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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 20 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Fuel emulsification technology developer SulNOx Group (www.sulnoxgroup.com) plans to join NEX. SulNOx has developed an emulsification and condition process for hydrocarbon fuels. This process makes the fuel more efficient and thereby reduces fuel usage and emissions. Nouryon AB will manufacture and distribute the company’s products under the Berol brand. SulNOx will do the sales and marketing. The directors are applying for approval of eligibility of the company for EIS relief.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) has obtained a NEX Growth Market quotation. The shares continue to be traded on AIM.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has agreed to subscribe for four million shares in Apollon at 25p each, although part of the investment requires shareholder approval. This is equivalent to a 2.34% stake. However, AfriAg needs to raise this £1m in order to make the investment. It had £101,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and NAV was £1.9m. The plan is to obtain an option to acquire the rest of the company. Apollon is a medicinal cannabis company and it has an affiliate in Jamaica that has a licence to cultivate, process and sell hemp and medicinal cannabis. Specific strains of medicinal cannabis have been developed.

KR1 (KR1) is generating staking yield revenues on the Cosmos Network, which launched on 14 March. The yields will be a minimum 5.6% yield and it could be much higher. This type of revenues could be generated by other networks where KR1 has an investment.

Sativa Investments (SATI) had £3.74m of cash at the end of 2018. This will be used to develop operations in the UK and Germany. Last year’s revenues were £260,000.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has taken operational control of the Vast Mineral Sands diamond mining contract. Cash generated will finance gold exploration.

High Growth Capital (HASH) has consolidated 20 shares into one new share. Dealings commenced on 16 May.

Primorus Investors (PRIM) increased its NAV from £4.95m to £5.16m at the end of 2018. This has been achieved even though pre-IPO investments have had their flotations delayed by poor market conditions. There was £408,000 in cash in the balance sheet.

Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has raised £10m at 176p a share by issuing shares to Woodford as part of the agreement in the flotation prospectus. NQ Minerals (NQMI) has issued 1.37 million shares at 6.5p each to satisfy a payment for the three month extension of maturing debt.

Gowin New Energy (GWIN) has extended the loan agreements with four shareholders so that the repayment dates are all around the beginning of November. The loans total £500,000.

AIM 

Software provider Sanderson (SND) prospered in the first half. Revenues improved by 18% to £17.2m and operating profit was one-third higher at £2.8m. Recurring revenues grew by 18% and they are 55% of total revenues. Sanderson has already secured most of the revenues it requires to make the full year revenues forecast of £35.3m, which is expected to generate pre-tax profit of £5.4m.

Block Energy (BLOE) has raised £12m at 11p a share. This comes less than one year after Block joined AIM when the oil and gas company was valued at £10.3m at the placing price of 4p. The cash will be invested in the West Rustavi PSA in the Republic of Georgia. Up to four horizontal sidetracks will be drilled in order to scale up existing production, as ell as drilling one new well. There will also be funds for 3D seismic, appraisal of two existing gas discoveries and increase the capacity of production facilities to up to 5,000 barrels per day. This will all be done over the next 12 months.

Investment and new store opening costs have pushed fishing equipment retailer Angling Direct (ANG) into loss. In the year to January 2019, revenues grew from £30.2m to £42m. International sales more than doubled to £4.7m. IT investment is improving efficiency. Angling Direct will continue to lose money this year as the number of stores is set to be increased from 24 to 34. It takes more than a couple of years for a store to start to mature so the benefits of the current investment will take time to show through in profit terms.

Live events agency Aeorema Communications (AEO) says its revenues reached a new high in the second half and full year revenues will be better than expected. New business has been won but it is lower margin than previous contracts so profit will be in line with expectations. There should be a full year dividend. Last year’s dividend was 0.75p a share, which was an increase of 50%.

TruFin (TRU) is launching a tender offer for up to £5m of shares at 92p each. The tender offer closes on 4 June. TruFin recently £44.5m raised from the sale of its stake in Zopa and demerged Distribution Finance Capital (DFCH). There are plans to return a further £5m by the end of 2019.

Churchill China (CHH) is continuing to trade strongly so far this year. The opening of the Rotterdam distribution facility is supporting European growth. Sales of added value products are growing. The integration of the Dudson brand and products is progressing well.

Online retailer MySale (MYSL) has sold the cocosa.co.uk website. This is part of the plan to exit the UK and concentrate on Australia and New Zealand.

Film completion contracts provider FFI Holdings (FFI) says operating profit will be at the lower end of the range of $7.5m to $11.5m previously reported.

Maistro (MAIS) has decided to leave AIM. The company has gone from a hyped-up online business called blur to cash strapped operation that needs to save as much money as possible. Maistro has raised plenty of cash in its time as a quoted company.

Veltyco Group (VLTY) has generated flat revenues from sportsbook and casino marketing business in the year to April 2019. The revenue mix has changed, and lower margin activities have grown in importance. The company is loss-making and more investment will be required.

The recovery at Safestay UK (SFE) appears to be stalling, even though it is growing revenues faster than the market is growing. The problem is that margins are not improving as quickly as expected.

Ten Lifestyle (TENG) increased revenues by 24% to £21.5m but the loss has risen due to greater investment in the business. The lifestyle and travel platform still has £13.2m in the bank. New contracts are being won and existing ones increased in size.

MAIN MARKET 

Blencowe Resources (BRES) has wasted little time in securing a takeover target. It plans to acquire a company which is the owner of the Oram graphite project in Uganda for £2m in shares at 6p each.

nmcn (NMCN), which formerly North Midlands Construction, says first quarter revenues increased by 27% to £94.4m and improved margin meant that profitability increased by 170% to £1.75m. The built environment division moved back into profit and the water division doubled its profit. There is £22m in the bank. The secured workload for the year is £342m.

Packaging manufacturer and distributor Macfarlane Group (MACF) says profit is ahead of last year and in line with expectations. Sales have grown by 7% so far this year and organic growth is 3%. The manufacturing operations have grown fastest.

Highway Capital (HWC) is catching up with its figures having published more than one set this week. The interims to August 2018 show a cash outflow from operations of £9,000. Net liabilities were £614,000.

There was a £949,000 cash outflow from operations at Toople (TOOP) in the six months to March 2019. There is net cash of £546,000.

Flavours supplier Creightons (CRL) says second half sales will be similar to those in the first half. There will be a £350,000 benefit from research and development tax credits.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) has adjourned its general meeting following the resignation of Jonathan Bixby. Mike Edwards become chairman. Another director will be appointed in consultation with First Investments, which requisitioned the general meeting. First Investments is backing the existing business by investing up to $1m as a cryptomining-as-a-service customer.

Andrew Hore

Brand CEO Alan Green talks Bidstack #BIDS, Eve Sleep #EVE & Bluebird Merchant Ventures #BMV on Vox Markets podcast

Brand CEO Alan Green discusses Bidstack #BIDS, Eve Sleep #EVE & Bluebird Merchant Ventures #BMV with Justin Waite on the Vox Markets podcast. The interview is 12 minutes 6 seconds in.

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 13 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

National Milk Records (NMR) improved revenues from £5.32m to £5.56m in the three months to March 2019. Disease testing revenues grew at the fastest rate. This quarter did not benefit from one-off revenues like the first two quarters of the financial year.

Gledhow Investments (GDH) reported a reduction in net assets to £735,000 at the end of March 2019. Gledhow has trebled its money in Block Energy and sold the stake, but most of the proceeds came after the end of March.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) believes that Sport:80 has missed the chance to float, but TruSpine still has a chance to become quoted. International payments and lifecycle software provider Zuuse could be ready for a flotation within 18 months.

Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) has finally published its results for the year to August 2018. They show revenues falling from £226,000 to £96,000, although the loss was similar at £336,000. UK and Netherlands demand were weaker than expected.

Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) says its joint venture Morgan Ashley has achieved financial close on two more projects. A further three could be closed in the current quarter. Even so, group pre-tax profit will be lower. There will be an update in July.

Sativa Investments (SATI) is changing its name to Sativa Group to reflect that it is a trading company with a greater focus on UK operations. The application for a Home Office research and development licence to grow medicinal cannabis is proceeding well. This is for its own requirements as well as growing some varieties for order.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has acquired properties in Warrington and Middlesbrough for more than £10m. The Communities and Local Government department is the long-term tenant of both properties. The Warrington property cost £2.9m and the Middlesbrough property £7.125m.

In the first four months of 2019, NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 6,857 DMT of lead concentrate, 4,763 DMT of zinc concentrate and 29,389 DMT of pyrite concentrate.

Giles Brand has increased his stake in EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) from 23.1% to 30.5%. EPE has a NAV of 241.3p a share. Almon I Holding SA has a 3.16% stake in Coinsilium Ltd (COIN).

MetalNRG (MNRG) is delaying a move to the Main Market because of the uranium exploration ban in The Kyrgyz Republic, which means that the proposed farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit has been suspended. Due diligence is progressing on the Thambani licence and the transaction agreement with Mkango Resources by the end of June. Once it has funding, MetalNRG will make progress with the Gold Ridge project.

Panther Metals (PALM) reported a doubled cash outflow from operating activities of £309,000 last year. There was £1,247 in the bank at the end of 2018.

AIM   

Begbies Traynor (BEG) says that trading was ahead of expectations. The business recovery and property services provider says both divisions performed well. Shore has upped its pre-tax profit forecast for the year to April 2019 by 6% to £7.1m, compared with £5.6m the year before. The full year figures will be published on 9 July.

Interactive Investor has decided not to make a bid for Share (SHRE).

RA International (RAI) has won two new contracts. A five year contract worth $9.8m has been awarded by the United Nations Support Office for vehicle and equipment fleet services in Somalia. This is for ten locations compared to one previously. There is also a contract for construction services relating to the US Embassy in Denmark.

Immupharma (IMM) intends to merge its two French subsidiaries and either get private equity backing or float the combined business on a European stockmarket. The business is developing the Nucant cancer programme (Elro) and the peptide platform (Ureka). Immupharma will concentrate on Lupus treatment Lupuzor and it is talking to potential corporate partners.

India-focused online fashion retail investment company Koovs (KOOV) has agreed a £10.5m cash injection at 15p a share by a subsidiary of Indian retailer Future Group.

Bidstack (BIDS) is raising £5m at 12.5p a share. This will finance the growth of the in-game advertising business. Bidstack reversed into Kin Group nine months ago and that that time raised cash at 6p a share.

Trading in contract research organisation Venn Life Sciences (VENN) shares is suspended ahead of the reverse takeover of Open Orphan DAC for £5.7m in shares. The strategy is to gain approval for and provide orphan drugs for the European market. Cash will be raised to fund the new strategy.

Keystone Law (KEYS) increased full year revenues from £31.6m to £42.7m and pre-flotation costs profit jumped from £2.54m to £4.75m. This year’s profit forecast had already been upgraded at the time of the trading statement and the figure is maintained at £5.6m. This year’s dividend is set to rise from 9p a share to 10.3p a share. The cash pile is expected to rise from £6.3m to £7m.

N+1 Singer has upgraded its profit forecasts for Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) following its interims. The pre-tax profit forecast for the year to August 2019 has been increased by 13% to £11m, up from £9.8m last year and not far off the figure for 2016-17. Capital investment is peaking and net debt is expected to rise to £9.1m by the end of August 2019. NAV is set to rise to 68p a share.

Vertu Motors (VTU) reported strong full year figures with growth in used cars and aftersales offsetting the downturn in new car sales. Pre-tax profit of £23.7m was higher than forecast but lower than the £28.6m reported for the previous year. Cash generation is also better than expected. This year’s forecast has been trimmed to £25.7m. The share price remains below its NAV of 44.9p a share.

Osirium Technologies (OSI) is considering raising additional funds in order to fully exploit its new product. Opus is a cyber security product for IT process automation. Additional business development managers and distribution partners have been taken on and additional cash would enable further geographic expansion. Osirium is good at retaining clients and Opus provides an additional product to sell to them.

Packaging manufacturer Robinson (RBN) has increased its revenues by 15% in the first four months of the year and most of that is due to higher volumes. This means that it is well on its way to growing full year revenues from £32.8m to £36.1m even though second quarter revenues may be lower due to destocking. Further capital spending has been funded by cash from operations.

MAIN MARKET 

Ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) increased interim revenues by 6% to £56.6m and pre-tax profit was 7% higher at £6.2m. Additional shares in issue mean that earnings per share were slightly lower. The core citrus business revenues fell slightly but other areas grew. Net cash was £9.4m at the end of March 2019. This will be spent on the relocation of UK operations and there will be net debt by the end of September 2019.

Air Partner (AIR) slipped out its figures for the year to January 2019 well after the market closed on Thursday. Even so, there was a positive share price reaction and there were no real disappointments. Underlying pre-tax profit was flat at £5.8m. The total dividend was edged up to 5.6p a share.

Macfarlane (MACF) has acquired protective packaging distributor Ecopac for £3.9m. A pre-tax profit of £500,000 was generated in 2017-18. Macfarlane will provide additional products for Ecopac to distribute.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) will hold the requisitioned general meeting on 16 May. Frank Timis is hoping to change the strategy of the company and conserve the cash pile for other uses. He wants Jonathan Bixby and Mike Edwards removed from the board. Argo expected to generate £220,000 in cryptoassets in April, which is similar to cash operating costs. These costs are expected to rise to £300,000 in May but the month should still be cash neutral.

Cardiff Property (CDFF) increased its NAV from 21.78p a share to 21.84p a share in the six months to March 2019. The interim dividend has been raised by 5% to 4.6p a share. Activity in the Thames Valley area has slowed in the first half.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard – #ITV Fall In Advertising Expected To Continue

ITV plc ITV  made good progress in delivering its stategy in the quarter to the 31st March. Online viewing rose by 16% and Family Share of viewing by 4%. Total external revenue was down 4%. ITV Broadcast & Online revenue fared even worse with a fall of 7% at £489m compared to £526m in 2018 and  ITV total advertising also fell by 7%. Advertising in the first half of the year will be impacted by continuing economic and political uncertainty with ITV total advertising  expected to be down 6% over the first half. Over the full year delivery of double digit growth in online revenue is expected together with good organic revenue growth in ITV Studios.

Imperial Brands plc IMB claims a pleasing underlying tobacco performance in the six months to the 31st March with volume down 6.9%. Focus is being maintained on longstanding brands which are delivering high margin sales growth. In both Europe and the Americas revenue grew by 4%. Operating profit rose by 38.1%, basic earnings per share by 37.7% and the interim dividend is to be increased by 10%.

Travis Perkins plc TPK made a positive start to 2019 with strong first quarter sales growth. Like for like sales rose by 7.3% and total sales by 5.4%. Travis Perkins itself generated like-for-like sales growth of 8%, continuing the improving trend seen from the end of 2018.Wickes delivered encouraging sales growth in both DIY and showroom categories, with a strong turnaround in Kitchen and Bathroom performance. Sales in Plumbing & Heating were impacted by the milder winter.

Wetherspoon JD plc JDW saw third quarter like for like sales rise by 7.6% and total sales by 8.4%. Since the start of the financial year, the Company has opened three new pubs, closed seven and intends to open two further pubs in the current financial year. The trading outcome for the current financial year is expected to be in line.

Vertu Motors Plc VTU produced profit and cash generation ahead of expectations for the year to the end of February. The full year dividend is to be increased by 6.7% to 1.6p per share. Adjusted profit before tax of £23.7m was ahead of market expectations but down from £28.6m in 2018. Like-for-like revenue growth came in at 5.1% but in used vehicles revenue growth was particularly strong at 11.6%

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Ian Pollard: Purplebricks Founder Leaves With Immediate Effect

Purplebricks Group plc PURP  is pulling out of the Australian market and the Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer is falling on his sword and stepping down from the business with immediate effect. The Board admits that the company’s performance has been disappointing over the last 12 months and offers its sincere apologies to shareholders for that. The UK property market remains challenging but the Company continues to out-perform the market and the Board remains confident about the future of the business, which is presumably why it does not appear to be sharpening any more swords.

Domino’s Pizza Group DOM International sales for the 13 weeks to the 31 March were disappointing and below last years first quarter, The reported fall of 2% means that a break even out turn is no longer expected for the current year, with persistently weak sales in all international markets, although they only account for 10% of the business.. The year has started well across the UK and Republic of Ireland with first quarter like for like sales showing growth of 4.8%.  Online sales continued to be very strong with growth of 8.5% and accounting for 90.5% of delivery sales.  Only four new stores opened in the UK during the quarter, compared to nine in the first quarter of 2018.The company admits that this years openings continue to be impacted by ongoing franchisee discussions, which does not sound as if relationships are as happy as they should be.

KOOVS plc KOOV updates that gross order value increased by 67% in the first three months of the current year, compared to the first quarter of 2018. The company went through challenging times over the last couple of years but is now confident that with external factors such as  the new of Goods and Services Tax, which so disrupted the business, now firmly behind. it can achieve strong growth during the current financial year.

G4S plc GFS confirms that during the offer period, which commenced on 10 April 2019, it received no proposals from Garda World Security Corporation, nor any requests for information. Garda World has also confirmed it does not intend to make an offer for G4S

 

Vivo Energy VVO updates for its AGM that it has delivered a strong start in in the first quarter, which is traditionally the slowest quarter of the year. It now operates in a diverse portfolio of 23 high growth markets across Africa and claims it is uniquely positioned to continue to deliver growth across the business.

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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 6 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

In 2018, Newbury Racecourse (NYR) increased revenues by 8% to £19.3m. This was despite lower race course attendances because of two abandoned days of racing. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £188,000 to £568,000. The NAV was £50.7m at the end of 2018. There was a further £3.25m payment from David Wilson Homes, which helped to finance capital investment.

MetalNRG (MNRG) has entered into heads of terms with AIM-quoted Mkango Resources so that it can earn up to 75% of the Thambi licence in Southern Malawi. The licence allows exploration for uranium, tantalum and niobium. MetalNRG has to spend $500,000 in the first 12 months and then a further $700,000 in the next 12 months. A further $800,000 has to be spent in the third year to earn the full 75%. The Kyrgyz Republic has banned uranium exploration and mining and the farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit has been suspended.

Secured Property Developments (SPD) had a NAV of £554,000 at the end of 2018. There is £584,000 in cash on the balance sheet.

High Growth Capital (HASH) has raised £4.99m after expenses via a placing at 1.75p a share with Mirador FZE, which also has warrants to subscribe for 300 million shares at 2.5p each until the end of 2019. If the High Growth Capital share price closes above 4p for five consecutive days, the warrants have to exercised or they will lapse. Mirador has a 14.2% stake. Mike Power has been appointed as a non-executive director.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has opened the first Goodbody and Blunt centre in Bath. The centre will sell cannabidiol products and have a café area.

V22 (V22O) is asking shareholders to approve the cancellation of the NEX quotation 31 May, after nearly 13 years on the market. The art investor and studio space provider plans to sell assets and distribute the cash to shareholders. A matched bargains quotation via JP Jenkins is planned for six months after leaving NEX.

Trading in Valiant Investments (VALP) shares has been suspended because it has not produced its annual report.

Queros Capital Partners (BFD) has raised £205,000 in the past two weeks from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025.

The shortlist for the NEX share of the year at the Small Cap Awards 2019 has been announced. The companies are National Milk Records (NMR), Sativa Investments (SATI), NQ Minerals (NQMI), Chapel Down (CDGP), DXS International (DXSP) and Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) ,which is also on the shortlist for impact company of the year.

AIM     

Capital equipment manufacturer Mpac Group (MPAC) is acquiring Lambert Automation for an initial £15m. UK-based Lambert provides automation equipment to the medical and healthcare markets. Revenues and profit have been declining, but there was an order intake of £24.5m in 2018 and that should help revenues to recover. Revenues were £17.9m in 2018. There is potential earn out consideration of up to £2.5m. Mpac’s own trading is in line with expectations.

Park Group (PARK) says that trading was better than expected in the second half of its financial year, but there were additional costs and the effects of accounting changes. Edison has reduced its 2018-19 pre-tax profit by 3% to £12.5m. Additional costs next year mean that the profit forecast has been cut from £14.3m to £11.7m.

Tracsis (TRCS) has acquired timetable optimisation software developer Bellvedi for an initial £4m with up to £7.9m more payable over four years depending on performance. Bellvedi made a pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £1.6m last year. Acquiring the ATTUne software means that less needs to spend on the development of existing Tracsis software. The deal adds 2% to this year’s earnings per share, moving it to 27.3p. Next year’s is enhanced by 7% to 32.3p.

Competitions organiser Best of the Best (BOTB) has published a fourth positive trading update in a year. This prompted finnCap to increase its earnings forecast from 15.4p a share to 18.6p a share. The previous upgrade was in January. The switch to a predominantly online model is paying off. Any upgrades to the forecasts for the year to April 2020 will happen after the 2018-19 figures are published on 20 June.

Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) says that the PQ Grass allergy phase III study will start a year later than expected. It should commence by June 2020. This follows an end of phase II study meeting with the FDA. This means that this year and next year the reported loss will be lower because of deferred spending on the study.

Eight Peaks Group (8PG) plans to cancel its AIM quotation because of limited liquidity. This will save £80,000 a year.

Trading in the shares of property investor Safeland (SAF) will end on 10 May.

MAIN MARKET 

Motor dealer Pendragon (PDG) is selling two Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in California. This is expected to generate around £60m of cash, although £6.9m of profit contribution before central costs will be lost. However, Jaguar Land Rover has right of first refusal.

Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has appointed Novum as broker and it has committed to invest £300,000 in convertible loan notes. The planned purchase of a 50% stake in used car market focused fintech company Pace Cloud.

Ross Group (RGP) has reported its 2018 results, but these are before the completion of the Archipelago Aquaculture which happened early in 2019. Revenues fell from £335,000 to £60,000 and a profit of £57,000 was turned into a loss of £250,000. That is partly down to costs relating to the acquisition of Archipelago Aquaculture.

Thalassa (THAL) received acceptances of 18.5% of the share capital in its bid for Local Shopping REIT (LSR) and this offer has lapsed. Thalassa owned or had acceptances of 39.3%.

Standard list shell Bermerle (BERM) went to a 50% premium on the first day of trading. However, the bid/offer spread of 1p/2p means that investors could only sell at the 1p a share placing price. The company is seeking a pharma acquisition. The areas that Bermele is assessing include diabetes, cancer and mental health. It is also looking at personalised medicine.

Standard list shell Auctus Growth (AUCT) had £920,000 in the bank at the end of 2018. Fellow shell daVictus (DVT) had £355,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and it has agreed to buy the rights to a restaurant concept from Typical Dutch NV for £100,000. The Havana Rolled Cigar Music Café concept has been developed at a site in Aruba. Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has also secured a possible acquisition in the form of Kanabo Research, which is a medicinal cannabis oil company. Kanabo is developing over the counter products and has distribution rights to a vaporiser. Spinnaker had £1.04m in the bank at the end of 2018.

Trading in the shares of Tex Holdings (TXH) and Avocet Mining (AVM) has been suspended because they have not published 2018 accounts.

Andrew Hore

ShareProphets – Do You Feel Lucky, Punk? This Small Gold Explorer May Hit the Jackpot – or Not

By Malcolm Stacey – ShareProphets

Hello Share Turners. Say what you like about Fulham-based ECR Minerals (ECR) it is a mining company which likes to keep its shareholders up to date for every step of the way. It seems to me hardly a week goes by without it posts some news or other. The danger is that we tire of reading everything and consequently miss something which is important.

ECR describes itself as a precious metals exploration and development company. Its exploring for gold in the state of Victoria, Australia. Now you need the mining expertise of my brainy Shareprophets colleague Gary Newman to understand this company’s many pronouncements.

But it seems to me from their latest bulletin, that recent exploratory drilling may be encouraging. It points to a possibility of accessible gold at its Black Cat holding in the state of Victoria. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd has 100% ownership of the project. I believe some deeper drilling is now required.

The Black Cat area has not been mined before, so I suppose anything might happen. But the company’s CEO Craig Brown said ‘I’m delighted with the positive outcomes from this programme. As well as some encouraging grades, the drilling has provided important geological information which may help vector further exploration in the project area towards achievement of ECR’s prime strategic objective, which is the discovery of a multi-million ounce gold deposit.”
Well, that’s not exactly mind-blowing news, and you can expect him to be optimistic. But imagine the jump in share price if a ‘multi-million ounce gold deposit’ is found out there. As always, there is a huge investment risk in exploring for gold. And the safer way to invest in the big glitter is choose already successful miners.

But if you’re not adverse to highly speculative punts (though I am) and you only consider a small outlay, then ECR might be worth some further research.

Unlike the Punter’s Return.

Link to ShareProphets article here

Ian Pollard – HSBC Profits Up 31%

HSBC Holdings plc  HSBA saw first quarter profits rise by 31% from $4.8bn in the first quarter of 2018 to $6.2bn this year following strong growth in Asia and a 7% rise in revenue compared to the previous year. Cuts in costs  also helped with operating expenses down by 12% during the first quarter, whilst earnings per share rose 40% to 21 cents. The bank said its most challenging priority was to achieve a turnround in the US”.

Smurfitt Kappa Group plc SKG has delivered a very strong start to the year with first quarter EBITDA up by 25% year-on-year. first quarter organic corrugated volume growth in Europe was 2%  and 3% in the Americas as the company built on its established strengths of customer-focused innovation, an integrated operating model and its ever expanding geographic reach, which was extended during the quarter with acquisitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.

Ultra Electronics Holdings ULE will report at todays AGM that further positive developments in its order book is producing positive early results and The Board is confident that 2019 will be a year of good underlying progress.

Numis Corporation NUM has seen its first half performance impacted by a challenging market backdrop.   Investment Banking revenues for the 6 months to the 31st March were 24% lower than last years first half but 3% higher than the second half. Equities revenue fell 28%,profit before tax was down by 63.6% and earnings per share by 65.8%. The first half saw a significant slowdown in UK deal activity and investors maintained a cautious approach toward the UK market. Management laid the blame mainly on the fact it operated in a cyclical industry in which financial performance will always be influenced to a certain extent by market conditions. In other words, its not our fault and there’s not much we can do about.

Rambler Metals & Mining plc RMM  announces a banner year for operations in several areas, with record throughput for the  year to the end of December 31, 2018. which saw 364,176 tonnes of ore processed from the Ming Mine. This was the second consecutive year in which the Company set a new throughput record.

Intercontinental Hotels Group IHG  has delivered strong first quarter results against strong results in the previous year, Good growth was achieved in the US which  out performed the industry  and continued market share gains were made in China. 12,000 rooms were opened in the quarter, the highest first quarter  openings in a decade, including the 400th hotel in Greater China.

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Ian Pollard – Reckitt Benckiser #RB Impacted By Weak Cold & Flu Season

Reckitt Benckiser Gp RB. The first quarter got off to a slow start but improving growth is seen for  the remainder of the year, particularly in the second half. Like for like full year net revenue target is expected to show growth of 3-4% compared to 1% in the first quarter. The  health business was impacted by an unusually weak cold and flu season across US and several European markets. First quarter sales of over the counter health products showed a like for like  decline of 9%. The good news is that March saw an increased incidence of cold and flu and coincidentally,  of course, an increased share performance.

Paddy Power Betfair PPB updates that the first quarter to the 31st March was a good one with total revenue up by 17%, led by gaming with a rise of 26%.Online revenue performance at Sports was affected by unfavourable results in both the UK and Ireland. Australia is described as having had a very strong quarter, whilst from the US huge progress is reported.

Smith & Nephew plc SN has made a good start to 2019 across the whole of the company. Underlying revenue growth for the full year is expected to be in the upper half of the guidance range of 2.5% to 3.5%.Mid-teens growth from the Emerging Markets, A strong quarter in China was accompanied by  Mid-teens growth from Emerging Markets. First quarter revenue of $1,202 million saw growth 4.4% and all three global franchises accelerated, with growth ahead of 2018.

Rolls Royce Holdings plc RR  updates for its AGM that it has continued to make progress with its restructuring programme. The market environment is healthy, with strong order intake at Power Systems, good flying hour growth in Civil Aerospace and positive order momentum in Defence. Costs are being brought down and engineering efficiency is being improved

Fisher (James) FSJ reports for its AGM that   its  first quarter financial performance at its Tankships and Offshore Oil divisions in the first quarter. is well ahead of last year. The pipeline of opportunities in its Specialist Technical remains strong.  With a good start to 2019 the outlook for the year remains positive and the company is well placed for further growth.

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Ian Pollard – Persimmon – Strong Growth As Sales Decline

NEXT plc NXT first quarter trading to the 27th April was saved only  by online sales which rose by 11% and are forecast to continue to grow at the same rate for the remainder of the year. Full price retail sales for the quarter fell by 3.6%. The picture for the remainder of the year is even bleaker with the forecast decline more than doubling to 8.6%. Group profit before tax for the year to January 2020 is expected to show a fall of 1.1%

Persimmon plc PSN  Claims that since the start of the year the new build housing market has proved resilient with high levels of employment, and low interest rates, freely available and attractive mortgages, continuing to support consumer confidence. The Group’s current forward sales position is described as being strong with total forward sales revenue, taken to date in 2019, of £2,698 million down from £2,798 million in 2018. Most companies take the view that a rise in sales is a better test of performance.

Rank Group plc RNK experienced flat like-for-like revenue for the quarter ended 31 March 2019, with total revenue up 1%. The poor start to the year with declines of 6% at Grosvenor and Mecca, improving to 0% and !% respectively and leaving group revenue for quarter 3 level, up from a 5% fall in the first quarter.

IWG plc IWG Growth remained strong during the quarter to the 31st March with Group revenue increasing  by 10.6% at constant currency rates. The improvement was  driven by double digit revenue growth in the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA. France, Germany and Spain, also contributed very strongly.

Redhall Group plc RHL the Board anticipates that the full year trading performance for the Group will be materially below its previous expectations. . These were based on the group winning a number of  new contracts, which would deliver a strong trading performance in the second half of the year but delays in the award of a number of these projects and a reduction, in the value of Jordan Manufacturing’s contract for a major nuclear infrastructure programme have impacted those expectations. The groups pipeline of opportunities remains strong and the Board anticipates that it will be able to deliver steady growth into 2020.

Sainsbury J. plc SBRY announces underlying profits up 7.8 per cent, ahead of target and final dividend up 11.3% making a total increase for the year of 7.8 per cent.

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