Loss at equity firm

Stagecoach plunge hits Souter Investments

Brian Souter

Sir Brian Souter: adverse impact (photo by Terry Murden)

Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Sir Brian Souter’s investment fund lost £37 million in asset value last year as the transport company’s share price plunged.

Souter Investments saw the worth of its 15% stake Stagecoach fall from £219.2m to £182m over the year, offset by £10m of dividends.

New accounts disclose that Sir Brian’s investment company had a pre-tax loss of £33m in the year to March 2017.

About two-fifths of the fund is in shares in Stagecoach, the Perth-based transport firm founded by Sir Brian and his sister Ann Gloag.

The investment vehicle’s other investments increased from £253.4m to £270.2m during the year but the total net assets of the fund fell from £397.3m to £366.6m, according to the company’s accounts.

Referring to the fall in value of his company’s investments Sir Brian said: “This obviously had an adverse impact on the group’s performance, which recorded a loss of £30.7m.”

He added: “The diversification of the group’s investment portfolio has partially protected the net assets position of the group.”

Sir Brian previously made transport investments through sister company Highland Global Transport Limited, which was co-owned by Ms Gloag.

This company was wound up last October with its holdings transferred to Souter Investments and Gloag Investments Group following a decision by the Souter and Gloag families to follow different investment strategies earlier last year.

Souter Investments describes its investment strategy as “opportunistic” and typically takes equity investments of between £2 million and £30m.

The company’s portfolio includes more than 30 businesses across the financial services, legal, consumer goods, healthcare, industrial and property sectors.

Among the investments is the world’s most expensive perfume brand Clive Christian, cycling brand Endura and Virgin Mobile Latin America.

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