On Friday 25 September, the Baltic announced in a letter to shareholders that it will be paying an interim dividend of £20 per share. A total of £9.7 million will be distributed to the company’s 380 shareholders.
In a letter to shareholders, Chairman Guy Campbell cites as the main reason for the payment the stable financial position and dividend performance of the company. He also says that shares trade at low prices relative to the asset value of the company and its trading and dividend performance.
He expresses concern that despite the good investment performance of the company in recent years, a lack of perceived need for the funds and the increasingly difficult investment environment make it inappropriate for the Board to continue to be responsible for such a large investment portfolio.
The Annual Report of the Baltic Exchange states that as at 31 March 2015 the market value of its investments was £19.9 million pounds. The Baltic also owns the building it occupies at 38 St Mary Axe which the report states was worth £16.0 million when last valued in 2013.
Letter to shareholders from Baltic Exchange Chairman Guy Campbell:
I am delighted to announce today that your Board has agreed to pay a special interim dividend amounting to £20 per share.
This decision reflects the financial strength of the company, with our stable trading, dividend and investment record over many years. We note also that this strength is not reflected in the price at which shares usually change hands, particularly when such prices are compared with the asset value of the company and its results.
Additionally, although the performance of our investments over the last 10 years or more has been rewarding, the responsibility for managing such a large portfolio is not one it is appropriate for your Board to continue to take on when it cannot foresee a need to make use of the funds in the near future, and recognising the increasingly difficult investment environment.
You can of course be confident that this distribution leaves the Baltic in a strong financial position, with a substantial balance sheet and a profitable business allowing it to further your and our industry’s interests.
The dividend will be paid on Monday 30th November 2015 to shareholders on the register today, 25th September.