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Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) has published results for the year to August 2019 and the subsequent interims. Following these announcements, trading in the shares has resumed. There was strong growth in the interim figures with revenues of £116,000 but there was still a loss of £75,000. The working capital facility has been increased to £500,000.
Cannabis products supplier World High Life (LIFE) says it intends to list on the Canadian Stock Exchange. Revenues were £1.05m in the nine months to March 2020. Write-offs meant that the loss was £11.3m. Subsidiary Love Hemp’s online sales in May were double the level in January. Sales have switched from high street to online. There will be a rebrand in September
Engineering businesses consolidator Vulcan Industries (VULC) has raised a further £179,000, including £65,000 raised by share issues to employees at 2p a share. There were also shares issued at 4.25p each. The placing price was 3p a share and creditors are taking shares at that price valued at £175,000 in lieu of flotation costs. The current share price is 4.5p (4p/5p).
Gunsynd (GUN) is raising £600,000 at 0.65p a share and this will be used for further investments.
KR1 (KR1) has participated in the Plasm token distribution. KR1 has 1,232 Ether (ETH) valued at $253,000 which it has agreed to be locked up. Access will be obtained in three intervals over 1,000 days. In return for the lockup KR1 receives 66.3 million Plasm tokens. Plasm is launching a platform on the Polkadot blockchain.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has raised £650,000 at 9p a share. The cash will be used to help develop the Amapa iron ore project and pay off loan notes. The stockpile of iron ore should be shipped during the summer. Cadence and the joint venture partners are in discussions with creditors. A scoping study will be commissioned.
The Australian government has approved the acquisition of the Beaconsfield gold mine in Tasmania by NQ Minerals (NQMI). This will enable the mine to be reopened. NQ Minerals has raised £119,000 at 7.5p a share.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has sold a residential property in Wimbledon Park for £656,000, so that it can reinvest the cash in the core supported housing business. The sale was at a 3% discount to book value.
British Honey Company (BHC) has launched a Special Charity Edition Premium Vodka to raise money for COVID-19 research. One-quarter of sales revenues will go towards funding this research.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has completed the purchase of a property in Preston. Barry Fromson has been appointed as chief executive and Barry Fitzpatrick as non-executive chairman. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) had an investment property and nearly £12,000 in the bank at the end of 2019. NAV is £206,000.
Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) and Columbus Energy (CERP) are merging. Columbus shareholders will receive 0.803 of a BPC share for each share they own. Columbus was valued at £25m when the deal was announced. Columbus will generate cash to help finance exploration by BPC.
Escape Hunt (ESC) is raising up to £4m via a placing and one-for-four open offer at 7.5p a share and a convertible loan note issue of £340,000. The escape rooms operator says all the directors are buying shares. The intention is to spend £2.5m on rolling out more sites and the rest will go on operational improvements and working capital. Five or six new sites are planned in the next 12 months. UK sites were growing revenues prior to lockdown.
Hummingbird Resources (HUM) intends to acquire the Kouroussa gold project from Cassidy Gold Corp. First gold production could be within two years. There is a gold resource of 1.18Moz at >3g/t.
Hawkwing (HNG) plans to move to a standard listing. Formerly TLA Worldwide, trading in the shares is suspended because the shell has not found a suitable acquisition. Hawkwing would lose its AIM quotation in September without an acquisition. There is no time limit on acquisitions for shells on the standard list.
Ilika (IKA) had cash of £14.9m at the end of April 2020. The battery technology developer is choosing a fabrication facility for the manufacture of its batteries. Four potential partners are in the running. A tool that will increase productivity has been ordered and should be delivered by the end of 2020.
Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) produced less crude palm oil during May because of a decline in fruit delivered to the mill. There were 3,316 tonnes of crude palm oil produced in May, down from 5,316 tonnes in May 2019. However, more was sold during the month because of the much higher production in April. The average price received per tonne increased.
Be Heard (BHRD) has received a bid approach of 0.5p a share from MSQ Partners.
Lower energy prices have led to a fall in the net asset value of JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN) but it continues to generate cash and pay dividends. NAV has fallen from 104.7p a share to 97.5p a share. Total dividends were 6.66p a share last year and the target for this year is 6.76p a share. JLEN is joining the FTSE 250 index on 22 June.
Air Partner (AIR) is raising £7.5m at 75p a share. Profit was ahead of budget in the four months to May 2020 with strong freight demand. There is also recovery in the private jets market. The cash will fund organic growth including the opening of offices in new locations.
Seafox International has attempted to requisition a general meeting at Gulf Marine Services (GMS) in order to appoint its representatives to the board. GMS says that the requisition is not valid in its current form. Hassan Heikal and Hesham Helbouny are the proposed directors.
Boston International Holdings (BIH) has secured a new £200,000 loan facility from a major shareholder. The plan is to acquire invoice factor Alexanders Discount.
Associated British Engineering (ASBE) is selling its interest in British Polar Engines and this will mean that it will no longer have any commitments to the pension fund. There will be no debt if the deal goes ahead.
Small Cap Awards 2020
The shortlist for the 2020 Small Cap Awards has been published. The awards are for quoted companies with a market capitalisation of less than £200m. This year the awards dinner has been cancelled. Instead, there will be a live virtual awards ceremony held via Zoom on 25 June. There are eleven awards for companies and individuals.
Company Of The Year
IPO Of The Year
Argentex Group PLC
Executive Director Of The Year
Matt Jones – CEO of Blancco Technology Group
Giulio Cerroni – CEO of Ixico
Lyn Rees – CEO of Yourgene Health
Jennifer Winter – CEO of Animalcare
Peter Harrison – CEO of Bioventix
David Cicurel – CEO of Judges Scientific
Transaction Of The Year
Centralnic Group – Team Internet
Rockrose Energy – Marathon Oil and Marathon West of Shetland Limited
Kape Technologies – Private Internet Access
Amryt Pharma – Aegerion
Totally – Greenbrook Healthcare
Inspiration Healthcare acquisition of Vio Holdings
Technology Company Of The Year
SRT Marine Systems
Blancco Technology Group
Innovative Financing Of The Year
Yu Group PLC
Simec Atlantis Energy
Impact Company Of The Year
Analyst Of The Year
Kartik Swaminathan, Arden Partners
Peter McNally, Panmure Gordon
Jens Lindqvist, Investec
Lorne Daniel, Finn Cap
Kai Korschelt, Canaccord Genuity
George O’Connor, Stifel London
Journalist Of The Year
Simon Thompson – Investors Chronicle
Michael Taylor – Investors Chronicle
Mark Shapland – Evening Standard
Joanne Hart – Mail on Sunday
Emma Agyemang – Financial Times
Hannah Godfrey – Professional Adviser
UK Smaller Companies Fund Manager Of The Year
ASI UK Smaller Companies – Harry Nimmo
JPM UK Smaller Companies – Georgina Brittain and Katen Patel
M&G Smaller Companies – Garfield Kiff and Rory Alexander
Invesco UK Smaller Companies Equity (UK) – Jonathan Brown
TM Cavendish AIM B – Paul Mumford
Kames UK Smaller Companies – Elaine Morgan
VCT Manager Of The Year
Amati AIM VCT PLC – Dr. Paul Jourdan, David Stevenson, Anna MacDonald
Unicorn AIM VCT PLC – Chris Hutchinson
Octopus AIM VCT 2 PLC – Kate Tidbury
Maven Income and Growth VCT 1 PLC – Bill Nixon
Seneca Growth Capital VCT PLC – John Davies
Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 1 – Oliver Bedford
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.
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.
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.
Proton Partners International (PPI) joined NEX on 28 February and from day one it became one of the largest companies on the market. The introduction price was 225p, valuing the proton beam therapy provider at £334m, and the share price ended the week at 2275p (210p/245p). Woodford-related interests own 41.9% of Proton (www.proton-int.com) and they invested £20m at 200p a share on admission and promised to invest up to £80m at a maximum price of 176p each. Woodford received a further £1m worth of shares at 200p each in consideration for these arrangements. Proton is four years old and it has completed three centres offering proton beam therapy for cancer patients with another planned in Liverpool. Each cancer centre has cost between £35m and £42m. There is also a cancer diagnostics subsidiary. In the eleven months to January 2019, revenues were £1.11m and the loss was £18.6m.
Formation Group (FRM) owns 4.35 million shares in Proton Partners International, which it acquired in March 2018 at 115p each. The 225p a share flotation price means that the value of the 2.85% stake has nearly doubled to £9.78m. At Formation’s AGM, the resolutions to reappoint Grunberg and Co as auditor and for the board to authorise its remuneration were not passed. Michael Kennedy has resigned from the board.
Trading in Dozen Savings (DS01) 5% secured bonds March 2020 commenced on 1 March. So far £91,000 worth have been issued. The plan is to raise up to £7m. The company has been created to offer the bonds to customers of its financial services-focused parent company, Project Imagine (www.projectimagine.com). The bonds cost £100 each and the price at the end of the first day of trading was £107.50 (£90/£125). The FCA has granted Project Imagine an e-money licence and an investment licence.
IFA consolidator AFH Financial (AFHP) says that trading is in line with expectations in the first four months of the year. Past acquisitions are achieving more than 90% of their deferred consideration targets.
Field Systems Designs (FSD) reported a lower profit in the six months to November 2018 because of delays in energy form waste business. Two of these projects have still not been completed. Sales to the water sector have been strong, but they are likely to decline as the latest water regulation AMP6 period. In the six months to November 2018, revenues were flat at £11.8m, but pre-tax profit fell from £168,000 to £46,000.
Sandal (SAND) reported a dip in interim revenues from £1.88m to £1.73m and that led to a swing from profit to loss. EnergieMiHome home automation product sales were lower than expected but the products are being sold in more outlets.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has spent £6.17m on two properties that are both let to the Communities and Local Government department, as Jobcentre Plus centres, on leases with an unexpired term of 8.4 years. The property in Bolton cost £2.54m and has a net initial yield of 7%. The Northampton site cost £3.63m and has a net initial yield of 6.75%.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) says that investee company Essential Learning has been placed in liquidation after problems with historic data led to the company losing its government-funded training contracts. Milamber invested £228,000 in Essential in a two year period and provided services worth £270,000. It also issued £100,000 worth of shares to Essential minority shareholder Goldvista Properties. Goldvista has loaned Milamber £310,000 and this is likely to be converted into shares. Goldvista’s £6,000 loan to Essential has been written off. The shares issued to Gravity Investment Group for a 15% stake in Essential have been cancelled. Milamber is conducting due diligence on apprenticeship training businesses.
Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has raised £1m at 90p a share and the cash will be used to invest in healthcare, education and eco-tourism businesses in Africa that are two-to-three years from profitability and have a positive social impact.
Trading in Via Developments (VIA1) debentures has been suspended because the accounts for the year to September 2018 have not been published.
Karoo Energy (KEP) says it intends to move to AIM “as soon as practically possible”. A general meeting has been called for 18 March in order to gain shareholder approval to issue shares at the time of the move.
Altona Energy (ANR) has left AIM and the board intends to visit a vanadium mine in China that could become part of a joint venture. Altona still intends to invest in the Arckaringa coal project in South Australia.
John Eckersley is stepping down as chief executive of Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) in order to focus on his role as managing partner of Castlefield Partners and Alistair Currie will become chief executive.
Internet of Things products supplier LightwaveRF (LWRF) is raising up to £3m through a placing, subscription and open offer at 8.5p a share. Year-on-year growth in sales in the first quarter was 156% taking the figure to £1.15m.
Churchill China (CHH) and Portmeirion (PMP) have bought the stake in ceramic materials supplier Furlong Mills that was previously owned by Dudson. Churchill has paid £454,000 for 9.5%, which takes its stake to 55.6%. This means that Furlong will be consolidated in Churchill’s figures. In 2017, revenues were £8.6m and pre-tax profit was £500,000. Portmeirion spent £363,000 to take its stake to 44.4%.
President Energy (PPC) is raising up to £6.5m at 8p a share, including a £2.8m debt for equity swap by the chief executive, to invest in its gas infrastructure and accelerate its drilling programme.
Itaconix (ITX) has secured an exclusive global supply agreement with Nouryon for bio-based polymers used in hair care, skin care and cosmetics. This contract comes after a joint development agreement with Nouryon and follows the previous supply agreement for polymers used in detergents. Nouryon will sell the polymers to its own customers in the personal care sector for use in their consumer products.
Audioboom (BOOM) is raising £1.5m at 1.3p a share and this cash will enable the podcast company to make upfront payments for content. Audioboom says that it is on course to achieve higher revenues in 2019 than in the 13 months to December 2018. The success in generating revenues and orders is helping to attract content providers.
Parity (PTY) has won a two-year contract with the Department for Education for the digital transformation of the Funding and Contracting Service, which makes £6bn of payments each year. The deal could be worth up to £4.5m. Matthew Bayfield has taken over as chief executive of Parity from Alan Rommel, who is chief operating officer. Bayfield plans to focus more on the data consultancy activities.
Westmount Energy Ltd (WTE) is nearly doubling its shareholding in JHI Associates Inc to 3% and the investment is 81.8% of Westmount’s gross assets. JHI’s main asset is a 17.5% carried interest in the Canje block, offshore Guyana, which is operated by ExxonMobil. The first well could be drilled by early next year.
Verona Pharma (VRP) used up £18.1m of cash in its operating activities in 2018. There is still £64.5 in the bank. Verona generated positive data for ensifentrine (RPL554) used as a treatment for COPD in a phase IIb clinical trial. The focus is COPD and further trials for cystic fibrosis are unlikely in the short-term. Financial resources will be focused on progressing the nebulised ensifentrine to a phase III study. Verona is likely to seek partners for its dry powder and pressured meter dose inhaler formulations. The results of the part one of the dry powder inhaler clinical trial for COPD could be available before the end of the first quarter. The second phase should then commence with results expected in the second half of the year.
Trading in Herencia Resources (HER) shares has been suspended because it appears that pre-conditions for the financing that has been negotiated are not likely to be met. More cash is required to enable the company to continue trading.
Telematics supplier Quartix (QTX) increased its fleet sales, but insurance business fell and overall revenues profit are set to decline in 2019. In 2018, revenues were £25.7m and pre-tax profit was £8.1m, but that figure is forecast to fall to £6.5m this year.
VietNam Holding Ltd (VNH) has published a prospectus for its move to a premium listing, which should happen on 8 March.
Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) has commenced a share buy back scheme for up to $500,000 of shares at a maximum price of 79 cents a share, which is a 25% discount to pro forma NAV. Adamas has separately agreed to buy back 730,529 shares at 10 cents each. The first tranche of 159,847 shares has been issued to China Aerospace for its stake in Hong Kong Mining.
NetScientific (NSCI) says that it will not get the required backing for the resolution to cancel the AIM quotation, so it has adjourned its general meeting. Shareholders owning more than 30% are against the plan.
MyCelx Tech (MYX) has raised $1.83m at 230p a share in order to finance the potential increase in demand for water treatment services.
Telit (TCM) has sold its automotive division for $105m and has received $67.5m in cash, but it has granted the buyer a loan of $38.5m for a six week period because other debt finance was not obtained in time.
Air Partner (AIR) says that its pre-tax profit will be at least £5.8m in the year to January 2019. The charter division was boosted by strong demand for freight and commercial jets. The consulting and training division has won new contracts.
G3 Exploration Ltd (G3E) plans its third demerger in its time as a quoted company. This time shares in Green Dragon Gas, which owns its producing assets, will be distributed to shareholders. Green Dragon Gas will then either be sold or float on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Wealth manager Walker Crips Group (WCW) says that political uncertainty has hit broking commissions and the launch of new products, which means that the 2018-19 results will be lower than for 2017-18. Chief executive Sean Kin Wai Lam has bought 15,000 shares at 28p each.
Laura Ashley (ALY) has rejected the bid approach by Flacks and says that the indicative offer of 2.748p a share fails to provide a fair value for shareholders.
London Finance and Investment Group (LFI) has a 43.8% stake in NEX-quoted Western Selection. In the six months to December 2018, NAV fell from 65.4p a share to 62p a share. The interim dividend is unchanged at 0.55p a share.
BigDish (DISH) has launched a new restaurant bookings website and upgraded its technology. It is also widening its coverage to include Southampton.
Path Investments (PATH) says that the period of exclusivity included in its heads of agreement with ARC Marlborough has been extended to 29 March. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue.
Oil and gas firm Curzon Energy (CZN) has raised £95,000 at 1.58p a share, which is a 21% premium to the market price. The cash will be invested in a gas project in Texas.
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)
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.
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.
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.
As a part time aviation buff, I probably take more note than others of the comings and goings at the Paris Air Show. The mood this year was very upbeat, with European Civil Aerospace very much in the ascendency.
Although demand remains healthy, the very nature of the industry structure means there are a relative a small number of major manufacturers. This doesn’t mean the manufacturers can monopolise – far from it. Pricing remains competitive in civil aviation, and means that company boardrooms have a constant battle to maintain margin.
After ferrying new French President Macron to open the Paris Air Show, Airbus (EPA: AIR) announced a deal for 100 single-aisle A320neo planes in its first big move, a real coup considering the firm is constantly battling US giant Boeing for orders amid burgeoning competition from China. This will create years of work for the global workforce. It’s thought that the firm had firm commitments for some $11bn worth of planes.
Not to be outdone, Boeing (NYSE: BA) unveiled plans for a newer and bigger version of its 737 Max aircraft, more or less declaring war on Airbus in the market for narrow-body passenger jets.
Boeing announced firm orders for more than 45 planes worth some $5.4bn. Buyers included Ryanair, China’s Okay Airways and the Aviation Capital Group leasing company. Pledges for a further 83 planes could be worth as much as $9.3bn.
However, with huge order backlogs for both firms, new orders aren’t perhaps the all important share price drivers that some might think. Airbus has accused Boeing of discounting narrow-body prices to win back market share, putting downward pressure on its suppliers. In addition aviation technology group Safran (EPA: SAF) has accused Pratt & Whitney, owned by United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX) of discounting engines in competition against the General Electric / Safran LEAP engine.
While it can be argued that the CA aftermarket industry offers greater upside risk than the aircraft manufacturers themselves, the low oil price means it makes greater economic sense to keep older planes in service, providing a welcome boost for the industry future. This view is lent further credence by upbeat forecasts from several companies, including UTC, Aero Systems, GE and Honeywell, who all said their 2017 aftermarket sales could be better than expected. And with the number of new planes coming off warranty, this looks set to continue.
So in summary, investing in the aircraft manufacturers directly, or the aftermarket industry looks to be a fairly safe place for your money. Emerging markets continue to fulfil the aircraft sales quota, while maintaining planes out of warranty is looking increasingly lucrative for the future. It might even be said that rather than taxiing out to the runway, the industry is awaiting clearance for take-off!