26 July 2019
(LEI Number: 213800CTZ7TEIE7YM468)
Proposed Transfer to the Specialist Fund Segment and Discount Target
The Board of UIL Limited ("UIL" or the "Company") announces that the number of ordinary shares which are deemed by the Listing Rules to be held in public hands is very close to the minimum 25% threshold. The Listing Rules provide that shares are not considered to be held in public hands if they are held by persons (or persons in the same group or persons acting in concert) who have an interest in 5% or more of a listed company's share capital, as well as shares held by directors of a listed company.
The percentage of UIL's ordinary shares held in public hands has reduced principally as a result of the Company regularly buying back its ordinary shares and share purchases by the Directors and members of the portfolio management teams. The Board has therefore given consideration to the form of action to be taken and has concluded that it would be in shareholders' best interests for the Company to continue to have the flexibility to buy back its own shares. It has consequently decided to investigate the potential for a transfer of the listing of the Company's ordinary shares from the Premium Segment to the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, which does not have a formal threshold for shares held in public hands.
The transfer will be conditional on shareholder approval. Following the transfer, the Board intends to voluntarily comply with a number of the key provisions of the Listing Rules. Further details are expected to be announced in September 2019 when the Company aims to publish documentation in order to seek shareholder approval in October 2019.
There will be no impact on the zero dividend preference shares of the Company's subsidiary, UIL Finance Limited, as these shares are expected to remain listed on the Standard Segment of the Main Market.
The Board recognises that the discount to net asset value at which the ordinary shares currently trade is significantly wider than desired and the move to the Specialist Fund Segment will permit the Company to continue to buy back ordinary shares without the public hands restriction.
The Company's performance continues to be very strong, with net asset value total return in the 1, 3 and 5 years to 30 June amounting to 29.5%, 65.7% and 163.1% respectively, significantly above the total returns of the FTSE All Share of 0.6%, 29.5% and 35.8% for the same periods. Accordingly, the Board intends to focus on reducing the discount of the ordinary shares, targeting a discount to net asset value of approximately 20% over the medium term.
Name of contact and telephone number for enquiries:
ICM Limited +44(0)1372 271486
Charles Jillings / Alastair Moreton