WH Ireland shares soar as it confirms Kuwaiti investors link

Added 19th September 2016

WH Ireland shares soared after the City broker confirmed rumours that Kuwaiti European Holdings (KEH) was looking to acquire a stake in the business.

WH Ireland shares soar as it confirms Kuwaiti investors link

Shares in the company surged ahead by 10.9% to 112p during Monday morning trading in light of WH Ireland's confirmation.

The group's share price has been steadily climbing since late July, when rumours of the acquisition first appeared. 

Over the weekend, Sky News reported that KEH and WH Ireland were close to finalising a deal that would see KEH purchasing 30% of WH Ireland’s shares, prompting further speculation from media outlets.

While WH Ireland did not confirm or deny the existence of the arrangement, the firm did state that it was aware of KEH’s intention to acquire a shareholding in its business, in a note Monday.

The speculative deal with KEH comes shortly after WH Ireland’s announcement of a strategic partnership with SEI Wealth Platform in early June.

WH Ireland said the partnership “will provide a unified solution” to clients by harnessing SEI’s “state-of-the-art technology.”  

Commenting on the partnership in an interview, WH Ireland chief executive Richard Killingbeck predicted consolidation within the industry would become a more widespread solution to address cost pressures, increased regulation and global growth issues.

Despite the “significant transformational changes” to the wealth management division, the group endured a difficult start to the year. 

Macro uncertainties, such as Chinese growth, commodity price deflation and the Brexit vote, led to lower commission levels throughout the period, the LSE-listed stockbroker said, resulting in an operating loss of £1.1m ($1.4m, €1.2m) compared with last year’s £300,000 profit.

Group turnover also suffered from the heightened uncertainty, falling from £15.9m the year before to £12m.

The firm was also dealt a substantial blow by the FCA who fined it £1.2bn back in February.

WH Ireland said that further announcements regarding its partial acquisition by KEH would be made in due course. 

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Kristen McGachey

Senior Reporter

Kristen joined Last Word Media and the world of financial journalism in April 2016, leaving behind a career in a legal publishing firm as a senior researcher turned assistant editor.

This native Angelino initially moved to the UK in 2008 to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Nottingham. She subsequently obtained a Masters degree in Philosophy with Literature from the University of Warwick.

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