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DJ Ace Liberty & Stone PLC Trading Statement

TIDMALSP

RNS Number : 1061D

Ace Liberty & Stone PLC

24 June 2019

ACE LIBERTY AND STONE PLC

("Ace" or "the Company")

TRADING UPDATE

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.

Dividends

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."

- ends -

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

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

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June 24, 2019 02:01 ET (06:01 GMT)