Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Monday 14 October 2019

14th October 2019

What really matters... COVID-19

The FTSE, CAC and DAX are all expected to open up this morning.

In Asia, stock markets largely gained following the news that the US and China have agreed to a limited trade deal at the end of the week.

Stock market moves

In other news

  • Brussels has been left 'baffled' by Boris Johnson's Brexit proposals, according to the Financial Times
  • SoftBank is in talks to take control of WeWork
  • Kurdish forces strike deal with the Syrian regime hours after Donald Trump orders a full withdrawal of US troops from Northern Syria

Politics today

  • The State Opening of Parliament takes place today, with the Queen's Speech expected at approximately 11:30
  • The SNP's Autumn Conference continues in Aberdeen

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Ashmore Group PLC Trading Statement
  • Assets under management were broadly flat over the period, reflecting net inflows of $2.4bn offset by negative investment performance of $2.3bn.
  • Ashmore’s clients continue to raise their allocations to Emerging Markets and the combination of additions to existing funds and new client mandates delivered broad-based flows during the period, with net inflows in every investment theme except alternatives, which was flat, and a small net outflow in multi-asset.
  • The net flows were highest in blended debt, external debt, local currency, equities and corporate debt, with a small net inflow in the overlay / liquidity theme.
  • Mark Coombs, CEO, said: “This quarter continued to see broad-based demand for the attractive risk-adjusted returns available across Emerging Markets, and the delivery of continued net inflows demonstrates both the diversified nature of Ashmore’s client base and the breadth of its product range. The price volatility over the summer has provided Ashmore’s active processes with attractive investment opportunities to underpin long-term outperformance for clients. While the global macro environment remains uncertain, the low yields and relatively high equity valuations in Developed Markets mean investors’ returns are enhanced by increasing their allocations to the diverse and resilient range of emerging economies in both fixed income and equities.”
Thoma Bravo LLC Offer for Sophos Group PLC
  • The board of directors of Surf Buyer Limited and the board of directors of Sophos Group plc have announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer to be made by Bidco for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sophos. The Acquisition will be implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • The Acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sophos at approximately $3,820m on a fully diluted basis and implies an enterprise value of $3,948m.
  • Thoma Bravo LLC believes that the acquisition of Sophos represents an attractive opportunity to increase its exposure to the large and growing cybersecurity market.
  • Peter Gyenes, Chairman of Sophos, said: “It is the view of the Sophos Board that this is a compelling offer for Sophos shareholders which secures the delivery of future value for shareholders today. Thoma Bravo has deep sector expertise in cybersecurity software as well as a long and successful track record of partnering with and investing in its portfolio companies to support long-term growth and success. Under Thoma Bravo’s ownership we expect Sophos to accelerate its evolution and leadership in next-generation cybersecurity.  The Sophos Board believes that this recommended offer delivers a significant opportunity for all stakeholders – our shareholders, customers, partners, and employees.”
Superdry PLC Statement re Chief Executive Officer
  • The Board of Superdry announces that Julian Dunkerton’s contract as Chief Executive Officer has been extended. Having served as Interim CEO since 2 April 2019, Julian’s title will now be Chief Executive Officer and his contract will run until April 2021.
  • Julian has agreed to continue in the role to oversee the delivery of his vision to restore the brand to its design-led roots and lead the business to sustainable growth. Today’s announcement reflects the Board’s unanimous view that he is the right person to lead the business through this initial crucial phase of the turnaround.
  • Peter Williams, Chairman, said: “The Board is delighted that Julian has agreed to continue in the role as CEO through to April 2021. Julian has a clear vision and his creativity, ambition and leadership will be crucial for the turnaround of the business. As interim CEO, Julian has already been working closely with the team to execute this plan and while much remains to be done, the necessary foundations are being laid. I am looking forward to working alongside Julian during this period as we seek to identify his long-term successor.”
  • Julian Dunkerton, CEO, said: “I’m pleased that the Board has asked me to continue in the CEO role for this important phase of the turnaround. Since I have returned to the business full-time, I have been working with the team to put in place the plan that will turn around Superdry, with a focus on its design-led roots and strengthening the retail basics. We are already seeing early signs of progress and while this will take time, we are excited to realise the brand’s full potential. As CEO I am fully committed to working with the Board and everyone in the business to deliver this change over the months ahead.”
Energean Oil & Gas PLC Disposal of Edison E&P North Sea Assets for up to $280m
  • Energean Oil and Gas plc announces that, further to Energean’s proposed acquisition of Edison Exploration and Production S.p.A. as announced on 4 July 2019, it has entered into a conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement to sell Edison E&P’s UK and Norwegian subsidiaries to Neptune Energy Group Holdings Limited for $250m of cash, to be adjusted for working capital, with additional cash contingent consideration of up to $30m.
  • The sale is contingent on Energean completing its proposal to acquire Edison E&P and is expected to close as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter.
  • The onward sale is in line with Energean’s stated strategy of becoming the largest independent gas-focused E&P Company in the Mediterranean, and its previously stated intention to dispose of non-core assets.
  • Mathios Rigas, CEO, said: “The acquisition of Edison E&P established Energean as the leading independent, gas-focused E&P Company in the Mediterranean with a mainly-operated, low-cost, gas-weighted portfolio and a highly experienced team to prosper in our rapidly changing industry. At the time of announcement, we committed to our Shareholders that we would seek to dispose of non-core assets that do not adhere to our strategy. I am delighted to be able to make this announcement today, which demonstrates our commitment and capability to deliver upon our stated goals. Neptune is a leading player in the UK and Norway upstream sectors and, as such, we are convinced that under Neptune’s ownership, Edison E&P’s UK and Norway teams will benefit from the increased focus and investment that will result from this strategic alignment.”