Fox Marble Holdings plc - The Theory and Practice!

Wednesday, May 25 2016 by
5


5746084c8d370Fox_Marble.jpg


 Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX)

Market Capitalisation £16.9 million

Share Price 10.5p

The Theory

Fox Marble Holdings plc obtained an AIM listing in August 2012 raising £9.65 million at 25p . The company acquired the licences and permits to extract marble from 5 quarries in three different locations in Kosovo.  The company claimed to have at least one billion tonnes of marble in a country with low taxes, low labour costs with worldwide demand for its marble products in a country only too willing to involve foreign investment.

The original objective at listing was to initially to extract and sell block-marble for further processing within 6 months.  Thereafter to have their own production facility completed for the final marble cutting and polishing.  The 5 quarries are in Kosovo and the licence obtained for 28 years or so.  

Chris Gilbert CEO informed the market at the time of listing that they had more than enough money for the heavy lifting equipment, the factory building and the sawing/polishing equipment needed for the factory. After 12 months Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX) objective was to be self-financing.

The company had planned to acquire more quarries which it did bringing its number of quarries up to nine.  All marble is not equal.  Different prices for different types of marble exist with pure white being the most sought after and able to be sold at the highest price.

The company would only be selling to wholesale distributors of marble and not direct to retailers.  The Chinese market was identified as using 54% of marble.  Other major markets would be North America, Britain and Middle East.

Extracting marble alone made profits and further margins could be made by cutting and polishing when its own factory completed.The actual marble selling  price depended on which type from nine types was going to be sold.

The Practice

The first hiccup came in December 2012 when it appeared that 4 of its 5 licences had been revoked by the authorities without notice one Friday.  Initially, the company was in a state of shock one weekend but later it was sorted out to both sides satisfaction.  the result was that Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX) quickly opened the remaining quarries shortly after, possibly to satisfy the authorities.

The company acquired a 10-acre site for its factory.  Hardly expensive land somewhere in the middle of nowhere!  The actual structure of the factory was acquired cheaply from another country where it had been dismantled and shipped to Kosovo for assembly. Nice to make good savings for investors on the original 9.65 million raised.

Hang on the company had to go back to the market to raise 4.75 million extra in 2014.  One million pounds of this was used to acquire a sub-lease on a nearby quarry with the valuable Sivec marble.  Not so sure about who will make the money looking at the sale agreement. The gross revenue royalty looks like taking a large percentage.

Fox Marble (AIM:FOX), is pleased to announce that it has entered into a sub-lease arrangement with New World Holdings (Malta) Limited in relation to the new Omega Sivec marble quarry at Prilep in Macedonia.  This new quarry site is adjacent to the Company's
existing operations in Prilep.

As previously announced the consideration for the sub-lease is £1,000,000 and a subsequent 40 per cent gross revenue royalty obligation. The sub-lease has an initial term of 20 years, extendable by the Company for a further 20 years. The sub-lease grants the Company the exclusive right to quarry, process, remove and sell marble from the
quarry. 

The Sivec pure white marble is the highest prized marble and is easy to sell and much sought after around the world.  Fox Marble Holdings sale announcements of marble seen concentrated on one or two marble types.  I noticed that Argento Grigio  a second marble type of 900 tonnes were sold to St Georges Plc the luxury homes division of Berkeley Homes Plc.  Plenty of announcements for Sivec marble sales.

I wonder how profitable currently are the other marble types with so little sold.The company was not supposed to be dependent on the cutting and polishing for it profits as  the marble could be shipped abroad for this to be done. Having your own factory simply adds to £FOX  own bottom line and keeps Kosovo the authorities sweet.

Conclusion

I think the real negative for the company is that as yet the company cannot generate sufficient sales for what it has produced over last three years. Forward sales this year of £3.9 million, but how much of this yet again will be carried into next year. Where is the break-even point, and a timeline for dividends?  

A lot of marble stock must be lying around in the open ground. The company has spent millions extracting it with minimum sales in early years. Eventually, the company may have to rationalise the number of quarries that it  wishes to keep open with large write-offs as a consequence.

In recent weeks Fox Marble Holdings plc has raised another two million pound at 10p per share to once again pay for the equipment for the soon to be completed factory to get into production.

For disappointed investors, Fox Marble Holdings has not delivered on its  original objectives as regards any promised deadline or keeping within budget on money already raised, or generating the volume of sales necessary for positive cash flow, or the completion of factory complete with equipment. 

I have looked at a few video presentations/interviews over the last three years.  The same spiel is given in all of them as if it was day one of an exciting adventure.   Chris Gilbert CEO is a good public relations person in the UK with good ability to raise finance.  I am somewhat concerned at his lack of mining credentials.  

Far too easy to be hoodwinked in an unknown sector in a foreign country The foreign management on the ground in Kosovo seemed to have very little to show for almost £15 million spent to date.  They seem to have run rings around the  management at home.

I certainly will not be investing in this company. I want to see profits and dividend announcements. It is certainly one for braver investors in the investment community.  I do realise that some smart investors took part in the 10p per share fundraising who seem to know about these things.  I will follow with interest from the sidelines.

Regards

Dearg Doom

PS (Article is written for entertainment purposes only. I have no special insight into marble market. DYOR carefully. )


Disclaimer:  

All articles and comments are for general information only. No investment advice intended.

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Fox Marble Holdings plc is engaged in the exploitation of marble quarry reserves in the Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia. The Company is focused on the extraction and processing of dimensional stone from quarries in Kosovo and South East Europe. Approximately four of the Company's quarries are in operation at Cervenilla, Syrigane, Malesheva and Prilep producing over nine varieties of stone. In total approximately 10,700 tons of marble is extracted from these quarries. It is exploiting Cervenilla quarry across approximately three separate locations (Cervenilla A, B and C), from which red, light and darker grey marble is produced. The quarry at Syrigane site contains a range of the multitonal breccia and callacatta type marble. The Malesheva quarries contain a mixture of Cremo Olta marble, Illirico Bianco marble and Illirico Selene marble. The Prilep quarry contains the white Sivec marble. It also holds exploitation licenses for quarries at Antena, Verrezat, Peja and Drini. more »

LSE Price
11p
Change
 
Mkt Cap (£m)
19.9
P/E (fwd)
13.7
Yield (fwd)
n/a



  Is Fox Marble Holdings fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »


18 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

Kelvin Prescott 25th May '16 1 of 18
1

argh, so sorry - meant to click the thumbs up and clicked the wrong one!

A useful article, thanks, and some good comparison of what was promised vs. what was delivered. I'm ambivalent about Fox - the current price seems to discount much of the previous bad news. But... will management (ever) actually deliver the sales that were promised. Just don't know....

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Carolyn Blunt 26th May '16 2 of 18

Stockrank =2 , says it all really!

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cig 27th May '16 3 of 18
1

In reply to Carolyn Blunt, post #2

The stock rank for such speculative stocks doesn't tell much (other than here the clearly negative price momentum). It's like using an alarm clock to measure temperature, not the right tool for the job.

I hold for fun, though it was a bit of a random punt. It will multibag though if they manage to find clients for their marble and don't get expropriated/ransomed by some locals. We may also get a speculative spike if it takes the fancy of some popular tipster. But of course it can also sink to zero.

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Richard Goodwin 27th May '16 4 of 18

I was put off by directors high pay levels and being unable to work out how the CEO adds value.

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Stupanico 30th May '16 5 of 18

Chris Gilbert is a total pumper. He just goes to all the Investor Shows saying "we have no need for cash" before passing the hat around 3 months later. Every few months he comes up with a new excuse why there are yet more delays. This is one of the biggest jam tomorrow stocks on AIM. Do NOT trust him!

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Dearg Doom 2nd Jun '16 6 of 18

Fox Marble released full year results today June 2nd 2016.


Key Points


Very disappointing sales revenue of only 230K.  Could it be worse?

 

Net loss £3.3 million for the year end.  Cash burn is enormous.

Net cash position is only 2.8 million.  Should have enough for another 12 months. 

New shares issued on market at 10p to raise £2 million are tradeable from today.  More than likely to see share price slowly drift to the downside.

 

Some new shareholders who were simply flipping will sell. Longer term shareholders may further realise that the sales figure above is atrocious.  Everything is huff and puff.  The 3.9 million forward sales sounds dubious to that figure in relation to actual sales this year.

 

Fox marble is supposed to have a cost advantage in production, variety of marble types, and a steady marble commodity price. Yet it can’t sell in quantities necessary.

 

The company will be back to the market again in possibly 6 month’s time to raise a few more million, with distractions of acquisitions,   one off site and production interruptions and increased figures for forward sales.


Share rarely traded except in small daily quantities.  One big block trade yesterday should be ignored as related to the share placing. No trades this morning in shares so far.

 

Regards

 

Dearg Doom

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Ramridge 2nd Jun '16 7 of 18
2

The cashflow statements say it all.
Starting from today's report, each year's FCF going back one year is -£4.4m, -£6.1m, -£4.3m, -£1.8m.

Not exactly a barge pole, but nevertheless uninvestable as far as I am concerned.

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cig 2nd Jun '16 8 of 18
1

In reply to Dearg Doom, post #6

The cash burn seems commensurate with what they're trying to do, some people spend that much on redecorating their kitchen and we get an entire factory and a few quarries up and running.

The key issue is whether they're going to manage to sell it, hard for us to know if they're competitive (mere proximity may not be enough when sea shipping is cheap). Trumpeting a deal with Elboracum Marble does not sound too good (one-man company registered last year with a whole pound of capital).

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garbetklb 2nd Jun '16 9 of 18

Thanks cig - poor work by me.

I recall having a quick look trying to find Eboracum Marble at the time of the announcement & failed. Just looked again - the director appears not to have any marble market presence & the other companies he's been involved in appear dormant & in unrelated areas.

Not a deal to imbue great faith in the management - sold this am. We had a v small investment - and even smaller at date of sale.

It's not immediately apparent that the Eboracum deal will ever amount to much......

Another valuable lesson.

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Dearg Doom 11th Jun '16 10 of 18
1

Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX)   Closing Price 11.30p +1.55p (+15.90%)

Noticed a large volume of share dealing in Fox Marble which lifted the price 15%+ over the course of the trading day.  Momentum investing I guessed, if it moves follow it is the mantra.

A RNS announcement after 4 p.m on Friday showed.  

Type of financial

instrument


Expiration

date xiii


Exercise/

Conversion Period xiv


Number of voting

rights that may be
acquired if the
instrument is
exercised/ converted.

% of voting

rights


SPREADBET/CFD

2,500,000


1.40%

Two days earlier on June 8th 201. Artemis Investment Management LLP on behalf of discretionary funds under management acquired circa £110K of stock.

Investors are putting two and two together and coming up with a wrong number. Listening to an soft interview on June 2nd given by Chris Gilbert was certainly not his best performance.  Just the first two minutes  will confuse the best of us. Order book, deposits are seemingly mismatched together to confuse rather than clarify the overall situation.  Here is the link.

https://www.google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&sou...

Key questions include........ 

When does the company recognise a sale order? 

 Is it just a verbal non-binding request, an order with deposit? 

What percentage deposit is taken on orders? 

Is the deposit refundable?

Regards


Dearg Doom



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gus 1065 19th Aug '16 11 of 18
1

In reply to Dearg Doom, post #10

RNS update released this morning - earlier than expected apparently. Perhaps a prelude to another round of fundraising albeit with current share price now below the previous 10p placement.

http://www.investegate.co.uk/fox-marble-holdings--fox-/rns/operational-update/201608190700056014H/

Anyone still on the lookout for jam tomorrow?

Gus.

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Dearg Doom 19th Aug '16 12 of 18
2

Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX) Price 9.25p

A few potential investor concerns are the slowness in generating sales and the relatively tiny quantity of marble produced since production started. Currently, around 1.750 tonnes of marble is in stock and available for sale. 1,000 tonnes of which is the supposedly the valuable white sivec marble.

Looking at websites, marble is generally sold to retail customers in square metres and not in tonnes. On a simple enquiry to a wholesaler, I was told that one tonne makes around 19sq metres at .20mm thickness. More informed persons may know whether this is correct or not

Checking prices on-line


Brand New Polished Chinese Sivec
Natural stone polished white marble For Floor Tiles and Wall Tiles


Free On Board
Price US $20 - 40 / Square Meter | Get Latest Price
Min.Order Quantity: 500 Square Meter/Square Meters
Supply Ability: 50000 Square Meter/Square Meters per Month
Port:Shanghai



Back of envelope calculations


1,750 tonnes at circa $30 per tonne x 19 sq metres at 20mm thickness is roughly $1 million. Fox marble has 4 million in orders to be completed before end of year. 

On a separate concern is Eboracum Marble Limited. This company represents £2 million of the £4 million forward order sales for Fox Marble. This company formed 10 months ago has capital of £1 and one share owned by Scott Oldfield who is the only employee at that time.

The company address is a box office address at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU which offers a London business address and mail forwarding services. I have seen similar services costing under £50 p.a.

Scott Oldfield the managing director of Eboracum Marble Ltd has been a director in several companies, some of which are no longer listed as active companies. Scott's position in one company was as a bar manager.

Shareholders should hope Fox Marble has done due diligence on such an important customer. Fox Marble do say they received £390,000 as a prepayment from Eboracum Marble Limited. Maybe everything is fine. I do however have my doubts.


Cash burn will probably mean another fund raising exercise. To date, Fox Marble best success is selling a potentially good story to raise more funds. I  would not expect any disappointing news to be released until the next funding is secure.

Be careful,


Dearg Doom









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Dearg Doom 20th Sep '16 13 of 18
2

Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX)

Share Price 10p (up 5.46% today)             Spread 9.5p - 10.5p

Market Cap £20 million

The company is down to its last 2 million cash.  This looks certain to be needed for the long overdue factory completion and general overheads.  I suspect plans are already in the process for another fund raise in early October.  The share price may well be supported over next few weeks to help get away a 30 million share issue at circa 7p to raise another £2 million working capital.  

One would have thought that Fox Marble ltd could have sold the unpolished marble it produced over the last few years. This would have generated substantial cash flow albeit at lower profit margin by getting the final marble polishing done elsewhere.  The fact it did not do this in any volume, shows selling marble as a producer is not as clear cut a proposition as it would seem.  Had it done so in the pass, than another diluting share issue could have been avoided. 

More information and breakdown is given on orders

Customer - Eboracum Marble Ltd.

Deposit Received £390,000 for a £4 million order of which £220k is being recognized in the first half of year. Does this mean only £42,000 of sales is recognized from all other customers to 30/6/2016.  Suggests circa £170,000 in the second half of the year will be delivered.

Eboracum Marble is a family run business with one employee who has been involved in other unrelated businesses for short periods of time with companies that tend to come and go.  This new company has not filed any accounts.  Accounts are due in 61 days’ time should make interesting reading.

Meanwhile here is a link to the company website. The link does not work. How come it does not surprise me.

http://www.eboracum-marble.co.uk/

I hope Fox Marble has really got the cash for the order, but I will remain somewhat doubtful until I see Eboracum own published accounts.  I think Fox Marble might find this customer’s order will be the first and last order.

Other Customer Orders

"The Company has signed an agreement with Marble Dino Sh.p.k. for the supply of €1.5 million worth of marble slabs during 2016 and 2017, of which €250,000 is expected to be recognised during the 2016 financial year."

"An agreement has been signed with Karailias Marble Limited for the supply of a minimum of €440,000 worth of marble during 2016, for which the first shipments commenced in May this year."

Rough calculations indicate turnover for the year of around £1 million.  What the actual profitability on any measure is open to debate. The £17 million of retained losses have been created to date.  The market cap is circa £20 million.  Return on capital employed will be very low.

Fox Marble has arranged to pay £500,000 for necessary pieces of machinery for the factory.  Payment will be made through future marble sales on the marble it produces. We may find given the nature of the marble industry that the equipment supplier maybe getting the better deal either by the price charged for the machinery or the quantities of discounted marble offered to settle the debt.

The company in the past has spent its investors’ money without getting good value.  Shareholders have seen £17 million of retained losses with little to show. Surely a factory that was built on cheap land with second hand building structure bought  cheaply plus some new and second hand machinery could have been achieved on a lesser budget.  Fox Marble may have been better served by buying out an existing producer and shipping the marble there. 

I would love to see the future spreadsheet of annual sales and profits for next five years as envisaged by the company.  Will a £2 million turnover in 2017 allow the company to make a profit and is that sort of turnover readily obtainable.

My main suspicion is that no dividend or capital will ever be paid back to shareholders  due to Fox Marble’s inability to generate sufficient sales at anywhere near the profit margins it originally projected.

Regards

Dearg Doom

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DavidWithers 20th Sep '16 14 of 18

In reply to Dearg Doom, post #13

Do you know anybody who has personally been to the quarry and seen any of the marble and machinery?

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cig 23rd Sep '16 15 of 18
1

In reply to DavidWithers, post #14

If you start asking that sort of question, you're in trouble. I can claim to own Buckingham Palace and you can go and see it, but to validate my claim I own it you go through the paperwork to check who really owns it. Here you need someone who understands the Kosovar property rights system (if any)...

Maybe there are quarries but perhaps the only right they have is to take photos of them...

(Previous holder, now out, it really looks like a scam at this stage.)

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DavidWithers 23rd Sep '16 16 of 18

In reply to cig, post #15

cig, it was a rhetorical question to avoid making any specific allegation. I have never been a shareholder and it is becoming increasingly unlikely that I ever will, for the reasons you state.

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shipoffrogs 23rd Sep '16 17 of 18
1

It's an old economy business selling a product with proven demand and after 3 years of trading isn't turning over more than the earnings of a well paid middle manager !

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Dearg Doom 4th Oct '16 18 of 18
4

Fox Marble Holdings (LON:FOX)  

Share Price  11.13p

Bid/Offer 10.75p - 11.50p    (Up circa 8.5%)

Landmark venture formed with the Kosovo Government


                                57f3edae053caFox_CEO_2.jpg

Fox Marble plc released an RNS this afternoon concerning a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of 40 quarries in Kosovo. The aim is to open these quarries and build the necessary factories over the next 5 years with the potential  of 2,000 jobs to be created.

Here is the link http://www.investegate.co.uk/fox-marble-holdings--...

Round numbers of £100 million just roll off the tongue for a 59% share ownership of the Stone Alliance for Fox Marble shareholders.  That looks like a 41% loss in valuation day one.


"Fox Marble, the AIM listed company focused on marble quarrying and finishing in Kosovo and the Balkans region, is pleased to announce that it is participating in a new project through a newly formed company registered in the U.S., Stone Alliance LLC ("Stone Alliance"), a company which is 59% owned by Fox Marble"

"Stone Alliance is seeking to raise at least €100m from new investors as the business plan dictates.  It is envisaged that the fundraising will commence shortly."


Of course, this money for their 59% shareholding has yet to be raised from unsuspecting shareholders. I suspect the other 41% ownership will be a virtual free ride for those locals, partners and existing managers of Fox Marble. We must not forget their back-breaking paoer folding exercises to come up with a draft for this original idea.  Every 1% of ownership of the new company Stone Alliance is only worth a million pounds a pop, even at the minimum capital raising level of €100m.


"Directors and former Directors of Fox Marble, who have interests in Stone Alliance, are Mr Andrew Allner (1%), who will act as the Deputy Chairman of Stone Alliance and Dr Etrur Albani (10%).  Chris Gilbert, who will act as the CEO, will receive an interest of up to 3%, subject to specific performance criteria being met. These holdings reflect the work they have done in order to establish Stone Alliance.  The balance of the interests in Stone Alliance are held by a variety of local partners, consultants and advisers"


A memorandum of understanding as I understand it not a binding agreement. Much fanfare is made about Fox Marble considerable experience in quarry mining by the Kosovo government. I presume that any government in that part of the world would welcome foreign investment.

A little bit of pump, ramp and distraction by Fox Marble over next 3 weeks should generate enough excitement to allow Fox Marble plc to get a share placing away for less than £5 million. This is needed for its own orignal factory completion and the beginning of operations.

Investors Chronicle magazine on casual reading seem to have a positive stance on Fox Marble. The columns generated in the magazine bear a very close resemblance to the PR spin and the RNS releases by the company. I can't believe how easy a ride Fox Marble gets. Does the magazine just cover too many companies too briefly each week?

Regards



Dearg Doom


PS (I have never held a position in this company. I rarely read the Investors Chronicle.  This article is opinion only and for entertainment purposes only.)

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