DJ Ace Liberty & Stone PLC Trading Statement
RNS Number : 1061D
Ace Liberty & Stone PLC
24 June 2019
ACE LIBERTY AND STONE PLC
("Ace" or "the Company")
22.4% INCREASE IN PORTFOLIO AND STRONG INCOME GENERATION
Ace Liberty and Stone Plc (NEX: ALSP), the active property investment and trading company, is pleased to update shareholders on activity and progress for the financial year ending 30 April 2019. The Company continues to capitalise on commercial property investment opportunities across the UK; build the value of its portfolio; generate income from blue chip tenants; and pay dividends to its shareholders.
Portfolio Valuation and Income Generation
During the period Ace has substantially increased the value of its portfolio to GBP86.9 million (including stamp duty and other acquisition costs), an increase of 22.4% since the year ended 30 April 2018. Annual rental income, including that from purchases made during the year ended 30 April 2019, is now at an annualised run-rate of a healthy GBP6.5 million and the Company is pleased to report that it has started its new financial year with good visibility of earnings and an assured level of income.
Ace remains one of the few NEX-listed companies with a stable dividend policy. The Company's strong visibility on income has enabled it (subject only to adequate profitability and cashflow in the future) to increase dividend payments from one payment for FY2017 /18 to three for FY2018/19. Total dividends paid and declared in respect of financial year 2019 so far total GBP694,582.
Property Acquisitions and Financing
In the past financial year, Ace made nine acquisitions, all of which were purchased with the help of loans from Coutts & Co., totalling just over GBP20.1 million, GBP2m of new equity into the company (see below) and further support from existing shareholders, who subscribed for loans totalling GBP3.2 million to support the Company's property purchases.
Property Size Date sq ft (of purchase) Princes Court, Leicester 22,302 (offices) 01/06/2018 ----------------- --------------- Tweedale House, Oldham 21,411 (offices) 27/06/2018 ----------------- --------------- Brocol House, Wigan 44,872 (offices) 27/06/2018 ----------------- --------------- Mecca Bingo, Chesterfield 35,481 (bingo 16/11/2018 hall) ----------------- --------------- Frances House Northampton 27,060 (offices) 17/01/2019 ----------------- --------------- 52 Black Horse St, Bolton 17,724 (offices) 21/02/2019 ----------------- --------------- James Cook House, Middlesbrough 54,862 (offices) 30/04/2019 ----------------- --------------- Nolan House, Warrington 18,235 (offices) 30/04/2019 ----------------- ---------------
These properties bring in an annual rental income in total of GBP2,490,389.
Ace also sold Hume House in Leeds for GBP3,900,000, representing a very impressive overall 307% return on investment over the original purchase price of GBP1,670,000 made in 2014.
Continued Shareholder Support and Convertible Loan Note ("CLN")
On 25 January 2018, the Company issued a 5% CLN, maturing on 31 December 2019 for GBP5,263,700, with an equal number of warrants exercisable at 80p. During the year, GBP1,178,700 of the CLN was converted to ordinary shares and 858,250 warrants were exercised, bringing almost GBP2.0 million of new equity into the company and GBP680k of new cash towards the purchases.
Shareholders also subscribed for loans totalling GBP3.2 million to support the Company's property purchases. The loans are unsecured and for a term of two years at an interest rate of 7%. They carry the right to warrants on the basis of one share for each GBP2 of loan, exercisable at 95p up to 3 June 2021. The loan subscription completed on 26 April 2019.
Issue of Shares and Total Issued Share Capital
On 3 June 2019, Ace issued 58,000 shares of 25p at a price of GBP1 in respect of the arrangement fees due to lenders of the 7% loan. The issued share capital is now 42,491,368. The total issued share capital is GBP10,622,842. The figure of 42,491,368 should be used by shareholders in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the share capital of the Company under the Financial Conduct Authority's Disclosure and Transparency Rules.
Shareholders holding over 3% of the company's issued capital are now as follows:
DR. ABDEL-KARIM EL-ROUSSTOM 7,767,896 18.28% HSBC GLOBAL CUSTODY NOMINEE (UK) LIMITED 4,250,989 10.00% DINAMA HOLDINGS LIMITED 3,220,378 7.58% LIBANK S.A. L. 2,708,393 6.37% DANIEL WAYLETT 2,449,000 5.76% ISMAIL GHANDOUR 2,135,120 5.02% B DANESHMAND 1,399,699 3.29%
Commenting on progress made and outlook, Ismail Ghandour, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Properties with stable, long term tenants and strong yields are highly attractive investments. The acquisitions which Ace has made in its last financial year and listed above fit these criteria, and are also in attractive locations with strong repurposing opportunities, typically outside London and the South East. Regions outside the South East are less mature markets with significantly more scope for rapid growth. We look forward to continuing to make acquisitions along this path.
"We are proud of our record of income generation and trading profits, which have enabled us to pursue a progressive dividend payment policy. We are also pleased with the support that existing shareholders have shown. The Company has a strong balance sheet and a strong financial base to continue its growth strategy. Clearly it is a strategy that is working and we look to the future with increased optimism and confidence."
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The Directors accept responsibility for this announcement.
For further information, please contact:
Ace Liberty & Stone Plc www.acelibertyandstone.com Ivan Minter, Financial Director Tel: +44 (0) 20 7201 8340 Alfred Henry Corporate Finance Ltd www.alfredhenry.com NEX Exchange Corporate Adviser Jon Isaacs / Nick Michaels Tel: +44 (0) 20 3772 0021 SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP www.spangel.co.uk Vadim Alexandre / Abigail Wayne Tel: +44 (0) 20 3470 0470 / Rob Rees Belvedere Communications www.belvederepr.com John West / Llew Angus Tel: +44 (0) 20 3687 2754 ACF Equity Research www.acfequityresearch.com Christopher Nicholson / Amalia Barnoschi Tel: +44 (0) 20 7558 8974
Notes to Editors
Ace Liberty & Stone Plc is a property investment company with a diverse portfolio of properties located across the UK, currently including Leeds, Sunderland, Plymouth, Dudley, Gateshead, Barnstaple, and London. The Company locates commercial properties which have the potential for an increase in value through creative asset management activity, such as change of tenancy, change of use or new lease negotiation. Ace has maintained a track record of generating strong profits at disposal of properties and achieving better-than average returns on capital. With strong support from shareholders and bank lenders, the Company is currently seeking further investment opportunities in the UK to create value for existing and new investors.
Ace is run by a board with extensive property experience, an excellent network of contacts and relevant professional qualifications. This sector expertise has allowed the Board to identify opportunities and act promptly to secure investments.
For more information on the Company please visit www.acelibertyandstone.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 24, 2019 02:01 ET (06:01 GMT)