ACE Liberty & Stone

ACE Liberty & Stone

Ace Liberty & Stone

ACE (ALSP) acquires and rents secondary assets largely in regional cities in the UK.  HM government and city councils’ contribution to rental income accounted for 58% of rental revenues 1H20A vs. 59% FY19A. Major industrial and commercial companies account for the balance of revenues.

ACE collected 82% of revenues in the face of Covid at the end of March. Just £78k of deferrals have entered into CVAs. The remaining £672k of deferred rents are renegotiated and ALSP expects to collect this back log by Dec 2021. ACE traditionally looks for two types of core opportunities – 1) end of life tenancies to provide rental uplift via change of use and, in time, capital appreciation and 2) longer-term tenancies (weighted average life of tenancy agreements greater than 8 years) to underpin cash flows. ALSP announced in April 2020 that post Brexit (i.e., 31 Dec 2020) it would be looking for entire portfolios to acquire, signalling a potential nuancing of strategy.

The UK property market (commercial, retail and residential) slowed in terms of the rate at which transactions are completed post the Brexit vote and now Covid is slowing all bar fire sales – this is part of the property landscape for now. In our view, property portfolios (as opposed to individual properties) attractive to ALSP are more rather than less likely to become available, because of the extended Covid crisis.

Value range – 03/02/2021

Intrinsic Price 104p
Value Range Low 102p
Value Range High 107p
Implied MCAP (m) £60.90
Implied EV (m) £104.13
Financial YE 30-Apr
Currency GBP

Business Activity

Commercial & retail
Property investment

Key metrics

Close Price 96.5p
MCAP (m) £56.42.00
Net Debt (cash) (m) £43.23
EV (m) £99.65
52 Wk Hi 110p
52 Wk Lo 80p
NAV FD YE21E 43.87p

Key ratios

S/P premium to NAV 119.96%
% LTV ALSP adj. 49.55%
Net Debt / Shareholder Equity % 304.02%

Real Estate Sector Research
ACF Real Estate Team
+44 20 7419 7928

ace liberty and stone metrics

Outperforms sector

ACE Liberty & Stone (ALSP ISD), an Aquis Apex market listed property trading company, released a very strong set of results for 1H21 in the shadow of Covid, beating our interim forecasts very comfortably. We maintain our year end forecasts. We expect ACE to continue to outperform the commercial property sector, which has suffered stock declines averaging ~30%. Greater than 80% of rents collected vs. our 70% expectation. Rent deferrals written down £130k vs. our ~£250k expectation for the 1H21. Suspended the dividend against our expectation but prudent decision to contribute toward acquisition opportunities. LTV adjusted 53% vs. 54% y/y. 57% of rental is government backed vs. 58% y/yand 42% is triple-A commercial vs. 41% y/y. WAULB 6.94 vs. 8.08 years y/y. We have increased our VR to 102-107p


>80% rental revenue collected


57% of rental revenue is from government properties

Forecast beats, growth on track


Rental 1H21A £2.99m vs. £3.22m y/y -7% cf. our 1H21E £2m, 51% beat;


EBITDA 1H21A £2.2m vs. £2.5m y/y -10% cf. our 1H21E £1.4m, 57% beat;


Portfolio not for sale 1H21A 78.4m vs. YE20A £76.9m up 2%;

ALSP ISD 12m Price Rel (light) Chart vs. FTSE AIM (dark)

Competitive background

ACE (ALSP) acquires and rents secondary assets largely in regional cities in the UK. HM government and city councils’ contribution to rental income accounted for 57% of rental revenues 1H21A vs. 1H20A 58% and 59% FY19A. Major industrial and commercial companies account for the balance of revenues. ACE collected over 80% of revenues in the face of Covid for the 6-month period and wrote off Just £130k of rental income in 1H. ACE expects to collect the back log of deferred rents Dec 2021. ACE traditionally looks for two types of core opportunities – 1) end of life tenancies to provide rental uplift via change of use and, in time, capital appreciation and 2) longer-term tenancies (weighted average life of tenancy agreements greater than 8 years) to underpin cash flows. ALSP announced in April 2020 that post Brexit (i.e., 31 Dec 2020) it would be looking for entire portfolios to acquire, signalling a potential nuancing of strategy.

Exceeds Expectations Again

In a challenging  year for the rest of the quoted commercial property sector ACE Liberty & Stone is a beacon of light


Annual revenue YE20A £6.379m up 19% vs. £5.357m YE19A


In a consolidation year portfolio YE20A £87.4m down -1.14% vs. £88.3m YE19A.


Disposal Hume Ho. 133% capital return over 5yrs or CAGR 18.5% p.a.


Rental yield YE20A 7.32% vs. 5.74% yoy, up 158 bps, a 66 bps beat.

ACE promised a year of consolidation during 2020 before returning to growth with a strengthened balance sheet. ACE is delivering in spite of  Covid-19 and Brexit.  ALSP is outperforming the commercial property sector. 

Additional research notes

Click to download

It’s property but not much Covid here…?

ACE Four Beats to our Bar

Strategy shows its robust character

Margins rise, growth on track

ACE Exceeds Expectations

A record year

Trading stronger than ever

Growth with yield 19E >2%

Growth with yield 19E >2%

Activity rate high – Brexit opportunities

Another round of beats and growth

Positive performance

Chesterfield acquisition

Initialises Yorkshire’s tallest building project

Dividends more often

Generous estimates beat

Focused on the growth

Divs and Director “buying” confidence

Solid delivery – more growth to come

In sight 17E targets and value range >GBP 5.50

Activity Below the Surface

Gathering Critical Mass…

Revenues ahead of YE18 and YE19 expectations

Accelerating growth – beating estimates

Net income exchanged for growth


To see the latest Ace & Liberty Stone press releases visit their website.

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Christopher Nicholson, Managing Director, ACF Equity Research

Christopher Nicholson

Managing Director/Head of Research

I am a financial analyst, entrepreneur, professionally qualified equestrian and amateur eventer. Amongst others, I trained as a financial analyst at Global US based fund manager Legg Mason Investors and have been head of Technology and Media Equity Research at Bryan Garnier, a pan-European investment bank and brokerage.

I founded ORACA Independent Equity Research a ground breaking highly independent thinking large-cap secondary comm business and ACF Equity Research, a very high-quality independent issuer-pays small and mid-cap research business. I opened our first corporate finance business (Destrier Partners) and am approaching the launch of our first non-financial services business. In my view, I am only able to do these things because of the quality of the team I work with at ACF. For 11 years I broadcasted as an expert guest and wrote regularly in the leading pan-European and international media including Bloomberg Television, BBC Radio 4 and the Financial Times.

I studied Biochemistry at Kings followed by Economics at LSE and can conduct business in English and French, I speak German and have basic knowledge of Spanish and Italian. My free time, which I make sure I carve out, is in part each day spent on my passion – riding, competing with and caring for my horse(s).

 Mike Wort,Non-Executive Chairman, ACF Equity Research

Mike Wort

Non-Executive Chairman

I have managed over 20 IPOs in the US, UK and Europe from small to large cap, I am proud to be ACF Equity Research’s Non-Executive Chairman.

I am also Executive Chairman of Texadon Oil Plc focussed on oil & gas production in the Texas Gulf Basin and is a Non-Executive Director of UK AiM listed Diaceutics, a diagnostics commercialisation business. I am a life sciences communications expert and have a background in large and mega cap pharmaceuticals.

During my more  thann  20 IPOs and secondary raisings I have brought in well in excess of £600m.

In addition, I have co-founded a number of life science start-up companies in Europe and the USA.

I am a life science communications expert and former life sciences CEO (large to start-up). He graduated in microbiology and lectured to science undergraduates in both the UK and Nigeria. He joined the pharmaceutical industry, working in a number of senior sales, marketing and clinical roles for Glaxo, SmithKline and Wellcome in the UK and overseas.

Appointed IR Manager for Wellcome, I helped organise its global roadshow for a £2.4bn secondary offering.

I have consulted on and conducted M&A and DD in the life science sector and developed disaster recovery programmes for SME companies.

I worked with Deutsche Bank to privatise the Bulgarian pharmaceutical industry. As the CEO of Balkanpharma, I led the consolidation of the three key assets into one cohesive unit. Balkanpharma has, through a series of M&A activities, become a significant part of NYSE listed Allergan.

Formerly MD at De Facto Communications, Bell Pottinger’s healthcare offering, I recently retired from Walbrook, the UK’s most successful SME PR/IR agency.


Amalia Barnoschi, Head of Operations, ACF Equity Research

Amalia Barnoschi

Head of Operations

Joining ACF at its founding I started in financial services in 2007 on the sell-side with ORACA, a large-cap independent equity research business that changed the industry. Before financial services I was a highly successful and rapidly promoted young manager in manufacturing and have worked closely at board level for over 15 years with SMEs in the City and in other financial markets.

I co-run ACF with our MD, as Head of Operations, responsible for driving profitability and developing and designing processes and managing projects for ACF and for client partners to allow our portfolio of businesses to grow. I am bilingual English/Romanian, read Italian and am working towards my accountancy ACCA qualification with AAT.

I love to relax by making time for my favourite out-of-hours activity – photography – taking my first formal nature course in May 2018. I have a keen understanding and interest in horses, though not a rider, this is combined with a life-long love of polo.

Anne Castagnede, Head of Sales & Strategy, ACF Equity Research

Anne Castagnede

Head of Sales & Strategy

I am a sales professional with a top-tier luxury goods background. In the past 5 years I managed flagship boutiques as well as working for some of the great Haute Couture houses including Chanel and Jimmy Choo, where I established a reputation as a top performer by developing, maintaining and offering information and guidance to new and existing clients.

I have researched, recommended and implemented service opportunities as well as improvements. In the early days of my career I trained with Air France and later with Chanel. On my journey I acquired management skills from back office through to front office and have a high degree of practical IT literacy.

I know from personal experience that passion leads the way to perfection and my will to learn matched with my sales ability will result in clients being in very capable hands. My bilingual languages are French and English and I speak Spanish. Off-duty my passions are languages and art.

Renas Sidahmed, Sales & Strategy / Staff Analyst, ACF Equity Research

Renas Sidahmed

Head of ESG / Staff Analyst

I am a macro-economic and financial analyst, linguist, mathematician, professional dancer and chef. I worked for four years with the IMF, two and half years with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and eight months with the World Bank in Washington DC.

I also wrote award winning research notes and met with senior politicians with varied global and local interests in both wealthy and less developed economies. My sector expertise includes natural resources (particularly oil & gas) healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure and investment portfolio management.

At ACF, as part of my staff analyst role, I am also Head of ESG / Sustainability and its products and services.

Before joining ACF Equity Research, I worked with Japan’s second largest brokerage, Mitsubishi Bank, in the London office. I speak six languages including English (native), Italian, French and Arabic and obtained an MBA in Rome and a Mathematics degree from a sister Ivy League – Smith College. I joined ACF because of its entrepreneurial, female friendly City culture, overarching global values and excellent growth prospects.

Anthony Kimber

Anthony Kimber

Senior Analyst ESG / Sustainability

I have considerable experience in the wealth management and private banking industries. I am co-author of the Platforum UK Wealth Management Market Overview report, and previously was Research Director at PAM Insight, a specialist publisher for the wealth management industry. I engage in research and analysis both qualitative and quantitative and am an experienced project and business development manager. I have been commissioned by UHNWI's, companies and organisations for various bespoke projects.

I also contribute to major news and media organisations, compiling and analysing data and research for the Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard on national government and environmental issues. Prior, I contributed to the Guardian, the Spectator, BBC news and investigative programming, the Sunday Times, and the Sunday Times Rich List.

My interest in ESG and sustainability is focused on raising awareness and achieving practical and workable solutions to the climate crisis we are facing. I enjoy spending my free time with family and friends, watching cricket, theatre and film.

Anda Maria Onu, Sales & Strategy, ACF Equity Research

Anda Maria Onu

Sales & Strategy

I have strong analytical, planning and execution skills, I love working as part of a team both inside ACF and externally with our clients and prospective clients.

I am used to working with and within senior leadership teams and understand the needs of small and medium sized companies through my current and previous professional experience, I graduated in life sciences with a specialisation in Ecology and Environmental Protection in Romania in 2007 and for my first job I worked in a laboratory carrying out chemical analysis of industrial waste-water.

I am passionate about the environment and work as a volunteer for the Sussex Wildlife Trust doing conservation work at the Old Lodge nature reserve. In my spare time I am a school governor and have been a juror at the Royal Court of Justice. My hobbies are dance, horses, swimming, opera and theatre.

Zak Mir, Technical Analyst, ACF Equity Research

Zak Mir

Technical Analyst

Zak Mir has 30 years financial markets experience and understands credible influencing across digital channels in order to drive stock liquidity. He is an accomplished author.

I am part of ACF’s advisory and execution team helping growth companies (nano, micro, small and mid-cap) maximise their profiles to achieve the optimal investment message.

Amongst others I have worked for Man Group companies, Berkeley Futures and Sucden. I have been a technical analyst, derivatives broker and Chief Market Strategist for a number of brokers in the retail space developing and optimising client trading strategies. I ran the well-attended annual Master Investor conferences and am a keynote speaker at the UK investor show. I also host the CityAM Podcast.

Analytical communications is part of my forte – I have variously been a markets columnist, editor and commentator for influential retail financial information outlets, amongst others – Investors Chronical, Yahoo! Finance, Shares Magazine, international leading long-form periodical The Spectator, CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

Away from the markets, I am a song writer and musician and have a long and patient interest in politics – areas that continue to be potential additional professional careers.
I was attracted to ACF because of the effectiveness of its high quality research and its forwarding thinking culture.

Richard Calvert, Director, Distribution & Service, ACF Equity Research

Richard Calvert

Director, Distribution & Service

I’m a Modern Marketing Strategist with a strong CXM, digital transformation and innovation background working with global blue chip clients, modern creative and media agencies and start-ups.

I put people, data, technology and brand at the heart of everything I do – always delivering highly creative and effective integrated solutions with engaged, excited teams. I believe in taking everyone from the Account Exec to the C-suite client with me on the journey.

I work with Global clients as easily as entrepreneurial start-ups across a broad range of categories from Automotive to FMCG, Financial Services and Technology. My recent focus has been on Digital integration; Relationship Marketing; Content Planning and Brand evolution.

Specialties: Strategic Planning, CXM, Digital and Business Transformation, Programmatic Marketing, Proposition Development, Content Planning, User Experience Development and Design, Mobile, Consumer Insight Development, Brand Planning and Development, Information Architecture and Design, Business Development, Digital Channel Strategy Development, Brand Development, CRM Strategy and Delivery, Business Development

Vicky Ryce, Director, Research Distribution, ACF Equity Research

Vicky Ryce

Director, Research Distribution

I am a digital communications and distribution specialist and strategist used to board level decision making. I started my career as part of the ground-breaking young cadre that for a short exciting time formed the original Text 100, and whose members have gone on to lead and influence thought in digital communications.

During my career I have worked with world leading agency Publicis and counselled the C-suite of some of the world’s biggest public companies, including Philips, Xerox and Microsoft, on how to improve their communications reach and then helping them execute. I also work with smaller and mid-sized private and public companies on the FTSE 250 and below. I am as comfortable dealing with retail reach, as with corporate and institutional capital markets distribution strategies.

I am an equestrian, proven entrepreneur and charitable volunteer and when I can cut out the time, I help young adults via the Princes Trust. I am an English and History graduate with an MA in Media and Culture. ACF Equity Research has a determined problem solving, enlightened forward-thinking capital markets culture and a global values set.

Adrian Chiappe, Editor, ACF Equity Research

Adrian Chiappe


Adrian has over 20 years investment research writing, editing and supervisory analysis experience for leading investment banks including Barclays Capital, UBS, BNP Paribas, Jefferies, S&P, Danske Bank, ABN Amro, Lombard Odier and Bear Stearns.

He has a deep understanding of his subject. Adrian has executed editing and supervisory analysis for investment banks, brokerages and fund managers. He has up-to-date knowledge of the operational and regulatory framework for international institutional equities markets. Adrian is a materials scientist and has languages