Pre-tax profit quadruples at SPARK Ventures

AIM-listed SPARK Ventures, the investor in early stage digital information and technology companies, posted its half-yearly results for the period ending September 30th.

AIM-listed SPARK Ventures, the investor in early stage digital information and technology companies, posted its half-yearly results for the period ending September 30th.

The results showed that pre-tax profit quadrupled to £1.01m from £237,000 in the corresponding period in 2011.

The net asset value (NAV) per ordinary share increased to 16.16p from 15.95p at March 31st.

The cash balance at the end of the period was £10m, twice the value at the end of March 2012.

Portfolio performance

The group, which has a portfolio of 10 companies, reported strong revenue performance from several portfolio companies.

The IMI valuation slightly reduced due to foreign exchange differences and share option dilution. Aspex sold its trade and intellectual property for anticipated ultimate proceeds of £8.5m to SPARK. OpenX doubled in value following the conclusion of funding round. Partial disposals of Kobalt & Notonthehighstreet.com raised £4.3m in cash.

A return of 2.5p per share is to be proposed shortly for payment in January.

The total value of the portfolio was worth £54.7m on September 30th, up from £49.2m on September 30th 2011.

Chairman statement to shareholders

In a statement addressed to shareholders, David Potter, Chairman of SPARK Ventures, said: "In addition to the sales made after the year end and referred to in my June statement the situation on Aspex has clarified and an excellent outcome has been achieved. As set out in our announcement of December 5th 2012, if the Aspex liquidator makes payment early in the new year, we intend to approve a payment of 2.5p per share (approximately £10.27m in aggregate).

"This means that since we started the process of winding up the portfolio, and returning cash to the shareholders, you will have received over £26m whilst the company still has a significantly higher NAV than when we started in 2009.

I think that these results confirm the original wisdom of seeking a five year work out and avoiding any appearance of a fire sale.

The board are actively pursuing all avenues for the realisation of investments; trade sale, flotation or secondary and we are hopeful of further substantial realisations during 2013. We are also conscious of the potential value of the ultimate quoted cash shell and the embedded tax losses and will be seeking to maximise the value of these where possible."

Shares in SPARK ventures were up 0.99% to 12.75p at 10:54 on Wednesday.

MF

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