Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: EARNINGS, Dividend, Stock Sale/Buyback

Associated Capital Group, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Record1 Full Year Results


Associated Capital Group, Inc. ("AC" or the "Company"), a diversified financial services company, today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021.

Financial Highlights ? GAAP basis

 

 

 

 

 

 

($'s in 000's except AUM and per share data)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Quarter

 

 

Full Year

 

(Unaudited)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

AUM ? end of period (in millions)

 

$

1,781

 

 

$

1,351

 

 

$

1,781

 

 

$

1,351

 

AUM ? average (in millions)

 

1,735

 

 

1,286

 

 

1,595

 

 

1,399

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

 

 

13,998

 

 

 

12,009

 

 

 

20,924

 

 

 

18,983

 

Operating Loss

 

 

(2,131

)

 

 

(4,616

)

 

 

(19,076

)

 

 

(12,469

)

Investment and other non-operating income, net

 

 

14,961

 

 

 

75,599

 

 

 

100,415

 

 

 

42,352

 

Income/(loss) before income taxes

 

 

12,830

 

 

 

70,983

 

 

 

81,339

 

 

 

29,883

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income/(loss) to shareholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations, net of NCI

 

 

9,429

 

 

 

51,119

 

 

 

59,203

 

 

 

19,448

 

Discontinued operations, net of NCI

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

(632

)

Net income/(loss)

 

 

9,429

 

 

 

51,119

 

 

 

59,203

 

 

 

18,816

 

Net income/(loss) per share-diluted

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

2.29

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

0.84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A shares outstanding (thousands)

 

 

3,095

 

 

 

3,311

 

 

 

3,095

 

 

 

3,311

 

Class B shares outstanding (thousands)

 

 

18,963

 

 

 

18,963

 

 

 

18,963

 

 

 

18,963

 

Total shares outstanding (thousands)

 

 

22,058

 

 

 

22,274

 

 

 

22,058

 

 

 

22,274

 

Book Value Per Share

 

$

42.48

 

 

$

40.36

 

 

$

42.48

 

 

$

40.36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Back to Society ? (Y)our "S" in ESG

On November 5, the Board of Directors of Associated Capital approved a $0.30 per share shareholder designated charitable contribution ("SDCC") for registered shareholders. This is an increase from last year's $0.20 per share contribution. AC's total contribution, based on the shares registered as of December 1, 2021, is approximately $6.0 million, of which approximately $1.2 million is funded by the GBL SDCC program through AC's holdings in GBL. Since November 2015, Associated Capital's SDCC program of corporate giving has resulted in nearly $31 million in donations to over 160 501(c)(3) institutions across the United States.

Fourth Quarter Financial Data

Fourth Quarter Results

Fourth quarter revenues of $14.0 million were $2.0 million higher than the $12.0 million in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2020, largely due to higher AUM. Total operating expenses, excluding management fee, were $14.9 million in the fourth quarter 2021 compared to $13.5 million in the comparable 2020 period primarily due to payouts on higher performance fees in 2021.

Net investment and other non-operating income was $15.0 million for the quarter, $60.6 million lower than the $75.6 million generated in the prior year period, driven mainly by significant market performance in Q4 2020 as a result of the market recovery from the pandemic.

Fourth quarter Management fee expense of $1.2 million was $1.9 million lower than the $3.1 million management fee for the fourth quarter of 2020 primarily driven by lower investment income in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Our provision for income taxes was $2.6 million for the quarter compared to $18.2 million in the comparable period of 2020.

The increase in book value per share is driven by income during the period, partially offset by the impact of accretion of the discount on the redeemable non-controlling interest issued by our consolidated subsidiary, PMV Consumer Acquisition Corporation ("PMV SPAC"). Accumulated accretion is expected to reverse upon the consummation of a business combination, which is expected to result in the deconsolidation of PMV SPAC.

Full Year Results

Revenues for the year ended 2021 reached $20.9 million compared to $19.0 million in 2020 due to the record levels of both net inflows as well as total AUM for the year combined with the positive investment performance.

For 2021, operating loss before management fee was $10.7 million compared to $9.4 million in 2020, primarily driven by increased Compensation expense, which was driven by better performance of our funds in 2021 when compared to the prior year as well as higher share-based compensation expense due to an increase in our share price. These items were offset by increases in revenues, and a one-time credit recorded to Other operating expenses.

Non-operating income increased to $100.4 million compared to $42.4 million in 2020, primarily driven by a $28.5 million increase related to our holdings of GBL (including a special $2 per share dividend declared in 2021) and other portfolio performance increases.

Management fee expense increased to $8.4 million compared to $3.1 million in 2020 primarily driven by higher investment income in 2021.

Our income tax rate for the year was 21.8% and was lower than the 31.4% rate for the prior year primarily due to foreign investments impacting the prior year rate.

For the year ended 2021 the Company recorded Net Income of $59.2 million, compared to $18.8 million for 2020. Diluted EPS was $2.68 compared to $0.84 for the prior year.

Book value was a record $42.48 per share at December 31, 2021 versus $40.36 per share at December 31, 2020. The increase in Book value per share reflects higher net income aided in part by modest buybacks during the year, partially offset by the accretion of redeemable noncontrolling interest.

Assets Under Management (AUM)

Assets under management at December 31, 2021 reached a record of $1.8 billion, up $430 million from year-end 2020 due to record annual net inflows of $356 million as well as $74 million in market appreciation.

 

 

 

 

($ in millions)

December 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

Merger Arbitrage

$

1,542

$

1,126

Event-Driven Value(a)

 

195

 

180

Other

 

44

 

45

Total AUM

$

1,781

$

1,351

(a) Assets under management represent the assets invested in this strategy that are attributable to Associated Capital Group, Inc.

Alternative Investment Management

The alternative investment strategies focus on the merger arbitrage strategy which has an absolute return focus of generating returns in excess of short term Treasury Bills, as well as strategies using fundamental, active, event-driven special situations factors.

Merger Arbitrage

For the fourth quarter 2021, merger arbitrage generated gross returns of 2.39% (1.73% net of fees), for the year to date period, gross returns were 10.81% (7.78% net of fees), adding to its historical record of positive net returns in 35 of the last 37 years. A summary of our performance by strategy is as follows:

Performance(a)

 

4Q ?21

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

5 Year(b)

 

 

Since

Inception

(b)(c)

Merger Arb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross

 

 

2.39

 

 

 

10.81

 

 

 

9.45

 

 

 

8.55

 

 

 

4.35

 

 

 

7.54

 

 

 

10.38

 

Net

 

 

1.73

 

 

 

7.78

 

 

 

6.70

 

 

 

5.98

 

 

 

2.65

 

 

 

5.19

 

 

 

7.36

 

(a) All performance is net of fees and expenses, unless otherwise noted. Performance shown for actual fund in this strategy. Other fund performance in this strategy may vary. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
(b) Represents annualized returns through December 31, 2021
(c) Inception Date: Merger Arb - Feb-85

 

Merger Arbitrage Flagship Fund

 

Percent Return (%)

Year

Gross

Return

Net

Return

90 Day

T-Bills

T-Bills +

400bps

Gross

Excess

Return

2021

10.81

7.78

0.05

4.05

6.76

2020

9.45

6.70

0.58

4.58

4.87

2019

8.55

5.98

2.25

6.25

2.30

2018

4.35

2.65

1.86

5.86

-1.52

2017

4.69

2.92

0.84

4.84

-0.15

2016

9.13

6.44

0.27

4.27

4.86

2015

5.33

3.43

0.03

4.03

1.30

2014

3.89

2.29

0.03

4.03

-0.15

2013

5.33

3.43

0.05

4.05

1.28

2012

4.32

2.63

0.07

4.07

0.25

2011

4.89

3.07

0.08

4.08

0.82

2010

9.07

6.35

0.13

4.13

4.94

2009

12.40

9.15

0.16

4.16

8.24

2008

0.06

-0.94

1.80

5.80

-5.74

2007

6.39

4.26

4.74

8.74

-2.35

2006

12.39

8.96

4.76

8.76

3.63

2005

9.40

6.63

3.00

7.00

2.40

2004

5.49

3.69

1.24

5.24

0.25

2003

8.90

6.26

1.07

5.07

3.83

2002

4.56

2.45

1.70

5.70

-1.14

2001

7.11

4.56

4.09

8.09

-0.98

2000

18.10

13.57

5.96

9.96

8.14

1999

16.61

12.31

4.74

8.74

7.87

1998

10.10

7.21

5.06

9.06

1.04

1997

12.69

9.21

5.25

9.25

3.44

1996

12.14

8.84

5.25

9.25

2.89

1995

14.06

10.27

5.75

9.75

4.31

1994

7.90

5.53

4.24

8.24

-0.34

1993

12.29

8.91

3.09

7.09

5.20

1992

7.05

4.78

3.62

7.62

-0.57

1991

12.00

8.76

5.75

9.75

2.25

1990

9.43

6.67

7.92

11.92

-2.49

1989

23.00

17.55

8.63

12.63

10.37

1988

45.84

35.66

6.76

10.76

35.08

1987

-13.67

-14.54

5.90

9.90

-23.57

1986

33.40

26.14

6.24

10.24

23.16

1985

30.47

22.64

7.82

11.82

18.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average

3.49

 

The performance above refers to our merger arbitrage flagship fund. Both net and gross returns are shown. Net returns are net of management and incentive fees. Gross returns are gross of management and incentive fees. Individual investment returns may differ due to timing of investment and other factors. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

M&A activity remained vibrant in the fourth quarter of 2021, totaling $1.5 trillion, the sixth consecutive quarter that M&A exceeded $1 trillion and the second largest quarter ever. The strong fourth quarter brought full year M&A activity to $5.9 trillion, the strongest year on record and an increase of 64% compared to 2020 levels. Excluding SPAC acquisitions of $600 billion, 2021 was still a record year for (traditional) M&A.

Deal activity was propelled by mid-size deals, those valued between $1-$5 billion, which totaled $1.9 trillion, an increase of 115% compared to 2020 and a new record. Mega-deals valued over $10 billion totaled $1.1 trillion, a 30% increase year over year. In terms of geography, the U.S. remained the most active venue for targets, totaling $2.6 trillion in deals and accounting for 44% of all deals (up from 39% in 2020). We have said for years that a key tenet of the current M&A wave is global growth and this was evidenced by cross-border deal activity which surpassed $2 trillion for the first time in history, reaching $2.1 trillion, an increase of 68% compared to 2020.

Following years of record fundraising, private equity acquirers more than doubled their activity from 2020 with $1.2 trillion in announced deals, which accounted for 20% of M&A activity in 2021. The most active sectors were Technology ($1.7 trillion in new deals, an increase of 71% year over year) which accounted for 20% of deal value, Financials (13% of M&A volume), and Industrials (11% of M&A volume.)

The drivers remain in place for robust deal activity in 2022 and beyond. We continue to find attractive investment opportunities in newly announced and pipeline deals. We remain focused on investing in highly strategic, well-financed deals with an added focus on near-term catalysts, and are upbeat about our prospect to generate absolute returns in 2022.

The Merger Arbitrage strategy is offered domestically through partnerships as well as to institutional investors. Internationally, the strategy is offered through a number of vehicles, including EU regulated UCITS structures and the London Stock Exchange listed investment company, Gabelli Merger Plus + Trust Plc (GMP-LN).

Shareholder Dividends and Buybacks

At its meeting on November 5, 2021, the Board of Directors declared a semi-annual dividend of $0.10 per share which was paid on December 15, 2021 to shareholders of record on December 1, 2021.

During the fourth quarter, AC repurchased 4,302 Class A shares, for $0.2 million, at an average investment of $36.49 per share.

Since our spin-off from GBL on November 30, 2015, AC has returned $153.7 million to shareholders through share repurchases, and exchange offers, in addition to paying dividends of $27.7 million, including the $4.4 million tax-free distribution of Morgan Group Holdings (MGHL) on August 5, 2020.

At December 31, 2021, there were 3.1 million Class A shares and 19.0 million Class B shares outstanding.

About Associated Capital Group, Inc.

Associated Capital Group, Inc. (NYSE:AC), based in Greenwich Connecticut, is a diversified global financial services company that provides alternative investment management through Gabelli & Company Investment Advisers, Inc. ("GCIA" f/k/a Gabelli Securities, Inc.). The proprietary capital is earmarked for our direct investment business that invests in new and existing businesses. The direct investment business long term plan has three core pillars; Gabelli Private Equity Partners, LLC ("GPEP"), formed in August 2017 with $150 million of authorized capital as a "fund-less" sponsor; the SPAC business (Gabelli special purpose acquisition vehicles), launched in April 2018; and, Gabelli Principal Strategies Group, LLC ("GPS") created to pursue strategic operating initiatives.

Operating Loss Before Management Fee

Operating loss before management fee expense represents a non-GAAP financial measure used by management to evaluate its business operations. We believe this measure is useful in illustrating the operating results of the Company as management fee expense is based on pre-tax income before management fee expense, which includes non-operating items including investment gains and losses from the Company's proprietary investment portfolio and interest expense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year-to-date

 

 

($ in 000's)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

Operating loss ? GAAP

 

$

(19,076

)

 

$

(12,469

)

 

Add: management fee expense

 

 

8,426

 

 

 

3,101

 

 

Operating loss before management fee ? Non-GAAP

 

$

(10,650

)

 

$

(9,368

)

 

 

Table I

ASSOCIATED CAPITAL GROUP, INC.

UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION

(Amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

December 31,

2021

 

 

December 31,

2020

 

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash, cash equivalents and US Treasury Bills (a)

 

$

380,044

 

 

$

383,962

 

Investments in securities and partnerships (a)

 

 

501,706

 

 

 

495,579

 

Investment in GAMCO stock (b)

 

 

60,389

 

 

 

48,907

 

Receivable from brokers (a)

 

 

42,478

 

 

 

24,677

 

Deferred tax assets

 

 

-

 

 

 

2,207

 

Other receivables (a)

 

18,409

 

 

15,273

 

Other assets (a)

 

 

25,201

 

 

 

28,900

 

Investments in marketable securities held in trust (a)

 

 

175,109

 

 

 

175,040

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

1,203,336

 

 

$

1,174,545

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payable to brokers (a)

 

$

9,339

 

 

$

6,496

 

Income taxes payable, including deferred tax liabilities, net

 

 

8,575

 

 

 

9,746

 

Compensation payable

 

 

19,730

 

 

 

18,567

 

Securities sold short, not yet purchased (a)

 

 

12,905

 

 

 

17,571

 

Accrued expenses and other liabilities (a)

 

 

3,580

 

 

 

7,823

 

Deferred underwriting fee payable (a)

 

 

6,125

 

 

 

6,125

 

PMV warrant liability (a)

 

 

5,280

 

 

 

-

 

Sub-total

 

$

65,534

 

 

$

66,328

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redeemable noncontrolling interests (a)

 

 

202,456

 

 

 

206,828

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total equity

 

 

935,346

 

 

 

901,389

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities and equity

 

$

1,203,336

 

 

$

1,174,545

 

(a) Includes amounts related to consolidated variable interest entities ("VIEs") and voting interest entities ("VOEs"), refer to footnote E of the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements included in the 10-K report to be filed for the year ended December 31, 2021 for more details on the impact of consolidating these entities.
(b) 2,417,500, and 2,756,876 shares, respectively.

 

Table II

ASSOCIATED CAPITAL GROUP, INC.

UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME

(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

December 31,

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment advisory and incentive fees

 

$

13,903

 

 

$

11,864

 

 

$

20,530

 

 

$

18,288

 

Other

 

 

95

 

 

 

145

 

 

 

394

 

 

 

695

 

Total revenues

 

 

13,998

 

 

 

12,009

 

 

 

20,924

 

 

 

18,983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation costs

 

 

12,747

 

 

 

11,031

 

 

 

24,457

 

 

 

19,436

 

Other operating expenses

 

 

2,165

 

 

 

2,493

 

 

 

7,117

 

 

 

8,915

 

Total expenses

 

 

14,912

 

 

 

13,524

 

 

 

31,574

 

 

 

28,351

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating income/(loss) before management fee

 

 

(914

)

 

 

(1,515

)

 

 

(10,650

)

 

 

(9,368

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment gain/(loss)

 

 

14,102

 

 

 

71,635

 

 

 

93,405

 

 

 

36,864

 

Interest and dividend income from GAMCO

 

 

154

 

 

 

2,635

 

 

 

5,442

 

 

 

2,812

Interest and dividend income, net

 

 

2,777

 

 

 

1,329

 

 

 

6,357

 

 

 

5,683

 

Shareholder-designated contribution

 

 

(2,072

)

 

 

-

 

 

(4,789

)

 

 

(3,007

)

Investment and other non-operating income/(expense), net

 

 

14,961

 

 

75,599

 

 

 

100,415

 

 

42,352

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income/(loss) before management fee and income taxes

 

 

14,047

 

 

 

74,084

 

 

 

89,765

 

 

 

32,984

Management fee

 

 

1,217

 

 

 

3,101

 

 

 

8,426

 

 

 

3,101

Income/(loss) before income taxes

 

 

12,830

 

 

 

70,983

 

 

 

81,339

 

 

 

29,883

Income tax expense/(benefit)

 

 

2,611

 

 

 

18,231

 

 

17,705

 

 

 

9,374

Income/(loss) from continuing operations, net of taxes

 

 

10,219

 

 

 

52,752

 

 

 

63,634

 

 

 

20,509

Income/(loss) from discontinued operations, net of taxes

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

(632

)

Income/(loss) before noncontrolling interests

 

 

10,219

 

 

 

52,752

 

 

 

63,634

 

 

 

19,877

 

Income/(loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

790

 

 

 

1,633

 

 

 

4,431

 

 

 

1,061

 

Net income/(loss) attributable to Associated Capital Group, Inc.'s shareholders

 

$

9,429

 

 

$

51,119

 

 

$

59,203

 

 

$

18,816

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income/(loss) per share attributable to Associated Capital Group, Inc.'s shareholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic - Continuing operations

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

2.29

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

0.87

Basic - Discontinued operations

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

 

(0.03

)

Basic ? Total

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

2.29

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

0.84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted - Continuing operations

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

2.29

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

0.87

Diluted - Discontinued operations

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

 

(0.03

)

Diluted - Total

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

2.29

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

0.84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average shares outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

22,059

 

 

 

22,304

 

 

 

22,120

 

 

 

22,369

 

Diluted

 

 

22,059

 

 

 

22,304

 

 

 

22,120

 

 

 

22,369

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actual shares outstanding ? end of period

 

 

22,058

 

 

 

22,274

 

 

 

22,058

 

 

 

22,274

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

The financial results set forth in this press release are preliminary. Our disclosure and analysis in this press release, which do not present historical information, contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements convey our current expectations or forecasts of future events. You can identify these statements because they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. They use words such as "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe," and other words and terms of similar meaning. They also appear in any discussion of future operating or financial performance. In particular, these include statements relating to future actions, future performance of our products, expenses, the outcome of any legal proceedings, and financial results. Although we believe that we are basing our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know about our business and operations, the economy and other conditions, there can be no assurance that our actual results will not differ materially from what we expect or believe. Therefore, you should proceed with caution in relying on any of these forward-looking statements. They are neither statements of historical fact nor guarantees or assurances of future performance.

Forward-looking statements involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors, some of which are listed below, that are difficult to predict and could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from any future results or outcomes expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Some of the factors that could cause our actual results to differ from our expectations or beliefs include a decline in the securities markets that adversely affect our assets under management, negative performance of our products, the failure to perform as required under our investment management agreements, and a general downturn in the economy that negatively impacts our operations. We also direct your attention to the more specific discussions of these and other risks, uncertainties and other important factors contained in our Form 10 and other public filings. Other factors that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We do not undertake to update publicly any forward-looking statements if we subsequently learn that we are unlikely to achieve our expectations whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

1 References to financial performance records relate to the Company's operations as a public company beginning in 2015, unless otherwise stated.


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