Property investment company Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) says that one of its shareholders, Daniel Waylett, agreed to acquire a subsidiary that owns Colebrook Court in 2016. There was no specific date given, although the property was bought for £1.5m in shares during April. The payment for the disposal was £1.553m. Ace has drawn down a secured loan of £13.75m from Lloyds Bank and this has been used to purchase the property acquired last month in Hanley, as well as other existing property investments.
FT8 (GFT) is acquiring 49% of Australian fintech company Billyst Holdings. FT8 is issuing 142.4 million shares at 1p each to Billyst for the 49% stake. This will give Billyst, which is developing debt collection systems, 16.2% of FT8. So far, Billyst, which has not been around long enough to produce figures, has invested £267,000 in its technology. Billyst has agreed to loan FT8 A$500,000 (£297,000), interest free, for 18 months, but it will need to raise more cash to do this. FT8 had less than £3,000 in the bank at the end of June 2016 so it needs more cash.
Wine maker Chapel Down (CDGP) says that it has had its highest quality harvest ever, although yields were slightly lower than expected. The 2016 harvest was the third largest in the company’s history. A good summer made up for some of the shortfall earlier in the year.
Energy efficiency and electronics products supplier Sandal (SAND) says that trading is in line with forecast. Sainsbury’s will be selling MiHome products in 100 stores prior to Christmas, while Argos will be including them in its catalogue from February. House broker Daniel Stewart expects Sandal to move into profit this year.
Imperial Minerals (IMPP) had £96,000 of cash and financial assets – including a stake in AIM-quoted North River Resources (NRR) – at the end of June 2016, following a £53,000 cash outflow in the previous year. Imperial tried to acquire a Welsh hydro-electric project but there was a problem with the complex ownership of the project. However, management believes that recovering commodity prices could provide potential resources investment opportunities.
South Africa-based social impact investor Inqo Investments (INQO) has been improving room rates and occupancy at the South Africa-based leisure resort Kuzuko Lodge and the second half should be much stronger as tourists benefit from the weak Rand. In the six months to August 2016, group revenues grew from R3.23m to R5.32m, which made an increased loss before an increase in other income from R2.06m to R14m is taken into account. The other income in the recent period was due to the negotiation of loan settlements leading to interest write-backs. Kuzuko Lodge made a reduced loss, while the first revenues from the Bee Sweet Honey investment will not show through until 2017-18.
The closure of GB Energy Supply could provide opportunities for AIM-quoted energy suppliers Flow (FLOW) and Good Energy (GOOD), which is also quoted on ISDX. GB Energy had revenues of £22.2m in 2015 and it is estimated to have around 160,000 customers. Regulator OFGEM is overseeing a transfer of customers to new suppliers but customers could then choose to change from the suppliers they have been allocated. In 2015, Good had energy supply revenues of £56.6m, while Flow’s were £40.1m.
Belvoir Lettings (BLV) says it is difficult to predict what impact the announcement that letting agents in England will not be allowed to charge fees to tenants. There will be consultation before this change is brought in. Belvoir says that less than 10% of the income of its franchisees is from fees paid by tenants but in terms of Belvoir it is less than 8%. There may be more pressure on smaller, independent letting agents and this may provide acquisition opportunities for franchisees or a chance to grow organically in their existing markets if independents leave the market.
Cough treatments developer Verona Pharma (VRP) plans to gain a US listing in the first half of 2017. The flotation is subject to regulatory approval and market conditions.
Music hardware and software developer Focusrite (TUNE) beat expectations in the year to August 2016. Revenues improved from £48m to £54.3m thanks to a strong fourth quarter with growth being enhanced by the launch of the second generation Scarlett product range (focused on the sub-$500 market). Underlying pre-tax profit rose from £7.2m to £7.7m. The US remains a major market but the company had to improve credit terms to its distributor which hampered cash generation. Even so, there was still £5.6m in the bank. Focusrite wants to grow in Asia where its market share lags the levels in North America and Europe. There are potential acquisitions that Focusrite is keeping its eye on but there is no certainty that there will be any deals in the short-term. A new chief executive has been identified but his appointment is still being finalised. A full year profit of £8m is forecast.
Alternative Networks (AN.) is recommending a bid from former AIM company and rival telecoms and managed services provider Daisy, which is a consolidator in the sector. The bid of 335p a share values Alternative Networks at £165.3m. The company’s directors mention the uncertainty in the telecoms market as part of their reason for recommending the bid.
BP Marsh (BPM) has invested £75,000 in The Fiducia MGA Company, in the form of a 25% stake in the company’s cumulative preferred ordinary shares. On top of this, BP Marsh is lending up to £1.725m to the UK marine cargo underwriting agency. An initial £350,000 will be drawn down and further draw downs are dependent on Fiducia meeting conditions outlined in an agreed business plan. Fiducia founder Gerry Sheehy has more than three decades of experience in the insurance industry. BP Marsh is also keen to expand in the managing general agency business in North America
Jonas Computing (UK) has decided not to make an offer for ServicePower Technologies (SVR) but Diversis Capital may be willing to offer 6p a share.
Standard list cash shell Senterra Energy (SEN) is no longer acquiring sim-card technology business Oasis Smart Sim PTE. The deal was first announced six months ago. The seller has withdrawn from negotiations. The Singapore-based company had 2015 revenues of $13m. Senterra was going to provide a £500,000 loan to the acquisition target but it never lent any money. Senterra continues to seek a technology acquisition rather than the oil and gas acquisition it originally focused on. The share price slumped to 2.5p when it returned from suspension. The flotation price was 5p. There was £1m in the bank at the end of June 2016 – equivalent to 3.7p a share – but that is likely to be lower now.
A winding up order has been issued against Worthington (WRN) following the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) rejection of a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA). Worthington is seeking a Judicial Review of the PPF decision.
Upland Resources Ltd (UPL) is buying a 10% stake in UK onshore licences, in which the Wressle field is sited, from AIM-quoted Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) for £1.6m in cash and shares plus a further £250,000 in contingent consideration based on the level of production from the Wressle field. Initial commercial oil flows of 500 barrels a day are expected from the North Lincolnshire field early next year. Europa retains a 20% stake. A £2.2m placing at 1.3p a share by Upland will finance the cash consideration and fund some exploration spending. When Upland joined the standard list one year ago it raised £1.3m at 1p a share. There was just over £1m in the balance sheet at the end of June 2016.