TRADING UPDATES: FBD Profit Hit As Covid Increases Claims

(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on ...

Alliance News 26 February, 2021 | 1:11PM
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(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on Friday and not separately reported by Alliance News:

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FBD Holdings PLC - Dublin-based insurer - Pretax profit almost disappears in 2020, to just EUR4.8 million from EUR112.5 million in 2019. Total income shrinks to EUR335.0 million from EUR365.3 million. Further hurting profit, FBD incurs EUR221,403 of net claims and benefits including EUR54.0 million of Covid-19 pandemic related business interruption costs, rising from EUR148.7 million the prior year. No dividend proposed at this time, though capital returns to shareholders remain under continuous review, FBD says. Chief Executive Tomas O'Midheach says: "I am delighted to take the helm of the only Irish insurer in the market, with a reputation second to none in customer service, earned over more than 50 years in business. I joined FBD in January and have been hugely impressed by the determination and ability of my new colleagues. The core of the business is strong with good underlying profitability, future growth prospects and resilient capital strength. We intend to build on this strong base to deliver more for all stakeholders in the years ahead."

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Wameja Ltd - partnering with Mastercard Inc to build the HomeSend global payments hub - Pretax loss for 2020 falls to AUD9.4 million, or GBP5.3 million, from AUD10.6 million. This is as administration expenses reduced to AUD2.0 million from AUD2.8 million and restructuring and transaction related costs shrink to nothing from AUD1.4 million. In September 2020 entered agreement with Mastercard-controlled Burst Acquisition Co Pty Ltd for the acquisition of Wameja by Burst via a scheme of arrangement. Scheme, however, has been delayed by notices of potential claim issued by Seamless Distribution Systems AB. Parties are attempting to resolve this and are still pursuing the scheme.

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Tlou Energy Ltd - seeking to use gas and solar to alleviate some of the chronic power shortage in Botswana and southern Africa - 2020 pretax loss narrows to AUD1.1 million from AUD1.6 million as employee benefits expense shrinks to AUD264,897 from AUD624,243. Depreciation expense and other expenses also reduce, further diminishing loss. "The company is planning an initial scalable power project. Following successful implementation of this first scalable project, the company looks forward to evaluating longer-term prospects for the delivery of additional electricity in Botswana and to neighbouring countries."

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AssetCo PLC - Middle East-focused provider of management and resources to the fire and emergency services - Swings to GBP3.4 million pretax profit in financial year ended September 30 from GBP763,000 loss the year before following an award of GP4.6 million costs against Grant Thornton in connection with litigation. No revenue for financial 2020, having posted revenue of GBP5.3 million the year before. As announced earlier in February, AssetCo plans to change strategy and develop an asset and wealth management business, taking on new investors such as Aberdeen Asset Management founder Martin Gilbert.

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Zinnwald Lithium PLC - German-focused lithium development company - Reports an almost quadrupled pretax loss of EUR2.2 million for 2020 from a EUR562,167 loss in 2019. This results mostly from reverse takeover costs, associated with Bacanora Lithium PLC's interest in Deutsche Lithium, of EUR839,940 and exploration projects impairment of EUR592,465. Zinnwald incurred no such costs or impairment the prior year. Administrative expenses rise to EUR690,357 from EUR475,592 as well, further widening loss. Non-Executive Chair Jeremy Martin says: "Thanks to low capital costs, attractive economics and access to strategic markets, Zinnwald has the potential to become a key European lithium project. With Bacanora Lithium becoming a major shareholder following the RTO, the addition of its CEO, Peter Secker, who has a deep understanding of the project, to the board as a non-executive director, and with a healthy balance sheet having raised over GBP3 million from new and existing investors, the company is well placed to realise this potential."

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CQS New City High Yield Fund Ltd - investor in high-yield fixed interest securities - As at December 31, the end of its half-year, net asset value per share falls to 48.88 pence from 55.22p a year before, though this is higher than the NAV per share figure on June 30 of 47.52p. Shares trading at 6.4% premium to NAV on December 31, recovering from a 0.3% discount at the start of the fund's financial year. Having so far declared two dividends at 1.00p per share, maintained from the past two years, it "expects to follow the same pattern of dividend payments as declared last year and maintain or slightly increase the total level of dividends for the year" of 4.46p per share. Chair Caroline Hitch says: "The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact every part of the world to a greater or lesser extent. The roll out of vaccines is probably a 'game changer' but not an instant one given the administration logistics and new variants emerging. The impact of the virus, not least on government finances, will be felt for many years to come. From your company's perspective, continued rigorous credit analysis on the issuers of the bonds held remains paramount as is seizing opportunities as they arise in the secondary markets."

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Gulf Investment Fund PLC - investment firm focused on Gulf Cooperation Council countries - Net asset value per share as at December 31, the end of its first half, rises 22% to USD1.5069 from USD1.2323 on June 30. This performance exceeds its benchmark, the S&P GCC Composite Index, which rises 17% for the same six month period. Will pay a final dividend of 3 US cents per share on March 5. Chair Nichola Wilson says: "We expect oil prices will recover in 2021 on the back of economic recovery and that the regional narrative will change from austerity to growth with economic momentum growing. The board continue to view the future of the company with confidence expecting improved growth in the region as a whole, as the vaccine continues to be rolled out and GCC economies fully reopen."

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Stranger Holdings PLC - London-based investment company intending to acquire a target company, business or asset in the industrial or service sector - Pretax loss for six months ended September 30 narrows to GBP222,000 from GBP310,000 the prior year as administrative expenses dip to GBP117,000 from GBP166,000, while listing costs fall to GBP1,000 from GBP21,000 and reverse takeover costs to nothing from GBP20,000. Finance costs also fall, down at GBP104,000 from GBP114,000 a year prior. Comments on progress of its reverse takeover of Recyclus. Notes that Recyclus directors have assisted Stranger in raising funds, with "significant funds" advanced from Stranger to Recyclus for business development prior to completion. Work in progress for submission to UK Listing Authority and draft prospectus and re-admission document in progress. "The directors look forward to completing this RTO as soon as practicable as we believe the acquisition represents an exciting and profitable opportunity for the shareholders of the company," Stranger says.

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By Anna Farley; annafarley@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Stranger Holdings PLC 1.38 -
CQS New City High Yield Ord 52.61 757 -
AssetCo PLC 1,250.00 -
Gulf Investment Fund Ord 1.52 539 -
Zinnwald Lithium PLC Ordinary Shares 12.75 -
Bacanora Lithium PLC 44.00 -
FBD Holdings PLC 7.69 -
Tlou Energy Ltd 3.53 -
Wameja Ltd 5.90 -
Tlou Energy Ltd 0.06 -
Wameja Ltd 0.10 -
FBD Holdings PLC 7.82 -
Mastercard Inc A 376.63

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