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(WSG) Westminster Group Share Chat

Discussion in 'General Share Chat (WSG)' started by Microem1, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. Microem1

    Microem1 Administrator

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    (WSG) Westminster Group General Share Chat
     
  2. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    Westminster Group shares surge as it brings in £1.3mln from institutional investors
    16:52 03 Jun 2016
    Shares in Westminster Group PLC , the global security and services group, rocketed as it said it raised £1.3mln from institutional investors
    [​IMG]
    The firm raised £1.3mln from institutional investors, via a placing and subscription


    Shares in Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG), the global security and services group, rocketed as it said it raised £1.3mln from institutional investors, via a placing and subscription, to progress its managed services contracts as it also updated on its Sierra Leone ferry project.

    The firm is issuing 13mln shares at 10p each, 10mln of which will be placed with Hargreave Hale, while another institutional investor has subscribed for 3mln shares.

    Last month, the group received a letter of intent (LoI) from a Middle East airport authority relating to a long term security contract.

    The LoI related to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Westminster’s aviation subsidiary, Westminster Aviation Security Services (WASS), with a Middle East civil aviation authority back in March of this year, with the potential for generating revenue of over £30mln per year.

    It was one of seven MoUs signed this year with the supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions.

    Chief financial officer Ian Selby said: "We are pleased to have the support of institutional investors and I am delighted that Hargrave Hale have substantially increased their investment in Westminster to support the major growth opportunities we have in our managed services business.

    "Any one of these major opportunities could be transformational for the Group. We are currently undertaking our strategic review and we look to this, combined with the support of new investment, to deliver value against a compelling market backdrop for our services for all shareholders."

    The firm added that in view of this and this fundraising above, the contemplated capital reconstruction announced earlier this month to reduce the nominal value of the shares is no longer considered necessary and will not be pursued.

    In a separate statement today, the group said its planned second 70 seater vessel - the Sierra Princess - left port on the back of a delivery vessel on May 6 and is due to arrive in country around June 21.

    The other vessel - the Sierra Queen - meanwhile is still awaiting access to the shipyard slip due to the current occupant taking longer than expected to repair.

    The latest indication is the slip will be available around the third week of June.

    Shares gained over 44% to 12.25p.

    [​IMG]
    Giles Gwinnett
     
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  3. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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  4. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    Westminster recovery takes off
    30 June 2016, 13:44
    Government security solutions provider Westminster (WSG:AIM) is focused on driving up its revenue as West Africa emerges from the Ebola crisis.

    In a positive trading update, the company says it is receiving more interest in its airport security operations. Shares are up 7% to 13.6p in response.

    Improved trading in key divisions and a lower cost base means Westminster can be close to breaking even on an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) basis.

    This is promising when set against a loss of approximately £900,000 for the first half of 2015 as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

    The company's cash position has been strengthened by fundraising in June and cash collection levels are healthy.

    Westminster says the managed services division is expected to improve further in the second half of 2016 as passenger numbers continue to recover to pre-Ebola levels, they are currently running at around 85% of those levels.

    It has also signed three new memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreements with various governments and airport authorities.

    The company says it received a formal letter of intent concerning an airport security contract in the Middle East for up to 25 years.

    Under draft terms of the contract, the project will generate revenues in excess of £30 million per annum based on current PAX throughput and anticipated fees per passenger.

    Westminster says order intake for the tech division was at its highest monthly level in June since July 2013.
    http://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/shares/westminster-recovery-takes-off
     
  5. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    Sierra Leone News: As part of their CSR …West Minster rehabilitates Kissy Passenger Ferry Terminal
    [​IMG]
    Mr Solomon explaining to Minister Logus Koroma about Sierra Princess

    As part of its on-going and evolving commitment to serve the Sierra Leone peoples especially those using our waters for commercial and pleasure purposes Westminster Management Services, part of the Westminster Group is delighted to announce it has made the Kissy Passenger Ferry Terminal available to the Transport Infrastructure Development Unit (TIDU) a part of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.
    This gesture of community support and commitment arose due to the deteriorating condition of the old Ferry Terminal Building, which left passengers (many old and frail, some mothers with children) without shelter, basic facilities and somewhere to rest. This became an increasing concern during the rainy season with high temperatures, humidity and heavy rainfall.
    Following warm and friendly negotiations between Westminster and TIDU, it was unanimously agreed that Westminster, as Terminal Leaseholders under a 21-year lease with the Sierra Leonean Government, would allow the TIDU use of the building on a temporary basis to allow passengers use of the comfort and shelter of the terminal waiting areas.
    To mark this momentous occasion, a formal handing-over ceremony was conducted at 10.00 local time on Friday 9th September 2016.
    Attended by the Honourable Minister of Transport and Aviation and some 40 dignitaries including the General Manger of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority, representative from the National Commission for Privatisation and members of the fourth estate: Delegates witnessed the formal handover by Westminster.
    Just when everyone thought the formalities were over, an announcement was made that a further surprise had been laid on for everyone’s interest and enjoyment. The party was invited outside to witness the dramatic and regal arrival of “Sierra Princess” the latest member of the Sovereign Ferries growing fleet (Sovereign is a subsidiary of the Westminster Group).
    Looking like a million dollars, “dressed overall” with colourful flags, and crew impressively white-uniformed, “Sierra Princess” amply demonstrated and proved her royal status!
    The throng was treated to a short but impressive display of close quarters manoeuvring, ship-handling skills and versatility of this latest addition to the Sovereign Fleet, before she headed back to her temporary Targrin base.
    The Sierra Princess is a fast ferry capable of transporting up to 70 passengers in safety and air conditioned comfort at over 20 knots from twin 400hp inboard engines. She is equipped with the latest navigational and safety equipment.
    The Sierra Princess will be joining Sovereign’s flag ship vessel, the Sierra Queen, in providing a fast, safe and efficient ferry service between the Tagrin, Kissy and Government Wharf terminals either side of the Sierra Leone River Estuary. The service will not only provide a much needed professional airport transfer service between the airport and the Capital Freetown, with crossing times of just 20 minutes but will also provide an efficient ferry service around the capital and further afield.
    Services are expected to commence in Q4 2016, full details of commencement dates will be provided in due course on the Sovereign Ferries website www.sovereign-ferries.com where tickets for the service will be available for purchase.
    Thursday September 15, 2016
     
  6. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    10 November 2016
    Westminster Group Plc:

    Sierra Princess Prepares for Service Commencement

    Westminster Group Plc ('Westminster', the 'Group' or the 'Company'), the AIM listed supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, is pleased to announce that its ferry division, Sovereign Ferries, is preparing for commencement of its long awaited ferry service in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

    In country registration formalities, sea trials and International safety compliance checks have all been completed. Proving passages are now underway, carrying trial passengers on the designated routes between terminals to ensure timetable accuracy, and loading and unloading operations are being tested to ensure that they are smooth and efficient so that passenger transfer and comfort is assured. Terminals are being prepared for operations and terminal staff undergoing customer service training.

    Timetables are being finalised to co-ordinate with airline schedules which will be displayed on the Sovereign Ferries website in due course. Formal commencement of services will begin following VIP and Ministerial voyages later this month ready for the heightened December passenger flows.
     
  7. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    Headline Commencement of Ferry
    Released 07:00 05-Dec-2016
    Number 8895Q07

    RNS Number : 8895Q
    Westminster Group PLC
    05 December 2016



    Westminster Group Plc:

    Sovereign Ferries - Commencement of Services



    Sovereign Ferries (the 'Company'), the ferry division of the Westminster Group Plc, the AIM listed supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, is pleased to announce that it is ready to commence its ferry service in Sierra Leone, West Africa.


    National registration formalities, sea trials and international safety compliance checks have all been completed. Trial passages with passengers, both on land and sea, have proved very successful. Terminals and associated infrastructure have been made ready and the Company has taken delivery of two modern luxury air conditioned coaches ready to provide an integrated professional transfer link between airport and ferry terminals.


    Accordingly, the much needed and long awaited ferry service, providing a fast, safe and professional ferry service between the airport and the capital, Freetown, is due to commence on 9 December 2016. This service is highly anticipated by not only the government and population but also by the airlines that operate into the country. Ticket sales and marketing campaigns have commenced including promotional billboard videos at strategic locations in the city.


    Not only will the Company be providing a valuable service but is also creating much needed local employment with over 60 new local jobs being created. In addition the Company will in due course be expanding its range of services and routes and is also in discussions for additional regional routes which could commence in 2017.


    Timetables, designed to co-ordinate with airline schedules and other information as the Company expands its services may be found on the Sovereign Ferries website. www.sovereign-ferries.com
     
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  8. bonker99

    bonker99 A Legendary Member Charts Technical Analyst

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  10. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    23 February 2017

    Westminster Group Plc:

    Trading Update

    Westminster Group Plc ("Westminster", the "Company" or the "Group"), the AIM listed supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, is pleased to provide a trading update on its business activities.

    As referenced in the Company's trading statement of 21 December 2016, the Group is expecting to report a much improved financial performance for the year ending 31 December 2016 with revenue growth up 22% year on year and expected break even at the adjusted EBITDA level.

    Managed Services Division

    The Group's Managed Services division continues to make progress on a number of fronts. The Company's West African airport operations are seeing steady growth in embarking passenger numbers as the recovery from the Ebola crisis continues. In January 2017 (a seasonally strong month), the airport operation recorded its second highest number of embarking passengers since the Company commenced operations there in 2012, showing a 40% increase on January 2016 and following on from a 35% increase year on year in December 2016 (albeit December 2015 and January 2016 were still affected by the tail end of Ebola). If this growth pattern continues it will potentially benefit both the Company's airport and ferry operations.

    Westminster's Cargo screening operations in Sierra Leone commenced in West Africa during 2016, following the cargo operations and security screening service achieving the coveted RA3 status. The new cargo sheds currently have far greater capacity than current utilisation and the authorities are looking to build on this and create a regional hub for cargo services.

    Westminster's reputation and expertise in the field of aviation security continues to grow, evidenced by both the number of new training and support contracts secured for airports around the world and our growing pipeline of long term potential airport projects, which includes some very large opportunities. In September 2016, the Company provided an update on its various airport opportunities under previously announced MoU's, all of which remain live and with certain opportunities having made good progress in recent weeks.

    A key focus of the business in recent months has been developing its several large scale long term potential project opportunities within the Middle East, including its previously announced major airport project for which the Company received a letter of intent during May 2016 and which is expected to have annual revenues in excess of £35m, together with an ancillary large scale project for the same client as well as a significant border project in the same region. Contracts of this size and nature are not only time-consuming but involve complex negotiations with numerous commercial and political bodies. With the major airport contract discussions largely completed, the Company has been actively preparing the required support structures and infrastructure necessary to deliver the projects, including organising a complex supply chain. Whilst there is never certainty in relation to either the outcome or timing of such negotiations the considerable progress made to date and the ongoing support received from UK governmental departments is extremely encouraging.

    As part of its growth strategy, and to facilitate some of its major project opportunities, Westminster has also now established two new European subsidiaries strategically located in Germany; Westminster Group GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of Westminster Group Plc, and Westminster Sicherheit GmbH, which has a 15% minority holding by strategic investors who will help provide financial and structural support for some of the major project opportunities.

    Ferry Operations

    As previously reported, Sovereign Ferries commenced operations utilising its Sierra Princess vessel in December 2016. Passenger numbers to date are in line with management expectations following a planned soft start in December designed to trial services and timetables. The service is now operating 68 crossings a week to coincide with flight schedules and at full capacity is capable of carrying around 9,000 passengers a month. With total airport passenger numbers passing through the airport increasing, and currently averaging around 15,000 per month, there is a strong and captive market for a safe, reliable and professionally run ferry operation. Sovereign's professional service with well-trained uniformed staff, air conditioned transit coaches, well equipped terminals and fast, safe craft is well placed to deliver a much needed service. Marketing has now begun including street video screen displays in country and plans are in place for ticketing sales through airlines, travel agents and hotels using our online booking system due to go live in the near future. This new service has been well received by passengers and the Company's aim is to reach a minimum of 50% capacity during the second half of the year which will make a healthy contribution to the Group, with continuing growth as the service expands.

    The current service is focussed on the Sierra Princess which is operationally proving successful and which will be joined by other vessels as demand and operations dictate. The larger Sierra Queen will be brought into service in due course for longer distance regional routes currently being planned.

    Technology Division

    The Group's Technology division has made a strong start to the year and continues to make a positive contribution to the Group with increasing margins. In the trading update in December 2016 the Company announced it had secured over £100,000 of annual recurring revenue maintenance contracts and further recurring contracts continue to be secured providing a growing portfolio of business in high security and sensitive locations such as airports, ports, governmental sites and correctional facilities.

    In addition, Westminster continues to secure contracts for a wide range of products and services from around the world. In the first few weeks of 2017 the Group has delivered and commissioned Westminster's unique Diver Communication and Disruption system to a Middle East Navy and secured contracts for security equipment and solutions to countries as widespread as Belgium, Ethiopia, Guyana, Italy, Nigeria and the UK.

    CTAC Litigation Settlement

    The Group is pleased to report that the transfer of assets to satisfy the remaining amounts due to Westminster under the CTAC Litigation Settlement announced in July 2015 is underway ahead of the originally expected timescale and therefore expects these funds to benefit our current financial year.

    Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure
    Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
     
  11. bonker99

    bonker99 A Legendary Member Charts Technical Analyst

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  13. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    18 April 2017


    Westminster Group Plc


    Placing, Appointment of Joint Broker, Final Conversion of Darwin Convertible Loan Notes and Corporate Update


    Westminster Group Plc ('Westminster' or the 'Company'), the AIM listed supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, is pleased to announce a placing ('Placing') of 10,000,000 new ordinary shares of 10p each ('Ordinary Shares') at 10p per Ordinary Share to raise £1million before expenses and the conversion of the balance of the Convertible Loan Notes issued to Darwin Capital Limited ('Darwin') eliminating the facility.


    Placing


    To support the development of the Company, with a particular focus on investment in its Managed Services division, the Company has raised £1million before expenses by means of an oversubscribed Placing undertaken by Beaufort Securities Limited ("Beaufort"). The Placing will result in the issue of 10,000,000 new Ordinary shares ('Placing Shares') at a price of 10p per Placing Share.


    The Placing is conditional upon admission of the Placing Shares to trading on AIM becoming effective and the placing agreement between the Company and Beaufort not being terminated in accordance with its terms.


    Appointment of Broker


    With immediate effect, following successful completion of the Placing, the Company has appointed Beaufort Securities Limited as Joint Broker to the Company and has agreed to issue, conditional on admission of the Placing Shares, 500,000 warrants exercisable at 10p per share and a life of 5 years from admission of the Placing Shares. In addition, Beaufort has elected to receive new Ordinary Shares and warrants to subscribe for Ordinary Shares in satisfaction of their first year's fee. Consequently, the Company has issued, conditional on admission thereof, 250,000 new Ordinary Shares to Beaufort (the 'Beaufort Shares') and the Company has today also granted 100,000 warrants which have an exercise price of 25p per Ordinary Share and a life of 5 years.


    Final Conversion of Darwin Convertible Loan Notes


    The Company has received a notice of exercise by Darwin to convert the final £500,000 zero coupon senior unsecured convertible loan notes ('Convertible Loan Notes'), as detailed in the announcement dated 22 November 2016, into Ordinary Shares at a price of 10p per share. This is at a premium to the price specified in the Loan Note Instrument. This will result in the issue of 5,000,000 new Ordinary Shares ('the Conversion Shares'). This conversion will eliminate the balance of the Convertible Loan Notes issued to Darwin.


    As one of the conditions of the Placing, the Company has agreed that during the next six months no member of its group shall enter into any convertible loan note or any analogous or similar financing arrangements.


    Corporate Update



    The Company is pleased to report that the significant 15 year airport security opportunity in the Middle East with revenue potential of £35m per annum has made significant progress recently.


    Whilst there is never any certainty of the outcome or timing of such prospects, several key infrastructure milestones in this large and complex deal have either been achieved or are close to achievement. The British government remains highly supportive and the Company are engaged in discussions at a ministerial level.


    Recent events regarding airport security have added impetus to the customer. The transaction is now expected to cover a wider range of airports in addition to the main international airport. Furthermore, in the event that the contract is finalised, which at this juncture is not guaranteed, it is expected to include a wider range of adjacent services which could further increase revenue potential and a significant amount of recent activity has centred on the associated supply chain.


    Total Voting Rights


    In accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority's Disclosure and Transparency Rules ('DTRs'), the Company hereby announces that following Admission of the Placing Shares, the Beaufort Shares and the Conversion Shares (together the 'New Shares') it will have 113,243,420ordinary shares of 10p each in issue, none of which are held in treasury. Therefore, the total number of voting rights in the Company is 113,243,420.


    The above figure of 113,243,420 may be used by shareholders in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change in their interest in, the share capital of the Company under the DTRs.


    Application will be made for the New Shares, which will rank pari passu with the Company's existing issued Ordinary Shares, to be admitted to trading on AIM. It is expected that admission will become effective and that trading in the New Shares will commence on or around 2 May 2017 ('Admission').
     
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  14. rylidan

    rylidan A Legendary Member

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    For the traders out there, this is an interesting proposition. Potential to move very quickly, with or without news.

    With good news, which seems to be expected soon this could fly. Take a look.
     
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  15. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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  16. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    upload_2017-5-13_15-51-42.png
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  17. rylidan

    rylidan A Legendary Member

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    Watching this one closely. Gut feeling is its too risky at 18p, but if a contract lands it should fly. Could easily go 50p+. If the contract falls through it will drop under 10p. As the article says the location of their business carries a high risk and also potentially high reward.
     
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  18. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    29 June 2017

    Westminster Group Plc:

    AGM Statement

    Westminster Group Plc ('Westminster', the 'Group' or the 'Company'), the AIM listed supplier of managed security services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, will hold its Annual General Meeting today at 11am at the offices of Moore Stephens LLP, 150 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A 4AB. At the meeting, Westminster's Chief Executive, Peter Fowler, will provide shareholders with the following update:

    "In the 2016 Annual Report issued on 5th June 2017 I was pleased to report that our business is now in a better position than it has been for some time as we continue to expand our international presence including the establishment of subsidiaries and an operational office in Germany which will provide strategic support for our projected growth.

    "A defining and key focus for the Group in recent months has been on closing the long term Middle East project opportunity which is expected to result in revenues in excess of £35m per annum. I am pleased to report that we have made substantial progress with this complex project. Following extended discussions over recent months around the scope of works, preparations are now being made for certain Board members and myself to travel to the country concerned for what we hope will be final negotiations, although with complex projects of this nature there can never be certainty as to timing or outcome. We expect to provide an update on developments in the near future.

    "Airport security solutions and our experience in the sector represent a significant growth opportunity for the Group and we continue to progress a number of long term prospects, both those under existing MoUs and others that are at an early stage.

    "As I mentioned in our 2016 Annual Report, we have an opportunity to achieve unprecedented growth from the many prospects and initiatives we are pursuing, any one of which could be transformational for the Group, and the Board and I remain committed to delivering on this potential."
     
  19. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    22 September 2017


    Westminster Group Plc:

    Interim Results for the six months to 30 June 2017


    Westminster Group Plc ("Westminster", the "Group" or the "Company"), the AIM-listed supplier of managed services and technology based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue chip commercial organisations worldwide, announces its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2017.


    Operational Highlights:

    · Significant progress on the previously announced Middle East long-term project opportunity and agreement now reached on key issues. Further announcement expected shortly

    · Managed Services now the key focus of the Group and the pipeline of major long-term project opportunities continues to grow. Discussions in progress with governments and airport authorities in various parts of the world

    · New contract awards for equipment and services to airports around the world including a six-month airport security training programme

    · Strong recovery in West Africa passenger numbers continues, several new airlines commencing services including Turkish Airlines due to commence in Q4 2017

    · Agreement reached with other main ferry operator in Sierra Leone, Sea Coach Express, to offer a combined service. Under the terms of the agreement Westminster will continue to manage and operate the ferry terminals, and Sea Coach Express will manage and operate the Sovereign ferry service, including the Sierra Princess. More vessels will be added to the Sovereign fleet

    · Board strengthened with the appointment of the Rt. Hon Sir Tony Baldry as Chairman and Martin Boden as Chief Financial Officer from 29 June 2017. Sir Malcolm Ross remains on the Board as Deputy Chairman



    Financial Highlights:

    · Group revenues of £2.9m (H1 2016: £2.0m) reflect strong growth in Managed Services and the Technology Division

    · Managed Services revenues up 41% to £1.8m (H1 2016: £1.3m)

    · Technology Division revenues up 41% to £1.0m (H1 2016: £0.7m)

    · Gross margin of 59% (H1 2016: 73%) reflects a negative gross profit from the Ferry operations and the commencement of concession payments to the Sierra Leone Aviation Authority from April 2017

    · Adjusted EBITDA loss of £0.6m (H1 2016: profit £0.2m) primarily a result of losses of £0.4m (H1 2016: nil) on the Ferry operations

    · Reported loss before tax £1.4m (H1 2016: loss of £0.8m)

    · Loss per share 1.4p (H1 2016: 1.2p)

    · £0.6m new equity raised in February 2017 and a further £1.0m raised in April 2017

    · Cash balance of £0.8m at 30 June 2017 and £0.4m at 1 September 2017 (30 June 2016: £0.7m)


    Commenting on the results and current trading Peter Fowler, Chief Executive of Westminster Group, said:

    "Our financial results for the period show an improved performance by both the Managed Services and Technology Divisions, both of which achieved healthy revenue growth. The ferry operations in Sierra Leone, which commenced services in January 2017, have failed to meet our expectations.

    "The first six months of the financial year have been defined by our intense focus, efforts and achievements in developing our Managed Services business which has the potential to deliver transformational growth.

    "In this respect, I am pleased to report that certain Board members including the Chairman and myself have now met with, and reached agreement, with the client and other bodies involved on the key points of the Middle East project opportunity and we are now working with them to finalise the commencement programme and scope. As we have said before, with complex projects of this nature there can never be certainty as to timing or outcome, but I look forward to making a further announcement in the near future.

    "In view of our focus on Managed Services I am delighted to have reached agreement with Sea Coach Express in Sierra Leone regarding the Sovereign Ferries service which will not only bring the remaining operation more in line with our core business focus but will also be commercially beneficial to the Group. Our airport security business in West Africa is performing well.

    "We expect that we will need to seek funding in Q4 2017 in order to support the anticipated Middle East contract and to support the further growth of the business, for which planning is already in place."
     
  20. Groucho

    Groucho Member

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    Westminster Group (WSG.L, 11.25p) – Speculative Buy
    Westminster Group ('Westminster'), a supplier of managed services and technology-based security solutions to governments and government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and blue-chip commercial organisations worldwide, yesterday announced that it has raised £750,000 through issuance of 7,500,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 10p per share. The proceeds will be used to support the Group's development, with a particular focus on preparation for the anticipated Middle East project opportunity in its Managed Services division. Following Admission of the Placing Shares (expected on 10 October 2017), the Group will have 120,743,420 Ordinary Shares in issue, none of which are held in treasury. Through a separate announcement released on 22 September 2017, Westminster Group provided its interim results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2017 ('H1 FY2017'). During the period, revenue advanced by +44% to £2.9m; comprised of +41% growth each in Managed Services (£1.8m) and Technology (£1.0m) division, with Ferry Operation contributed revenue of £51k (H1 FY2016: nil), against the comparative period (H1 FY2016). Due to negative gross profit from the Ferry operation and the commencement of concession payments to Sierra Leone Aviation Authority, gross margin has declined to 59% (H1 FY2016: 73%). Administrative expenses increased by +71% to £2.9m, driven by the costs of the Ferry operations (£0.4m, H1 FY2016: nil), higher Group and central costs (£1.0m, H1 FY2016: £0.8m), and exceptional items (£0.4m, H1 FY2016: £0.3m). Altogether, this led to an adjusted EBITDA loss of £0.6m (H1 FY2016: profit £0.2m) and reported loss before tax of £1.4m (H1 FY2016: loss £0.8m), leading to loss per share of 1.4p (H1 FY2016: loss 1.2p). The Group has raised £0.6m and £1.0m in February and April, respectively. Cash and cash equivalents at the period end stood at £800k (31 December 2016: £152k), while this fell to £400k at 1 September 2017. On the operational front, the Group said certain Board members, including the Chairman and CEO, have now met with, and reached agreement, with the client and other bodies involved on the key points of the Middle East project, the long term managed services contracts opportunity, and it is now working with them to finalise the commencement programme and scope. Although with complex projects of this nature there can never be certainty as to timing or outcome, the Board said it "look forward" to making a further announcement in the "near future". Westminster's CEO, Peter Fowler, commented "The first six months of the financial year have been defined by our intense focus, efforts and achievements in developing our Managed Services business which has the potential to deliver transformational growth. Our financial results for the period show an improved performance by both the Managed Services and Technology Divisions, both of which achieved healthy revenue growth. The ferry operations in Sierra Leone, which commenced services in January 2017, have failed to meet our expectations".

    Our View: Westminster Group's results for the H1 FY2017 made for sobering reading. Despite both Managed Services (63% of revenue) and Technology division (35% of revenue) achieving strong revenue growth during the period, the Group's profit performance was let down by the Ferry Operation which recorded an EBITDA loss of £0.4m (H1 2016: nil). This was below the Board's expectations due to disappointing passenger growth and financial performance amid a background of growing competition. Given such circumstances, together with downgrades on future passenger growth forecasts (therefore the greater loss), the Board has now taken the tough decision to exit its ferry operations (and cancel the lease on its second vessel, the Sierra Duchess). As per this decision, the Group have entered into a formal agreement with Sea Coach Express, the largest ferry operator in Sierra Leone, commencing on Monday 25 September, under which they will take over the Sovereign (SL) operations and responsibility for managing the service and vessels, including the Sierra Princess, and will expand the Sovereign fleet by several more vessels. Westminster Group will be jointly promoting and marketing the enlarged operation and will receive a share of revenues on ticket sales made through its own operations, together with a payment for all passengers travelling to and from its terminals. The Group will continue to operate and manage the terminals in accordance with its 21-year agreement signed with the government in 2014. This move is expected to push the Group back to achieving a positive contribution from ferry ticket sales and passenger royalties from Q4 2017. Going forward, the Managed Services division will become the Group's key focus; clearly, with ever-increasing international threats to airport security there are many business opportunities to target in emerging markets. Growth in passenger numbers continued across all airlines except Air France, which declined due to a reduction in their flight numbers. Looking ahead, launch of a new service by Fly Mid Africa in July 2017, commencement of flights to Nigeria by Air Peace later this month and Turkish Airlines who are looking to begin services in Q4 2017, can be expected to create opportunity for significant passenger growth. The Technology division continues to secure orders for a wide range of products and services delivered to clients all over the world. The Group continues to build its recurring revenue base, which it now stands at c.10% of the maintenance and service sales. Given the Group's monthly cash burn of c.£166k, together with repayment of the convertible loan notes valued at £2.2m (plus annual coupon of 10%) maturing in June 2018, the Board noted in its interim statement that it will need to secure additional funding. Yesterday's oversubscribed placing to raise £750,000 (before expenses) demonstrate continuing support for the Group's prospects by the investors. Such funds will support the anticipated 15-year Middle Eastern airport contract opportunity which has the potential to generate annual revenues in excess of £35m. Considering the Group has now addressed the principal problem within its portfolio of businesses and continue to make encouraging progress elsewhere in its pipeline, together with the potential for long-term recurring revenues, Beaufort reiterate its Speculative Buy rating on Westminster Group.

    Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to Westminster Group plc
     

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