Oakley’s 1H NAV up 7.5% on weak sterling

A weakening pound in the wake of June’s Brexit vote drove most of the 15 pence-a-share uplift for the AIM-listed company in the six months to 30 June.

AIM-listed Oakley Capital Investments Limited, whose investments are largely denominated in euros, posted a 7.5 percent rise in net asset value to £2.15 a share ($2.80; €2.51) in the six months to 30 June, the company said on Monday.

OCL provides permanent capital for funds managed by London-based firm Oakley Capital Private Equity, which last month held a first close on its third private equity fund, gathering more than €500 million. Oakley Capital Private Equity III launched earlier this year with a hard-cap of €750 million, and was seeded with a €250 million commitment from OCL. A spokeswoman for OCL declined to comment on Oakley’s fundraising progress.

Most of the 15 pence-a-share uplift – about 13 pence of it – was driven by a weakening pound in the wake of Britain’s vote on 23 June to leave the European Union, the company said. A “strong performance” by the portfolio companies in which OCL is invested added 9 pence to the increase in NAV, but this was offset by a 7 pence decline attributable to the share price of AIM-listed media company Time Out Group, which fell after the Brexit vote, OCL said.

One of OCL’s top-performing portfolio companies is Parship Elite, a Hamburg-based online dating service catering to German speakers. On 5 September, a date that falls outside of OCL’s first-half reporting period, OCL said that Oakley’s second mid-market fund, Oakley Capital Private Equity II – in which OCL holds a 38.1 percent stake – had agreed to sell a majority stake in the business to German media conglomerate ProSieben Sat. 1 Media (P7S1).

The deal, which valued Parship Elite at €300 million, generated a cash return of 2.3x, a money multiple of 3.6x, and an internal rate of return of about 150 percent in 16 months, lifting OCL’s NAV per share by 9.4 pence, OCL said.

“Whilst Brexit created volatility, both positive and negative, at the period end, the underlying portfolio performance showed continued strength,” director Peter Dubens said in a statement.

“That was further reinforced by a very attractive return from the Parship Elite Group investment just after the period end. We retain a highly valuable stake in the ongoing success of this business.”

Time Out floated on AIM on 14 June at 150 pence a share, and is currently trading about 0.4 percent lower at 139.50 pence, a 7 percent drop since the IPO. OCL holds about 24.2 percent of Time Out’s share capital, valued at £40.1 million as at 30 June, the company said.

“Despite the significant uplift in NAV over the past year, Oakley's discount to NAV has widened 36.6 percent, which compares to a historic average of 20 percent for the fund since inception and a current discount of 26 percent for the direct private equity peer group,” OCL’s nominated advisor and broker Liberum said in a research note.

“Key portfolio companies are performing well and we believe the key focus in the short-to-medium term will be on the deployment of capital as we estimate [that] cash accounts for about 28 percent of NAV after adjusting for the proceeds from the Parship transaction,” Liberum said.

OCL shares were up 0.5 percent at 144.7 pence earlier on Monday.