Marwyn walks away from possible investment in Hotter owner Unbound

Marwyn walks away from possible investment in Hotter owner Unbound

Unbound Group — the owner of the Hotter


On Wednesday, Unbound said that Marwyn Investment Management has abandoned its 12 April proposal to provide a £10 million investment via an equity placing at an issue price of 10.5p per share.

The two companies have spent recent weeks “progressing preparations for the fundraise”. 

Marwyn’s proposal had been put forward on the basis that it was “unconditional both as to diligence requirements and as to quantum of additional capital (if any) contributed by existing Unbound shareholders” and the Unbound board had seemed keen.

But on Tuesday, Marwyn informed the company “that its funding proposal had been withdrawn, citing principally concerns over current trading”.

So what about that current trading? Unbound said it has “remained challenging over Q1 of the company’s new financial year (FY24), with conditions worsening compared with those outlined in the FY23 trading update announced on 17 January”.

This has resulted in Q1 revenues being “lower than the board previously anticipated, offset by the board’s previously notified cost-reduction programme, which is on track to deliver £2.3 million of annualised savings from the group’s current operating model by the third quarter of FY24”. 

The leadership team is still saying profitability for Q1 should be “broadly in line with its previous expectations”. It added that the board is also “well advanced in conducting a wider review of the operating structure of the group in order to drive growth of revenue and profits over the medium term”.

And it said it has maintained “regular dialogue with its core banking partners who have maintained their support throughout this period, including the waiver of certain covenants under existing borrowing facilities. The board considers it likely that the group will require further covenant waivers in the short term and will continue with its constructive dialogue with its banking partners”.

So what happens now in terms of new funding? The company is continuing to work with its advisers and banking partners “with a view to raising additional funding or refinancing its existing borrowing facilities in order to provide the appropriate balance sheet structure and level of working capital headroom”.

It’s all so different from just a year ago. The company had last year been in major expansion mode with the launch a new multi-brand platform, plans for further expansion and its sales growing up to early last autumn.

But a January trading update talked of tough conditions in the second half. In March, the WoolOvers interest in the business emerged, but its potential offer for the group valued it at less than £7 million. 

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