City round-up: AO World; Begbies Traynor; Byotrol; ConvaTec Group

AO World
X The Business Desk

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AO World, the Bolton-based European online electrical retailer, revealed its first half revenues have increased by approximately five per cent compared with the previous year, which represented a strong comparative due to the COVID lockdown.

In a trading update for the six month period ended September 30, AO World said, in the UK, revenues over the period increased approximately six per cent, with growth impacted by the nationwide shortage of delivery drivers and ongoing disruption in the global supply chain.

In Germany, revenues in local currency rose by around three per cent, despite the competitive online market. The challenging market dynamics in both the UK and Germany resulted in lower volumes than expected, which affected operational leverage, particularly in the second quarter.

Given the exceptional operating environment over the past 18 months, the group’s performance over the comparable period in the first half of 2020, which covered April 1-September 30, 2019, provides a more meaningful overview of the business performance than a comparison with the first half of 2021. Therefore, on a two-year like-for-like basis, group revenues grew by around 66%, with the UK business growing approximately 63%. Like-for-like revenues in Germany grew approximatley 84% over the same period.

While AO World continues to see industrywide issues relating to ongoing supply chain disruption, it has implemented measures to help mitigate these challenges in its logistics operations.

It expects revenue growth in the second half of the year to record a similar growth rate to the first half of this year and anticipates that group adjusted EBITDA for the full year to be between £35m and £50m, with profits more heavily weighted than usual towards the second half of the year driven by the peak trading period.

While the macro-outlook remains uncertain, the group said it has confidence in the proven resilience of its business model and is well placed to meet customer demand in its peak third quarter sales period.

AO World will announce its interim results for the half year on Tuesday, November 23.

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Anthony Spencer

Eddisons, the property services consultancy division of Manchester-based Begbies Traynor Group, is expanding its operations in Sheffield through the acquisition of the team from Fernie Greaves Chartered Surveyors.

The £250,000 acquisition will expand Eddisons’ presence in South Yorkshire, which provides real estate consultancy services through its existing team headed by Adrian Lunn. The new team from Fernie Greaves, headed by Paul Oddy and George Thompson, will join Eddisons’ Sheffield team creating an enlarged team of 13 staff.

The Fernie Greaves team has typically generated annual fee income of approximately £500,000 per year.

Anthony Spencer, managing partner of Eddisons, said: “The acquisition of the Fernie Greaves team will enhance our existing Eddisons team in Sheffield and broaden our reach across South Yorkshire and the East Midlands. I am very pleased to welcome the team to Eddisons and to the wider Begbies Traynor Group.

“As we reported in the group’s recent trading update, Eddisons is in a strong position, trading well and we continue to seek opportunities to grow the Eddisons’ business, both organically and through acquisitions.”

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David Traynor

Daresbury-based hygiene group Byotrol has completed the sale in the Americas of its US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered, long lasting antimicrobial surface spray to its existing licensee, Integrated Resources Inc.

The agreement involves a sale by Byotrol to IRI of all rights to the formulation in the Americas, including registrations and patent rights, in return for:

  • Cash payments amounting to $1.4m in total, paid over a maximum of two years, with the first payment already made. For US regulatory reasons, Byotrol will remain formal legal owner of the formulation until the payments are complete, although substantially all economic risks and rewards have now been transferred to IRI
  • Three years of royalty on all IRI sales;
  • Further payments to Byotrol should IRI onward sell the formulation within three years; and
  • Byotrol continuing to act as the preferred technical services provider to IRI and its customers on the formulation, paid-for by IRI on a case-by-case basis.

Simultaneous with this sale, Byotrol has entered into a preliminary three-way agreement with IRI and a significant US distribution company to register with EPA and then sell the formulation into US professional markets. Should formal registration be achieved, sales by IRI to the distribution company will accrue additional royalties to Byotrol.

Byotrol retains all ownership and rights over the formulation outside the Americas.

The agreement continues the company’s strategy to cease its day-to-day operations in the US, while maintaining rights to share in the success of its partners and licensees.

Byotrol chief executive, David Traynor, said: “Byotrol24 is going to a very good home in Integrated Resources, and we look forward to sharing in their continuing successes in the Americas.

“We are particularly pleased with the new relationships IRI has been building – and that we have been helpful in securing – in the last 18 months and we expect them to accelerate progress now, particularly in the very large US markets, helping to underpin management’s expectations for the current and next financial year.”

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Convatec

ConvaTec Group, the Deeside medical products firm, has announced that it has priced an offering of $500m aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2029, intended to be issued by 180 Medical, Inc.

The notes will bear interest at a rate of 3.875% per annum. The issuance and settlement of the notes is expected to occur on October 7, 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

The company intends to use the proceeds from the offering of the notes to prepay a portion of borrowings under the facilities agreement dated October 24, 2019, between, among others, ConvaTec Finance Holdings and ConvaTec Inc as original borrowers and National Westminster Bank as facility agent and security agent.

As part of the transaction, the existing security granted over the shares securing the credit facility agreement will be released.

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