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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 March 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Gin and spirits supplier British Honey Company (BHC) is using spare capacity in its distillery to produce # alcohol sanitisers. There is a shortage of sanitisers due to the coronavirus and HMRC has given permission for British Honey to produce denatured alcohol. The sanitisers are made with 70% alcohol and extracts of honey and green tea. Longer-term, the strategy is to buy other spirits brands to use spare capacity. British Honey started off as a honey producer and moved into craft spirits infused with honey in 2017. It has a computer-controlled, 1,000-litre capacity still and bottling facility with a capacity of 1.5 million bottles a year. Ingredients can be tracked. There has been £4m invested in this infrastructure. The existing products use a small proportion of this capacity. The company also produces spirits on behalf of third parties. Discussions have begun with some potential acquisitions. British Honey joined Aquis Stock Exchange at the beginning of the week and raised £4.25m (£3.88m after expenses) at 110p a share. Advanced assurance of eligibility for the Enterprise Investment Scheme has been obtained. The initial market capitalisation was £10m. Cairn is corporate adviser and Stanford Capital Partners is broker.

Sativa (SATI) is launching a cannabigerol (CBG) and alcohol-based hand sanitiser. CBG is thought to be effective as an antibacterial product and could combat superbugs.

Energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) reported better than expected 2019 pre-tax profit. Underlying pre-tax profit still dipped from £2.3m to £2.1m due to lower gross margins. Profit is expected to bounce back to £3.1m in 2020. Both business and domestic customers were higher last year. The total dividend has been increased from 3.5p a share to 3.7p a share. Net debt was £39.2m at the end of 2019.

Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has decided not to pay the interim dividend of 6p a share announced the week before. The sharp downturn in trading and subsequent closure of pubs due to COVID-19 means that Shepherd Neame is also cutting capital investment and the board is taking a one-fifth cut in pay. Rent receipts from tenants were suspended from 16 March.

KR1 (KR1) has generated $168,000 from selling ATOM, taking the total raised from disposals to $290,000. It still holds nearly 17,000 ATOM.

Sheltered housing developer Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has outperformed its benchmark for a third year in a row. The MSCI UK Residential index increased by 4.4% in 2019, while Walls portfolio increased by 23%.

BWA Group (BWAP) says that its subsidiary has been awarded an exploration licence for an area known as Dehane in central Cameroon. The focus is rutile sands and other minerals. The permit is for three years and the financial commitment in year one is £275,000, followed by £207,000 in each of the next two years. Tri Castle Investments is subscribing £100,000 at 0.5p a share.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £389,000 at 20p a share for working capital. VI Mining (VIM) raised £56,000 via a placing at 15p a share that was curtailed because of COVID-19. Further cash will be raised in the future.

Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has secured a $200,000 facility from Augustin Corp, which is owned by a trust related to Eastinco executive chairman Charles Bray. The annual interest rate is 6 percentage points above commercial lending rates and the facility lasts for up to 18 months.

SAPO (SAPO) is holding a general meeting on 14 April to gain shareholder approval for increasing the share capital. Executive chairman Dr Keith Harris has been issued 20 million shares at 1p a share. The consideration will be paid by the end of 2024.

Belvedere Leisure Resorts (BELV) believes that once normality is resumed it can accelerate its resort development and deliver phase one on time.

Dozens Savings (DS07) says that 795 investors have subscribed for company bonds.

Trading in Dana International (DANA) shares remains suspended. The property investor is still trying to gain full information about share transfers.

Christian Taylor-Wilkinson has become interim chief executive of Altona Energy (ANR) following the resignation of executive chairman Qinfu Zhang.

AIM

Sales of COVID-19 tests by Novacyt (NCYT) continue to accelerate. It has received orders worth more than £8.7m in a six-week period. Manufacturing capacity is being increased.

Synairgen (SNG) is about to start a phase II trial for SNG001 for the treatment of an initial 100 patients with mild-moderate COVID-19. Initial results should be available by the summer. SNG001 is inhaled interferon beta, which has shown benefits in the treatment of SARS. The existing COPD phase II trial has been paused, but initial results suggest that there is clinical benefit.

Best of the Best (BOTB) would have been in trouble a decade ago when it generated its competition entries from airports and other areas of high footfall. Having gone online, the competitions organiser has continued to prosper. Additional marketing investment has helped the 2019-20 performance to be above expectations. The pre-tax profit forecast for the year to April 2020 has been raised from £2.6m to £3m.

Payment systems provider PCI-Pal (PCIP) has won a contract for its Agent Assist product with a UK government organisation. The annual contract value is £565,500.

Manx Financial (MFX) is buying back the 12.94% shareholding owned by Aaron Banks. Manx intends to pay £1.61m for the shares and then cancel them. This cash will become a loan to Manx and an existing £483,500 convertible will be added to the sum. Banks has requisitioned a general meeting at iodine manufacturer Iofina (IOF) in order to remove Lance Baller from the board and become a director himself. Banks does not intend to make a bid for the company.

Mobile payment services provider Bango (BGO) is still set to move into profit in 2020. End user spend doubled last year.

Indigovision (IND) is recommending a 405p a share cash bid from Motorola Solutions. This values the video security technology company at £30.4m. In 2019, pre-tax profit was $1.3m.

MJ Hudson (MJH) grew organic revenues by 12.5% in the first half. The asset management services provider has net cash of £20.1m following last year’s flotation. The acquisition of Meyler will expand the range of services provided in the US. The customer base is predominantly long-term and closed ended funds. A full year pre-tax profit of £1.1m is forecast.

Big Sofa Technologies (BST) has put itself up for sale and trading in the shares is suspended. The video and data analytics technology developer needs additional cash and it is difficult to raise funds in the market when there is so much uncertainty. The company expects proposals by the end of April.

The Wressle oil field development in north Lincolnshire is set to commence production in the second half of 2020 and Egdon Resources (EDG) has a 30% stake and is operator. Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) and Union Jack Oil (UJO) also have interests. The breakeven oil is estimated at $18/barrel. Production could start at 500 barrels a day. An application has been allowed against North Lincolnshire council for costs relating to delays in gaining a permit.

Diagnostic and precision testing services provider Diaceutics (DXRX) boosted revenues by 30% last year following its flotation. Although gross margins improved, a significant increase in headcount meant that pre-tax profit dipped to £500,000. The initial benefits of the investment in the business are showing through growth in Asia and other regions.

Regional property investor Real Estate investors (REI) increased its dividend by 7% to 3.8p a share. Like-for-like rental income was slightly lower at £16.9m and the weak retail property market led to a 3% reduction in EPRA NAV to 67.4p a share. Loan to value is 46.7%. The Midlands property market is strengthening ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. An improvement in NAV to near-69p a share is forecast for 2020.

Xeros (XSG) has signed a joint development agreement with a global commercial laundry business. XFiltra micro-particle filtration technology will be included in the partner’s commercial washing machines. The EU plans to have micro-particle filtration in use by 2026. Xeros is likely to need to raise more cash next year.

Oncimmune (ONC) says NICE has completed a positive review of EarlyCDT Lung and believes that it can help in the early diagnosis of lung cancer.

MAIN MARKET

Trading in the shares of Boston International Holdings (BIH) has been suspended ahead of the proposed acquisition of invoice factoring company Alexanders Discount Ltd, which is based in the South East. Alexanders Discount accounts for the year to November 2019 are for a dormant company and the assets were worth £4. The standard list shell floated in October 2016.

Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) says that the integration of DMSL is ahead of plan and it has won two new contracts.

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) is partnering with Novamed for an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic kit. The kit should be completed within four months.

AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has signed a conditional share purchase agreement for Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT services developer. AIQ is paying £2.3m in shares.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 23 September 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) continues to progress its development plans and some of the benefits are shown by the near-doubling of conference and events revenues in the first half. The remodelling of the main parade ring has been completed and a contractor appointed for work on the Royal Box, which will cost £2.5m. In the six months to June 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £7.57m, even though one race day was lost, and there was a slightly lower pre-exceptional loss of £317,000. There is a danger that legislation relating to fixed odds betting terminals could have a knock-on effect on Newbury’s revenues from bookies in the second half.

Shepherd Neame (SHEP) will be releasing its annual results on Wednesday. Peel Hunt expects pre-tax profit to be 5% lower at £11.2m, because there was no contribution from the Asahi brewing contract that ended in 2018. Excluding that contract, profit could have risen. Pubs have grown their like-for-like income and brewing volumes have recovered, but second half profit could be minimal. NAV of 1664p a share is forecast.

Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) has been hit by a short-term lack of sales activity in the NHS. In the year to April 2019, DXS reported an increased loss of £200,000, up from £46,000. Revenues dipped from £3.41m to £3.35m. More than £1m was spent on developing products during the year.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that dry herb medical inhalation system Hapac has been refined and sales of the device and Hapac sachets are growing. However, legal uncertainty in Italy means that Hapac has been removed from sale while a court case over labelling and cannabis content is heard in Parma. There are plans to launch Hapac in other markets. Ananda has a 15% stake in Hapac’s owner. Edward Nealon has increased his stake in Ananda from 5.31% to 6.91%.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that Apollon Formularies, a Jamaican cannabis company where it owns 2.325% and it intends to acquire the rest of the shares, has completed a six week pilot opening of a medicinal cannabis therapy centre to treat patients.

Karoo Energy (KEP) is in discussions with investors so that the company can be recapitalised and settle outstanding creditors. NEX has agreed to defer the withdrawal of Karoo shares from trading ahead of the publication of a circular.

AFH Financial (AFHP) has bought another IFA. It is paying up to £3.2m for Wirral-based Broadleaf Financial Services.

LF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital Trust own 50.6% of Rutherford Health (RUTH) following the latest cash injection of £12.5m at 176p a share.

AIM 

StatPro (SOG) is recommending a 230p a share cash bid from Confluence Technologies. That is a 55% premium to the market price and the share price has never been anywhere near that level. It is equivalent to more than 32 times last year’s earnings. Nearly two-thirds of the shares have agreed to accept the offer, which values the asset management software supplier at £161m.

Fulcrum Utility Services (LSE: FCRM) has managed to avoid publicity of its full year figures. On the plus side, they were released before the end of September so there is no danger of trading in the shares being suspended. They were in line with previous indications after multi-utility construction services provider Fulcrum and its auditors finally agreed on the way to interpret IFRS16, which relates to recognising revenues. Fulcrum is no longer allowed to take the revenues and profit from constructing its own utility assets through the income statement. Revenues were one-fifth higher at £48.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £7.9m to £8.6m. NAV is 20.5p a share.

Background and medical screening checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) grew its interim revenues by 17% to $11.6m and it is getting nearer to profitability. The underlying pre-tax loss was $500,000. This has prompted a small upgrade in the revenues forecast to $23.5m, but additional marketing costs mean that pre-tax loss is still likely to be $600,000. Net debt could be $700,000 at the end of 2019. Demand from the US labour market remains strong and ClearStar is building its presence in newer sectors.

MAIN MARKET

Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) is in talks to buy Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT consultancy and e-commerce app developer, for £2.3m in shares. Trading in the shares has been suspended. Due diligence is ongoing, and the shares will remain suspended until a readmission document relating to the reverse takeover is published. 

Advanced materials supplier Low and Bonar (LWB) is recommending a 15.5p a share cash bid from Germany-based FVB that values the company at £107m. The bidder says that its geographic reach will widen, and it will be able to enter the coated technical textiles market. Recent trading at Low and Bonar has been poor.

National Word (NWOR) is a standard list shell that has been launched by former Mirror boss David Montgomery so that he can acquire UK local newspapers.

Toiletries manufacturer Creightons (CRL) has agreed to acquire its premises in Peterborough for £3.8m. This needs to be agreed to be shareholders at a general meeting.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) has installed a further 1,000 cryptomining machines, taking the total to 6,000. That figure could double by next spring. In the six months to June 2019, Argo generated revenues of £2.93m and made a pre-tax profit of £947,000.

 

Andrew Hore

Quoted Micro 18 June 2018

Small cap award winners 2018

Company of the year

ZOO Digital (ZOO)

The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.

NEX company of the year

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.

Impact company of the year

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)

Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.

IPO of the year

K3 Capital (K3C)

Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m.  In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.

 

Fintech company of the year

FAIRFX Group (FFX)

Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.

Transaction of the year

Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce

Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.

Executive director of the year

Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)

Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.

Journalist of the year

Paul Scott – Stockopedia

Fund manager of the year

Nick Williamson – Old Mutual

Microcap fund manager of the year

Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity

Analyst of the year

Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald

Lifetime achievement award

Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management

Special services to small caps

John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)

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NEX EXCHANGE   

Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit.  The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.

Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.

IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.

South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.

AIM   

NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.

Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.

RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.

Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.

Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.

Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.

Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.

Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.

Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.

MAIN MARKET    

WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.

China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.

Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.

BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.

Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.

Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 16 April 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

London Nusantara Plantations has become Panther Metals (PALM) and it has sent out notice of a general meeting on 1 May to enable directors to issue up to one billion shares. This power will expire after 15 months. The company is issuing 17 million shares at 0.1p a share to pay a £17,000 bill from an adviser.

Early Equity (EEQP) had £429,000 in the bank at the end of February 2018. The company raised £705,000 during the year and this has helped to increase the value of the investment portfolio from £594,000 to £1.01m. The NAV has increased from £639,000 to £1.54m. There are plans to raise more cash if its is required for additional investments.

Forbes Ventures (FOR) says that investee company Civilised Bank Ltd has released the banking licence it was granted by the Bank of England because it will not meet the mobilisation deadline. There have been delays in developing the IT needed by the bank so the intention is to reapply when the IT development is further advanced.

AIM

Oil palm plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) is starting to enjoy the benefits of its investment in planting oil palm but there is plenty more to come. The 2017 profit was boosted by a gain on discontinued operations of $68m. The underlying dividend improved from 15p a share to 17.75p a share and there should be continued growth as the plantations mature. The value of the business is estimated at £11 a share.

The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) increased revenues by 23% to £10.2m and this led to a one-third improvement in pre-tax profit to £4.3m. This was despite the loss by online estate agency EweMove, where new management has been put in place. The total dividend is 7.5p a share and there was a modest year-end net cash position. The tenant fee ban could hit the business in 2019 but there is time to mitigate the impact.

Parity (PTY) has completed its turnaround and from now on profit growth will come from growing the revenues. The IT recruitment side was hit by changes in tax treatment for freelancers working for government departments but underlying pre-tax profit was still improved from £1.4m to £1.7m. The recently announced Primark contract will help this year. The higher margin consultancy business continues to grow. Cash generation was better than expected with net debt falling from £4.4m to £1.6m. There should be net cash at the end of 2018. There is also the prospect of a dividend in the medium-term.

D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) had a strong fourth quarter and this strength is set to continue into the first few months of this financial year.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) boss Matthew Idiens has nearly doubled his stake in the oil and gas company through the acquisition of 800,000 shares at an average price of 2.5p each. Finance director Christopher Eadie has bought 424,715 shares at an average of 2.35p each. Rose recently added to its land position in the Paradox Basin in Utah. Rose acquired a 75% working interest in 3,320 gross acres for $120,000. There has already been a 3D seismic survey of the acreage.

Frontier IP (FIPP) has increased its stake in Fieldwork Robotics by offering additional engineering and development support. That will help to develop a prototype for harvesting vegetables. The stake will rise from 21% to 27.5%.

Boku Inc (BOKU) is growing its revenues and the relatively stable cost base means that it could be on course for a profit in 2018. The direct mobile carrier billing company is expected to grow revenues from $24.4m to $32.7m in 2018 and that would be enough to make a profit. Additional services could further boost long-term revenues.

Starcom (STAR) published a positive AGM statement. First quarter revenues were much higher than expected at $1.5m, which is nearly double the first quarter of 2017. This should help to reduce the loss this year.

RedT Energy (RED) is raising £3.85m at 5.9p a share and this will be invested in growing its energy storage technology business.

MAIN MARKET    

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) had £8.7m in the bank at the end of January 2018, thanks to the £8m raised in November. The reported interim loss declined from £6.4m to £4.8m. There could be additional revenues in the second half from initial payments by the US partner funding the development of nano-particles for electronic devices. There should also be product revenues from the launch of gaming-focused computer displays in the second half. There should be £5.7m in the bank at the end of July 2018.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) says that it intends to increase the number of rooms and add office space in its second development. This will increase the rental income. These changes have been sparked by the potential housing association buyer of the assisted housing development. The architect will have to make changes to the plans and a two-month extension to the option period for the purchase from the current owner of the building.

China-focused health food products supplier World Trade Systems (WTS) increased its revenues from £8.7m to £19.6m in 2017. There reported profit more than doubled from £906,000 to £1.98m. There is £2.17m in the bank offset by £1.26m of borrowings.

Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £115,000 at 20p a share. This should help to improve the limited liquidity of the shares. A one-for-40 open offer at the same share price could raise up to £253,000 more. The suspension of trading in the shares should be lifted on 19 April. The suspension price was 125p a share. In January, £4m was raised at 8p a share and the limited liquidity led to a ridiculous rise in the share price.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 15 January 2018

NEX EXCHANGE  

Wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) says that its open offer at 50p a share was oversubscribed. Excess applications will be scaled back. The additional £1.47m raised takes the total to £20m. BlackRock holds a 5.79% stake and Nigel Wray owns 16.2%.

Startup Giants (SUG) has made its first investment since floating. An undisclosed investment has been made in Go Show Ltd, which operates a brand marketplace designed to enable product placement deals (www.goshow.net), and it will be released when milestones have been achieved. Go Show initially applied for funding in 2015 and it has been mentored by Startup Giants. There is a target for revenue generation of up to £1m within 12 months. An accelerator round has also been launched by Startup Giants. It is aimed at early stage, UK-registered companies.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has increased its shareholding in Indorse from 3% to 6.5% at cost of S$175,000. There is an option to acquire a further 3.5%, at the same cost, to take the stake to 10%. Indorse completed a token sales last September and those tokens are currently valued at $34m. The Indorse platform is designed to enable users to generate income from sharing their skills and validating the claims of others.

African Potash Ltd (AFPO) has entered into an agreement with Gibraltar-based TokenCommunities Ltd. This deal will help the blockchain joint venture that has also already been announced with FinComEco Ltd, which is developing platforms for agricultural markets in sub-Saharan Africa. TokenCommunities will advise on the deployment of tokens. The chain will link smallholder farmers, traders, brokers, storage, transportation and commodity buyers. There are plans for microloans to farmers at an annual interest rate of 12%, which is lower than existing rates. African Potash has completed the raising of £400,000 at 0.025p a share.

Black Sea Property (BSP) has completed the €2.76m purchase of four plots of land with permission to develop a camping complex. It has also invested €3.37 to help finance the development of the site, which could be completed by the middle of the year. Black Sea Property raised €3.53m at €0.01 a share late last year.

Lake Acquisitions (U.P) says that the contingent value rights holders will not get a distribution for 2017. The cumulative relevant revenues from the eligible nuclear power output was £41.1m. The cumulative base revenues were £41.9m.

UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) has decided to drop its NEX Exchange quotation on 31 January. That is just over 27 months after it joined. The company says that there have been low levels of trading on NEX and it still has its primary quotation on AIM. Interestingly, oil and gas company UK Oil and Gas was formed many years ago out of the shell of a former technology equipment business, yet it is still classed under the technology hardware and equipment sub-sector of the technology sector in the AIM statistics.

AIM      

Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) reported maiden full year results as a quoted company that were slightly better than expected. The housebuilding infrastructure provider reported a dip in pre-tax profit from £10.8m to £9.1m on flat revenues of £135m. The total dividend is 6.3p a share. A 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £10.8m is forecast.

Ilika (IKA) reported a significant cash outflow in the first half but the outflow should be reduced in the second half. Interim revenues trebled to £1m and full year revenues of £2.9m are forecast. The loss is reducing. There are licensing proposals with a handful of potential customers and any one of these could transform the fortunes of Ilika.

EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has confirmed that trading was strong in 2017 and EBITDA will be much better than the £8.8m forecast. EKF plans to spin-off its sTNFR biomarker technology into a separate company. This technology has no value in the balance sheet.

Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal Group (DNL) says that its Akindi treatment has performed well in a food matrix study in the US and it will be able to move onto the next stage in the process of gaining US approval. European approval for Akindi is expected in a matter of weeks. There was £14m in the bank at the end of 2017. The interims will be published on 12 March.

Lombard Risk Management (LRM) is recommending a 13p a share cash bid, which was nearly double the market price. The bid from rival financial services technology supplier is valued at £52.1m.

Somero Enterprises (SOM) has sparked another forecast upgrade with the 2017 pre-tax profit forecast rising 8% to $25.9m. Net cash should be at least $18.5m and that could rise by around $10m by the end of 2018. That leaves room for another special dividend as well as growth in the ongoing dividend. The tax changes in the US had already led to a one-fifth increase in the 2018 earnings per share forecast to 34.4 cents, which has been raised again to 36.8 cents.

Engineer Avingtrans (AVG) says that trading is on track and the integration of Hayward Tyler continues. A pre-tax profit of £2.2m is forecast for the year to May 2018 and this should generate nearly enough earnings to cover the forecast dividend of 3.6p a share.

Tough market conditions and adverse currency movements have not stopped motor dealer Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) trading ahead of expectations. Forecasts had already been upgraded and the 2017 pre-tax profit estimate has been raised a further 2% to £28.8m. However, a decline in pre-tax profit to £23.5m is forecast for 2018.

Smart meter communications technology provider CyanConnode (CYAN) continues to progress but the timing of orders has been delayed. The order book is worth $100m but 2017 revenues were £1.2m and the loss more than £10m. This year’s revenues are forecast to be £10m and the loss £7m. There should be enough cash to last the whole of 2018.

Strategic Minerals (SML) generated fourth quarter revenues of $2.14m from magnetite ore sales at Cobre. The 2017 total revenues of $5.64m were quadruple the previous year. Strategic had $3.8m in the bank at the end of 2017.

Online Blockchain (OBC) has taken advantage of its rising share price to raise £1m at 100p a share.

Fashion retailer Footasylum (FOOT) increased revenues by one-third to £89.8m in the 18 weeks to 30 December 2017. The fastest growth came from e-commerce. The revenues for the 44 weeks to 30 December 2017 also improved by one-third to £173m. These are not like-for-like increases and six stores were opened in the past 18 weeks.

There was a small decline in the full year revenues of Shoe Zone (SHOE) from £159.8m to £157.8m. The shoes retailer did improve its gross margin from 62% to 63.2% but higher admin and distribution costs offset this and pre-tax profit fell from £10.3m to £9.5m. The total dividend was edged up from 10.1p a share to 10.2p a share. Net cash was £11.8m at the end of September 2017. The pension fund liability has fallen from £13.1m to £7.1m. Consumer demand and currency movements remain the main challenges.

BNN Technology (BNN) directors Harry Keiley and Lord Mancroft are following the nominated adviser out of the door. Mark Hanson becomes non-executive chairman.

Film completion contracts provider FFI Holdings (FFI) has acquired the motorsports entertainment insurance book of business from All Risks for $1.825m. The acquisition has been made by Reel Media, which itself was acquired before Christmas for $7.25m in total.

Background checking services provider ClearStar (CLSU) traded in line with expectations in 2017. Revenues were 11% higher at $17.8m and the loss was reduced. There was net cash of $1m. The loss should be further reduced in 2018.

Masawara (MASA) and Kimberly Enterprises (KBE) both plan to leave AIM. Two shareholders own 90% of Masawara. Minority shareholders are being offered 25p a share or the chance to convert the shares into preference shares. Eastern European property investor Kimberly has net liabilities of €24.1m and sold most of its property assets. The lease agreement for the Marina Dorcol project has been terminated.

Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) has completed the enrolment of its 560 plus patient phase III trial for a treatment for patients with allergic rhino conjunctivitis due to birch pollen. The results of the trial should be available before the end of this year. The potential market is worth around £3bn.

Two large clinical trial contracts have been delayed and this means that Cambridge Cognition (COG) 2017 revenues will be 18% lower than expected. This means that there will be a loss for the year.

Telematics equipment and services provider Quartix (QTX) pleased the market by growing its 2017 revenues by 5% to £24.4m. This means that earnings per share forecasts have been raised from 11.8p to 12.3p.

Geospatial software company 1Spatial (SPA) has won a five-year contract from the state of Michigan in the US worth $766,000. Liontrust has sold all its 9.35% stake.

Xeros Technology Group (XSG) has launched its domestic washing machine that can cut the use of water, detergent and energy by up to 50%. A second development agreement has been signed with a commercial washing machines manufacturer.

Oracle Power (ORCP) is acquiring the minority stake in coal mining lease owner Sindh Carbon Energy for up to £3.6m in shares.

APC Technology Group (APC) has acquired electronic components distributor First Byte Micro for £1.2m. In 2016, First Byte made a pre-tax profit of £194,000 on revenues of £1.3m.

Reconstruction Capital II (RC2) has acquired stakes in two funds that own 60% of Romanian paints and coatings supplier Policolor. This will mean that Reconstruction Capital II has an effective stake of 55.36% in Policolor and make it easier to liquidate the investment.

BOS Global (BOS) wants to raise £1.2m at 1.25p a share to settle debts and provide working capital. The software company says the directors will not be paid until April and one of them, William Giles, will subscribe up to £300,000 in the placing and open offer.

Connemara Mining (CON) has announced drilling results from the Mine River gold project in Wicklow and Wexford. Most of the intersections contained gold at grades of less than 1g/t but two were more positive with 4.53g/t over eight metres and 16.1g/t over two metres.

Versarien (VRS) is collaborating with an Asia-based global textiles manufacturer on incorporating graphene into fabrics via yarns and finishes.

MAIN MARKET    

E-commerce-focused cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) soared as trading commenced on the standard list and trading in the shares had to be suspended after three days. There appear to have been nearly 1.4 million shares traded over three days, which is 2.8% of the shares in issue. Cayman Islands-based AIQ, raised £3.6m after expenses, at 8p a share. The suspension price is 125p. That means that the quotation and £3.6m in cash are valued at £62.5m. The plan is to seek an e-commerce acquisition, which has a strong management and is near to cash generation.

Bio-decontamination products supplier Bioquell (BQE) has completed the £122,000 disposal of the UK AirFlow parts and manufacturing business and received the final £70,000 for the sale of the service business. There was already net cash of £14.5m at the end of 2017. Full year revenues were better than expected at £29.3m, up from £26.8m and pre-exceptional profit will be much better, even before the £250,000 gain on the Airflow disposals. The 2017 figures will be published on 7 March.

Software supplier Gresham Technologies (GHT) says 2017 revenues were 24% ahead to £21.3m and more of these revenues are coming from Clareti enterprise data integrity software. There is £8.5m in the bank. Kestrel has trimmed its stake from 14.9% to 12.5%.

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has won a cyber communication technology contract with a government worth $4m over 12 months. Delivery will start in the second quarter of 2018.

Thomas Charlton has further increased his stake in North Midland Construction (NMD) from 7.24% to 8.2%. This appears to have sparked a recovery in the share price.

Avocet Mining (AVM) has deferred the completion the sale of its Burkina Faso assets for $5m. The buyer, the Balaji group of companies, wants more time to settle a claim from International Royalty Corporation, a creditor of the holding company of the assets. Avocet has received a deposit of $500,000.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has announced the results of preliminary grab samples from the Gubong gold mine. The majority of samples had gold grades of more than 1g/t and silver grades of 10g/t or more.

Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN) has entered an exclusivity agreement for the acquisition of production and exploration licences in a Central Asian country. Azerbaijan-focused Zenith would be acquiring assets in a proven petroleum system and they produce 250 barrels of oil per day.

Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has started drilling at the Gakara project in Burundi. Gakara has an estimated in situ-grade of 47%-67% total rare earth oxide. The drilling is focused on the production area at Gasagwe and anomalies that have been identified. The first results will be in April. A second phase of drilling is planned later in the year and this could produce a JORC-compliant resource before the end of 2018. Production is building up and the run rate target for the end of 2018 is 5,000tpa. In December, Rainbow raised £2.8m at 14p a share in an oversubscribed placing. The cash will be used to acquire capital equipment.

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 8 January 2018

NEX EXCHANGE    

Kryptonite 1 (KR1) has invested $249,000 in a presale of 4,775,686 Simple tokens in a project administered by OpenST Ltd. The plan is for the tokens to be used to enable digital currencies to be launched by businesses. There has also been a $100,000 investment in the presale of tokens in the Props project. That bought 859,569 Props tokens. These tokens are used as a cryptocurrency as part of a decentralised ecosystem of video applications.

DagangHalal (DGHL) has launched its mobile app MEEMBAR (meaning raised platform in Arabic), which is targeted at Muslim travellers, on the Android platform. The app provides details of mosques, hotels and restaurants in an area. The app will become available on the IoS platform later this year. Longer-term, the company wants to introduce the ability to undertake transactions.

AIM…….

Housing developer Inland Homes (INL) ended the year strongly, selling two sites for a total of £12.7m. Inland Partnerships, which develops social housing, has entered into a £29.5m contract to develop 136 homes.

Kestrel Partners has taken a 4.32% stake in telematics equipment and services provider Trakm8 (TRAK).

Gear4Music (G4M) says that Christmas sales grew by 42%. The online musical instruments retailer is still on course for a full year profit of £2.4m.

Peter Scott is taking on the role of chief executive at digital marketing services provider Be Heard Group (BHRD) and David Morrison will replace him as chairman.

Smart metering technology supplier CyanConnode (CYAN) says that its order book is in excess of $100m even though a large order has been delayed. There was £5.5m in the bank at the end of 2017.

Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) has announced a new Lamborghini dealership in Chelmsford on the same site as the Bentley dealership. The showroom should be open by the end of the first quarter. A new site in Hatfield to house the new McLaren dealership and the company’s other dealerships in the area should be completed by the end of the year. Cambria is still cautious about the UK car market. Trading in the first quarter is in line with expectations. Chairman Philip Swatman and his wife sold 100,000 shares at 57p a share, leaving them with 200,000 shares.

Marble quarry operator Fox Marble Holdings (FOX) is raising £2.76m through a placing at 10.5p a share and Indian firm Kesari Tours PVT is investing £2m of the cash. Kesari boss Shailesh Patil has committed to buying a minimum of 3,000 tonnes a year of marble in return for exclusivity in the Arabian Gulf. Fox is also raising £235,000 via a convertible loan note issue and capitalising £783,000 of debt. Directors are also taking part of their pay in the form of shares. Fox will use £1.5m of the cash to repay debt and the rest will go towards expanding production. Total marble production was 8,800 tonnes in 2017. The new processing facility has capacity of up to 440,000 square metres a year so it will be able to cope with much higher quarry production.

Network data processing technology supplier Ethernet Networks Ltd (ENET) has disappointed the market six months after flotation. A customer has chosen to sign up to a different proposal than expected and two other projects have been delayed until 2018. This means that 2017 revenues and profit will be lower than anticipated, although profit will be higher than 2016. In 2016, revenues were $2.16m and operating profit was $339,000, which was exceeded in the first half of 2017 even though revenues were much lower.

Victoria Oil and Gas (VOG) says that its gas supply contract with ENEO in Cameroon has not been extended. This had covered 53% of Logbaba gas sales revenues in 2017. ENEO owes $8.7m.

Churchill China (CHH) says that its 2017 results will be slightly better than expected thanks to strong export sales. Full year figures will be published on 27 March.

Strand Hanson has resigned as nominated adviser to BNN Technology (BNN) following news that the company failed to account for a bonus claimed by Darren Mercer. The £270,000 bonus has been offset against the £450,000 he owes the company. Mercer also claims that the remaining amount of the loan should be reduced.

Corero Network Services (CNS) has gained $400,000 of contracts for its SmartWall cyber security system.

Ultrasound simulation technology provider Medaphor Group (MED) says that 2017 revenues were 27% ahead at £4.2m. The loss will be £2.9m. There was £4.2m in the bank at the end of 2017.

Cantor Fitzgerald has downgraded its 2017 profit forecast for waste treatment and energy generation plants developer Green and Smart Holdings (GSH) from RM7m to RM6.7m and the 2018 figure from RM16.9m to RM10.8m because of delays to electricity generation projects. Local project finance is taking longer than expected to secure.

Attractions designer Paragon Entertainment Ltd (PEL) chief executive John Dobson has acquired 1.43 million shares at 2.5p each. That increases his stake to 6.55%. This has helped the share price to recover after almost a year of decline following disappointing trading statement.

Babestation producer Cellcast (CLTV) says that it intends to provide for the £495,000 it had invested in the Lexinta fund, which is being investigated by the Swiss authorities. The investment vale had been raised to £754,000 in the last accounts. This appears to be in the trade receivables in the balance sheet last June. There was £862,000 in cash in the bank.

European PR firm SEC (SECG) has acquired 51% of Colombia-based Newlink for up to €2.2m and this could rise to €4.3m if the option to acquire the rest of the shares is taken up in the next five years.

TyraTech Inc (TYR) will buy back $8.4m worth of shares at the tender price of 3p a share.

Oil and gas firm San Leon Energy (SLE) has ended bid discussions with two potential bidders. A potential reverse takeover is still on the cards.

Even though Crawshaw Group (CRAW) says that the performance of its factory shops has been good, like-for-like sales for the delicatessen products retailer have declined. This has led Peel Hunt to increase its loss forecasts for this year and next year as like-for-like revenues are expected to continue to decline.

Egdon Resources (EDR) has had its appeal for planning permission for the Wressle oil development in Lincolnshire. Egdon owns 25% and Union Jack Oil (UJO) has a 15% stake. Egdon has been allow to retain the original planning permission until the end of April.

ReNeuron (RENE) is consolidating 100 shares into one new share. Management hopes that this will help to attract institutional investors. The cell-based therapeutics developer had £45.3m in the bank at the end of September 2017.

Christopher Brown is stepping down as chief executive of TomCo Energy (TOM) but he will remain for the short-term. He has agreed to loan £100,000 to the company.

Packaging machinery manufacturer Molins (MLIN) is changing its name to Mpac following the sale of the Molins tobacco machinery business.

The People’s Operator (TPOP) has returned from suspension having completed its £2.82m fundraising at 0.1p a share. The London Stock Exchange says that the settlement of outstanding trades is occurring and it allowed the restoration in dealings, but it says that it will continue to closely monitor the situation.

BOS Global Holdings (BOS) has appointed Marcus Yeoman, Will Giles and Michael Wilczynski to the board andMark Uren has resigned, which means that it does have the minimum required number of three directors. The finances of the software developer remain uncertain and trading in the shares is still suspended. A general meeting requisition has been withdrawn.

Average oil production from the Trinidad operations of Range Resources Ltd (RRL) in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 629 barrels a day and the current daily production is 703 barrels a day.

Premier African Minerals (PREM) did not meet its guidance on production at the RHA tungsten mine in the last quarter of 2017 and this means that it did not achieve profitable production in December. Premier has said that it would not provide any more cash unless profitability were achieved. Premier is spinning off the Zulu lithium project, which could have a value greater than Premier, and drilling programmes could be funded by offering a stake in the new company.

MAIN MARKET  

Cayman Islands-based cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) (ww.aiqhub.com) is joining the standard list on 9 January. AIQ has raised £3.6m after expenses, mainly at 8p a share. The plan is to seek an e-commerce acquisition, which has a strong management and is near to cash generation.

North American oil and gas explorer and producer PennPetro Energy (PPP) acquired Nobel Petroleum UK last May, which gives it a 75% working interest in City of Gonzales petroleum leases in Texas. Nobel has secured £2m in additional funding for the leases. PennPetro joined the standard list and was valued at £17.7m at 25p a share. Former Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman is chairman.

Andrew Hore

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