Home / Money / STOCK WATCH: Fund eyes Urban Exposure as three-way battle looms

STOCK WATCH: Fund eyes Urban Exposure as three-way battle looms

A fund run by Christopher Mills has quietly built up a stake in AIM-listed Urban Exposure, which provides finance to property developers.

The Oryx International Growth Fund has snapped up 3.8 per cent of Urban Exposure, which is trying to offload its loan book after a deal was called off because of the pandemic.

It has set tongues wagging in the City as to whether the respected activist investor is plotting a campaign to shake the company up or even make a bid for the whole group. 

The Oryx International Growth Fund has snapped up 3.8 per cent of Urban Exposure

The Oryx International Growth Fund has snapped up 3.8 per cent of Urban Exposure

The Oryx International Growth Fund has snapped up 3.8 per cent of Urban Exposure

Urban Exposure recently came under fire after it emerged that it made a secret £1.2milion loan to a charity run by the company’s chief executive Randeesh Sandhu and his wife, Daljit, to finance the refurbishment of a nursery school.

The Oryx fund sits within Mills’ Harwood Capital, which bought tenpin bowling firm Essenden in 2015.

An investment vehicle controlled by Graham Wellesley, the 8th Earl of Cowley, also has a substantial stake in Urban Exposure while property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz owns 13 per cent. Both of them submitted separate ‘proposals’ to Urban Exposure, which have been rejected.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting three-way tussle between Mills, Tchenguiz and the Earl.

SIG

Fears of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on SIG have hammered the insulation and roofing giant’s shares – largely because investors are fretting over an equity fundraising that could dilute existing shareholdings.

On Thursday, SIG may address that fear with an update on liquidity as it reports final results. Number-crunchers at Peel Hunt are looking for SIG to update investors on talks with lenders too. 

It won’t have helped that the planned £37.5million sale of its building solutions business has now fallen through, which would have relieved pressure on the balance sheet.

Is that fundraising now looking more likely?

Britvic 

Are fizzy drinks being guzzled in great quantities in the lockdown? Scribblers at Swiss bank UBS think so, though it might not be children drinking more Pepsi but adults buying mixers for cocktails to cool down in the sun.

Are fizzy drinks being guzzled in great quantities in the lockdown? Swiss bank UBS thinks so

Are fizzy drinks being guzzled in great quantities in the lockdown? Swiss bank UBS thinks so

Are fizzy drinks being guzzled in great quantities in the lockdown? Swiss bank UBS thinks so

The analysts reckon Britvic, which reports its half-year results on Wednesday, has seen a 6.5 per cent jump in sales of carbonated drinks in the six months to the end of March. Britvic sells mixers and Tango, and makes and sells Pepsi’s drinks in the UK, including 7Up.

The big issue for Britvic in 2018 was the introduction of the sugar tax, but it looks to have weathered that particular storm.

British Land 

Investors in British Land will keep a close eye on the London office and retail landlord’s rent collection numbers when it releases its annual results on Wednesday.

Tenants are struggling to pay and the FTSE 100 company has already cut its dividend to save cash.

While British Land might feel the worst of the coronavirus crisis this year, last year’s financial results to the end of March will also take a hit.

Analysts reckon adjusted profits will tumble about 6 per cent based on a 4 per cent fall in gross rental revenues to £552million, which is largely down to a few crippling weeks during the pandemic.

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