CALGARY, May 14, 2012 /CNW/ - Aston Hill Financial Inc. ("Aston Hill" or the "Company") (TSX:AHF) is pleased to announce it has filed its unaudited interim consolidated financial statements for the period ended March 31, 2012 and related Management Discussion and Analysis with Canadian securities regulatory authorities.
As of March 31, 2012, Aston Hill had approximately $5.9 billion in Assets under Advisory and Management ("AUM") compared to $3.2 billion at March 31, 2011 and $5.7 billion at December 31, 2011 representing an increase of 84% and 4% respectively. The quarter over quarter increase in AUM is the result of the continued strength in net sales of both the Aston Hill mutual funds and funds under sub-advisory with IA Clarington Investments Inc.
Revenues for the first quarter of 2012 were approximately $6.2 million as compared to $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, representing a 93% year over year increase. For the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Aston Hill reported EBITDA1 of $1.5 million compared to $(0.1) million from the first quarter of 2011 and $1.6 million from the prior quarter. The decrease from the prior quarter was largely the result of a $546,000 gain on investments in the prior quarter compared to $76,000 gain in the first quarter of this year. Pre-tax operating earnings in the first quarter of 2012 were $904,000, more than double that of the 2011 fourth quarter of $432,000.
Subsequent to quarter's end, the Company reduced its term credit facility ahead of schedule from $6.0 million (upon closing of the Morrison Williams/ Brompton acquisitions on July 27, 2011) to $2.5 million outstanding at the end of April 2012. This was accomplished using cash flow from operations.
Since February of 2012, Aston Hill has been acting as the promoter for Argent Energy Trust (the "Trust"), a Canadian energy trust that is not a specified investment flow through ("SIFT") trust. The preliminary prospectus for the initial public offering ("IPO") of the Trust was filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities on May 11, 2012. The Trust intends to hold oil and gas assets in the United States and to provide its unitholders with a monthly distribution targeting approximately 9% in annual yield. Assuming successful closing of the financing for the Trust, Aston Hill would provide administrative services to the Trust on an on-going basis and anticipates adding over $300 million to its assets under administration.
Throughout the first quarter of 2012, Aston Hill continued to manage the assets of Sword Energy Inc. ("Sword"), a private oil and gas company. In order to focus on Argent Energy Trust, the Company's management agreement with Sword was substantively terminated on April 20, 2012. The termination resulted in a reduction in AUM of approximately $182 million.
Despite the loss of the Sword contract, and as a result of continued strength in net sales of both the Aston Hill mutual funds and funds under sub-advisory with IA Clarington Investments Inc., the Company maintained its AUM at approximately $5.9 billion as at April 30, 2012 (excluding Argent Energy Trust).
Aston Hill is a diversified asset management company with a suite of retail mutual funds, closed end funds, private equity funds, hedge funds and segregated institutional funds. The Company is also engaged in oil and gas property management. Aston Hill has offices in Calgary and Toronto.
The TSX has neither approved nor disapproved the information contained herein.
- EBITDA: EBITDA is not a standardized earnings measure prescribed by IFRS; however, management believes that most of its shareholders, creditors, other stakeholders and investment analysts prefer to use this performance measure in analyzing Aston Hill's results.
- Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of such statements under applicable securities law. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "continue", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate", "may", "will", "potential", "proposed" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. These statements are only predictions. Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the projections contained in the forward-looking statements throughout this news release. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
For a detailed description of the risks and uncertainties facing the Company and its business and affairs, readers should refer to the Company's annual financial statements and management discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2011, both of which are available at www.sedar.com. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change, unless required by law. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
For further information:
Chief Executive Officer
Aston Hill Financial Inc.
Vice President and CFO
Aston Hill Financial Inc.