Sir Tom Hunter is eyeing “opportunities to back exceptional founders” after building up an £80 million-plus pot of cash at his business empire.
The Ayrshire-born entrepreneur and philanthropist said cash reserves had risen by £20m to £81m over the past year with plenty of potential to invest despite a backdrop of market turbulence and economic uncertainty.
He highlighted the financial resilience of his West Coast Capital (WCC) group, with a strong balance sheet and no external debt.
The latest accounts, covering the 12 months to the end of March 2019, also show that inter-company debt continues to reduce.
There were no profit and loss figures in the accounts, which encompass West Coast Capital Assets and West Coast Capital Investments. Some £5.2m was donated to The Hunter Foundation over the period.
Hunter said: “We concluded our joint venture with Cala Homes which will allow us to develop Winchburgh, just outside Edinburgh, over the next 15 years building 3,450 homes with steady progress here during 2019.
“2020 will see five UK housebuilders on site, major progress with a new motorway spur, progress on new schools and negotiations continuing to bring a railway station to Winchburgh.
“Another highlight has been our continued investment in advertising analytics business TV2. This investment, where we are the largest shareholder, underlines our investment thesis of backing exceptional founders.
“We first backed TV2 founder Calum Smeaton back in 1998 in a business, Orbital Technology, founded by Kevin Dorren. Chaired by Chris van der Kuyl, Calum has built TV2 into a global leader – we are lucky to be able to invest with such talented people.
“With strong cash reserves we continue to look for opportunities to back exceptional founders.”
He added: “The main reason WCC exists is to make money so I can donate my share to The Hunter Foundation and I’m very proud to say we donated over £5m there over this period – more on this next year.
“I would like to thank my partners and team at WCC who work hard to maximise our returns.”