Brait reports 76% growth in net asset value per share

BRAIT, the owner of UK chains New Look, Virgin Active and Iceland Foods along with South African fast moving consumer goods group Premier, reported on Tuesday that its net asset value per share grew 76.7% to R77.12 over the year to end-March.

Its biggest investment is clothing retailer New Look, which accounted for R35bn, or 45% of its R78bn total assets under management.

Gym chain Virgin Active accounted for 23%, Premier 15% and Iceland Foods 9% of total assets.

It declared a dividend of 136.27c, with a scrip alternative for shareholders who want additional shares instead of cash.

New Look grew its revenue 5.4% in pounds sterling. Sales via its own website,, grew 28% and third party e-commerce sales were up 42%.

New Look opened its first six standalone menswear stores in the UK and expanded into China where it has grown to 85 from 19 stores in its previous financial year.

New Look’s total number of stores increased to 838 from 809.

Virgin Active increased its total clubs by nine to 276, following the opening of three new “Collection” clubs in Europe, 10 new clubs opened in Southern Africa, including four entry-level Virgin Active “Red” clubs and its first club in Botswana. The gym chain also opened three new clubs in Asia-Pacific. One of Brait’s first moves after taking over Virgin Active was to sell 35 of its UK clubs to Nuffield Health, a not-for-profit healthcare organisation.

Its strategy is to “focus on operating and developing prime sites in metropolitan hubs in its key geographies,” the company said in Tuesday’s results statement.

Virgin Active’s UK business will now be focused on London, the southeast and other metropolitan areas.

Premier’s milling operations suffered from significant increases in grain prices due to the severe drought, rand depreciation and the effect of a wheat import tariff.

Premier acquired Lil-lets in 2013, and its “backward integration into tampon manufacturing in SA, has been a success and its efforts to expand into new markets in China and the Middle East are on track”.

Brait said highlights of the year included redeeming all 20-million of its preference shares on January 18, paying their face value of R100 plus dividends accrued to that date.

© BDlive 2016



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