Tighter UK lockdown measures put pressure on Universal Partners
Business Report

Tighter UK lockdown measures put pressure on Universal Partners

Tighter UK lockdown measures put pressure on Universal Partners

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published 44m ago

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DURBAN – UNIVERSAL Partners said yesterday that it felt the impact of the trading restrictions in the UK as the country responded to the surge of Covid-19 infections by tightening lockdown measures.

The group reported a basic headline loss of 2.77 pence (R056) a share for the six months to end December, up from 0.88p compared to last year.

Its loss widened to £2 million (R40.62m) during the six months, up from £638 384 compared to last year, and operating loss increased to £595 922, up from £266 528 compared to last year. The group’s principal activity is to hold investments in high-quality, growth businesses across Europe, with a focus on the UK. It has investments in Dentex x Healthcare Group, Yasa, SC Lowy Partners, JSA Services, TechStream Group and Propelair.

Universal Partners was hit hard in the UK during the six-month period when the country implemented different forms of restrictions from July last year. The group said a second wave of the pandemic commenced in late August and certain restrictions were intensified and regional restrictions were implemented in September, followed by a second national lockdown for a period of four weeks on November 5.

The country commenced with the third national lockdown on January 4 which is still in place. “However, all of the company’s investments have continued operations despite the lockdowns and regional restrictions during the period,” the group said.

Universal Partners has a primary listing on the Official Market of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, and a secondary listing on the Alternative Exchange.

In Dentex, the group said Dentex performed ahead of expectations since reopening on June 8 last year at the end of the first UK lockdown despite the impacts of the regional restrictions and lockdowns imposed during the second half of 2020.

“Dentex is well positioned to continue implementing its plan to acquire and manage high-quality dental practices. Dentex has completed five acquisitions since November and has a strong pipeline of potential acquisitions, having signed heads of terms with several vendors,” the group said.

Dentex completed a £20m equity raise in November, with £10m provided by new investors.

Universal Partners committed to fund £2.5m of the equity round and the group remains the single largest shareholder in the business with a 35.6 percent shareholding. In SC Lowy, a specialist asset manager, the group said staff in most of the territories that the company operated were affected by Covid-19 related restrictions but were able to work remotely.

SC Lowy’s primary investment fund achieved a return of 4 percent net of fees in the quarter and it has a track record of achieving in excess of 9 percent net of fees a year since 2010.

Universal Partners’ share price closed unchanged at R20 on the JSE yesterday.

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