Future Foundations

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We’re delighted to have supported Watkin Jones in the development of their integrated annual report for which they won the Small Cap Sustainability Reporting award from IR Magazine. Building on their Future Foundations ESG strategy that sits at the heart of everything they do, the award reflects the skill of their team in producing clear investor-facing communications about ESG issues.

For two consecutive years, Buchanan has provided ESG consultancy to Watkin Jones. We carried out interviews with senior management to understand shifts in the areas that matter most to the Company and provided advisory to the ESG steering committee.

Watkin Jones is the UK’s leading developer and manager of residential for rent, with a focus on the build to rent (‘BtR’) and student accommodation sectors.

We are pleased with their progress over the past two years, including their recent launch of ESG targets. These targets focused on three key pillars of future people, future places and future planet.

Click here to read the report.

Enabling the decarbonisation of aviation

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Buchanan’s Design Team is pleased to announce the launch of its inaugural Annual Report for Velocys, the sustainable fuels technology company. Working closely with Lak Siriwardene, Velocys’ Director of Communications & Sustainability, Buchanan’s team put together a new layout and design that helped bring Velocys’ innovative technology to the fore and convey the Company’s ability to enable the production of commercial scale sustainable aviation fuel.

Click here to read the report.

Taking a responsible approach to accretive growth

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Buchanan were engaged to develop VAALCO’s 2021 Sustainability Report. Buchanan’s ESG team aligned the report to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), as well as commencing VAALCO’s reporting in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Critically, the disclosure illustrates the Company’s commitment to defining a clear emissions reduction pathway and its pragmatic approach to introducing decarbonisation strategies in its operations.

 The team worked closely with individuals from across the Company to deliver a report that demonstrates VAALCO’s strong commitment to Gabon, where it has operated for over 20 years and has close ties with the local communities. The report was produced by Buchanan’s design team.

Click here to read the report.

The Good Pitch: Dos & Don’ts with Mining Media

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In February, Buchanan hosted a panel with Women in Mining UKThe Good Pitch: The Dos and Don’ts With Mining Media, to discuss how corporates can work with the financial and trade media in a way that works, including what is the best way to approach the media when you have a positive story or when there’s been some negative developments.

Guests included Neil Hume (Natural Resources Editor at the Financial Times), Carly Leonida (Owner and Author at The Intelligent Miner and European Editor at Mining Media International) and Kirsty Hickey (Business Producer at Ian King Live – Sky News). Ariadna Peretz ( Director at Buchanan and Head of Communications at WIM UK) moderated.

Below we’ve included some highlights but the one big takeaway was “it’s all about the narrative.” That means media relations departments have to work harder and smarter when pitching their corporate stories. No longer is it enough to have solid results in a bear market or a “killer” dividend policy. What journalists care about is the “so what” factor. Therefore the main question to answer before pitching to journalist is “Why is my company’s story interesting to the journalist’s readers?” Craft the narrative before you pick up the phone and when you have the journalist on the line, make it apparent why your news is important and why their readers would care.

Getting the basics right

Journalists are short on time therefore you need to cut to the chase and make sure your story is relevant to their publication. Do your research on what your target publication covers and make it obvious from the outset what you are pitching and why it is relevant to their readers. If it doesn’t seem relevant on the face of it, take the time to explain why it is because if it’s not immediately apparent, it will get ignored. If you think the story isn’t relevant to the publication, don’t get in touch as that is counterproductive.

Unsolicited emails don’t work because there are too many emails and too little time in the day of a journalist. To stand out, play the long game. Try to build relationships beforehand so that when you have a story, they know who you are and are more likely to want to work with you. It also puts you top of mind when journalists are looking for insight on a particular topic.

If you are ignored, don’t be discouraged. Kirsty says she often comes back to previous pitches to help her with programming.

Topics

The energy transition is the biggest topic right now but it’s not the only thing journalists are writing on. Carly writes a lot about responsible sourcing and all things tech. At the Financial Times, Neil is seeing a lot of interest in battery materials, lithium and giga factories.

Interestingly, the more popular the topic, the more selective journalists are about the stories they cover. For example, the bar is very high for ‘Net Zero’ stories because most companies are making pledges these days and there is a lot of ‘greenwashing’.

Op-eds

When it comes to submitting an op-ed, it’s important to include who you are and why you are qualified to speak on a particular topic. The op-ed should be in good form by the time it is emailed to the publication. If it takes the editor more than an hour to edit, it will be ignored. At the Financial Times, contrarian views are appreciated and a news hook is not always necessary.

Editorial calendar

Not all publications have an editorial calendar but if they do, it is followed religiously because it helps with securing advertising. If you’d like to pitch a story to an online publication using its editorial calendar, get in touch four to six weeks before deadline.

Negative news

There are stories we want splashed all over the place and then others we wish never happened. The consensus with our speakers was to own up to the news and speak on the topic.

When there is a negative news story, Sky News will always ask the company for a statement. At the FT, the requirement is to have comments double sourced and companies will be given plenty of time to reply to the journalist’s questions. Neil’s preference is to speak to the CEO on the record to find out what’s going on but often companies don’t oblige. At Buchanan we believe if you aren’t telling your story, someone else will, therefore it’s important to speak to the media.

You can watch the full video here. Watch until the end to find out what are our guests’ pet peeves – some are pretty bad and definitely not something you want to be guilty of!

Have any questions or comments? Get in touch with Ariadna at [email protected].

Make it happen, succeed together, be the customer, go beyond

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Buchanan’s ESG Team was engaged once again by Equals Group, a leading fintech payments business, to deliver the ESG section of their Annual Report. The Group, seeing people as central to its continued success, is committed to delivering an excellent employee experience. Engaging with employees across the Group, our team gained an understanding of how Equals continues to improve the customer journey and is putting increased focus upon customer vulnerability.

We developed a reporting framework around four pillars of People, Customers, Governance and Impact and aligned them with the four Company values, to demonstrate how ESG management is embedded into the broader Group strategy. The report communicates how the Group has supported its employees and customers, especially through the ongoing pandemic, whilst maintaining robust governance standards and considering its wider societal and environmental impact.


Click here to read the full report.

Buchanan attends Plant Medicine Week

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Henry Harrison-Topham (Partner and Head of the Health & Wellness Team) and Ariadna Peretz (Director) attended Plant Medicine Week (PMW), organised by Microdose, which is part of Conscious Fund, a Malta-based and psychedelic-focused VC firm that has partnered with Buchanan.

The conference was focused on how the psychedelics industry can take off – through legislation and regulation, tapping the private and public capital markets, integration into the mainstream health sector, and the many purposes psychedelics serve (e.g. women’s health, addiction, PTSD) and how to deliver them to society (e.g. retreats, clinics).

Speakers included Anne Philippi (CEO at The New Health Club), Courtney Barnes (Counsel, Partner, Policy Advisor at Feldman Legal Advisors PLLC, Barnes Caplan LLP, Decriminalize Nature), Tristan Gervais (Head of Cannabis Advisory at Chrystal Capital Partners), Catharine Dockery (Founding Partner at Vice Ventures), Bek Muslimov (Co-Founding Partner at Leafy Tunnel), Varun Renjen  (Managing Director, Life Sciences Strategy at KPMG Advisory), Graham Pechenik (Registered Patent Attorney and Founder at Calyx Law), Justin Hanka (Co-Founder & Director at MindBio Therapeutics), Saboto Caesar (Minister of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, rural transformation, industry and labour for the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Daniel Koppelkamm (Managing Partner at Convergence Partners AG) (among others).

Interestingly, the bulk of the corporates were from North America but the majority of the investors in attendance were from Europe and Israel. While it’s true that the large majority of companies in the sector nowadays are North American, arguably the best research and some of the most interesting companies are from this side of the Atlantic. We look forward to seeing how the sector evolves by this time next year. What we hope to see is more UK and European businesses in the spotlight and accessing funding from UK and European sources.

We very much look forward to the 2023 edition of Plant Medicine Week and hope to see you there!

 

Diversified Energy launches third Sustainability Report

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Diversified Energy has published its latest Sustainability Report which highlights the successes throughout 2021 and ambitions for the robust ESG agenda. The Company has committed to reducing methane intensity by 30% by 2026 and 50% by 2030, whilst also aiming for net-zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. In tandem with the release of their Sustainability Report, Diversified has published a dedicated Climate Risk and Resilience Report consisting of detailed disclosure against the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, led by our friends at Woodmac and JS Global.

Buchanan’s ESG team are delighted to have supported Diversified in developing this Sustainability Report for a third year running and are very proud of the work done to help shape Diversified’s journey towards net-zero.

Peel Hunt analyst Matt Cooper, in a note, said: “Diversified has made great strides in improving its environmental credentials in the last six months.”

Click here to read the full report.

i(x) Net Zero PLC joins AIM on the London Stock Exchange

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Buchanan is delighted to have supported i(x) Net Zero (LON:IX.), an investing company that provide its shareholders the opportunity to create long-term capital growth with positive, scalable, measurable and sustainable impact on the environment and on the communities it serves, on its IPO on AIM.

i(x) Net Zero believes in profit with purpose, and its investee companies represent opportunities to invest in some of the fastest growing sectors which are addressing decarbonisation and the green energy transition.

Currently, i(x) Net Zero has six portfolio companies; three in the energy transition sector (WasteFuel, Carbon Engineering and Enphys Acquisition), as well as another three that are committed to sustainability in the built environment (MultiGreen Properties, Sustainable Living Innovations and Context Labs).

i(x) chose the list in London because it is at the centre of the impact investing universe and was a crucial next step for i(x)’s development, enabling it to accelerate the growth of its investee companies and provide investment to sectors helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.

A great year for African Tech

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African tech start-ups raised over $2 billion dollars in 2021, a 206% increase from 2020, according to Disrupt Africa’s recent funding report. Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya were the premier investment destinations on the continent and fintech remained the most invested sector. Of the 564 tech start-ups harnessing the investment, 5 achieved Unicorn Status (up from 0 in 2020). They were: Flutterwave, a provider of payment infrastructure for the continent; OPay a mobile-based platform for payment transport and delivery; Chipper Cash, a money transfer app; Wave a mobile money app and Andela, a HR-tech unicorn which aims to pair African IT talent with a growing global IT demand.

Despite a record year of private equity funding for Africa start-ups, there are still perhaps some gaps. Disrupt Africa reports the average investment in each start-up in 2021 was around $3.8 million dollars. It is clear that in order to grow into global businesses, the more established start-ups require much larger sums to drive growth. The FT spoke with Niklas Adalbarth, the co-founder of Klarna (market cap: $45.6bn), who is trying to address this gap in growth capital investment. Adalbarth, along with dozens of tech executives have started a fund looking to raise $2 billion to find and support the next tech Unicorns. Buchanan expects to see the growth in private equity investment to continue into 2022 as Africa’s tech sector expands in both depth and breadth.

The Good Pitch: Dos & Don’ts with Mining Media

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On Thursday 24 February (3pm GMT) join Buchanan and Women in Mining UK online for “The Good Pitch: Dos & Don’ts with Mining Media.”

We’ll discuss the dos & don’ts when pitching to mining media, including what is the best way to approach the media when you have a positive story or when there’s been some negative developments. Our panellists will share what works best with them as well as what not to do. This will be both fun and informative for anyone in communications.

Register here


Speakers

Neil Hume
Natural Resources Editor
Financial Times

Kirsty Hickey
Business Producer
Ian King Live on Sky News

Carly Leonida
Owner and Author
The Intelligent Miner and
European Editor at Mining Media International

Moderator

Ariadna D. Peretz
Director
Buchanan and Head of Communications at Women in Mining UK

To educate, empower, entrust and engage

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In order to establish Rank Group’s ESG strategy, Buchanan’s ESG team were engaged to conduct an in-depth materiality assessment for the business, to determine the most material risks and opportunities and define the scope of sustainability reporting. Working with subject matter experts from across the Group, Buchanan developed Rank’s ESG strategy, capturing existing initiatives as well as helping to develop their forward-looking objectives.

The Group’s inaugural Responsible Business Report, copywritten and produced by Buchanan, sets out this strategy. The report demonstrates how Safer Gambling considerations are central to the purpose of the business and presents the four key focus areas: customer experience, colleagues experience, environmental management, and community engagement.

Click here to read the full report.

Responsibility at work

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In response to increasing interest in its ESG performance from key stakeholders, Lucid Energy Group engaged Buchanan’s ESG team to create their inaugural Sustainability Report that captures and presents its strong ESG programme. This involved defining Lucid’s material ESG risks and opportunities within its midstream operations, analysis of how the business manages down its ESG risk and constructing a comprehensive ESG narrative for integration into Lucid’s communications.

During this process, Buchanan provided consultancy and developed a strategic framework to help Lucid seize the opportunities presented by specific ESG issues. The framework is built around three key themes – Responsible Growth, Commitment to Excellence and Safe & Sustainable Operations – and was brought to life by our Design Team.

Since publication, Lucid has announced the milestone approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop the largest Carbon Capture and Secure Storage Project in the Permian Basin – an important tenet to their decarbonisation programme.

Click here to read the full report.

Buchanan attends Wonderland

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In November, Buchanan flew to Miami to attend Wonderland, the largest psychedelic medicine business event. This was organised by Microdose, which is part of Conscious Fund, a Malta-based and psychedelic-focused VC firm that has partnered with Buchanan.

To put it succinctly, the event was incredible. It was truly wonderful to see so many people in real life gathered to discuss the future of psychedelics both as a business venture as well as a tool to ease the immense amount of suffering people are experiencing.

Speakers included  Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD (Ralph Metzner Distinguished Professor of Neurology & Psychiatry, Director Psychedelics Division, Neuroscape at University of California, San Francisco), Mike Tyson (Advisor at Wesana Health), Matthew Johnson (Susan Hill Ward Professor of Psychedelics and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Deborah Mash, PhD (CEO & Founder at DemeRx), Rick Doblin (Executive Director at MAPS), Dr. David Nutt (Chief Research Officer at Awakn Life Sciences), Dr. Ben Sessa (Chief Medical Officer at Awakn Life Sciences), Lynn Marie Morski (President at the Psychedelic Medicine Association) and William Leonard Pickard (Senior Advisor, Scientific Advisory Boards at William Leonard Pickard, JLS Fund LP & Psygen) (among others).

While the focus of the conference was the business of psychedelics, there were many conversations – both on stage and off – that focused on how psychedelics are creating a new paradigm for the way businesses are run, how health is defined and treated, how business leaders can create inclusive growth, and the best way to respect and integrate the indigenous communities that have been working with plant medicines for thousands of years.

We very much look forward to the 2023 edition of Wonderland and hope to see you there!

Buchanan sponsoring Cannabis Invest UK

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Buchanan had the pleasure of sponsoring Cannabis Invest UK, an exclusive event bringing together early-stage healthcare, health & wellness and biotechnology companies in the cannabinoid sector with institutional investors, private wealth managers and high-net-worth investors, as well as other industry stakeholders. As one of the first in-person cannabis events since COVID-19, there was a palpable excitement and eagerness to connect.

Ariadna Peretz (Director at Buchanan) moderated a panel on navigating regulation in the UK cannabis sector. She was joined by Nick Davis (CEO at Memery Crystal), Tristan Gervais (Head of Cannabis Advisory at Chrystal Capital) and Robert Jappie (Partner at INCE) and a full house of in-person and online viewers.

Regulation has been fluid since the FCA gave medical cannabis companies the green light in 2019 to list on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. And while guidance may have not been as quick-paced as previously anticipated and there have been some setbacks (such as the drawn out FSA validation process for CBD companies), the panel agreed there were plenty of medical cannabis and CBD-related transactions in 2021 and 2022 should be an exciting year for the equity capital markets.

One of the questions the panellists tackled was whether the listing and disclosure requirements are worth the effort because the option to stay private is also available. The consensus was, as medical cannabis is a capital-intensive industry, the equity capital markets is the right place to be because of the deep pools of capital available. Additionally, companies that have listed are now trading at significant multiples against revenues.

That said, a UK-focused company should look to list in the UK, not in North America. For the most part, the North American market is focused on the lucrative recreational market. In fact, there are some North American companies with European assets in their portfolio that receive nil value. The expectation is for these companies to spin out their European assets, raise money in Europe and create extra value for their shareholders through two geographically distinct companies.

The topic of banking was also discussed at length and rightly so – if companies can’t process their payments or secure debt financing because financial institutions don’t want to get involved due to fear of crossing the regulators, the sector as a whole will be stuck. The panellists spoke about the potential impact of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. If the Act is passed in the US, it will remove conflicts between state law and federal prohibition and give banks and financial institutions peace of mind that they can now get involved in the industry without fear of breaking federal laws. The SAFE Act’s passing would ideally impact UK regulators’ guidance to local banks and financial institutions.

Overall the panel was both lively and informative. We look forward to seeing where the companies and overall sector are at come September 2022 – hopefully we will have seen a strong wave of high-quality, liquid and well-financed medical cannabis and CBD companies listed on the various exchanges. 

New appointment: Adriatic Metals

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Buchanan has been appointed by Adriatic Metals, the LSE- and ASX-listed mining company, to assist with its strategy of becoming a leading Europe-based metal producer and engaging on its behalf with the European buy-side, sell-side and financial media, as well as providing ESG advisory.

Buchanan advised Adriatic on its strategic funding plan for bringing the Vares silver/zinc/lead mine in Bosnia & Herzegovina into production. Following an equity placing of c.$180.2 million, plus a $144.5m debt finance package, which to date in 2021 is the largest fund raise of any mining group listed in London, Adriatic’s growth trajectory remains firmly on track to become a leading UK-listed mid-tier metals producer.

The transaction received global media coverage and benefitted from a highly oversubscribed placing, broadening and deepening its blue-chip institutional shareholder base.

2021 Investment Companies fundraising update

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The Buchanan investment companies team has successfully completed two more IPOs and five highly successful secondary fundraises since the start of 2021 across a variety of alternative asset classes including renewable infrastructure, property and royalties. Following an equally successful autumn 2020 season, the team has now completed five successful IPOs in the sector in the last 12 months alone.

Two recent successful IPOs include;

Taylor Maritime Investments, which invests in a diversified portfolio of shipping vessels, raised $253.7m at IPO in May (Jefferies)

Aquila Energy Efficiency Trust raised £100m to invest in renewable energy efficiency assets. The IPO was completed in May (Peel Hunt)

Five secondary fundraises include;

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund raised £135m in April (Shore Capital and JPMC)

Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust raised £150m in July (Peel Hunt)

Urban Logistics REIT raised £108m in July (N+1 Singer, Panmure Gordon and Alvarium)

Bluefield Solar Income Fund raised £105m in July (Numis)

Round Hill Music Royalty Fund raised $86.5m in July (Cenkos)


If you would like to learn more about our work in investment companies please don’t hesitate to contact the team.

Charles Ryland, Partner
[email protected]

Henry Wilson, Director
[email protected]

 

 

2021 Investment Companies fundraising update

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The Buchanan investment companies team has successfully completed two more IPOs and five highly successful secondary fundraises since the start of 2021 across a variety of alternative asset classes including renewable infrastructure, property and royalties. Following an equally successful autumn 2020 season, the team has now completed five successful IPOs in the sector in the last 12 months alone.

Two recent successful IPOs include;

Taylor Maritime Investments, which invests in a diversified portfolio of shipping vessels, raised $253.7m at IPO in May (Jefferies)

Aquila Energy Efficiency Trust raised £100m to invest in renewable energy efficiency assets. The IPO was completed in May (Peel Hunt)

Five secondary fundraises include;

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund raised £135m in April (Shore Capital and JPMC)

Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust raised £150m in July (Peel Hunt)

Urban Logistics REIT raised £108m in July (N+1 Singer, Panmure Gordon and Alvarium)

Bluefield Solar Income Fund raised £105m in July (Numis)

Round Hill Music Royalty Fund raised $86.5m in July (Cenkos)


If you would like to learn more about our work in investment companies please don’t hesitate to contact the team.

Charles Ryland, Partner
[email protected]

Henry Wilson, Director
[email protected]

 

 

Buchanan and The Conscious Fund launch Partnership

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Buchanan, a WPP-owned financial communications advisory, and The Conscious Fund, the most active early-stage investor in the psychedelic medicine sector, are pleased to announce a partnership to support the burgeoning psychedelic medicine sector.

The partnership will be of benefit to the psychedelic medicine sector as it brings together Buchanan’s understanding of the media’s impact on global private and public capital markets and The Conscious Fund’s track record of investing in and nurturing quality psychedelic medicine companies. At the core of the partnership is an understanding that the psychedelic medicine sector requires widespread investment and education if it is to grow from a niche and become mainstream.

Henry Harrison-Topham, Partner and Head of Cannabis & Wellness at Buchanan, commented: “We very much look forward to working alongside The Conscious Fund, which has an exceptional track record in the space, and being of service to a select group of its portfolio companies. We believe we are the ideal communications partner for this fledgling industry due to our ability to convey a company’s investment proposition to the public and private capital markets through creative and impactful strategic communications.”

Richard Skaife, Partner at The Conscious Fund, added: “Since its inception, The Conscious Fund’s goal has been to grow companies within the psychedelic sector. The fund and the industry overall have been very successful to date but if psychedelic medicine is to achieve its potential in serving humanity, we must reach a larger and more generalist audience. This is why we are pleased to be working with Buchanan, which is part of WPP, the world’s largest communications group.”

About Buchanan

Buchanan is a financial and corporate communications agency that is part of WPP plc, the world’s largest creative transformation company. Located in London and with an international reach via the WPP network of 3,000 offices across 111 countries, Buchanan accesses the global capital markets on behalf of its clients to achieve their corporate objectives.

Contact:
Ariadna D. Peretz
Director
Tel: +44 (0)20 7466 5000
Email: [email protected]

About The Conscious Fund

The Conscious Fund is the most active early stage venture fund in the psychedelic medicine space. It invests into drug discovery, clinics, addiction programs, retreats, AI, telemedicine, media and training. Its global, platform-based approach helps to transform outcomes for patients with mental health, addiction and chronic pain issues.

The US$60 million fund has backed 14 of the leading companies in the sector, spanning drug discovery, clinics, addiction, AI, and media, and has incubated 13 projects, including The Psychedelic Medicine Association, the first psychedelic medicine SPAC, and Microdose, a profitable media company.

For further information, please visit www.theconscious.fund.

Contact:
Henri Sant-Cassia
Founding Partner
The Conscious Fund
Email: [email protected]

 

Sustainable Energy: Pathway to Inclusive Growth in Africa

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The relationship between energy consumption and economic growth has been widely discussed at academic and political levels. Of the 1.4 billion people worldwide without access to energy, 40% are in sub-Saharan Africa despite the vast natural resources and renewable energy available on the African continent.

Although economic growth has improved in Africa, it has not necessarily translated into sustained poverty reduction and equitable sharing. This dramatic lack of energy access stifles inclusive growth and sustainable development across the continent.

To discuss how surmounting this challenge can be expedited further, the London Stock Exchange Group were joined by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Buchanan, Astonfield Solar, Helios Investment Partners, and ENS Africa for a panel discussion.

Chair:

Augustine Chipungu, Associate Director, Buchanan

Panel Participants:

Shafeeka Hartley, Director, Corporate Commercial, ENS Africa

Phil Davis, Head of ESG, Helios Investment Partners

Ameet Shah, Founder & Director, Astonfield Solar

Lucy Chege, Head: Energy, Environment and ICT, Development Bank of South Africa

Watch it here

Webinar: Impact Investing and Investment Companies

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The London Stock Exchange were joined by the AIC, Buchanan, Civitas Investment Management, Hawksmoor Investment Management and Jefferies to discuss recent trends in impact for investment companies, demand for new offerings, impact reporting and investor expectations.

The Impact Investing Institute provided a keynote address on defining and evaluating impact investment, considerations for listed investment companies and the global growth of impact investing.

Presenters include:

  • Andrew Dawber, Group Director, Civitas Investment Management
  • Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director, AIC
  • Gaudi Le Roux, Senior Vice President, Jefferies
  • Henry Wilson, Associate Director, Buchanan
  • James Clark, Senior Fund Analyst, Hawksmoor Investment Management
  • Jamie Broderick, Director, Impact Investing Institute
Watch it here

Meikles Group

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Our partnership In December 2019, Buchanan worked with the iconic Meikles Group in Zimbabwe as they looked to sell the Harare Meikles Hotel to ASB Hospitality Zimbabwe, a group company of Albwardy Investment LLC of Dubai as part of a strategy to increase profitability, strengthen its balance sheet, and unlock value for shareholders.

Growth story Given the strong presence of the Meikles Hotel in Zimbabwe, this was a sensitive subject for shareholders and also the local community. Buchanan worked to create a strategy that ensured the messaging was clearly communicated and all stakeholders were happy with the deal presented. This wasn’t just about the Company shareholders, but also the people of Harare. This also signified a big investment from a foreign investor. We were successful in supporting the execution of the deal, managing positive coverage in local media and getting support from the Zimbabwean institutions needed to support the transaction.

Centamin

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Our partnership Buchanan has advised Centamin since 2009. During this time, we have advised its transition from a development-stage company to a gold producer.

Growth story Since our appointment, we have advised Centamin through its move from AIM to the Main Market (and inclusion later that year into the FTSE250 Index in 2010). We have provided crisis management during a number of significant political changes in Egypt during (2012-14), management changes, and the successful and high-profile defence of Centamin against a takeover bid by Endeavour Mining during late 2019/early 2020.

Pensana Plc

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Our partnership Buchanan’s partnership with Pensana’s listing on the London Stock Exchange in July 2020, with an initial valuation of £34m.

Growth story Through a campaign to position the Company as key component of providing the required metals for the rapidly developing renewable energy market, Pensana has been the best performing rare earth stock on any international stock exchange, with a market value today in excess of £230m. The high profile generated on its London listing with Tier 1 media added to the momentum of the stock, with regular and significant coverage in H2 2020 and early 2021, catapulting the business into the mid cap space.

Tharisa

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Our partnership Buchanan’s partnership with Tharisa began in 2017, then valued at £150m, when we were engaged to become their financial PR advisor.

Growth story During our partnership, Buchanan has devised a bespoke strategic communications proposition for Tharisa to engage in capital markets and raise its profile in the UK market. We focused on the Company’s differentiating factors, like its unique low-cost asset and mine to market model, to tell its attractive investment story to media, analysts and investors. The campaign has generated positive following among the audiences. Today the company is covered by 7 analysts and has a market value in excess of £350m.

Africa Finance Corporation

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Our partnership Since our partnership began, Buchanan has provided AFC with all its corporate and financial communications services requirements, from support for debt/equity issuances, M&A transactions, through to senior management profile raising in global Tier 1 media.

Growth story Since our partnership began, AFC has seen its balance sheet from US$3.5 billion to US$6.1 billion. During this time, Buchanan has advised AFC’s principle fundraising programme – a US$5 billion Global Medium-Term Note, amongst various other capital market fundraise initiatives, communications around its various investment strategies and key projects, as well as conferencing and event support (which in 2020 included 17 conferences across 4 continents).

Agyapa Royalties

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Our partnership Buchanan was appointed in 2018 as the lead communications advisor to develop the identity of the group that reflects both the corporate strategy as well as its Ghanaian roots.

Growth story Buchanan developed a brand identity that reinterprets the widely recognised black star of Ghana which is combined with an equally robust typemark; imagery and colours are rich and earthy, reflective of their African inspiration. On the website’s home page, the brand’s purpose is spelled out in the opening statement “Respect the Land”.

Buchanan hosts panel event with Women in Mining UK

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On Thursday 18 February (4pm GMT) Buchanan is teaming up with Women in Mining UK once more to host a panel on the topic of how consumers are pushing the sustainability agenda forward in the mining industry.

The nature of the mining industry has meant it is removed from end users. This has led to consumers misunderstanding the value the sector creates while also disconnecting miners from the process that converts the resources they produce into manufactured goods. However, that gap is being bridged, and consumers have played a role in it.

Topics to be discussed will include how miners have worked with consumers to achieve a more sustainable industry, how artisanal and small-scale miners are affected, where the discussion about ethical and sustainable mining is likely to go, and how much this discussion is helping remedy misconceptions about the mining industry’s role and value in the world.

Register here


Speakers

Charlie Betts
Group Managing Director
Betts Group and Founder of Single Mine Origin

Michillay Brown
Industry Transformation Leader
Tracr (part of De Beers)

Yulia Chekunaeva
Director, Capital Markets
En+ Group

Michèle Brülhart
Executive Director
The Copper Mark

Moderator

Ariadna D. Peretz
Director
Buchanan and Head of Communications at Women in Mining UK

Autumn 2020 IPO successes

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The Buchanan investment companies team successfully assisted in completing three sector IPOs in autumn 2020. These included Round Hill Music Royalty Fund, which initially raised $282m at IPO and went on to raise another $46.1m in December (total $328.5m), combined the largest capital raise for a new London listed investment company in 2020.

Buchanan was also engaged by Schroders to advise on the Schroder British Opportunities Trust, which invests in both public and private companies that have been affected by the pandemic which have strong fundamentals, the fund raised £75m at IPO in November. Schroders subsequently requested Buchanan’s expertise for the Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust, which offers an opportunity for investors to access high-impact private market assets and also raised £75m at IPO in December.

This meant that together the team advised on a substantial portion of the successful IPOs of the 2020 calendar year in the sector.

The Autumn fundraising period was also very busy for secondary issues for Buchanan sector clients with Gore Street Energy Storage Fund raising £60m in an oversubscribed offer. Likewise, Bluefield Solar Income Fund in an another oversubscribed placing raised £45m from investors.

Autumn 2020 IPO successes

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The Buchanan investment companies team successfully assisted in completing three sector IPOs in autumn 2020. These included Round Hill Music Royalty Fund, which initially raised $282m at IPO and went on to raise another $46.1m in December (total $328.5m), combined the largest capital raise for a new London listed investment company in 2020.

Buchanan was also engaged by Schroders to advise on the Schroder British Opportunities Trust, which invests in both public and private companies that have been affected by the pandemic which have strong fundamentals, the fund raised £75m at IPO in November. Schroders subsequently requested Buchanan’s expertise for the Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust, which offers an opportunity for investors to access high-impact private market assets and also raised £75m at IPO in December.

This meant that together the team advised on a substantial portion of the successful IPOs of the 2020 calendar year in the sector.

The Autumn fundraising period was also very busy for secondary issues for Buchanan sector clients with Gore Street Energy Storage Fund raising £60m in an oversubscribed offer. Likewise, Bluefield Solar Income Fund in an another oversubscribed placing raised £45m from investors.

Africa Finance Corporation issues inaugural CHF150 Million Green Bond

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The bond’s success exemplifies AFC’s status as a peer-leading Development Finance Institution that has the confidence and respect to generate funding despite macroeconomic headwinds.

In support of the issuance, Buchanan implemented a focused media campaign, which resulted in coverage in Bloomberg Surveillance, Global Capital, Debtwire and Project Finance International, all of which showcased the important role AFC plays in bridging the infrastructure gap in Africa and the investment community’s increasing interest in green financing.

To date, the Corporation has invested over US$7.2billion in projects within 32 countries across Africa.

Petropavlovsk secondary listing on the Moscow Stock Exchange

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On Thursday, 25 June 2020, shares started trading on MoEx complementing the Company’s primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Buchanan has worked with Petropavlovsk since January 2018, when it was in a position of having a debt:equity ratio of 2:1, uncertainty surrounding its business strategy of building its POX hub, as well as significant instability of the constitution of its management Board. During the last two and a half years the debt/equity ratio has reversed to 1:2, the share price has increased by a factor of over four times, analyst research has doubled to 8 covering analysts, propelling the rating of the business resulting in the market valuation increasing by over four times from £250 million to more than £1 billion (as at 25 June 2020), resulting in Petropavlovsk returning as a constituent of the FTSE250 Index.

In support of the MoEx milestone, Buchanan implemented a targeted media campaign including an exclusive interview with Bloomberg while working closely with Petropavlovsk’s IR team in Moscow, ensuring clear messaging that aligned in both markets.

The Russian-focused gold mining company expects to benefit from gaining access to an enlarged pool of institutional and Russia-based retail investors given elevated interest in gold. The secondary listing reflects the Company’s ambitions to become one of the leading gold producers in Russia.

2020 has marked a strong year so far for Petropavlovsk with the share price rising by 152.4% YTD, building on its position as the best performing gold stock listed in London in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Investor discusses the gold boom with Petropavlovsk

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Investors tend to see gold as a safe investment during volatile periods such as the global COVID-19 pandemic. With gold prices rallying to near a record high, not seen for 7 years, Interactive Investor spoke to Deputy CEO at Petropavlovsk plc, Alya Samokhvalova to discuss the gold boom and the opportunity Petropavlovsk plc offers investors as a FTSE250 listed gold producer.

2019 was a transformative year for the Company. The most significant development has been the opening of the flagship POX plant, the second in Russia, which has competitively positioned the Company within the gold producers in Russia. Further to this, Petropavlovsk also strengthened its Board, and made significant investment in the development of its producing assets. These positive developments have positioned it well for 2020.

Given the market backdrop, Alya also gave an update on the impact of COVID-19 to the Company explaining that strict procedures have been put in place for the wellbeing of employees, but due to the remote location of Petropavlovsk’s operations in the Amur region, and specific measures put in place by the Russian government, they have continued operations during lockdown with no record of any employees contracting the virus.

Overall, this was a good opportunity to update the market with Petropavlovsk’s progress and outlook for this year.

Watch the interview here

 

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC go from AIM to Main Market

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Buchanan is delighted to support DGO (LON:DGOC) on its move to the Main Market, having worked with DGO since its listing on AIM in 2017.

Since that time, the Company has grown through $1.5bn of acquisitions to become the largest independent producer by volume listed in London.n

Buchanan has provided a range of services, including messaging around its unique business model, media profiling and the creation of its inaugural Sustainability Report.

We look forward to DGO’s continued success on the Main Market.

Webinar: The role gold will play in a post-COVID-19 portfolio

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The UK market has traditionally remained underweight in investing in gold as an asset class. The unprecedented priming of the monetary pumps by global central banks during the COVID-19 crisis is aimed at stimulating reflationary pressures to kick start economies which are now technically in recession, or worse.

Such forces tend to have an impact on the price of gold. In light of this dynamic Buchanan is hosting a webinar with some of the leading commentators from the UK capital markets to discuss the opportunities and challenges of investing in gold through gold mining equities, ETFs and other investment instruments ahead of the full impact of these global reflationary stimulus strategies.

Watch the webinar here


Speakers

Michael Widmer
Commodity Strategist
Bank of America

James Burdass
Gold Specialist/Consultant – Ex Fidelity Mining and Gold Buy-side Analyst

Gervais Williams
Head of Equities
Premier Miton Group PLC

Tom Attenborough
Head of International Primary Markets
London Stock Exchange

Ariadna D. Peretz
Associate Director
Buchanan

 

How to approach ESG as a listed company

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Only those who have spent the past couple of years on a remote island could have failed to notice the emergence of ESG, the three-letter acronym that  represents “Environment, Social & Governance” that is featuring more prominently than ever in the investment lexicon.

ESG has gone mainstream – based on data and performance

For long-term shareholders and potential investors, a company’s ESG performance is no longer just a box-ticking exercise but an important guide to its long-term success as a business.

The term ESG was first coined in 2005 but it is only very recently that capital markets have seen widespread adoption of these principles. Commitment to change has been slow due to a lack of science-based, quantitative targets that allow for accurate measurement of performance and meaningful comparison with companies in a given peer group.

Technological advancements in ESG measurement mean that we are now entering a second phase of corporate responsibility based on data and performance analysis and not just rhetoric. As a result, it is no longer enough to simply ‘talk a good game’. Companies need to demonstrate engagement with ESG in a meaningful way with an understanding of the material issues, a clear plan of action, long-term objectives and a record of progress.

Another key factor driving ESG into mainstream discourse is the increasing desire of big business to embrace a socially responsible agenda from a risk management perspective, as a growing body of evidence emerges showing the link between a strong ESG culture and out performance.

Companies need to do more

The move for ESG from the side-lines, to the top of the boardroom agenda, has left many companies needing to play a rapid game of catch-up and the dawning realisation that there are knowledge and expertise gaps within their senior team.

Whilst some CEOs may have to check what the acronym means, their cornerstone investors are demanding immediate answers on what policies they have in place, which issues they are prioritising, and which benchmarks they are using to measure progress. Failure to engage means facing the prospect of being out-performed by your peer group.

One option in this situation is to ask for a list of tasks with associated costs to determine a course of action that will guarantee a knock-out performance when the next round of ESG performance scores are assembled. Unfortunately, the myriad number of ESG benchmarks and performance measurement metrics makes this impossible.

A strategic approach to ESG

When it comes to deciding which guidelines to follow for the introduction of an ESG programme, it is easy to get bogged down in a seemingly endless array of further acronyms. Should you adhere to the SDGs, follow the GRI or comply with the TCFD? Or maybe all three…?

There is a better way. Instead of getting bogged down in bureaucracy, contact Buchanan’s expert ESG team ([email protected]) to discuss the following five-step process to start moving in the right direction:

  1. ESG audit – Carry out an analysis of your current ESG disclosure and compare this with your peer group.
  2. Leadership statement – Draft and publish a statement from your CEO that outlines your overall approach to tackling ESG.
  3. Materiality assessment – Undertake a review to determine which elements of ESG truly matter to your business and industry.
  4. Implementation – Initiate new systems and processes as necessary to address the aspects of ESG where your business needs to play catch-up.
  5. Reporting – Put together an integrated plan across your website, annual report and other communication channels. Decide whether to create a standalone sustainability report.

While the above five steps will not make you an ESG superstar off the bat, they will place you on the right path towards becoming more proficient in articulating how ESG improves your investment proposition to your shareholders and potential investors. Buchanan’s ESG team has experience putting together bespoke ESG packages for listed and unlisted companies across a wide range of sectors.

Please get in touch for further information by emailing [email protected].

You can also sign up for our fortnightly ESG newsletter.

Corporate communications during coronavirus – part II

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The organisations governing and overseeing the financial and public markets are being flexible with companies. But with that flexibility comes confusion, which companies are attempting to reduce by communicating to stakeholders through press releases and updates to their websites.

Their success in relaying the information is debatable because while the information might all be there, in black and white, there are important aspects that are missing. Corporates must remember that their shareholders are humans who are being affected not just professionally but also personally.

Below are key points to keep in mind when updating your investors, be it by RNS, social media post, video or a telephone call.

The cornerstone of crisis communications is consistency. In a time of uncertainty, your shareholders need to know that you are present and accessible. The best way to do this is by being regular and consistent with your messages.

Often, corporates want to hold off on communicating until they have all the answer or a certain issue has been resolved. Though understandable, in times of crisis, patience is not a virtue. In fact, while in good times no news is good news, in more challenging times no news conjures up the worst in people’s minds. To prevent this from happening, consistent communication is needed.

Your message must be concise. This is not the time to be speaking in convoluted sentences. You can use George Orwell’s six rules for writing from his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” as a guide.

Be clear about the challenges you face within the context of your shareholders’ concerns. The FRC created a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 information. It highlights investors’ key concerns such as liquidity, resilience, cash reserve, and risks. When you are creating your key messages, know exactly how you’re going to speak clearly to each of your challenges. This is also a chance to be clear on where you expect to go from here. If you have sound fundamentals and expect to weather the storm, make sure that resonates.

Lastly, compassion also has a place in crises. Your shareholders are more than just companies and funds that bought shares in your company. They are people with mortgages, children’s university tuition, and plans for retirement. And because COVID-19 is more than a financial crisis and people are facing their own mortality (as well as that of their loved ones) it is important to remember empathy and compassion have a place in all of this.

Corporate communications during coronavirus – part I

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While all companies are doing their best to continue ‘business as usual’ it’s anything but. COVID-19 is an upheaval of a magnitude that we’ve just never seen before and it will have unprecedented impacts, upending business as we know it.

We are fortunate that the institutions that govern and support the UK public and financial markets — such as the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA) and  Companies House (among others) —  have all stepped up to the plate quickly and have given corporates the necessary flexibility  they need to focus on business continuity, which includes (but is not limited to) serving their clients and delivering value to their shareholders and stakeholders.

Please note, seeing as the situation is fluid, the guidelines you read here today may no longer be relevant tomorrow so you must speak to your advisors before making any decisions regarding disclosure.

Financial Conduct Authority

The FCA has requested fully listed companies (e.g. not on the AIM) to delay publication of their preliminary financial statements in advance of the full audited financial statements to reduce the pressure companies and the audit profession are dealing with. Moreover, the moratorium means companies can give due consideration to recent events. Instead, the FCA is requesting “ that companies publish full audited financial statements within four months of the financial year end.”

Most recently, the FCA announced a series of measures aimed at assisting companies raise new share capital in response to the coronavirus crisis while retaining an appropriate degree of investor protection. This includes a different approach to working capital statements and modification of general meeting requirements. You can read about the measures here.

Financial Reporting Council

The FRC has created a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 information with a focus on how to maintain and communicate strong corporate governance at this time. It also highlights investors’ key concerns, such as liquidity, resilience; cash reserve and  risks.

There is also a non-financial consideration the FRC mentions – something which brings to light the fact that ESG (environmental, social & governance) criteria are becoming mainstream and recognised as an indicator of a company’s value and risk profile. In the Strategic Report section, the FRC states, “All stakeholders, including investors, are concerned about companies’ workforces and seek an understanding of how they are being retained and supported.” Indeed, staff cannot be found on a company’s balance sheet but it is a company’s greatest asset.

The FRC also shares that the Pre-Emption Group has issued a statement recommending that investors, on a case-by-case basis, consider supporting issuances by companies of up to 20% of their issued share capital on a temporary basis, rather than the 5% for general corporate purposes with an additional 5% for specified acquisitions or investments. This move was welcomed by the Association of Financial Markets of Europe (AFME) and the FCA has also said this flexibility “could prove invaluable for companies seeking to repair balance sheets damaged by coronavirus-based disruption.”

Chartered Governance Institute

The ICSA has offered several options to ensure a company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is quorate while also following the UK Government’s “stay at home” measures. They include adapting the basis on which the AGM is being held; delaying convening the AGM, if notice has not yet been issued; postponing the AGM, if permitted under the articles of association (Articles); adjourning the AGM; or conducting a hybrid AGM, if permitted under the Articles. Shareholders should be encouraged to vote by proxy.

All the information can be found in the original AGMs and impact of Covid-19 guidance note and the supplement.

The ICSA has also offered advice on holding Board and committee meetings, which for all intents and purposes will have to be virtual for the foreseeable future. While this is, for the most part, self-explanatory, Buchanan would be remiss in not highlighting the fact that there have been security issues with some high-profile online meeting software.  Therefore, it is important to ensure you are using a safe platform that cannot be high-jacked or infiltrated. The full guidance note from ICSA can be downloaded from its website.

Companies House

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Companies House have announced businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts so they can prioritise managing the impact of coronavirus.

It is heartening to see that our governing bodies are cognisant of the extraordinary situation the UK markets and businesses are contending with.

Diversified Gas & Oil launches first Sustainability Report

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In response to the significant increase in Environmental, Social, Governance (“ESG”) investing, whereby investors factor ESG-related assessments into their decision-making processes, DGO engaged Buchanan’s specialist ESG Team to help it develop and shape its communications. This included defining its most material ESG issues, how it manages down ESG risk and constructing an ESG opportunity narrative that is integrated into DGO’s investment case.

During this 7 month process, Buchanan provided consultancy and advice, and worked closely with DGO’s team of internal experts and managers to help shape their approach to their sustainability activities. Buchanan also helped DGO align itself with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and report to the Core framework of the Global Reporting Initiative.

As one of the largest producers by volume listed in UK, and ahead of its proposed move onto the Premium Segment of the LSE’s Main Market, the sustainability report provides a detailed insight into its business to assure investors that it is a sustainable and long-term investment.

Download the full report.

Investment Companies daily briefing

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Due to the current market volatility and the volume of regular updates from the investment companies sector as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Buchanan Investment Companies team are providing a daily bulletin outlining key sector developments for information purposes.

One of our recent issues is available to view here.

You can register here and receive the bulletin daily.

The team are reporting on sector Covid-19 updates and providing market intelligence on share price moves from a sector-wide perspective as well as relaying more conventional sector news such as results and portfolio acquisitions.

Find out more about our work with Investment Companies.

A UK first from UK Power Networks

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UK Power Networks (UKPN) are building a modern, digitised energy system designed for a low carbon world. To meet the challenge they are making operational data open, available and transparent.

 

The unveiling is the UK’s first-ever Distribution Network Operator (DNO) Open Data crowdsourcing page, bringing together available asset, network and strategic data for the first time. The three separate ‘scenario worlds’ modelled to 2050 provide regions the most detailed ever picture of decentralisation, digitalisation and decarbonisation.

 

Having launched the innovation site last year we were asked to integrate this new page into the existing site. Whilst remaining true to the brand we needed to elevate the UI & UX to articulate a cutting edge initiative for the utility industry. Just as the data was to be accessible we needed to ensure the user journey was as accessible and the page open to feedback.

 

We look forward to the success of this project – and even more data available in the future!

 

Explore UKPN’s Open Data

 

Petropavlovsk Inclusion into the FTSE250

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On Thursday 5 March 2020, Petropavlovsk announced it is set to be included in the FTSE 250 Index of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), taking effect Monday 23 March 2020.

Buchanan has worked with Petropavlovsk since January 2018 and has helped it grow from a market cap of £200 million to more than £649 million (as at 10 March 2020).

Petropavlovsk was the best performing gold company listed on the LSE in 2019, with its share price increasing 95% and gold production up 28%. At the time of Buchanan’s appointment, Petropavlovsk faced significant challenges including volatile operating performance versus guidance, headwinds included debt/equity of over 4x and uncertainty on the stewardship of the company compounded by shareholder unrest.

Having been covered by only three analysts in early 2018, Petropavlovsk is today covered by seven brokers, four of which are independent, with a consensus target price in excess of 31% of the share price (as at 16 March 2020).

The FTSE 250 is the authoritative measure of UK-quoted mid cap companies and the next most established tranche of companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange outside of the FTSE 100.

The Portman Review has landed

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The Portman Estate is a forward-thinking property company with an enduring heritage. By promoting and protecting the long-term success of Marylebone and London’s West End, the Estate ensures the area remains a location people wish to live, work and visit. Published biennially, the 2017–2019 edition of The Portman Review needed to reflect a contemporary estate operating within its historic context and the rich backdrop of nearly 500 years of transformation.

Visit our portfolio

ESG in Mining: Mining Indaba panel event round-up

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Earlier this month, Buchanan and Emperor hosted a panel on the sidelines of Mining Indaba on the topic that is on everyone’s mind – ESG (environment, social & governance) and its impact on the mining industry. As of this year, it is estimated that US$40 trillion worth of financial assets are being run with an ESG mandate, which begs the questions: Where and how does mining fit in? Will the sector become irrelevant and lose access to this large and growing source of capital? How are mining companies responding? Is there a cost for those companies that do not have an ESG strategy? For those companies that do adhere to an ESG framework, how are they communicating it to their allies and naysayers? And, ultimately, what does the future look like for mining in a lower-carbon and increasingly sustainability-conscious world?

Our speakers, Samaila Zubairu (President & CEO at Africa Finance Corporation); Stéphanie Clement de Givry (Global Head of Metals & Mining Finance at Société Générale); Tom Attenborough (Head of International Primary Markets at the London Stock Exchange); Alison Baker (Non-Executive Director at Kaz Minerals & Helios Towers); Nerine Botes (Executive Sustainable Development at African Rainbow Minerals); and Unathi Loos (Portfolio Manager at Investec Asset Management), guided by our moderator Neil Hume (Natural Resources Editor at the Financial Times), tackled these issues head-on.

Disclosure and performance

From an ESG standpoint, as with any sector, the mining industry has had challenges and legacy issues which, in certain instances, is still overcoming. But equally, the industry has a lot to be proud of. Yet the industry still has a hard time communicating it.

This is to the detriment to miners as, increasingly, investors need a company to clearly identify its material ESG issues and present a more complete picture about how the company is managing them to support a sustainable business model and long-term growth. If you are not telling your story then the default assumption will be that you are not doing it at all – and they will simply move on to the next investment opportunity.

Beyond any one company, there needs to be better industry alignment for performance analysis of ESG data, which may come through the adoption of industry reporting frameworks, such as those of the ICMM (International Council of Mining and Metals).

To that point, standardisation is needed. This allows for adequate disclosure on climate change, which affects mines in very tangible ways (e.g. damage to facilities and ancillary infrastructure from severe weather events, increased insurance premiums, etc), and other challenges. Moreover, lack of a consistent framework means not every investor will have its questions answered and will walk away.

In the past, industries have been quite happy for there to be ambiguity in the metrics used and performance management. It meant that comparison was difficult and true analysis could only be completed by those with PhDs in environmental and safety management. The shift in focus and the demands of the mainstream investor seeking more clarity on ESG performance means the question regarding standardisation is now “Not if, but when?”

Attracting attention

Ultimately, investors can succeed without investing in mining companies but mining companies cannot succeed without investors. Nor does the industry have the luxury to exclude itself from generalist funds and only accept capital from the specialists. As such, miners that want more investment must look at what their ideal investors’ needs are and cater to them by reframing their investment proposition in a way that resonates. Gone are the days of a ‘one size fits all’ IR strategy but, while this certainly takes a lot more effort, in the end a tailored approach to communications pays dividends.

Yet, ESG reporting, if done from a place of compliance and necessity, will only get you so far. It’s the companies that have embedded this into their DNA and believe responsible mining is core to a sustainable business that will truly succeed.

How do you do this? By speaking to management and stakeholders with the objective of understanding what matters to them and ensuring that there is no disconnect from the Board through to the asset operations.

It goes without saying that ESG and the communications around requires significant investment. But it’s important that you realise you don’t have to do this on your own. We are all in the same boat and collaboration will always be key to the industry’s success. That means that your employees, suppliers, customers, communities, and other stakeholders are all on your side and their feedback should be taken to heart, received without cynicism, and incorporated appropriately. Irrespective of size and position within the development cycle, companies must engage with these groups to improve the likelihood of success of their project – it’s that simple. The alternative is not engaging but that leads to one result – losing the necessary social licence, reputation and funding.

Getting the right access

But back to the investors, which are the focus of miners’ concerns today and who can make or break the industry, and are key if we want to achieve the low-carbon and sustainable future…how do we get them to come back to mining?

It’s by understanding what their criteria are, analysing your current ESG disclosure vs your peer group, having insight on regulatory and best practice disclosure guidelines and incorporating them into your investment proposition, website, annual report and other investor materials.

Are you committed to ESG reporting but not sure how to get started? Email [email protected] to see how we can help you.

 

 

Buchanan hosts panel event with Women in Mining UK and the World Gold Council

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On Wednesday 12 February, Buchanan hosted a panel event, in conjunction with Women in Mining UK and World Gold Council (WGC), on the topic of the WGC’s new ESG framework, the Responsible Gold Mining Principles, to ensure gold mining companies can provide confidence to investors, analysts, consumers, and other stakeholders that their gold has been responsibly sourced.

Our attendees learned what impact the Principles will have on gold companies, what steps they must take to implement them, and what are the ramifications if the Principles’ requirements are not met.

Our panellists included Terry Heymann – Chief Financial Officer, World Gold Council; Alex Buck – ESG and Corporate Communications, Endeavour Mining; Bruce Jackson – Associate Director, Engagement Services, Sustainalytics; and Gordon Wilson – Senior Manager (Sustainability Assurance), PwC, and was moderated by our own Ariadna D. Peretz who is also the Head of Communications for Women in Mining UK.

CES – where up & coming UK tech connects with US audiences

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As the curtain rose in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020), the UK papers have pivoted west to give readers the best possible insights into what the next technology hype cycle will be and which companies we should be looking out for in the year ahead.

CES provides an opportunity for small, super smart technology companies, which would normally get overlooked as the latest Facebook or Apple scandals hit the headlines, to take centre stage in front of global consumers and investors alike. International and national publications, as well as digital channels, have reported on emerging technology companies in more niche sectors of the market.

Smaller companies take centre stage

Take Mirriad Advertising plc: with just a £34m market capitalisation would you expect to wake up, browse the Sunday news, and see an AIM listed, UK technology stock writ large all over BBC?

I’ll bet not, but come CES, Mirriad’s awesome AI  technology was broadcast to large audiences across the world as the BBC looked to highlight some of the exciting developments from the trade show.

So I find myself asking, why doesn’t the UK have something which provides such a platform for our home-grown success stories to set out their stall and dictate trends in the international technology landscape?

Why should emerging UK companies have to travel 5000 miles to showcase their products?

I appreciate we do have London Tech Week, and hats off to the organisers, it’s a really fantastic event with some of the most influential speakers and thought leaders from across the globe. But the objectives of the event seem different. Ultimately, why does it not stand shoulder to shoulder with CES or other trend setting events like MWC?

I dislike the term, but our very own Silicon Roundabout is producing some of the most innovative technology companies around. Large corporates, PE firms and VCs are all pouring money into UK technology businesses in order to stay abreast of fast-pace, changing consumer demands, as well as ride the wave of potential returns they may offer further down the line. Why is this not getting more attention?

Are we doing enough at London Tech Week to showcase our own success stories and create an international platform for smaller companies to raise their visibility?

True, we can’t promise sunshine, beaches and mid-morning margaritas like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but with great technology stories as well as some of the world’s most influential media publications being based here in London, surely we could do something more to broadcast the success?

The UK technology sector isn’t short on success

Global-e, Revolut and Perkbox are some of those on the long list of London-based companies which are raising money and growing internationally at a phenomenal rate and, similarly, there is regional talent making waves in their respective niches; look at nDreams in the VR video gaming space. Could we not have an event that helped these companies make the headlines of the US press?

Then there’s the listed UK technology sector, which was one of the best performing sectors in 2019. In particular, our services companies like Aveva (LSE: AVV) and FDM (LSE: FDM) delivered significant shareholder returns with their internationally adopted offerings.

There’s companies working in ‘sexier’ areas of technology too, like Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM), in the AI space and Blancco Technology (AIM: BLTG) operating in data security. If London had an internationally acclaimed event like CES or MWC then these businesses would be given a platform to speak to a far wider group of investors and, ultimately, accelerate expansion and success.

It will come as no surprise that I haven’t come up with a witty acronym yet, but if we were to build a UK event, or even slightly re-think the agenda for London Tech Week, I believe we could do more to support UK technology sector growth.

 

 

The story of TSX-listed miners being neglected by North American investors due to capital being sucked up by cannabis and crypto investments is something we are hearing more and more this side of the Atlantic.

While this may just be a passing trend, TSX-listed miners are not taking the development lightly and are looking for alternative means to compensate for the lack of capital and liquidity in the North American markets.

One option is an additional listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which is the pre-eminent international exchange.

In many ways the LSE is a natural fit for miners: it offers deep pools of capital, high liquidity, sophisticated and long-term investors, and it is renowned for its principles-based approach to capital. Last, but certainly not least, UK and European investors continue to selectively invest in the mining sector.

However, the UK and European capital markets are not for everyone. There are certain boxes a TSX-listed company needs to tick before seriously considering a listing. Below are the top three criteria to keep in mind.

Production

Canadian investors take a longer-term approach to mining companies and appreciate the value of an asset that may still be five or ten years away from the commencement of production. This is not frequently the case with the UK and European capital markets. Investors here want a company to be in production or, at the very least, in the development phase.

Of course, not all is lost if the company is not already in production. Consider that Pure Gold, with a project in Red Lake, Ontario, recently dual-listed on the LSE. It will not be in production until late 2020however it has a feasibility study that lays out a specific plan, capex estimates, and a construction timeline –  all of which give investors the necessary peace of mind.

With production often comes a dividend. Yield is a key investment criterium for UK and European investors and while dividends are not a “must-have” before listing on the LSE, a policy for future dividends is a minimum.

Discipline

UK and European investors require confidence that management has the discipline to stay on track and follow through with what it says it will achieve.

How do you prove this? First, it’s by communicating management’s past successes. Management must also show it has learned from past mistakes and knows how not to repeat them.

Then there also has to be a willingness to engage regularly. A miner cannot expect that listing on the LSE will be enough to entice UK and European investors to purchase and hold shares. Senior Management must make the trip to the UK and Europe two to four times a year to meet with their investors and, in between those visits, ensure they are apprised of its developments.

Lastly, discipline also relates to M&A opportunities, especially when it comes to longer-dated projects. As mentioned earlier, UK and European capital markets prefer companies that are in production or near to it. They may also consider companies with a large portfolio of early-stage development or exploration projects to be distracted and not sufficiently focused on the short-term goal of production. This does not necessarily mean a company needs to sell its long-term projects ahead of listing on the LSE but it does mean it will need solid messaging around why it acquired them and what it plans to do with them.

Of course, with the recent wave of consolidation among the large-and mid-cap mining companies, particularly in the gold sector, we expect them to start divesting their non-core assets. This is an excellent opportunity for the small- and mid-cap companies to build out their portfolios, however, if there’s a desire to tap into the UK and European capital markets, they will need careful messaging around any acquisitions they make.

ESG considerations

It goes without saying that ESG affects all companies regardless of what exchange they trade on. However, in the UK and Europe it is essential to communicate clearly and consistently so that the capital markets can see the big investment picture.

Consider that, as the LSE reports, almost all major UK institutional investors are signatories to the United-Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (which in 2018 represented US$60 trillion in assets under management, up from US$22 trillion in 2010). As such, investors will need to know how a prospective investment is handling its ESG responsibilities so that they can integrate that information into their investment considerations.

Beyond the capital markets, ESG is a major focus for UK financial media. Journalists will take companies to task if they believe they are not adhering to their ESG framework to the extent they are expected.

London still calling?

The above are the three main considerations TSX-listed companies will need to have in mind before starting the process to list on the London Stock Exchange – there are many more. For more insight on what it will take for a successful listing on the LSE please message [email protected].

Africa Finance Corporation announces US$140m Kimchi Term Loan Facility

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Buchanan is pleased to have supported Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading investment-grade infrastructure solutions provider, on the announcement of its US$140m Kimchi Term Loan Facility.

The closing of the facility, and all other Asian investments in AFC, exemplifies the Corporation’s success in global investor engagements and is an important step as it builds a broad coalition of investors to diversify its funding sources while also allowing institutions from around the globe to participate in Africa’s development. Recent investments from Asian investors now total approximately US$1.2bn.

In support of the milestone, Buchanan implemented a global media campaign including an exclusive interview with the Financial Times and broadcast interviews with China Global Television Network (CGTN),Bloomberg TV, and CNBC Africa.

To date, the Corporation has invested over US$6.6bn in transformational projects across 30 African countries.

Regional REIT raises £62.5m

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Buchanan continues to work closely with the investment manager and the Board to support the company in its growth journey to take advantage of continuing beneficial supply & demand dynamics within the company’s core markets, liaising with the management team and sole broker Peel Hunt.

The Regional REIT team at Buchanan had assisted the company in considerably re-rating its shares during 2019 from a low of 22% to a single figure discount today.

Regional REIT continues to target robust income and capital growth for shareholders through its diverse portfolio of income-producing regional UK core and core plus office and industrial property assets. Buchanan has played a significant role in advising the company, helping to ensure that strong portfolio performance is recognised by the market within a large and diverse peer group.

The continued growth of green and sustainable finance

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Representatives from Buchanan Communications were delighted to attend the 10thAnniversary Guernsey Funds Forum in London. As usual, the panel discussions involved fascinating in-depth assessments of major investment trends not only in the Guernsey investment funds community but also issues of global investor concern. One of the most striking topics was an assessment of the steady progress of Green & Sustainable Finance — or, more holistically known as Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investing — as it moves into an increasingly dominant role in mainstream investment allocations.

This discussion underlined a number of key developments that we haves been observing for some time from working with our clients on public relations matters as well as reading what major commentators have to say on the topic. EY for one, claims that sustainable investment strategies have grown by 107.4% annually since 2012 and currently account for 18% of US wealth management industry’s total AUM.

Data from EY report: Sustainable investing: the millennial investor

Strong commitments from bulge bracket banks

There was certainly a feeling that renewable energy investing has truly ‘come of age’ in a market that, although not always seen as mature, is certainly maturing. Some renewable energy sectors that were seen as ‘frontier’ five years ago are now attracting capital at great scale. Major institutional players are committing considerable sums of capital to the sector, for instance, Goldman Sachs alone has committed $150 billion to clean energy projects and technology.

New investment technologies and geographies for investors to choose from

Against this backdrop we have seen a variety of new London-listed investment companies in the renewable and clean energy sector come to market. These included new asset classes such as Gore Street Energy Storage Fund* and SDCL Energy Efficiency in 2018, the first London-listed energy storage and energy efficiency funds, respectively.

Access to new geographies through the established technologies is also being sought after by London-listed investment-company investors. For example, the capital raising success of US Solar Fund PLC in 2019, the first pure-US solar play to list in London, was a testament to this development. (For more detail on 2018 allocations in new issuance see our 2018 IC fundraising article.)

Similarly, in the open-ended universe at the end of 2017, Gravis* launched Gravis Clean Energy, a UCITS V, open-ended fund offering exposure to a portfolio of global listed securities involved in the operation, funding, construction, generation and supply of clean energy. In the meantime, existing and proven investment companies in renewable investment have seen their share prices reach new highs, notably Bluefield Solar Income Fund* that recently obtained Guernsey Green Fund status.

Renewable energy is just the tip of the iceberg

But ESG investment is not all about renewable energy. As interest in ESG investing grows, investment and operating companies of all sectors need to consider whether they are fully addressing this important area of investor concern.

One key factor here is the increasing importance of the millennial investor. EY claims that millennials will ultimately receive US$30 trillion of wealth through inheritance. These millennial investors are more than twice as likely to allocate their capital to investment strategies that target social causes and/or environmental outcomes than preceding demographics. How they choose to deploy their capital could be a major influencing factor in future investment trends.

ROI & ESG – no longer at loggerheads

Ultimately much of the available capital will still follow the opportunities that offer the best returns on investment (ROI). Previously, investors were of the mind that gaining exposure to ‘impact investing’ trends meant lower ROI.

However, from the panel discussions at the Guernsey Funds Forum, it was anticipated that investments prioritising ESG considerations, should ultimately outperform their rivals who fail to prioritise ESG as investor and consumer habits evolve. Clearly, this could have a major effect on capital flows into the ESG sector.

Further, as warnings about climate change and increasingly, biodiversity loss, from all sides intensify, there is seen to be a need to invest in green and sustainable investments to address the major financial risks posed by the dramatic changes in the global working economic systems that these two issues could potentially trigger.

It is clear to Buchanan that concern around the deployment of capital into green and sustainable strategies is becoming an increasingly important issue for investors of all sizes. Issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and the appropriate use of water resources are becoming increasingly mainstream on a global scale in the constantly evolving investment landscape.

-Ends-

*Denotes a Buchanan current client

Reflections from Mining Indaba 2019 – Part 1

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Team Diggers

Mining Indaba didn’t start with a bang so much as a bowl. For the past six years, Buchanan has organised (with Centamin and Numis generously sponsoring) a “Diggers vs Dealers” cricket match, which, after all these years, is now considered the de facto (though not official) opening to Mining Indaba. More importantly, the Diggers team beat the Dealers this year with the highest run score to date (176) and widest margin of victory (39 runs).

The Diggers team included players from Tharisa, Apollo Minerals, Titan Drilling and Danakali. On the dealers’ side there were players from BAML, Hannam and Partners, JP Morgan and Financial Times. The kit has been offered to the Under 15s township team of Khayelitsha Cricket Club, Graceland (Cape Town). Message us if you would like to play next year.

Our non-mining colleagues think our annual trip to South Africa is all fun and games. Indeed, it is enjoyable (and a welcome break from London’s winter) but a lot of work goes into it too. Let me explain…

Ahead of Mining Indaba, Buchanan organised and supported five site visits (Petra Diamonds’ Finsch and Cullinan mines, Pan African Resources’ Elikhulu Tailings Retreatment Facility (ETRF), Tharisa’s mine in the Bushveld complex and Kenmare’s Moma Mine in Mozambique). Attendees included a range of investors, analysts, media and corporate Senior Management and Directors.

Tour highlights include visiting the sorting room at Petra’s Finsch mine to see how the diamonds are sorted. Very few of the attendees had ever been this close before to so many beautiful stones and the opportunity to touch them was an incredible experience for them.

Pan African Resources gold pour

The Pan African Resources’ site visit to ERTF kicked off with a gold pour (you can watch it here.) It was mesmerising to see the molten gold spills into the moulds.

Pan African Resources’ gold bar from the vault

Once the pour was completed, the Mine Manager went into the vault and brought out a gold bar. As you can imagine, this made for a very Instagram-able moment. Afterwards, Mine Management gave us a tour of the plant and tailings. Normally, tailings are what is left over after mining has happened. But in the case of ERTF, the tailings is what is mined via an incredibly simple and economic process that Pan African Resources has perfected. By using hydraulic pressure (e.g. water), the tailings from an old mine are blasted and the residual gold that was in the tailings is separated.

This is possible because the mining processes 50 years ago had a lower recovery rate than mining today. Hence, this 1970s-era tailings has a grade of 0.3 grams per tonne. With a recovery rate of 50%, Pan African recoups 0.15 grams per tonne.

Once we landed in gorgeous Cape Town we got down to work supporting a couple of events for Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a multilateral finance institution.

Attendees at the AFC roundtable discussion on de-risking mining projects in Africa

Of note was the roundtable presentation on the topic of de-risking mining projects in Africa. There is a lot of opportunity in Africa seeing as it is a continent rich in mineral wealth but there are many challenges that prevent making the most of it. These include lack of infrastructure and data as well as unstable and/ or insufficient environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) frameworks.

AFC drinks reception

AFC offered examples of how it has overcome these challenges and de-risked projects, helping unlock countries’ economic potential through inclusive growth.

Bernie Pryor, Chief Executive at Alufer Mining, spoke at length on how his company was able to build and operate a mine in one of the most challenging countries (Guinea is ranked 152 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings).

By all measures this was a very successful Indaba with (almost) everything going as planned. We look forward to Mining Indaba 2020 and making our clients’ experience even better than this year.