BBGI SICAV SA (LON:BBGI) has today announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.
• Investment Basis NAV up 10.8% to £858.1 million as at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: £774.5 million)
• NAV per Share up 2.0% to 136.2pps as at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: 133.5pps)
• Total Shareholder Return (‘TSR’) since IPO 110.9% (FY 2018: 111.4%)
• Annual Total Shareholder Return since IPO 10.4% (FY 2018: 11.2%)
• 2019 Target Minimum Dividend of 7.00pps up 3.7% on the 2018 dividend. 2019 interim dividend declared of 3.50pps to be paid on 17 October 2019
• Dividend Guidance 2020 of 7.18pps up 2.6% on the 2019 dividend target
• Cash Dividend Cover of 1.3x (FY 2018:1.5x)
• Annualised Ongoing Charges of 0.89% (FY 2018: 0.93%)
• Diversified global portfolio of 48 high-quality, availability-based PPP infrastructure assets with portfolio performance and cash receipts in line with business plan.
• Value enhancements achieved through accretive management resulting in a 0.5 per cent increase in NAV.
• Further de-risking of assets, including Stanton Territorial Hospital which became fully operational.
• Support for the Company’s investment case proven by equity capital of £75 million raised through an oversubscribed new ordinary share issue in June 2019.
• At 30 June 2019, the Group had, on an Investment Basis, a net cash position of £20.3 million, consisting of a total cash balance of £87.3 million and total borrowings outstanding of £66.9 million[x].
• Selective acquisition strategy which resulted in two additional follow-on equity stakes being acquired in the period with a total value of approximately £57.4 million.
• Attractive global pipeline of availability-based assets in highly rated investment grade countries including a pipeline agreement with a North American contractor which provides additional investment opportunities in availability-based PPP assets.
• Signatory to the United Nations Responsible Investment Principles (‘UNPRI’) and commitment as a long-term investor in public infrastructure assets with strong relationships with all significant stakeholders.
Project portfolio cash flow
The portfolio has a steady stream of cash flows deriving from the underlying assets until 2051. Based on current estimates, and if there were to be no further acquisitions, the existing portfolio is forecast to enter into the repayment phase in 2035, whereby cash inflows from the portfolio will be paid to the Company’s shareholders as capital and the portfolio valuation will reduce as assets reach the end of their concession term.
The two investments made in H1 2019 contributed to both stable cash flows and the weighted average length of the portfolio.
The predictability of these stable, contracted and long-term cash flows is enhanced by government or government-backed counterparties with index-linked provisions providing a positive inflation linkage of 0.5%.
The Company has a weighted average portfolio life of 21.2 years, a decrease of 0.1 years compared with 31 December 2018.
The Company’s portfolio consists of interests in 48 high-quality, availability-based infrastructure assets in the transport, healthcare, education, justice and other services sectors.
Located in the UK, North America, Australia and Continental Europe, 100 per cent of the assets are operational.
I am delighted to report that the Company has delivered another strong set of results in the reporting period.
In following our proven investment strategy managing a high-quality, globally diversified portfolio of low-risk, availability-based infrastructure assets, we have generated a 10.8 per cent increase in NAV to £858.1 million and an increase of 2.0 per cent to 136.2 pence on a per-share basis.
The Company’s portfolio continued to perform in line with expectations due to the sustainability of the long-term cash flows our portfolio’s assets generate, and the security and predictability of the government or government-backed contracts that underpin them.
This robust performance supports the Company’s established progressive dividend policy which has delivered a Total Shareholder Return since IPO of 110.9 per cent, or 10.4 per cent on a compound annual basis. Accordingly, we are pleased to declare an interim cash dividend distribution of 3.5pps payable on 17 October 2019, in line with our 2019 target minimum dividend guidance of 7.00pps. Furthermore, the Board is providing 2020 dividend guidance of 7.18pps, which represents an increase of 2.6 per cent.
Value-driven active asset management
Over the period, the Management Board and the Company’s investment teams maintained their focus on active asset management, where sustaining positive client relationships remains a key component of our operating model. This helped ensure a very high level of asset availability- at 99.7 per cent – which contributed significantly to generating cash receipts in line with our business plan.
The portfolio’s underlying assets are now fully operational following the opening of Stanton Territorial Hospital – a state-of-the-art integrated healthcare facility in Canada – to its first patients in May 2019.
The Company’s value-driven approach resulted in £3.9 million of operational and accretive enhancements, contributing to a 0.5 per cent increase in the Company’s NAV. The portfolio’s assets recorded no material lock-ups or events of defaults and all deductions over the period were either borne by third-party facility managers and road operators, or were part of planned lifecycle budgets.
Prudent financial management
The investor support for our investment strategy was again demonstrated in the oversubscription of the Company’s £75 million equity issue in June 2019.
In raising additional equity from both new and existing investors to repay the whole of the drawn amount under the Company’s Revolving Credit Facility (RCF), we continue to manage our balance sheet prudently.
Selective acquisition strategy
Our investment activity in the first half of the year saw the Company acquire further equity interests in Ohio River Bridges in the US and A1/A6 motorway in the Netherlands.
By leveraging our pre-emption rights, transacting swiftly or by maximising specific asset knowledge, we were able to deploy a combined total of £57.4 million of new cash investment on accretive terms into existing assets and, in so doing, we increased the portfolio’s geographic diversification and increased our allocation to lower risk, availability-based road and bridge assets. This encapsulates our focus on originating stable, predictable cash flows with secure, highly visible contracted public sector revenues.
We continue to see opportunity to procure new or additional interests from high-quality, market-leading contractors to achieve this objective. In mobilising the Management Board’s strength of industry relationships through bilateral negotiations, we are providing a solution to those contractors increasingly looking to divest their financial interests in such assets.
A direct benefit of the Company’s internal management structure is our ability to maintain the lowest comparative ongoing charges[xii] for our shareholders at 0.89 per cent on an annualised basis, compared to 0.93 per cent at 31 December 2018. The Management Board’s interests continue to be fully aligned with shareholders.
In May 2019, the Supervisory Board welcomed the appointment of Sarah Whitney as an Independent Non-Executive Director and member of the Audit Committee. Sarah brings over 30 years’ experience in real estate and financial services to complement the strength and capability of the Company’s non-executive and executive teams.
In 2019 to date, there have been no material changes to the official policy governing the infrastructure markets in which we invest. Governments and procuring authorities in our priority markets continue to support the role of responsible private capital to finance the infrastructure assets that citizens rely on every day to keep local economies moving.
The global diversification of the Company’s portfolio underpins our long-term investment horizon and is a natural hedge to political uncertainty. Whilst political risk remains most evident in the UK as the Labour Party’s policy agenda evolves, we continue there and elsewhere to demonstrate the long-term value which we provide to our public sector clients, contributing positively to the communities and environments in which we operate.
Despite our broad investment policy, we are committed to a strict low-risk, availability-based investment strategy. The Management Board’s global industry relationships provide a platform to pursue selective acquisitions, the pipeline for which remains most promising in Europe and North America.
This provides me with full confidence in the Company’s ability to continue generating stable, predictable returns to our shareholders with a low correlation to the wider equity markets.
29 August 2019