Firm Returns Weekly - Four Mile legal ruling upheld (ECOR), Max in Verizon bundle (WBD), Vessel sales (TMI)

A good result for ECOR in its legal dispute, Max bundling and new releases at WBD, and higher rates and vessel sales at TMI.

I've released an important update on tinyBuild, which you can find here:

Important tinyBuild update
Things have taken an unfortunate turn for the worse at tinyBuild. The company is facing a liquidity crisis and looking to raise equity.

But I didn't want to neglect readers who aren't interested in tinyBuild, so I'm sending out the usual newsletter covering the week's events at the other portfolio companies.

Ecora Resources

We have some good news from Ecora: the original favourable ruling on the Four Mile dispute has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, and the A$9.3m accrued can now be released to the income statement in Q4 2023.

There is no on impact on the Group's cash balances as this money has already been received, however, it does mean there's no longer a risk of it being returned to Quasar.

Warner Bros Discovery

Max in Verizon bundle

Max is being included alongside Netflix in a $10 per month bundle being offered by Verizon. This will feature the ad-supported tiers of both apps, but still represents a considerable discount to stand-alone subscriptions.

The ad-supported tier of Max usually costs $9.99, though as I mentioned a couple of weeks back, it was offered at a 70% discount for Black Friday.

Netflix and Apple Open Door to Bundling With Streaming Rivals
A Verizon-backed Netflix and Max deal, and talks between Apple and Paramount suggest that streaming bundles may be about go get bigger and better.

Upcoming releases

In the next week we will see the theatrical releases of both Wonka and Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom. Currently the former is trending higher in terms of popularity, but we'll have to see how things play out following release.

Something else that's just been released in collaboration with Amazon, is Merry Little Batman - an animated film with a Christmas theme, targeted at family audiences.

I must say, I'm looking forward to giving this a watch myself as the art style looks quite interesting.

Taylor Maritime Investments

Vessel sales

TMI has completed the sales of two vessels, one of which was announced in their prior trading update, for gross proceeds of $16.8m. Both were older and smaller vessels than the fleet average, so the sales will lower the average age and raise the average capacity of the fleet.

The proceeds of these sales will be used to repay $11.4m of debt, bringing the outstanding debt balance for TMI down to $156.2m.

Baltic Handysize index

Some other positive news is that after small dip, the Baltic Handysize index (BHSI) has now climbed up to a 1-year high of 872 as of 8 Dec (chart below only shows up to 7 Dec).

Given that the BHSI Time Charter Average was $10,214 per day at the end of September, it's likely that spot rates have now passed above the blended break-even point of $11,850 (incl. dividends) for the TMI fleet, and we're back in positive cash flow territory.

Baltic Handysize index as of 07/12/23 - source
Baltic Handysize index as of 07/12/23 - source

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Jamie Larson