Derwent non-exec chairman in £5.3m sale


Derwent London founder and non-executive chairman John Burns has sold shares worth almost £5.3m in the group, retaining a 0.4 per cent stake. As announced last November, Mr Burns moved into his current role in May 2019 — replaced as chief executive by property director Paul Williams.

Shares in the London office developer and landlord have traded at a discount to net asset value (NAV) since the 2016 referendum, punished by investors nervous of a Brexit-induced downturn and consequent decline in office occupancy. However, the group — whose office portfolio is concentrated in the West End — has managed to continue to increase occupancy levels and agree rents above estimated rental values (ERV). By the end of September, £33.5m in lettings income was generated on 486,600 sq ft of space, at an average 7 per cent above December 2018 ERV.

Specialising in not-at-fault motor accidents, Anexo’s credit hire division provides replacement vehicles, while its legal services business, Bond Turner, recovers costs from at-fault drivers’ insurance companies. Having built up the hire fleet, focus has shifted to recruiting more litigators and increasing the cash generated from its case backlog. Adding 20 senior fee earners in the first half of 2019, cash collections from settled cases rose by 30 per cent to £37m.

In his first sale since the group’s June 2018 IPO, executive chairman Alan Sellers recently sold 1m shares worth £1.7m, bringing his total stake down to 34.3 per cent. This was said to have been in response to demand from institutional investors. Mr Sellers and his wife Samantha Moss, who is managing director of Bond Turner, remain Anexo’s largest shareholders — together they hold almost 70 per cent of the issued share capital.

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* placing/tender/open offer ♥ spouse/connected party. Trades from November 14 to 22. Source: Morningstar/Investors Chronicle



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