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Westminster Group – shares bounce on AGM Statement, but what operational progress is there?

By Steve Moore | Friday 30 June 2017

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Having recently again been in retreat, shares in Westminster Group (WSG) have risen approaching 20%, towards 16p, on the back of an AGM update. With I having concluded cautiously a few months ago, what developments have caused the bounce?

The AGM statement from CEO, Peter Fowler, reads (in bold italics, my comment in the paragraphs following);

“In the 2016 Annual Report issued on 5th June 2017 I was pleased to report that our business is now in a better position than it has been for some time as we continue to expand our international presence including the establishment of subsidiaries and an operational office in Germany which will provide strategic support for our projected growth.”

‘A better position than for some time’ comes with the 2016 report showing, including despite a net £1.255 million from new equity, increased net debt of more than £2.9 million and cash of just £0.15 million. This has since seen it fundraising ahoy, but there still seemingly lacking a sustainable financial base.

“A defining and key focus for the Group in recent months has been on closing the long term Middle East project opportunity which is expected to result in revenues in excess of £35m per annum. I am pleased to report that we have made substantial progress with this complex project. Following extended discussions over recent months around the scope of works, preparations are now being made for certain Board members and myself to travel to the country concerned for what we hope will be final negotiations, although with complex projects of this nature there can never be certainty as to timing or outcome. We expect to provide an update on developments in the near future.”

Er, the half year report in September 2016, for example, included as an operational ‘Key Point’ that this was “now at final negotiation stage”. Nine months later, ‘travel preparations’ are now being made for what are ‘hoped’ to be final negotiations. Timing certainly is uncertain hey!

“Airport security solutions and our experience in the sector represent a significant growth opportunity for the Group and we continue to progress a number of long term prospects, both those under existing MoUs and others that are at an early stage. As I mentioned in our 2016 Annual Report, we have an opportunity to achieve unprecedented growth from the many prospects and initiatives we are pursuing, any one of which could be transformational for the Group, and the Board and I remain committed to delivering on this potential.” Ends.

“An opportunity to achieve unprecedented growth”, “many prospects and initiatives… any one of which could be transformational for the group” hey? Ramptastic!, but where’s any tangible delivery? Given the noted record, I think I’ll wait before re-considering my stance on this and currently continue to avoid.

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