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QuotedData’s morning briefing 7 June 2021

In QuotedData’s morning briefing 7 June 2021 –

  • Augmentum Fintech (AUGM) says that it continues to see a strong pipeline of investment opportunities. It is considering the issue of new ordinary shares to fund additional investments, with any potential fundraise likely to follow the publication of an updated NAV. Further details will be announced in due course. AUGM will announce its year-end results to 31 March 2021 on 14 June 2021.
  • EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) noted that EPIC Investments LLP, a limited liability partnership in which it is the sole investor, has sold shares in Luceco representing 11.2% of ESO’s interest in the company. This transaction has returned £15.0m in cash to ESO, which it intends to use for new investments.
  • Aberdeen Diversified Income and Growth (ADIG) announced that Julian Sinclair retired as a director on 4 June 2021 following a significant change in his executive responsibilities.
  • Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust (SERE) exchanged contracts to purchase a logistics property in Nantes, western France, for €6.15m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.5%. The 8,663 sqm warehouse is fully let to Hachette Livre, a subsidiary of the leading French media group Lagardère, with an unexpired lease term of seven years.
  • Empiric Student Property (ESP) says that bookings for the 2021/22 academic year is currently at 40%, well below pre-COVID cycles. It expects the sales cycle for the 2021/22 academic year to be significantly back ended as the benefits of the lifting of restrictions by the UK government take effect. The group adds UCAS applications for the 2021/22 academic year show encouraging growth, with the non-EU international market up by 17% overall, and within this, Chinese applications are up by 21%. UK domestic applications show strong demand growth of 11%. Revenue occupancy for the current 2020/21 academic year remains at 65%, with physical occupancy levels at 67% of total operational rooms.
  • ESP also announced the sale of a non-core asset in Exeter for £11.05m, which is ahead of the latest book value at 31 December 2020 and is in line with the group’s strategy to dispose over the short to medium term of around £100m of non-core assets.
  • The Times reports that Ruffer booked a $1.1bn on its foray into bitcoin. [We congratulate it on the profit but we are still uncomfortable with the idea behind the investment.] NB Times story is behind a paywall.
  • Tucked away in an NAV and trading update from Hipgnosis today was a comment that it breached its borrowing limit – “On 26 March 2021, the company drew down US$90.0 million under its revolving credit facility resulting in gross indebtedness of $577 million and net indebtedness of $438 million. This gross indebtedness represented approximately 32.8% of the last published adjusted operative NAV at that time and therefore constituted an inadvertent breach of the company’s borrowing restriction under its investment policy of 30% of NAV. The amounts drawn down were held by the company as cash and were unutilised, and on 5 April 2021 $50 million of these drawings were repaid, thereby curing the temporary breach. Since this date the company has operated in compliance with all of its investment restrictions.”

We also have news on BB Biotech, a new investment by Oakley Capital, and annual results and some corporate updates from Templeton Emerging Markets.

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