Samarkand Group plc : Admission to Trading and First Day of Dealings DGAP

Samarkand Group plc (SMK)
Samarkand Group plc : Admission to Trading and First Day of Dealings

22-March-2021 / 07:00 GMT/BST
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THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, INCLUDING THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN IT IS RESTRICTED AND IS NOT FOR PUBLICATION, RELEASE OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN OR INTO OR FROM THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN, OR THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH PUBLICATION, RELEASE OR DISTRIBUTION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL.

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT AN OFFER OF SECURITIES FOR SALE IN THE UNITED STATES OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION. INVESTORS SHOULD NOT SUBSCRIBE FOR OR PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES REFERRED TO IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT EXCEPT ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION IN THE GROWTH PROSPECTUS PUBLISHED BY SAMARKAND GROUP PLC IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED ADMISSION OF ITS ORDINARY SHARES TO TRADING ON THE AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE.

 

DATE: 22 March 2021

 

Samarkand Group plc

("Samarkand", the "Company" or together with its subsidiaries the "Group")

 

Admission to Trading and First Day of Dealings

 

Samarkand Group plc, the cross-border eCommerce technology and retail group, is pleased to announce that admission of its ordinary shares of £0.01 ("Ordinary Shares") to trading on the APEX segment of the Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market ("AQSE") ("Admission") will take place and dealings will commence at 8.00 a.m. today, under the ticker SMK and ISIN number GB00BLH1QT30.

 

The significantly oversubscribed fundraising, which was scaled up from the original £10.0 million target to accommodate demand from institutional investors and Qualified Investors, raised £17.0 million (before expenses) at an issue price of 115 pence per share. The net proceeds will principally be used by the Company to further develop the Nomad Platform's functionality and services, expanding the Group's business development activities and to make further strategic acquisitions.

 

On Admission, the Company will have 51,618,966 Ordinary Shares in issue.

 

VSA Capital Limited is acting as the Aquis Stock Exchange Corporate Adviser and Broker to the Company.

 

Samarkand Highlights

 

  • Samarkand is headquartered in London and enables the Group's own brands and other third-party consumer brands to access Chinese consumers through cross-border eCommerce.

 

  • The Executive Management of Samarkand comprises a team who worked successfully together in a previous company until it was sold, achieving a significant uplift for shareholders and investors. 

 

  • The Board of Directors on Admission will comprise a team that is highly experienced in retail and eCommerce, including; Tanith Dodge former group HR Director of Marks & Spencer Group Plc and Value Retail (Bicester Village Collection) who is also a member of the advisory council of PwC and serves on the Board of Robert Walters Plc and; Keith Higgins who served as eCommerce Director at P&G for 10 years before heading up Unilever's global eCommerce strategy for a further 10 years leading to his current role as Chief Customer Development Officer at Unilever plc.

 

  • The incumbent model for Western brands to enter this market has been through wholesale distribution relationships which can lead to lack of control and margin sacrifice for brands.

 

  • The Group has developed a proprietary software platform - the Nomad platform - which is integrated with Chinese eCommerce and social media platforms, as well as payment, logistics and customs systems to provide a Direct-to-Consumer alternative.

 

  • The Group's Nomad platform offers five main technology and service solutions designed for Clients of varying size who wish to sell their products to end consumers in China; Nomad Checkout, Nomad Storefront, Nomad Commerce, Nomad Analytics and Nomad Distribution.

 

  • The Group acquired consumer health brand Probio7 in December 2017, which it has launched into the Chinese CBEC market through the same channels and technology that it provides to Clients.

 

  • The Directors believe that market insights combined with the sales channels it has developed in China provide the Group with a competitive advantage and an opportunity to buy brands in Europe that have great potential in China but without the means to access the market.

 

  • Since 2014, the CBEC market in China has grown from approximately £14 billion to a forecast £138 billion in 2021. During this period, 105 CBEC Zones ("CBEC Zone") have been established across China alongside further policies to encourage and promote the growth of CBEC.

 

  • The CBEC market in China has grown from approximately £14 billion in 2014 and is forecast to reach £138 billion in 2021.

 

  • For the year ended 31 March 2020, the Group's revenue was £6.8 million (2019: £4.5 million), its operating loss was £1.1 million (2019: £1.2 million) and its EBITDA loss was £0.8 million (2019: £1.0 million).

 

  • For the eight-month period ended 30 November 2020, the Group's revenue was £16.0 million (2019: £3.8 million), its operating profit was £2.0 million (2019: loss £1.0 million) and its EBITDA profit was £2.4 million (2019: loss £0.8 million).

 

  • The Group has been funded to the net amount of £3.3 million since its formation and has generated over £27.3 million of revenue from April 2018 to November 2020.

 

 

The Company's UK Growth Prospectus is available to view on its website www.samarkand.global

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Samarkand Group plc

Via Alma PR

David Hampstead, Chief Executive Officer

Eva Hang, Chief Financial Officer

http://samarkand.global/

 

 

 

VSA Capital - AQSE Corporate Adviser and Broker

+44(0)20 3005 5000

Andrew Raca, James Deathe, Pascal Wiese (Corporate Finance)

Andrew Monk (Corporate Broking)

IPO@vsacapital.com

 

 

 

Alma PR

+44(0)20 3405 0213

Josh Royston

Robyn Fisher

Caroline Forde

Joe Pederzolli

samarkand@almapr.co.uk

 

Notes to Editors

 

Samarkand is a cross-border eCommerce technology and retail group focusing on connecting Western Brands with China, the world's largest eCommerce market. The Group has developed a proprietary software platform, the Nomad platform, which is integrated across all necessary touch-points required for eCommerce in China including eCommerce platforms, payments, logistics, social media and customs. The Nomad platform is the foundation on which the Group's Nomad technology and service solutions are built. The core products include Nomad Checkout, Nomad Storefront, Nomad Commerce, Nomad Distribution and Nomad Analytics.

 

The Company's current customer base comprises leading European brands such as 111SKIN, Shay & Blue, Omorovicza, ICONIC London, Philip Kingsley, Temple Spa, Zita West Products and Planet Organic. Samarkand has also successfully grown its own brand, Probio7, acquired in December 2017.

 

Founded in 2016, Samarkand is headquartered in London, UK with an office in Shanghai employing over 90 staff.

 

For further information please visit https://www.samarkand.global/

 

Samarkand's main technology and service solutions are:

 

Nomad Checkout, a Software as a Service based solution that integrates with popular eCommerce software providers, such as Shopify, and enables Clients to introduce their products through their own eCommerce website to Chinese consumers, with the sale finalised on the Nomad platform in China. Nomad Checkout allows Chinese consumers to use payment methods popular in China, such as Alipay and WeChat Pay, and benefit from improved delivery methods and product authenticity. An "Enterprise" version is already in use by one of Europe's largest eCommerce companies.

 

Nomad Storefront supports the operation of eCommerce stores on well-known Chinese platforms (such as Tmall, Xiaohongshu, amongst others) on behalf of Clients. Delivered as a managed service from the Group's office in Shanghai, the platform provides product management, order processing, stock management and analytics across multiple eCommerce platforms giving Clients a consolidated solution to the fragmented Chinese CBEC market.

 

Nomad Commerce offers customisable eCommerce solutions for Clients that want to establish their own eCommerce presence in China. Integrated with the dominant payment providers such as AliPay and WeChat Pay it also supports a content management system, recommendation engine and detailed analytics and event tracking. Hosted on AliCloud infrastructure in China to provide low-latency, high speed experience for consumers not impacted by Chinese internet restrictions which often effect sites hosted outside of China.


Nomad Analytics gives comprehensive marketing and sales data for the Chinese market in a centralised place, in much the same way as would be available through their traditional sales channels in Western markets. Real‐time data is available to Clients across a range of key metrics necessary for insightful management decision making. A consolidated view of eCommerce sales by channel, product and customer demographic, along with stock levels, logistics flows (including delivery times and exceptions) give Clients the visibility and transparency often lacking when operating through a traditional wholesale distribution arrangements for sales into China.

 

Nomad Distribution allows Clients to access key opinion leaders and celebrities to generate sales in China's fast growing social commerce space. Social commerce has emerged as a driving force of eCommerce in China in recent years and estimated at CNY 3,703 billion (£423 billion) of Gross Merchandise Value in 2020. As well as providing Clients access to this sector, it also enables their products to be drop-shipped through CBEC directly to consumers in China.

 

In 2021 the CBEC market in China is forecast to reach £138 billion, growing from £14 billion in 2014. The growth in the Chinese CBEC market has been supported by the introduction of a range of policies and infrastructure by the Chinese government to encourage the growth of the sector (including the introduction of 105 special CBEC Zones across the country and the relaxation of testing and registration requirements, such as animal testing for skincare products). China, already the world leader in eCommerce has, like the rest of the world, experienced an acceleration in online shopping habits because of the covid-19 pandemic. It is also one of the few economies still reporting growth. Samarkand has experienced a 166% growth in recurring revenue in the 8 months to 30 November 2020 during the height of the pandemic compared to the same period the year before.

 

Board of Directors

 

Tanith Dodge - Independent Non-Executive Chairperson

Tanith is an International Business Leader working as a member of senior executive teams and providing a commercial approach to the business and people agenda and has over 35 years of experience working as an HR Director across a broad sector of International businesses. Her previous positions included Group HR Director Bicester Village Collection, member of the Management Committee and Group HRD at Marks and Spencer Group PLC and at WH Smiths PLC. Tanith has held senior HR roles at Intercontinental Hotels, Diageo, Prudential PLC and Allied Domecq.

 

Her current Board experience includes Non-Executive Director and Chair of Remuneration Committee, Chair of Organisational Health Committee and member of Audit Committee and Nominations Committee at Robert Walters PLC. In addition, she is a member of the Advisory Council for PriceWaterhouseCoopers responsible for advising internal business leaders on a range of subjects and Trustee for Ambitious About Autism. She has also been a director of Regents Inns Plc and Busy Bees Plc and is a former Trustee of Kids Out and former board member of CIPD.

 

David Hampstead - Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder

David began his career as a software engineer at large blue-chip firms such as Hewlett Packard and Vodafone before moving to a mobile technology start-up leading a team of engineers building software for mobile phone companies across EMEA and Asia. In 2008 David returned to the UK to establish QuickThink Media and Bejig Ltd. Both businesses were subsequently combined and floated on the London AIM Market as Gaming Realms plc (GMR:LSE) where he served as Chief Technology Officer. As group CTO at Gaming Realms David was responsible for building and managing a 70-person strong technology team spread across the US and Europe building a state-of-the-art technology platform for the highly competitive online gaming industry.

 

Simon Smiley - Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder

Simon started his career as a store management trainee in 2004 with Rank PLC in London. Later Simon co-founded QuickThink Media with David Hampstead. Post QuickThink's exit to Gaming Realms plc, Simon became the group's Chief Marketing Officer planning and executing large consumer acquisition campaigns. Simon holds an MA (hons) in economic and social history. 

 

Keith Higgins - Independent Non-Executive Director

Keith has 20 years of eCommerce experience with two of the largest consumer goods companies in the world. From 2000 to 2010, Keith held senior positions at Proctor & Gamble ("P&G") as Innovation Centre & eCommerce Director (2000-2006) and then as eCommerce and Pharmacy Channel Director (2000-2010). In 2010, Keith moved to Unilever to become Vice President eCommerce and Channel Development, becoming Senior Vice President of eCommerce in 2012 and Executive Vice President eCommerce in 2013. In 2010, after 10 years heading up Unilever's global eCommerce strategy he was promoted to a C-level role as Chief Customer Development Officer.

 

Keith's experience across two decades at P&G and Unilever brings a unique level of insight, understanding and network in the global eCommerce industry to the board.

 

Jeanette Hern - Non-Executive Director

Jeanette has considerable experience in international finance having joined Smollan as Global CFO in March 2015. Jeanette has played a key role in in the geographic expansion of the Group, managing the successful integration of acquired businesses, as Smollan's footprint grew from 22 to 59 countries across the world.

 

Prior to joining Smollan, Jeanette was a partner at Grant Thornton. Promoted to Deputy CEO in the South African business, her position allowed her to successfully champion transformation. Jeanette is currently a director of Global Smollan Holdings and a number of its subsidiary and associate companies, including Flixmedia Limited, Advantage Smollan Limited, Intermarketing Agency Limited and Intermarketing Group Limited.

 

She is a qualified Chartered Accountant - CA(SA) and a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

 

Directors' Shareholdings

 

Shareholder Name

Number of Ordinary Shares
at Admission

Percentage Holding

David Hampstead (1)

7,910,951

15.33

Simon Smiley (2)

7,295,793

14.13

Tanith Dodge

43,478

0.08

Keith Higgins

30,435

0.06

Jeanette Hern

-

-

 

(1) 486,400 Ordinary Shares registered in the name of David Hampstead is under option pursuant to the terms of a Hedging Agreement

 

(2) 505,600 Ordinary Shares registered in the name of Simon Smiley is under option pursuant to the terms of a Hedging Agreement

 

Significant Shareholdings

 

Shareholder Name

Number of Ordinary Shares
at Admission

Percentage Holding

Global Smollan Holding

8,087,539

15.67

Thomas Gooding

5,463,111

10.58

Schroders Investment Management

4,347,826

8.42

 

 



Category Code: MSCH
TIDM: SMK
Sequence No.: 95953
EQS News ID: 1177086

 
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