Update on Virtualstock Holdings Limited
22 November 2018
Eight Peaks Group PLC
Update on Investee Company Virtualstock Holdings Limited
Eight Peaks Group PLC ("8PG") is pleased to provide an update on its investee company, Virtualstock Holdings Limited ("VS").
On 31 July 2018, 8PG reported that VS had appointed René Schuster as Chairman with immediate effect. René has a strong track record in growing global telecommunications and technology businesses. He has held senior leadership positions in the telecommunications and technology sector for a number of household name companies. For example, as CEO of Telefonica Deutschland, he was responsible for leading the company through the largest IPO in Europe and most successful DAX IPO in 2012, raising €1.6 billion for Telefonica Group. He grew Telefonica Deutschland's market capitalisation from €3 billion to €14 billion.
Following Rene's appointment in late July, and a review of the business, Rene is now leading VS, in an executive capacity, as Executive Chairman. Andrew Mills has left VS. There are no immediate plans to hire a replacement for Andrew Mills.
The business is now being reorganised into two divisions, Retail and Healthcare, with appropriate areas of focus, and the cost base is being reduced.
The general challenges in the retail sector have had an impact on decision-making in IT projects among retailers. This has resulted in expansion being slower than expected and some disengagement being experienced. The value of the VS offering, however, is evident and recognised as the pipeline both domestically and internationally, is solid and improving, as network effects raise the utility of VS services in its markets.
In Healthcare, VS services rollout has also been slower than expected, although this is expected to pick up in pace due to the master services agreement with NHS Shared business Services ("SBS"). SBS is a joint venture between Sopra Steria Group S.A. and the Department of Health that provides business support services to over 35% of the NHS and is tasked with achieving £1bn of savings back into the NSH by 2020. SBS serves 64 acute health trusts and the target is to have all 64 live using VS services by the end of 2019. With success in the UK, discussions are underway in Europe and the Americas regarding deployment of VS services internationally.
Rene Schuster, Executive Chairman of VS, commented:
"Virtualstock has historically been very successful in implementing bespoke projects for large retail customers but our plans for the future are designed to make our Company much more product-orientated leveraging our partnerships with the likes of SBS and IBM to go to market and for implementation. We have restructured our business in order to meet the changing needs of the customers we currently serve but more importantly to enable our business to expand its reach much further by increasingly addressing the mid-market and monetising our relationships with suppliers. We believe that we have developed a platform that is applicable to a large number of industries internationally and we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible in retail and healthcare in the first instance."
Zafar Karim, Executive Chairman of 8PG, commented:
"Rene has been at Virtualstock for just 3 months and is already having impact. Clarity in the business units is essential for profitable development, valuation and ultimately realisation. We look forward to further developments. "
The information communicated within this announcement is deemed to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
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Eight Peaks Group PLC
Zafar Karim / Thomas Reuner
0207 583 8304
Grant Thornton UK LLP
Colin Aaronson / Harrison Clarke
020 7383 5100
S.P. Angel Corporate Finance LLP
Richard Parlons / Richard Morrison
020 3470 0470
About Virtualstock Holdings Limited
Virtualstock is one of the UK's fastest growing tech companies, helping businesses in retail and healthcare compete in today's agile digital economy. Its client list includes 6 of the top 10 UK retailers as well as the NHS. By unlocking and connecting the data scattered across disparate parts of the supply chain, Virtualstock's cloud-based solution, The Edge, helps retailers drive efficiency, growth and customer satisfaction, supported by an integrated and seamless digital supply chain. The healthcare equivalent, The Edge4Health™, is delivered in partnership with NHS Shared Business Services to help fuel industry-wide efficiency and operational productivity for both Healthcare Providers and Suppliers.
About Eight Peaks Group PLC
Eight Peaks Group PLC focuses on assisting companies and making investments which exhibit the potential to generate returns of many multiples through capital appreciation. Typically, Eight Peaks takes stakes in small companies where there are clear catalysts for value appreciation and the companies are operating in sectors exhibiting long term growth. Examples of such sectors include technology, energy and natural resources.
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