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METTLE’S GREENWICH BUY PAYS OFF WITH HEADLINE EARNINGS UP 10,6%

Cape Town – Structured products house Mettle, which earlier this year chose not to press ahead with its delisting plans, yesterday delivered its first set of combined results, with recently acquired Greenwich showing a 10.6 percent rise in headline earnings a share to 14.49c for the full year to March. It also gave more details of its recent aggressive share buyback programme, which it said would continue as long as management believed there was value in the share price. Financial services group Greenwich was acquired by Mettle early last year, leading to a reverse listing of Mettle on the JSE Securities Exchange. The headline earnings a share reflected the dilutory impact of additional shares issued to pay for the Greenwich acquisition, said Gavin O’Connor, the chief executive.  So far, Mettle, with its core business focused on structured solutions around debt, has bought back about 57 million shares at an average price of about 56c compared with the current price of 70c. Cash at the end of the full year rose 18 percent to R293.1 million. Of this, R40 million to R50 million had been used to buy back shares.   Revenue was 49 percent higher at R208.1 million, while the net asset value a share grew by 29.4 percent to 58.33c. Mettle’s niches include capital raising, securitisation, interest rate hedging and leveraged acquisitions.  The current focus was on pushing hard into the local institutional market as well as the corporate finance acquisition market, O’Connor said.  In line with this goal, Mettle had brought on board the Decimax team, Decillion’s interest rate hedging and structuring team, at the end of March. On the recent crisis in the smaller financial services sector, O’Connor believed most of the attrition had passed through the system. He expected those players that survived to flourish in the medium term. Mettle’s focus would be on organic growth. “Despite market uncertainty, we expect steady growth in the next year,” O’Connor said. Hosken Consolidated Investments is still the biggest shareholder in Mettle, with a stake of 44 percent. The share price edged 2c higher to close at 70c yesterday.

Source: Business Report – Vera von Lieres