Looks like the various interested parties in Plus are re-circling the carcass of Messrs Cyril Theret (CEO) and Chairman Malcom Basing’s car crash…
Following Spencer Wilson’s (of Amara Dhari – an 18% shareholder) vocalisation in the press yesterday of many shareholders (and Plus Market company members) sentiments on the current management of Plus, we understand that there is interest resurfacing in 2 of the company’s divisions – SX (the stock exchange that is in the process of being wound down) and TS – the Trading Solutions arm.
As relayed here yesterday, a source close to the Company revealead that Harinder Misra remains interested in taking TS forward – it is unclear whether this would be part of the current listed vehicle, although given the extensive tax losses attached to this, this would make a lot of sense, or a purchase of the IP outright. We understand that before the company was put up for sale that Plus were close to signing a couple of major institutions to the new service and these could have been transformative for the Company’s financial profile.
There seems to be interest too from individuals who were connected with Ofex (the original entity that Plus meta-morphosed into) in re-constituting an ‘unregulated’ exhange in the guise of the old Ofex. This would of course save a lot on regulatory fees and address the cost base of Plus further and that contributed to its current woes. Government plicy of promoting entrepeneurship within the economy would fit well with this strategy and such a new exchange would also provide an alternate home for many of the current Plus listed companies in place of the current alternate that is to re-list on the relatively expensive AIM market.
Simon Brickles (former CEO) has been very quiet throughout this process and it will be interesting to see whether he returns with Amara Dhari in an attempt also to rescue the SX side. The telling element of the RNS put out on the 14th May is the following paragraph –
“As reported on 17 April 2012, the Company had received indicative proposals in response to the FSP from a number of parties. To date, none of the parties have been able to progress matters to a position whereby either the parties or the Board, in conjunction with its advisers, were satisfied as to the deliverability to completion of any proposed transaction.”
We believe that the formal sale process was brought to a halt not due to a lack of interest by various parties – quite the contrary, but through the Company’s cash balance breaching the FSA’s min regulatory capital requirement (we understand around £2m) and the inability of any of the “interested parties” to complete a transaction in time.