UPDATE: Driver Discounted Placing Closes After Annual Loss Widens (ALLISS)

LONDON (Alliance News) - Construction and engineering consultant Driver ...

Alliance News 17 February, 2017 | 8:31PM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - Construction and engineering consultant Driver Group PLC on Friday said its placing of shares equal to around 71% of its current issued share capital has now closed.

Driver earlier in the day said it was looking to raise up to GBP8.0 million in the placing of up to 22.9 million shares, with those shares to be priced at a minimum of 35.00 pence per share.

No update on the number of shares placed and the placing price were given, though Driver said it would release an update in "due course".

Shares in the group were down 15% at 40.00p on Friday afternoon.

The shares were offered by an accelerated bookbuild which launched immediately on Friday morning, and an open offer to raise up to GBP500,000 is also being planned, to give shareholders the opportunity to subscribe for new shares at the same price.

The number of shares being issued under the open offer will be determined once the issue price has been confirmed.

Driver said both the placing and open offer are subject to the approval of shareholders, which Driver plans to seek at a general meeting which it will convene shortly.

The group had said its directors planned to participate in the placing in respect of up to 1.0 million shares, but no update was given as to this either.

In a separate statement earlier in the day on Friday, Driver posted its results for the year ended September 30, reporting that revenue rose 21% year-on-year to GBP58.3 million from GBP48.0 million, but its pretax loss widened to GBP5.3 million from GBP1.9 million.

The group said, though, the performance was improved from its first half, noting the pretax loss recorded then of GBP3.4 million compared to GBP2.1 million a year earlier, had been "unacceptable".

Driver said, while much remains to be done, it implemented changes under the new management team, hired throughout 2016, and there was a "marked improvement" in the second half.

The underlying pretax loss for the first half of GBP1.5 million was reduced to an underlying pretax loss of GBP400,000 for the full year, and Driver said a new strategy has been articulated and is being executed.

Driver reiterated it will not be paying a dividend for the year, having paid 1.65 pence per share a year earlier, though said it was now trading much better when compared with the same period the previous year.

Driver said in the first four months underlying pretax profit improved by GBP1.1 million and was ahead of internal forecasts. The group said it was tough to predict volumes in a professional services business, but noted it was continuing to take out unnecessary costs, improve margins and refine its areas of operation.

By Hannah Boland; hannahboland@alliancenews.com; @Hannaheboland

Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article
Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Driver Group PLC 86.00 GBX 4.24 -
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