2021 was a year of big change for Youngtimers AG – being in effect an inactive investment holding company for several years, the company had changed its name to Youngtimers AG at the June 2021 AGM, replaced the Board of administration, completed the recapitalization to the tune of 35 million francs capital increase in July 2021, moved its headquarters to Basel and acquired Garage Italia Customs Srl as the first steps of its brand new business strategy serving the world of style luxury lifestyle.
The unfortunate political events that followed, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, rendered Youngtimers’ original business plans irrelevant to today’s world – the company’s significant new shareholders were convinced that at this time the world did not need a new luxury trading hub in central Europe as it is ravaged by war, economic turmoil, the balkanization of trade world and the displacement of millions of people.
Therefore, we went back to the drawing board and made a lot of changes. The all-new Youngtimers remains a work in progress, but the main areas of focus are already clear by now.
First, we will use our strong balance sheet for short-term, special-situation investments in e-commerce and media, primarily targeting European transactions and focusing on the under-banked listed small and mid-cap universe. Youngtimers has already managed to achieve the first exit with Pininfarina from Italy and a partial exit with Talenthouse from Austria, both being profitable trades, with the remaining investments in Talenthouse and several other investments active today.
Secondly, while we remain the controlling shareholder of the Garage Italia group originally created by our major shareholder Lapo Elkann, the board of directors has unanimously decided not to invest further significant capital in vertical companies and adjacent Luxury Cars and Youngtimers has already managed to successfully divest some of the related businesses. assets such as Petrolicious. We have also significantly reduced the value of our remaining assets relevant to the Garage Italia Group to reflect the shift in our strategic focus towards other business activities.
Third, Youngtimers AG proactively seeks new growth opportunities where our capital and ability to add value and create synergy with our tactical investments in Europe can make a difference. The company’s annual general meeting in August is scheduled to change the company’s strategy to reflect the new global market environment and new business opportunities identified by our team and shareholders, with the new plans to be communicated in September. In the meantime, minority investments in tactical special situations in listed stocks and bonds in the media and broader e-commerce sectors remain Youngtimers’ core business and generate sufficient cash flow to support our operations. .
As the world has changed dramatically in the first half of 2022, Youngtimers is rapidly embracing and building the sustainable and socially responsible investment and education business of the future. I am confident that with the extraordinary support of our shareholders and committed leadership, Youngtimers will be able to deliver and execute a very strong investment case well into the near future, with our balance sheet buttressed for any turbulence and our focus being squarely on situational investments in the wider media and e-commerce space.
Chairman of the Board of Directors