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Ambrian Capital PLC (AMBR)

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Thursday 19 March, 2009

Ambrian Capital PLC

Final Results

RNS Number : 1055P
Ambrian Capital PLC
19 March 2009

19 March 2009    


Preliminary Announcement of Results

for the year ended 31 December 2008

Ambrian Capital plc, the natural resources investment bank, today announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2008.


Year ended 
31 December 2008
Year ended
 31 December 2007
Commodities Revenue
Corporate Finance & Equities Revenue
Operating Revenue
Investment Portfolio Losses & Gains
Total Income
(Loss)/Profit Before Tax
(Loss)/Earnings per Share : Basic (pence)
Annual Dividend per Share (pence)
Shareholders' Equity
Net Asset Value per Share (pence)

  • Operating revenue decreased by 9.3% to £9.64 million from £10.63 million 

  • Operating revenue benefited from strong results in Commodities which partially offset a weaker performance from Corporate Finance Equities

  • The Investment Portfolio's substantial loss reflects the sharp fall in market values in the junior natural resources sector.  The Investment Portfolio was valued at £1.50 million at the year end after realisations and write downs to market values

  • Ambrian ended the year in a strong financial position, with shareholders' equity of £30.35 million and own cash resources slightly up on the previous year at £22.56 million

  • Net asset value per share decreased 30% to 31.6p in a year when the FTSE All-Share Index declined by 33% and the FTSE AIM Basic Resources Index declined by 72%

  • Final dividend of 0.75p per ordinary sharetaking the full year dividend to 1.50p

Commenting on the results, Tom GaffneyChief Executive of Ambrian Capital plc, said: 

'During a tumultuous year for commodities and equities Ambrian broadened its business model and strengthened its franchise. Our Commodities business had aexcellent year with revenue and profit growth also benefiting from the new physical metals business. The Corporate Finance & Equities business was adversely affected by the sharp downturn in the junior natural resources sector and its equity market making activity suffered accordingly.

The Investment Portfolio has now been substantially realised for cash which ensures Ambrian's ability to withstand difficult market conditions.

Despite the challenging market conditions, Ambrian has had a strong start to 2009. Operating revenue in the first two months is up 70%  over the same period last year with most of the growth coming from our Commodities business. Although our outlook for the rest of the year is cautious, these figures are encouraging.

This is a time of opportunity for Ambrian. We have the cash resources and the team that will enable us to take advantage of the continuing uncertainty in the markets.'

Enquiries : -
Tom Gaffney
Mark Connelly/Ileana Antypas
Charlotte Kirkham
Chief Executive Officer
Collins Stewart Europe Ltd
M Communications
Ambrian Capital plc
Tel + 44 (0)20 7634 4700
Tel + 44 (0)20 7523 8350
Tel + 44 (0)20 7153 1531

Notes to Editors : 

Ambrian Capital plc

Ambrian Capital (AIM : AMBR) is the holding company of Ambrian Partners Limited, Ambrian Commodities Limited and Ambrian Metals Limited.  

Ambrian Partners Limited is a specialist investment bank focussed on the metals & mining, oil & gas, and cleantech sectors. It provides corporate finance advice, equity research, sales and trading and market making services. Ambrian Partners was ranked first in the AIM Basic Materials Sector in the Hemscott 1st Quarter 2009 Advisers Rankings Guide.  Ambrian Partners is a member of the London Stock Exchange and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Ambrian Commodities Limited is trader and broker specialising in London Metals Exchange cleared base metals futures and options. Its customers include metals producers, consumers, merchants, traders and financial investors. Ambrian Commodities is an Associate Broker Member of the London Metal Exchange and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Ambrian Metals Limited is an independent physical metals trader with particular strengths in copper, aluminium and lead. Through Ambrian Metals' offices in London and Shanghai and agents in CalcuttaNew YorkSantiago, Sao PaoloSeoul and Tokyo, it sources non-ferrous metals from producers for distribution to an international client base of metals consumers and merchants.

Further information on Ambrian Capital is available on the Company's website:


2008 was a significant year for Ambrian that saw the Group complete substantially the realisation of the legacy Investment Portfolio and take a number of important steps to position the operating businesses for future growth.

The Group's results for the year were severely affected by the sharp downturn in most markets and asset classes. In particular, our Investment Portfolio incurred a significant non-cash mark-to-market loss during the year which under International Financial Reporting Standards ('IFRS') is reported as negative revenue.

During 2008, Ambrian's net asset value per share declined by 30% to 31.6p compared with a 33% decline in the FTSE All-Share Index and a 72% decline in the FTSE AIM Basic Resources Index.  The Group's net asset value per share would have been more seriously eroded by the collapse in the junior natural resources sector had we not in 2008 and in previous years taken advantage of liquidity opportunities and de-risked Ambrian's asset base. In 2008, we realised a net £8.31 million in cash from sales of the Investment Portfolio, almost all of which was achieved in the first seven months of the year.  Own cash represented 74.3% of our net asset value at 31 December 2008 compared with 49.3% at 31 December 2007 and 34.5% at 31 December 2006. Cash has become much more valuable today than it was a year ago.

The process of shifting the Investment Portfolio into cash and working capital is now almost complete  In future, we expect that market movements in the value of the Investment Portfolio will have a much more limited impact on the Group's total revenue.

The year saw the further development of the Commodities business. Ambrian Commodities Limited, our LME futures and options trading business, made substantial progress as it benefited from high customer volumes in base metals despite the sharp drop in metals prices.

In June, we entered the physical metals business with the recruitment of a highly experienced London-based team and opened an office in Shanghai with a staff of four. Ambrian Metals Limited has made a positive contribution and we expect to see further gains in this business in 2009.

In October, we entered into a strategic alliance with Mizuho Financial Group, one of Japan's largest financial institutions, to provide LME futures and options brokerage services to their clients globally.  

Ambrian Partners, our Corporate Finance & Equities business, benefited in the first half of 2008 from commodity prices reaching record highs. However, during the second half of the year, commodity prices declined sharply as demand decline caused excess supply. The second half of 2008 proved to be an extremely challenging operating environment for Ambrian Partners, characterised by a significant drop in AIM equity prices, reduced levels of liquidity and negligible investor interest in the small cap natural resources sector.    Our equity market making activity was particularly vulnerable and often found itself in the position of 'buyer of last resort' as it sought to maintain orderly markets.  Ambrian Partners partially mitigated the downward market pressure by maintaining a low cost base and expanding its retained corporate client base through the acquisition of Nabarro Wells & Co Limited in April 2008.  

The Board is recommending a final dividend of 0.75p per share, which will be paid on 12 June 2009 to shareholders on the register at 22 May 2009. This would take the total dividend for the year to 1.50p.

In addition, some 4.38 million shares were bought back during 2008 at a cost of £0.93 million and at an average price of 21.1p per share. The Board sees merit in having a buy-back capability in place and will be seeking to renew the necessary authority to buy back shares at the AGM on 2 June 2009.  

In December 2008, we announced that we were in merger discussions with Panmure Gordon & Co plc. The proposed transaction was designed to accelerate the growth of our Corporate Finance & Equities business and to position Ambrian to benefit when markets improve and investor confidence returns. After careful consideration, it was determined that terms could not be agreed that would be in the best interests of our shareholders. Although the transaction did not proceed, we regularly assess other strategic opportunities that arise and will only pursue a transaction that has clear and compelling benefits to our shareholders.

Finally, I would like to thank the hard working and talented individuals who make up the Ambrian team for their contributions over the year. There is no doubt that ours is an intellectual capital business and this combined with the strength of our balance sheet enables us to navigate short-term market uncertainties - the outlook for Ambrian continues to look promising.

W L Banks


19 March 2009


During a tumultuous year for commodities and equities Ambrian broadened its business model and strengthened its franchise. The Commodities business had an excellent year with revenue and profit growth also benefiting from the new physical metals business. The Corporate Finance & Equities business was adversely affected by the sharp downturn in the junior natural resources sector and its equity market making activity suffered accordingly.

Despite the current global economic uncertainties, we remain convinced that the long-term investment case for natural resources remains intact. Cyclicality is inherent in the commodities sector.  At some point, sentiment will turn and industrial output will rise and demand for raw materials will increase.  Growing demographics and the continued industrialisation of China and other emerging economies are themes that are not going away.  Resources and, in particular, metals, minerals and carbon based energy deplete.  In due course, these resources will need to be replaced with new discoveries or new technologies in recycling, energy conservation and in cleantech.

Natural resources are our core expertise. Ambrian finances and advises explorationdevelopment and production companies, we arrange physical metals distribution once mines are in production and through our LME business we provide metals price hedging services to producers and consumers. Ambrian's vision is to become the pre-eminent investment bank to the natural resources sector. Our strategy is to re-deploy the capital released from the sale of the Investment Portfolio in revenue generating businesses. 

Financial Review

Total income for 2008 was £(1.07) million (2007: £15.83 million).  

Operating revenue declined by 9.3% to £9.64 million in 2008 from £10.63 million in 2007.

Commodities saw revenue increase by 153% in 2008 to £6.39 million from £2.53 million in 2007. The growth in revenue was driven by higher customer activity and entry into the physical metals business.

Before market making, Corporate Finance & Equities had operating revenue of £5.29 million in 2008 (2007: £7.35 million), a decrease of 28%.  The decrease is primarily attributable to the reduced level of capital markets activity in the junior natural resources sector.

After market making losses of £2.04 million in 2008 (2007: gains of £0.76 million), Corporate Finance & Equities operating revenue was £3.25 million for the year (2007: £8.11 million), a decrease of 60%.

The Investment Portfolio had negative income of £10.71 million in 2008 compared with positive revenue of £5.20 million for 2007.  The primary reasons for the negative revenue were the reduced share prices of publicly-held investments consistent with declines in the junior natural resources sector and write-downs in the value of our unlisted investments.

Administrative expenses were £15.41 million (2007: £10.01 million) of which £11.45 million (2007: £7.05 million) were represented by fixed costs (these exclude non-recurring costs and bonuses). Administrative expenses included one-off costs associated with the acquisition of Nabarro Wells, start-up costs associated with the physical metals business and costs associated with the move to our new offices.   Rigorous control of fixed costs is a central feature of the Group and staff remuneration is geared towards performance. Total headcount as at 31 December 2008 stood at 70, up 19 during 2008.

The loss before tax for 2008 was £16.50 million (2007: profit before tax £5.79 million).

The loss before tax from the operating businesses (Commodities and Corporate Finance & Equities) for 2008 was £1.87 million (2007: profit before tax £4.16 million).

Excluding results from equities market making, the operating businesses generated profit before tax of £0.17 million (2007: profit before tax £3.40 million). 

The loss before tax from the Investment Portfolio was £14.63 million in 2008 compared with a profit before tax of £1.63 million for 2007. All central costs are allocated to the Investment Portfolio.

The net loss after tax for 2008 was £11.73 million (2007: net profit after tax £4.51 million).

Basic loss per share was 11.78p (2007 : basic earnings per share 4.32p).

Balance Sheet

We have sought to manage our balance sheet prudently and to continually improve its liquidity and transparency.  Shareholders' equity was £30.35 million at 31 December 2008 (31 December 2007: £45.04 million), or 31.6p per share (31 December 2007: 45.1p per share).

Financial Position 

£ million
As at 31 December 2008
As at 31 December 2007
Total Assets
Own Cash
Working Capital & Fixed Assets
Investment Portfolio
Shareholders’ Equity

Total assets increased in 2008 primarily as a result of an increase in trade and other receivables, and a corresponding increase in trade and other payables associated with the new physical metals business.

The Group's own cash resources, net of amounts due to clients, totalled £22.56 million at 31 December 2008 compared with £22.20 million at 31 December 2007.  Cash is held on deposit at major UK clearing banks, these being principally Barclays Bank plc and Royal Bank of Scotland plc.  

The aggregate regulatory capital requirement for the Group's regulated subsidiaries (Ambrian Partners Limited and Ambrian Commodities Limited) was £11.01 million at 31 December 2008 which was substantially exceeded by the Group's regulatory capital resources.

Our Investment Portfolio was valued at £1.50 million at 31 December 2008 compared with £20.52 million at 31 December 2007. The reduction in the size of the Investment Portfolio was due to a combination of the sale during 2008 of investments with a net value of approximately £8.31 million and reductions of £10.71 million ithe mark-to-market value of our investments.  

While the Group is in a strong financial position, it is applying a disciplined approach to capital allocation decisions and other expenditures in the current economic environment.

Corporate Finance & Equities

Ambrian Partners Limited, our Corporate Finance & Equities business, had 42 retained corporate clients at 3December 2008 compared with 35 at 31 December 2007. In addition to the new clients brought by Nabarro Wells, significant new client wins include our appointments as nominated adviser to Avocet Mining plc, BPC Limited and Weatherly International plc.   In a challenging equity market environment, our retained corporate client base provides a stream of recurring revenue and positions Ambrian Partners at the centre of providing financial advisory and capital raising services to our clients.

Despite the difficult market conditions prevailing in 2008, Ambrian Partners completed a number of notable transactions including :

  • financial adviser to BPC Limited on its £35.5 million reverse takeover of Falkland Gold and Minerals Limited

  • Nominated Adviser to First Calgary Petroleum Limited on its C$923 million takeover by Eni SpA

  • £14.4 million equity capital raising for Kalahari Minerals plc

  • Nominated Adviser to Solana Resources Limited on its £154 million merger with Gran Tierra Energy Inc

Ambrian Partners has a particularly strong position in the AIM natural resources sector. According to the Hemscott 1st Quarter 2009 Advisers Rankings Guide, Ambrian Partners was ranked first in terms of both (i) number and aggregate market capitalisation of retained Nominated Adviser clients and (ii) number and aggregate market capitalisation of Corporate Broking clients in the Basic Materials sector (which includes the metals and mining sector) on AIM. Ambrian Partners was also ranked fifth in terms of number of Nominated Adviser clients in the Oil & Gas sector on AIM.

Ambrian Partners' market making activities suffered in the second half of 2008 from the sharp decline in the share prices of junior natural resources companies listed on AIM and the absence of orderly two-way markets.  Two-thirds of the loss incurred by market making was in the shares of eight companies which dropped by an average of 83% during 2008.  We have now reduced the number of shares in which we make markets to 40; these are almost entirely retained corporate clients. We have also reduced the maximum amount of equity capital allocated to this activity to £1.0 million and have instructed our experienced traders to focus on facilitating client orders and to protect against risk. It is the nature of market making in the shares of smaller companies that gains and losses are abrupt and irregular.

Ambrian Partners' strategy is to use the current dislocation in the markets to acquire new corporate clients from weaker and less focussed competitors and to recruit industry veterans who share our goal of providing a differentiated, value-added service that institutional and corporate customers are willing to pay for. The intention is to gain market share in our existing sectors of expertise and to selectively build a more broadly-based sector led equities business. Ambrian Partners will then be in a position to benefit from strong leverage to the upside when equity markets recover. 


Ambrian Commodities Limited

Ambrian Commodities trades with a select client base located globally and generates revenue not by taking speculative positions but  by capturing dealing spreads and earning commissions. The business is client order driven and benefited from increased customer activity in 2008.  Trading volumes on the LME were significantly higher in 2008 compared with 2007, for example, the volume of nickel traded was up 37%, grade A copper volume was up 24% and primary aluminium volume was up 20%. Ambrian Commodities' international client base of industrial users of metals made active use of the LME to hedge either their raw material costs or output prices.  

In October 2008, Ambrian Commodities entered into a co-operative arrangement with Mizuho Financial Group, one of Japan's largest financial institutions, to provide LME futures and options brokerage services to clients globally.

Under this arrangement, Mizuho will be able to offer to its clients around the world direct access to Ambrian Commodities' LME execution capabilities so that Mizuho can focus on providing global clearing services.  It is anticipated that the alliance will commence generating earnings in 2009.

Ambrian Metals Limited

In June 2008, we entered the physical metals business with the recruitment of an experienced international physicals metals team and the establishment of Ambrian Metals Limited, a wholly-owned Swiss-registered subsidiary. The team comprises salesmen, traders and logistics managers based in London and Shanghai. In addition, we now have agents based in CalcuttaNew YorkSantiagoSao Paolo, Seoul and Tokyo.  This has significantly expanded our Commodities business.

Ambrian Metals globally sources non-ferrous metals, with a particular focus on copper, aluminium and lead, from producers for distribution primarily on a matched and hedged basis to an international client base.  In its first six months of operation, Ambrian Metals traded physical metals with a value of approximately US$524 million.  Ambrian Metals does not take unhedged metals price risk but generates revenue by charging its clients a 'premium' over the metal price for providing them with a consistently high-quality product, logistics services and price management.  Ambrian Metals manages all facets of marketing and distribution including financing from producers to consumers and has put in place committed trade finance facilities with a syndicate of major international banks including BNP Paribas, ING, Standard Chartered Bank and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise.

Investment Portfolio

The Investment Portfolio incurred negative income, before central overheads, of £10.71 million in 2008 as a result of the sharp decline in the market values of junior natural resources companies. The most significant losses were attributable to our investments in Minerva Resources plc (loss of £2.34 million after being written down to nil), Golden Prospect Precious Metals Limited ('GPPM') (loss of £1.94 million), and Jubilee Platinum plc (loss of £1.03 million).

The total value of the Investment Portfolio at 31 December 2008 was £1.50 million compared with £20.52 million at 31 December 2007. The reduction in the size of the Investment Portfolio was due to a combination of £8.31 million of net realisations and a reduction of £10.71 million in market values.

On 28 July 2008, Ambrian Capital sold its 49.96% stake in GPPM for total cash proceeds of approximately £4.24 million and with effect from 15 September 2008 Ambrian Asset Management Limited novated the investment management agreement with GPPM to a new investment manager.

The largest remaining publicly listed holdings in the Investment Portfolio at 31 December 2008 were Anglesey Mining plc (valued at £0.45 million) and Rivington Street Holdings plc (formerly CommodityWatch plc ) (valued at £0.44 million).

Our unlisted portfolio investments have either been realised or written down and had a book value at 31 December 2008 of £0.28 million (31 December 2007 : £0.72 million).


After the sharp falls in commodity prices in the second half of 2008, we are seeing signs of stability in the crude oil markets and a rebound in metals prices with copper, for example, up 30% since its low point in December 2008.

The Chinese government has pledged to keep economic growth in 2009 at 8% and has put in place a stimulus package which should support demand for raw materials.  Ambrian's office in Shanghai is seeing at current price levels signs of metals re-stocking in China and purchases of copper by China's State Reserve Bureau.

Despite the challenging market conditions we have had a good start to 2009. Operating revenue in the first two months is up 70% over the same period last year with most of the growth coming from our Commodities business. Although our outlook for the rest of the year is cautious, these figures are encouraging.

Tom Gaffney

Chief Executive

19 March 2009


Year ended 31 December 2008 








Investment portfolio gains and losses





Total Income



Administrative expenses



Finance costs





(Loss)/profit from operations



Income taxes 





(Loss)/profit for the year 





(Loss)/Earnings per ordinary share

- basic



- diluted



All of the activities of the group are classed as continuing.







Non-current assets

Property, plant and equipment



Intangible assets



Deferred tax asset







Current Assets

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss




Trade and other receivables





Current tax recoverable



Cash at bank and in hand









Total Assets






Current liabilities

Trade and other payables



Current tax payable









Non-current liabilities

Deferred tax liabilities





Total Liabilities





Net Assets






Called up share capital



Share premium account



Merger reserve



Treasury shares



Retained earnings



Reserve for share based payments



Employee benefit trust



Exchange reserve










Year ended 31 December 2008





Cash flows from operating activities

(Loss)/profit for the year



Adjustments for




Impairment of property plant and machinery

Impairment of intangible assets

Foreign exchange (gains)/losses







Taxation (credit)/expense recognised in 

income statement



Unrealised (gains)/losses on financial assets 

designated at fair value



Realised losses/(gains) on financial assets designated at fair value



Net proceeds on disposals of financial assets 

designated at fair value



(Increase) in inventory

(Increase) in trade and other receivables





Increase/(decrease) in trade and other payables



Share based payment





Cash generated from operations








Net cash from operating activities





Cash flows from investing activities

Purchase of property, plant and equipment



Disposal of property, plant and equipment



Disposal/acquisition of subsidiary (net of 

cash acquired)





Net cash used by investing activities





Cash flows from financing activities

Proceeds of issue of share capital



Employee share benefit trust



Treasury shares acquired



Dividends paid





Net cash used in financing activities





Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 



Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year



Foreign exchange (losses)/gains





Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year






Year ended 31 December 2008

1          The financial information set out in the announcement does not constitute the company's statutory 

            accounts for the years ended 31 December 2008 or 2007. The financial information for the

            year ended 31 December 2007 is derived from the statutory accounts for that year which have been

            delivered to the Registrar of Companies. 

The audit of the statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2008 is complete. The auditors reported on those accounts; their report was unqualified and did not include references to any matters to which the auditors drew attention to by way of emphasis without qualifying their report and did not contain a statement under s237(2) or (3) Companies Act 1985. These accounts will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the company's annual general meeting. 

While the financial information included in this preliminary announcement has been prepared in accordance with the recognition and measurement criteria of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), this announcement does not itself contain sufficient information to comply with IFRSs. The Company expects to publish full financial statements that comply with IFRSs in April 2009.

2         Earnings per Ordinary Share 

The calculation of the basic earnings per share is based on the earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue during the year.

The calculation of diluted earnings per share is based on the basic earnings per share adjusted to allow for the issue of shares on the assumed conversion of all dilutive options. 

Reconciliations of the earnings and weighted average number of shares in the calculations are set out below.

           Continuing Operations

Weighted average number of shares
Per share amount (pence)
Weighted average number of shares
Per share amount (pence)
Basic (loss)/earnings per share
Dilutive effect of share options
Diluted (loss)/earnings per share

No dilutive effect of the share options is shown for the year ended 31 December 2008 as their effect is anti-dilutive. Had there been a dilutative effect for the year ended 31 December 2008, the calculation would have been based on weighted average number of shares of 99,733,870.

3          Cash at Bank and in Hand

Cash at bank and in hand includes amounts of £24,561,062 (2007: £4,877,995) held as deposits on trading positions and on behalf of third parties.

Copies of the 2008 accounts will be posted to shareholders in due course. Copies of this announcement are available from the Company at Old Change House, 128 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BJ.

This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

a d v e r t i s e m e n t