Solid year for WCC
Hunter hails ‘exceptional founders’ as cash reserves rise
Sir Tom Hunter, left, at a recent event with Dragons’ Den panelist Theo Paphitis (pic: Terry Murden)
Entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter said his investment company’s strategy of backing “exceptional founders” had paid off during a time of market turbulence.
Sir Tom said “steady progress” had been made at West Coast Capital during a year when cash reserves rose by £20m from £61m to £81m.
It has continued to invest in unlisted businesses and said “opportunities prevail with cash at hand:”. The firm has no external debt. During the year it donated £5.2m to The Hunter Foundation, its charitable arm.
Commenting in the firm’s annual statement, Sir Tom said: “This has been a year of good progress at WCC. Our cash reserves have increased to over £80m, which at a time of uncertainty has allowed us continue to invest in our core assets.”
The tycoon spoke recently about WCC’s decision to go ahead with the Winchburgh new town project at a time of uncertainty and in today’s statement, he said: “We concluded our joint venture with CALA Homes which will allow us to develop Winchburgh, just outside Edinburgh, over the next 15 years building 3,450 homes with steady progress here during 2019.
“2020 will see five UK housebuilders on site, major progress with a new motorway spur, progress on new schools and negotiations continuing to bring a railway station to Winchburgh.”
He said another highlight has been the continued investment in advertising analytics business TV2
“This investment, where we are the largest shareholder, underlines our investment thesis of backing exceptional founders. We first backed TV2 founder Calum Smeaton back in 1998 in a business, Orbital Technology founded by Kevin Dorren. Chaired by Chris van der Kuyl, Calum has built TV2 into a global leader. We are lucky to be able to invest with such talented people.
“With strong cash reserves we continue to look for opportunities to back exceptional founders.
“The main reason WCC exists is to make money so I can donate my share to The Hunter Foundation and I’m very proud to say we donated over £5m there over this period, more on this next year.
“I would like to thank my partners and team at WCC who work hard to maximise our returns.”