Scottish Daily Mail

Green and Ashley nurse £55m loss on MySale punt

- by Holly Black

IT’S been a torrid year for Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley, but they can take consolatio­n from a start-up venture they backed two years ago which has finally turned a profit – though they are nursing paper losses of around £55m.

Each invested in Australian online retailer MySale when it listed on the UK market in 2014.

MySale runs so-called flash sale sites in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the US and UK. The business sources products including clothing, health and beauty goods and travel, and holds short-term sales. Mike Ashley’s retail outfit Sports Direct has a 4.8pc stake.

Green, the former boss of failed retailer BHS, has 22pc through Shelton Capital, the investment vehicle owned by his wife. The company originally listed at a share price of 226p.

Following a major profit warning, by January last year shares had slumped to almost a quarter of their original value and at one point were as low as 36.08p. The 7.25m shares that Ashley holds would have originally been worth around £16.4m, and have fallen to as low as £2.6m, before climbing back to around £6.7m.

Shelton Capital’s 33.2m shares, which would have been worth around £75.1m when purchased, have dropped to £12m and climbed back to £30.6m. It means that two tycoons are still sitting on substantia­l losses – Green of around £45m and Ashley of about £10m.

MySale said annual revenue had climbed 7pc to around £149m.

The firm also turned a loss of £12.7m last year into a pre-tax profit of around £98,500. It said the average value of each order through its sites had increased 20pc to £53, and around 58pc of orders were made via mobile devices.

The results will be welcome news to the two businessme­n who have had a torrid summer. yesterday, shares closed flat at 92p.

The FTSE 100 finished 0.6pc, or 42 points, higher at 6849.38. Among the greatest risers of the day was engineerin­g firm Smiths Group. That’s despite the firm saying headwinds in the global energy market had hit revenues in its John Crane arm.

The division, which relies on the oil and gas sector for 57pc of sales, said revenue had slipped 8pc to £830m in the year to July 31.

But elsewhere in the company – in its medical, detection and interconne­ct divisions – operating profit and revenue were up. Smiths, which builds security scanners for Heathrow, said profit climbed 6.5pc to £346m in the year. Shares soared 4pc, or 56p, to 1443p.

Roadside assistance and insurance company AA accelerate­d as it revealed it had reversed a decline in membership numbers.

The firm turned a £69m loss in the first half of 2015 into a pre-tax profit of £48m in the same period

this year. The AA said the number of paid personal members grew every month in the second quarter to 3.3m.

A strategy to stop giving free membership to insurance customers helped revenue climb 2.2pc to £467m. Shares advanced 4.2pc, or 12p, to 297p.

EasyHotel reversed Tuesday’s stock price fall as it revealed plans to place up to 38m new shares. The group will use the £38m raised in the placing to roll out its owned hotel strategy.

It follows hot on the heels of the firm’s announceme­nt that it had completed on a 94-room hotel in Norwich earlier this week. The firm said it had around 4,500 rooms in the pipeline. Shares shot up 12.4pc, or 10.5p, to 95p. High street video games retailer

Game Digital announced a sale and leaseback deal on its headquarte­rs and distributi­on centre in Basingstok­e. The firm has sold the properties to Portsmouth Estates Developmen­ts for £13.5m. Game will now pay an annual rent of £1.1m over a 17-year term. The firm said it gained £6.2m on the sale. Shares closed flat at 72.25p.

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