Gilbert poised to capitalise as AssetCo surges in value
Martin Gilbert says his acquisitions vehicle AssetCo is poised for further expansion after posting a surge in annual profit and seeing its shares quadruple in value.
Pre-tax soared 373% to £16.1 million to the end of September (2020: £3.4 million) while the share price rocketed close to £17 per share (2020: 411p per share) over the period.
The growth follows the purchase of equity stakes in four businesses over the course of 2021 – Rise ETF, Parmenion, Saracen Fund Managers, and River and Mercantile – amid AssetCo’s new goal to build and operate and wealth and asset management firm.
Its capital has subsequently almost doubled over the last 12 months, increasing to £56.1m from £32.3m, including a tender offer that returned £27m to shareholders.
Mr Gilbert, chairman, whose senior team includes a number of former colleagues from his Aberdeen Asset Management days, described the past year as “transformational”.
He said: “The company is being transformed and has successfully put in place some of the building blocks required for it to become a 21st century asset and wealth management business that delivers for investors and makes a difference.
“We will look to develop these businesses and explore other opportunities.”
He said the £99m acquisition of River and Mercantile, announced last month, a “core” part of the company’s strategy.
“The acquisition… strengthens our active equity capability and importantly provides a foundation stone to building a private markets business given its infrastructure investment team.
“It will complement our existing presence in thematic investing.”
Mr Gilbert, who was co-CEO at Standard Life Aberdeen following the merger of Aberdeen with Standard Life, is keen on expanding AssetCo both at home and in the Far East, a familiar territory from his time at Aberdeen.
Campbell Fleming, chief executive, said: “The asset and wealth management industry is going through a period of significant change including technological advances, evolving investor needs and habits.
“To address these structural shifts the businesses we have invested in encompass four key areas – active management in both public and private markets, high growth thematic investing, ESG and digital solutions. Saracen Fund Managers, Rize ETF and Parmenion are well placed to take advantage of the changing landscape to meet client needs.
“The potential acquisition of River and Mercantile, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, will augment our strategy and will become a core part of our equity platform and the cornerstone of our private markets offering as well as increasing our AuM to over £12 billion.
“I am confident that AssetCo has established the foundations to continue to grow organically and through selective acquisitions and most importantly to deliver for investors.”
Earlier this week, R&M announced it had lost a £927mn mandate across several of its global equities strategies.
In a note to the stock exchange on Tuesday the firm said it had received notice from a client of its equities management business, stating that the client intended to redeem the assets.
The funds represent £2.8m of R&M’s annual revenue.