ELECTRA Private Equity yesterday revealed a bulwark to a US raider’s bid to wrest control of the firm by paying its first dividend and boosting equity returns by double-digits.
The listed vehicle, which owns companies such as the Original Bowling Company, said diluted net asset values rose 12 per cent in the six months ending March. It also declared a 38p dividend, the first payout since it undertook a strategic review of the company earlier this year to head off moves by Edward Bramson’s Sherborne Investors to take control of the company.
Shares in the firm rose nearly six per cent in early trading, closing up 4.5 per cent, as investors applauded the move.
“We keep listening to the shareholders including Bramson and try and engage with him,” chairman Roger Yates said. “We have a strong long term track record and that has led to strong support. If we keep delivering along those lines with results like these we’ll hope to get support again but we can’t control what Sherborne does.”
Electra said it analysed 250 potential opportunities during the period and invested £129m, including a £99m takeover of TGI Fridays. It sold off £121m worth of assets. “It’s a strong period for Electra. We’ve bought assets well and engaged with management to accelerate them,” Electra partner Alex Cooper-Evans said.