Rigby Group Poised for Further Investment

07—10—2014

Rigby Group (RG) plc (Rigby Group”), the holding company for the business investments of the Rigby Family, has published its results for the year to 31 March 2014.

The Group, which has made a number of acquisitions in 2013 and 2014, comprises six core divisions: technology, airports, hotels, real estate, financial services and aviation.

  • The technology businesses are principally held by the SCC EMEA Limited group and trade under the “SCC” brand.
  • The airport businesses are held by the Regional & City Airports Holdings Limited (“RCA”) group.
  • The hotels businesses are held by the Eden Hotel Collection Limited group and trade under the “Eden Hotel Collection” brand.
  • The real estate businesses are held by the Rigby Group Property Holdings Limited group, and trade under the “Rigby & Rigby” brand. This division also has a 50% interest in Coventry & Warwickshire Development Partnership LLP.
  • The financial services businesses include investments in cash and structured products held by the ultimate holding company; a recently established private equity business; and leasing businesses which will trade under the Blu Finance brand in the near future.
  • The aviation businesses are held by the Patriot Aerospace Limited Group, trading under the “British International Helicopters” brand.

Group Highlights

  • Consolidated revenues of continuing operations of £1.71b (2013: £1.51b)
  • Group pre-tax profit of continuing operations before exceptional items of £15.1m (2013:£0.2m)
  • Group total pre-tax profit of £9.6m (2013: £108.8m), although 2013 included exceptional profit on disposal of discontinued operations of £130.4m
  • Year-end net cash of £123.7m (2013: £196.2m)
  • Year-end net assets of £257.8m (2013: £283.7m)
  • EBITDA (before exceptional items) for the continuing operations of £33.2m (2013: £19.2m)
  • Dutch SCC operations incurred operating loss of £3.3, (2013: £7.0m). Dutch operations disposed of in June 2014.
  • Following the successful disposal of its European technology distribution businesses in November 2012, the group has been very active in the M&A markets across its portfolio interests.

SCC

  • Following the disposal of its Dutch operations, SCC is now a single focused technology business with a clear strategy for services proposition development. In February, 2014, SCC acquired the UK’s leading independent managed print services group M2. An investment fund of £100m earmarked for strategic acquisitions, of which M2 represented the first acquisition and further acquisitions planned for 2014.

Airports

  • The airports division now firmly established with three owned assets in Coventry Airport, Exeter International Airport (acquired June 2013) and Norwich International Airport (acquired post year end in June 2014). The Group also operates Blackpool International Airport and Derry airports for their owners, together with the Daedalus airfield for the Homes and Communities agency. Collectively, the Group transits 2.2m passengers each year.

Hotels

  • The hotels business currently owns nine luxury hotels in the Midlands and South West. In January 2014, the Group acquired a site in Salcombe with plans to develop a £15m contemporary 50 bedroom hotel. Bovey Castle was acquired post year end in June 2014 and is now the Group’s flagship hotel with 64 bedrooms and 14 lodges all located within 275 acres near Dartmoor.

Real Estate

  • The real estate division continues to develop its two core businesses: super prime London residential development; and commercial property development. Rigby & Rigby
  • has a strong market presence in London. During the year, the business worked on 12 residential projects and, post year end, completed its award winning St Saviours project for a client, which was subsequently sold for £41m by the client.
  • Within the airports division, the Group now has in excess of £500m of commercial property development opportunities, with £350m Gross Development Value planned at the 4.1m sq. ft. “Gateway” development surrounding Coventry Airport; an approved £100m scheme surrounding Norwich Airport; and further discrete development schemes totalling £50m at Coventry Airport and Exeter Airport.

Financial Services

  • At the year end, the group had invested in excess of £70m with two private banks, which generated returns in excess of £1.1m. The group will also develop its existing technology Leasing Services businesses in the UK and France which will be rebranded as Blu Finance with the intention of becoming a leading force in the provision of leasing backed technology managed services. The group has also announced its intention to launch a £40m private Equity fund, managed under the Rigby Equity Investments brand.

Aviation

  • The aviation division completed the major acquisition of British International Helicopters in May 2013. This positions the group’s commercial helicopter business as a significant provider in the commercial helicopter market with major clients including Ministry of Defence, QinetiQ and BBC. Subsequent to year end, the group acquired the Capital Air Charter group.

Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman and Chief Executive, commented:

“The group is undertaking the most significant transformation in its history. We have ambitious projects in every division to transform Rigby Group into a dynamic private business, appropriately diversified and market leading in its capabilities. In the coming years, we see significant opportunities to further increase the profitability of the group across all divisions.

“The group remains in a very strong position, with a net cash balance at 31 March 2014 of £123.7m to support both the organic and acquisitive growth planned for our divisions.”

Steven Rigby, Group Chief Operating Officer, commented:

“We have consistently spoken of our desire to grow the Group through acquisitions and we are delivering on that promise. Further funds are available and we fully expect to expand the Group over the next 12 months.”

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Rigby Group Acquires Flagship Data Centre from SSE Telecoms

01—10—2014

Rigby Group plc’s technology business SCC has acquired SSE Telecoms’ flagship Hampshire Data Centre, taking its total investment in Data Centres to more than £50million in the past 12 months.

The transaction sees SCC take ownership of the Fareham-based site which is owned by the FTSE 100 listed energy and utility provider.

The deal, which will provide SCC with crucial additional capacity in the South of England, is the Group’s 12th piece of M&A activity since hitting the acquisition trail in 2013 and the seventh in 2014 alone.

The data centre is a Tier 3+ facility, with advanced back-up systems, multiple uplinks and dual power systems in place to remain operational in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Graded second highest in the data centre ranking system, it guarantees service availability 99.982% of the time and comes with a number of long-term deals in place with major corporate clients.

SCC witnessed growth of 69% from Data Centre and Cloud services alone last year following a succession of key customer wins including Gist, Aggregate Industries, BOC, IBM, Oxfordshire County Council, CAA and the Highways Agency.

Steven Rigby, Rigby Group COO, said: “We are pleased to have been able to move quickly to secure this deal which provides crucial extra capacity and room for further expansion and investment.

“SCC remains the cornerstone of the group in terms of revenues and we have previously stated our desire to build our business through acquisition and this deal is further testament of this plan. We are also looking at other opportunities to continue to invest.”

James Rigby, SCC CEO, said: “This is a significant acquisition from a major FTSE 100 company, which represents another major step towards our goal to become Europe’s principal IT services business.

“We set out this ambition in our 3-5 year plan. The purchase of SSE’s data centre more than doubles our capacity and underpins the £50m spent on developing our data centre & cloud capabilities last year.”

Earlier this year, SCC acquired Europe’s leading independent managed print IT service provider M2 Digital as part of its strategic plan to significantly expand and strengthen its service division.

Elsewhere the Rigby Group has also completed deals to buy Norwich International Airport as well as two hotels in the South West.

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Eden Hotel Collection wins Small Hotel Group of the Year at the AA Hospitality Awards

23—09—2014

Eden Hotel Collection was awarded the coveted accolade of AA Small Hotel Group of the Year 2014 last night at the AA Hospitality Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The award recognises small hotel companies which have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improve and develop their portfolio of hotels, while maintaining a high level of consistency throughout the group.

The Eden Hotel Collection is a privately-owned group of nine luxury hotels across the Midlands, the Cotswolds and the South West.

Managing Director Mark Chambers collected the award on behalf of the company at a glittering event to celebrate excellence in the hotel and hospitality industry hosted by TV newsreader Fiona Bruce.

Mark said: “We are delighted and extremely proud to have been recognised by the AA Hospitality Awards, which is hugely prestigious for our industry. To win this award in a highly competitive market place is a great achievement and one which I’m honoured to share with each and every member of our fantastic team.

“Our commitment to delivering unrivalled and exceptional guest experiences is at the heart of everything we do and it’s what keeps our guests coming back time and time again.

“The knowledge and experience of the AA’s inspectors is unrivalled and an AA rating is one of the most trusted forms of quality and service recognition in the hospitality industry. This achievement is an enormous source of pride to everyone who works at the Eden Hotel Collection,” added Mark.

The AA award win caps a highly successful year of expansion and investment for Eden. In April the company announced a planned £13.5m investment in the 35-bedroom Tides Reach Hotel in Salcombe, South Devon. The site is being redeveloped to create a 50-bedroom luxury beachfront hotel and spa. And in June it acquired the 64-bedroom Bovey Castle in the heart of Dartmoor National Park and is planning a major investment in the country house estate, which today includes an 18-hole championship golf course, spa, country lodges and an outdoor pursuits centre.

Praising Eden Hotel Collection’s success in winning the award, Head of AA Hotel Services, Simon Numphud, said: “We are delighted to recognise the Eden Hotel Collection with this prestigious award. This delightful small group has consistently re-invested in their hotels year on year with some impressive refurbishments. In addition, and most importantly, the strength of their hotels is their individuality and the high standards of hospitality and service delivered by their dedicated and professional teams.”

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Rigby Group acquires Capital Air Charter Limited

28—08—2014

Rigby Group plc's aviation division has completed its second UK acquisition of 2014 with the purchase of Exeter based Capital Air Charter Limited.

Operating both the Capital Air Charter and Capital Air Ambulance services, the company has a long-standing reputation as an efficient, safe and commercially-capable operator offering executive corporate and private chartered flights, medical repatriation and urgent freight services throughout Europe.

Already the South west’s leading operations of their type, the services will continue to operate under their own brand as plans for new growth are finalised.

“This is a hugely significant announcement for both companies, one that will allow us to develop and realise its potential for in a way that simply wasn’t possible in the past,” said Capital Air Charter Managing Director and Chief Pilot Malcolm Humphries.

“Being part of the Rigby Group will enable us to capitalise on opportunities that we were simply unable to grasp in the past.”

Rigby Group, which under its British International Helicopters (BIH) brand already represents one of UK's largest domestically owned commercial aviation and offshore helicopter services companies, plans to grow Capital Air Charter's market share extensively over the next few years and to develop both its aero medical services and its contracted charter capabilities.

Group Chairman and Chief Executive Sir Peter Rigby said: “Regional aviation is vitally important to the economic development of regions, not just in the UK but across the world. I am delighted to welcome everyone at Capital Air Charter to our fast growing team. Over the last two decades they have worked hard to establish the company as the South West’s largest air ambulance and private air charter operator with an enviable reputation, and I am very much looking forward to working together as we continue to expand operations and build on that success.”

Confirming Rigby Group's status as one of the largest single owners of regional airports and airport services in the UK and underlining its intent to continue to both grow its share in the sector and increase the role of regional aviation in the UK, the Capital Air Charter acquisition marks the sixth M&A deal the group has undertaken in 2014, and the 11th since launching its new acquisition strategy in 2013.

Capital Air Charter was built from scratch, launched 23 years ago with a single aircraft from an office based around the founders’ kitchen table. Since then an ethos of tight cost control and a commitment to service and safety excellence has seen the firm become the longest established and leading charter operator in the South west.

Capital Air Ambulance operates the air ambulance service in Guernsey, and also provides emergency back-up to the medical services in Jersey and the Isle of Man. It also has standing relationships with a number of brokerages supplying emergency repatriation services to Britons injured abroad.

The services are run by 35 full time staff in Exeter, Jersey and the Isle of Man, with a roster of over 70 part-time medical staff available on call. They currently operate eight aircraft: five Piper Chieftains and three King Air Turboprop craft.

Capital Air Charter Finance Director Lisa Humphries commented: “While this is undoubtedly a pivotal moment in the business’ history, for our existing customers it will feel very much like business as usual. We will continue to deliver the high standards and approach to service that has made us the region's number one charter operator, and will carry that ethos forward as our membership of the Rigby Group enables expansion across the operation.”

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Exeter Airport named Which Recommended Provider

22—08—2014

Exeter Airport’s focus on customer service has helped it gain a coveted 'Recommended Provider' status from leading consumer organisation Which?

The airport is among just eight to secure the award from Which? in its annual survey involving 7,000 Which? members rating their satisfaction at 35 UK airports.

All the ‘Recommended Provider’ accolades went to airports in the small airports category (fewer than 4 million passengers
per year) leading Which? to conclude that small airports are, on average, providing a better experience than larger ones.

Exeter Airport’s survey customers gave maximum five star ratings for check-in and baggage reclaim–two areas where the larger airports fared particularly badly.

The vote of confidence from Which? comes in the same week Exeter Airport announced it is on course for another year of growth following last year’s 6% increase–the first in six years–in passenger numbers to 740,000 and further growth in the first half of 2014.

It is also just over a year since Exeter Airport was acquired by Regional & City Airports, the airport management division of Rigby Group plc, which recently bought Norwich International Airport, which also features in the top 10.

Sir Peter Rigby, founder, CEO and chairman of Rigby Group, said: “This rating is very welcome and reflects the overall commitment of Rigby Group to ensuring excellent customer service and the best possible passenger experience as we focus on cementing Exeter’s position as the gateway airport to the South West and a real driver for economic growth.

“There is a clear trend recognised within the Which? survey for smaller airports to be able to deliver a significantly better passenger experience than larger airports. This supports Rigby Group’s own recognition of the value of regional airports both to their customers and their local economies.”

Matt Roach, managing director of Exeter Airport, added: “The airport is continuing to invest in a range of facilities and passengers will start to see a number of improvements in the build up to the launch of the London City service. We therefore hope to further improve the customer experience ahead of the next Which? survey.”

The Which? survey was conducted ahead of a bank holiday get-away and rated airports on areas that matter the most to consumers, including pick-up and drop-off, seating provision, queues at security, passport control and baggage reclaim.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “The message from travellers is clear–larger airports continue to let people down on the basics, from baggage reclaim to food outlets. People deserve an enjoyable break without any stress, so we want to hear from consumers so that we can help to stop the holiday hassles.”

The organisation launched its Stop the Holiday Hassles campaign because it believes that people deserve to have an enjoyable, stress-free break.

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Senior M&A Appointment at Rigby Group underlines ongoing acquisition programme

16—08—2014

Rigby Group Plc, the parent company for a portfolio of privately owned and highly successful businesses, has appointed Edouard Carlone, an experienced investment banker as its new Head of M&A.

Mr Carlone joins the group from UBS, where he specialised in M&A and corporate development for the past 14 years. His career experience includes originating and executing both buy and sell side transactions across multiple sectors for UK and International companies, entrepreneurs and private equity houses.

He also has global transaction experience in the US, Europe and the emerging markets and his appointment underlines the Group’s stated intention to continue to seek acquisition opportunities.

Edouard Carlone, Rigby Group Head of M&A, commented: “The Rigby Group has been one of the most active privately backed Groups
in recent times in terms of deals. I am delighted to be joining them to support their strategic plans that will include further targeting of businesses which can add value to the Group.”

Rigby Group Plc has been intensely active over the past 18 months and the recent acquisition of Norwich International Airport represented its 10th major transaction and its fifth in 2014 alone.

As well as Norwich, the Group acquired Exeter Airport in the summer of 2013 to add to its existing ownership of Coventry
. It furthermore manages Blackpool and City of Derry airports through Regional & City Airports (RCA). In addition, the Group
as part of its Eden Hotel Collection has bought two sites in the South West, Bovey Castle and Tides Reach,
with plans to redevelop both.

Earlier this year, SCC, the group’s technology division, acquired M2 Digital, the UK’s leading independently managed print services company as well as selling its Dutch division to North America based Systemax.

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group COO commented:

“We have been very clear in our intent to grow our portfolio of companies and the activity of the past 18 months is the
implementation on that strategic plan. We feel the time is right to grow and expand Rigby Group and we continue to actively look at acquisition opportunities across our key areas of interest.

“We are one of the most active private firms in our sectors at the moment in terms of transactions, with five major deals already in 2014 and 10 in the past 18 months. We will continue to pursue this strategy and expect to announce more transactions in the next 12 months.”

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Mayfair deals follow completion of £60million worth of transactions for Rigby & Rigby

09—07—2014

Leading London prime residential specialists Rigby & Rigby have added a further two sites to their development portfolio, building on the £60million of property transactions already completed in the capital in 2014.

The company, part of the £2.8 billion turnover Rigby Group PLC, headed by Sir Peter Rigby, specialise in bespoke restorations, renovations and conversions in some of London’s most exclusive addresses. They have acquired a further two, three bedroom luxury apartments in super prime, Mayfair, and expect to return them to the market in the first quarter of next year.

The company’s recent completed projects and instructions range from the restoration of elegant townhouses and stylish apartments, to less conventional projects including the conversion of an historic Knightsbridge church.

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group COO and founder of the company, said: “2014 has been a very successful time for the company so far and our pipeline continues to build. Our strategy and focus is on bespoke development in some of the most sort after locations in London and our work from concept design and architecture through to completion has been widely recognised for its quality.

“We are very proud to have been associated with some of the finest redevelopments of property in London in recent times. We will continue acquiring properties for resale or carrying out high end projects for our private clients.”

Recent accolades for the company include winning the design et al International Design and Architecture Award for Residential Property in the £20 million plus category.

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Financial Times: Airports, helicopters, hotels and IT - but no flights of fancy

12—06—2014

Financial Times: Airports, helicopters, hotels and IT - but no flights of fancy

Rigby Group aviation division acquires Norwich International Airport

11—06—2014

Regional & City Airports (RCA), the airports management division of Rigby Group plc, has completed its third UK regional airport acquisition with the purchase of Norwich International Airport-signalling the group's intent to continue to grow its share in the sector and increase the role of regional airports in the UK.

Marking the fifth M&A deal the group has undertaken in 2014, the addition of Norwich International Airport under lines Rigby Group's status as one of the largest single owners of regional airports and airport services in the UK. The Group, under the banner of its management company Regional & City Airports (RCA), already owns and operates Coventry and Exeter Airports-which it acquired in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

The company also holds management contracts for both Blackpool International Airport and City of Derry Airport and is actively building its portfolio of owned or managed airport assets across the next five years.

Group Chairman and Chief Executive Sir Peter Rigby said: “Regional airports are vitally important to the economic development of regions, not just in the UK but across the world. To survive and prosper, smaller regional airports need to cooperate and collaborate-enabling them to benefit from the economies of scale and sharing of best practice traditionally enjoyed by larger hub airports.

“I am delighted to welcome everyone at Norwich International Airport to our fast growing team. Over the last decade they have worked hard to establish the site as East Anglia's flagship aviation hub, and I am very much looking forward to working together as we continue to expand operations and build on that success.”

Already employing more than 650 people and managing over 1000, RCA has built a reputation as an efficient, safe and commercially-capable airport operator. Driving improvements to route development, commercial revenues, operating costs and capital investment in order to deliver a consistently sound commercial return, the company leverages significant buying power and shared expertise to deliver tangible benefits to small airports across the UK.

Norwich International Airport enjoys a four times daily service to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, which is just 30 minutes away by air, and is the busiest UK heliport serving the North Sea oil and gas industry afterAberdeen. Other destinations currently offered include domestic centres such as Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Jersey and Guernsey, with connections through Manchester enabling passengers to reach Belfast, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Inverness and many more.

Holiday flights operate to the Balearic and Canary Islands, Tunisia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta and Italy.

This is the eighth transaction in the past 12 months-and the fifth in 2014 alone-for the family operated Group, which is focused on six core areas: technology, airports, hotels, real estate, finance and aviation.

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group COO, commented: “In 2013, almost half a million passengers travelled through Norwich International Airport. It is also second only behind Aberdeen in terms of providing a departure point for rig workers in the North Sea, giving it a platform for sustainable growth that closely matches our vision for the future of regional aviation.”

Norwich International Airport CEO Andrew Bell added: “This is a significant and very positive day for the Airport. As a highly respected and stable organisation, Rigby Group's involvement will enable us to build on the many achievements of recent years, safeguarding the future of the business and providing us with a platform from which to build an even more prosperous future for the Airport itself and the region.”

John Spooner, who heads up Regional & City Airports, commented: “As a highly progressive business supporting a range of aviation initiatives, Norwich International Airport represents an exciting addition to the RCA team. We're delighted to welcome them to our growing network of regional airports, and look forward to working with the team there as we seek to build on their legacy of success.”

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Rigby Group confirms multi million acquisition of Bovey Castle

05—06—2014

Rigby Group Plc has announced the acquisition of the luxury Bovey Castle hotel and estate on Dartmoor in Devon–taking its recent investment in South West luxury hotels to £30 million.

The family-owned business, founded by one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs Sir Peter Rigby, said the 275-acre estate, complete with 64 bedroom mansion hotel, 14 lodges and championship golf course, would become the flagship hotel within the Group’s growing Eden Hotel Collection.

The acquisition follows the recent announcement of a planned £13.5 million investment by Rigby Group in Salcombe, where it has acquired the Tides Reach Hotel and intends to create a brand new 50-bed luxury waterfront boutique hotel on the site, opening in 2016 and creating 100 jobs.

Rigby Group said it would invest £2 million immediately on improvements and renovations at Bovey Castle.

It already owns the Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel in Kingsbridge in South Devon, The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa in Somerset and five other hotels across the Cotswolds and Midlands–nine hotels in all.

Mark Chambers, Managing Director of the Eden Hotel Collection, said: “The Bovey Castle has become a byword for true English luxury and we see tremendous potential to build on an exceptional brand in an exceptional location as we grow the Eden Hotel Collection into the South West’s leading luxury boutique hotel operator.

“This acquisition takes to nine the number of hotels in the group, offering around 300 rooms across a hand-picked portfolio of unique venues in fantastic surroundings”

The Bovey Castle deal and Tides Reach are the latest significant investments in the South West for Rigby Group and follows its acquisition last year of Exeter International Airport and British International Helicopters, which has a base in Newquay in Cornwall.

Steve Rigby, Chief Operating Officer for Rigby Group said: “The South West has quickly become a key part of Rigby Group and we see great opportunities across several of our business streams in the region, not least boutique hotels and aviation, and we are planning significant further investment to cement our position as leading providers in these areas.”

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