News – DirectorsTalk Interviews https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com LSE London Stock Exchange PLC Company Interviews Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:26:27 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Jubilee Metals Group completes the acquisition of the Sable Zinc Refinery in Kabwe https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/jubilee-metals-group-completes-the-acquisition-of-the-sable-zinc-refinery-in-kabwe/412791124 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:26:25 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791124 Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP), the AIM and Altx traded metals processing company, has today announced that the sale and transfer of the entire issued share capital in Sable Zinc Kabwe Limited to Jubilee has been completed, allowing Jubilee to commence with the implementation of a fully integrated multi-metal refinery in Zambia. Highlights ·    The acquisition of ...

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Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP), the AIM and Altx traded metals processing company, has today announced that the sale and transfer of the entire issued share capital in Sable Zinc Kabwe Limited to Jubilee has been completed, allowing Jubilee to commence with the implementation of a fully integrated multi-metal refinery in Zambia.

Highlights

·    The acquisition of Sable Zinc Refinery has been completed representing a major step for the advancement of the Kabwe Project

·    The acquisition significantly reduces the Kabwe Project implementation time lines and project capital requirement

·    The Refinery together with Jubilee’s Kabwe surface resources in excess of 6 million tonnes at surface, establishes a fully integrated multi-metal operational footprint in Zambia

·    Jubilee intends to recommission the current copper/cobalt circuit during Q4 2019 to achieve earnings during the build phase of the zinc vanadium and lead circuit with first production of zinc and vanadium targeted for Q2 2020

·    The acquisition expands Jubilee’s commodity basket to include copper, vanadium, zinc and lead

·    This multi metal refining operation affords Jubilee the opportunity to rapidly expand its metals recovery footprint in Zambia which the Company is actively pursuing

Jubilee Chief Executive Officer Leon Coetzer said: 

“Completing the acquisition of the Refinery is a key milestone in delivering Jubilee’s Zambian strategy of establishing a fully integrated multi-metal recovery operation.  The Refinery, which will be the only one of its kind in Zambia, opens tremendous potential opportunities for Jubilee to significantly increase its access to additional surface materials for further refining.

“The advancement of the Kabwe Project is in line with our group strategy to diversify earnings across multiple commodities and jurisdictions.  We are able to fund the acquisition and implementation of the Kabwe project from our current cash reserves.”

Acquisition of Sable Zinc Refinery

Jubilee and Glencore plc through two of its subsidiaries (“Glencore”) entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) for the acquisition by Jubilee of the entire issued share capital in Sable Zinc. Sable Zinc owns the Sable Zinc Refinery (the “Refinery”) adjacent to Jubilee’s Kabwe Project.  The transfer of ownership of Sable Zinc from Glencore to Jubilee has been finalised after satisfaction of the conditions in the SPA, including receiving consent to the transfer from the Zambian Mining Cadastre Department.

Under the terms of the SPA, Jubilee has approved and made the first payment tranche of US$6,000,000 to Glencore.  The second payment of US$3,000,000 will fall due on the earlier of the completion of the conversion of the Plant to a zinc processing plant or six months after Closing. The third payment of US$3,000,000 will fall due on the earlier of commencement of commercial production of any saleable product at the Plant or six months after the second payment.

The Kabwe Project

The Kabwe Project seeks to establish a fully integrated metal recovery and refining operational footprint in Zambia. The Project combines access to large surface material with the adjacent multi-metal refining capability. The Kabwe Project resource comprises an estimated 6.4 million tonnes (3.2 million JORC compliant) of surface assets containing 356,843 tonnes of zinc, 351,386 tonnes of lead and 1.26% equivalent vanadium pentoxide. This excludes further third party sourced copper and zinc rich mined material for further refining.  The adjacent Refinery will be expanded to include a copper, zinc, vanadium and lead refining circuit based on Jubilee’s extensive process development and optimisation works program. 

The Kabwe Project will be implemented over three phases as outlined below.  Jubilee is fully funded to deliver this development plan.

Phase 1: Upgrade and commissioning of the copper refining circuit with a targeted capacity of 3,000 tonnes of refined copper per annum, targeting implementation during Q4 2019.

Phase 2: Implementation of both the zinc and vanadium refinery circuit with an initial targeted capacity of 8,000 tonnes per annum of zinc contained in a high grade zinc concentrate suitable for the market and 1,500 tonnes per annum of vanadium pentoxide, targeting commissioning of the zinc and vanadium refinery circuit during Q2 2020.

Phase 3:  Implementation of the lead refining circuit with an initial targeted capacity of 11,000 tonnes per annum of lead contained in a high-grade concentrate during Q2 2021.

The Kabwe Refinery process flowsheet offers flexibility with two separated fully equipped electro-winning circuits able to produce either high grade copper or zinc with only minor adjustments. The Company can allocate this refining capacity either to both metals individually or a combination of the two metals depending on the prevailing market conditions to maximise returns.

Prior to taking ownership of the Refinery, Jubilee actively pursued the completion of the project design and initiating final equipment selection to enable rapid implementation of the process flowsheet.  Please refer to Jubilee’s website which is being updated to show the project progress. 

Appointment of joint broker

Jubilee has appointed WHIreland as joint broker together with Shard, in support of Jubilee’s focus to broaden its institutional shareholder base.

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Hasbro, Inc to Acquire Entertainment One https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/hasbro-inc-to-acquire-entertainment-one/412791118 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:18:30 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791118 Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) and Entertainment One Ltd (LON:ETO) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Hasbro will acquire eOne in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately £3.3 billion or US$4.0 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, eOne shareholders will receive £5.60 in cash for each common share of eOne, ...

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Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) and Entertainment One Ltd (LON:ETO) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Hasbro will acquire eOne in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately £3.3 billion or US$4.0 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, eOne shareholders will receive £5.60 in cash for each common share of eOne, which represents a 31% premium to eOne’s 30-day volume weighted average price as of August 22, 2019.

“The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, Hasbro will leverage eOne’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appeal to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally and realize full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders. We are excited to welcome eOne’s talented employees from around the world into the Hasbro family.”

“On behalf of the board of eOne, I am very pleased by this exciting development, which is a testament to eOne management’s vision, leadership and solid execution. This transaction creates significant, immediate value for our shareholders as it recognizes the strength of our future-facing business model,” said Allan Leighton, eOne’s chairman of the board.

“Hasbro’s portfolio of integrated toy, game and consumer products, will further fuel the tremendous success we’ve achieved at eOne,” said Darren Throop, chief executive officer of eOne. “There’s a strong cultural fit between our two companies; eOne’s stated mission is to unlock the power and value of creativity which aligns with Hasbro’s corporate objectives. eOne teams will continue to do what they do best, bolstered by the access to Hasbro’s extensive portfolio of richly creative IP and merchandising strength. In addition, the resulting expanded Hasbro presence in Canada through eOne’s deep roots will bring world class talent and production capabilities to Hasbro. Along with our leadership team, I look forward to working with Hasbro on our joint growth and success for many years to come.”

“By combining two profitable and financially disciplined companies we expect to unlock value in the short- and long-term for our stakeholders,” said Deborah Thomas, Hasbro’s chief financial officer. “eOne’s brands and TV and film expertise, together with Hasbro’s brands, toy and game innovation and licensing capabilities, positions us to more quickly drive revenue and profit over the medium-term. We remain committed to maintaining an investment grade rating and returning to our gross Debt to EBITDA target of 2.00 to 2.50X.”

The acquisition will advance Hasbro’s position as a leading global play and entertainment company, adding beloved, global preschool brands with proven success and strong financial returns across platforms to Hasbro’s robust portfolio. eOne’s capabilities to bring high-quality content across platforms will strengthen Hasbro’s end-to-end ability to monetize and bring to market its IP in increasingly attractive new formats, including over-the-top (OTT) and premium platforms, music, location-based entertainment, AR and VR.

Strategic Rationale

Enhances Hasbro’s brand portfolio with two beloved global preschool brands and an attractive slate of brands in development

· The acquisition of highly profitable and merchandisable preschool brands is a strategic growth opportunity for Hasbro in the Infant and Preschool category, the largest super-category in the toy and game industry in the G11 markets, according to the NPD Group

· Peppa Pig is an evergreen property that has thrived for over a decade and extended itself to new profit streams that continue its success

· PJ Masks growth outlook is supported by new formats, its current rollout in China, the launch of new seasons in multiple regions, a live touring event and new toy lines

· A slate of additional brands is under development, including Ricky Zoom, a unique storyline with highly merchandisable content airing on Nickelodeon in the US and other top-tier global networks beginning Sept. 9, 2019

Adding exceptional, proven TV and film expertise

· By developing, owning and strategically distributing content, the acquisition positions Hasbro to capture more franchise economics created and perpetuated by differentiated platforms

· eOne brings profitable, growing capabilities in scripted and unscripted TV development and production for global audiences

· Live action and animation present multiple avenues to bring Hasbro’s franchises to life as OTT platforms and networks are increasingly interested in new, unexploited intellectual property while studios reclaim content for proprietary platforms

· In film, eOne has been transforming its business to focus on high-quality premium talent-driven content, including titles like Clifford the Big Red Dog and Monster Problems

· eOne’s Canadian TV and film operations will continue as a distinct Canadian-controlled business within the combined business

Leveraging talented executive team across all areas of entertainment and strong Canadian presence

· Top eOne executives have agreed to join the Hasbro team

· eOne’s seasoned entertainment executives with deep talent relationships and creative drive will further strengthen Hasbro’s talented team

· Global organization, with presence in London, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Shanghai

· eOne’s Canadian presence is an important base for creative talent and best-in-class studio capabilities, significantly expanding Hasbro’s Canadian presence and positioning eOne for ongoing success in Canada, including in relation to its robust pipeline of television and film projects

· The transaction is structured to ensure that eOne’s Canadian operations will continue to meet applicable Canadian control regulatory requirements in relation to television and film production companies, to the continued benefit of the Canadian television and film production industry

Financial Benefits

Creates opportunities for accelerating long-term profitable growth

· Hasbro expects to realize in-sourcing and other global annual run rate synergies of approximately US$130 million by 2022, driven by integration benefits, substantial savings from moving a significant portion of eOne’s toy business in-house and enhancing the profitability of eOne’s licensing and merchandising activities

· The addition of eOne to Hasbro is expected to be accretive to adjusted EPS in the first year following the transaction, adjusted to exclude one-time transaction costs and purchased intangible amortization, with mid- to high-teens accretion to adjusted EPS in the third full year following the closing of the transaction as synergies are achieved (1)

· Meaningful potential for additional revenue growth and expanded franchise economics with brand-driven animation and live action TV and film entertainment

(1) Hasbro cannot, without unreasonable effort, forecast certain items required to develop a meaningful comparable GAAP financial measure to adjusted EPS. See “Use of non-GAAP financial measures” below for further discussion

Transaction Details

The cash purchase price of £5.60 per share represents a 31% premium to eOne’s 30-day volume weighted average price (VWAP) as of August 22, 2019.

Hasbro expects to finance the transaction with the proceeds of debt financing and approximately US$1.0 billion to US$1.25 billion in cash from equity financing. Hasbro has entered into a debt commitment letter with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to provide a 364-day senior unsecured bridge loan facility to secure funding of the purchase price.

Hasbro is committed to maintaining an investment grade rating. Hasbro’s long-term leverage target remains unchanged at 2.00 to 2.50X gross Debt to EBITDA and expects to return to this range in three to four years.

Hasbro expects to maintain its quarterly dividend and suspend its current share repurchase program while it prioritizes achieving its leverage target.

The transaction, which is structured as a statutory plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act, has been approved by the boards of directors of each of Hasbro and eOne, and is subject to receipt of certain regulatory approvals, the approval by eOne shareholders and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and other customary closing conditions. eOne is subject to customary non-solicitation provisions under the definitive agreement and a termination fee payable to Hasbro in certain circumstances. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019.

The board of directors of eOne, after consultation with its financial advisors as to the financial terms of the transaction and its legal advisors, unanimously determined that the transaction is in the best interests of eOne and has recommended that eOne shareholders vote in favor of the transaction. eOne’s board of directors has received a fairness opinion from J.P. Morgan Cazenove in connection with the transaction to the effect that, as of the date of such opinion, and subject to the assumptions, limitations, qualifications and other matters set forth therein, the consideration to be paid to the eOne shareholders is fair, from a financial point of view, to such shareholders.

Centerview Partners LLC is serving as financial advisor to Hasbro and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP are serving as its legal counsel. J.P. Morgan Cazenove is serving as financial advisor to eOne and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Mayer Brown International LLP are serving as its legal counsel.

A copy of the definitive agreement will be made available at eOne’s website at www.entertainmentone.com and with Hasbro’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Webcast of Investor Call

A replay of the investor conference call hosted by Hasbro and Entertainment One Ltd on 22 August, and the accompanying presentation slides, are available on Hasbro’s web site: https://investor.hasbro.com

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Computacenter plc total revenues grew 20.8 per cent in H1 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/computacenter-plc-total-revenues-grew-20-8-per-cent-in-h1/412791120 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:18:27 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791120 Computacenter plc (LON: CCC), a leading independent technology partner trusted by large corporate and public sector organisations, today announced its results, based on unaudited financial information, for the six month period ended 30th June 2019. Financial Highlights: H1 2019H1 2018PercentageChangeIncrease/(Decrease)Financial PerformanceServices revenue (£ million)595.7574.83.6Technology Sourcing revenue (£ million)1,831.31,434.127.7Revenue (£ million)2,427.02,008.920.8Adjusted1 profit before tax (£ million)53.552.12.7Adjusted1 diluted earnings per share (pence)34.532.75.5Dividend per ...

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Computacenter plc (LON: CCC), a leading independent technology partner trusted by large corporate and public sector organisations, today announced its results, based on unaudited financial information, for the six month period ended 30th June 2019.

Financial Highlights: H1 2019H1 2018PercentageChangeIncrease/(Decrease)
Financial Performance




Services revenue (£ million)595.7574.83.6




Technology Sourcing revenue (£ million)1,831.31,434.127.7




Revenue (£ million)2,427.02,008.920.8




Adjusted1 profit before tax (£ million)53.552.12.7




Adjusted1 diluted earnings per share (pence)34.532.75.5




Dividend per share (pence)10.18.716.1




Statutory profit before tax (£ million)50.852.0(2.3)




Statutory diluted earnings per share (pence)33.231.65.1




Cash Position






Cash and cash equivalents (£ million)114.372.9




Adjusted net (debt)/funds3 (£ million)(3.1)53.7




Net (debt)/funds* (£ million)(114.1)49.7




Net cash (outflow)/inflow from operating activities (£ million)(1.1)8.4
Reconciliation between Adjusted1 and Statutory Performance 

Adjusted1 profit before tax (£ million)53.552.1




Exceptional and other adjusting items:






Costs related to acquisition (£ million)(0.5)




Amortisation of acquired intangibles (£ million)(2.2)(0.1)




Statutory profit before tax (£ million)50.852.0

*The Group recognised £110.2 million of right-of-use assets and £111.0 million of lease liabilities as at 30 June 2019 under the new IFRS 16 accounting standard. The Group includes lease liabilities within its net (debt)/funds measure. Due to the distortive effect of the capitalised lease liabilities on the overall liquidity position of the Group, these lease liabilities recognised under the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, are excluded from its non-GAAP adjusted net (debt)/funds3 measure.

Operational Highlights:

· The Group’s total revenues grew 20.8 per cent or £418.1 million during the first half of the year, and by 21.6 per cent or £431.5 million during the period in constant currency2. Excluding the impact of acquisitions the Group was ahead of the same period last year, which presented a challenging comparison with the prior period, on an adjusted1 profit before tax basis.

· France has had a pleasing start to the year with an increase in revenues of 18.9 per cent, led by a buoyant Technology Sourcing marketplace where we are growing our customer breadth, and an increase in adjusted1 operating profit of 190.5 per cent, both on a constant currency2 basis. An outstanding result that has underpinned the Group’s performance in the period.

· Germany delivers another strong performance with revenue growth of 4.1 per cent during the period driven by a resilient Technology Sourcing performance and a strong Professional Services result leading to a 2.8 per cent increase in adjusted1 operating profit, both on a constant currency2 basis. This was a very good performance given the material spend reduction from a key customer, which declined by 60.1 per cent down to normal volumes rather than those seen in the prior period, which created such a challenging comparison.

· The UK saw a reduction in revenues of 7.8 per cent as both Services and Technology Sourcing revenues declined. The prior period comparative result contained two very large margin-dilutive Technology Sourcing deals that, being one-off in nature, contributed to this decline. Adjusted1 operating profit fell by 9.3 per cent during the period, despite improvements in both Services and Technology Sourcing margins, due to increased administrative expenses.

· The US acquisition made halfway through the second half of last year has seen a more subdued performance in the first half of 2019, as compared to the last quarter of 2018, due to an increase in operational costs, increased investment in the business, and a decline in operating margins leading to the combined US business making only a small adjusted1 operating profit. We have seen an improvement in performance more recently.

The result has benefited from £416.8 million of revenues, and £1.3 million of adjusted1 profit before tax, resulting from the acquisitions made since 30 June 2018. All figures reported throughout this announcement include the results of the acquired entities.

The Group has adopted IFRS 16 from 1 January 2019 which has resulted in changes in accounting policies and adjustments to the amounts recognised in the Financial Statements. Importantly, and in accordance with the modified retrospective approach, the comparative results for the period ended 30 June 2018 have not been restated under the accounting policies adopted as a result of transition to IFRS 16. The current period results include an overall decrease in profitability before tax of £0.8 million on both statutory and adjusted1 basis due to the impact of IFRS 16 which has seen increased interest costs exceed the net of increased depreciation and reduced rental costs due to the timing difference effect of the new accounting standard. An analysis of the impact of transition is presented in note 3 to the summary financial information contained within this announcement. Further information on the implementation of, and transition to, IFRS 16 is included within the Group Finance Director’s review contained in this announcement.

A reconciliation between key adjusted1 and statutory measures is provided within the Group Finance Director’s review contained in this announcement. Further details are provided in note 5 to the summary financial information contained within this announcement.

Mike Norris, Chief Executive of Computacenter plc, commented:

‘The Board’s outlook remains in line with its expectations, which were upgraded as per the Trading Update on 31 July 2019.

Whilst the performance of the first half of 2018 presented a very difficult challenge to beat, the opposite is true of the second half. The Board expects that the full year 2019 profit growth, in monetary value, will be the best in the company’s history. This performance will be predominantly achieved without the aid of acquisitions, however we expect to see a more significant contribution from our acquired business in the USA during the second half.

Looking further ahead will always be challenging but the momentum in the industry remains positive as customers continue to invest in technology to digitalise their business. This industry’s momentum is backed up by an improving operational capability which both increases the quality we deliver to customers and reduces operational cost. While Computacenter will continue to remain predominantly an organic growth company, which has served us so well for many years, this has been enhanced by our acquisitions over the last 12 months which gives us additional growth drivers.

Whilst we are fully aware of macroeconomic challenges and take nothing for granted, we remain as positive about the future as we have ever been.’

1 Adjusted operating profit or loss, adjusted net finance income or expense, adjusted profit or loss before tax, adjusted tax, adjusted profit or loss, adjusted earnings per share and adjusted diluted earnings per share are, as appropriate, each stated before: exceptional and other adjusting items including gain or losses on business acquisitions and disposals, amortisation of acquired intangibles, utilisation of deferred tax assets (where initial recognition was as an exceptional item or a fair value adjustment on acquisition), and the related tax effect of these exceptional and other adjusting items, as Management do not consider these items when reviewing the underlying performance of the Segment or the Group as a whole. Prior to the adoption of IFRS 16, adjusted gross profit or loss and adjusted operating profit or loss included the interest paid on customer-specific financing (CSF) which Management considered to be a cost of sale. A reconciliation between key adjusted and statutory measures is provided within the Group Finance Director’s review contained in this announcement which details the impact of exceptional and other adjusted items when compared to the non-Generally Accepted Accounting Practice financial measures in addition to those reported in accordance with IFRS. Further detail is provided within note 5 to the summary financial information contained in this announcement.

2 We evaluate the long-term performance and trends within our strategic objectives on a constant currency basis. Further, the performance of the Group and its overseas Segments are shown, where indicated, in constant currency. The constant currency presentation, which is a non-GAAP measure, excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We believe providing constant currency information gives valuable supplemental detail regarding our results of operations, consistent with how we evaluate our performance. We calculate constant currency percentages by converting our prior-period local currency financial results using the current period average exchange rates and comparing these recalculated amounts to our current period results or by presenting the results in the equivalent local currency amounts. Wherever the performance of the Group, or its overseas Segments, are presented in constant currency, or equivalent local currency amounts, the equivalent prior-period measure is also presented in the reported pound sterling equivalent using the exchange rates prevailing at the time. 2019 Interim Financial Highlights, as shown at the beginning of this announcement, and statutory measures, are provided in the reported pound sterling equivalent.

3 Adjusted net funds or adjusted net debt includes cash and cash equivalents, other short or other long-term borrowings and current asset investments. Following the adoption of IFRS 16 this measure excludes all finance lease liabilities which now includes CSF balances which were previously included within this measure. A table reconciling this measure, including the impact of finance lease liabilities, is provided within note 13 to the summary financial information contained in this announcement.

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GSK announces positive headline results from the pivotal DREAMM-2 study https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/gsk-announces-positive-headline-results-from-the-pivotal-dreamm-2-study/412791116 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:13:48 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791116 GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON/NYSE: GSK) today announced positive headline results from the pivotal DREAMM-2 open-label, randomised study of two doses of belantamab mafodotin (GSK2857916). The 196 patients in the trial had relapsed multiple myeloma, were refractory to an immunomodulatory drug, a proteasome inhibitor, and to treatment with an anti-CD38 antibody. The two-arm study met its primary ...

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GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON/NYSE: GSK) today announced positive headline results from the pivotal DREAMM-2 open-label, randomised study of two doses of belantamab mafodotin (GSK2857916).

The 196 patients in the trial had relapsed multiple myeloma, were refractory to an immunomodulatory drug, a proteasome inhibitor, and to treatment with an anti-CD38 antibody. The two-arm study met its primary objective and demonstrated a clinically meaningful overall response rate with belantamab mafodotin in the patient population. The safety and tolerability profile was consistent with that observed in DREAMM-1, the first time in human study of belantamab mafodotin.

Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President R&D, GlaxoSmithKline said:

“I am pleased with the results of the DREAMM-2 study and excited about what these data could mean for patients with multiple myeloma who have exhausted other lines of treatment. We are on track to file belantamab mafodotin later this year and continue to investigate how it could help even more patients with this disease.”

Data from the DREAMM-2 study will be the basis for regulatory filings starting later this year.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer and is generally considered treatable, but not curable[i]. Research into new therapies is needed as multiple myeloma commonly becomes refractory to available treatments.

Safety and efficacy results from the DREAMM-2 study will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific meeting. Additional ongoing studies are testing the effect of belantamab mafodotin as third-line monotherapy in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and as a combination treatment in the first and second line setting as part of the broader DREAMM clinical development programme.

About B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)

The normal function of BCMA is to promote plasma cell survival by transduction of signals from two known ligands, BAFF (B-cell activating factor) and APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand). This pathway has been shown to be important for myeloma cell growth and survival. BCMA expression is limited to B cells at later stages of development. BCMA is expressed at varying levels in myeloma patients and BCMA membrane expression is universally detected in myeloma cell lines[ii].

About the DREAMM clinical trial programme for belantamab mafodotin (GSK2857916)

Belantamab mafodotin is an immuno-conjugate comprising a humanised anti-B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) monoclonal antibody conjugated to the cytotoxic agent auristatin F via non-cleavable linker. The drug linker technology is licensed from Seattle Genetics; monoclonal antibody is produced using technology licensed from BioWa.

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CRH PLC Continues Share Buyback Programme https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/crh-plc-continues-share-buyback-programme/412791115 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:13:18 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791115 As part of its 2019 Interim Results on 22 August 2019, CRH PLC (LON:CRH) announced its intention to continue its share buyback programme with a further tranche of up to €350 million. CRH announced today that it has entered into arrangements with Societe Generale to repurchase ordinary shares on CRH’s behalf for a maximum consideration ...

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As part of its 2019 Interim Results on 22 August 2019, CRH PLC (LON:CRH) announced its intention to continue its share buyback programme with a further tranche of up to €350 million. CRH announced today that it has entered into arrangements with Societe Generale to repurchase ordinary shares on CRH’s behalf for a maximum consideration of €350 million.

The Buyback will commence on 26 August 2019 and will end no later than 3 January 2020.

Under the terms of the Buyback, ordinary shares will be repurchased on Euronext Dublin. CRH has entered into non-discretionary instructions with Societe Generale to conduct the Buyback on its behalf and to make trading decisions under the Buyback independently of CRH in accordance with certain pre-set parameters.

The purpose of the Buyback is to reduce the share capital of CRH and will be conducted within the limitations of the authority granted at CRH’s AGM on 25 April 2019 to repurchase up to 10% of the Company’s ordinary shares in issue (being 37,441,744 ordinary shares following the completion of the latest phase of the buyback programme).

The Buyback will also be conducted within the parameters prescribed by the Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1052 and Chapter 12 of the UK Listing Rules. The repurchased ordinary shares will be held in treasury pending their cancellation or re-issue in due course.

This announcement relates solely to the Buyback and any decision in relation to any future buyback programmes will be based on an ongoing assessment of the capital needs of the business and general market conditions.

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Union Jack Oil plc – Flow testing begins at West Newton A-2 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/union-jack-oil-plc-flow-testing-begins-at-west-newton-a-2/412791113 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:10:16 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791113 Union Jack Oil plc (LON: UJO), a UK focused on-shore hydrocarbon production, development and exploration company, noted today that Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, the operator of PEDL 183, communicated the following to local residents as part of its participation in the West Newton Community Liaison group yesterday afternoon. Union Jack Oil holds a 16.665% interest ...

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Union Jack Oil plc (LON: UJO), a UK focused on-shore hydrocarbon production, development and exploration company, noted today that Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, the operator of PEDL 183, communicated the following to local residents as part of its participation in the West Newton Community Liaison group yesterday afternoon.

Union Jack Oil holds a 16.665% interest in this licence containing the West Newton A-1 discovery well and the recent successful West Newton A-2 conventional appraisal well.

“The flow testing of the WNA-2 well commenced earlier today.

“The well test programme is scheduled to continue for the next 4-8 weeks.

“The necessary regulatory permissions and consents are in place for this test.

“Additional information regarding the test programme will be made available once the relevant data has been collected and analysed.”

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Hardide plc Appoints Joint Broker https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/hardide-plc-appoints-joint-broker/412791111 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:07:24 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791111 Hardide plc (LON: HDD), the developer and provider of advanced surface coating technology, has today announced that Allenby Capital Limited has been appointed as the Company’s joint broker, with immediate effect. Hardide develops, manufactures and applies advanced technology tungsten-carbide coatings to a wide range of engineering components. Its patented technology is unique in combining in ...

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Hardide plc (LON: HDD), the developer and provider of advanced surface coating technology, has today announced that Allenby Capital Limited has been appointed as the Company’s joint broker, with immediate effect.

Hardide develops, manufactures and applies advanced technology tungsten-carbide coatings to a wide range of engineering components. Its patented technology is unique in combining in one material, a mix of toughness and resistance to abrasion, erosion and corrosion; together with the ability to coat accurately interior surfaces and complex geometries. The material is proven to offer dramatic improvements in component life, particularly when applied to components that operate in very aggressive environments. This results in cost savings through reduced downtime and increased operational efficiency. Customers include leading companies operating in oil and gas exploration and production, valve and pump manufacturing, precision engineering and aerospace industries.

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Pantheon International PLC Performance Update at 31 July 2019 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/pantheon-international-plc-performance-update-at-31-july-2019/412791016 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:41:27 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791016 Pantheon International PLC (LON:PIN) today announced an unaudited net asset value per share at 31 July 2019 of 2,847.6p, an increase of 94.7p (+3.4%) from the NAV per share as at 30 June 2019. Valuation gains* (+3.5p, +0.1%), investment income* (0.9p, 0.0%) and foreign exchange movements* (+93.5p, +3.4%) were offset by expenses and taxes**** (-3.2p, ...

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Pantheon International PLC (LON:PIN) today announced an unaudited net asset value per share at 31 July 2019 of 2,847.6p, an increase of 94.7p (+3.4%) from the NAV per share as at 30 June 2019. Valuation gains* (+3.5p, +0.1%), investment income* (0.9p, 0.0%) and foreign exchange movements* (+93.5p, +3.4%) were offset by expenses and taxes**** (-3.2p, -0.1%) during the period.

Highlights

2,847.6p                      NAV per share

+3.4%                          NAV per share growth for the month

£1.5bn                         Net asset value

-£2.8m                         Net portfolio cash flow*

3.5x                             Financing cover**

+100%                         Total shareholder return (5Y)***

PIP’s valuation policy for private equity funds is based on the latest valuations reported by the managers of the funds in which PIP has holdings. In the case of PIP’s valuation as at 31 July 2019, 99% of reported valuations are dated 31 March 2019 or later.  A detailed description of PIP’s valuation policy can be found on pages 100 and 101 of the 2019 Annual Report.

At 31 July 2019, PIP’s private equity assets stood at £1,489m, whilst net available cash balances^ were £138m. The Asset Linked Note^^ (“ALN”) outstanding as at 31 July 2019 amounted to £87m. Undrawn commitments to investments stood at £515m as at 31 July 2019, calculated using exchange rates at that date. PIP’s multi-currency revolving credit facilities comprise a US$163.0m facility and a €59.8m facility, which remained undrawn at the month end.

PIP’s portfolio generated net cash* of -£2.8m during the month, with distributions of £6.2m relative to £9.0m of calls from existing commitments to private equity funds.

PIP made two new investments during the month amounting to £7.7m in new commitments. This comprised a £4.6m co-investment alongside Insight Venture Partners in Recorded Future, a provider of cyber threat intelligence software; and a £3.1m co-investment alongside Lee Equity Partners in K2 Insurance Services, a leading platform for managing general agents serving the US property and casualty insurance market.

Performance as at 31 July 2019^^^


1 Year(%)3 Years(% pa)5 Years(% pa)10 Years(% pa)Since Inception(% pa)
NAV per share15.6%14.7%15.7%13.9%11.9%
Ordinary share price12.7%16.9%14.9%20.8%11.6%
FTSE All-Share TR1.3%8.3%6.8%9.6%7.9%
MSCI World (£) TR8.4%13.0%14.1%13.6%8.1%

*Figures are stated net of movements associated with the ALN share of the reference portfolio.

**Ratio of net available cash, portfolio value and undrawn loan facility to outstanding commitments.

***Based on the change in the ordinary share price over the period.

****Withholding taxes on investment distributions.

^Net available cash calculated as cash and net current assets / (liabilities) less undistributed net cashflows associated with the ALN.

^^Unlisted 10-year note issued on 31 October 2017 whose cost and repayments are linked to a reference portfolio consisting of the Company’s older vintage funds.

^^^PIP was launched on 18 September 1987. The performance figures for PIP assume reinvestment of dividends, capital repayments and cash flow from warrants.

Monthly Report

The July monthly newsletter can be accessed on Pantheon International’s website at www.piplc.com in the Investor Relations section under the heading “Newsletters”, or by following this link: http://www.piplc.com/investor-relations/newsletters.

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John Laing Group Mixed H1 results – Full year outlook unchanged https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/john-laing-group-mixed-h1-results-full-year-outlook-unchanged/412791015 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:39:04 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791015 John Laing Group plc (LON: JLG) announced today its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019 Highlights: Mixed H1 results – Full year outlook unchanged · Net asset value (NAV) of £1,599 million or 325p1 per share at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018 – £1,586 million or 323p) up 0.6% since ...

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John Laing Group plc (LON: JLG) announced today its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019

Highlights: Mixed H1 results – Full year outlook unchanged

· Net asset value (NAV) of £1,599 million or 325p1 per share at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018 – £1,586 million or 323p) up 0.6% since 31 December 2018 or 3.0% including dividend paid in May 2019

· Portfolio value at 30 June 2019 of £1,535 million up 3.5% on the rebased portfolio value2 at 31 December 2018

· Good operational performance but challenges in renewable energy portfolio, mitigated by value enhancements and strong project delivery:

£66 million of write downs on renewable energy assets in Australia due to industry transmission problems
£55 million of write downs on our European wind assets
£78 million of value enhancements delivered through active management across the portfolio and in all regions
Significant progress on projects including Sydney Light Rail and New Generation Rollingstock in Australia, Denver Eagle P3 and I-77 in the US and IEP Phase 2 in the UK
· Sale of all remaining fund management activities completed

· New investments of £7 million (six months ended 30 June 2018 – £39 million)3. One further investment completed in August, in North America, and another agreed and expected to complete in September, our first investment in Latin America, totalling approximately £137 million

· Healthy pipeline of £2.1 billion of investment opportunities. Solar and wind investments on hold in Europe and Australia pending current issues resolution; investment in US renewable energy assets limited to recycling of capital

· Realisations of £131 million from the sale of three investments (six months ended 30 June 2018 – £242 million from the sale of two investments)

· Profit Before Tax (PBT) of £35 million (six months ended 30 June 2018 – £175 million, which included an exceptional gain on IEP Phase 1 disposal) and Earnings Per Share (EPS) of 7.1p (six months ended 30 June 2018 – 38.8p)4

· Interim dividend of 1.84p per share payable in October 2019 (six months ended 30 June 2018 – 1.80p per share) in line with dividend policy

  1. NAV per share at 30 June 2019 calculated as NAV of £1,599 million divided by the number of shares in issue at 30 June 2019 of 491.8 million, excluding the shares held in the Employee Benefit Trust (EBT).
  2. Rebased portfolio value is described in the Portfolio Valuation section.
  3. Based on new investment commitments secured in the six months ended 30 June 2019; for further details see the Business Review.
  4. Basic EPS; see note 7 to the Condensed Group Financial Statements.

Olivier Brousse, John Laing’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“Our operational performance in the first half was strong, however we have had a number of challenges with our renewable energy assets in Australia and Europe. We delivered value enhancements across the portfolio, but predominantly in renewable energy, which has helped to mitigate the impact of these challenges. In addition, we made good progress on key assets in our PPP portfolio. The Denver Eagle P3 commuter rail project fully opened to the public in April, IEP Phase 2 commenced public train services in May and Sydney Light Rail and New Generation Rollingstock also progressed well in the last six months. Our asset management teams have been instrumental in successfully progressing all of these projects, protecting and enhancing the value of our investments.

We are confident in our ability to continue to generate value from our existing portfolio, to make the most of a secondary market that remains strong and capitalise on the demand for operational infrastructure. At the same time, our investment teams are actively seeking new PPP investments, supported by our strong financial resources and partner relationships. We are particularly pleased in this regard to have agreed in July our first investment in Latin America, with the Ruta del Cacao PPP road project in Colombia. New renewable energy investments have been put on hold in Europe and Australia, and limited to recycling of capital in North America, as we re-assess our approach to risk and return in these markets. Nevertheless, our pipeline remains healthy across our established geographies and in new markets and sectors.

We remain confident in delivering our full year expectations, underpinned by the value inherent in our existing portfolio and further penetration of our targeted markets.”

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Premier Oil PLC exceeded financial and operational targets https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/premier-oil-plc-exceeded-financial-and-operational-targets/412791012 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:37:31 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791012 Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO) today announced its half-year results for the six months to 30 June 2019. Tony Durrant, Chief Executive, commented:“I am pleased to report another strong performance for Premier where we have exceeded our financial and operational targets for the period.  The Company’s strong cash flow is driving debt reduction and the Zama ...

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Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO) today announced its half-year results for the six months to 30 June 2019.

Tony Durrant, Chief Executive, commented:

“I am pleased to report another strong performance for Premier where we have exceeded our financial and operational targets for the period.  The Company’s strong cash flow is driving debt reduction and the Zama divestment and Sea Lion farm-down processes are targeting further strengthening of the balance sheet, which remains the Group’s highest priority. Premier’s operated Tolmount gas project, due on-stream next year, and the addition of good quality exploration and appraisal acreage offer significant low cost opportunities for future value growth.”

Operational highlights

·    Production of 84.1 kboepd (2018 1H: 76.2 kboepd), a record for 1H

·    Catcher Area high plateau rates of 70 kboepd (gross) maintained, operating efficiency of 99%

·    Tolmount project on schedule and under budget

·    Zama gross resource upgraded to 810 mmboe (P50) following successful appraisal

·   Attractive acreage captured: Andaman Sea position increased, entry into a high-impact appraisal project in Alaska

·    Climate Change Committee established; review of all operations to reduce emissions initiated

Financial highlights

·    Profit after tax of US$121 million (2018 1H: US$98 million)

·    EBITDAX of US$680 million (2018 1H: US$488 million, adjusted for impact of IFRS 16)

·    Opex of US$10/boe plus lease costs of US$6/boe

·    Cash margins 35% higher than 2018 1H

·    Free cash flow of US$182 million (2018 1H: US$90 million cash outflow)

·    Net debt reduced to US$2.15 billion (31 December 2018: US$2.33 billion)

2019 Outlook

·    Production (75-80 kboepd) and expenditure (US$12/boe opex, US$340 million capex) guidance unchanged

·    Over 40% of 2019 2H oil production hedged at US$69/bbl

·    First gas from Bison, Iguana and Gajah-Puteri (BIG-P) gas fields expected end Q4

·    Tolmount East appraisal well results due early Q4

·    Sea Lion Phase 1: discussions with senior lenders progressing, farm down process launched

·    Formal Zama sale process initiated

·    Forecast full year net debt reduction of over US$300 million reiterated (excluding any potential disposal proceeds)

Overview

Premier delivered another period of record production, supported by extremely high Group operating efficiency.  Together with improved cash margins, this resulted in strong free cash flow delivery. 

The Premier-operated Catcher Area (Premier-operated 50 per cent interest) in the UK North Sea was the Group’s highest net producer, achieving 99 per cent operating efficiency, validating the new build FPSO design, the delivery capacity of the existing well stock and the operational management of the plant and the reservoir.  Following the asset’s continued strong subsurface performance, Premier currently expects to increase Catcher Area reserves as part of the Group’s formal year-end reserves assessment. 

Premier’s operated assets in South East Asia – Chim Sáo (Premier-operated 53.1 per cent interest) and Natuna Sea Block A (Premier-operated 28.67 per cent interest) – continue to generate material free cash flow for the Group (after ongoing capital expenditures), producing with high uptime and from a low cost base.  Output was lower than the prior corresponding period due to weaker Singapore demand for Premier’s Indonesian gas and due to some natural decline from the Chim Sáo oil field.

Across the Group’s producing assets, in both the North Sea and South East Asia, Premier has identified numerous opportunities to increase the reserves and field life of its producing assets through incremental investment in infill drilling and well intervention programmes, plant modifications, satellite developments and near field exploration.  These projects, which are at various stages of maturity, are typically low cost with high rates of return and a rapid payback period.  

On the development side, the Tolmount gas field (Premier-operated 50 per cent interest) is on track for first gas at the end of 2020 and underpins the Group’s medium-term UK growth profile.  There is considerable upside in the Greater Tolmount Area including at Tolmount East which targets incremental resources of up to 300 BCF (gross).

The conclusion of the appraisal programme at the giant Zama field in Block 7 (Premier non-operated 25 per cent interest) offshore Mexico resulted in Premier upgrading its resource estimates and reaffirming Zama’s status as a world-class asset.  Progress has also been made on the Group’s fully appraised Sea Lion field which, at 250 mmboe (gross) of resource in Phase 1, is a material oilfield development opportunity.  Post period end, Premier submitted the Preliminary Information Memorandum, which forms the basis of a loan application for the senior debt component of the project financing structure, to export credit agencies.  

The Group’s immediate priority is to further strengthen its balance sheet and this, together with significant industry interest, has led to Premier initiating a formal sales process for its interest in the Zama field which, if successful, will result in a material reduction in debt levels.  In addition, Premier has launched a formal farm-down process of its 60 per cent operated interest in Sea Lion to optimise its level of participation in the project.  

Exploration remains a key component of Premier’s strategy.  The current environment has provided the opportunity to access highly prospective acreage without compromising the Group’s near term deleveraging targets.  During the period, Premier increased its position in the emerging South Andaman Sea gas play at low upfront cost and has also entered the North Slope of Alaska, a prolific super basin, by farming into an appraisal project, which is estimated to contain 1 billion barrels (gross) of discovered conventionally reservoired oil-in-place. 

The Group’s strong operational performance along with continued tight control of its cost base and capital expenditure generated US$182 million of free cash flow during the period.  This was directed at reducing debt levels and underpins Premier’s expectation of achieving the upper half of its full year 2019 net debt reduction guidance of US$250 million to US$350 million.  The Group also continues to reduce its covenant leverage ratio (covenant net debt / EBITDA), which was down from 3.1x at year-end 2018 to 2.4x at the end of the period.  Premier’s covenant leverage ratio is expected to continue to reduce further by year-end 2019.

Integral to Premier achieving its business objectives is being a responsible operator and the Group adheres to the highest health, environmental and safety standards.  The first half saw Premier establish a Climate Change Committee, initiate a review of its operations to identify further opportunities to reduce its emissions and align its Climate Change Policy with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.  Premier’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) intensity was materially lower compared to the prior corresponding period primarily due to a higher production contribution from the Group’s Catcher Area, which has a low GHG intensity.

Looking to the remainder of 2019, the Group remains focused on maintaining its strong and safe operating performance and maximising its cash flows, which are protected via a robust hedging programme, and will be prioritised towards improving further the Group’s balance sheet.  In addition, Premier looks forward to the outcome of the Tolmount East appraisal well, first gas from the BIG-P gas fields, feedback from potential senior lenders and farminees to its Sea Lion project, and progressing the Zama divestment process.

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Playtech plc continues to deliver growth and strategic progress https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/playtech-plc-continues-to-deliver-growth-and-strategic-progress/412791008 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:37:28 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791008 Playtech (LON: PTEC) today announced its results for the six months ended 30 June 2019, together with a trading update for the period to 20 August 2019. Financial Highlights  H1 2019H1 2018Change(reported)Change (const.currency)4Revenue€736.1m€436.5m69%68%Adjusted EBITDA2€190.6m€145.0m31%31%Adjusted Net Profit3€70.7m€83.3m-15%-13%Reported Net Profit3€16.8m€112.4m-85%-84%Adjusted diluted EPS20.5 €c23.9 €c-14%-12%Reported diluted EPS5.5 €c33.7 €c-84%-82%Total dividend per share56.1 €c12.1 €c-50%-50%Total shareholder return6€43.9m€38.1m15%15% Group highlights ...

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Playtech (LON: PTEC) today announced its results for the six months ended 30 June 2019, together with a trading update for the period to 20 August 2019.

Financial Highlights

 H1 2019H1 2018Change(reported)Change (const.currency)4
Revenue€736.1m€436.5m69%68%
Adjusted EBITDA2€190.6m€145.0m31%31%
Adjusted Net Profit3€70.7m€83.3m-15%-13%
Reported Net Profit3€16.8m€112.4m-85%-84%
Adjusted diluted EPS20.5 €c23.9 €c-14%-12%
Reported diluted EPS5.5 €c33.7 €c-84%-82%
Total dividend per share56.1 €c12.1 €c-50%-50%
Total shareholder return6€43.9m€38.1m15%15%

Group highlights

· Core B2B Gambling7 revenue growth of 9% in regulated markets versus H1 2018

· Revenue growth and strong cost control drives Core B2B Gambling margin of 29% (H1 2018: 19%, H1 2018 restated to include impact of IFRS 16: 24%)

· Snaitech is the Group’s standout performer in H1 with 26% growth in adjusted EBITDA (from €59.3 million in H1 2018 after excluding gambling tax headwinds and 2018 World Cup impact, to €74.7 million in H1 2019)

· Total shareholder returns increased 15% vs. H1 2018 including €25 million share buyback and interim dividend declared of 6.1 €c per share

· Land sale agreed in Italy for €55 million, pending approvals; €5 million received in July 2019

· €350 million bond raised in H1 2019 securing long term financing requirements

Divisional highlights

· B2B Gambling Division

  • Very strong momentum with over 10 brands added through July 2019
  • Expanded business with existing customers including beginning rollout across GVC network, launch of Playtech customers in Sweden on Day 1 of market regulating
  • Core B2B Gambling revenue growth of 11% vs. H1 2018 in regulated markets outside UK
  • Core B2B Gambling revenue growth of 7% vs. H1 2018 in UK
  • Strong growth of 27% in Sport, aided by hardware sales
  • Pipeline strong across key geographies including further structured agreements
  • Asia remains volatile with low visibility; launching incentivization programme

· B2C Gambling Division

  • Snaitech H1 2019 adjusted EBITDA of €74.7 million driven by strong online revenue growth of 22%
  • Snaitech achieved no. 1 market share in retail and online combined in June and July 2019
  • Snaitech growth in Online stakes of 36% in H1 2019 versus H1 2018
  • Sun Bingo saw 20% revenue growth at constant currency from €14.6 million in H1 2018 to €17.5 million in H1 2019; positive EBITDA contribution following renegotiation of contract

· TradeTech Group

  • Strong Q2 performance following highly challenging conditions across the industry in Q1
  • Revenue of €39.1 million (H1 2018: €52.3 million) and Adjusted EBITDA of €8.2 million (H1 2018: €25.2 million) decreased significantly due to low market volatility in Q1 2019 and a very strong H1 2018 performance during favorable market conditions

Current trading

· Regulated B2B Gambling revenue for the first 51 days of H2 2019 was up 4% on the same period in 2018 at constant currency and excluding acquisitions and the impact of increased RGD

· Non-regulated B2B Gambling revenue for the first 51 days of H2 2019 was down 26% on the same period in 2018 at constant currency and excluding acquisitions

· Snaitech has continued to show strong underlying business trends into H2, with no impact thus far from the advertising ban which came into effect on 14 July 2019

· TradeTech has had a good start to H2 2019 continuing its momentum from Q2

Outlook

· Playtech reiterates its 2019 Adjusted EBITDA range of €390 million to €415 million

· Core B2B and Snaitech continue strong performance

· At the current run rate, Asia will contribute approximately €115 million revenue in 2019 vs €150 million expected at the start of the year

Alan Jackson, Chairman of Playtech, commented:

“Playtech’s combination of scale and leadership in technology continues to deliver growth and strategic progress in our core gambling businesses. In H1 this continued progress has driven Group regulated revenue to a new high of 87% (H1 2018: 69%).

In our B2B business double digit growth in regulated markets outside of the UK has been accompanied by landmark new licensee wins in key regulated markets, laying the foundations for future growth. In our B2C business Snaitech continues to go from strength to strength demonstrating impressive growth momentum in a key market.

The continued strength of the core business has allowed Playtech to continue its flexible shareholder returns policy, today declaring an additional buyback programme alongside an interim dividend.”

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Genus plc appoints Stephen Wilson as CEO from 13 September 2019 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/genus-plc-appoints-stephen-wilson-as-ceo-from-13-september-2019/412791010 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:35:24 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791010 Genus plc (LON:GNS), a leading global animal genetics company, today announced that Stephen Wilson, currently Group Finance Director, has been appointed by the Board as Chief Executive with effect from the close of business on 13 September 2019. This follows the announcement of 25 March 2019 that Karim Bitar will be stepping down from the Board ...

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Genus plc (LON:GNS), a leading global animal genetics company, today announced that Stephen Wilson, currently Group Finance Director, has been appointed by the Board as Chief Executive with effect from the close of business on 13 September 2019. This follows the announcement of 25 March 2019 that Karim Bitar will be stepping down from the Board and taking up the position of Chief Executive of another company.

Stephen has been with Genus since January 2013 and already has a very strong and deep understanding of Genus and has been an integral part of the team in the successful strategic and operational development of the Group in recent years, as it has continued to grow and strengthen its position as a world leader in animal genetics. Stephen was by far the strongest candidate for the role following a review of both external and internal candidates managed by an external search agency.

Stephen’s current finance responsibilities will be undertaken by Janet Duane, currently Group Financial Controller on an interim basis. A search for a permanent replacement Group Finance Director has already been initiated by an external agency.

Bob Lawson, Chairman of Genus, commented on Stephen’s appointment;

“Genus is extremely fortunate to have such a strong individual in Stephen Wilson to fill the role of Chief Executive. Stephen has already had  significant strategic and operational input in the development of Genus and no one knows the business better than him.

“We are delighted that Stephen will drive Genus through the next stage of our continued growth, and it is clear that Genus is, and will continue to be, in strong hands.”

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Rank Group PLC Alex Thursby appointed Chair with effect from October 2019 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/rank-group-plc-alex-thursby-appointed-chair-with-effect-from-october-2019/412791006 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:33:31 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791006 Rank Group PLC (LON:RNK) has today announced that Alex Thursby, a non-executive director of the Company, will be appointed as chair of the Company, with effect from the conclusion of Rank’s upcoming annual general meeting on 17 October 2019. Alex will succeed Ian Burke who, as previously announced on 1 May 2019, had notified the ...

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Rank Group PLC (LON:RNK) has today announced that Alex Thursby, a non-executive director of the Company, will be appointed as chair of the Company, with effect from the conclusion of Rank’s upcoming annual general meeting on 17 October 2019.

Alex will succeed Ian Burke who, as previously announced on 1 May 2019, had notified the Company of his intention not to seek re-election at the 2019 AGM.

Alex joined the Rank board in August 2017 and has chaired the audit committee since October 2017.  Upon his appointment Alex will step down as chair of Rank’s audit committee.  The search for a new audit committee chair has commenced.

Commenting on Alex’s appointment, Chris Bell, senior independent director, said: “We carried out a formal and rigorous appointment process and it was clear that Alex was the best candidate to become Rank’s chair.  Alex has a wealth of experience in compliance and risk governance in regulated sectors and, having been on the board since August 2017, has a solid understanding of Rank.”  

Biography of Alex Thursby

Alex has over 30 years of experience within the banking sector where he has led several transformation programmes and business integrations.  He was chief executive officer of National Bank of Abu Dhabi from 2013 to 2016 and he held senior roles at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group from 2007 to 2013 and at Standard Chartered Bank from 1987 to 2007. From 2008 to 2013 he was a non-executive director of the Bursa Malaysia listed AMMB Holdings Berhad, part of the AmBank Group, one of the largest banking groups in Malaysia.

Other roles

Alex is non-executive director of Barclays Bank Plc, trustee and head of the finance/treasury committee at Eden Rivers Trust, and governor and chair of the board of governors at Giggleswick School.

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Anglo Pacific Group PLC Report another period of strong organic growth in H1 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/anglo-pacific-group-plc-report-another-period-of-strong-organic-growth-in-h1/412791004 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:31:42 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791004 Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON: APF) (TSX: APY) has today announced interim results for the six months ended 30th June 2019 which are available on both the Group’s website at www.anglopacificgroup.com and on SEDAR at www.SEDAR.com.  H1 2019 H1 2018 £’000% Mvt£’000Kestrel22,69260%14,225Maracás Menchen1,783(16%)2,125Narrabri2,27356%1,456Denison – interest975(10%)1,079Royalty related dividends3,420 141Four Mile110116%51Royalty related revenue31,25364%19,077EVBC – royalty receipts1,0212%1,003Denison – principal1,01537%741Total portfolio contribution33,28960%20,821 ...

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Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON: APF) (TSX: APY) has today announced interim results for the six months ended 30th June 2019 which are available on both the Group’s website at www.anglopacificgroup.com and on SEDAR at www.SEDAR.com.

 H1 2019 H1 2018
 £’000% Mvt£’000
Kestrel22,69260%14,225
Maracás Menchen1,783(16%)2,125
Narrabri2,27356%1,456
Denison – interest975(10%)1,079
Royalty related dividends3,420 141
Four Mile110116%51
Royalty related revenue31,25364%19,077
EVBC – royalty receipts1,0212%1,003
Denison – principal1,01537%741
Total portfolio contribution33,28960%20,821

· 64% increase in revenue in H1 2019 of £31.3m (H1 18: £19.1m)

· 60% increase in portfolio contribution1 (which includes EVBC and Denison principal) of £33.3m (H1 18: £20.8m)

· Record half yearly Kestrel revenue – in line with the owners target to increase volumes in 2019 by 40%

· Higher than expected revenue from LIORC, representing an annualised yield of ~16% on our investment, reflecting the distribution of retained cash and the pellet price premium achieved during H1 19

· Strong recovery at Narrabri as geotechnical issues are being overcome, with 56% increase in revenue in H1 2019 of £2.3m (H1 18: £1.5m)

· Maracás Menchen is on track to deliver on its expansion plans, but revenue has been impacted by a significant decline in the vanadium price from the record levels achieved in 2018

· 42% increase in adjusted earnings2 per share to 12.13p (H1 2018: 8.56p) basic earnings per share more than doubled to 16.76p (H1 2018: 7.24p)

· 78% increase in cash generated from operating activities to £26.6m (H1 2018: £15.1m) with free cash flow3 generated in H1 2019 of £27.4m – a 53% increase on the £17.9m equivalent in H1 18

· Borrowings repaid in full during the period, with £14.5m of cash on hand at 30 June 2019 (YE 2018: net debt of £3.1m) and access to US$90m of borrowings

· 19% increase in net assets to £260.1m (YE 2018: £218.1m) translating into net assets per share of 144p (YE 2018: 121p)

· The strong results for the first half should lead to an increase in the full year dividend for 2019 to a minimum of 9p per share, subject to market conditions and the impact of further global volatility during H2 19

Other highlights

· ~£10m additional investment in LIORC year to date, of which £1.0m had been deployed during the six months ended 30 June 2019, bringing our current position to ~5.2% at an average price of C$24.50/share

· Volatility in exchange rates has had a positive impact thus far in Q3 19, and the Group has entered into further forward contracts to protect a portion of expected revenue, which should benefit the Group when translating full year revenue at the end of the year

Julian Treger, Anglo Pacific Group Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“We are pleased to report another period of strong organic growth in H1 19, with record revenue from Kestrel as the new owners appear to be on track to deliver their ambitions to increase production in 2019 by 40%.

Although Kestrel accounted for the majority of our revenue in H1 19, we were also pleased to see the revenue from our most recent acquisition, LIORC, outperform our expectations. The £3.2m received in H1 19 alone represented an underlying yield of ~16% on an annualised basis. We have increased our investment in LIORC by a further ~£10m in the year to date, taking advantage of the recent decline in global equities in identifying an attractive entry point based on the current yield and our confidence in the iron ore pellet premium in the near-term.

We continued to generate significant free cashflow during the period, which allowed us to repay our borrowings in full. The cash on-hand at the end of the period, when added to our available facilities, provides ~US$100m of liquidity to us, which is even more important in the context of short-term volatility in the capital markets.

Given the strength of our results in the first half of the year, we would expect to increase the full year dividend from 8p per share to a minimum of 9p per share, depending on market conditions and outlook in H2 19.”

1 Portfolio contribution represents the funds received or receivable from the Group’s underlying royalty related assets which is taken into account by the Board when determining dividend levels. Portfolio contribution is royalty related revenue plus royalties received or receivable from royalty financial instruments carried at fair value through profit or loss (‘FVTPL’) and principal repayments received under the Denison financing agreement.

2 Adjusted earnings/(loss) represents the Group’s underlying operating performance from core activities. Adjusted earnings/(loss) is the profit/(loss) attributable to equity holders less all valuation movements, non-cash impairments and amortisation charges (which are non-cash IFRS adjustments that arise primarily due to changes in commodity prices), finance costs, any associated deferred tax and any profit or loss on non-core asset disposals as these are not expected to be ongoing.

3 Free cash flow is net cash generated from operating activities, plus proceeds from the disposal of non-core assets and any cash considered as repayment of principal, less finance costs.

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AstraZeneca plc agrees to buy US FDA Priority Review Voucher from Sobi https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/astrazeneca-plc-agrees-to-buy-us-fda-priority-review-voucher-from-sobi/412791003 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:30:39 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791003 AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) today announced that it has agreed to buy a US Food and Drug Administration Priority Review Voucher for a total cash consideration of $95m from a subsidiary of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB. A PRV entitles the holder to FDA priority review of a single New Drug Application or Biologics License Application, which ...

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AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) today announced that it has agreed to buy a US Food and Drug Administration Priority Review Voucher for a total cash consideration of $95m from a subsidiary of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB.

A PRV entitles the holder to FDA priority review of a single New Drug Application or Biologics License Application, which reduces the target review time and may potentially lead to an expedited approval.

The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act.

For the purposes of the UK Listing Authority’s Listing Rule LR 10.4.1 R (Notification of class 2 transactions), the total book value of gross assets attributable to the PRV is equivalent to the full consideration of $95m. No operating profit or loss was attributable to the PRV in prior accounting periods at Sobi.

AstraZeneca plc is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, CVRM, and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit astrazeneca.com and follow us on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

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NMC Health PLC Strong performance for H1 2019 in core markets of UAE https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/nmc-health-plc-strong-performance-for-h1-2019-in-core-markets-of-uae/412790998 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:28:29 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790998 NMC Health PLC (LON:NMC), the leading Gulf Cooperation Council and international private healthcare operator, has today announced its results for the six months ended 30 June 2019. Key Highlights ·      Strong performance for H1 2019 in core markets of UAE and on track for broader GCC expansion. ·      EBITDA of $323.5m (post IFRS 16) and $276.3m (pre-IFRS16), representing growth ...

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NMC Health PLC (LON:NMC), the leading Gulf Cooperation Council and international private healthcare operator, has today announced its results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

Key Highlights

·      Strong performance for H1 2019 in core markets of UAE and on track for broader GCC expansion.

·      EBITDA of $323.5m (post IFRS 16) and $276.3m (pre-IFRS16), representing growth of 22.5% (for pre-IFRS 16) and FY guidance remains on track. 

·      Working capital cycle days reduced substantially, supporting one of the highest EBITDA-to-Free Cash Flow for H1 in the history of the company.

·      Delivering balance sheet strength, with net debt-to-EBITDA improving.

·      Continued successful execution of the Group’s strategy has remained the key to management’s ability to guide and then deliver on strong growth, year after year.

·      Management reiterates the guidance provided on 28 May 2019.

Maintaining an unbroken trend of delivering on promised growth

NMC’s management has consistently guided that a verticals-based strategy is the best means of capitalizing on the healthcare markets in the UAE, as well as the wider GCC. This approach reflects the unique nature of the respective populations, which are more modest in size yet have demographic and economic characteristics that are favourable for continued demand for high quality healthcare access.

Building on the steps taken on this front in past years, NMC has continued to enhance its vertical framework. This approach, combined with strong off-take from the end market, has ensured NMC has continued to deliver a market leading performance.    

Notwithstanding the volatility of asset prices, as reflected by the stock market, the healthcare market remains highly predictable. NMC’s track record of guidance and delivery now extends to six years, with management confident that 2019 will prove to be no different.

NMC served a total of c. 4.0m patients (+16.7% YoY) in H1 2019 with 1,922 (H1 2018: 1,530) operational beds. Given the sustained addition of new capacity, 31% of the operational beds are in early ramp-up phase, translating into an occupancy rate of 67.7% (down 220bps YoY).

The essence of NMC’s strategy is to create and autonomize verticals. H1 2019 saw significant progress against this strategy: 

  • Higher complexities continue to evolve in the Multispecialty vertical, with nephrology becoming a key focus area among Centres of Excellence, following the success in paediatrics.
  • The Fertility business reinforced its position as a global leader by leveraging on the unmatched knowledge base available to it.
  • The Long-term care business introduced a new business line in the form of outpatient services through rehabilitation care.
  • Cross referrals to other business segments (including Distribution) from Operations & Management vertical has translated into substantially higher revenue generation than from the underlying O&M contracts alone.

For NMC, 2019 is a year focused on:  

  • Improving utilization and efficiencies of existing assets.
  • Integration of acquired assets and continued centralization of services.
  • Completion of partnership with GOSI/Hassana Investment Company, which is viewed by management as one of the landmark events in the history on NMC.
  • Investment on new capacity across UAE and Oman.
  • Deleveraging the balance sheet, with net debt-to-EBITDA (excluding the impact of IFRS 16) standing at 2.7x in H1 2019 vs. 3.1x at the end of 2018.
  • Improving cash flow generation: Group working capital cycle improved to 90 days (FY 2018: 106 days) as Group receivable days improved to 89 (FY 2018: 99 days), while inventory days dropped to 56 (FY 2018: 74 days).
  • H1 2019 recorded one of the highest EBITDA-to-Free Cash Flow conversion for the first half of the year historically.

Outlook

Continued successful execution of the Group’s strategy has remained integral to management’s ability to sustainably guide and then deliver on strong growth, year after year. Based on the performance of the Group in H1 2019 and the continued off-take in the end market in Q3 2019, management reiterates the guidance provided on 28 May 2019.

Given the Company’s strong operational and financial performance and continued trend of performing in line with expectations, management remains highly confident in relation to future performance. Looking ahead, the Board intends to continue its successful growth strategy, which it believes will continue to create significant value for shareholders over the long-term.

Prasanth Manghat, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

NMC Health again achieved strong performance in the first six months of the year, as we continue to deliver on our growth strategy in our attractive target markets. Our ability to perform strongly in a challenging environment testament to NMC’s strategy of developing niche, differentiated verticals in our core markets that provide the best possible care for our patients. 

All key financial and operational metrics of our healthcare and distribution businesses performed in line with our guidance. We also made good progress on increasing free cashflow during the period and we see room for further improvement in H2 2019, as has been the trend in previous years.

We are also particularly pleased to have closed our strategically important partnership with GOSI/Hassana Investment Company which ranks as one of the defining events in the history of NMC. This partnership will provide us with the ideal platform to establish a dominant position in the attractive Saudi Arabia healthcare market.

2019 remains focused on integration and realization of synergies from previous acquisitions. The Board remains committed to continuously improving transparency and enhancing the Group’s governance and ESG framework. The establishment of a new committee to oversee all related party activities in addition to the current robust program is a good example in this regard. 

We continue to view the future with confidence and reiterate our guidance for the full year 2019.

Presentation and conference call details

·          A presentation displaying the Group’s H1 2019 financial performance in graphical form will be made available at 7am UK time on 22 August 2019 on https://nmc.ae/investor-relations.

·          NMC will host a conference call for the H1 2019 results at 12 noon UK on 22 August 2019. For dial-in details, please contact FTI Consulting on NMCHealth@fticonsulting.com. A presentation for the results call will be made available on https://nmc.ae/investor-relations at 12 noon UK time on 22 August 2019.

A copy of this report will be available on the Company’s Investor Relations website which can be accessed from www.nmchealth.com.

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Reabold Resources Plc Increased Investment in Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/reabold-resources-plc-increased-investment-in-rathlin-energy-uk-limited/412791000 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:27:32 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=791000 Reabold Resources (LON RBD), the AIM-listed investing company which focusses on investments in pre-cash flow upstream oil and gas projects, has today announced that it has increased its investment in Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, the operator of the West Newton field, through participation in an advanced subscription agreement. Reabold currently holds a 24 per cent. ...

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Reabold Resources (LON RBD), the AIM-listed investing company which focusses on investments in pre-cash flow upstream oil and gas projects, has today announced that it has increased its investment in Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, the operator of the West Newton field, through participation in an advanced subscription agreement. Reabold currently holds a 24 per cent. economic interest in West Newton via its 36 per cent. holding in Rathlin and its ultimate economic interest will be confirmed once the next fundraising round is complete.

Following the successful drilling result at West Newton A-2, as announced by the Company on 17 June 2019, Rathlin has raised £1,793,000 by way of an advanced subscription agreement in which Reabold invested £1,000,000. The additional shares to be issued under the advanced subscription agreement will be priced at the higher of either a 20 per cent. discount to the price achieved in the next Rathlin funding round or at £0.8427 per share, being the price per share of Rathlin’s previous fundraise. If no funding round has occurred within 24 months then the additional shares will be issued at £0.8427 per share. Reabold’s investment has been satisfied from the Company’s existing cash resources.

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Rathlin reported a loss of £1,063,264. As at 31 December 2018, Rathlin reported net assets of £8,920,883.

Stephen Williams, Co-CEO of Reabold, commented:

“We are delighted with the rapid progress made so far at the West Newton field. With testing now underway, Reabold is pleased to provide further funds to progress this crucial project through the testing programme and beyond. The opportunity to increase our exposure to this potentially transformational asset, and on attractive financial terms, is something that could create substantial additional value for Reabold shareholders in the event of continuing success.”

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GlaxoSmithKline PLC ViiV results positive for every 2 month injection https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/glaxosmithkline-plc-viiv-results-positive-for-every-2-month-injection/412790995 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:26:28 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790995 GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON: GSK) ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GSK, with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, today announced positive headline results from its global phase III ATLAS-2M study of the investigational, long-acting, injectable, 2-drug regimen (2DR) of ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegravir and Janssen’s rilpivirine for the treatment of HIV. ...

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GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON: GSK) ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GSK, with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, today announced positive headline results from its global phase III ATLAS-2M study of the investigational, long-acting, injectable, 2-drug regimen (2DR) of ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegravir and Janssen’s rilpivirine for the treatment of HIV. The study was designed to demonstrate the non-inferior antiviral activity and safety of long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine administered every eight weeks (two months) compared to every four weeks (monthly) over a 48-week treatment period in adults living with HIV-1 infection whose viral load is suppressed and who are not resistant to cabotegravir or rilpivirine.

The study met its primary endpoint, showing that the long-acting regimen of cabotegravir and rilpivirine, injected every two months, was non-inferior to cabotegravir and rilpivirine administered every month at Week 48. Non-inferiority was assessed by comparison of the proportions of participants with plasma HIV-RNA ≥ 50 copies per milliliter (c/mL) using the FDA Snapshot algorithm at Week 48 (Intent-to-Treat Exposed [ITTE] population). Overall safety, virologic response and drug resistance results for the every-two-months injectable regimen were consistent with results from the phase III ATLAS study.

Kimberly Smith, M.D., Head of Research & Development at ViiV Healthcare, said:

“We are excited to report that for the first time since the AIDS epidemic started more than 30 years ago, our ATLAS-2M study has demonstrated that it is possible to maintain suppression of the HIV virus with an injectable regimen containing two drugs administered every two months. This is further progress in our efforts to reduce the number of medicines a person living with HIV must take while also reducing the frequency of treatments. The ATLAS-2M study results mean that people living with HIV could maintain viral suppression with six total treatments per year, instead of a daily oral treatment 365 times per year. Approval of this regimen would mark a significant change in the HIV treatment paradigm.”

Detailed results from the ATLAS-2M study will be presented at an upcoming scientific meeting.

This investigational, long-acting, injectable regimen is being co-developed as a collaboration with Janssen Sciences Ireland UC and has been submitted to regulatory authorities in the United States, Canada and Europe. A Priority Review Designation for the once-monthly injectable regimen was granted by the FDA with an expected action date of December 29, 2019.

About ATLAS-2M (NCT03299049)

The ATLAS-2M study is a phase III, randomised, open-label, active-controlled, multicentre, parallel-group, non-inferiority study designed to assess the non-inferior antiviral activity and safety of long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine administered every eight weeks compared to long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine administered every four weeks over a 48-week treatment period in 1,045 adults living with HIV-1.P0F[1]P Subjects were required to be virally suppressed for six months or greater, on first or second regimen, with no prior failure. The primary outcome measure for the study is the proportion of participants with HIV-RNA ≥ 50 c/mL at Week 48 using the FDA Snapshot algorithm (Intent-to-Treat Exposed [ITT-E] population).

ATLAS-2M is part of ViiV Healthcare’s extensive and innovative clinical trial programme for 2-drug regimens. The study is being conducted at research centres in Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

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NMC Health Plc Share buyback programme https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/nmc-health-plc-share-buyback-programme/412790996 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:25:18 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790996 NMC Health PLC (LON:NMC) today announced that it intends to immediately initiate the process to seek shareholder approval for a share buyback programme. The buyback authority will require formal approval by shareholders at a General Meeting. As the leading shareholders in the Company have indicated that they would not be willing to participate in any buyback ...

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NMC Health PLC (LON:NMC) today announced that it intends to immediately initiate the process to seek shareholder approval for a share buyback programme. The buyback authority will require formal approval by shareholders at a General Meeting.

As the leading shareholders in the Company have indicated that they would not be willing to participate in any buyback at the Company’s present valuation, the Company will be required to also seek shareholder approval to waive the compulsory purchase provisions as stated in Rule 9 of the Takeover Code.

The Company has a number of very attractive investment opportunities for the short and medium term which it remains committed to deliver.  Further, the Company also maintains a strong balance sheet to provide suitable optionality of funding and therefore the share buyback programme will, subject to shareholder approval, only be employed opportunistically to take advantage of exceptional price volatility and will be limited to a maximum of US$200m.

Shareholders will be kept informed of the timetable for the proposed shareholder vote and the publication of the accompanying shareholder circular.

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Antofagasta PLC Deliver robust financial results for H1 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/antofagasta-plc-deliver-robust-financial-results-for-h1/412790993 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:22:26 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790993 Antofagasta PLC (LON: ANTO) have today announced its half year report for the six months ended 30th June 2019. Antofagasta plc CEO Iván Arriagada said: “We have delivered robust financial results for the first half of the year reflecting higher production at all of our operations with EBITDA increasing by 44% to $1.3 billion. “In ...

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Antofagasta PLC (LON: ANTO) have today announced its half year report for the six months ended 30th June 2019.

Antofagasta plc CEO Iván Arriagada said:

“We have delivered robust financial results for the first half of the year reflecting higher production at all of our operations with EBITDA increasing by 44% to $1.3 billion.

“In line with our plan for the year, copper production during the half year period increased by 22% and we expect this rate of production to continue into the second half of 2019, which we expect to be another year of record copper production.

“With Antofagasta’s strategy focused on producing profitable tonnes, the successful Cost and Competitiveness Programme continues to deliver benefits and has yielded a cost saving of 7c/lb in the first half of the year helping us to reduce our net cash costs by 33c/lb to $1.19/lb.

“While the outlook for the copper market remains uncertain with the protracted negotiations between the USA and China impacting global trade, Antofagasta continues to be in a strong position generating solid cash flows and improving returns. We have the assets, capabilities and disciplined capital allocation strategy that allow us to deliver long-term value for all our stakeholders even in a challenging external macro environment.”

Financial performance

· Revenue up 19.1% to $2,525.6 million as higher copper sales volumes and by-product revenues were partially offset by a 6.3% lower realised copper price

· EBITDA(2) for the first six months of the year was $1,305.9 million, 44.0% higher than in the first half of 2018

· EBITDA margin(3) of 51.7%, increased from 42.6% during same period last year as unit production costs decreased

· Cost and Competitiveness Programme achieved savings of $61 million in the first half of 2019, equivalent to 7c/lb of unit cash costs

· Cash flow from operations(5) of $1,514.5 million, 70% higher than in the same period last year predominantly due to higher EBITDA

· Capital expenditure of $465.5 million, 38.8% of full year guidance

· Net debt decreased by $78.9 million to $517.4 million during the period, representing a Net Debt to EBITDA ratio of 0.20 times on higher cash flow from operations despite a drawdown of $198.0 million of the Los Pelambres Expansion debt facility, the $131.3 million initial impact of the adoption of IFRS 16, the payment of an increased final dividend and higher taxes

· Earnings per share of 30.7 cents, a 55.1% increase on the same period in 2018

· Interim dividend of 10.7 cents per share, equivalent to a payout ratio of 35% of Net Earnings(2). An increase of 57.4% on last year’s interim

Operating performance

· The Group had no fatalities during the period

· Group copper production increased by 22.2% to 387,300 tonnes, with higher production at all of the Group’s operations

· Group cash costs before by-product credits(2) for the half year were $1.66/lb, down from $1.92/lb in the same period last year due to gains arising from the Cost and Competiveness Programme, higher production and a weaker Chilean peso

· Group net cash costs(2) of $1.19/lb, a decrease of 21.7% from $1.52/lb in the same period in 2018, on lower cash costs before by-product credits and higher by-product revenues

· Construction of the Los Pelambres Expansion project has started on-site and project completion (engineering, procurement and construction) was at 22% as of the end of June. Capital expenditure in the first six months of 2019 was $77.6 million. The rate of expenditure is expected to accelerate in the second half of the year as the project advances

Guidance

· As previously reported, Group copper production guidance for the full year is unchanged at 750-790,000 tonnes and net cash cost guidance has been reduced by 5c/lb to $1.25/lb, assuming by-product prices and the Chilean peso exchange rate remain at similar levels to the first half of the year

· Capital expenditure guidance for the full year is unchanged at $1.2 billion

Other

· It is with great sadness that the Board reports the passing of Gonzalo Menendez, our longest-serving director, after 34 years on the Board. Gonzalo has been associated with every major strategic initiative of the Group and we will greatly miss his honest, forthright and wise counsel

· As announced on 12 July, the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) awarded $5.84 billion in damages to Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited, a joint venture held equally by the Company and Barrick Gold Corporation, in relation to arbitration claims filed against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (“Pakistan”) following the unlawful denial of a mining lease for the Reko Diq project in Pakistan in 2011

· Labour negotiations are scheduled with the supervisors at Zaldívar and Los Pelambres, and the workers at Antucoya and are expected to conclude in H2 2019

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AstraZeneca PLC Roxadustat approved in China for the treatment of anaemia https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/astrazeneca-plc-roxadustat-approved-in-china-for-the-treatment-of-anaemia/412790991 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:18:32 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790991 AstraZeneca (LON: AZN) today announced that its partner FibroGen (China) Medical Technology Development Co., Ltd. (FibroGen China) has received marketing authorisation for roxadustat in China for the treatment of anaemia caused by chronic kidney disease (CKD) in non-dialysis-dependent (NDD) patients. This approval, granted by the National Medical Products Administration, is primarily supported by a Phase ...

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AstraZeneca (LON: AZN) today announced that its partner FibroGen (China) Medical Technology Development Co., Ltd. (FibroGen China) has received marketing authorisation for roxadustat in China for the treatment of anaemia caused by chronic kidney disease (CKD) in non-dialysis-dependent (NDD) patients.

This approval, granted by the National Medical Products Administration, is primarily supported by a Phase III trial in NDD-CKD patients with anaemia, in which roxadustat demonstrated a statistically-significant improvement in haemoglobin levels from baseline averaged over weeks seven to nine of treatment, with a mean change of 1.9 g/dL compared to -0.4 g/dL with placebo. This data was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in July 2019.

This marketing authorisation follows the approval of roxadustat in China in December 2018 for anaemia in CKD patients who are on dialysis. AstraZeneca and FibroGen China expect to launch roxadustat in China during the second half of 2019.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, said:

“With this approval for roxadustat in China, we are now able to provide this first-in-class medicine to all patients living with chronic kidney disease who experience anaemia, regardless of whether they require dialysis. This is a significant milestone and we look forward to bringing the medicine to patients later this year.”

Anaemia caused by CKD is associated with cardiovascular disease, hospitalisation, cognitive impairment and reduced quality of life, and has been shown consistently to increase the risk of death in patients with CKD.1 Anaemia becomes increasingly common in patients with CKD as their disease progresses.1

References

  1. Babitt JL, Lin HY. Mechanisms of Anemia in CKD. J Am Soc Nephrol (2012); 23:1631-1634.

About the AstraZeneca and FibroGen China collaboration

AstraZeneca and FibroGen China are collaborating on the development and commercialisation of roxadustat in China. FibroGen China, based in Beijing, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FibroGen Inc. that sponsored the development and registration of roxadustat. FibroGen China conducted the China Phase III clinical trials and submitted the New Drug Application for registration of roxadustat to the Chinese regulatory authorities. Following this approval, AstraZeneca will manage commercialisation activities in China, and FibroGen China will manage commercial manufacturing and medical affairs as well as continued clinical development and regulatory affairs.

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Capital Drilling Limited Deliver another strong performance for H1 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/capital-drilling-limited-deliver-another-strong-performance-for-h1/412790989 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:14:51 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790989 Capital Drilling Limited (LON: CAPD), a leading drilling solutions company focused on the African markets, today announced half year results for the period ended 30th June 2019.  H1 2019H1 2018Average Fleet Size (No. of drill rigs)9194Fleet Utilisation (%)5246ARPOR ($)183,000200,000   Capex ($ m)6.45.4   Revenue ($ m)54.854.5EBITDA1 ($ m)12.712.5EBIT1 ($ m)7.95.8Net Profit After Tax ($ m)5.12.8Cash From Operations ($ m)10.57.2   Earnings per ...

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Capital Drilling Limited (LON: CAPD), a leading drilling solutions company focused on the African markets, today announced half year results for the period ended 30th June 2019.

 H1 2019H1 2018
Average Fleet Size (No. of drill rigs)9194
Fleet Utilisation (%)5246
ARPOR ($)183,000200,000
   
Capex ($ m)6.45.4
   
Revenue ($ m)54.854.5
EBITDA1 ($ m)12.712.5
EBIT1 ($ m)7.95.8
Net Profit After Tax ($ m)5.12.8
Cash From Operations ($ m)10.57.2
   
Earnings per Share  
Basic (cents)3.72.0
Diluted (cents)3.72.0
   
Interim Dividend per Share (cents)0.70.6
   
Net Asset Value per Share1 (cents)58.352.2
   
Return on Capital Employed (%)21.417.7
Return on Total Assets (%)15.611.8
Net Cash1 ($ m)8.53.4
Net Cash/Equity (%)10.74.7

*All amounts are in USD unless otherwise stated

(1) ) EBITDA, EBIT, Net Asset Value per share and Net Cash are non-IFRS financial measures and should not be used in isolation or as a substitute for Capital Drilling Limited financial results presented in accordance with IFRS.

Financial Overview

· First half revenue of $54.8 million, 0.6% higher than H1 2018 (H1 2018: $54.5 million)

· ARPOR of $183,000 (H1 2018: $200,000), an 8.5% decrease with lower revenues during start-up phase of new contracts. Continued solid contract performance across key contracts

· EBITDA of $12.7 million, up 1.6% on H1 2018 despite the increased investment in growth. Margins stable at 23%, reflecting the sustainability of cost management initiatives

· NPAT $5.1 million, an 82.1% increase (H1 2018: $2.8 million) reflecting reduced depreciation and lower interest charges

· Capex up 18.4% to $6.4 million (H1 2018: $5.4 million) on expanding the support asset base in West Africa

· Net cash up 150% to $8.5 million (H1 2018: $3.4 million) with an additional $2 million of long-term debt repaid

· Cash from operations up 45.8% to $10.5 million (H1 2018: $7.2 million) due to improved working capital management

· Investments of $7.7 million as of 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: $5.7 million) following strategic investments aligned to successful West African business development strategy, supporting a number of contract wins

· Earnings per share improved by 87.3% to 3.7 cents (H1 2018: 2.0 cents)

· Final dividend for 2018 financial year of 1.5 cents per share, paid in May 2019 (FY 2017: 1.2 cents)

· Interim dividend of 0.7 cent per share, up 17%, to be paid on 27 September 2019 (2018: Interim dividend of 0.6 cents per share) to shareholders registered on 06 September 2019

Operational and Strategic Review

· New exploration contracts wins to commence in H2 2019 include:

  • Arrow Minerals, Burkina Faso
  • Desert Gold Ventures, Mali
  • Awale Resources, Cote d’Ivoire

· Previously announced Exploration contracts awarded in H1 2019 include:

  • Compass Gold Corp, Mali
  • Golden Rim Resources, Burkina Faso
  • Allied Gold Corp, Cote d’Ivoire
  • Thor Explorations Ltd, Nigeria

· Previously announced Mine Site contracts awarded in H1 2019 include:

  • Kinross Gold Corp, Mauritania
  • Resolute Mining Ltd, Mali
  • Thor Explorations Ltd, Nigeria

· Expanded the Group’s operations into new West African markets of Burkina Faso and Nigeria (Q4)

· Contract wins with new clients and in new countries reflect progress in leveraging the increased operational presence in West Africa

· Further deployed rigs into the high-growth West African region, increasing the rig count to 33 rigs

· Multi-year contract wins (Allied, Thor and Kinross laboratory contract) expanded the Group’s portfolio of long-term mine-site based contracts to eight

· Strengthened operational and business development capabilities, appointing Jodie North as Chief Operating Officer and Chris Hall as Business Development Manager – West Africa

· Purchased an additional blast hole rig to support long-term Sukari Gold Mine (Egypt) contract

· Fleet utilisation up 13% (52%) on H1 2018 (46%) on an average fleet of 91 rigs

Health & Safety

· Previously announced world class safety achievements:

  • Sukari Gold Mine (Egypt) achieved two years LTI free in January
  • North Mara Gold Mine (Tanzania) achieved three years LTI free in March
  • Geita Gold Mine (Tanzania) achieved two years LTI free in March
  • Tasiast Gold Mine (Mauritania) achieved two years LTI free in June
  • Syama Gold Mine (Mali) achieved three years LTI free in June

Outlook

· Recent strength in the gold price an encouraging indicator – approximately 90% of the Company’s revenues are linked to gold

· Equity markets showing renewed interest in the exploration sector as a result of the stronger gold price

· Strategic expansion into West Africa continuing to generate multiple new opportunities

· West Africa remains a high growth region, particularly in the gold sector with relatively under-developed gold deposits

· Business development activity securing new business, including with new clients in existing operational areas, together with expansion into new operational countries

· Strong cash generation from mining companies driving increased exploration budgets

· Solid pipeline of new contracts commencing in H2 provide confidence in growth plans

The Group maintains its revenue guidance range of $110 – $120 million for 2019, with revenue expected to increase in H2 2019, consistent with 2018.

Commenting on the results, Jamie Boyton, Executive Chairman of Capital Drilling, said:

“We are pleased to report the Group has delivered another strong performance for the first half, delivering solid financial results while continuing to pursue strategic growth plans. Particularly pleasing is the strong cash result, despite outflows associated with establishing operations in Burkina Faso and mobilisation for a new contract in Mali. Our balance sheet remains robust due to ongoing prudent cost management. As a result of this performance, we have today announced an interim dividend to shareholders of 0.7 cents per share, representing a 17% increase on the previous corresponding period.

Our strategic expansion into West Africa continues to yield results which will diversify our revenue base. Our increased presence in the region, together with business development activity undertaken during the half has developed a solid pipeline of new contracts, including a number of new clients and further expansion of operations into Burkina Faso and Nigeria. This positions the company well for the remainder of the year, with the majority of these contracts expected to contribute to revenue from late Q3.

We continue to target mine-site based contracts and it is extremely pleasing to have announced the award of a further three long-term contracts during the period. Encouragingly, MSALAB’s three-year laboratory management contract with Kinross (Mauritania) sees the investment into developing infrastructure to grow the business coming to fruition. Capital Drilling now has a solid portfolio of eight long-term mine-site based contracts, providing revenue stability across the cycle.

Additionally, our existing long-term contracts continue to perform strongly, maintaining a robust ARPOR result. Our underground grade control drilling contract with Resolute Mining (Mali) was extended for a further one year, a reflection of our excellent service delivery.

Safety remains at the core of our operations and we have achieved exceptional results during the half, with safety milestones achieved across all our existing long-term contract sites – Geita and North Mara (Tanzania), Sukari (Egypt), Syama (Mali) and Tasiast (Mauritania).

We made a strategic decision in the half year to increase the size of our drill for equity programme in line with increased business development activity in West Africa. This proved successful in supporting a number of our contract wins.

The recent strength in the gold price is a further positive indicator for Capital Drilling given the sector represents 90% of our overall business, by revenue. Additionally, mining companies are generating stronger cash flows that are driving increased exploration budgets.

The recent announcement of six new contract awards, together with ongoing strong performance at existing long-term operations, places the Group in a strong position for the second half of 2019. We continue to grow and consolidate our presence in the high growth region of West Africa and remain confident this will provide further growth opportunities for the remainder of the year.”

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KEFI Minerals plc appoint Richard Robinson to the board https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/kefi-minerals-plc-appoint-richard-robinson-to-the-board/412790985 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:10:11 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790985 KEFI Minerals (LON: KEFI), the gold exploration and development company with projects in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has today announced the appointment of Mr. Richard Robinson to the Company’s Board as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect. Richard Robinson, a resident of France and Belgium over the ...

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KEFI Minerals (LON: KEFI), the gold exploration and development company with projects in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has today announced the appointment of Mr. Richard Robinson to the Company’s Board as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

Richard Robinson, a resident of France and Belgium over the past twenty years, has been involved for over 40 years in the international gold, platinum, base metal and coal industries. He spent over 20 years at Gold Fields of South Africa Ltd (“GFSA”) where he had executive responsibility for gold operations, gold exploration, international operations, the base metals and coal operations, and all the group commercial activities. He chaired the strategic committee leading to the successful merging of GFSA’s and Gencor’s gold assets to form Gold Fields Limited.

Having left GSFA in 1997, Richard has been a director of a number of public and private companies in the natural resources sector. Previous roles include Managing Director of Normandy LaSource SAS, a joint venture between Normandy Mining Limited of Australia and the French State (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, or BRGM); Non-Executive Chairman of the private Swiss multinational, Metalor Technologies International SA, one of the world’s leading precious metals refining and fabrication companies where he led the sale of the group to private equity; and Non-Executive Director of Recylex SA, a Euronext listed company involved in base metal recycling, refining and high purity special metals.

Harry Anagnostaras-Adams, KEFI Minerals Executive Chairman, commented:

“We are very pleased to welcome Richard to the Board of KEFI. He brings with him a wealth of relevant experience. In particular, his work in the international gold sector and in major international project development will be highly beneficial to KEFI, as we prepare for start-up at the Company’s Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia and the restart of exploration in Saudi Arabia.”

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Founding father of blockchain Scott Stornetta talks Bitcoin and Electroneum https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/founding-father-of-blockchain-scott-stornetta-talks-bitcoin-and-electroneum/412790885 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 09:29:11 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790885 The world-renowned scientist compares Bitcoin and Electroneum. He highlights the work of the UK-based cryptocurrency company. Dr. Scott Stornetta, the globally renowned scientist who along with his colleague Dr. Stuart Haber invented blockchain back in 1991, met with Electroneum’s CEO and Founder Richard Ells and Head of Blockchain Chris Harrison over Skype recently. The Yugen Partners Chief Scientist is ...

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The world-renowned scientist compares Bitcoin and Electroneum. He highlights the work of the UK-based cryptocurrency company.

Dr. Scott Stornetta, the globally renowned scientist who along with his colleague Dr. Stuart Haber invented blockchain back in 1991, met with Electroneum’s CEO and Founder Richard Ells and Head of Blockchain Chris Harrison over Skype recently.

The Yugen Partners Chief Scientist is modest when saying he doesn’t consider himself to be “of the highest calibre within the cryptographic and blockchain industry. “I simply like to position myself as one the people who has spent longer thinking about blockchain than anyone else on the planet. I have a really long-term perspective of this technology.”

Stornetta explained that he and Haber came up with the idea for blockchain to create digital documents that could be guaranteed to be tamper-proof. So, blockchain was born as a form of digital timestamps on documents along a chain so that authenticity of it could be traced back to its origin.

Seventeen years later after he and Haber invented the blockchain, Satoshi Nakamoto thrust blockchain to prominence by using it as the underlying technology for Bitcoin. In fact, whoever Satoshi are, they quoted Stornetta in their whitepaper

Also, on various occasions, Stornetta has been said to be Satoshi Nakamoto. That is because he is a cryptographer, a renowned scientist, the inventor of blockchain and, speaks and writes Japanese as if it were his native language.

His views on Electroneum

Stornetta told Electroneum CEO Richard Ells in an exclusive interview that, “I understand what you’re doing with the Moderated Blockchain and your unique Proof of Responsibility protocol.

“I’m happy to recognise that you have grasped the breadth of the design space. Also, that you are flexible enough and open-minded enough to be still exploring how to get the balance of the mix. And that’s something that I’m able to encourage wholeheartedly.”

He went on to say that many cryptocurrency projects reject the notion of becoming regulatory compliant. Others, he said, are not seeking ways to add value as is Electroneum for the end user. Many more, he said, also reject combining features of decentralisation and centralisation to make their cryptocurrencies more secure and eco-friendly.

When highlighting Electroneum’s exploration of new ways to improve cryptocurrency and the blockchain, he said Bitcoin, other cryptocurrency projects and “people in the space should not think we’ve already found some of the most optimal positions in that design space.”

What appeals to Stornetta about Electroneum

Dr. Stornetta explained what to him is so appealing about Electroneum: I admire, in particular, companies that have a long-term goal that is more than profit-maximizing, but that is actual a collective better.”

“I also simultaneously admire companies that are flexible about their means of getting from here to there. That includes finding ways to co-exist with the regulatory environment rather than attempt to subvert it. Also, finding ways to, create real use cases for people that wouldn’t know a hash function from a hole in the ground.”

Firstly, he said, Electroneum has a “long-term ambition for doing good and doing well.

“Secondly, Electroneum has a pragmatic approach to embracing existing players, including government and regulatory players, to find a way to co-exist. And thirdly, you have a practical way to make this of immediate value to the end-user. These three things I think are the essence of successful explorations in the, what I want to call the broader blockchain space.”

Electroneum’s GigFair project

Richard Ells explained Electroneum’s GigFair project. This is similar to other online marketplaces for freelance services in many ways except for the GigFair platform will charge far lower fees in benefit of the end user in developing countries.

“GigFair will enable people in the developing world to access the global digital economy for the very first time, allowing them to earn a little more, or even a lot more.” Ells described.

“The project will launch in the coming months and allows people from around the developed world to buy low cost digital services or ‘Gigs’ using their credit card – but the remittance is made to the gig supplier in ETN, the Electroneum cryptocurrency. Some digital skills are extremely easy to learn and can be completed and delivered using only a smartphone. Until now it has been impossible to pay small fees such as US$3 or US$5 to someone in the developing world with virtually zero transaction fee. Gig sellers can use their ETN to buy airtime, data and a growing list of other goods and services.“

Scott Stornetta said GigFair is a great way to add value for Electroneum’s end users.

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Founding father of blockchain Scott Stornetta talks Bitcoin and Electroneum The world-renowned scientist compares Bitcoin and Electroneum. He highlights the work of the UK-based cryptocurrency company. Dr. Scott Stornetta, the Electroneum,ETN ...
OneSavings Bank PLC Strong set of results for the six months ended 30 June 2019 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/onesavings-bank-plc-strong-set-of-results-for-the-six-months-ended-30-june-2019/412790883 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 06:32:52 +0000 https://www.directorstalkinterviews.com/?p=790883 OneSavings Bank PLC (LON:OSB), the specialist lending and retail savings group, has announced today another strong set of results for the six months ended 30 June 2019. Financial highlights Underlying profit before tax1 increased 6% to £96.9m (H1 2018: £91.8m) and statutory profit before tax remained broadly flat at £91.0m (H1 2018: £91.8m)Net loan book growth ...

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OneSavings Bank PLC (LON:OSB), the specialist lending and retail savings group, has announced today another strong set of results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

Financial highlights

  • Underlying profit before tax1 increased 6% to £96.9m (H1 2018: £91.8m) and statutory profit before tax remained broadly flat at £91.0m (H1 2018: £91.8m)
  • Net loan book growth of 10%, driven by 13% growth in gross organic origination to £1,635m (H1 2018: £1,444m)
  • Continued focus on cost discipline and efficiency alongside strong income growth delivered a cost to income ratio2 of 28% (H1 2018: 27%)
  • Net interest margin (‘NIM’)3 of 278bps (H1 2018: 301bps)
  • Loan loss ratio4 of 12bps (H1 2018: 11bps)
  • Fully-loaded Common Equity Tier 1 (‘CET1’) capital ratio strong at 13.0% (FY 2018: 13.3%)
  • Underlying basic earnings per share (‘EPS’) of 29.0p5, up 5% (H1 2018: 27.5p) and statutory basic earnings per share down 7% to 25.5p (H1 2018: 27.5p)
  • Return on equity6 of 23% (H1 2018: 26%)
  • Interim dividend of 4.9p per share, up 14% (H1 2018: 4.3p)7 

Commenting on the results, Group CEO, Andy Golding said:

“I am delighted that OneSavings Bank has delivered strong performance in the first half of 2019. Lending volumes were driven by 13% growth in organic originations with high demand across our core market segments. We saw good opportunities in the professional Buy-to-Let segment and our more specialist businesses, including InterBay Commercial and bespoke residential, flourished in the first six months of the year. This supported 6% growth in underlying profit before tax to £96.9m and a strong return on equity of 23%.

In July we successfully completed the inaugural issuance of our Canterbury Finance RMBS programme, securitising £500m of organically originated mortgages, adding further diversification to our funding and paving the way for future optimisation of our funding model. Our retail funding franchise had an excellent six months with nearly 30,000 new customers joining the Bank.

NIM decreased in the first half, primarily due to the changing mix of the loan book despite broadly stable asset pricing. The mix of the loan book continued to change as the higher yielding back book refinanced onto front book pricing. The impact of this mix effect has now largely run its course, assuming current mortgage pricing, cost of funds and swap spreads continue.

Our core market segments remain attractive and we have confidence in continuing to deliver growth in our net loan book. Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, given the growth already achieved this year and considering the current strong pipeline and application levels in the third quarter to date, we now expect to deliver high-teens net loan book growth in 2019 at attractive margins. We continue to invest in the business and we will maintain a strong focus on cost efficiency and control.

The recommended all-share combination between OneSavings Bank and Charter Court Financial Services Group plc (‘CCFS’) received shareholder approval from OSB and CCFS’s respective shareholders on 6 June 2019 and an unconditional clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority on 30 July 2019. As a consequence of the combination we are unable to provide detailed guidance for the financial year ahead.

OneSavings Bank is exceptionally well-placed to continue to generate attractive returns for our shareholders, regardless of potential political scenarios that may take place and we look to the future with confidence.”

Key metrics

 H1 2019H1 2018
Total assets (£bn)11.69.7
Net loan book (£bn)9.98.1
Loan to deposit ratio8 (%)9190
3 months+ arrears9 (%)1.51.3
Customer net promoter score10+64+60
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