Rubicon Diversified Investments Plc ("Rubicon" or the “Company”; AIM: RUBI) announces its unaudited results for the six months ended 31 December 2011.
Commenting on these results Chairman, Rob Burnham, said:
“An enormous amount has been accomplished in the six month period to reposition Rubicon to deliver value for its shareholders, and while we have no doubt about the hard work which lies ahead, we are confident that we are on track to deliver against our strategy.
The combined Rubicon/easyGroup team has made substantial progress in the past three months in building the business model and launch programme for the planned low-cost airline. In particular, we are focusing on West Africa for launching the new model, and we have received initial recommendations from Stelios and his team regarding location of hubs, route networks and frequencies, and choice of aircraft model.
The work completed to date has validated our views on the attractiveness and potential of this exciting new venture.”
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Review of developments
On 5 August 2011 the Company disposed of its operating subsidiary, Rubicon Software Limited, to a company controlled by the former Chief Executive Officer of Rubicon, Alistair Hancock. At the same time the Company became an investing company according to Rule 15 of the AIM Rules. The activities of the disposed subsidiary are presented as discontinued in these interim results and comparatives have been restated accordingly On 18 November 2011 Rubicon announced a conditional placing and a change in the Company’s investing policy to that of seeking an acquisition or acquisitions in the global aviation and aviation services sector with a particular focus on Africa.
On 5 December 2011 it was announced that the Company had entered into a conditional arrangement with easyGroup Holdings Ltd (‘easyGroup’), a company controlled by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, under which easyGroup will become a shareholder in Rubicon and Rubicon will use the services of Stelios and easyGroup’s experienced aviation management team to provide general strategic, management and branding advice on the feasibility of implementing a low cost, point-to-point, no frills, all jet aircraft business model for Africa.
Placing of new shares
In December 2011 Rubicon completed two placings of new shares. The first, announced on 18 November 2011, raised £400,000 before expenses through the issuance of 40,000,000 new shares at a price of 1p per share. The second, announced on 12 December 2011, raised £9,000,000 before expenses through the issuance of 225,000,000 new shares at a price of 4p per share. These funds were raised in order to enable the Company to pursue its new investing policy and for general working capital purposes.
Potential Reverse Takeover Transaction
On 23 February 2012, the Company's shares were temporarily suspended from trading on the AIM market, pending an announcement and publication of an admission document relating to the potential acquisition of Fly 540, an African aviation business controlled by Lonrho Plc. Work on this potential acquisition continues although there can be no assurance that the transaction will be completed. The Company will provide an update in due course.
At the General Meeting held on 13 December 2011 we were delighted to welcome to the Board David Lenigas and Geoffrey White, respectively Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lonrho Plc which acquired shares in the initial £400,000 placing. Their deep knowledge of African business will be a major asset to the Company as we implement our investing strategy.
The activities of the Company’s disposed subsidiary, Rubicon Software Limited, are presented as discontinued in these interim results and comparatives have been restated accordingly.
In the six months to 31 December 2011 the Company made a loss from continuing activities after tax of £260,000 (0.39p per share). This compares with a loss from continuing activities of £15,000 for the six months to 31 December 2010 (0.03p per share), and with a loss of £68,000 for the year to 30 June 2011 (0.16p per share).
The Company had no income from continuing activities during the period, and the losses represent the ongoing management and administrative expenses as well as costs associated with the disposal and fund-raisings.
A total of £9.4 million (£8.8 million after expenses) was raised during the period from the placing of shares in the Company.
Issue of options to directors
At the General Meeting held on 13 December 2011 a resolution was passed to approve the grant of options over 3,000,000 shares to each of Richard Blakesley and Robert Burnham. The exercise price of the options is 1p per share, and the options may only be exercised in the event of the completion by the company of an acquisition or acquisitions constituting a reverse takeover under AIM Rule 14.
Following the substantial repositioning of the Company which was achieved during the six months under review we have now entered a period of intensive due diligence and planning activity as we implement Rubicon’s new investing strategy. The combined Rubicon/easyGroup team has huge experience in the airline sector and in Africa, and we are confident that our combined efforts will generate positive returns for shareholders.
30 March 2012