The Company is established as a source of early stage finance to fledgling businesses, to maximise the capital value of the Company and to generate benefits for Shareholders in the form of capital growth and modest dividends.
Natural resources: Whilst the Company has no exclusive commitment to the natural resources sector, the Board sees this as having considerable growth potential in the medium term. Historically, investments were generally made immediately prior to an initial public offering, on AIM or ISDX as well as in the aftermarket. As the nature of the market has changed since 2008, it is more likely that the future investment portfolio will include a spread of companies that generally have moved beyond the IPO stage but remain in the early stages of identifying a commercial resource and/or moving towards development with the appropriate finance.
Direct Project: The Company’s investing policy is to hold shares in companies. However, the Company believes there may be opportunities to acquire shares in companies on favourable terms by taking a direct interest in mining projects and using these projects as consideration for shares in such companies; those companies would therefore become Starvest investee companies. The projects will be operated by the investee company; Starvest will not manage any project. Prior to selling any projects to corporate entities, Starvest may therefore have an interest in a number of projects.
Investment size: Initial investments are for varying amounts but usually up to £100,000. These companies are invariably not generating cash, rather they have a constant requirement to raise new equity in order to continue exploration and development. Therefore, after appropriate due diligence, the Company may provide further funding support and make later market purchases, so that the total investment may be greater than £100,000.
High risk: The business is inherently high risk and of a cyclical nature dependent upon fluctuations in world economic activity which impacts on the demand for minerals. However, it offers the investor a spread of investments in an exciting sector, which the Board believes will continue to offer the potential of significant returns for the foreseeable future.
Lack of liquidity: The investee companies, being small, almost invariably lack share market liquidity, even if they are quoted on AIM, ISDX, ASX, or TSX-V. Therefore, in the early years it is rarely possible to sell an investment at the quoted market price with the result that extreme patience is required whilst the investee company develops and ultimately attracts market interest. If and when an explorer finds a large exploitable resource, it may become the object of a third party bid, or otherwise become a much larger entity; either way an opportunity to realise cash is expected to follow.
Success rate: Of the 25 to 30 investments held at any one time, it is expected that no more than five will prove to be ‘winners’; from half of the remainder we may expect to see modest share price improvements. Overall, the expectation is that in time Shareholder returns will be acceptable if not substantial. Accordingly, the Board is unable to give any estimate of the quantum or timing of returns.
Profit distribution: When profits have been realised and adequate cash is available, it is the intention of the Board to recommend the distribution of up to half the profits realised.
Other matters: The Company currently has investments in the following companies, which themselves are investment companies: Equity Investors plc; Equity Resources Limited and Guild Investment plc.
The Company does not have a designated investment manager role. Investment decisions are taken by the Board. Board members’ biographies can be reviewed here.
The Company takes no part in the active management of the companies in which it invests, although directors of the Company are also directors on the boards of other investee companies. Callum Baxter, Chairman/CEO, is also an Executive Director of one such company.