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N Brown wants to raise £100mln and move to AIM after profits decline

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N Brown Group PLC (LON:BWNG) is looking to raise £100mln and hop down from the London’s main market to AIM after announcing a fall in half-year profits.

The ‘size inclusive’ clothing retailer, which owns the Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams brands, reported £356.7mln of revenue for the 26 weeks to August 29, down 18% on the prior year.

Product revenue fell 20.5%, though the digital transformation is almost total with 92% of product sales coming online compared to 84% a year ago.

Statutory profit before tax of £14.1mln was down 25% year-on-year, while unsecured net debt was cut 56% to £32.2mln and overall net debt by 17% to £411mln.

The proposed equity raise of £100mln has been fully agreed via a pre-emptive placing with 33% shareholder and chairman David (Lord) Alliance, which can be subject to 100% clawback under an open offer to all shareholders at a price of 57p per share.

Chief executive Steve Johnson said: “Having restructured the business and transitioned to more than 90% of revenues from digital, we now see a clear opportunity to capitalise on various industry drivers, not least the increasing trend towards online retail, and further improve our customer proposition.

“The proposed capital raise will give us the firepower to invest further in our digital capabilities and accelerate our growth strategy, whilst significantly strengthening the group’s balance sheet to provide us with ongoing flexibility and a strong platform from which to deliver returns for all of our shareholders.”

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