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Woodford – where are the Immunocore accounts for FY17? Is a perfect storm almost upon us?

By Nigel Somerville | Thursday 11 October 2018

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.

Accounts for private companies such as Immunocore Limited are supposed to be filed at Companies House within nine months and thus, at October 11 2018 I wonder where the accounts for FY17 are for billion dollar unicorn Immunocore. I note on the Woodford Investment website that as at 31 August 2018 this investment accounted for 5.33% of WPCT and 0.75% of the Woodford Equity Income Fund (although I can’t see any income here!) And Woodford’s exposure here isn’t limited to just that, because the Dublin-based Malin Corporation (of which Woodford is the largest shareholder) is also on the shareholder register.

Cynical Bear pointed to a flow of executive departures at Immunocore back in July (see HERE), and included in the list of departures was the company’s CFO, Mr Paul Fry who is off to pastures new at Vectura Group (VEC) with effect from 29 October. That is now just two and a half weeks away, yet Immunocore’s FY17 accounts are late and outstanding at Companies House.

Whatever could be the problem? And what happens if there are still no accounts at month-end, and Mr Fry jets off into the sunset?

And then there is the funding question: Cynical Bear reckoned that Immunocore had enough cash to see it through to late 2019, but with markets looking – to say the least – skittish one wonders if that might have an impact on the price of a new fundraising. After all, skittish markets tend to pay lower prices, and that would have an impact – at least via dilution – on the value of Woodford’s holding.

And although it may be funded to late 2019, it needs to get signed off as a going concern – so is the delay to its accounts anything to do with that?

Oh, but hang on…..Immunocore was supposed to be raising more money (of the order of hundreds of millions) in September last year and came up with just $40 million from the Gates Foundation – and it has been a deafening silence ever since, according to Cynical Bear. And that proposed fundraise (for cash not yet actually raised!) was the basis on which Neil Woodford valued its stock at 2017 year-end. Hmm!

Well, the good news is that Immunocore has raised a bit of cash recently – although I’m not so sure it is anything to write home about, as it was just £23,379 in September and 87p in August. More worryingly, it settled a debenture with J P Morgan in August. Was that a cash payment, and if so how much cash is actually left?

Well best of luck, Mr Woodford – especially given the tight funding constraints you face. Who is going to pony up the hundreds of millions, for surely it won’t be you!

As for Malin Corporation, I see its share price is now down to EUR 4.86 (marking a one-year return of MINUS 56% - ouch!) which won’t help much, as against a recent fundraise at EUR 8.80.  

Cynical Bear postulated recently that the perfect storm was with Woodford’s cash-guzzlers demanding more cash and WCPT running out. Well, now we have a potential bear market rearing its ugly head.

It never rains when it pours….

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