HOME
Overview
Aim of the Company
2017 Results
2016 Results
Lance O'Neill and CCCAL Who are City and Claremont?
Shareholder Return
What's the End Game?
Conclusion

Directors

Lance O'Neill
Benjamin Edwards (appt 2016)
Nigel Duxbury (resigned 2016)

Info

About this Site
Financial Performance
The Accounts
Major Shareholders
e-primefinancial Debacle
Relevant Links

Investments

Syntaxis
Calix Limited
MediaZest
Alba Minerals
Andes Energia

2016 Financial Results (may the farce be with you)

The 2016 financial results can be viewed here at the Companies House website.

Where do you start? First of all the accounts were released to shareholders in August 2017. That's despite the financial year-end being December 2016. Again, given that EP&F are an incredibly basic operation that looks like it could be run from a coffee shop a few hours a week, why on earth does it take so long to issue the annual accounts every year? It is pathetic given the magnitude of the salaries being paid to the directors.

The second point is EP&F actually posted a profit, the amount being £43,628. This is astonishing and a very rare event for any listed company with Lance o'Neill as a director. However this profit was in fact due only to an unrealised foreign exchange rate gain on their 700,000 euro-denominated bond investment with Syntaxis. Brexit caused sterling to depreciate significantly versus the euro. On a constant currency basis the company actually lost £13,836.

Since the company has finally posted a profit it's valid to ask why has no dividend been declared? After all as well as posting a profit equivalent to a 1p dividend, the company is also sitting on a relatively large amount of cash. However this misses the obvious point and the raison d'etre of the company which is of course to enrich the directors, not the common shareholders.

The Syntaxis bond comprises over 50% of the company's net asset value. It pays a 12.5% coupon. There is no indication of the term of this bond. Obviously parking the majority of the company's assets in an instrument such as this is an admission of failure regarding the company's investment strategy. Cash comprises 30% of the company's net asset value. Investments account for 11%. As previously noted we can find no evidence the company has ever invested in any business unless one, or both, of the directors have a pre-existing financial interest. The remaining 8% of the company's net asset value is the net value of debtors to creditors. The related party transactions section explains that the debtors are Andes Energia and Mediazest, companies which require no introduction. The directors, aided by the dubious and secretive City and Claremont Capital Assets (CCCAL), have the company's assets well and truly tied up, working for their benefit. It's textbook.

As reward for doing this the directors' pay themselves salaries comprising 4.8% of the company's net asset value (£55,000). After all investing the company's cash in their own businesses is only half the story. They have to be paid for doing this as well. The total running costs of the company are £109,000 and comprise 9.5% of the company's net asset value. The company is clearly not viable but does not have to be for the directors' to clean up. The directors' salaries are key here. As long as they keep collecting their salaries, and as long as the losses can be controlled, they are guaranteed winners. As an example ask yourself how much Benjamin Edwards paid Nigel Duxbury for his EP&F shareholding. Then ask yourself how few years salary from EP&F will cover this cost.

Another point of interest is that EP&F have documented the value of their Mediazest shareholding at the 2015 and 2016 year ends. At the end of 2016 the book value is noted as only £8,566. However the last documented shareholding of EP&F is 26,448,571 shares and based on the Mediazest share price of 0.11p at the end of 2016, it would appear EP&F had sold down about 70% of their shareholding by that date. This is interesting given the CCCAL controlled Mediazest continually go cap in hand to investors looking for cash to remain solvent.

EP&F remains a near perfect example of a company run by the directors, for the directors. The business is managed very diligently in a manner that ensures the directors are the beneficiaries with the smaller, minority shareholders completely squeezed out. The directors are very careful to ensure very little of the company's cash is actually at risk. After all this cash represents their salaries for the years, and the decades, to come. As explained previously the cash that has been "risked" so far has been used to support companies where the directors are already taking salaries or have some other financial interest. As an example if EP&F take part in a share placing with barely solvent Mediazest (as they have done several times) then Lance O'Neill's £50,000 salary as a non-executive Mediazest director largely removes any risk of financial loss to Lance O'Neill himself. Not so the smaller minority shareholders who can only sit back and marvel at the blatant self interest.



2015 accounts released.