Latest Investment Manager's Report

Portfolio Summary

As at 30 September 2017 the Company’s portfolio comprised 28 actively managed investments with a total cost of £45.7 million and a valuation of £64.6 million. The portfolio is diversified by sector, transaction type, and maturity profile. 

New Investments and Follow-on Funding

Excluding the purchase of Foresight 3 VCT's holdings, no investment in new companies were made during the six months to 30 September 2017. 

One follow-on was made during the period. In July 2017, a further investment of £674,168 was invested in molecular diagnostics business Biofortuna, bringing the Company's total investment to £2,729,216. This additional capital was provided to support the development of blood typing products. 


Through the offer of subscription launched on 19 May 2017, which has raised £7.0 million to date, the Company is now well positioned to pursue the potential investment opportunities in the manager’s pipeline.

Foresight continues to work hard generating high quality SME deal flow across the UK. Foresight’s strategy is focused on building relationships with advisors and professional service firms, attending and organising networking events as well as approaching businesses directly. This has been bolstered through the recent recruitment of Matthew Evans-Young, previously at Synova Capital and KPMG, as an Origination Manager. Matthew will lead on the establishment of a dedicated direct origination practice within Foresight’s private equity team. The aim of this initiative is to deliver proprietary, off-market deals, through a proactive and structured approach, which will complement the existing intermediary network of the wider team.  

At 30 September 2017, the Company had cash in hand of £2.8 million, which together with proceeds received from recent realisations and the offer for subscription, will be used to fund new and follow-on investments, buybacks and running expenses. 

Exits and Realisations

Total proceeds of £8,689,222 were generated during the period from the disposal of six investments, notably Blackstar and The Bunker which returned £5,998,271 between them.

In July 2017, the Company successfully exited its investment in Northampton-based designer and manufacturer of innovative guitar amplifiers Blackstar Amplification generating a return of c.2x cost. Under the Company’s ownership Blackstar expanded internationally, more than doubled turnover, established itself as the number two amplifier brand in the UK and USA and broadened its product catalogue.

In July 2017, The Bunker Secure Hosting, provider of IT infrastructure platforms, was sold to Palatine Private Equity for a return of 2.44x cost. Having first invested in May 2006, the growth capital provided by the Company was used to scale The Bunker’s data storage facilities. Under the Company’s ownership, the business grew annual revenues to in excess of £9 million compared to £1.8 million at investment, having built an expert reputation in the specialist FinTech space.

In addition, in September 2017, the sale of Autologic’s operating subsidiaries was agreed with Opus Group AB, a Swedish company which provides vehicle environmental and safety testing services globally. Although the value of this realisation was in line with the reduced valuation, the sale takes total overall returns on this investment to 4.6x initial cost, including the partial sale of the investment to a mid-market private equity firm in 2012.

The full disposal of AIM-listed Zoo Digital, which supplies software and services for authored content (e.g. DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes media), was completed on 5 April 2017 for £139,322. 

In August 2017, the Company also exited its investment in leading provider of customer and field service technology mplsystems (previously The Message Pad), generating proceeds of £1,921,835.

Foresight continues to engage with a range of potential acquirers of several portfolio companies, with demand for these high growth businesses demonstrated by both private equity and trade buyers.

There are no post period end disposals to report.

Key Portfolio Developments 

Excluding the impact of the merger, the valuation of the portfolio has shown a small upwards movement of c.£0.9 million over the last six months. Material changes in valuation, defined as increasing or decreasing by £0.5 million or more since 31 March 2017, are detailed below. Updates on these companies are included in the Top Ten Investments section on the next page, except for Thermotech Solutions, Aerospace Tooling and Sindicatum Carbon Capital.

Thermotech Solutions’ fair value has increased reflecting positive performance and a confident outlook. Its pipeline for providing facilities management including air conditioning and fire sprinkler systems, for a mixture of retailers, restaurants, office developments and public-sector clients.

Aerospace Tooling’s higher valuation has been driven by the continuing growth of its turbine component repair services with key industrial customers, as well as a major new domestic aerospace customer secured in 2017.

The valuation of Sindicatum Carbon Capital, which develops clean energy investment projects principally in Asia, has been reduced in line with a recent company transaction.


Whilst there remains a significant amount of uncertainty as to how the UK will be affected by its exit from the European Union, Foresight Group continues to see a strong pipeline of interesting investment opportunities and inbound interest from potential acquirers for portfolio companies.

In the Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced an action plan to unlock over £20 billion of patient capital investment in innovative companies with the opportunity for growth. The Government’s response to the Patient Capital Review recognises the positive role that VCTs play in providing long-term patient capital. The proposed adjustments to the VCT scheme rules fall within the Fund’s existing investment strategy.

Foresight will continue to monitor and adapt to market and regulatory changes to ensure the Company and its portfolio is well-placed to deliver returns to its investors.

Click here to read the full latest Investment Manager's report.

Russell Healey

Partner and Head of Private Equity
Foresight Group
30 November 2017

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