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Snoozebox Narrows First-Half Loss, Names CFO, Secures New Finance

Tue, 30th Sep 2014 11:28

LONDON (Alliance News) - Shares in Snoozebox Holdings PLC rose Tuesday after it said it narrowed its first-half loss on the back of reduced overheads and a welcome boost from high occupancy levels, while also announcing it has secured a new finance facility and named a new finance director.

The portable hotel provider made a series of announcements Tuesday alongside its half-year results including the appointment of Katherine Ferguson as new chief financial officer, as of November 3, and a new lease finance package for up to GBP15.6 million with SQN Asset Finance Income Fund Ltd. The company said it expects to draw down around GBP10 million of the facility in the next quarter, funds it said it will use to increase its level of investment in new hotel room stock and accelerate its growth plans.

"Whilst the benefit of the facility will have more of an impact in 2016 than next year, the additional financial muscle of the company will have a notable effect on our ability to capitalise on the strong demand we continue to see," said Chairman David Morrison in a statement.

Ferguson, aged 42, joins Snoozebox from the Carbon Neutral Co where she has been finance director since February 2009. In November last year, Snoozebox began to restructure the business to rein in its losses, which included letting go its chief operating officer at the time, Gary Thomson. Lorcán Ó Murchú, now CEO, took over as finance director at the time.

Snoozebox reported a pretax loss of GBP2.3 million for the six months to June 30, smaller than the GBP5.1 million loss it reported in the first half of 2013.

The company said it managed to turn around the poor operating performance of its events business from the heavy losses reported in the first half of last year, as this year its events business utilised existing hotel room stock, and it reduced central overheads significantly to GBP2.4 million, compared with GBP4.1 million in the first half of 2013.

Snoozebox said it also achieved consistently high occupancy levels, with room rates ranging from GBP160 to GBP330 per night.

Snoozebox reported first-half revenue of GBP731,000 for the six month period, compared with GBP4.3 million a year earlier, when it got a significant boost from the deployment of accommodation at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

"Revenues are anticipated to be higher in the second half of the year and key events include the British Grand Prix, the Silverstone Classic, Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh for the Festivals, the World Equestrian Games, the Moto GP and the Ryder Cup," the company said.

Snoozebox said it is "increasingly positive" about the outlook for the business.

"I believe the progress made in the underlying operating model in the first half of the year, combined with the launch of the next generation portable hotel in the second half, provides a platform on which to transform the performance of the business in 2015 and to scale the business in 2016," said Chief Executive Ó Murchú in the statement.

Snoozebox shares were trading 3.9% higher Tuesday morning at 6.75 pence.

By Rowena Harris-Doughty;; @rharrisdoughty

Copyright 2014 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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