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AssetCo buys SVM | SMS acquisitions | Wood hires CEO

Martin Gilbert


7am: Ocado raises £575m

Online grocer Ocado has raised £575 million through a placing of shares to develop its growth plans amid surging online demand.

It placed 72.3 million shares at 795p each, a 9.4% discount to Monday’s market close of 877.6p.

The placing was done in conjunction with an offer to retail investors involving 246,405 shares and 150,944 subscription shares taken by members of the senior management team, including CEO Tim Steiner, Ocado said.

In addition, it has agreed a £300 million new banking facility.

7am: DS Smith dividend rises

DS Smith hiked its dividend after robust annual results after the packaging company posted strong annual results.

For the financial year that ended 30 April, pretax profit increased 64% to £378 million from £231 million the year before, on revenue of £7.24 billion, up 21% from £5.98 billion.

DS Smith is proposing a total dividend of 15pence, up 24% from 12.1p paid out last year.

7am: AssetCo swoops on SVM Asset Management

Martin Gilbert’s AssetCo wealth management company, has acquired Edinburgh-based SVM Asset Management Holdings, the holding company to SVM Asset Management for £10.7 million.

SVM is an independent, FCA regulated fund management business which was founded in 1990 by Colin McLean and Margaret Lawson, whom, together with a family trust, are the significant majority owners.

SVM currently has around £586 million of assets under management (AuM), including five open-end funds: UK Growth, UK Opportunities, Continental Europe, All Europe SRI and World Equity.  SVM also manages SVM UK Emerging Fund, a £6.8 million investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange.

SVM generated turnover of £4.3 million and a profit before taxation of £2.0 million for the financial year ended 31 December 2021 and had net assets of £14.0 million as at 31 December 2021.

Mr McLean, who is managing director and chief investment officer of SVM, will become a director of AssetCo’s Scottish business, while Ms Lawson who is UK investment director at SVM, will continue in her role managing UK equity portfolios, as will Neil Veitch, Global and UK investment director, and Hugh Cuthbert, European investment manager. SVM’s existing 21 employees will continue to be employed by SVM.

…. more follows

7am: SMS investments

Smart Metering Systems is investing up to £6.2m acquiring a significant stake in an electric vehicle charging business and buying a data company.

It is committing an initial £2 million to acquire a 25% shareholding in Clenergy EV, a software business focused on EV charging infrastructure.

Clenergy EV’s customer base is in the public charging and fleet sectors, with its platform currently being used in more than 1,000 EV chargers across the UK. SMS has the option to invest a further £2m after one year, leading to the acquisition of an additional 26% interest, and has an option to acquire the remaining shares after five years.

Separately, SMS has acquired n3rgy, a data software company, in a £1.4m cash deal. An additional £0.8 million deferred consideration will be payable by SMS subject to n3rgy achieving certain performance targets.

Tim Mortlock, chief executive, said: “These two strategic investments are highly complementary to the existing SMS business and will significantly enhance our propositions in EV charging and energy data management, continuing the momentum in developing our CaRe products and services.

“Our investment in Clenergy EV will help to accelerate our advancement into the highly attractive EV charging market and the acquisition of n3rgy enables us to build on our strong existing position in energy data solutions.”

7am: Wood Group hires CEO

John Wood Group has appointed Ken Gilmartin as chief executive from 1 July to replace Robin Watson who is retiring from the Aberdeen-based company.

Following 15 years with Jacobs, Mr Gilmartin joined Wood as chief operating officer in August 2021. In his time at Jacobs, he held a variety of executive, operational and project leadership roles.

… more follows

Global markets

Asian stocks and US share futures clawed back some of last week’s losses, though concerns remain that aggressive central bank rate hikes to curtail inflation could spark a global recession.

The Nikkei was up 2.5% leading the pack followed by the Hang Seng, 1.6% higher. The Shanghai Composite was 0.18% to the good whilst the Kospi was up 1.03%..

Oil prices edged higher with traders focusing on tight supplies. US crude rose 2.12% to $111.88 per barrel and Brent was at $115.56, up 1.25% on the day.

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