B.P. Marsh - Trading Update
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B.P. Marsh & Partners Plc
("B.P. Marsh", the "Company" or the "Group")
B.P. Marsh, the niche venture capital provider to early-stage financial services businesses, is pleased to provide the market with an update on trading for the year ended 31 January 2021.
The portfolio of 18 investments has continued to show its resilience despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the global pandemic.
As the effects of Covid-19 continue, the Group remains impressed by the dedication and competence demonstrated by its own staff and also the staff within its investment portfolio, in overcoming all obstacles to operate throughout the crisis. All staff continue to work from home but are looking forward to returning to the office later in 2021.
The Group has worked with the Management Teams across the portfolio to ensure stability throughout this time. Emphasis has been placed on having adequate liquidity within each business and on regular reforecasting, with various scenarios applied.
Net Asset Value
One of the Group's key financial objectives is the delivery of long-term growth to its shareholders via the regular increase in Net Asset Value. The Group's interim results to 31 July 2020 showed an increase in Net Asset Value to £142.6m (31 July 2019: £130.0m; 31 January 2020: £136.9m), producing a 4.8% return to shareholders (including the payment of a dividend) in the six month period. The Group remains positive regarding its ongoing performance.
Cash Balance and Loan Facility
At 31 January 2021 the Group had £0.7m in cash, having drawn down £1.0m from its £3.0m loan facility with Brian Marsh Enterprises Ltd ("BME"), a company of which the Chairman, Mr. Brian Marsh, is a director and sole shareholder. Currently, due to the receipt of income post year-end, the Group has £1.3m in cash and access to a further £2.0m from the loan facility with BME.
Income for the year to 31 January 2021 was c.15% lower than the preceding year, predominantly due to receiving lower dividend income from the investment portfolio due to Covid-19, as the portfolio companies maximised liquidity. However, due to cost mitigation, the Group is expecting its underlying profit (excluding portfolio revaluation) to be at, or above, the prior year's £0.8m.
As has been stated previously, the Group has a strategy for undertaking small market buy-backs of its shares at times when the discount to Net Asset Value ("NAV"), based upon the most recently announced NAV, is greater than 15%.
For the avoidance of doubt, notwithstanding that the discount to NAV at which the Group's shares are currently trading is greater than 15%, the Group repeats that it is currently restricted in its ability to buy back shares since, given that Brian Marsh, together with persons acting in concert with Brian Marsh for the purposes of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the "City Code"), has an interest in approximately 41.85% of the Group's voting rights, any such purchase of shares would result in an obligation for Brian Marsh to make a general offer for the Group in accordance with Rule 9 of the City Code.
Publication of Full Year Results
The Group expects to report its full year results to 31 January 2021 on 8 June 2021.