Equals Group’s Stock Soars 11% amid Buyout Rumors and Dividend Plans

by Damian Chmiel
  • Equals is reviewing strategic options, including potential offers from Fleetcor and Madison Dearborn.
  • The fintech firm also gained court approval for a capital reduction, paving the way for its first dividend.
Ian Strafford-Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer of Equals Group
Ian Strafford-Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer of Equals Group
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The shares of fintech company Equals Group, which specializes in payments for enterprises and SMEs, surged more than 11% on Wednesday, reaching their highest levels since September. The company is not only considering strategic options that could include a buyout but has also gained court approval for a capital reduction. These developments could significantly impact the Equals' future and its shareholders.

Equals Group's Strategic Review in the Wake of Market Speculation

The Board of Equals Group plc has acknowledged recent market rumors and confirmed that it is conducting a strategic review. As part of this process, the company has contacted a select group of potential partners, including Fleetcor Europe Limited and Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC.

The aim is to evaluate whether these entities can offer greater value to shareholders than if Equals operates as an independent company.

"The Board remains confident in the long-term prospects of the business and believes that the company is well positioned to create significant value for shareholders as an independent company. Current trading remains in line with the Board's expectations," Equals commented in the official filing.

Capital Reduction and Dividend Plans

In addition to the strategic review, Equals Group plc has received court approval for a capital reduction. This move has resulted in distributable reserves of approximately £25 million.

Consequently, the Board plans to declare an inaugural interim dividend of 0.5 pence per share. Subject to shareholder approval, the company expects to offer a total dividend of 1.5 pence per share for the full year of 2023.

10% Share Jump

In response to the latest news, Equals (LSE: EQLS) shares jumped over 11% during Wednesday's trading session, testing the highest levels since the end of September.

At the time of writing, the shares were priced at 114 pence per share, marking the most substantial one-day increase since at least July 2022.

Source: Tradingview.com
Source: Tradingview.com

In September, the company unveiled its interim results for the first half of 2023, revealing a surge in revenue and a record-setting Adjusted EBITDA. The net profit for the period reached £4.8 million, a significant jump from the £0.8 million recorded in the corresponding period for last year. Earnings per share also saw a notable increase, standing at 2.64 pence, compared to 0.38 pence in the second half of 2022.

What's Next For Equals?

While the strategic review is underway, there is no guarantee that significant changes for the company are not guaranteed. Both Fleetcor Europe and Madison Dearborn Partners have until 29 November to announce their intention to make an offer or decline it.

For now, shareholders are advised to take no action. As a result of these developments, an "offer period" has commenced for Equals in following the Takeover Code. The next steps in both the strategic review and the dividend plans will be announced in due course.

Therefore, the coming weeks could be crucial for Equals Group plc and its shareholders. Whether the company proceeds independently or becomes part of a larger entity, these developments will have a lasting impact.

The shares of fintech company Equals Group, which specializes in payments for enterprises and SMEs, surged more than 11% on Wednesday, reaching their highest levels since September. The company is not only considering strategic options that could include a buyout but has also gained court approval for a capital reduction. These developments could significantly impact the Equals' future and its shareholders.

Equals Group's Strategic Review in the Wake of Market Speculation

The Board of Equals Group plc has acknowledged recent market rumors and confirmed that it is conducting a strategic review. As part of this process, the company has contacted a select group of potential partners, including Fleetcor Europe Limited and Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC.

The aim is to evaluate whether these entities can offer greater value to shareholders than if Equals operates as an independent company.

"The Board remains confident in the long-term prospects of the business and believes that the company is well positioned to create significant value for shareholders as an independent company. Current trading remains in line with the Board's expectations," Equals commented in the official filing.

Capital Reduction and Dividend Plans

In addition to the strategic review, Equals Group plc has received court approval for a capital reduction. This move has resulted in distributable reserves of approximately £25 million.

Consequently, the Board plans to declare an inaugural interim dividend of 0.5 pence per share. Subject to shareholder approval, the company expects to offer a total dividend of 1.5 pence per share for the full year of 2023.

10% Share Jump

In response to the latest news, Equals (LSE: EQLS) shares jumped over 11% during Wednesday's trading session, testing the highest levels since the end of September.

At the time of writing, the shares were priced at 114 pence per share, marking the most substantial one-day increase since at least July 2022.

Source: Tradingview.com
Source: Tradingview.com

In September, the company unveiled its interim results for the first half of 2023, revealing a surge in revenue and a record-setting Adjusted EBITDA. The net profit for the period reached £4.8 million, a significant jump from the £0.8 million recorded in the corresponding period for last year. Earnings per share also saw a notable increase, standing at 2.64 pence, compared to 0.38 pence in the second half of 2022.

What's Next For Equals?

While the strategic review is underway, there is no guarantee that significant changes for the company are not guaranteed. Both Fleetcor Europe and Madison Dearborn Partners have until 29 November to announce their intention to make an offer or decline it.

For now, shareholders are advised to take no action. As a result of these developments, an "offer period" has commenced for Equals in following the Takeover Code. The next steps in both the strategic review and the dividend plans will be announced in due course.

Therefore, the coming weeks could be crucial for Equals Group plc and its shareholders. Whether the company proceeds independently or becomes part of a larger entity, these developments will have a lasting impact.

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