development.

IFC will aim to keep full ownership of all intellectual property rights for each film it invests in, although some shared ownership with co-producers may be necessary.

Shyam Benegal, lauded film director and IFC's non-executive chairman, told the unique fund marked 'a positive new step for the Indian film industry.'

He noted that it made good financial sense for UK investors to back Bollywood. 'Indian cinema markets are growing at 18-20% and this upswing is going to remain for a long time to come,' Benegal said. 'The number of films being made annually is increasing, and within India the number of screens. And new media platforms will also help the market.'

He continued: 'This is a new idea for India. It offers all manners of opportunities for creative filmmakres. It doesn't get restricted to purely mainstream work it can be be spread into segmented, niche areas of the market.'

The IFC -backed projects will shoot around the world, and Benegal said that the the film he was planning, based on the book Spy Princess about spy Noor Inayat Khan, would shoot primarily in the UK and Europe.

IFC joins other Indian companies on AIM, including Eros International which had its $42m offering in 2006. UTV Motion Pictures plans to raise $80m on the market and cinema chain Pyramid Saimira Theatres is also considering an AIM listing.