The beleaguered PLC put the Roche and Peterborough sites up-for-sale three months ago, at the same time as it announced the strategic review that could result in the disposal of its circa £220m turnover printing operations. The Peterborough factory is also occupied by Wyndeham.
Roche has now been sold to Rodenhurst Estates, a subsidiary of Highcroft Investments, in a £4.2m cash deal.
One industry observer described the site as “the biggest shed in Cornwall”. It comprises 23,225sqm across two units, as well as a vacant site. Rental had contributed £400,000 to St Ives’ operating profits.
St Ives said the cash from the sale would be used to reduce net debt. However, the deal will also result in an impairment charge as the price is lower than the £4.9m value of the property on St Ives’ books.
In a statement, Highcroft Investments non-executive chairman John Hewitt said: “This new property provides a very attractive yield off a low rent of £2.00 per square foot and the purchase price is at a level less than build cost for the property.
“Industrial units of this size are scarce in this region of the country and its location adjoining the A30 makes it very accessible. This will show a significant return on our equity invested and we continue to seek further investments to expand our portfolio.”
Wyndeham’s lease runs until April 2021. Chairman Mark Scanlon said the group had opted not to purchase the site itself: “This makes no difference to us, it is just a change of landlord,” he said.
St Ives’ share price, which has been in freefall since the beginning of the year following a second profits warning at the £367.5m turnover group, descended to 45.25p at the end of last week – a new all-time low. The 52-week high was 149.63p.
The market capitalisation of the entire group is currently £63.75m.
St Ives chief executive Matt Armitage has not responded to requests for comment, and there has been no update on the strategic review.