Agasti posts positive half-year results despite a major restructuring

  • EBITDA of NOK 5 million and EBIT of NOK 1 million in the second quarter of 2014, after restructuring costs of 13 million have been charged
  • EBITDA of NOK 15 million and EBIT of NOK 8 million in the first half-year of 2014, after restructuring costs of 16 million have been charged
  • The restructuring of the Group has been completed faster than expected and with lower restructuring costs than previously estimated
  • Activities within investment advisory will be discontinued.  All of the offices in Norway and Sweden have either been closed, are being closed or have been sold to third parties. Clients are served efficiently by brokers and our investor service in Oslo, Stavanger and Stockholm
  • High levels of activity have contributed to significant transaction income in the Markets segment (business areas Capital Markets and Investment Management)
  • Hyresbostäder i Sverige II AB, managed by Obligo Investment Management, will be merged with the Swedish company D. Carnegie & Co AB, to establish Sweden's largest listed property company
  • Payments of NOK 900 million to shareholders in alternative investments in the second quarter. In total NOK 1.6 billion has been paid since the summer of 2013

The Agasti Group (Agasti) achieved an EBIT of NOK 1 million in the second quarter of 2014, compared with minus NOK 3 million in the corresponding quarter in 2013. The positive result comes despite the fact that the Group has charged restructuring costs of NOK 13 million during the quarter in connection with the wind up of the investment advisory business. In the first six months Agasti achieved an EBIT of NOK 8 million, compared with minus NOK 7 million and minus NOK 37 million in the corresponding periods in 2013 and 2012, respectively. EBITDA for the first half of 2014 amounted to NOK 15 million, after restructuring costs of NOK 16 million and prepaid expenses related to projects in the Markets segment of 5.5 million being charged. This is an improvement of about NOK 12 million and NOK 41 million compared with the same periods in 2013 and 2012.

"Earnings trends in the Group are moving in the right direction. Transaction activity is high, resulting in substantial improvement in the results from ongoing operations. Despite the challenges we have faced, including the extensive restructuring of the Group, we are delivering in accordance with our aspirations," says the CEO of Agasti Holding ASA, Jørgen Pleym Ulvness.

The underlying strategic platform remains unchanged, although the organisation of how we service the clients of the Agasti Group has changed. Our goal is to create and secure value for our clients' investments. The steps currently being undertaken in the investment companies Hyresbostäder in Sverige II AB (HBS II) and Etatbygg Holding I and II, all managed by Agasti`s subsidiary Obligo Investment Management, illustrate this.

All these companies are undergoing extensive structural changes to highlight portfolio values, ensure better liquidity and ensure choice for shareholders with respect to future exposure.

"Our strategy remains unchanged, and the transactions now being conducted in HBS II and Etatbygg I and II clearly show how Agasti is focused on creating value and ROI for clients. In addition to these structural changes there is the ongoing return on our investment management, not to mention payments to shareholders by the investment companies, totalling NOK 1.6 billion since the summer of 2013. We get a lot of positive feedback from our clients, which inspires us to work even harder, thereby creating value for our shareholders," says Ulvness.

As a result of the wind up of the Group's investment advisory business, the second quarter has been subject to massive changes. The decision was made to reduce the workforce by approximately 100 employees, so that at the end of the third quarter, the Group will have around 130 employees. In addition, all of the advisory offices in Norway and Sweden have either been closed, are being closed or have been sold to third parties. With effect from the end of 2014, the annual cost base will have been reduced by between NOK 100 and 120 million compared with 2013, while annual recurring revenue will be reduced by about NOK 90 million. This follows as a result of a decision that from the end of June clients will no longer be charged advisory fees. In parallel with this, the Group's strategic direction has been adjusted so that clients are now serviced in a significantly more cost effective way.

"Implementing such massive changes, while keeping the focus on creating results for clients and shareholders has been a demanding exercise, but I think we've performed well, given the circumstances. We have done what we said we would do, and we have done it faster and more cost efficient than planned," says Ulvness.

"We can conclude that we have succeeded in the choice of route that we made in autumn 2012. It is the Group's changed strategy from the autumn of 2012, which focuses on building a leading investment management environment within direct and alternative investments, well supported by a restructuring competent Capital Markets division, that has now secured our profitability and future potential. The development of the Investment Management and Capital Markets business areas now ensures our clients better investment opportunities, solid management and more options. Our earnings trend shows that we are well on our way, but we will continue to work hard to create the best possible returns and values for both clients and shareholders," says Jørgen Pleym Ulvness.

A complete English version of the interim report of the first half and second quarter of 2014 is attached on and on Agasti's Investor Relations web pages

Contact details:
CEO, Jørgen Pleym Ulvness, phone (+47) 906 67 877
CFO, Christian Dovland, phone (+47) 908 84 730
CCO, Tor Arne Olsen, phone (+47) 900 90 470

This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.