Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:06:58 +0000 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Mortgage start-up BlueZest targets yield seekers with first retail bond issue ]]> Retail investors are being offered an opportunity usually reserved for giant pension funds with a secured bond offered by start-up mortgage lender BlueZest.

The bond will have a yield of 5.25% at launch, run for five years and be listed on the London Stock Exchange’s retail bond market.

Robert Ainscow, BlueZest’s director of funding, says the bond is aimed at retail investors who want a part of their portfolio in a ‘safe, bedrock investment’.

“It’s not designed to be racy or sexy.”

WATCH:BlueZest launches programme of secured retail bonds

It what would be a first for a company of this type says Ainscow, a trustee arrangement will see investors’ money secured on the properties that are mortgaged.

There is also an insurance agreement with 'A' rated insurer Amtrust, which will indemnify Bluezest for a decline of up to 40% in the value of a mortgaged property.

But it is the speed of the mortgage application process that is the unique feature, says Ainscow.

As long as all of the data on an applicant is available, an offer can be made in as little 30 minutes.

Advances in risk assessment and the multiple data sources now available are the reason, he adds.

Chief technology officer, John Robinson, designed a pioneering risk assessment platform when he worked for credit giant Experian and it is this know-how and experience that is at the heart of BlueZest's application process.

Its platform, the Zest engine, almost instantly assesses over 3,000 data points from up to 30 data sources, including multiple credit bureaus, property valuation models and the Land Registry for a credit decision.

BlueZest will focus initially on the professional and business mortgage market, though residential loans may eventually follow as the operation grows.

Buy-to-let, property developers and small to medium sized firms wanting a mortgage are the target with the emphasis again on reduced risk.

Developers, for example, have to put up a completed building as security, while SME directors must also use their own property as collateral.

The five year length of the mortgages are also in line with the length of the retail bond.

Making sure the loan book and finance sources remain matched is another key part of the strategy, says Ainscow.

The 2008 credit crunch had a mis-match of assets and liabilities as its heart, he says, and BlueZest’s structure has been designed to ensure that won't happen.

Money raised from the bond will go into a cash transaction account and be allocated thereafter.

Further and frequent bond issues will follow as the mortgage book and momentum builds. Another issue is pencilled in for late January.

BlueZest has not revealed how much it wants to raise from this initial bond launch, but the long term ambition is to have a £1.5bn mortgages book.

Bonds will be sold in £100 tranches with a minimum investment of £1,000.

Interest will be paid quarterly and because the bond is being listed on the London Stock Exchange, it will be allowable for inclusion in an ISA or SIPP.

The issue closes on 12 December.

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - BlueZest launches programme of secured retail bonds ]]> Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:28:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Is money starting to flow back into the oil gas market? ]]> Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:50:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Fort Bay Capital expecting investors to remain cautious heading into 2018 ]]> Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:15:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Sabre Insurance looks sharp as shares rally 10% on LSE debut ]]> British car insurance underwriter Sabre Insurance Group PLC (LON:SBRE) saw its shares jump 10% on its market debut on Wednesday.

Shares were priced at 230p apiece in its initial public offering but leapt to 255p early on Wednesday morning, valuing the company at £630mln.

Focus on UK private motor sector

Sabre - which was founded in the early ‘80s - generated gross written premiums of £197mln last year and said it intends to maintain its focus on the UK private motor insurance market.

The sector came under pressure earlier in the year when a change in the way personal injury claims were calculated pushed up the size of those claims and dented the insurer’s profits.

But the UK government backtracked on those plans somewhat in September, changing the rate for calculating payments in a move that was seen as favourable for insurers.

According to Reuters, Sabre’s private equity owners BC Partners looked to the London Stock Exchange following an unsuccessful joint approach from US investment group Centerbridge and Qatar Reinsurance Company.

“We are delighted with the response we have received from investors,” said chief executive Geoff Carter.

“This reflects the strong and profitable track record the business has built over previous years, as well as the bright future that lies ahead of us.”

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:37:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Technology Enhanced Oil boss on the cheap, green tech that can quadruple production ]]> Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:35:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - 'Improving and Advancing' sales for Collagen Solutions ]]> Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:14:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Blue Bear Capital providing the unusual link between energy firms and blockchain ]]> Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:05:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Twister poised to blow industry away with gas separation tech ]]> Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:35:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Warburg Pincus MD on the lookout for oil opportunities in Africa ]]> Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:55:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - UK and EU regulators to ‘crackdown’ on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency platforms ]]> After a month of extreme volatility, the regulators are reportedly circling Bitcoin cryptocurrency, with both the UK and European Union believed to be planning a ‘crackdown’.

Specifically, the governments are worried about the potential for the digital currency to be used in money laundering and tax evasion.

READ: Bitcoin blows past the US$11,000 level; Elon Musk denies being its mysterious inventor

The UK Treasury, according to the reports, intends to bring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies under regulation, in line with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the plan is to put regulation on the online trading platforms that host cryptocurrency transactions ensuring that the sites conduct customer due diligence and report suspicious transactions.

Julian Dixon, chief executive of anti-money laundering firm Fortytwo Data, highlighted that the British authorities are lagging those in the United States.

“The US is way ahead in terms of regulating cryptocurrencies,” Dixon said.

“The US Treasury classified bitcoin as a convertible decentralised virtual currency in 2013. Two years later, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission classified bitcoin as a commodity in September 2015.”

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 11:59:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Pebble Beach Group abandons sale plans and issues warning ]]> Pebble Beach Systems Group PLC (LON:PEB) has abandoned plans for the sale of its business and has gone back to its banks to discuss a re-financing package.

The news was accompanied with warnings of both lower revenues and orders this year, plus a potential US$1.75mln shortfall stemming from its dispute over the sale of its hardware division VCS with buyer xG Technology.

None of the proposed offers received during its strategic review matched the board’s estimation of the company’s value, said the broadcast equipment supplier.

Founder Ian Cockett quits as Chief Technology Officer

Pebble Beach added it was confident it can reach an agreement with its bank over a refinance package. It will also appoint new executive directors from internal candidates.

Below board level, Ian Cockett, a founder of Pebble Beach Systems, acquired in 2014 and that forms the ongoing business, has resigned as the group’s chief technology officer.

Shares fell 14% to 1.4p.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 09:41:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Greensphere Capital pushing on with London IPO plans ]]> Sustainable infrastructure investor Greensphere Capital plans to float on the London Stock Exchange and raise up to US$500mln (£371mln) in the process.

It comes despite a number of IPOs (initial public offerings) being pulled in the City in recent months.

The firm aims to use the cash to invest mainly in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, UK and the Nordics, and in sectors that include water, energy transmission, waste, and agriculture.

It aims to mutualise all of its fee income to boost returns to shareholders.

Greensphere to debut on LSE on December 18

It is targeting a dividend of 3 US cents per share in its first financial year, 5 US cents in the second, then 6 US cents in its third financial year.

On its website, it says: "Greensphere targets a cash yield of 6 cents per share by the end of its third year of operations and a 10-12% total return per annum over the long-term."

The group is offering 500mln shares at 74p (US$1) each in the IPO, which it expects to close on December 15, with the first day of trading in London to be December 18.

As at the end of last week, M7 Multi-Let REIT, BGL Group, the, broadcasting masts firm Arqiva, debt collector Cabot Credit Management and business services firm TMF Group have all pulled their London float plans.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:54:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Tullow Oil's refinancing initiative impresses investors ]]> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:36:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Sterling rallies on Brexit clarity ]]> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:36:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Evernote recovers poise as data deluge hits overload ]]> Evernote users swear by it, so much so that every time the digital workplace developer raises its prices, it adds more subscribers.

They currently number 220mln and are growing by 60-80,000 a day depending on which reports you read.

Most are on the free service, but according to a recent interview with Chris O’Neill, who took over as chief executive in 2015 after 10 years at Google, conversions are running at record levels.

Number of premium users rises to new heights

That has sent the number of premium users to new heights in spite of a 40% rise in its cost in 24 months.

It’s a marked upturn in fortune for a company founded more than a decade ago but somewhat unkindly dubbed a ‘reverse unicorn’ as its value tumbled as the competition caught up and sped past.

Google, Dropbox, Slack and even Microsoft have all taken bites out of Evernote’s lunch, but the data revolution is prompting a new lease of life for the veteran online organiser.

WATCH: Evernote helping solve the western world’s ‘data overload challenge’

There is so much data now that a way of organising is a necessity, says Beat Buhlman, general manager in the EMEA region and another former Google employee.

Evernote is great at dealing with unstructured data, he told Proactive, and with the amount of data swirling around the planet set to double over the next year, it‘s a tool everyone needs.

It’s all about connecting people and documents and saving time and money, he said.

Evernote works across all devices and operating systems

One of Evernote’s advantages has always been because it is platform agnostic and works across all devices and operating systems including iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web.

Evernote recently has also been integrated with workplace communications product Slack, sales and marketing tool Salesforce, and Google’s G-Drive.

Buhlman says Evernote is the knowledge hub in the middle of these applications and another step-up will be unveiled next year, without giving details.

O’Neill has played down reports of a tie-up with Alexa, Amazon’s home assistant, or Google’s Assistant, though Evernote just partnered with Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, and said artificial intelligence will become an increasing part of the offering going forward.

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:24:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Fidelity portfolio manager Joe Wickwire 'really excited' by fertiliser and potash firms ]]> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 10:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - 2018 to mark the return of precious metals, says Charteris' chief investment officer ]]> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 08:30:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - A knee-jerk response from Proactive's virtual fund manager ? ]]> Sun, 26 Nov 2017 14:04:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - City Pub Group smashes through £100mln barrier on first day on AIM ]]> The value of City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) has breached the £100mln mark on the first day of its new life as an AIM-listed company.

Shares are up to 181p in afternoon trading – 6% higher than the 170p it dished shares out at when it raised £46.6mln ahead of its initial public offering (IPO).

City – which has a portfolio of 34 ‘premium’ pubs across London and the south east – was co-founded back in 2011 by serial pub entrepreneur Clive Watson.

Aside from making appearances on reality TV show Made in Chelsea alongside his daughters Lucy and Tiffany, Watson is well-known in the industry having sold off his Capital Pub Company to Green King PLC (LON:GNK) for £93mln six years ago.

Watson’s co-founders are pub veteran David Bruce – who he worked with at Capital – and former Fuller’s managing director John Roberts.

From the money raised through its listing, City will aim to double its estate over the next three or four years, focusing mainly on larger cathedral cities such as Birmingham, Canterbury and Cardiff.

Among the group’s London portfolio is The Three Crowns in Shoreditch, The Nell Gwynne in Covent Garden and The Phene in Chelsea, which is sometimes used as a location for filming Made in Chelsea scenes.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 14:37:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - owner BGL ditches IPO plans and sells stake instead ]]> owner BGL Group has ditched its plan to float in London and is instead selling a 30% stake to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for £675mln.

BGL said its parent company BHL will keep a majority shareholding in the business.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of April.

“During the course of our IPO preparations, our shareholder BHL received a number of approaches from different kinds of investors ... A competitive process followed and our view was that CPPIB was the best partner for BGL,” said Peter Winslow, the chairman of BGL.

It marks another in a series of scrapped initial public offerings on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) amid market uncertainty following the Brexit vote.

Earlier in November, telecoms masts firm Arqiva, Britain’s biggest debt collector Cabot Credit Management and business services firm TMF Group also pulled out of plans to list shares on the LSE.

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:18:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford expecting improvement in business climate in Zimbabwe ]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 12:57:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Philip Hammond 'does the impossible' with 2017 Budget, says City Index's Kathleen Brooks ]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:39:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Keystone Law Group PLC to become AIM's third listed legal firm ]]> ‘Platform–based’ law firm Keystone is set to make its debut on AIM after raising £15mln through an oversubscribed share issue.

Keystone describes itself a challenger firm as it operates an umbrella for lawyers that work from their own offices but use its brand.

Umbrella for self-employed lawyers

Lawyers are self-employed and receive between 60-75% of fees paid but are only after Keystone has been paid.

Overheads are largely fixed and Keystone believes there is scope for operating margins to rise as business grows. The model is cash generative and the dividend policy will reflect that.

Turnover has risen by 20% annually over the past three years to £25.6mln to last January with underlying profits of [EBITDA] of £2.1mln.

Shares have been priced at 160p, valuing Keystone at £50mln, with trading to start on November 27.

It will be the third law from firm to list in London following Gateley’s in 2015 and Gordon Dadds, which listed in August. 

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:14:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Deliveroo crowned fastest growing UK tech firm ]]> Online food delivery firm Deliveroo has been crowned the UK’s fastest growing tech company, recording an unprecedented growth rate of 107,117% over the past four years.

That’s the biggest upward trajectory of any top tech business featured on Deloitte’s annual Fast 50 list, now in its 20th year.

Soaring growth

“The achievements of this year’s winner are truly remarkable: Deliveroo is now the fastest-growing technology company in the history of the competition,” said lead partner for the Fast 50 programme David Cobb.

"Their relentless growth has justifiably added them to the exclusive list of UK ‘unicorns’. Everyone wants a slice of the online takeaway business, but very few have found success in the same way that Deliveroo has.”

Spotting market opportunities

Taking second spot was flower delivery startup Bloom & Wild which notched up growth of 13,818%, while MoveGB – which gives members access to hundreds of different gyms through one membership – rounded up the top three, growing at a rate of 6,053%.

“While much has changed over two decades, many of the characteristics that makes a Fast 50 winner remain,” said Cobb.

"Winners tend to be those that have spotted, and capitalised on, market opportunities for tech-enabled growth in new and existing sectors.”

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 08:03:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Cabot Credit Management scraps £1bn float amid market uncertainty ]]> Cabot Credit Management has scrapped its plans for a £1bn float, citing unfavourable conditions in the initial public offering (IPO) market.

Britain’s largest debt collector said it would reassess the possibility of a float when conditions improve.

“The high level of engagement and interest that we received from a wide array of investors was very encouraging, but the timing has been unfortunate with respect to IPO conditions,” said Ken Stannard, Cabot’s chief executive.

Several IPOs pulled

Cabot’s announcement marks one in a series of ditched IPOs in recent months.

TV transmitter firm Arqiva pulled out of its plans for a £6bn float at the beginning of November due to market uncertainty. It would have been the biggest IPO this year.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said “few tears should be shed by investors” over Cabot’s decision to abandon its IPO.

“First, the deal’s failure to fly means that fund managers are being selective when it comes to new deals and making active decisions to protect their clients’ cash,” he said. “Second, rampant float activity is normally a sign of an imminent market top.”

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:59:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Zimbabwe’s non-violent non-coup is completely in keeping with its politics ]]> What is the risk for life, limb and property now that a military coup appears to be underway in Zimbabwe?

The answer may be: surprisingly little.

Yes, there have been tanks on the streets in and around Harare. Yes, shots were fired overnight in the city, and yes, reports that a couple of guards have been killed may be true.

But by the standards of coups globally, this has been relatively smooth and well-orchestrated.

Just a few days after President Mugabe sacked key minister and erstwhile successor Emerson Mnangagwa, President Mugabe’s own hold on power appears to be slipping.

Mr Mnangagwa, briefly exiled, is reportedly back in the country. Now it’s President Mugabe’s wife Grace who is likely to be seeking exile. The President’s palace in the exclusive Borrowdale area of Harare has been sealed off by the military for two days, and it’s not known for sure if Grace Mugabe is inside.

But Mr Mugabe himself is there, and he’s alive and well, as was confirmed by the South African president Jacob Zuma who has spoken to him on the phone.

This is crucial, as the army knows only too well. It may be that a combination of Mr Mnangagwa and army chief Constantino Chiwenga hold the levers of power now, and perhaps always have done. But there’s no doubt that Mr Mugabe still holds the soul of the nation.

That’s because of the huge credibility he brings as leader of the liberation struggle fought against white minority rule in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr Mugabe successfully led Zimbabwe to freedom in a deal negotiated with the returning British in 1980 and has led it ever since. No other African freedom fighter of his stature from that era remains alive.

His word still carries emotional weight and the power of his rhetoric, honed in the context of 1960s Cold War liberation theory, immense even at his advanced age of 93.

But the army knows this. The army itself has been key to keeping Mr Mugabe in power in the face of democratic resistance and international pressure for nearly three decades. And it’s been happy to do so because there’s always been a fair division of the spoils.

It was the army who helped officials of Mr Mugabe’s party, Zanu PF, seize control of the lucrative Marange diamondfields soon after they were discovered, and army officials were amongst the many government apparatchiks who profited from wholescale currency manipulation as the country plunged into hyperinflation following the widespread seizure of commercial farms.

Many of those farms went to top army officials, and the seizing itself was done by so-called “war veterans”, although how many of those veterans actually ever did any fighting has long been hotly debated.

So, for the army to turn against Mr Mugabe, there must have been a real game-changer in play. And there was: President Mugabe’s second wife Grace, several decades his junior, and a real polarising figure. A faction, known as the G40, has grown up around Grace Mugabe in recent years, and gradually begun to remove key army figures from the government, actions always cloaked under the authority of Mr Mugabe himself.

But with the removal of Mr Mnangagwa, the G40 finally looks to have overplayed its hand. True, if there was to be a succession battle after Mr Mugabe’s death, it was unlikely that the G40 would win against the physical hardware and wealth of the army. A gradual series of moves now made more sense than waiting.

But Mr Mnangagwa was not for waiting, and Constantino Chiwenga appears to have been of like mind. Between them, they don’t seem to believe that Grace Mugabe has the best interests of the nation at heart and, what with reports of over-excessive shopping habits, and violent altercations in South Africa, they may have been right.

Misbehaving relatives of despots are nothing new. It becomes problematic only when they try to take income, capital and welfare away from other significant political figures.

Mrs Mugabe will now disappear from view, to become in Trotsky’s damning phrase, little more than a footnote in history.

More significant than her individual fate is the future of the country at large. Should interested parties be worried? If, as seems likely, this move now settles the succession for Zimbabwe, then the outlook for stability actually seems rather good.

This is a coup that has been achieved with minimal bloodshed, but total effectiveness. In that sense it mirrors the farm seizures, which also involved a huge transfer of power and wealth with minimal bloodshed, in spite of the impression given at the time by Western media.

There are hard men in Zimbabwe to be sure, but in the new emerging global context of “strong men” like Presidents Putin and Erdogan they ought to fit in quite well. Zimbabwe may not be a free country, but it’s repression does come with a lighter touch.

As such, we are unlikely to witness the emergence of a Zimbabwean Idi Amin. But what we are witnessing, undoubtedly, is the end of an era.

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:23:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Evernote helping solve the western world's 'data overload challenge' ]]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:48:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Weak quarter in India sees gold demand slip 9% ]]> Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:32:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - State-backed NS&I to shorten the odds on Premium Bond prizes after BoE rate hike ]]> UK state-owned bank National Savings & Investments (NS&I) plans to pass on the full base rate rise by the Bank of England onto consumers and will shorten the odds on Premium Bond prizes.

The BoE last Wednesday lifted interest rates for the first time in a decade by 25 basis points to 0.5% from 0.25% in an effort to curb rising inflation, which reached a five-year high of 3% in October, well above the central bank’s 2% target.

A weaker pound following the Brexit has been responsible for the jump in inflation, putting a strain on disposable incomes and resulting in a slowdown in consumer spending.

Rates to rise across its variable product range

In a boost to hard-pressed savers, NSI said its rates will rise across its variable product range from 1 December, including its Direct Isa, Income Bonds, Investment Account and Junior Isa.

The Direct Isa will increase from 0.75% to 1.0%, Direct Saver from 0.7% to 0.95% and Income Bonds from 0.75% to 1.0%. The Investment Account will rise from 0.45% to 0.7% while the Junior Isa will climb from 2.0% to 2.25%.

Ian Ackerley, chief executive at NS&I, said: “NS&I is pleased to be able to offer savers increased rates across our variable products.
By reflecting the change in the base rate we are continuing to meet the needs of savers, whilst also balancing the interests of taxpayers and the stability of the broader financial services sector.”

Premium Bond prizes

NSI also plans to shorten the odds on Premium Bond prizes from 30,000 to one, to 24,500 to one.

The prize fund rate for Premium Bonds will also rise from 1.15% to 1.4%.

“For our 25million customers, including around 21million Premium Bonds customers, these changes will present a welcome boost,” Akerley said.

“NS&I will be giving out the largest number of Premium Bond prizes every month, an estimated 2.9million, and all money invested is 100% secure, as NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) also announced on Thursday that it will add 0.15% to its savings rates, including its Cash ISA Saver.

READ: Lloyds raises savers' rates after Bank of England lifts interest rates  ]]>
Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:38:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Fundamentals likely to stay very strong for lithium - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:30:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Arqiva cans £6bn float that was to be London's biggest of the year ]]> It’s off. The transmitter giant Arqiva has canned its £6bn London Stock Exchange float, citing market uncertainty.

It was set to be the biggest UK listing of the year. But, in a Stock Exchange statement prospective investors learned: "The board of Arqiva Group Limited and its shareholders have decided that pursuing a listing in this period of IPO market uncertainty is not in the interests of Arquiva Group Limited and its stakeholders, and will revisit the listing once IPO market conditions improve."

The company opted for a stock market listing after takeover talks with a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Investments collapsed.

Cash injection 

It was seeking to raise £1.5bn of fresh capital, £600mln of which was earmarked to pay off around £600mln of debt.

According to the Guardian, the move would have reduced interest costs by £57mln annually. And following the flotation, more than £2.5bn of shareholder loans would have converted to equity.

Arqiva is owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Australian private equity firm Macquarie.

The company, which employs more than 2,000 and runs and maintains mobile phone towers, owns the mast that broadcast the BBC’s first signal back in 1936.

In the year ended June 30, it generated revenues if almost £1bn and profits of £567mln. It was expected to distribute dividends of £195mln.

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:04:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Rate rise nailed on but look out for comments’ ]]> Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:30:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Sportswear retailer Footasylum steps higher on first day of trading ]]> Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT) stepped higher on its first day of dealings as an AIM-listed company with investors keen to get in on the action.

Shares in the sport fashion and footwear retailer were sold at £1.64 to institutions as part of the initial public offering but are already being offered at 202p early on Thursday morning.

READ: Footasylum confirms £170mln IPO

The IPO raised about £45mln for the company itself, which it will use to fund its expansion plans.

The other £20mln raised from the sale went to the selling shareholders who are the two founders of JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD), David Makin and John Wardle, and their families.

Even after the float, the Makin family still holds a 63% stake worth around £131mln based on the current share price.

READ: JD Sports founders set for big payday as Footasylum unveils plans to float on AIM Set up back in 2005 by JD founder

Wardle and Makin pocketed around £45mln after they sold out of JD Sports – which still bears their first initials – back in 2005.

Makin used his chunk of the proceeds almost immediately to set up Footasylum and was joined three years later by his former business partner.

Footasylum, which generated underlying earnings of £11.2mln on revenues of £147mln last year, focuses on premium ‘on-trend’ footwear and apparel and stocks brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike and Adidas, as well as several lines of own-brand products.

There are currently 60 stores across the UK but it plans to use some of the funds from the IPO to more than double that figure to 150, targeting between eight and ten new openings a year.

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 10:06:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Contango Holdings starts life as a listed company after raising £1mln to snap up mining assets ]]> Contango Holdings PLC (LON:CGO) started its life as a listed company on Wednesday morning.

As part of its initial public offering (IPO), Contango raised £1mln which it will use to “fund a single acquisition in the natural resources sector”.

It is the seventh new listing in the sector this year. Although it’s not as easy as it once was for junior miners to raise money, the market has picked up following the commodity downturn.

The company’s chairman is Brian McMaster, the executive chairman of AIM-listed potash mine developer Harvest Minerals Ltd. (LON:HMI).

“Our experienced board, which combines proven natural resources operators with specialist natural resources financiers, is highly capable of navigating the junior natural resources sector to identify, assess and execute value accretive transactions,” said McMaster.

Focus to buy assets

“To this end, we are focused on acquiring a company, business, project or assets in the natural resources sector.

“We don't envisage this being a prolonged quest; the timing to invest in the sector is now and we have access to further capital for the right opportunity.”

He added: “With this in mind, we hope to advance the strategy and move quickly to assess an array of opportunities and look forward to updating the market on our progress."

Exploration budgets dried up after the commodities crash a couple of years ago as miners were forced to scale back their operations.

That means there are plenty of assets knocking about for Contango to get its teeth into, while analysts expect the sector to continue to rebound as the current lack of exploration will eventually lead to shortages and higher prices.

Shares were flat at 4p early on Wednesday afternoon.

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 12:40:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin jumps to all-time high above US$6,300 after CME says will launch a regulated trading venue ]]> The value of Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high above $6,300 (£4,754) on Tuesday after the world’s largest futures market operator CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME) said it would launch a regulated trading venue for cryptocurrencies in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Nasdaq-listed company said the new futures contracts will be settled in cash, based on the CME ‘CF Bitcoin Reference Rate’ - a once-a-day reference rate of the US dollar price of bitcoin.

READ: Bitcoin and Ethereum slump as China gets tough on cryptocurrencies

According to trade website Coindesk’s price index, which aggregates the prices quoted across several exchanges, the price of a bitcoin jumped to as high as US$6,342.99, up 3.6% on the day.

Bitcoin has surged in value by around 555% so far this year despite criticism of the crypocurrency by the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) boss, Jamie Dimon, and a clampdown on trading of them in China.

In August, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest US options exchange, said its CBOE Futures Exchange planned to offer cash-settled bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of this year or sometime in early 2018.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 15:09:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Venus India Asset Finance helping address 'immense' need for capital from SMEs in India ]]> Tue, 31 Oct 2017 14:49:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Market will be very disappointed if BoE doesn’t hike rates on Thursday’ ]]> Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:10:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports founders to net £20mln as Footasylum confirms £170mln AIM IPO next week ]]> Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT) is set to list on AIM next Thursday (2 November) in a float that will value the sports fashion retailer at £171.3mln.

The company, which first unveiled plans to join the junior market earlier this month, is selling 26.5mln new and 13.4mln existing shares at £1.64 apiece, raising gross proceeds of £65.4mln.

The selling shareholders are the two founders of JD Sports, David Makin and John Wardle, and their relatives, which will net the families just shy of £20mln.

Makin family still retains a 63% stake

Even after the sale, the Makin family will still hold a 63% stake worth £107.9mln.

As for the rest of the money raised, Footasylum boss and Makin’s daughter Clare Nesbitt said it would go towards funding the business’ expansion plans, although £3.9mln will be set aside to repay a director’s loan owed to Wardle.

Assuming the float goes as planned, former JD chief executive Barry Brown will join the board as executive chairman next summer when John Wardle retires from the role.

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Footasylum story,” said chief executive Nesbitt.

"We are delighted that our product-led, multi-channel expansion strategy has resonated so strongly with investors, and are thrilled to have received such a strong level of demand for the placing.

“We welcome our new shareholders and look forward to delivering the significant potential that we see for Footasylum as a quoted business."

Set up back in 2005 by JD founder

Wardle and Makin pocketed around £45mln after they sold out of JD Sports – which still bears their first initials – back in 2005.

Makin used his chunk of the proceeds almost immediately to set up Footasylum and was joined three years later by his former business partner.

Footasylum, which generated underlying earnings of £11.2mln on revenues of £147mln last year, focuses on premium ‘on-trend’ footwear and apparel and stocks brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike and Adidas, as well as several lines of own-brand products.

There are currently 60 stores across the UK but it plans to use some of the funds from the IPO to more than double that figure to 150, targeting between eight and ten new openings a year.

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 14:37:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ECB to sound a dovish tone this afternoon? ]]> Thu, 26 Oct 2017 10:45:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - BrightHouse rapped by FCA and agrees to repay £14.8mln ]]> Electricals retailer BrightHouse has been instructed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to cough up £14.8mln to customers who were mis-sold items “on tick”.

Some 249,000 customers who are waiting for refunds after cancelling agreements during the “cooling off” period after purchase will be recompensed by BrightHouse.

The FCA said BrightHouse had not acted as a “responsible lender”, lending money to customers who were most unlikely to be able to afford the monthly payments.

BrightHouse has apologised to customers and said it had “identified customers that may have been treated unfairly where its processes fell short of FCA expectations”.

BrightHouse working with the FCA since 2014

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision at the FCA, said he was pleased that BrightHouse had agreed to provide redress to those customers affected by the retailer’s iffy loans procedures.

BrightHouse has been working with the FCA since 2014 to get its house in order after the watchdog expressed alarm at the retailer’s lending assessment and collections processes.

“This [redress] scheme continues our work with the rent-to-own sector to resolve the concerns we have previously identified.

“Responsible lending and the fair treatment of consumers, especially those in financial difficulties or who are vulnerable, are key priorities for us,” Davidson said.


Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:46:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Are European markets “complacent”? ]]> Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Investors to get chance to tune in to £6bn float of TV transmission masts owner Arqiva ]]> Arqiva, the UK’s largest owner of TV transmitters, has announced plans to raise around £1.5bn in the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in London so far this year, with the firm overall to be valued at £6bn.

Private-equity owned Arqiva, which carried the BBC's first television broadcast in 1936, said it will use the proceeds from next month's listing to pay down debt. Given its size, Arqiva is likely to enter the FTSE 100 index and its flotation comes amid a quickening pace of IPOs on the London Stock Exchange.

READ: UK debt collector Cabot Credit Management set to float on LSE next month

Ready meals supplier Bakkavor, business services firm TMF and credit services provider Cabot Credit Management are among those that have said they are planning to list in recent weeks.

Arqiva,  which is owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Australian bank Macquarie, was widely reported to be in talks about a trade sale.

However, the collapse of discussions with Canadian and Singaporean investors is understood to have paved the way for a float instead.

Critical infrastructure

Arqiva’s chief executive officer Simon Beresford-Wylie said: "Arqiva provides the critical infrastructure and skilled workforce that ensures the effective operation of the UK's television, radio, telecoms and smart meters.

He added: “The group's strong cash flows and stable, long term capital structure will allow Arqiva to invest in its operations to drive future growth and pay a generous dividend."

For the year ended 30 June 2017, Arqiva generated revenue of £943.8mln, and had underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £467mln and an overall loss of £427mln.

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 10:54:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Plenty of 'bombing out' but precious little 'bouncing back' in recovery stocks portfolio ]]> Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:51:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - UK debt collector Cabot Credit Management set to float on LSE next month ]]> Britain's biggest debt collector Cabot Credit Management unveiled plans to float on the LSE next month and raise £195mln from institutional investors in the process.

The firm provides a range of credit management services, including collections, business process outsourcing and litigation, and has operations in the UK, Ireland as well as Spain, France, and Portugal.

Exciting time for Cabot

Over 20 years, it has invested £2.1bn in acquiring over £21bn in face value of loan portfolios and has collected a total of £2.9bn from these as at the end of June this year.

In 2016, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for 2016 was £247.8mln from £196.8mln. Its full year operating profit was £124.7mln from £106.8mln.


British debt collector Cabot launches 1 bln stg London IPO #Startup LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Cabot Credit Management
, Britain's biggest …

— Nick Ronstein (@NickRonstein) 20 October 2017

"This is a very exciting episode in Cabot's continued growth and development," said chief executive Ken Stannard.

"Having built strong and entrusted credit management service businesses in the UK and Ireland we are now well into the construction of leading platforms in three new markets.

"We are faced with significant untapped growth potential in each jurisdiction as creditor clients continue to partner with us to improve their own performance."

Cabot leads the industry

The firm, which is owned by US debt recovery business Encore Capital Group and private equity firm JC Flowers, had aimed to float in September but postponed it after Peter Crook, the former chief executive of Provident Financial, who it had planned to appoint as chairman, stepped down from the board in the wake of share price slump and a string of profit warnings.

Andy Haste, who is also chairman of British lender Wonga, is now Cabot's chairman-elect.

He said: "At a time when there is an increased focus on consumer credit, Cabot continues to lead the industry as it works to identify affordable solutions, which help customers with their financial recovery."

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:56:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Black Monday stock market crash of 1987 - could history repeat itself? ]]> Thirty years ago today, global stock markets drastically plunged and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst day in history.

On the day that has become known as Black Monday, the Dow fell an eye-watering 22.6%, or 508 points, to 1,738.74. It remains the biggest slump in the Dow’s history in percentage terms.

The crash led to a 5% increase in hospital admissions due to anxiety, panic and depression, according to a University of California paper published in in The Journal of Finance last year.

Closer to home, the UK’s FTSE 100 fell 11% on Black Monday and further 12% the next day.

Black Monday came days after the Great Storm of 1987 – a violent cyclone that swept across England, France and the Channel Islands on 15 and 16 October.

What caused the crash?

Theories about what caused the market crash include a cyberattack against a stock exchange, a slowdown in the US economy, falling oil prices, tensions between Iran and the US, a market pricing system or a trading systems malfunction and a sudden change in market sentiment due to prospect of rising inflation.

“While the crash itself was short lived, it left a deep impression on many investors,” said Nick Dixon, investment director at Aegon. 

“Thirty years on and financial experts are again questioning whether markets are overvalued. Investors have experienced over eight years of strong growth, even in the face of unexpected political events like Brexit and Trump.”

The S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow and the FTSE have all reached all-time records in the past week. The Dow is up about 1,231% since Black Monday to about 23,150 points.

Could history repeat itself? 

Dixon does not expect the same dramatic declines seen 30 years ago but he advised investors take a more “cautious and circumspect” approach as “elevated valuations have shifted the market environment considerably in recent months”.

In response to the changes, Aegeon has removed UK property from its portfolio as future rental growth looks subdued and could constrain capital values and aggregate returns.

Aegon has also reduced US equity exposure due to elevated risks in equity valuations compared to other geographies, which it thinks look more attractive.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:12:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Were weak UK retail sales figures just a one-off? ]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:15:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Amanda Staveley reportedly eyeing up US$400mln bid for Newcastle United ]]> Amanda Staveley’s rumoured interest in snapping up Premier League football club Newcastle United from Sports Direct International PLC (LON:SPD) boss Mike Ashley seems to be firming up.

Whispers have been circulating ever since the Yorkshire-born businesswoman attended a match between the Magpies and Liverpool – another club she’s been linked with in the past – earlier this month.

READ: Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell narrowly survives shareholder revolt

A confidential source quoted by Reuters has today said that Staveley, through her PCP Capital Partners investment firm, is mulling a possible £304mln (US$400mln) bid for the club.

Eccentric billionaire Ashley, who officially put Newcastle up for sale earlier this week, is said to want nearer to £400mln (US$527mln).

PCP Capital acts on behalf of investors in the Middle East and China, where Staveley has a wide network of connections, and is one of four potential bidders for the club, according to the FT.

The investment firm is perhaps best known for its role in keeping Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) afloat during the 2008 financial crisis, when Staveley and co acted as an intermediary between the bank and a group of Abu Dhabi investors.

It is claimed that PCP values the Premier League outfit at around £300mln, with another £150mln or so needed to invest in new players over the next couple of years.

READ: Mike Ashley's Sports Direct trebles stake in Goals Soccer Centres

Newcastle haven’t commented specifically on this morning’s reports, but the club has made clear it would listen to offers that would be capable of “delivering sustained investment” and helping the team achieve their top-flight ambitions.

Newcastle have been relegated, and subsequently promoted, twice during Ashley’s ten-year reign.

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:56:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Opportunities aplenty for value investors' ]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:05:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Carney has a strong case to raise rates’ ]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0100