Burford’s share price soars to new record after latest strong results

Martenstyn: Ambitious strategy

The seemingly inexorable growth of Burford Capital continued yesterday after strong half-year results sent its share prices soaring.

The AIM-listed third-party funder’s shares leapt 16% yesterday to an all-time high of 1896p

A recent Legal Futures analysis of listed legal businesses showed that Burford has been a stand-out performer for investors.

Having been 121p at the end of 2014, it was 193p 12 months later, 573p at the end of 2016, 1152p when 2017 drew to a close, and hit 1498p at the end of last month.

Burford saw its income up 17% in the first half of 2018 to £156m, with profit after tax increasing similarly to £126m.

Other financial highlights were that earnings per share increased 21% to 58p, and cash generation grew 61% to £227m.

This upward spiral has led to substantial demand for capital, and it made record new investment commitments of £410m in the first half of 2018, compared to £373m in the same period last year. Total assets were up by more than a third to £1.24bn

Burford chairman Sir Peter Middleton said: “Burford has experienced another stellar half-year, setting new records for income and profit. Burford continues to set the pace for a growing industry, in its scale, product development and risk-adjusted returns.”

CEO Christopher Bogart added: “The expansion of the litigation finance industry continues, with more demand for our capital, growing opportunities for us to invest, continued vigilance in investment selection, and another increase in our profits.

“This past half-year affirms the trends we’ve increasingly set for more than eight years, with Burford’s superior growth reflected in rising scale relative to longstanding competitors.

“The simple fact that we committed half-a-billion dollars to new investments in the first half of the year, historically our slower period, fills us with excitement for the continuing potential of the business.”

Meanwhile, fellow third-party funder Vannin Capital has named Paul Martenstyn as its new managing director. He joins from Fountain Court chambers, where he is deputy senior clerk.

Vannin Capital CEO Richard Hextall – who himself only joined from global insurer and reinsurer MS Amlin earlier this year – said: “Having spent more than 20 years immersed in the world of chambers and litigation, Paul has established himself as a highly astute commercial partner.”

Paul Martenstyn added: “Vannin is clearly on an upward trajectory, with an excellent reputation in legal finance and an ambitious strategy to capitalise on the continued growth of litigation funding internationally.”

Earlier this month, Vannin opened an office in Bonn, its first in Germany and ninth globally.

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