Finance firm confident, despite impact of coronavirus pandemic

John Hustler
X The Business Desk

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Haydock-based finance specialist Seneca Growth Capital said the net asset value of its funds improved during the six month period to June 30.

Reporting today, Seneca said, despite the unprecedented economic climate and general turmoil of financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the net asset value of its B share increased from 91.8p to 104.6p and the NAV per Ordinary share increased from 30.2p to 39.0p during the period.

The key activities in respect of the B share portfolio in the period included four new investments – three of which were AIM quoted. These involved an increase in the share price of SkinBioTherapeutics from 22p at 31 December 2020 to 63p at 30 June 2021, two partial exits, including a realisation of 1,750,000 in SkinBio shares generating £621,000 and a profit of £341,000, and a dividend of 1.5p per B share paid in May 2021.

The key activities in respect of the Ordinary Share portfolio included a significant increase in the share price of Scancell Holdings from 13.5p at 31 December 2020 to 21.5p at 30 June 2021, a partial realisation of Scancell shares in February 2021 at 21.7p per Scancell share, boosting the Ordinary share pool’s cash position, a dividend of 4.0p per Ordinary share paid in June 2021, and a follow-on investment of £85,000 into existing Ordinary share portfolio company Arecor Limited, now Arecor Therapeutics, to support the investee company’s IPO.

Further to the success of the c ompany’s B share offers over the past three years, under which the company has raised more than £12m, it said it expects to issue a further prospectus shortly to enable the company to continue to raise funds for the ongoing development of the B share portfolio.

Chairman, John Hustler, said: “Notwithstanding the significant challenges faced by the UK economy since the onset of COVID-19, we are encouraged by the positive progress being made by the B share pool.

“As at 30 March 2020, just after the onset of COVID-19, the B share NAV stood at 79.5p per B share. By 30 June 2021, the increase in total return per B share amounted to 29.6p (a 37% increase on the NAV as at 30 March 2020) to 109.1p per B share – a performance which we believe will be very well received by our B share investors in these unprecedented times.

“We are pleased that Seneca have developed a spread of B share portfolio investee companies, some of which are unquoted and some of which are AIM quoted, thereby reducing concentration risk for the company’s B shareholders in relation to any one single investment.”

He added: “We also note that with £6m of cash on the B share pool balance sheet as at 30 June 2021 – equivalent to 46% of the B share NAV at 30 June 2021 – Seneca believe they are very well placed to continue to support the existing B share investment portfolio as well as adding attractive new growth capital investments from the strong pipeline of opportunities presented to them. We, therefore, look forward to the continued development of the B share portfolio.

“We have continued our policy of returning realised cash to Ordinary shareholders through the dividend paid following the sale of Scancell shares. We are also encouraged by Arecor’s float on AIM and believe further opportunities to realise profitable returns for Ordinary shareholders are achievable.”