Space investor Seraphim explores capital-raise after share slump

Britain's first listed investment trust focused on the final frontier is exploring alternative ways to raise capital after seeing its shares crash amid weakening investor sentiment.

Sky News has learnt that Seraphim Space Investment Trust, which has backed innovative companies such as SatelliteVu, an infrared data business, and Altitude Angel, a drone technology developer, is examining plans to secure new funding outside its quoted company structure.

Banking sources said on Tuesday that Seraphim Space was considering plans to create a so-called sidecar fund into which investors could inject a substantial sum to back new space technology companies.

It is also said to be assessing other potential structures to raise money that do not involve issuing equity through the listed company.

Seraphim Space has seen its shares plummet by a third during the last 12 months, leaving it trading at a very substantial discount to the net asset value of its portfolio.

Its discussions with advisers about raising new capital are said to be at a relatively early stage.

One source said it wanted to raise in excess of £150m, although the timing, size and structure of any deal is dependent on investor appetite and market conditions.

Announcing its full-year results last month, Mark Boggett, chief executive of Seraphim Space Manager LLP, which manages the trust, said: "Whilst we expect to continue to diversify the portfolio with selective new investments, uncertainty around the timing of market recovery (and, therefore, our ability to raise new equity capital) means that the size of new investments will likely be small, with investment activity expected to be more weighted in favour of supporting the existing portfolio until a time when the market provides the appropriate conditions to fundraise."

Seraphim Space had been drawing up plans for a conventional share sale early last year but saw its plans deflated by the slump in technology stocks.

The company is chaired by Will Whitehorn, a former president of Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture.

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Its early backers included the British Business Bank, the European plane-maker Airbus and the European Space Agency.

The investment trust floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2021.

On Tuesday afternoon, shares in Seraphim Space were trading at around 30.17p, giving it a market value of just £72.5m.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment.