Malin pledges to re­turn cash to share­hold­ers

Four main as­sets on track to reach ‘im­por­tant mile­stones’

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS | NEWS - JOE BREN­NAN

Life sciences in­vest­ment firm Malin Cor­po­ra­tion, which has seen its share price tum­ble as much as 60 per cent since its 2015 flota­tion, has pledged to re­turn cash to share­hold­ers as some of its hold­ings ma­ture over the next two years.

Speak­ing to The Ir­ish Times be­fore the com­pany hosts an an­a­lysts and in­vestor day in Lon­don this af­ter­noon, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Dar­ragh Lyons said the com­pany’s four main as­sets can “gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant re­turns over the next two years” with “im­por­tant mile­stones”.

Over­haul

The com­pany, which has seen a board and man­age­ment over­haul in re­cent months and is now headed by ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ian Cur­ley, said in Septem­ber that it was fo­cused on its stakes in four com­pa­nies.

The pri­or­ity port­fo­lio, which rose in value dur­ing the first half by 20 per cent to €290 mil­lion, com­prises: Po­seida Ther­a­peu­tics, which is de­vel­op­ing a treat­ment for bone-mar­row can­cer; Im­mu­ni­core, whose key pipe­line prod­uct is an eye can­cer drug; Kymab, which is work­ing on a treat­ment for eczema; and Vi­amet, which fo­cuses on an­ti­fun­gal prod­ucts.

US in­vest­ment bank Jef­feries said in a re­port pub­lished to­day that the most im­me­di­ate cat­a­lyst could come when Po­seida presents at a haema­tol­ogy con­fer­ence in Cal­i­for­nia early next month, which may lead to a flota­tion of that busi­ness. Im­mu­ni­core and Kymab are also likely to raise cap­i­tal in the next six to 12 months, ac­cord­ing to Jef­feries, which could re­sult in the buy­out of some legacy in­vestors in both.

Mr Cur­ley, who took over as Malin chair­man in July and be­came in­terim ex­ec­u­tive chair­man last month as chief ex­ec­u­tive Adrian Howd stepped down, said yes­ter­day that Malin has re­cently ad­dressed a num­ber of is­sues.

An­nual op­er­at­ing ex­penses, which reached €17.5 mil­lion at their height, are now run­ning at €7 mil­lion, while the com­pany has nar­rowed its fo­cus to im­munol­ogy, on­col­ogy and ge­netic dis­eases, from a pre­vi­ously “over­di­ver­si­fied and dis­parate port­fo­lio” of 18 in­vest­ments. It has also moved to rein in ex­ec­u­tive re­mu­ner­a­tion pack­ages, which trig­gered a re­volt at the com­pany’s agm in Septem­ber.

Growth po­ten­tial

Malin has also iden­ti­fied a sec­ond tier of “growth po­ten­tial as­sets” within its port­fo­lio, ac­cord­ing to Mr Lyons. These in­clude two Dublin-based firms – health­care apps de­vel­oper 3D4Med­i­cal and in­jectable drugs com­pany Al­tan – as well as Xenex, a Texas-based dis­in­fec­tion ser­vices com­pany.

Shares in Malin, which reached an all-time low of €3.92 last Fri­day, com­pared with its €10 flota­tion price, have since ral­lied by more than 20 per cent in ad­vance of to­day’s in­vestor pre­sen­ta­tions.

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