Somers confident of approval for BCB sale

  • Sale pending: Somers is confident that regulatory approval for the sale of BCB will come “shortly” (File photograph)

    Sale pending: Somers is confident that regulatory approval for the sale of BCB will come “shortly” (File photograph)

Somers Ltd has reported a net loss for the year of $9.7 million while it awaits government and regulatory approvals for the sale of Bermuda Commercial Bank, which it expects to receive “shortly”.

Year-end results for the financial services investment holding company were filed with the Bermuda Stock Exchange, which released them today.

Permanent Capital Holdings Ltd, a private New York-based investor in financial services companies, announced on February 5 that it was buying BCB from parent Somers, subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Somers’ year-end financials valued BCB at $82.9 million, compared with $94.9 million at the end of fiscal 2018.

The net loss for the financial year ending September 30 was despite Somers recording a net profit of $4.9 million in the fourth quarter. The loss compares to a profit of $4.2 million at year-end in 2018.

Somers said the net loss was primarily due to net foreign exchange losses of $15.6 million for the year.

At year-end, Somers said, 72.1 per cent of its net assets were exposed to foreign currencies, primarily sterling and the Australian dollar, and over the course of the year these currencies decreased in value versus the US dollar by 5.7 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively. The exchange losses were primarily unrealised, the company said.

Warren McLeland, chairman of Somers said: “2019 was a busy year for Somers with a number of corporate transactions and positive financial performances at several of the company’s investee companies, particularly Resimac and PCF.

“Unfortunately, this did not flow through to the company’s net asset value primarily due to weaknesses in Sterling and the Australian dollar which meant that the company recorded a loss for the year. Since the year end, the rebound in the value of sterling, the continued strong financial performance at Resimac and an increase in the share price at PCF have had a material positive impact on the company’s net asset value.

“We are still waiting regulatory and government approvals for the sale of BCB, but remain confident that the transaction will complete shortly.”

He added: “2019 has been a year of geopolitical events which have impacted global markets and global economic growth which in turn has led to lower interest rates, often negative rates, and the reintroduction of central bank liquidity.

“The extreme volatility that the markets experienced in the last quarter of 2018 may not have been repeated in 2019, but until some of these events are removed global growth will continue to be anaemic and the threat of further volatility remains.

“However, our investments are well placed with strong financials, and with increased liquidity when the sale of BCB completes Somers will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are likely to be present over the next 12 months.”

Somers’ total assets increased during the year to $423.1 million, up from $407.3 million a year previous.

The company had a net asset value per share of $17.10, and shareholders’ equity of $353.6 million as at September 30, the company reported. Shareholders’ equity a year ago was $364.1 million.

Somers’ share price ended the period at $15, down from $16 at September 30, 2018.

Investment highlights for the year included completion of the sale of Somers’ holdings in Merrion Capital, Stockdale Securities and Street Capital Group, the company said.

Resimac Group Ltd remains Somers’ largest investment with a value of $157.9 million and reported assets under management in excess of $13 billion Australian and recently announced a significant increase in forecast profits for the first half of the current financial year, Somers said.

Somers recorded a $4.3 million gain on its investment portfolio for 2019.

Total borrowings increased to $67.9 million from $41.5 million a year earlier.

The directors of Somers have resolved to pay a final dividend of 30 cents per share bringing the total dividend for the year to 51 cents.

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Published Dec 16, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 16, 2019 at 8:10 am)

Somers confident of approval for BCB sale

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