BNN appoints new chairman sets up advisory panel

BNN Technology has appointed Harry Keiley as non-executive chairman and established an advisory panel.

BNN said Keiley would takeover the role from Lord Mancroft who would continue as a non-executive director.

BNN said Keiley chaired the investment committee of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the largest educator-only pension fund in the world and the second largest pension fund in the US.

It added: "As we expand into new sectors in China, we intend to develop an advisory panel of industry leaders, whose experience will enable BNN to accelerate the execution of its strategy and to capitalise on opportunities in China.

"The advisory panel will be chaired by Miguel Forbes. Miguel is the former President of Worldwide Development at Forbes Inc, the global media group.

"He was part of the launch group for Forbes.com in 1996, before leading the expansion of Forbes Media LLC into financial services, education, television, travel and international markets through joint ventures and licence agreements."

The group also issued an update on its cash position.

It said: "In the annual report and accounts, cash balances comprise an unrestricted balance of £28m and a restricted balance of £14.2m at 31 December 2016.

"Accordingly, cash and cash equivalents at the year end were £42.2m in total, which exceeded our short and long term of borrowings of £19.7m by £22.5m.

"The directors were of the opinion that this represented sufficient cash resources to expedite the group's strategy prior to the student platform and credit services initiatives, and the associated fundraising to execute on these opportunities, announced on 13 April 2017.

"Loans at the year end of £19.7m in total comprised secured bank loans of £11.6m and unsecured loans of £8.1m (principally the convertible loan notes, of which £2.4m has since been converted in to equity in January 2017).

"The secured bank loans are secured by restricted cash deposits and reflect the mechanisms through which cash is transferred from the parent company to our operating companies in China.

"This funding model, where onshore loans in China are secured by offshore deposits, is a common funding model for foreign incorporated companies operating in China.

"Since the year end, £8m of cash has been utilised in the first four months of the year reflecting annual provincial Xinhua payments, as part of the Xinhuatong/Xinhua News Agency agreement, working capital for the mobile phone business, NASDAQ listing advisory costs, year-end audit fees and ongoing company administrative and capital expenses.

"The placing announced on 13 April 2017 raised a further £25m (before expenses), subject in part to shareholder approval, specifically to fund new initiatives in a student platform and credit services.

"Those funds, together with existing funds, are anticipated to be sufficient to deliver on all of the initiatives announced to date."