Corporate news review Monday 24 July 2017

Cranswick CWK – reports a positive start to the current financial year, with 3-month revenues to June 30 up 27%, while net debt of £18m is down £4m on this time last year. The board is confident in both outlook and continued long-term success and development of the business.

Earthport EPO – FY revenues are up c33% to £30.3m, with a adjusted EBITDA losses reduced by c65% to £2.4m Group cash balances at June 30 stood at £11.9m vs. £14.4m this time last year.

Mortice MORT – reports a 36.7% hike in FY revenues to $181.01m, with EBITDA up 114 % to $10.3 m. Following the pacing last December, Mortice reports net debt of $13.5m and balance sheet flexibility to pursue growth opportunities.

Ryanair RYA – Q1 results: CEO Michael O’Leary said the 55% increase in PAT of €397m was distorted by the absence of Easter in the prior year Q1. Highlights include: Traffic up 12% to 35m, load factor +2% to 96%, Av fare up 1% to €40.30, unit costs down 6%, €200m+ returned to shareholders via share buybacks and 397 B737’s in fleet at end of Q1.

Petra Diamonds PDL – issues a FY 2017 trading update and reports an 8% increase in FY production to 4.0 Mcts, with revenue up 11% to $477m. PDL reports year end cash of $205m, vs. $46.1m this time last year, and with Capex now in decline, debt levels will start to fall, expects to become free cashflow positive during FY 2018.

SThree STHR – reports encouraging H1 with accelerated momentum in Q2. Operating profits grew 26% year on year to £19.m, and the group reports a strong financial position with net cash of £5.2m, vs/ £4.4m debt this time last year. Says the macro-economic environment remains uncertain.

Reckitt Benckiser RB. – reports half-year net revenue of £5,017m, down -1%. The results include half a month of trading from Mead Johnson Nutrition, acquired on 15 June. RB CEO says the FY net revenue target of +2% LFL growth is a challenging target amid tough market conditions, and there is work to do on addressing the full implications of the recent cyber-attack.

W.H. Ireland WHI – reports a 24% increase in H1 revenue to £14.9m, with pre-exceptional operating profits of £0.4m. WHI remains optimistic about the outlook for the second half of 2017 and the foundations for future growth into 2018.

Quoted Micro 24 July 2017


Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) has raised £10m via a 6% convertible loan note. The conversion price is 71.25p a share and full conversion would be the equivalent of 26% of the share capital. The loan note is redeemable on 23 May 2019. The holder of the loan note has also been granted an option to purchase some of Ace’s properties.

Block Energy (BLOK) has increased its ownership of the Norio onshore oil field production sharing contract in Georgia from 38% to 69% at a cost of $310,000 in cash. The plan is to move to a 100% working interest. Schlumberger estimates that Norio contains 118.7 million stock tank oil initially in place and it has produced 1.9 million barrels. The production is running at 25 barrels per day and the plan is to increase this to more than 250 barrels per day. That could happen within six weeks of the start of a work programme.

African Potash (AFPO) has raised £50,000 at 0.045p a share and appointed Alexander David as its new corporate adviser. This will help to get the trading suspension lifted. Warrants to raise a further £50,000 will last for 90 days from the lifting of suspension. An agreement has been entered with African Agronomix, which is being given the right to acquire 100% of the company’s 70% interest in the Lac Dinga project in the Republic of Congo.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has appointed Beaumont Cornish as its provisional nominated adviser for a proposed move to AIM. NQ Minerals has secured a $7m loan facility from the RIVI Opportunity Fund and this funds the final payment for the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania. A gold purchase agreement means that 14% of the first 22,000 ounces of payable gold and 7% of the amount in excess of that figure has to be sold to RIVI.

The joint venture between a 40%-owned subsidiary of food and logistics company AfriAg Global (AFRI) and LGC Capital, which is quoted on TSX, is acquiring a 60% stake in South Africa-based House of Hemp, which has a long-term lease on the only certified indoor cannabis growing facility. The joint venture is paying nearly C$20,000 and C$37,000 a month for six months. The joint venture will also secure C$4.9m to scale up production. David Lenigas is chairman of both joint venture companies.

MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised £166,000 at 28.5p a share.


Audio visual products distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) says that the weakness of sterling has helped it to grow and the recently acquired Spanish business has done better than expected. This has led to upgrades for the next three years. Investec has raised the 2017 earnings forecast to 21.3p a share. Cash generation remains strong and the net debt forecast has been reduced to £20.2m. The interim figures will be reported on 12 September.

Regenerative medical devices developer Tissue Regenix Group (TRX) is acquiring CellRight Technologies, a US-based developer of bone processing and soft tissue products, for an initial $25.9m (£19.9m) with an earn-out of up to $4.1m (£3.1m) depending on revenues. The bone technology widens the group product range from a pure focus on soft tissue products. The deal also includes a US manufacturing facility. CellRight has launched 13 products since 2012 and more are due in the second half of 2017. The products are sold through distributors. In 2016, revenues were $5.42m and the gross margin was 62%. Two-fifths of revenues were from spine products. In the eleven months to December 2016, Tissue Regenix revenues were £1.44m. Tissue Regenix raised £40m at 10p a share and the additional funds will finance the growth of the enlarged business. All but one of the directors has subscribed for new shares. Management believes it is possible for the group to move into profit by 2020. Tissue Regenix plans to launch seven products over the next two years.

Qannas Investments Ltd (QIL) is using $8m to tender for 12.9% of the share capital at $0.90 each. There are not enough distributable reserves to pay a dividend of this size.

Transport optimisation software and services provider Tracsis (TRCS) has won a multi-million pound contract with a UK rail operator. The contract will last four years and includes the renewal of some existing licences. There should be recurring revenues after the four year period. There will be no contribution in the year to July 2017.

Tristel (TSTL) says that sales in the year to June 2017 were 17% higher at more than £20m and pre-tax profit is going to be more than 10% higher than forecast. The pre-tax profit is expected to be £4m. The growth is predominantly from international sales.

Crop enhancement technology developer Plant Impact (PIM) says that full year revenues will be between £8.5m and £9m, up from £7.2m the previous year. This is despite the cancelation of shipments of Veritas to Brazil. Contract discussions about Veritas with Bayer in Brazil are continuing and they may take some time. However, new buying arrangements are expected to help 2017-18 revenues reach £13m. There is £3.2m left in the bank but a further £2m is being raised at 31p a share with the possibility of a further £2m. This cash is required to finance R&D.

IP Group has raised its all share offer for Touchstone Innovations (IVO) but technology business developer says that the offer of 304p a share, based on an IP Group share price of 137p, is still below its NAV of 312p a share.

EQTEC Group (EQT) is in talks to acquire the waste-to-energy technology subsidiary of its majority shareholder, EBIOSS. EQTEC will pay for the business in shares and it will also need to raise more cash for working capital. Due diligence is being undertaken.

TV programmes producer Zinc Media Group (ZIN) expects to make EBITDA of £300,000 in the year to June 2017. The business has been restructured and starts the new financial year with a strong base. There is a commissioned TV slate of £6.5m for this year.

Security technology supplier Synectics (SNX) reported a 5% increase in revenues and a rise in gross margins, which enabled the interim pre-tax profit to increase by £1m to £1.3m. The oil and gas sector is showing signs of recovery and the order book is worth £33.7m. There is net cash of £1.8m. A full year profit of £3m is forecast.

Inland Homes (INL) increased its completions by 28% to 188, helped by the development of the company’s in-house construction team. In the year to June 2017, revenues will fall from £102m to £90m, although this excludes the revenues from two land sales.

First Property Group (FPO) has launched a new fund which could double third party assets under management. Fprop Offices LP has eight institutional investors and will invest in office blocks and business parks over a seven year term. So far, £182m has been invested in the fund, including £3m by First Property. A loan to value of up to 30% is allowed. This new fund will not pay recurring management fees and instead First Property will take a share of any profit.

Parity Group (PTY) continues to increase its exposure to consultancy activities. WH Ireland has trimmed its revenues expectation for this year but has maintained its pre-tax profit forecast at £1.6m.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) is raising £2.5m at 1.6p a share as part of the planned move to a standard listing.


World Trade Systems (WTS) has dispatched a circular to shareholders in order to gain retrospective approval for loans from Kudrow, which is deemed to be a related party. This is part of the process of the re-application for a standard listing. Kudrow has waived its right to interest and there is an intention to convert the remaining loan of £860,000 into shares.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) says that work has started on reopening the Gubong mine in South Korea.

Andrew Hore

AVO – More LIGHT at the end of the tunnel – Wall Street Wires

by Spekulator at Wall Street Wires

Quick reminder. I am an active investor into smaller companies where I see (a) genuine value (b) good management (c) an unusual or groundbreaking product. Mostly a,b and c have to be present and correct, but I will make exceptions. I am invested into companies listed on Nasdaq, London main market, AIM and some NEX stocks (formerly ISDX or PLUS Markets).

Just over a month ago I published a small communique about Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO.L), a London AIM listed company developing a groundbreaking proton beam therapy machine to treat cancer. Before I bring you up to date on the latest moves, a quick reminder about what AVO (what most call them) do.

The AVO technology has been developed by ADAM, a spin-off company that AVO bought from CERN, the Hadron Collider people. The most advanced, atom-splitting, Higgs-Bosun particle busting company around has a medical spin-off owned completely by AVO. Clearly as before, both ‘a’ and ‘c’ receive a resounding tick.

Proton therapy for cancer has been around for a few years. It can be summed up as follows. If conventional radiotherapy is likened to throwing a blanket of radioactive beams over a patient to treat a tumour, then proton therapy is a needle of beams going directly to the tumour without affecting the tissue around it. Particularly important for growing children. Several well publicised cases have seen young lives saved and improved through this treatment.

The problem though is the size of the machine and housing required to insulate and treat safely. AVO is developing a LIGHT machine, which in comparison is the size of a bus versus a soccer field. In a March update, the AVO CEO Nicholas Serandour said the first LIGHT system “is expected to be capable of treating superficial tumours in Q3 2018.” That’s just over a year away. AVO is developing its own exclusive treatment centre in Harley Street, London to be completed by Q1 2019. That’s less than 2 years away.

Now we come to financing, where there have been problems: the company has had to go cap in hand to institutions to borrow money, sometimes at a punitive rate. This is due to delays in developing the LIGHT machine, something that as a technology investor I am used to.

An unpopular arrangement with Bracknor Investments meant that AVO borrowed money in exchange for shares and warrants, which worked fine so long as the shares didn’t dip below the nominal 25p. They did, so large fees and additional payments were due. Thankfully, a group of major shareholders under AB Segulah have provided a £3.9m loan to the company on far more agreeable terms, and will no doubt continue to support in future. The group of investors incidentally includes Peter Gyllenhammar, the former Volvo CEO and Aviva Chairman and a shrewd, pragmatic man. A crisis in funding at the company has now passed, and AVO now has a secure future.

I said before that the management team led by Nicholas Serandour and Michael Sinclair have attracted some leading medical practitioners to the board. These people have reputations, (in some cases legends) to protect among their peers. Clearly they (as do I) see the potential this company has to revolutionise the whole process of radiotherapy. Therefore ‘b’ also gets a tick.

Of course the vicious attacks that some so-called investor websites have been making on the company and the AVO management team continued after the funding announcement yesterday. Do these people have an agenda? Perhaps. But with security and funding now in place, AVO can complete the first LIGHT machine and the Harley Street Centre.

At just 17p per share, and a market cap of c£12m, AVO technology should start to deliver a material difference for cancer sufferers in the next few years. As this moves closer, I expect a commensurate increase in the valuation of the company.

Vodafone – Sees Robust Momentum As Revenue Drops 3.3%

Vodafone VOD is yet another company which  seems to think it can describe a fall in revenue as “good” and a sign of “robust momentum” It even goes to the extent of producing better looking statistics which it calls ” alternative performance measures”,  regularly reviewed by management to give readers additional information. Presumably management does not like having to review the real highlights, which include a 3.3% fall in group revenue for the quarter to the 30th June, led by Europe with a reported fall of 4.8% Real momentum there but most people would regard it as going in the wrong direction.

Learning Technologies Group LTG expects revenue in the half year to 30th June to show a 62% rise in revenue to a record £20.8m. After making excellent progress as market leader in the high growth e learning sector, the  order book stood at record levels at the end of the half year and the integration of Net Dimensions which was acquired in March, has been completed on time. The benefits from this will start to be seen at the beginning of 1918, as planned.

Beazley BEZ Profit before tax for the half year to the 30th June rose by 6% and earnings per share by 17% after a strong performance in the US. The interim dividend is also being increased by 6% to 3.7p per share.

Homeserve plc HSV has seen the continuation of strong growth in the period from the 1st April to the 20th July, with particularly strong momentum coming from North America where it has signed up 24 new partners providing it with access to 53m homes.

Empresaria Group EMR has delivered a record first half performance with strong growth leading to a 26% rise in net fee income. The company”s investment strategy has proved to be a success and the acquisition of Rishworth Aviation  is expected to provide further growth in terms of pilot recruitment, in the coming years.

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Sports Direct – Is It “Come Uppance” Day ?

Sports Direct SPD  Preliminary results for the year to 30th April show revenue growth of 11.7%  but apart from that it looks like Mike Ashley needs to get himself down the pub sharpish for another of those famous non alcoholic problem solving meetings. Profit before tax fell by 58.7% on an underlying basis and 22.2% on a reported basis whilst earnings per share were down by 67.9% on an underlying basis and 15.8% on a reported basis. Mr. Ashley lists a litany of reasons which impacted the company but bouncily proclaims that he is looking to the long term and will try to avoid short term volatility. Meanwhile he sees SDL as a sort of Selfridges. At least trading in his new flagship stores is exceeding expectations but “come uppance” may be today’s popular catch phrase in the city

easyJet EZJ has been granted its Air Operators Certificate and airline operators licence by the Austrian authorities and the first flight takes place today. Who ever thought that Brexit would lead to this. Presumably next come the visa problems for those trying to enter the city boundaries of Benidorm.

The third quarter to the 30th June  has been a strong one with capacity rising by 9.5% and passengers by 10.8%. Revenue per seat at constant currency rates rose by 2.2%, ahead of guidance and the figures were further aided by strict cost control and an improved underlying trend in the trading environment. The result is that headline profit before tax expectations have been upgraded to between £380m. and £420m. for the full year. MONY is increasing its interim dividend for the half year to 30th June by 3% and with a commitment that its progressive dividend policy will be continued. Group revenue for the half year rose by 5% led by a strong performance, especially in quarter 2, from insurance which showed a rise of 18% and good growth from money, credit cards and loans. However adjusted operating profit for the full year is now expected to be at the lower end of the consensus range.

Judges Scientific plc JDG is pleased to have seen the the reversal of a long term trend, in the half year to the 30th June. Organic order growth rose by 28.1%, matched by double digit like for like sales growth. Strong first quarter orders were followed by a good second quarter and interim results will be expected to show solid progress in revenue, EBIT and earnings per share.

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Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) – Result of AGM

Advanced Oncotherapy (AIM: AVO), the developer of next-generation proton therapy systems for cancer treatment, announces that at the Annual General Meeting held earlier today, all resolutions were duly passed.

For further information, please contact:

Advanced Oncotherapy Plc

Dr. Michael Sinclair, Executive Chairman

Tel: +44 20 3617 8728

Nicolas Serandour, CEO

Stockdale Securities (Nomad & Joint Broker)

Antonio Bossi / David Coaten

Tel: +44 20 7601 6100

Stifel Nicolaus Europe (Joint Broker)

Jonathan Senior / Ben Maddison

Tel: +44 20 7710 7600

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

Tel: +44 20 7933 8780 or

Paul McManus / Anna Dunphy

Mob: +44 7980 541 893 / Mob: +44 7876 741 001

Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) – Financing facility provided by significant shareholders

Advanced Oncotherapy (AIM: AVO), the developer of next-generation proton therapy systems for cancer treatment, announces that a consortium formed by AB Segulah and other investors has made available a £3.9m loan to the Company.  The loan will have a two year maturity and a 12% per annum rolled up interest rate.  The Segulah group includes AB Segulah, a significant shareholder of the Company, and a group of Swedish investors, including AFMS Radgivning Och Invest AB, Peter Gyllenhammar AB, Mijesi AB and Emendum AB.  Segulah will be issued 15.6 million warrants with a strike price of 25p exercisable at any time over the next five years. Part or all of the loan can be redeemed at any time by the Company at 105% of par value. If an equity financing is carried out by the Company at or above 25p before the end of 2017 the loan can be converted into equity at 25p per share.

Agreement with Bracknor

Bracknor has agreed to waive the requirement for the Company to drawdown the minimum of 10 tranches.  The Segulah loan, which is equivalent to three tranches, will entitle Bracknor to receive commitment fees on this amount only at a reduced rate of 2.5%. No further fees are owed to Bracknor.

The Company does not intend to use the Bracknor facility in the future.  As part of these arrangements the Company will issue 7 million warrants to Bracknor. These warrants are exercisable at 25p and may be exercised at any time over the next five years. 

Commenting, Nicolas Serandour, CEO of Advanced Oncotherapy, said: “The Bracknor financing has been valuable to the Company. I would like to thank them for their flexibility in renegotiating its terms. I am particularly pleased to welcome the support shown by our highly valued Swedish investors and in particular the role that Segulah has played in arranging this new facility. Segulah was our first institutional investor and has participated in every financing since that date.  The Company has benefitted not only from their financial support but also from advice grounded in their extensive international Med-Tech expertise.”

Advanced Oncotherapy Plc

Dr. Michael Sinclair, Executive Chairman

Tel: +44 20 3617 8728

Nicolas Serandour, CEO

Stockdale Securities (Nomad & Joint Broker)

Antonio Bossi / David Coaten

Tel: +44 20 7601 6100

Stifel Nicolaus Europe (Joint Broker)

Jonathan Senior / Ben Maddison

Tel: +44 20 7710 7600

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

Tel: +44 20 7933 8780 or

Paul McManus / Anna Dunphy

Mob: +44 7980 541 893 / Mob: +44 7876 741 001

About Advanced Oncotherapy plc 

Advanced Oncotherapy is a provider of particle therapy with protons that harnesses the best in modern technology. Advanced Oncotherapy’s team “ADAM”, based in Geneva, focuses on the development of a proprietary proton accelerator called Linac Image Guided Hadron Technology (LIGHT). LIGHT accelerates protons to the energy levels achieved in legacy machines but in a unit that is a quarter of the size and between a quarter and a fifth of the cost. This compact configuration delivers proton beams in a way that facilitates greater precision and electronic control which is not achievable with older technologies.

Advanced Oncotherapy will offer healthcare providers affordable systems that will enable them to treat cancer with an innovative technology as well as better health outcomes and lower treatment related side effects. 

Advanced Oncotherapy continually monitors the market for any emerging improvements in delivering proton therapy and actively seeks working relationships with providers of these innovative technologies. Through these relationships, the Company will remain the prime provider of an innovative and cost-effective system for particle therapy with protons.

Severn Trent Drowns In Jargon

Severn Trent SVT  is so mired in jargon that it has started creating new  words which are so obscure and meaningless that it has had to add a little dictionary at the end of today’s update. What is wrong with plain English ? Even HMCR now uses it to good effect. Is it beyond the wit and intelligence of Severn Trents senior management to do the same.

Can they not really do better than ODI outperformances, totex efficiencies, business plans for AMP7 and methodology consultations for PR19. In fact  senior management seems so besotted with this nonsense that it had difficulty in finding anything about which it could update us.

Drax Group DRX managed to turn last years interim profit before tax of £184m into a thumping loss of £83m, and saw underlying earnings per share collapse from 4.2p to 2.2p. so not surprisingly management is taking action. Firstly it is claiming that this transformation is due to the maintenance of operational excellence across the group. Secondly it is more than doubling dividends for the 6 months to the 30th June from last years 2.1p per share to 4.9p. To be fair the figures do include unrealised losses of £65m due to foreign exchange hedging – so that’s alright init ?? Just as a sideline net debt surged from £85m  to £372m. Never mind, that dividend increase should ensure that jobs are safe.

RPC Group RPC will announce at todays AGM that the current share price of the company significantly undervalues its performance to date  and its future prospects. Revenues for the quarter to 30th June have been well ahead of the same period last year and have also exceeded management expectations. An inaugural share buy back program of up to £100m. is to be launched.

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ has produced a record first quarter performance with profits rising by 50% to a record £58m, as passenger numbers rose by 25%. There is however some caution expressed about prospects for the second half of the year.


Cello Group CLL enjoyed a good first half with strong overall and like for like growth from Cello Health in the 6 months to 30th June. Expectations are that full year results will also be strong.


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Commercial Director appointed for CCI Ltd – Feedback (FDBK)

Feedback plc are pleased to welcome Ian McLellan as Commercial Director for CCI Ltd. This new role will develop the market and sales channels for our products, supporting sales growth including the launch of next generation TexRAD products as part our commitment to invest in our Brands.

Ian has joined CCI after working closely with the management team over the last six months in a consultancy role to develop our strategy and Commercial structure.

Experienced in both global Corporate and small company environments as well as the NHS, he brings international sales and strategic marketing expertise in nuclear medicine and imaging modalities acquired from GE Healthcare, where he had senior roles in market development and as UK Marketing Manager. Ian also brings a track record of successful licensing and distribution agreements to support our business growth, having in-licensed two ground-breaking nuclear imaging agents whilst at Amersham Healthcare.

His career has involved interaction with stakeholders and users at all levels and this appointment will provide significant additional resource and expertise as CCI seek relationships, local distributors and a widening customer base.

Ian McLellan commentedI have been impressed with the technology and expertise within CCI, and I am pleased to be joining at this exciting time in the Company history as we develop new growth opportunities through product innovation and wider sales channels.

CCI Ltd CEO Mike Hayball observedWe welcome Ian to the management team. He has brought significant expertise to our strategy development and his experience of developing new markets and product launches will enhance our ability to generate growth and strengthen user awareness of our technology.

Weak Pound Is Not A Crutch For Weak Management

Experian EXPN produced revenue growth of 6% in the quarter to the 30th June. On an organic basis the growth was 4% and for business to business on an organic basis it was a sturdy 7%. But Experian is yet another company  producing appalling figures for the UK which suffers more and more from the devastation wreaked on the country by politicians who regard a weak currency as the greatest benefit they can give to the nation and deliberately pursue policies aimed at destroying the value of the pound. Revenue in the UK & Ireland fell by 13% during t he quarter and even at constant exchange rates there was a decline of 3%.

Royal Mail RMG CEO Moya Green believes that a 1% revenue rise in the three months to the 25th June can fairly be described as “another strong performance” in GLS. Total letter revenue fell by 4% but she remains silent as to whether that is weak or strong. Parcels did better with revenue up by 3% on volume up by 5%. Star performer was Royal Mail Tracked Services with growth of 39%.  Despite miserable figures in some areas, she claims that the overall trading performance for the quarter was good.

Dairy Crest DCG Volume sales for Dairy Crests four key brands in the quarter to 30th June are 7% ahead of last year, Cathedral City leading the way with a rise of 15%. There is a cloud on the horizon in the form of increased input costs, which have increased substantially for the butter business and led to a reduction in the promotion of Country Life in order to try and save money. Overall however trading for the quarter has been in line with expectations.

Ideagen plc IDEA is increasing its final dividend to 0.142p per share making a total increase for the year of 15%. Revenue for the year to 30th June rose by 24%, profit before tax by 22% and underlying organic growth by 10%. Trading since the year end has been robust with strong demand from new customers.

Alliance Pharma plc APH Sales in the six months to the end of June grew by 8% with help from a weak pound adding £2.6m part of which was offset by higher import costs. The cp,[any’s international growth brands have been successful with sales growth of 50% or more.


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