Thu 22 May 2008
Charles Stonehill, the Chairman of Panmure Gordon & Co, will make the following statement at the Company’s AGM to be held later today.
Despite challenging markets, and a difficult first quarter, there have been a number of areas of good progress.
The US business, now branded ThinkPanmure, led its first IPO of the year earlier this month and we see some signs of improving sentiment in US capital markets. ThinkPanmure has also been particularly active as an adviser in M&A deals, which we see as an area of growth.
In the UK we have been active in M&A and ECM deals although we see little sign of real improvement in sentiment towards IPOs. Both the UK and US businesses have encouraging investment banking pipelines and our success rate in winning new business for which we are competing has been running at a high level. We are delighted to have been appointed to five new corporate clients in the UK.
We are continuing to invest in the growth of the business, for example we are in the process of launching three mutual funds in the US.
We have substantially reduced our cost base in both the UK and the US. The benefits of this will be fully effective from the end of the first half of the year. At our new cost levels we believe that both the UK and US businesses can be profitable even in difficult markets, and that both should be significantly profitable when market conditions improve.
General market conditions have remained difficult with new equity financing slowing almost to a standstill. While it is too early to call an end to the credit crunch we have begun to see some improvements in trading conditions. Following the cost reduction programme, and the mandates currently being worked on, we expect to see a much improved performance in the second half.
Richard Wyatt, who as previous Chairman of the firm was instrumental in re-establishing Panmure Gordon as a leading independent firm, has decided to step down from the Board to concentrate on other commitments and so will not now be standing for re-election at today’s meeting. Richard’s efforts while Chairman, and his advice as a non-executive, particularly in relation to the number of growth initiatives the business has undertaken, has been very valuable. We look forward to Richard remaining a close friend and supporter of the firm and thank him greatly for all that he has done.
I have also decided, because of other commitments, to step down from the Board and not re-submit myself for re-election. During my tenure as Chairman, we have completed the significant acquisition of ThinkPanmure. I believe strongly that ThinkPanmure will prove to be a powerful contributor to the firm’s success as growth stocks and growth investing come into favour, which I believe is happening. We have also considerably strengthened our team of non-executive directors.
Despite difficult markets, the firm is highly competitive in winning new clients and business, and our book of new mandates is impressive. Costs are being aggressively managed.
I am pleased to announce that Tony Caplin, a current non-executive director, will assume the role of Chairman from the end of today’s meeting. Tony’s knowledge of the business and the industry will be particularly valuable in his role.
I have greatly enjoyed my association with Panmure Gordon, and wish all of my colleagues well.”