Ace Liberty & Stone - Half-year Report
RNS Number : 1244N
Ace Liberty & Stone PLC
28 January 2021
 

Ace Liberty and Stone plc

(''Ace'' or "the Company'')

INTERIM RESULTS FOR SIX MONTHS TO 31 OCTOBER 2020

 

Ace Liberty and Stone plc, the active property investment company, capitalising on commercial property investment opportunities across the UK, is delighted to announce Interim Results for the period from 1 May 2020 to 31 October 2020. 

 

Highlights:

·      Pre-tax profit increased by 121% to £673,511 (H1: 2020) from £305,060 (H1: 2019)

·      Rental income held to a fall of 7.1% in a trading period devastated by Covid-19. Down from £3,215,817 (H1 2019) to £2,985,965 (H1 2020)

·      One-off hit from Covid-19 held to £130,882 of rent concessions

·      All tenants are maintaining rental payments in accordance with agreements

·      Admission to AQSE Growth Market's Apex segment, subsequent to the period end.

 

 

Ismail Ghandour, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"The calendar year 2020 was one of the worst trading periods ever experienced in the UK, affecting all sectors of the economy. That Ace has turned in such a remarkable performance is a justification of the way we've built up our portfolio over the past few years."

 

 

 

Chairman's statement

 

I am pleased to announce the Company's interim results for the half year ended 31 October 2020. This is a very strong set of figures indeed, especially given the difficult economic situation in the UK as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 virus on the nation's commercial activities. Profit before tax is £673,511 compared to the comparative value of £305,060, an increase of 121%. Rental income at £2,985,965 shows a reduction of 7.1% from the comparative year's value of £3,215,817, resulting from concessions made to tenants and various other small adjustments mainly relating to the rent received from properties held for sale.

 

This strong result is after taking into account a small precautionary impairment of £200,000 against one of the Company's held-for-sale properties, Oscar Court, as a result of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The commercial portfolio continues to perform well with rent collections exceeding 80% each quarter. This success owes much to the foresight of the directors who concentrated the Company's holdings into properties let to national and local government agencies. At the time of this report, these account for over half the Company's income. The Group also numbers two Banks and a Building Society among its tenants, together with other strongly-performing major companies. The retail sector has been avoided apart from food and pharmaceutical provision, which have remained open throughout the lockdowns. Tenants include representatives from the leisure industry, which have had a difficult trading period, although none has ceased paying their rents at a full or temporarily-reduced level. One has entered into a Creditors' Voluntary Arrangement which resulted in a small loss of rental income. In total, £130,882 of rent concessions were made which have been fully written off in the half year accounts. Those tenants which have deferred some of their rental payments by agreement with the Company have strong trading prospects and intend to make up all arrears by end December 2021 as they return to normal levels of business. No provisions against these rents are considered necessary at this time.

 

The company continues to follow a conservative approach to its portfolio management as shown by the following statistics at 31 October 2020:

a)     Portfolio Loan to Value is 53% (H1 2019: 54%)

b)    Weighted Average Unexpired Lease to Break is 6.94% years (H1 2019: 8.08 years)

c)     57% of tenants are government bodies (H1 2019: 58%); 42% are triple-A commercial (H1 2019:41%)

 

Two properties have been purchased since the beginning of this interim period. 16-17 Westborough, Scarborough, which is let to Skipton Building Society at an annual rent of £117,500 was purchased on 26 August for £1,430,000. On 7 December, after the date of these results, the purchase of 78-82 English Street and 49-53 Blackfriars Street Carlisle was completed at a price of £1,710,000. The principal tenant is Clydesdale Bank with an annual rent of £120,000. Both properties continue the Group's policy of purchasing high-yielding properties with creditworthy long term tenants.

 

As a result of the uncertainties stemming from the effects of the Covid-19 virus, the Company has temporarily suspended its dividend policy in order to conserve cash resources. The directors value the support of the shareholders in this way which will enhance the long term strength of the Company.

 

The directors continue to seek ways of enhancing the Company's prospects and, over the coming few months in particular, will build on the portfolio's manifest strengths in a unstable market.

 

 

Dr Tony Ghorayeb

Chairman

27 January 2021

 

 

Unaudited group statement of comprehensive income

for the six months ended 31 October 2020

 

 

   Six months ended 31 October 2020 (Unaudited)  

   Six months ended 31 October 2019 (Unaudited)  

 Year ended 30 April 2020 (Audited)

 

  GBP 

  GBP 

  GBP 

 

 

 

 

Turnover

2,985,965

3,215,817

6,391,897

 

 

 

 

Loss on disposal of investment property

-

-

(13,026)

Administrative expenses

(753,944)

(726,030)

(1,805,592)

Fair value losses on investment property

-

-

(500,000)

Fair value gains losses on assets held for sale

(200,000)

-

(300,000)

Lease breakage fee

-

-

173,375

Finance cost

(1,389,010)

(2,184,977)

(3,972,244)

Finance income

30,500

250

34,842

Profit for the period

673,511

305,060

9,252

 

 

 

 

Taxation

(91,655)

(93,050)

111,113

 

 

 

 

Profit after taxation

581,856

212,010

120,365

 

 

 

 

Other comprehensive income

8,883

184,674

341,604

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income for the period

590,739

396,684

461,969

 

 

Earnings per share - profit after tax

 

 

 

 

          pence

       pence

   pence*

Basic

         0.99

      0.50

      0.25

Diluted

         0.78

      0.30

      0.19  

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share - total comprehensive income on redemption and rollover of CLNs

          pence

       pence

   pence

Basic

         1.01

      0.93

      0.97

Diluted

         0.79

      0.56

      0.75

                                                                                                                                                   *Unaudited

 

 

 

Unaudited group statement of retained earnings

for the six months ended 31 October 2020

 

 

   Six months ended 31 October 2020 (Unaudited)  

   Six months ended 31 October 2019 (Unaudited)  

 Year ended 30 April 2019 (Audited)

 

  GBP 

  GBP 

  GBP 

 

 

 

 

Balance brought forward

516,517

774,774

774,774

Profit for the period

581,856

212,010

120,365

Other comprehensive income

8,883

184,674

341,604

 

590,739

396,684

461,969

Dividend on ordinary shares

-

(349,312)

(720,226)

 

-

(349,312)

(720,226)

Balance carried forward

1,107,256

822,146

516,517

 

 

 

Unaudited group statement of financial position

 

 

 

at 31 October 2020

 

 

 

 

At 31 October 2020

(Unaudited)  

At 31 October 2019 (Unaudited)  

At 30 April 2020 (Audited)

 

  GBP 

  GBP 

  GBP 

ASSETS

 

 

 

Non-current assets

 

 

 

Investment properties

78,391,081

79,538,096

76,888,096

Deferred tax

45,054

-

7,054

 

78,436,135

79,538,096

76,895,150

Current assets

 

 

 

Assets held for sale

10,229,921

8,579,921

10,429,921

Trade and other receivables

1,042,425

474,452

789,256

Cash and cash equivalents

7,509,091

1,593,826

7,432,958

 

18,781,437

10,648,199

18,652,135

 

 

 

 

TOTAL ASSETS

97,217,572

90,186,295

95,547,285

 

 

 

 

EQUITY AND LIABILITIES

 

 

 

Current Liabilities

 

 

 

Liabilities held for sale

1,317,063

1,395,375

1,350,625

Trade and other payables

6,314,559

3,830,410

5,536,009

Taxation

226,726

184,494

100,121

Borrowings

12,685,633

15,611,701

2,668,972

 

20,543,981

21,021,980

9,655,727

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

Borrowings

44,444,478

47,116,098

54,244,301

Deferred tax

-

116,188

-

 

44,444,478

47,232,286

54,244,301

EQUITY

 

 

 

Issued capital and reserves

 

 

 

Share capital

14,626,463

10,799,592

14,626,463

Share premium reserve

16,773,712

9,604,775

16,773,712

Share option reserve

-

826,906

-

Other reserve

202,302

359,230

211,185

Treasury shares

(480,620)

(480,620)

(480,620)

Retained earnings

1,069,256

822,146

516,517

Total equity attributable to owners of the parent

32,191,113

21,932,029

31,647,257

 

 

 

 

TOTAL EQUITY AND LIABILITIES

97,217,572

90,186,295

95,547,285

 

 

 

Unaudited Group cash flow statement

for the six months ended 31 October 2020

 

 

 

 

   Six months ended 31 October 2020 (Unaudited)  

   Six months ended 31 October 2019 (Unaudited)  

 Year ended 30 April 2020 (Audited)

 

  GBP 

  GBP 

  GBP 

 

 

 

 

Profit before tax

673,511

305,060

9,252

Cash flow from operating activities

 

 

 

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

Finance income

(30,500)

(250)

(34,842)

Finance costs

1,389,010

2,184,977

3,972,244

Gain on disposal of investment property

-

-

13,026

Fair value adjustment

200,000

-

800,000

(Decrease) / increase in receivables

(76,728)

36,038

(278,766)

Increase / (decrease) in payables

628,581

(1,063,998)

702,627

Tax paid

(3,050)

-

(8,809)

Interest paid

(1,411,157)

(1,831,756)

(2,547,166)

Other financial costs paid

(7,750)

-

(745,631)

Net cash generated/ (used) by operating activities

1,361,917

(369,929)

1,881,935

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

Interest received

30,500

250

34,842

Purchase of investment properties

(1,680,034)

-

-

Sale of investment properties

-

205,000

205,000

Net cash (used) / generated by investing activities

(1,649,534)

205,250

239,842

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

Share issue, net of issue costs

-

387,000

6,104,665

Long term loans advanced

670,000

400,000

-

Long term loan repaid

(6,250)

(635,925)

(1,480,000)

    Short term loans repaid

(300,000)

-

(550,000)

Equity dividend paid

-

(349,312)

(720,226)

Net cash generated by financing activities

363,750

(198,237)

3,354,439

Net increase / (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

76,133

(362,916)

5,476,216

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the period

7,432,958

1,956,742

1,956,742

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period

7,509,091

1,593,826

7,432,958

 

 

 

The interim financial information set out herein does not constitute full financial statements within the meaning of Section 240 of the Companies Act 2006. The unaudited Group results have been prepared under the historical cost convention, in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and applicable accounting standards in the United Kingdom.

 

The interim report has been prepared using accounting policies consistent with those set out in the Company's Annual Report and Accounts for the period to 30 April 2020. Those financial statements were prepared on a going concern basis.

 

The interim report for the six months to 31 October 2020 was approved by the Board on 27 January 2021

 

The Directors of Ace Liberty & Stone Plc accept responsibility for this announcement.

 

 

Notes to Editors

 

Ace Liberty & Stone Plc is a property investment company with a diverse portfolio of properties located across the UK, currently including Leeds, Sunderland, Plymouth, Leicester, Barnstaple, and Manchester. The Company locates commercial properties with Triple-A tenants which have the potential for an increase in value.  Ace has maintained a track record of generating strong profits at disposal of properties and achieving better-than-average returns on capital which are in turn utilised to underwrite an increasing dividend flow to shareholders. With strong support from shareholders and mortgage lenders, the Company is currently seeking further investment opportunities in the UK to create value for existing and new investors.

 

Ace is run by a board with extensive property experience, an excellent network of contacts and relevant professional qualifications. This sector expertise allied to a flexible decision-making process has allowed the Board to identify promising opportunities and act promptly to secure investments.

 

For more information on the Company please visit www.acelibertyandstone.com

 

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Ace Liberty & Stone Plc

 

Ivan Minter, Financial Director

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7201 8340

 

Alfred Henry Corporate Finance Ltd,

AQSE Growth Market Corporate Adviser

 

Jon Isaacs / Nick Michaels

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3772 0021

 

 

SP Angel

Broker

 

Vadim Alexandre / Abigail Wayne / Rob Rees

Tel: +44 (0)20 3861 6625 

 

 

Belvedere Communications

 

John West / Llew Angus

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3687 2756

 

 

ACF Equity Research

 

Christopher Nicholson / Amalia Barnoschi

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7558 8974

     

 

 

- Ends -

 

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