The Unacceptable Face of Sports Direct

Sports Direct SPD Dave Forsey yesterday resigned both as CEO of Sports Direct and as a member of the board, after, as he put it, having “given my entire working life to the company” – hardly the sentiments of a man happy with his fate. And guess who has been appointed  by the nodding donkeys on the board to replace him as CEO ? Why of course it is none other than one Mike Ashley, the very same Mike Ashley who recently admitted to a parliamentary committee that his head was stuck so far up a cloud that he was completely unaware of the serious and long standing malpractices of his own company under his leadership.

Ashley’ performance in front of the committee was so embarrassing and harmful to the company, that most people in his position would have squirmed but he appeared to have not a squirm in him. Judging by those performances and the admissions as to his failings which he was forced into making, the one question should now be asked is, how can he believe that he is a fit and proper person to resume daily operational management of the company which he has so let down.

The damage caused to the company and its shareholders is huge.In August 2015 the share price stood at 805p since when it has fallen virtually non stop and closed yesterday 285.5p. Since as recently as the 6th September it has fallen by 17% following a critical report issued by its own lawyers and which identified serious shortcomings in working practices.

On the 15th September, Its in house brokers, Goldman Sachs, cut profit expectations by more than 5%. The company itself has had to warn of higher costs and lower margins.

What appeared to be another, of what should have been final straws, at least until yesterday, was to see Chairman Keith Hellawell, whose career since he stopped being a policeman hardly inspires confidence, clinging on to his position after the independent shareholders voted him out, a decision which brings us back to the nodding donkeys, who in true Sports Direct tradition, decided to ignore the vote and keep him on.

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Brand CEO Alan Green talks Andalas Energy (ADL) & Smart Metering Systems (SMS) on VOX Markets podcast

Brand CEO Alan Green discusses the latest Andalas Energy & Power (ADL) developments, plus Smart Metering Systems (SMS) with Justin Waite on the VOX Markets podcast. The interview is 11 minutes in.

Trifast (TRI) – VectorVest sees excellent fundamentals and a strong technical trend

VVUKlogoTrifast plc (TRI) is a United Kingdom-based manufacturer and distributor of industrial fastenings. The Company provides design support and problem solving solutions to its customers. The Company designs, manufactures and distributes a range of plastic components, metal fasteners and fixings on a global basis to both distributors and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) assemblers. It has has six manufacturing sites in Asia and one in the United Kingdom; with a global logistics capability from approximately 25 business locations within the United Kingdom, Asia, Europe and the United States.

An opportunity to invest into the Trifast story was identified some time ago by VectorVest. Indeed, Trifast continues to trade well below the VectorVest valuation as it continues to grow earnings both strongly and safely. Earnings potential (RV) is an excellent 1.33 while earnings safety (RS) is also excellent at 1.32. Above 1.3 for each metric on a scale between 0 and 2 on VectorVest is defined as excellent.

The technical position has improved over the last five months with the share breaking northwards from a consolidation pattern that was in force since May 2014. The consolidation is known by the charting subset of technical analysis as an “ascending triangle”. Trifast broke out of the pattern during April 2016 and then came back as is normal to “kiss” the former resistance. The chart of Trifast is shown below.

Trifast chart

Over the last month the share has climbed from 130p to 150p and looks bound towards the 200p level.

At VectorVest we advocate buying safe, undervalued shares, which are rising when the general market is rising. Trifast scores well on the fundamental and technical position of the share but at present the general market is not coming to the party.

In summary Trifast has both excellent fundamentals and a strong technical trend. If and when the Primary Wave on the general London market turns upward, then the share will offer a high probability opportunity.

David Paul

September 21st 2016

PS: Readers can examine the opportunity at Trifast (TRI), and indeed on a host of other similar stocks for a single payment of £5.95. This gives access to the VectorVest Risk Free 5-week trial, where members enjoy unlimited access to VectorVest UK & U.S., plus VectorVest University for on-demand strategies and training. Link here to view.

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On VectorVest a simple search using the Unisearch tool will quickly find shares that are undervalued with good fundamentals that have just issued a Buy recommendation. This will give the active trader a short list of many high probability trading opportunities each week. Traders now have the opportunity to spend five weeks discovering VectorVest’s unique simplicity, automation and independent guidance. Just £5.95 buys a 5 week trial to enable deep exploration, or how the system can assist in smarter trading in as little as 10 minutes a day. Powerful tools. Proven strategies. Unique Perspectives.

Link here for more info and to set up a trial. 

European Financial Publishing Limited T/A VectorVest UK (VectorVest) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under register number 543038. You should remember that the value of investments and the income derived therefrom may fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount that you invest. Past performance is not a reliable guide to the future. This material is directed only at persons in the UK and is not an offer or invitation to buy or sell securities. If investors are in any doubt of the suitability of an investment given their individual circumstances, they are recommended to contact an investment manager or independent financial adviser who may be able to provide tailored advice. Opinions expressed whether in general or both on the performance of individual securities and in a wider economic context represent the views of VectorVest at the time of preparation. They are subject to change and should not be interpreted as investment advice. VectorVest and connected companies, clients, directors, employees and other associates, may have a position in any security, or related financial instrument, issued by a company or organisation mentioned on this site. European Financial Publishing Limited is a company incorporated in Scotland under Company Number SC357322 with its registered address at Exchange Tower, 19 Canning Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EH. Email:

Feedback (FDBK) – Trading update

FBKlogoFeedback plc (AIM: FDBK), the medical imaging software company, is pleased to announce an update on current trading.

The Company has made good progress in conjunction with Alliance Medical on a technical solution that would allow the integration of TexRAD into Alliance’s network of PET/CT scanners in UK hospitals and a prototype version has already been demonstrated to potential users. The next steps will include applying for a CE mark for a medical device which provides analysis of lung PET/CT images with added prognostication through TexRAD.

The number of new purchase orders received for TexRAD research versions has increased significantly in recent months leading to expectations of a much improved cash inflow over the next few months. However this follows a period of about 12 months where sales of research versions were at a lower level and mainly to existing customers. We are now assessing whether the present high level of sales can be continued with additional sales support.

Our final results for the financial year ended 31st May 2016 are scheduled to be announced in October 2016. These are expected to show turnover significantly ahead of the previous year and a substantially reduced operating loss.

For further information contact: 

Feedback plc
Alastair Riddell 

Tel: 01954 718072

Allenby Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
David Worlidge / James Thomas

Tel: 020 3328 5656

Peterhouse Corporate Finance Ltd (Joint Broker)
Lucy Williams / Duncan Vasey

Majestic Wine -Testing Before Learning

Majestic Wine WINE  appears to have been so mismanaged that it has been forced to issue an update, warning that it will not even achieve its modest target of 1% sales growth for the current year. EBIT for the year to 3rd April 2017 will be £2m.less than market expectations as a result of the first half having been more challenging than expected. Sales growth is flat and gross margins % is down by 200 basis points. That dreaded event, an internal review, is said to be underway.

Naked Wines in the US will move back back into loss as a result of new initiatives which did not work and which are having to be abandoned. The company claims that test and learn in a market the size of the US, is expensive but most companies would learn, at least something first and test later. Majestic however did the opposite and then management wonders why it has got the company into a pickle. Perhaps there should be an internal review at a higher level.

Diageo DGE has started 2017 well and performance will be stronger than last year claims the company, with key drivers being scotch, US spirits and India.

SAGA plc SAGA Everything about Saga’s first half has been robust, especially the interim dividend which is being raised by  a robust 23%. Travel has put in a robust trading performance, the operational performance has been robust, as has the financial performance. Hopefully the CEO will be given a robust lesson in how to vary his adjectives a bit, next time round. Profit before tax rose by 8.5% for the six months to 31st July and like for like basic earnings per share were up by 8.2%. All this was achieved despite a competitive environment and the company is on track to meet its full year targets.

32Red TTR is raising its interim dividend by 18% for the half year to 30th June after profit before tax modestly surged by 2,630% following a 63% rise in total net gaming revenue. Both revenue and EBITDA rose to record levels, with strong growth across the business and its brands. Growth has continued into the second half and on a like for like basis it is up by 4%.

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Brand CEO Alan Green talks markets, Horizon Discovery (HZD) & Smart Metering (SMS) on TipTV

Commodities are likely to be the main driver of the market in the short-term, says Alan Green, CEO of Brand Communications, while explaining the current market scenario on today’s opening segment of the London open show. He also discusses Horizon Discovery (HZD) and Smart Metering Systems (SMS). He is joined by Tip TV’s Zak Mir.

Andalas Energy & Power (ADL) – Appointment of Non-Executive Director

Andalas-Logo-Positive-PNG-01Andalas Energy and Power Plc, the AIM listed Indonesian focused upstream oil and gas and power company (AIM: ADL), is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Robert Arnott as Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.  Dr Arnott is a pre-eminent figure in the international oil and gas industry and the Board is confident that he will be highly instrumental as the Company advances its strategy to become a leading Indonesian focused energy company.

Dr Arnott has over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, during which he has successfully executed a number of high profile transactions and sourced funding for several major development projects.  Starting his career with Shell International, Dr Arnott subsequently moved into investment banking, working at both Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Goldman Sachs International, where he established an extensive network of investment contacts.  Moving back into the upstream industry he has distinguished himself as an active board member with high level involvement in the growth and success of numerous public and private energy related ventures.

As a Board member of Spring Energy AS, Dr Arnott rapidly grew the Norwegian Continental Shelf focused upstream oil and gas company ahead of its eventual sale to Tullow Oil in January 2013.  He was since a director of Core Energy AS, an oil and gas company focused on the producing fields of the Norwegian Continental Shelf.  During his career he has also held the role of Chairman at each of Petroceltic International plc, Global Petroleum Limited and Oyster Petroleum Limited and a non-executive directorship at Rocksource ASA.  Dr Arnott is currently non-executive chairman of Hurricane Energy plc (AIM:HUR), the UK based oil and gas company.

Andalas Non-Executive Chairman, Paul Warwick, said: “Rob brings with him an unrivalled combination of industry knowledge and commercial expertise in the oil and gas industry and throughout his career he has demonstrated his ability to execute attractive value accretive transactions.  I believe his appointment to the Board and support of our strategy is a clear signal to the market that Andalas is an emerging energy company with significant potential to make a material contribution to Indonesia’s energy industry, where new power sources are critically needed to keep up with current demand let alone future growth.  His appointment follows our recent partnership agreement with Indonesia’s state oil company, PT Pertamina (Persero), and adds further gravitas to our already highly experienced and qualified board, as we look to commercialise our gas-to-power business concept and capitalise on the highly compelling opportunites inherent in the Indonesian energy market for the benefit of both the country and our shareholders.”

Commenting on his appointment, Rob Arnott said: “The gas and power supply/demand fundamentals in Indonesia are clearly evident – with a serious power crisis affecting many regions, and the economic development of the entire country, there is certainly an important opportunity for a company with the relevant technological expertise and in-depth knowledge of the country such as Andalas.  I am joining a Board which already boasts significant industry and in-country experience, and I am excited at the prospect of using my expertise and contact base to further Andalas’ ambitions to realise the Board’s vision of delievering on its gas-to-power concept.  Within the current remit of our partnership with Pertamina, which provides Andalas with unique access and depth of opportunity to small gas fields in our target areas, I believe we are in an excellent position to rapidly commercialise assets and generate real returns for our shareholders.”

The following information regarding Dr. Robert John Arnott, aged 58, is disclosed under Schedule 2(g) of the AIM Rules for Companies:

Current directorships and/or partnerships Former directorships and/or partnerships (within the last five years)
Hurricane Energy plc
Independent Oil Tools PLC
Independent Oil Tools AS
Brimham Resources Limited
Rocksource ASA
Oyster Petroleum Ltd
Global Petroleum Limited
OPHL Investment Limited
Petroceltic International plc
Tullow Oil (International) Norge Limited
Spring Energy AS
Impax Environmental Markets plc
Core Energy AS


For further information, please contact:

David Whitby Andalas Energy and Power Plc Tel: +62 21 2783 2316
Sarah Wharry
Craig Francis
Cantor Fitzgerald Europe
(Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
Tel: +44 20 7894 7000
Lucy Williams
Charles Goodfellow
Peterhouse Corporate Finance
Limited (Joint Broker)
Tel: +44  20 7469 0930
Colin Rowbury Cornhill Capital (Joint Broker) Tel: +44  20 7710 9610
Frank Buhagiar
Susie Geliher
St Brides Partners Limited Tel: +44  20 7236 1177

Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (“MAR”). Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service (“RIS”), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

French Connection Strong in UK and Europe

French Connection FCCN Group revenue for the half year to 31st July declined to £69.2m from last years £75.8m as store closures continued but the loss before tax remained steady at £7.9m FCCN does its best in its half year report to point to the better statistics to justify its claim of a strong performance. Square footage fell by 15.8% but like for like sales were only down by 2.3% but the UK and Europes was strong with a like for like rise of 6.5% and the strong performance has continued during the first 6 weeks of the second half.

Kingfisher KGF claims it is starting to build solid foundations and has enjoyed a productive first half, driven by the UK and Poland. 52 of the 65 planned store closures have now been completed. On a statutory basis, pre tax profit grew by 10.6% for the six months to 31st July, on sales up by 4.7% whilst basic earnings per share rose by 3.7%.

Smart Metering SMS is raising its interim dividend by 25% to 1.37p per share for the 6 months to 30th June, after continued strong growth saw it pass the million mark for utility meter and data assets. The electricity meter portfolio rose by 28% but  combined gas and electricity metering saw a more modest rise of 10%. revenue for the half year was up by 25%, with underlying profit before tax and earnings per share rising by 15% and 23% respectively.

Pure Circle PURE Despite challenging market conditions, the market for Sevia grew strongly in the year to the end of June, with sales rising by 9%, gross margins by 41% and operating profit by 90%. Net profit after tax soared by 257% and earnings per share following suit with a rise of 242%. The company claims that prospects for the next 4-5 years are also strong.

Fastjet FJET admits to a very difficult and challenging first half  as its problems seemed to increase,  with the six months to the 30th June producing a loss after tax of $15m as against last years profit of $6.4m. Revenue did rise slightly but the operating loss also surged with a rise from $12.8m to $31m. Action taken by the new CEO will see the fleet of five A319s  reduced to three by the end of the year and the head office will be relocated from Gatwick to Johannesburg which is a fairly sensible move for an African airline with its main base in Africa.

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Quoted Micro 19 September 2016


Etaireia Investments (ETIP) has appointed Ian Fallman as a non-executive director. He was previously head of the Asia Pacific activities of Bloomberg and a non-executive director of AIM-quoted recruitment firm Hydrogen. He does not seem to have much direct experience of property investment companies and Etaireia is currently focused on the UK.

Energy efficiency products supplier Sandal (SAND) says that its MiHome radiator valves have been integrated in the programme of Google-owned Nest. This enables the control of individual radiators vie the Nest system. There are around 300,000 users of Nest in the UK and the radiator valves could also be sold in Europe.

ISDX is hosting an event called Cyber Security Risks: Threats to Publicly-Traded Companies and the Capital Markets on 21 September. The networking and panel session will be led by a team of experts and cover the current cyber security landscape and how public companies can prepare themselves for potential cyber attacks. The event starts at 8.30am and will be held at 2 Broadgate in London.


Bond International Software (BDI) has agreed terms for the sale of its remaining software interests for £17.25m. The sale to funds managed by Symphony Technology has to be approved by shareholders. Anyone who has accepted the 105p a share bid from Constellation Software Inc can still vote but how 29.6% shareholder Constellation decides to vote is likely to be the key to whether the transaction goes ahead. Bond has the backing of shareholders owning more than 27% of the shares. If the sale does happen and the bid from Constellation and the proposed bid from ESW do not go through then Bond will be wound up and it should be able to pay out at least 113p a share. The head office still has to be sold but an initial distribution of between 101p and 105p a share could be made before the end of November.

Replacement windows supplier Safestyle UK (SFE) continues to win market share in the consumer market. In the six months to June 2016, revenues were 13% ahead at £83.5m and underlying pre-tax profit improved from £9m to £10.6m. The dividend has been raised by 10% to 3.75p a share. Strong cash flow means that pro forma net cash is £12.4m. Some of this cash will go on investment in expanding the company’s manufacturing facility.

Verona Pharma (VRP) is well financed following its recent placing and this means that it can concentrate on pushing ahead with the trials for RPL554. COPD and asthma are two of the potential uses for RPL554. The fundraising brought new shareholders to the company which can help it to find partners for the potential treatments.

Consumer-focused franchises operator Franchise Brands (FRAN) has a strong management team and the intention is to grow via acquisition. The first acquisition since flotation could be made by the end of the year. If this does not happen there should be £2.4m in the bank according to house broker Allenby. The two current franchise brands are mobile paint repairs provider ChipsAway and oven and hob cleaning service Ovenclean. Acquisitions will be focused on consumer-facing businesses that are already proven and profitable. Pre-tax profit improved from £612,000 to £724,000 in the first half and the business is cash generative. A full year profit of £1.14m is forecast.

Exiting molecular diagnostics has enabled EKF Diagnostics (EKF) to reorganise its remaining operations and the benefits are starting to show through in the latest interim figures. Revenues grew 18% to £17.5m and the underlying loss after amortisation was £750,000. Both point of care and central laboratory grew strongly in the period. There was net debt of £4.3m at the end of June 2016. This will continue to be reduced and there will be further improvement in the profit position in the second half.

Audio visual systems distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) has reported its first figures as a quoted company and it has already announced its maiden dividend. In the six months to June 2016, revenues were 12% ahead at £158.3m and adjusted pre-tax profit improved from £6.14m to £7.56m. The interim dividend is 1.5p a share. The full year pre-tax profit is forecast to grow from £14.5m to £16.3m. See further information on Midwich here.
Oil and gas explorer Sound Energy (SOU) has been one of the better performers on AIM this year. There have been exceptional flow results from a test at Tendrara in Morocco. Schlumberger has farmed-in to the Badile well asset in Italy and it was take a 20% interest in return for €7.5m of funding. There is cash in the bank of $27m and a debt facility of a similar amount.


Pharma-focused standard list shell Levrett (LVRT) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Nuformix Ltd, which is involved in co crystal technology. Cocrystals are solids that are crystalline materials composed of two or more molecular and/or ionic compounds. Cocrystals are used in drug development. When it floated Levrett raised just over £900,000 at 2p a share. Trading in the shares has been suspended and the suspension price is 3.5p.

Another standard list shell RockRose Energy (RRE) has agreed non-binding terms to acquire the non-operated interests of Maersk Oil North Sea UK. The interests are a 7.43% stake in Wytch Farm, 5.16% of Scott and 2.36% of Telford. Trading in the shares has been suspended at 44.63p a share. At the beginning of the year, RockRose raised £4.4m at 50p a share.

Andrew Hore


Dairy Crest To Be Impacted By Food Price Inflation

Dairy Crest Group DCG  Expects a good first half performance,  with Clover, Country Life and Frylight all showing strong volume growth for the half year which will end on the 30th September.  Market share continues to be increased. However there are clouds on the horizon in the shape of price inflation which has already started and which the company expects to impact margins and butter volume in the second half. The milk price paid to farmers has risen by 12% and the price of cream has doubled in a very short period.

Petra Diamonds PDL Net profit after tax rose by 12% for the year to 30th June following only a 1% rise in revenue on production up by 16%. Petra describes these as a strong set of results despite pressure on prices in the first half and unusually it gives no further information on prices, preferring instead to the look to the future outlook it see for 2017 which it claims will be the year when all the promises start to become reality. Firstly it will enter the final stage of its expansion program  and in the second half it expects to become free cashflow positive, despite some caution about future diamond prices but again no further information is provided.

Finsbury Food FIF performed strongly during the year to 2nd July with adjusted profit before tax up by 40.8% and the final dividend increased to to 1.87p, making a rise for the year of 12%. Like for like revenue was up by 5% and total revenue by 24.8%. 2016 was the year when it delivered on its growth strategy and rolled out vision and value at all levels, whatever that may mean. For 2017 claims to be excited about new innovations for muffins and doughnuts. The balance sheet is strong and it has made record capital investment  for the future

Styles & Wood STY
produced a strong performance for the half year to 30th June with good growth and strong cash generation. Significant success was achieved in securing long term contracts as its diversification program began to bite. The company returned to profitability with last years first half loss of £0.5m being turned into a profit of £0.4m and earnings per share coming in at 2.6p compared to last years loss of 10.2p per share. Net debt has been virtually halved.

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