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Autins Group PLC (AUTG)

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Friday 02 August, 2019

Autins Group PLC

Launch of Placing via Accelerated Bookbuild

RNS Number : 6541H
Autins Group PLC
02 August 2019
 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, INCLUDING THE APPENDIX, AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS RESTRICTED AND IS NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN, INTO OR FROM THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, JAPAN, THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OR REGULATIONS OF THAT JURISDICTION. PLEASE SEE THE IMPORTANT NOTICES AT THE END OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AND AT THE START OF THE APPENDIX.

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR CONTAIN ANY INVITATION, SOLICITATION, RECOMMENDATION, OFFER OR ADVICE TO ANY PERSON TO SUBSCRIBE FOR, OTHERWISE ACQUIRE OR DISPOSE OF ANY SECURITIES IN AUTINS GROUP PLC OR ANY OTHER ENTITY IN ANY JURISDICTION. NEITHER THIS ANNOUNCEMENT NOR THE FACT OF ITS DISTRIBUTION, SHALL FORM THE BASIS OF, OR BE RELIED ON IN CONNECTION WITH ANY INVESTMENT DECISION IN RESPECT OF AUTINS GROUP PLC.

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF ARTICLE 7 OF EU REGULATION 596/2014 ("MAR").  IN ADDITION, MARKET SOUNDINGS (AS DEFINED IN MAR) WERE TAKEN IN RESPECT OF THE MATTERS CONTAINED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, WITH THE RESULT THAT CERTAIN PERSONS BECAME AWARE OF INSIDE INFORMATION (AS DEFINED IN MAR), AS PERMITTED BY MAR.  THIS INSIDE INFORMATION IS SET OUT IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT THEREFORE, THOSE PERSONS THAT RECEIVED INSIDE INFORMATION IN A MARKET SOUNDING ARE NO LONGER IN POSSESSION OF SUCH INSIDE INFORMATION RELATING TO THE COMPANY AND ITS SECURITIES.

 

UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED, CAPITALISED TERMS IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT HAVE THE MEANING GIVEN TO THEM IN THE DEFINITIONS SECTION INCLUDED IN THE APPENDIX.

 

Autins Group plc

 

("Autins", the "Company" or the "Group")

 

Proposed fundraising of a minimum of £3.5 million by way of Placing

 

Autins Group plc (AIM: AUTG), a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of acoustic and thermal insulation solutions for the automotive sector, today announces a proposed Placing of new ordinary shares in the Company to raise gross proceeds of not less than £3.5 million.

 

Highlights

 

·     Proposed Placing of a minimum of 17,500,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 20 pence per share (the "Placing Price") with new and existing shareholders to raise gross proceeds of a minimum of £3.5 million

·     Placing to be conducted by way of an accelerated bookbuild process by Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP ("N+1 Singer") which will be launched in accordance with the Terms and Conditions set out in this announcement, immediately following this announcement

·      Books are open with immediate effect

·      The Placing is conditional on the passing of certain resolutions at a general meeting of the Company

·    A circular, which will provide further details of the Placing and include a notice convening the General Meeting (the "Circular"), will be sent to Shareholders shortly and a further announcement will be made

·      The Placing Price represents a discount of 29.8 per cent. to the Closing Price of 28.5 pence on 1 August 2019 being the last practicable trading day prior to release of this announcement

·      The net proceeds of the Placing will be used to fund automation of certain of the Company's processes, to accelerate the Company's development in certain market segments, and for general working capital purposes.

 

A further announcement will be made on the closing of the Placing, which is expected to be later today.

Certain of the Directors of the Company have indicated their intention to subscribe for new Ordinary Shares in the Placing. Further details of the Placing and any participation by the Directors will be set out in the announcement to be made on the closing of the Placing.

 

This announcement should be read in its entirety. In particular, your attention is drawn to the detailed terms and conditions of the Placing and further information relating to the Placing and any participation in the Placing that is described in the Appendix to this announcement (which forms part of this announcement).

By choosing to participate in the Placing and by making an oral and legally binding offer to acquire Placing Shares, investors will be deemed to have read and understood this announcement in its entirety (including the Appendix), and to be making such offer on the terms and subject to the conditions of the Placing contained herein, and to be providing the representations, warranties and acknowledgements contained in the Appendix.

For further information please contact:

Autins Group plc

Adam Attwood, Non-Executive Chairman

Gareth Kaminski-Cook, Chief Executive

James Larner, Chief Financial Officer

 

Via Newgate

N+1 Singer (Nominated Adviser and Broker)

Mark Taylor / Lauren Kettle (Corporate Finance)

Mia Gardner (Corporate Broking)

 

Tel: 020 7496 3000

Newgate Communications (Financial PR)

Adam Lloyd

Tom Carnegie

 

Tel: 020 7653 9850

 

 

Important Notice

 

N+1 Singer is acting as nominated adviser and broker and as agent for and on behalf of the Company for the Placing. N+1 Singer is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA") in the United Kingdom. N+1 Singer is acting exclusively for the Company and no one else in connection with the Placing and N+1 Singer will not be responsible to anyone (including any Placees) other than the Company for providing the protections afforded to its clients or for providing advice in relation to the Placing or any other matters referred to in this announcement.

No representation or warranty, express or implied, is or will be made as to, or in relation to, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by N+1 Singer or by any of its affiliates or agents as to, or in relation to, the accuracy or completeness of this announcement or any other written or oral information made available to or publicly available to any interested party or its advisers, and any liability therefor is expressly disclaimed.

No statement in this announcement is intended to be a profit forecast or estimate, and no statement in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that earnings per share of the Company for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings per share of the Company.

The price of shares and any income expected from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the full amount invested upon disposal of the shares. Past performance is no guide to future performance, and persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser. No statement in this Announcement is intended to be a profit forecast and no statement in this Announcement should be interpreted to mean that earnings per share of the Company for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings per share of the Company.

The Placing Shares to be issued pursuant to the Placing will not be admitted to trading on any stock exchange other than on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

Neither the content of the Company's website nor any website accessible by hyperlinks on the Company's website is incorporated in, or forms part of, this announcement. 

This announcement may contain and the Company may make verbal statements containing "forward-looking statements" with respect to certain of the Company's plans and its current goals and expectations relating to its future financial condition, performance, strategic initiatives, objectives and results. Forward-looking statements sometimes use words such as "aim", "anticipate", "target", "expect", "estimate", "intend", "plan", "goal", "believe", "seek", "may", "could", "outlook" or other words of similar meaning. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances which are beyond the control of the Company, including amongst other things, United Kingdom domestic and global economic business conditions, market-related risks such as fluctuations in interest rates and exchange rates, the policies and actions of governmental and regulatory authorities, the effect of competition, inflation, deflation, the timing effect and other uncertainties of future acquisitions or combinations within relevant industries, the effect of tax and other legislation and other regulations in the jurisdictions in which the Company and its respective affiliates operate, the effect of volatility in the equity, capital and credit markets on the Company's profitability and ability to access capital and credit, a decline in the Company's credit ratings; the effect of operational risks; and the loss of key personnel. As a result, the actual future financial condition, performance and results of the Company may differ materially from the plans, goals and expectations set forth in any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements made in this announcement by or on behalf of the Company speak only as of the date they are made. Except as required by applicable law or regulation, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to publish any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement to reflect any changes in the Company's expectations with regard thereto or any changes in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Notice to distributors

Solely for the purposes of the product governance requirements contained within: (a) EU Directive 2014/65/EU on markets in financial instruments, as amended ("MiFID II"); (b) Articles 9 and 10 of Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2017/593 supplementing MiFID II; and (c) local implementing measures (together, the "MiFID II Product Governance Requirements"), and disclaiming all and any liability, whether arising in tort, contract or otherwise, which "manufacturer" (for the purposes of the MiFID II Product Governance Requirements) may otherwise have with respect thereto, the Placing Shares have been subject to a product approval process, which has determined that such securities are: (i) compatible with an end target market of retail investors and investors who meet the criteria of professional clients and eligible counterparties, each as defined in MiFID II; and (ii) eligible for distribution through all distribution channels as are permitted by MiFID II (the "Target Market Assessment").

Notwithstanding the Target Market Assessment, distributors should note that: the price of the Placing Shares may decline and investors could lose all or part of their investment; Placing Shares offer no guaranteed income and no capital protection; and an investment in the Placing Shares is compatible only with investors who do not need a guaranteed income or capital protection, who (either alone or in conjunction with an appropriate financial or other adviser) are capable of evaluating the merits and risks of such an investment and who have sufficient resources to be able to bear any losses that may result therefrom.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Target Market Assessment does not constitute: (a) an assessment of suitability or appropriateness for the purposes of MiFID II; or (b) a recommendation to any investor or group of investors to invest in, or purchase, or take any other action whatsoever with respect to Placing Shares. Each distributor is responsible for undertaking its own target market assessment in respect of the Placing Shares and determining appropriate distribution channels.

Basis on which information is presented

In this document, references to "£", "pence" and "p" are to the lawful currency of the United Kingdom. All times referred to in this document are, unless otherwise stated, references to London time.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

Background to and reasons for the Placing

 

Autins Group specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of acoustic and thermal insulation solutions primarily in the automotive sector and with an increasing focus on other sectors, including flooring and wider industrial applications.

 

Autins will use the net proceeds of the Placing to continue with its strategy to drive additional growth through:

 

-    expansion of its customer base and geographic coverage within Europe;

-  continued focus on operational efficiencies including automation of certain manufacturing processes to strengthen operational efficiencies and improve margins; and

-    buffer its working capital position to facilitate its growth strategy and fulfil anticipated new client orders.

 

As detailed in the Company's 2019 interim results announcement, the Company, and the automotive industry generally, is continuing to experience challenging trading conditions due to a combination of factors, including OEM factory shutdowns due to Brexit, uncertainty over the future of diesel engine vehicles and a sharp decline in global demand, especially in China.

 

Despite this, the Group has demonstrated a strong track record of winning new OEM and Tier 1 customers and as a result, sales are on track for the year and the pipeline has increased to £50.7m (of which £33.3m relates to Neptune, the Company's unique acoustic and thermal technology). New wins in the period include £2.7m per annum of Neptune for several OEM's and £2.1m per annum of vacuum moulded, heavy layer for the mid life cycle facelifts on existing vehicle platforms. The Board anticipates transformational client and platform wins in the near term, with decisions expected shortly. Whilst 75% of Neptune wins to date are with the Group's largest customer, circa 75% of the development pipeline (currently amounting to £32.6 million per annum), is made up of other OEM's across Europe, both directly and via their Tiers, as the Group continues with efforts to diversify its customer base.

 

Despite a challenging market, the Group continues to see positive momentum in its business, particularly in Europe (its German operations saw a 44% increase in sales growth in H1 2019, and Sweden is well positioned for growth). As a result of its established European manufacturing capability, technical knowhow and support to OEM's and Tier 1 suppliers, Autins is establishing itself as a recognised NVH specialist in the automotive sector. 

 

Sales of Neptune components and its quotation pipeline have increased significantly during 2019 and Autins continues to convert pipeline opportunities to orders. Production of Neptune components increased 100 per cent. in H1 2019 compared to the FY18 exit rate and the product is currently approved for several European OEMs. Neptune business wins include 12 OEM brands, 33 vehicle models and 200 components with new Neptune component in FY19 representing approximately £2.7 million of revenue per annum. 

 

Autins' European businesses are strategically positioned to expand with new OEM's and Tier 1 suppliers.  Neptune has been specified on a number of new vehicles with major OEM's in Sweden and Germany, including several electric and hybrid vehicles.   

 

In Germany, new business has been secured with key Tier suppliers to existing and new OEM's, which builds on existing products provided to the VW Group; a customer since 2016.  Furthermore, the strength of the Neptune offering has facilitated access to major OEM's in this market, resulting in a development pipeline of approximately £8 million per annum.

 

At present, and for the foreseeable future, the majority of the Group's European growth and investment to support anticipated growth in its Neptune pipeline is not covered by its existing UK banking facilities. Local financing is limited (in terms of availability and scope) in both Germany and Sweden and expected to remain so in the short term. Growth in Europe is therefore being funded out of Group working capital. As outlined above, the Company has a number of new business opportunities in Europe which will require funding to capitalise on the opportunity.

 

In addition, Neptune has been specified or is currently being supplied on a number of electric car platforms produced by leading European OEMs.

 

Autins has also continued to diversify its business in the UK with new business wins secured with the UK businesses of Mini, Nissan, Toyota, Aston Martin, LEVC and Daimler. 

 

The Board continues to focus on driving operational efficiencies from its manufacturing capabilities and increase flexibility in cost control so that it is better able to react quickly to volatility in customer demand.  Autins has identified a number of areas in its manufacturing processes that can be enhanced to reduce the amount of manual labour required and cost to produce components through automation of a number of specific processes.  The key areas identified relate to the introduction of automated sonic welding and material feed robotics onto Autins' manufacturing lines.

 

Use of proceeds

 

The Company is proposing to raise minimum gross proceeds of approximately £3.5 million from the Placing. The minimum net proceeds (after deducting the costs and expenses of the Placing), along with the Company's existing cash resources are intended to be used to support organic growth in mainland Europe, drive operational capacity and efficiencies, create an allowance for Brexit contingency and support the Company's working capital position.

 

It is proposed that the minimum gross proceeds of the issue shall be used as follows:

 

New customer wins and geographic expansion

£1.40 million

Investment in operational efficiency and automation

£0.50 million

Neptune inventory for growth

£0.60 million

New market expansion

£0.25 million

Working capital contingency

£0.55 million

Fees and expenses

£0.20 million

Total

£3.50 million

 

Information on the Placing and terms of the Placing Agreement

 

The Company proposes to raise a minimum of £3.5 million (before expenses) through the issue of the Placing Shares at the Placing Price, which represented a discount of 29.8 per cent. to the closing mid-market price of an Ordinary Share of 28.5 pence on 1 August 2019, being the Business Day prior to the announcement of the Placing.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the Placing Agreement, N+1 Singer as agent and broker for the Company, has conditionally agreed to use its reasonable endeavours to place the Placing Shares with certain institutional and other investors. The Placing Agreement is conditional upon, amongst other things, the Resolutions being duly passed at the General Meeting and Admission becoming effective on or before 8:00 a.m. on 22 August 2019 (or such later time and/or date as the Company and N+1 Singer may agree, but in any event by no later than 8.00 a.m. on 11 September 2019).

 

The Placing Agreement contains warranties from the Company in favour of N+1 Singer in relation to, amongst other things, the accuracy of the information in this document and other matters relating to the Company and its business.  In addition, the Company has agreed to indemnify N+1 Singer and their affiliates in relation to certain liabilities they may incur in respect of the Placing. N+1 Singer can terminate the Placing Agreement at any time prior to Admission in certain circumstances, including in the event of a material breach of the warranties given in the Placing Agreement, the failure of the Company to comply with its obligations under the Placing Agreement,  the occurrence of a force majeure event which in N+1 Singer's opinion make it inadvisable or impractical to proceed with the Placing, or a material adverse change affecting the financial, operational or legal condition of the Company. If this right is exercised the Placing will not proceed. The Placing is not being underwritten by N+1 Singer.

 

The Company has agreed to pay certain fees and commissions to N+1 Singer in respect of the Placing.

 

The Placing Shares will, if and when issued, rank pari passu in all respects with the Existing Ordinary Shares including the right to receive dividends and other distributions declared following Admission.

 

The Placing is not being underwritten in whole or in part.

 

Current trading and financial position

 

The Company announced its interim results for the period ended 31 March 2019 on 26 June 2019, which reflects the positive momentum it is seeing in its business. Revenue for the period was £13.66 million with Gross Profit of £3.62 million and an Adjusted EBITDA loss of £0.16 million.

 

Since announcing its interim results, despite a challenging market, the Board is pleased to confirm that current trading is inline with management expectations.

 

The focus is and will continue to be on margin improvement and progression and driving operational efficiency gains through automation.

 

General Meeting

 

In accordance with the Company's articles of association, shareholder approval is required for the Directors to issue the Placing Shares. The General Meeting is expected to be held for the purpose of passing the Resolutions, including to authorise the proposed Placing. It is currently anticipated that the General Meeting will be held on or around 21 August 2019. The Circular, containing notice convening the General Meeting, is expected to be despatched to the Shareholders on or about the 5 August 2019, outlining terms of the Placing, the Resolutions and recommending all Shareholders to vote in favour of all the Resolutions.

 

APPENDIX - TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE PLACING

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INVITED PLACEES ONLY REGARDING THE PLACING.

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, INCLUDING THIS APPENDIX, IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT ITSELF CONSTITUTE AN OFFER FOR SALE OR SUBSCRIPTION OF ANY SECURITIES IN THE COMPANY. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AND THE APPENDIX DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR CONTAIN ANY INVITATION, SOLICITATION, RECOMMENDATION, OFFER OR ADVICE TO ANY PERSON TO SUBSCRIBE FOR, OTHERWISE ACQUIRE OR DISPOSE OF ANY SECURITIES OF AUTINS IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH ANY SUCH OFFER OR SOLICITATION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL. 

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, INCLUDING THIS APPENDIX AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN (TOGETHER THE "ANNOUNCEMENT") IS RESTRICTED AND IS NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN OR INTO OR FROM THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN, THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL.  THIS ANNOUNCEMENT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE, NOR IS IT INTENDED THAT IT WILL BE SO APPROVED.

 

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO TAKE PART IN THE PLACING.  THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS DIRECTED ONLY AT: (A) PERSONS IN MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA ("EEA") WHO ARE QUALIFIED INVESTORS AS DEFINED IN SECTION 86(7) OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AND MARKETS ACT 2000, AS AMENDED ("QUALIFIED INVESTORS"), BEING PERSONS FALLING WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 2(1)(e) OF DIRECTIVE 2003/71/EC, AS AMENDED, INCLUDING BY THE 2010 PROSPECTUS DIRECTIVE AMENDING DIRECTIVE (DIRECTIVE 2010/73/EC) AND TO THE EXTENT IMPLEMENTED IN THE RELEVANT MEMBER STATE (THE "PROSPECTUS DIRECTIVE"); AND (B) IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, QUALIFIED INVESTORS WHO ARE PERSONS WHO: (I) HAVE PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN MATTERS RELATING TO INVESTMENTS FALLING WITHIN ARTICLE 19(5) (INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS) OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AND MARKETS ACT 2000 (FINANCIAL PROMOTION) ORDER 2005, AS AMENDED (THE "ORDER"); (II) ARE PERSONS FALLING WITHIN ARTICLE 49(2)(A) TO (D) (HIGH NET WORTH COMPANIES, UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATIONS, ETC.) OF THE ORDER; OR (III) ARE PERSONS TO WHOM IT MAY OTHERWISE BE LAWFULLY COMMUNICATED (ALL SUCH PERSONS TOGETHER BEING REFERRED TO AS "RELEVANT PERSONS").

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AND THE INFORMATION IN IT MUST NOT BE ACTED ON OR RELIED ON BY PERSONS WHO ARE NOT RELEVANT PERSONS.  PERSONS DISTRIBUTING THIS ANNOUNCEMENT MUST SATISFY THEMSELVES THAT IT IS LAWFUL TO DO SO.  ANY INVESTMENT OR INVESTMENT ACTIVITY TO WHICH THIS ANNOUNCEMENT RELATES IS AVAILABLE ONLY TO RELEVANT PERSONS AND WILL BE ENGAGED IN ONLY WITH RELEVANT PERSONS.  THIS ANNOUNCEMENT DOES NOT ITSELF CONSTITUTE AN OFFER FOR SALE OR SUBSCRIPTION OF ANY SECURITIES IN AUTINS.

 

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT AN OFFER OF SECURITIES FOR SALE INTO THE UNITED STATES. THE PLACING SHARES HAVE NOT BEEN AND WILL NOT BE REGISTERED UNDER THE UNITED STATES SECURITIES ACT 1933, AS AMENDED (THE "SECURITIES ACT") OR WITH ANY SECURITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF ANY STATE OR JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES, AND MAY NOT BE OFFERED, SOLD OR TRANSFERRED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN THE UNITED STATES EXCEPT PURSUANT TO AN EXEMPTION FROM, OR IN A TRANSACTION NOT SUBJECT TO, THE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE SECURITIES ACT AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH ANY APPLICABLE SECURITIES LAWS OF ANY STATE OR OTHER JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES.  SUBJECT TO CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS AND AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE COMPANY, THE PLACING SHARES ARE BEING OFFERED AND SOLD ONLY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES IN "OFFSHORE TRANSACTIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH, REGULATION S UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT AND OTHERWISE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS.  NO PUBLIC OFFERING OF THE PLACING SHARES IS BEING MADE IN THE UNITED STATES, THE UNITED KINGDOM OR ELSEWHERE.  NO MONEY, SECURITIES OR OTHER CONSIDERATION FROM ANY PERSON INSIDE THE UNITED STATES IS BEING SOLICITED AND, IF SENT IN RESPONSE TO THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

 

EACH PLACEE SHOULD CONSULT WITH ITS ADVISERS AS TO LEGAL, TAX, BUSINESS AND RELATED ASPECTS OF AN INVESTMENT IN PLACING SHARES.  THE DISTRIBUTION OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, ANY PART OF IT OR ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN IT MAY BE RESTRICTED BY LAW IN CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS, AND ANY PERSON INTO WHOSE POSSESSION THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, ANY PART OF IT OR ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN IT COMES SHOULD INFORM THEMSELVES ABOUT, AND OBSERVE, SUCH RESTRICTIONS.

 

No action has been taken by the Company, N+1 Singer Advisory LLP ("N+1 Singer") or any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees that would permit an offer of the Placing Shares or possession or distribution of this Announcement or any other offering or publicity material relating to the Placing Shares in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required. 

 

This Announcement or any part of it does not constitute or form part of any offer to issue or sell, or the solicitation of an offer to acquire, purchase or subscribe for, any securities in the United States (including its territories and possessions, any state of the United States and the District of Columbia), Canada, Australia, the Republic of South Africa, Japan or any other jurisdiction in which the same would be unlawful.  No public offering of the Placing Shares is being made in any such jurisdiction.

 

All offers of the Placing Shares will be made pursuant to an exemption under the Prospectus Directive from the requirement to produce a prospectus.  In the United Kingdom, this Announcement is being directed solely at persons in circumstances in which section 21(1) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended) ("FSMA") does not apply.

 

The Placing Shares have not been approved or disapproved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, any state securities commission or other regulatory authority in the United States, nor have any of the foregoing authorities passed upon or endorsed the merits of the Placing or the accuracy or adequacy of this Announcement.  Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offence in the United States.  The relevant clearances have not been, nor will they be, obtained from the securities commission of any province or territory of Canada, no prospectus has been lodged with, or registered by, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission or the Japanese Ministry of Finance; the relevant clearances have not been, and will not be, obtained for the South Africa Reserve Bank or any other applicable body in the Republic of South Africa in relation to the Placing Shares and the Placing Shares have not been, nor will they be, registered under or offered in compliance with the securities laws of any state, province or territory of Australia, Canada, Japan or the Republic of South Africa or in any other jurisdiction.  Accordingly, the Placing Shares may not (unless an exemption under the relevant securities laws is applicable) be offered, sold, resold or delivered, directly or indirectly, in or into the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan or the Republic of South Africa or any other jurisdiction outside the United Kingdom.

 

Persons (including, without limitation, nominees and trustees) who have a contractual right or other legal obligations to forward a copy of this Announcement should seek appropriate advice before taking any action.

This Announcement should be read in its entirety.  In particular, you should read and understand the information provided in this "Important Information" section of this Announcement.

 

By participating in the Placing, each person who is invited to and who chooses to participate in the Placing (a "Placee") will be deemed to have read and understood this Announcement in its entirety, to be participating, making an offer and subscribing for Placing Shares on the terms and conditions contained herein and to be providing the representations, warranties, indemnities, acknowledgements and undertakings contained in this Appendix.

 

In particular, each Placee represents, warrants, undertakes, agrees and acknowledges (amongst other things) that:

 

1                it is a Relevant Person and undertakes that it will acquire, hold, manage or dispose of any Placing Shares that are allocated to it for the purposes of its business;

2                 in the case of a Relevant Person in a member state of the EEA which has implemented the Prospectus Directive (each, a "Relevant Member State") who acquires any Placing Shares pursuant to the Placing:

2.1             it is a Qualified Investor within the meaning of Article 2(1)(e) of the Prospectus Directive;

2.2             in the case of any Placing Shares acquired by it as a financial intermediary, as that term is used in Article 3(2) of the Prospectus Directive:

2.2.1        the Placing Shares acquired by it in the Placing have not been acquired on behalf of, nor have they been acquired with a view to their offer or resale to, persons in any Relevant Member State other than Qualified Investors or in circumstances in which the prior consent of N+1 Singer has been given to the offer or resale; or

2.2.2          where Placing Shares have been acquired by it on behalf of persons in any member state of the EEA other than Qualified Investors, the offer of those Placing Shares to it is not treated under the Prospectus Directive as having been made to such persons;

3               it is acquiring the Placing Shares for its own account or is acquiring the Placing Shares for an account with respect to which it exercises sole investment discretion and has the authority to make and does make the representations, warranties, indemnities, acknowledgements, undertakings and agreements contained in this Announcement;

4                it understands (or if acting for the account of another person, such person has confirmed that such person understands) the resale and transfer restrictions set out in this Appendix; and

5                except as otherwise permitted by the Company and subject to any available exemptions from applicable securities laws, it (and any account referred to in paragraph 3 above) is outside the United States acquiring the Placing Shares in offshore transactions as defined in and in accordance with Regulation S under the Securities Act.

No prospectus

 

No prospectus or other offering document has been or will be submitted to be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") or any other regulatory body in any Relevant Member State in relation to the Placing or the Placing Shares and Placees' commitments will be made solely on the basis of the information contained in this Announcement and any information publicly announced through a Regulatory Information Service (as defined in the AIM Rules for Companies (the "AIM Rules")) by or on behalf of the Company on or prior to the date of this Announcement (the "Publicly Available Information") and subject to any further terms set forth in the form of confirmation to be sent to individual Placees.

 

Each Placee, by participating in the Placing, agrees that the content of this Announcement is exclusively the responsibility of the Company and confirms that it has neither received nor relied on any information (other than the Publicly Available Information), representation, warranty or statement made by or on behalf of N+1 Singer, the Company or any other person and none of N+1 Singer, the Company or any other person acting on such person's behalf nor any of their respective affiliates has or shall have any liability for any Placee's decision to participate in the Placing based on any other information, representation, warranty or statement.  Each Placee acknowledges and agrees that it has relied on its own investigation of the business, financial or other position of the Company in accepting a participation in the Placing.  Nothing in this paragraph shall exclude the liability of any person for fraudulent misrepresentation.

 

Details of the Placing Agreement and the Placing Shares

 

N+1 Singer has today entered into a placing agreement (the "Placing Agreement") with the Company under which, on the terms and subject to the conditions set out in the Placing Agreement, N+1 Singer, as agent for and on behalf of the Company, has agreed to use its reasonable endeavours to procure Placees for the Placing Shares at the Placing Price. 

 

The Placing Shares will, when issued, be subject to the articles of association of the Company and credited as fully paid and will rank pari passu in all respects with the Existing Ordinary Shares in the capital of the Company, including the right to receive all dividends and other distributions declared, made or paid in respect of such Ordinary Shares after the date of issue of the Placing Shares.

 

Application for admission to trading

 

Application will be made to the London Stock Exchange for admission of the Placing Shares to trading on AIM.

It is expected that Admission will take place no later than 8 a.m. on 22 August 2019 and that dealings in the Placing Shares on AIM will commence at the same time.

 

Principal terms of the Placing

1               N+1 Singer is acting as nominated adviser, financial adviser and broker to the Placing, as agent for and on behalf of the Company.  N+1 Singer is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and is acting exclusively for the Company and no one else in connection with the matters referred to in this Announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than the Company for providing the protections afforded to the customers of N+1 Singer or for providing advice in relation to the matters described in this Announcement. 

2           Participation in the Placing will only be available to persons who may lawfully be, and are, invited by N+1 Singer to participate.  N+1 Singer and any of its respective affiliates are entitled to participate in the Placing as principal.

3                 The price per Placing Share (the "Placing Price") is fixed at 20 pence and is payable to N+1 Singer by all Placees.

4               Each Placee's allocation is determined by N+1 Singer in its discretion following consultation with the Company and has been or will be confirmed orally by N+1 Singer and a form of confirmation will be dispatched as soon as possible thereafter (a "Contract Note"). That oral confirmation will give rise to an irrevocable, legally binding commitment by that person (who at that point becomes a Placee), in favour of N+1 Singer and the Company, under which it agrees to acquire the number of Placing Shares allocated to the Placee at the Placing Price and otherwise on the terms and subject to the conditions set out in this Appendix and in accordance with the Company's articles of association. Except with N+1 Singer's written consent, such commitment will not be capable of variation or revocation at the time at which it is submitted.

5               Each Placee's allocation and commitment will be evidenced by a form of confirmation issued to such Placee by N+1 Singer. The terms of this Appendix will be deemed incorporated in that form of confirmation.

6               Each Placee will have an immediate, separate, irrevocable and binding obligation, owed to N+1 Singer (as agent for the Company), to pay to it (or as it may direct) in cleared funds an amount equal to the product of the Placing Price and the number of Placing Shares such Placee has agreed to acquire and the Company has agreed to allot and issue to that Placee.

7               Irrespective of the time at which a Placee's allocation(s) pursuant to the Placing is/are confirmed, settlement for all Placing Shares to be issued pursuant to the Placing will be required to be made at the same time, on the basis explained below under "Registration and Settlement".

8               All obligations of N+1 Singer under the Placing will be subject to fulfilment of the conditions referred to below under "Conditions of the Placing" and to the Placing not being terminated on the basis referred to below under "Termination of the Placing".

9                By participating in the Placing, each Placee will agree that its rights and obligations in respect of the Placing will terminate only in the circumstances described below and will not be capable of rescission or termination by the Placee.

10              To the fullest extent permissible by law and applicable FCA rules, none of (a) N+1 Singer, (b) any of N+1 Singer's affiliates, agents, directors, officers, consultants, (c) to the extent not contained within (a) or (b), any person connected with N+1 Singer as defined in FSMA ((b) and (c) being together "affiliates" and individually an "affiliate" of N+1 Singer), (d) any person acting on N+1 Singer's behalf, shall have any liability (including to the extent permissible by law, any fiduciary duties) to Placees or to any other person whether acting on behalf of a Placee or otherwise.  In particular, neither N+1 Singer nor any of its respective affiliates shall have any liability (including, to the extent permissible by law, any fiduciary duties) in respect of their conduct of the Placing or of such alternative method of effecting the Placing as N+1 Singer and the Company may agree.

Registration and Settlement

 

If Placees are allocated any Placing Shares in the Placing they will be sent a form of confirmation or electronic confirmation by N+1 Singer, as soon as it is able which will confirm the number of Placing Shares allocated to them, the Placing Price and the aggregate amount owed by them to N+1 Singer.

 

Each Placee will be deemed to agree that it will do all things necessary to ensure that delivery and payment is completed as directed by N+1 Singer in accordance with either the standing CREST or certificated settlement instructions which they have in place with N+1 Singer.

 

Settlement of transactions in the Placing Shares (ISIN: GB00BD37ZH08) following Admission will take place within the CREST system, subject to certain exceptions.  Settlement through CREST is expected to take place on 22 August 2019 unless otherwise notified by N+1 Singer and Admission is expected to occur no later than 8.00 a.m. on 22 August 2019 unless otherwise notified by N+1 Singer. Admission and Settlement may occur at an earlier date which, if achievable, will be notified through a Regulatory Information Service. Settlement will be on a delivery versus payment basis.  However, in the event of any difficulties or delays in the admission of the Placing Shares to CREST or the use of CREST in relation to the Placing, the Company and N+1 Singer may agree that the Placing Shares should be issued in certificated form.  N+1 Singer reserves the right to require settlement for the Placing Shares, and to deliver the Placing Shares to Placees, by such other means as it deems necessary if delivery or settlement to Placees is not practicable within the CREST system or would not be consistent with regulatory requirements in a Placee's jurisdiction.

 

Interest is chargeable daily on payments not received from Placees on the due date in accordance with the arrangements set out above, in respect of either CREST or certificated deliveries, at the rate of 2 percentage points above prevailing LIBOR as determined by N+1 Singer.

 

Each Placee agrees that, if it does not comply with these obligations, N+1 Singer may sell, charge by way of security (to any funder of N+1 Singer) or otherwise deal with any or all of their Placing Shares on their behalf and retain from the proceeds, for N+1 Singer's own account and benefit, an amount equal to the aggregate amount owed by the Placee plus any interest due and any costs and expenses properly incurred by N+1 Singer as a result of the Placee's failure to comply with its obligations.  The relevant Placee will, however, remain liable for any shortfall below the amount owed by it and for any stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax (together with any interest or penalties) which may arise upon the sale of their Placing Shares on their behalf. Legal and/or beneficial title in and to any Placing Shares shall not pass to the relevant Placee until such time as it has fully complied with its obligations hereunder.

 

If Placing Shares are to be delivered to a custodian or settlement agent, Placees must ensure that, upon receipt, the conditional form of confirmation is copied and delivered immediately to the relevant person within that organisation.  Insofar as Placing Shares are registered in a Placee's name or that of its nominee or in the name of any person for whom a Placee is contracting as agent or that of a nominee for such person, such Placing Shares should, subject as provided below, be so registered free from any liability to United Kingdom stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax.  Placees will not be entitled to receive any fee or commission in connection with the Placing.

 

Conditions of the Placing

 

The Placing is conditional upon the Placing Agreement becoming unconditional and not having been terminated in accordance with its terms.

 

The obligations of N+1 Singer under the Placing Agreement are, and the Placing is, conditional upon, inter alia:

 

(a)              the passing of the Resolutions (without any amendment which has not been previously approved by N+1 Singer) by 5.00 p.m. on the day of the General Meeting;

(b)              none of the warranties or undertakings on the part of the Company contained in the Placing Agreement being or having become untrue, inaccurate or misleading at any time before Admission, and no fact or circumstance having arisen which would constitute a breach of any of the Warranties or undertakings given in this Agreement or which would constitute a specified event as defined under the Placing Agreement;

(c)            the performance by the Company of its obligations under the Placing Agreement to the extent that they fall to be performed prior to Admission;

(d)              no matter having arisen before Admission which might reasonably be expected to give rise to an indemnity claim under the Placing Agreement;

(e)              Admission occurring by not later than 8.00 a.m. on 22 August 2019 (or such later date as the Company and N+1 Singer may agree in writing, in any event being not later than the Long Stop Date),

(all conditions to the obligations of N+1 Singer included in the Placing Agreement being together, the "conditions").

 

If any of the conditions set out in the Placing Agreement are not fulfilled or, where permitted, waived in accordance with the Placing Agreement within the stated time periods (or such later time and/or date as the Company and N+1 Singer may agree, provided that the time for satisfaction of the condition set out in (e) above shall not be extended beyond 8.00 a.m. on 11 September 2019), or the Placing Agreement is terminated in accordance with its terms, the Placing will lapse and the Placees' rights and obligations shall cease and terminate at such time and each Placee agrees that no claim can be made by or on behalf of the Placee (or any person on whose behalf the Placee is acting) in respect thereof.

 

By participating in the Placing, each Placee agrees that its rights and obligations cease and terminate only in the circumstances described above and under "Termination of the Placing" below and will not be capable of rescission or termination by it.

 

Save for the condition relating to Admission, the conditions may be waived in whole or in part by N+1 Singer, in its absolute discretion by notice in writing to the Company and N+1 Singer may also agree in writing with the Company to extend the time for satisfaction of any condition. Any such extension or waiver will not affect Placees' commitments as set out in this Announcement.

 

N+1 Singer may terminate the Placing Agreement in certain circumstances, details of which are set out below.

Neither N+1 Singer, the Company nor any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees shall have any liability to any Placee (or to any other person whether acting on behalf of a Placee or otherwise) in respect of any decision any of them may make as to whether or not to waive or to extend the time and/or date for the satisfaction of any condition to the Placing nor for any decision any of them may make as to the satisfaction of any condition or in respect of the Placing generally, and by participating in the Placing, each Placee agrees that any such decision is within the absolute discretion of N+1 Singer.

 

Termination of the Placing

 

N+1 Singer may terminate the Placing Agreement, in accordance with its terms, at any time prior to Admission if, inter alia:

 

1                it comes to the attention of N+1 Singer that any of the warranties were not true or accurate, or were misleading when given or deemed given; or

2             it comes to the attention of N+1 Singer that the Company has failed to comply with its obligations under the Placing Agreement, FSMA, the AIM Rules or other applicable law; or

3            it comes to the attention of N+1 Singer that any statement contained in the Issue Documents has become or been discovered to be untrue, inaccurate or misleading; or

4            there has occurred a force majeure event, or any material adverse change has occurred in the financial position or prospects or business of the Company and its subsidiary undertakings (taken as whole) which, in the opinion of N+1 Singer, will or is likely to be prejudicial to the Placing or Admission or to the subscription for Placing Shares by Placees.

If the Placing Agreement is terminated in accordance with its terms, the rights and obligations of each Placee in respect of the Placing as described in this Announcement shall cease and terminate at such time and no claim can be made by any Placee in respect thereof.

 

By participating in the Placing, each Placee agrees with the Company and N+1 Singer that the exercise by the Company or N+1 Singer of any right of termination or any other right or other discretion under the Placing Agreement shall be within the absolute discretion of the Company or N+1 Singer and that neither of the Company nor N+1 Singer need make any reference to such Placee and that neither N+1 Singer, the Company, nor any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees shall have any liability to such Placee (or to any other person whether acting on behalf of a Placee or otherwise) whatsoever in connection with any such exercise.

 

By participating in the Placing, each Placee agrees that its rights and obligations terminate only in the circumstances described above and under the "Conditions of the Placing" section above and will not be capable of rescission or termination by it after the issue by N+1 Singer of a form of confirmation confirming each Placee's allocation and commitment in the Placing.

 

Representations, warranties and further terms

 

By participating in the Placing, each Placee (and any person acting on such Placee's behalf) represents, warrants, acknowledges and agrees (for itself and for any such prospective Placee) that (save where N+1 Singer expressly agrees in writing to the contrary):

 

1                 it has read and understood this Announcement in its entirety and that its subscription for the Placing Shares is subject to and based upon all the terms, conditions, representations, warranties, indemnities, acknowledgements, agreements and undertakings and other information contained herein and that it has not relied on, and will not rely on, any information given or any representations, warranties or statements made at any time by any person in connection with Admission, the Placing, the Company, the Placing Shares or otherwise, other than the information contained in this Announcement and the Publicly Available Information;

2                 it has not received a prospectus or other offering document in connection with the Placing and acknowledges that no prospectus or other offering document: (a) is required under the Prospectus Directive; and (b) has been or will be prepared in connection with the Placing;

3              the Ordinary Shares are admitted to trading on AIM, and that the Company is therefore required to publish certain business and financial information in accordance with the AIM Rules, which includes a description of the nature of the Company's business and the Company's most recent balance sheet and profit and loss account and that it is able to obtain or access such information without undue difficulty, and is able to obtain access to such information or comparable information concerning any other publicly traded company, without undue difficulty;

4                 it has made its own assessment of the Placing Shares and has relied on its own investigation of the business, financial, trading or other position of the Company in accepting a participation in the Placing and neither N+1 Singer, the Company nor any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees or any person acting on behalf of any of them has provided, and will not provide, it with any material regarding the Placing Shares or the Company or any other person other than the information in this Announcement, or the Publicly Available Information; nor has it requested any of N+1 Singer, the Company, any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees or any person acting on behalf of any of them to provide it with any such information;

5                 N+1 Singer, nor any person acting on behalf of it or any of its respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees has or shall have any liability for any Publicly Available Information, or any representation relating to the Company, provided that nothing in this paragraph excludes the liability of any person for fraudulent misrepresentation made by that person;

6                 (a) the only information on which it is entitled to rely on and on which it has relied in committing to subscribe for the Placing Shares is contained in the Publicly Available Information, such information being all that it deems necessary to make an investment decision in respect of the Placing Shares and it has made its own assessment of the Company, the Placing Shares and the terms of the Placing based on Publicly Available Information; (b) neither N+1 Singer, the Company nor any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees has made any representation or warranty to it, express or implied, with respect to the Company, the Placing or the Placing Shares or the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the Publicly Available Information; (c) it has conducted its own investigation of the Company, the Placing and the Placing Shares, satisfied itself that the information is still current and relied on that investigation for the purposes of its decision to participate in the Placing; and (d) has not relied on any investigation that N+1 Singer or any person acting on its behalf may have conducted with respect to the Company, the Placing or the Placing Shares;

7                 the content of this Announcement and the Publicly Available Information has been prepared by and is exclusively the responsibility of the Company and that neither N+1 Singer nor any persons acting on behalf of it is responsible for or has or shall have any liability for any information, representation, warranty or statement relating to the Company contained in this Announcement or the Publicly Available Information nor will they be liable for any Placee's decision to participate in the Placing based on any information, representation, warranty or statement contained in this Announcement, the Publicly Available Information or otherwise.  Nothing in this Appendix shall exclude any liability of any person for fraudulent misrepresentation;

8                 the Placing Shares have not been registered or otherwise qualified, and will not be registered or otherwise qualified, for offer and sale nor will a prospectus be cleared or approved in respect of any of the Placing Shares under the securities laws of the United States, or any state or other jurisdiction of the United States, Australia, Canada, Republic of South Africa or Japan and, subject to certain exceptions, may not be offered, sold, taken up, renounced or delivered or transferred, directly or indirectly, within the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa or Japan or in any country or jurisdiction where any such action for that purpose is required;

9                 it and/or each person on whose behalf it is participating:

9.1             is entitled to acquire Placing Shares pursuant to the Placing under the laws and regulations of all relevant jurisdictions;

9.2             has fully observed such laws and regulations;

9.3             has capacity and authority and is entitled to enter into and perform its obligations as an acquirer of Placing Shares and will honour such obligations; and

9.4             has obtained all necessary consents and authorities (including, without limitation, in the case of a person acting on behalf of a Placee, all necessary consents and authorities to agree to the terms set out or referred to in this Appendix) under those laws or otherwise and complied with all necessary formalities to enable it to enter into the transactions contemplated hereby and to perform its obligations in relation thereto and, in particular, if it is a pension fund or investment company it is aware of and acknowledges it is required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations with respect to its subscription for Placing Shares;

10              it is not, and any person who it is acting on behalf of is not, and at the time the Placing Shares are subscribed for will not be, a resident of, or with an address in, or subject to the laws of, Australia, Canada, Japan or the Republic of South Africa, and it acknowledges and agrees that the Placing Shares have not been and will not be registered or otherwise qualified under the securities legislation of Australia, Canada, Japan or the Republic of South Africa and may not be offered, sold, or acquired, directly or indirectly, within those jurisdictions;

11              the Placing Shares have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act and may not be offered, sold or resold in or into or from the United States except pursuant to an effective registration under the Securities Act, or pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and in accordance with applicable state securities laws; and no representation is being made as to the availability of any exemption under the Securities Act for the reoffer, resale, pledge or transfer of the Placing Shares;

12              it has complied with all relevant laws of all relevant territories, obtained all requisite governmental or other consents which may be required, in connection with its participation in the Placing and has complied with all requisite formalities and paid any issue, transfer or other taxes due in connection with its offer commitment in any territory and that it has not taken any action or omitted to take any action which will or may result in the Company or any of its directors, officers, agents, employees or advisers acting in breach of the legal or regulatory requirements of any territory in connection with the Placing or such Placee's participation in the Placing;

13              if its receiving the Placing in circumstances under which the laws or regulation of a jurisdiction other than the United Kingdom would apply, that it is a person to whom the Placing Shares may be lawfully offered under that other jurisdiction's laws and regulations;

14              it and the beneficial owner of the Placing Shares is, and at the time the Placing Shares are acquired will be, outside the United States and acquiring the Placing Shares in an "offshore transaction" as defined in, and in accordance with, Regulation S under the Securities Act;

15           it (and any account for which it is purchasing) is not acquiring the Placing Shares with a view to any offer, sale or distribution thereof within the meaning of the Securities Act;

16         it will not distribute, forward, transfer or otherwise transmit this Announcement or any part of it, or any other presentational or other materials concerning the Placing in or into or from the United States (including electronic copies thereof) to any person, and it has not distributed, forwarded, transferred or otherwise transmitted any such materials to any person;

17              its subscription for Placing Shares does not trigger, in the jurisdiction in which such Placee is resident or located: (i) any obligation to prepare or file a prospectus or similar document or any other report with respect to such subscription; (ii) any disclosure or reporting obligation of the Company; or (iii) any registration or other obligation on the part of the Company;

18              neither N+1 Singer, its respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees nor any person acting on behalf of any of them is making any recommendations to it, advising it regarding the suitability of any transactions it may enter into in connection with the Placing and that participation in the Placing is on the basis that it is not and will not be a client of N+1 Singer and N+1 Singer has no duties or responsibilities to it for providing the protections afforded to its clients or for providing advice in relation to the Placing nor in respect of any representations, warranties, undertakings or indemnities contained in the Placing Agreement nor for the exercise or performance of any of its rights and obligations thereunder including any rights to waive or vary any conditions or exercise any termination right;

19              it has the funds available to pay for the Placing Shares for which it has agreed to subscribe and acknowledges and agrees that it will make payment to N+1 Singer for the Placing Shares allocated to it in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Announcement on the due times and dates set out in this Announcement, failing which the relevant Placing Shares may be placed with others on such terms as N+1 Singer may, in its absolute discretion determine without liability to the Placee and it will remain liable for any shortfall below the net proceeds of such sale and the placing proceeds of such Placing Shares and may be required to bear any stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax (together with any interest or penalties due pursuant to the terms set out or referred to in this Announcement) which may arise upon the sale of such Placee's Placing Shares on its behalf;

20              no action has been or will be taken by any of the Company, N+1 Singer or any person acting on their behalf that would, or is intended to, permit a public offer of the Placing Shares in the United States or in any country or jurisdiction where any such action for that purpose is required;

21              the person who it specifies for registration as holder of the Placing Shares will be: (a) the Placee; or (b) a nominee of the Placee, as the case may be.  Neither N+1 Singer nor the Company will be responsible for any liability to stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax resulting from a failure to observe this requirement.  Each Placee and any person acting on behalf of such Placee agrees to acquire Placing Shares pursuant to the Placing and agrees to pay the Company and N+1 Singer in respect of the same (including any interest or penalties) on the basis that the Placing Shares will be allotted to a CREST stock account of N+1 Singer or transferred to a CREST stock account of N+1 Singer which will hold them as nominee on behalf of the Placee until settlement in accordance with its standing settlement instructions with it;

22              it is acting as principal only in respect of the Placing or, if it is acting for any other person, (a) it is duly authorised to do so and has full power to make the acknowledgments, representations and agreements herein on behalf of each such person; and (b) it is and will remain liable to the Company and N+1 Singer for the performance of all its obligations as a Placee in respect of the Placing (regardless of the fact that it is acting for another person);

23              where it is acquiring the Placing Shares for one or more managed accounts, it is authorised in writing by each managed account to acquire the Placing Shares for each managed account and it has full power to make the acknowledgments, representations and agreements herein on behalf of each such account;

24              no term of the agreement confirmed by the Contract Note shall be enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parts) Act 1999 by any person other than the Company or N+1;

25              the allocation, allotment, issue and delivery to it, or the person specified by it for registration as holder, of Placing Shares will not give rise to a stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax liability under (or at a rate determined under) any of sections 67, 70, 93 or 96 of the Finance Act 1986 (depository receipts and clearance services) and that it is not participating in the Placing as nominee or agent for any person or persons to whom the allocation, allotment, issue or delivery of Placing Shares would give rise to such a liability;

26              it and any person acting on its behalf (if within the United Kingdom) falls within Article 19(5) and/or 49(2) of the Order and undertakes that it will acquire, hold, manage and (if applicable) dispose of any Placing Shares that are allocated to it for the purposes of its business only;

27              it will not make an offer to the public of the Placing Shares and it has not offered or sold and will not offer or sell any Placing Shares to persons in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the EEA prior to the expiry of a period of six months from Admission except to persons whose ordinary activities involve them in acquiring, holding, managing or disposing of investments (as principal or agent) for the purposes of their business or otherwise in circumstances which have not resulted and which will not result in an offer to the public in the United Kingdom within the meaning of section 85(1) of FSMA or an offer to the public in any other member state of the EEA within the meaning of the Prospectus Directive;

28              it and any person acting on its behalf (if within the United Kingdom) is a person of a kind described in: (a) Article 19(5) (Investment Professionals) and/or Article 49(2) (High net worth companies etc.) of the Order, and/or an authorised person as defined in section 31 of FSMA; and (b) section 86(7) of FSMA ("Qualified Investor"), being a person falling within Article 2.1(e) of the Prospectus Directive. For such purposes, it undertakes that it will acquire, hold, manage and (if applicable) dispose of any Placing Shares that are allocated to it for the purposes of its business only;

29              it has only communicated or caused to be communicated and it will only communicate or cause to be communicated any invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity (within the meaning of section 21 of FSMA) relating to Placing Shares in circumstances in which section 21(1) of FSMA does not require approval of the communication by an authorised person and it acknowledges;

30              it has complied and it will comply with all applicable laws with respect to anything done by it or on its behalf in relation to the Placing Shares (including all relevant provisions of FSMA in respect of anything done in, from or otherwise involving the United Kingdom);

31              if it is a financial intermediary, as that term is used in Article 3(2) of the Prospectus Directive (including any relevant implementing measure in any member state), the Placing Shares acquired by it in the Placing will not be acquired on a non-discretionary basis on behalf of, nor will they be acquired with a view to their offer or resale to, persons in a member state of the EEA which has implemented the Prospectus Directive other than Qualified Investors, or in circumstances in which the express prior written consent of N+1 Singer has been given to the offer or resale;

32             (other than as set out in placing materials) it has neither received nor relied on any confidential price sensitive information about the Company in accepting this invitation to participate in the Placing;

33            neither N+1 Singer nor any of its respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees or any person acting on behalf of any of them has or shall have any liability for any information, representation or statement contained in this Announcement or for any information previously published by or on behalf of the Company or any other written or oral information made available to or publicly available or filed or any representation, warranty or undertaking relating to the Company, and will not be liable for its decision to participate in the Placing based on any information, representation, warranty or statement contained in this Announcement or elsewhere, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall exclude any liability of any person for fraud;

34            neither N+1 Singer, the Company, nor any of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees or any person acting on behalf of N+1 Singer, the Company or their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees is making any recommendations to it, advising it regarding the suitability of any transactions it may enter into in connection with the Placing nor providing advice in relation to the Placing nor in respect of any representations, warranties, acknowledgements, agreements, undertakings, or indemnities contained in the Placing Agreement nor the exercise or performance of N+1 Singer's rights and obligations thereunder including any rights to waive or vary any conditions or exercise any termination right;

35              acknowledges and accepts that N+1 Singer may, in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory provisions, engage in transactions in relation to the Placing Shares and/or related instruments for its own account for the purpose of hedging its underwriting exposure or otherwise and, except as required by applicable law or regulation, N+1 Singer will not make any public disclosure in relation to such transactions;

36              N+1 Singer and each of its affiliates, each acting as an investor for its or their own account(s), may bid or subscribe for and/or purchase Placing Shares and, in that capacity, may retain, purchase, offer to sell or otherwise deal for its or their own account(s) in the Placing Shares, any other securities of the Company or other related investments in connection with the Placing or otherwise. Accordingly, references in this Announcement to the Placing Shares being offered, subscribed, acquired or otherwise dealt with should be read as including any offer to, or subscription, acquisition or dealing by N+1 Singer and/or any of its respective affiliates, acting as an investor for its or their own account(s). Neither N+1 Singer nor the Company intend to disclose the extent of any such investment or transaction otherwise than in accordance with any legal or regulatory obligation to do so;

37              it has complied with its obligations in connection with money laundering and terrorist financing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000, the Terrorism Act 2006 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (together, the "Regulations") and, if making payment on behalf of a third party, that satisfactory evidence has been obtained and recorded by it to verify the identity of the third party as required by the Regulations;

38           it is aware of the obligations regarding insider dealing in the Criminal Justice Act 1993, FSMA, the EU Market Abuse Regulation No. 596 of 2014 ("MAR") and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and confirms that it has and will continue to comply with those obligations;

39              in order to ensure compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, N+1 Singer (for itself and as agent on behalf of the Company) or the Company's registrars may, in their absolute discretion, require verification of its identity. Pending the provision to N+1 Singer's or the Company's registrars, as applicable, of evidence of identity, definitive certificates in respect of the Placing Shares may be retained at N+1 Singer's absolute discretion or, where appropriate, delivery of the Placing Shares to it in uncertificated form may be delayed at N+1 Singer's or the Company's registrars', as the case may be, absolute discretion. If within a reasonable time after a request for verification of identity N+1 Singer's (for itself and as agent on behalf of the Company) or the Company's registrars have not received evidence satisfactory to them, N+1 Singer and/or the Company may, at its absolute discretion, terminate its commitment in respect of the Placing, in which event the monies payable on acceptance of allotment will, if already paid, be returned without interest to the account of the drawee's bank from which they were originally debited;

40              acknowledges that its commitment to acquire Placing Shares on the terms set out in this Announcement and in the form of confirmation will continue notwithstanding any amendment that may in future be made to the terms and conditions of the Placing and that Placees will have no right to be consulted or require that their consent be obtained with respect to the Company's or N+1 Singer's conduct of the Placing;

41              it has knowledge and experience in financial, business and international investment matters as is required to evaluate the merits and risks of subscribing for the Placing Shares.  It further acknowledges that it is experienced in investing in securities of this nature and is aware that it may be required to bear, and is able to bear, the economic risk of, and is able to sustain, a complete loss in connection with the Placing.  It has relied upon its own examination and due diligence of the Company and its affiliates taken as a whole, and the terms of the Placing, including the merits and risks involved;

42              it irrevocably appoints any duly authorised officer of N+1 Singer as its agent for the purpose of executing and delivering to the Company and/or its registrars any documents on its behalf necessary to enable it to be registered as the holder of any of the Placing Shares for which it agrees to subscribe upon the terms of this Announcement;

43              the Company, N+1 Singer and others (including each of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees) will rely upon the truth and accuracy of the foregoing representations, warranties, acknowledgements and agreements, which are given to N+1 Singer, on their own behalf and on behalf of the Company and are irrevocable;

44             if it is acquiring the Placing Shares as a fiduciary or agent for one or more investor accounts, it has full power and authority to make, and does make, the foregoing representations, warranties, acknowledgements, agreements and undertakings on behalf of each such account;

45             neither it nor, as the case may be, its clients expect N+1 Singer to have any duties or responsibilities to such persons similar or comparable to the duties of "best execution" and "suitability" imposed by the FCA's Conduct of Business Source Book, and that N+1 Singer is not acting for it or its clients, and that N+1 Singer will not be responsible for providing the protections afforded to customers of N+1 Singer or for providing advice in respect of the transactions described herein;

46            that it is a "professional client" or an "eligible counterparty" within the meaning of Chapter 3 of the FCA's Conduct of Business Sourcebook and it is purchasing Placing Shares for investment only and not with a view to resale or distribution;

47              that it will (or will procure that its nominee will) if applicable, make notification to the Company of the interest in its ordinary shares in accordance with the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules published by the FCA;

48              it represents and warrants that, to the extent it has received any inside information (for the purposes of MAR) and section 56 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993) in relation to the Company and its securities, it has not: (a) dealt (or attempted to deal) in the securities of the Company; (b) encouraged, recommended or induced another person to deal in the securities of the Company; or (c) unlawfully disclosed inside information to any person, prior to the information being made publicly available;

49              it has consented to receive information in respect of securities of the Company and other price-affected securities (as defined in FSMA) which makes it an "insider" for the purposes of Part V of FSMA and MAR, and it agrees not to deal in any securities of the Company until such time as the inside information (as defined in FSMA) of which it has been made aware has been made public for purposes of FSMA or it has been notified by N + 1 Singer or the Company that the proposed Placing will not proceed and any unpublished price sensitive information of which the Placee is aware has been publicly announced, and, other than in respect of its knowledge of the proposed Placing, it has neither received nor relied on any confidential price sensitive information concerning the Company or the Placing Shares;

50              if it has received any confidential price sensitive information about the Company in advance of the Placing, it has received such information within the market soundings regime provided for in article 11 of MAR and associated delegated regulations and has not: (a) dealt in the securities of the Company; (b) encouraged or required another person to deal in the securities of the Company; or (c) disclosed such information to any person, prior to the information being made publicly available;

51              that, as far as it is aware it is not acting in concert (within the meaning given in The City Code on Takeovers and Mergers) with any other person in relation to the  Company;

52              that it is responsible for obtaining any legal, tax and other advice that it deems necessary for the execution, delivery and performance of its obligations in accepting the terms and conditions of  the Placing, and that it is not relying on the Company or N+1 Singer to provide any legal, tax or other advice to it;

53              it authorises and instructs N+1 and the Company and their respective agents to receive and hold any personal data and information of or belonging to the Placee which is received in relation to the Placing, and it consents to the lawful use by N+1 and the Company and their respective agents of such data and information for the purposes of the Placing;

54              it will not distribute any document relating to the Placing Shares and it will be acquiring the Placing Shares for its own account as principal or for a discretionary account or accounts (as to which it has the authority to make the statements set out herein) for investment purposes only;

55              time is of the essence as regards its obligations under this Appendix;

56              any document that is to be sent to it in connection with the Placing will be sent at its risk and may be sent to it at any address provided by it to N+1 Singer;

57              the Placing Shares will be issued subject to the terms and conditions of this Appendix; and

58              the terms and conditions in this Appendix and all documents into which this Appendix is incorporated by reference or otherwise validly forms a part and/or any agreements entered into pursuant to these terms and conditions and all agreements to acquire shares pursuant to the Placing will be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and it submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to any claim, dispute or matter arising out of any such contract, except that enforcement proceedings in respect of the obligation to make payment for the Placing Shares (together with any interest chargeable thereon) may be taken by the Company or N+1 Singer in any jurisdiction in which the relevant Placee is incorporated or in which any of its securities have a quotation on a recognised stock exchange.

By participating in the Placing, each Placee (and any person acting on such Placee's behalf) agrees to indemnify and hold the Company, N+1 Singer and each of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers and employees harmless from any and all costs, claims, liabilities and expenses (including legal fees and expenses) arising out of or in connection with any breach of the representations, warranties, acknowledgements, agreements and undertakings given by the Placee (and any person acting on such Placee's behalf) in this Appendix or incurred by N+1 Singer, the Company or each of their respective affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees arising from the performance of the Placee's obligations as set out in this Announcement, and further agrees that the provisions of this Appendix shall remain in full force and effect after the completion of the Placing.

 

The agreement to allot and issue Placing Shares to Placees (or the persons for whom Placees are contracting as agent) free of stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax in the United Kingdom relates only to their allotment and issue to Placees, or such persons as they nominate as their agents, direct by the Company.  Such agreement assumes that the Placing Shares are not being acquired in connection with arrangements to issue depositary receipts or to transfer the Placing Shares into a clearance service.  If there are any such arrangements, or the settlement related to any other dealings in the Placing Shares, stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax may be payable.  In that event, the Placee agrees that it shall be responsible for such stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax and neither the Company nor N+1 Singer shall be responsible for such stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax.  If this is the case, each Placee should seek its own advice and they should notify N+1 Singer accordingly.  In addition, Placees should note that they will be liable for any capital duty, stamp duty and all other stamp, issue, securities, transfer, registration, documentary or other duties or taxes (including any interest, fines or penalties relating thereto) payable outside the United Kingdom by them or any other person on the acquisition by them of any Placing Shares or the agreement by them to acquire any Placing Shares and each Placee, or the Placee's nominee, in respect of whom (or in respect of the person for whom it is participating in the Placing as an agent or nominee) the allocation, allotment, issue or delivery of Placing Shares has given rise to such non-United Kingdom stamp, registration, documentary, transfer or similar taxes or duties undertakes to pay such taxes and duties, including any interest and penalties (if applicable), forthwith and to indemnify on an after-tax basis and to hold harmless the Company and N+1 Singer in the event that either the Company and/or N+1 Singer has incurred any such liability to such taxes or duties.

 

The representations, warranties, acknowledgements and undertakings contained in this Appendix are given to N+1 Singer for itself and on behalf of the Company and are irrevocable.

 

Each Placee and any person acting on behalf of the Placee acknowledges that N+1 Singer does not owe any fiduciary or other duties to any Placee in respect of any representations, warranties, undertakings, acknowledgements, agreements or indemnities in the Placing Agreement.

 

Each Placee and any person acting on behalf of the Placee acknowledges and agrees that N+1 Singer may (at its absolute discretion) satisfy its obligation to procure Placees by itself agreeing to become a Placee in respect of some or all of the Placing Shares or by nominating any connected or associated person to do so.

 

When a Placee or any person acting on behalf of the Placee is dealing with N+1 Singer, any money held in an account with N+1 Singer on behalf of the Placee and/or any person acting on behalf of the Placee will not be treated as client money within the meaning of the relevant rules and regulations of the FCA made under FSMA.  Each Placee acknowledges that the money will not be subject to the protections conferred by the client money rules: as a consequence this money will not be segregated from N+1 Singer's money (as applicable) in accordance with the client money rules and will be held by it under a banking relationship and not as trustee.

 

References to time in this Announcement are to London time, unless otherwise stated.

 

All times and dates in this Announcement may be subject to amendment. 

 

No statement in this Announcement is intended to be a profit forecast, and no statement in this Announcement should be interpreted to mean that earnings per share of the Company for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings per share of the Company.

 

The price of shares and any income expected from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the full amount invested upon disposal of the Placing Shares.  Past performance is no guide to future performance, and persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser.

 

The Placing Shares to be issued or sold pursuant to the Placing will not be admitted to trading on any stock exchange other than the London Stock Exchange.

 

Neither the content of the Company's website nor any website accessible by hyperlinks on the Company's website is incorporated in, or forms part of, this Announcement.

 

DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT

 

"Admission"

the admission of the Placing Shares to trading on AIM becoming effective in accordance with the AIM Rules

"AIM"

the market of that name operated by the London Stock Exchange

"AIM Rules"

the AIM Rules for Companies, as published by the London Stock Exchange, as amended

"Board" or "Directors"

the board of directors of the Company

"Business Day"

any day on which banks are usually open in England and Wales for the transaction of sterling business, other than a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

"certificated" or "in certificated form"

an Ordinary Share which is not in uncertificated form (that is, not in CREST)

"Circular"

the circular to be sent to Shareholders enclosing the notice of the General Meeting

"Closing Price"

the closing price of an Ordinary Share

"Company" or "Autins"

Autins Group plc, a public limited company (incorporated and registered in England and Wales with registered number 08958960) whose registered office is at Central Point One, Central Park Drive, Rugby, Warwickshire CV23 0WE

"Companies Act"

the Companies Act  2006 as amended

"CREST"

the computerised settlement system operated by Euroclear which facilitates the transferring of title to shares in uncertificated form

"Directors"

the directors of the Company

"Existing Ordinary Shares"

the 22,100,984 Ordinary Shares in issue as at the date of this announcement

"FCA"

the Financial Conduct Authority

"FSMA"

the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, as amended

"Fundraising"

the Placing

"General Meeting"

the general meeting of the Company to be held on or around 21 August 2019, or any adjournment thereof

"Group"

the Company and its subsidiary undertakings (as defined in the Companies Act)

"Issue Documents"

the documents to be issued in connection with the Fundraising

"London Stock Exchange"

London Stock Exchange plc

"Long Stop Date"

11 September 2019

"MAR"

the Market Abuse Regulation (EU/596/2014)

"N+1 Singer"

Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP (registered in England and Wales with registered number OC364131) whose registered office is at One Bartholomew Lane, London EC2N 2AX, the Company's nominated adviser and broker

"Ordinary Shares"

the ordinary shares of 2 pence each in the capital of the Company

"Placing"

the conditional placing of the Placing Shares at the Placing Price pursuant to the Placing Agreement

"Placing Agreement"

the conditional agreement dated 1 August 2019 between the Company and N+1 Singer relating to the Placing

"Placing Price"

20 pence per Placing Share

"Placing Shares"

new Ordinary Shares to be issued in connection with the Placing

"Resolutions"

the resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting as set out in the Notice

"Shareholders"

holders from time to time of Ordinary Shares

"uncertificated" or "in uncertificated form"

recorded on a register of securities maintained by Euroclear in accordance with the CREST Regulations as being in uncertificated form in CREST and title to which, by virtue of the CREST Regulations, may be transferred by means of CREST

"United Kingdom" or "UK"

the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

"£", "pounds sterling", "penny" or "pence"

UK pounds sterling, the lawful currency of the United Kingdom

 

 


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.rns.com.
 
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