Australian funder to list in UK as Woodsford sees cash boost

Moloney: Significant opportunity

An Australian third-party litigation funder is to join London’s AIM market in a bid to grow its business, it has announced.

LCM is delisting from the Australian Stock Exchange and representatives are in London in the coming weeks to talk to institutional investors.

The company, which was founded in 1998 and also has a presence in Singapore, currently has 16 unconditional cases and five conditionally signed cases on its books, with a collective value of £680m (A$1.2bn). LCM has committed £33m to them.

The investor presentation shows LCM has 49 pre-qualified cases in the pipeline – including several in Europe – that could require a capital commitment of more than £200m.

LCM recorded gross income of £16m in its 2018 financial year, with profits of £7m and a return on investment capital of 138%.

The company told existing investors that, by joining AIM, “LCM will join other global litigation funding companies and, in the board’s opinion, will be presented with the best opportunity to further grow the business through accessing new equity capital markets and broadening its shareholder base.”

The London presence is to be headed by Nick Rowles-Davies, a leading figure in the UK funding market.

Managing director Patrick Moloney said: “LCM’s opportunity to expand into large and new markets with a highly experienced and functional team represents a significant opportunity.

“It will allow LCM to enter European markets without expensive acquisition costs and at very low risk. LCM has a sound pipeline of high-quality opportunities both in Australasia and Europe which we expect to generate strong shareholder value in coming years.”

Meanwhile, Woodsford Litigation Funding has unveiled a new $75m facility to meet the growing demand.

The multi-currency facility, which can be drawn down as required, means the family office of Woodsford’s chairman, Yves Bonavero, has increased its commitment to the business from nearly £20m to £80m ($100m).

Mr Bonavero said: “We are well set to take advantage of the increasing number of attractive investment opportunities we see.

“This latest facility will give the business the firepower it needs to continue its rapid growth.”

Woodsford is funded with a blend of equity, preference shares and shareholder facilities.

Chief executive Steven Friel said: “The provision of $100m by the Bonavero family is a real vote of confidence in the business and the executive team, from a businessman with a track record of backing winners.

“We are fairly exceptional within the leading litigation funders in that we invest off our own balance sheet. We are patient capital. We also have access to significant capital from other sophisticated investors, which we draw on to invest in special opportunities alongside our own money.

“Altogether, we have access to several hundred million dollars to invest in good opportunities around the world.”

Founded in 2010, Woodsford has offices in London, Philadelphia and Singapore.

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