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Better Capital mulls delisting as covid-19 hits

Better Capital mulls delisting as covid-19 hits

In the 2012 cell, which contains double glazing firm, Everest, and office supplies business, SPOT: “Everest had a strong start to the year with encouraging progress across the company. However, in recent days sales and installation visits became progressively more difficult and so operations were largely suspended yesterday morning, in line with Government guidelines. Its main competitors are in a similar position.

Given the uncertainty of the length of the period of closure, together with the fact that the extent of the availability of public financial support is not known, the future is unclear. However, particularly without adequate support, the value of the company will be diminished.

SPOT is in a difficult period with its business affected by the widespread and unprecedented effects of the pandemic. The recent performance has been quite mixed with Chinese supply largely restored, protective equipment demand very strong and issues affecting smaller market participants all positives. On the other hand, bad debt, actual and potential and deeply uncertain demand are considerable negatives. There are obvious operational challenges. Management has reacted energetically to reduce fixed cost and improve liquidity. The company has a stronger balance sheet than many of its competitors which is helpful.

In common with many other businesses at this time the future for SPOT is uncertain. Much effort is being applied seeking to ensure a satisfactory future for the business.”

The original 2009 cell has investments in mhance (Microsoft software support) and Omnico (customer engagement in theme parks, hospitality, casinos, retail and catering): “mHance has been relatively little affected and management has responded well to the operating challenges. Trading is in line with expectations so far this year. However, below plan order intake during the remainder of the year is clearly possible.

Omnico is more affected with its largest market of theme parks clearly badly affected. However, this has been mitigated to a considerable extent by strong activity in the food retail and pharmacy markets. The outcome for the year (ending September 30(th) ) is heavily dependent upon a few large transactions but an on-budget performance remains possible. Strong cost and cash control is in place.”

Delisting

It now seems improbable that any of the portfolio businesses can be exited sensibly within the remaining lifetimes of the Cells. It is also the case that the considerable costs of maintaining a listed company status are increasingly disproportionate to the value of the portfolio.

Accordingly, the directors intend to bring forward to shareholders, proposals to delist from the public markets in the coming weeks. The objective would remain the orderly disposal of the portfolios as soon as sensible and the distribution of exit proceeds from those disposals.”

This looks like an ignominious end for a private equity business that was launched with much fanfare. The trouble with delisting now is that many investors may be forced to exit at current prices because their investment platforms won’t allow them to hold unlisted investments.

BCAP / BC12 : Better Capital mulls delisting as covid-19 hits

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