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Conygar Lidl

Conygar Investment Company well placed to weather the downturn

The Conygar Investment Company plc (LON:CIC) have today provided interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2020.

Summary

·    Net asset value per share 177.8 pence at 31 March 2020. 

·    Total cash available of £36.1 million (67.3 pence per share) as at 31 March 2020 and no debt.

·    Good progress made on designs for the early phase developments of our mixed-use scheme at The Island Quarter, Nottingham.

·    Construction of the Lidl store at Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire completed and development of the Burger King restaurant and drive through underway.

·    Planning permission submitted for a student accommodation scheme at Selly Oak, Birmingham.

·    Bought back 2.93 million shares (5.2% of ordinary share capital) at an average price of 135.3 pence per share.

Summary Group Net Assets as at 31 March 2020

  Per Share 
 £’mPence 
Investment Properties16.430.6 
Trading and Development Properties41.978.3 
Total Properties58.3108.9 
Cash36.167.3 
Other Net Assets0.91.6 
Net Assets95.3177.8 
    

Robert Ware, Chief Executive of The Conygar Investment Company, commented:

“We believed the outlook for the economy was positive following the general election at the end of 2019 and were looking forward to progressing our projects. The COVID-19 shutdown has fundamentally changed the outlook, and it is neither possible nor sensible to attempt to predict the future. No one can be certain of the impact of the virus on the carrying values of our development and trading properties at this time. However, as a business with low overheads, no debt and a strong cash position, Conygar is well placed to weather the downturn which has already begun.

We will monitor opportunities in the marketplace carefully as they will undoubtedly appear in the coming months. At the same time, we are well placed to advance our projects and hope to make announcements later this year to that effect.”

Chairman’s and Chief Executive’s Statement

Results Summary

We present the Group’s results for the six months ended 31 March 2020. The net asset value per share at that date decreased to 177.8p from 178.2p at 30 September 2019 (178.6p at 31 March 2019) and the loss after tax was £1.5 million (period ended 31 March 2019: loss of £13.7 million, year ended 30 September 2019: loss of £14.0 million). The loss for the current period includes a £1.3 million write down of our project at Cross Hands, as a result of the current economic impact of COVID-19.

The reporting period has coincided with a number of significant external events, beginning with the general election and ending with the COVID-19 related shutdown. Despite this volatility, the Company has made good operational progress, which should benefit the Group in the future.

At The Island Quarter, Nottingham, we have made good progress with the design of the early phases of the development and hope to be able to make announcements later this year.

At Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, we are continuing with our plans to build the first phase of houses. Reserved matters consent was received in September 2019 for 115 houses. Construction will begin when the COVID-19 situation permits work to be carried out safely.

The revaluation of our retail park at Cross Hands in Carmarthenshire at 31 March 2020, at £16.4 million, reflects a 10.4% reduction in value since the year end. We completed the construction of the 23,000 square foot Lidl food store in September 2019 which then opened for trading in January 2020. In October 2019, we exchanged an agreement for lease with Union Burger Ltd to construct a 2,750 square foot Burger King restaurant and drive through. Planning was consented in January 2020 and we started construction immediately. On 27 March 2020, the contractor halted construction due to COVID-19 related restrictions. As soon as it is possible safe construction will continue. The park has been trading well and when completed it will offer a mix of high-quality tenants.

At the Holyhead Waterfront scheme in Anglesey, we continue to work on the detailed design and reserved matters application in tandem with the marine consenting process. We expect to submit all applications by the year end.

In April 2019, we exchanged a conditional contract, on a subject to planning basis, to dispose of our industrial property in Selly Oak, Birmingham. The planning application for this student accommodation scheme was submitted in January 2020 and we are awaiting its determination.

Share Buyback

During the six-month period ended 31 March 2020, the Group acquired 2,931,000 ordinary shares representing 5.2% of its ordinary share capital at an average price of 135.3 pence per share and a cost of £3.96 million. We continue to see the buyback authority as a useful capital allocation tool and will continue to use it when we believe the stock market value differs too widely from our view of the intrinsic value of the Company.

Outlook

We believed the outlook for the economy was positive following the general election at the end of 2019 and were looking forward to progressing our projects. The COVID-19 shutdown has fundamentally changed the outlook, and it is neither possible nor sensible to attempt to predict the future. No one can be certain of the impact of the virus on the carrying values of our development and trading properties at this time. However, as a business with low overheads, no debt and a strong cash position, Conygar is well placed to weather the downturn which has already begun. We will monitor opportunities in the marketplace carefully as they will undoubtedly appear in the coming months. At the same time, we are well placed to advance our projects and hope to make announcements later this year to that effect.

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