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QuotedData’s morning briefing 2 February 2024 – AGA, GRID, HGT, BCPT, RGL, GCP, SHIP, GABI, VEIL, CGL

a coffee pot and a mug, good morning from QuotedData

In QuotedData’s morning briefing 2 February 2024:

  • On 1 February 2024, Apax XI Fund announced that it had closed the acquisition of WGSN, a consumer trend forecaster, from Ascential Plc. Apax Global Alpha (AGA), which is a limited partner in Apax XI, says that it has invested approximately €21.5m in WGSN on a look-through basis (in June 2022, AGA made a commitment of c. $700m to Apax XI). AGA says that WGSN provides global trend insights across a wide range of industries, including fashion, beauty, food & drink, interiors, and consumer technology. The WGSN platform enables clients to make critical design and purchasing decisions, it adds, with WGSN experiencing strong growth in recent years with a revenue CAGR of 8% from 2016 to 2022. AGA says that WGSN will focus on enhancing and expanding its product design and consumer insight products across a wide range of consumer-facing industries. AGA highlights its manager’s experience partnering with businesses in the information and data space, including the Apax Funds’ prior investments in sports-data specialist Genius Sports and workforce screening solutions provider Accurate Background.
  • Further to its trading update yesterday in which it cut its dividend (click here to see our coverage), Gresham House Energy Storage (GRID) has announced the commencement of a share buyback programme, which it says it will review on an ongoing basis in the context of its capital allocation decisions, as well as the discount to NAV at which the shares are trading at any given time. GRID has appointed Jefferies International Limited (Jefferies) to manage the programme on a discretionary basis within certain pre-set parameters. The maximum price payable per share (exclusive of expenses) will not exceed the higher of: (1) 105 per cent. of the average market value of the company’s shares for the five business days immediately preceding the day on which such share is contracted to be purchased; or (2) the higher of the price of the last independent trade and the highest current independent bid on the London Stock Exchange. GRID shall not (i) exercise any influence over how, when or whether Jefferies effects share buybacks or (ii) change the number of shares, price or timing of the purchases.
  • HgCapital Trust (HGT) has announced that its manager HgCapital has re-invested in GGW Group, which HGT describes as one of the leading European insurance brokerage platforms for small and medium-sized enterprises. Closing is subject to regulatory clearances and expected in the second quarter 2024. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed but, following the transaction, HgCapital will own a co-controlling stake in the business alongside Permira. HGT will invest approximately £44.2 million in GGW, with other institutional clients of Hg investing alongside the company through the Hg Saturn 3 Fund. HGT says that its liquid resources available for future deployment (including all announced transactions, the undrawn bank facility and the interim dividend paid in October 2023) are estimated to be £709m (31% of the pro-forma 30 September 2023 NAV of £2.3 billion) and the investment in CGW will reduce its outstanding commitments to invest in Hg transactions to approximately £808m (35% of the pro-forma 30 September 2023 NAV).
  • Balanced Commercial Property Trust (BCPT) reported a 3.6% fall in net asset value to 109.8p per share in the quarter to 31 December 2023. The drop was due to the value of its portfolio declining 2.6% to £1,027.2m. Real estate values continue to be affected by inactivity in the investment market. The company sold three office holdings in the period for a total of £42.8m (a slight discount to September valuation of 0.3%), which reduced portfolio office exposure to 24.4%. Further portfolio rebalancing through sales is expected, the company said.
  • Regional REIT (RGL) reported that its portfolio value had fallen 11.2% to £700.7m in the year to 31 December 2023. As a result, the regional office landlord saw its loan to value (LTV) increase to 55.1%. The company says that it plans to bring this down to its target 40% through asset sales to pay down debt. The debt is 100% fixed or hedged at a cost of 3.5%. Occupancy of its offices was down from 83.4% to 80.0%, which saw its annualised rent roll drop to £67.8m (from £71.8m). The company will publish full-year results on 26 March.
  • GCP Infrastructure (GCP) has published an investor report, which is available at the manager’s website (click here to visit). Key highlights as at 31 December 2023 were: the net asset value was, as previously announced, 109.84 pence per ordinary share; the company was exposed to a diversified and partially inflation protected portfolio of 51 investments with an unaudited valuation of £1.0bn; and the portfolio had a weight-adjusted average annualised yield of 7.9%, principal outstanding of £1.0bn and an average life of ten years.
  • Tufton Oceanic Assets (SHIP) says that Andrew Hampson and Nicolas Tirogalas have together acquired an additional 250,064 ordinary shares in the capital of the company after the RNS announcement of 17 January 2024. Tufton Shareholders, which it defines as principal shareholders, employees, non-executive directors and former shareholders, now hold directly or beneficially 4.1% of the issued share capital in the company compared with 3.7% as at 30 June 2023.
  • GCP Asset Backed Income (GABI) has published an investor report, which is available at the manager’s website (click here to visit). The announcement does not offer any key announcements although the report says that, as at 31 December 2023, GABI was invested in 42 loans, valued at £366.8m, of which 52% had partial inflation and/or interest rate protection. During the quarter to 31 December 2023, £6.7m of interest was realised and around £5m of repayments were received. The report also says that Mazars, GABI’s independent valuer applied discount rate increases to certain sectors. There was a 25 basis point increase applied to most of GABI’s loans to the property and social housing sectors, and a 50 basis point increase applied to the solar sector loan to reflect discount rate increases seen in that sector over the last 18 months. During the quarter, GABI did not make any investments with new borrowers, and had also fully repaid its RCF, which had a drawn balance of £30.1m at the previous quarter end. It also had cash of £30.9m as at 31 December 2023.
  • Vietnam Enterprise Investments (VEIL) will be hosting an online presentation on 14 March 2024. For more details you can click here or you can visit the events section of this website for details of this and other events.
  • Castelnau has published its quarterly investment report for Q4 2023. It says that a significant amount of hard work has been done both across its portfolio companies and at Castelnau Group level, with the completion of the successful acquisition of Dignity a key milestone (click here to see more).

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