‘Dismal environment’ cited as LOM reports loss
LOM (Holdings) Limited (LOM) has reported a loss of $774,748 for 2012 in what chief executive officer Scott Lines described as a ‘dismal environment’.
He made the comment in a letter to shareholders on the release of LOM’s consolidated financial statements and independent auditors’ report, and in which he also threw open the question of whether LOM would remain a publicly listed company.
LOM is a holding company for several wholly owned subsidiaries, including LOM Securities (Bermuda) Ltd, and the common shares are publicly traded and listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange, which as of December 31 were valued at $2.62, according to Mr Lines’ letter. He added: “During the year our share price on the Bermuda Stock Exchange traded between a low of $2.45 and a high of $2.50. Only 5,700 shares of LOM traded during the year and this calls into question the value of LOM remaining a public company.”
Mr Lines stated: “As I have pointed out several times in the past, our brokerage revenues (at 34 percent of our total revenues) are extremely sensitive to the state of the global equity markets. Furthermore, a significant proportion of our broking activities are in junior equities. For revenues to grow we generally require an environment of low volatility with generally rising prices. Over the last five years we have been experiencing high volatility with steep price declines. To make matters worse, the fall in the junior equity markets have gathered pace in 2013,“ the letter stated.
He continued: “With such weak brokerage activity (our broking revenues dropped 28 percent), we have continued every effort to grow our asset management business through increasing our stable of products and assets under management. Though this effort is proving successful, the process is long and slow and cannot in the short term make up for the revenue declines in the brokerage arm. We continue to concentrate on reducing costs as much as possible, however we are still attempting to bring on new business and to recruit new brokers.”
He pointed to assets under administration remaining constant at $674 million as a ‘group highlight’ and noted that while total revenues fell 19 percent to $6.735 million, “ ... this was more than offset by a reduction in operating expenses of 23 percent to US$7.51 million. Net equity of the group fell 4.7 percent to $16.08 million, however the group carries no debt and cash comprises 18 percent of total assets.”
Mr Lines said the company has continued to strive to improve their systems and products “In spite of the dismal environment we are currently operating in”, and said he expects the market conditions to remain “very challenging” throughout this coming year.
Among local shareholdings, the company’s investment in Bermuda Press (Holdings) Limited —
The Royal Gazette’s parent company — was determined to be $1,108,711, as compared to its 2011 of $1,031,553.
They also hold securities which amount to about 15 percent of the Bermuda Stock Exchange as of December 31, 2012. He said the company had actually made a small profit, stating: “ ... however on an operating basis and taking out the write downs referred to above and the additional audit charge, the group made a small profit of $12,749,” citing “ ... a further charge of $125,800 on our holding of the Bermuda Stock Exchange and we have written off our investment in Viking Exploration, which although originally cost $10,000, had grown to be valued at $405,915 last year. We have also taken a $100,782 charge to write down the value of our investments in both Bermuda Press (Holdings) Limited and Pembrook Mining Limited. Additionally, due to a change in audit policy (implemented by our previous auditors), we have had to take an additional audit charge of $155,000.”
He said despite the gloomy figures, LOM had actually made a small profit, stating: “ ... however on an operating basis and taking out the write downs referred to above and the additional audit charge, the group made a small profit of $12,749.”