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Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 17 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Renewable energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) says that holding back on operating expenditure has offset the downturn in demand due to warmer weather. Profit will be weighted to the first half. Good is investing in electric vehicle platform Zap-Map.

Brewer Daniel Thwaites (THW) reported a more than halved pre-tax profit from £9.8m to £4.5m. Turnover improved from £92.2m to £96.9m and the profit decline was mainly due to a non-cash swing from gain to loss on swaps and a pension adjustment. Operating profit was flat at £12.9m. The Inns business improved its profit and individual pubs are making a higher profit contribution, but hotels profit declined. The total dividend was maintained at 3.36p a share. Net debt was £69.7m at the end of March 2019, while NAV was £180.7m. The pension liability has fallen from £34.9m to £24.8m.

KR1 (KR1) has sold 70,079 tokens in the Cosmos Network for $361,000. The average cost of the tokens was $0.10 each and they were sold for $5.14 each. KR1 has also generate a further 7,008 tokens from staking activities and these were sold for $6.93 each.

There was a sharp rise in the share price of TechFinancials Inc (TECH) but much of this gain was lost by the end of the week. There does not appear to be a reason for the rise. Full year results should be published this week. There will be an operating loss. There was $1.1m in the bank at the end of May 2019. The company is still waiting for approval from the Seychelles authorities for the €100,000 disposal of MarketFinancials. There will be write-downs of the value of diamond trading blockchain developer CEDEX and MarketFinancials.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had a NAV of 272.02p a share at the end of May 2019. The company intends to start buying back shares and these purchases could exceed 25% of the average daily volume of ordinary shares.

Shareholders have approved the plan of Oyster Oil and Gas to distribute the shares of its main subsidiary to settle indebtedness and certain creditors. These include Gunsynd (GUN) although the exact shareholding has yet to be announced. Production sharing contracts in Madagascar and Djibouti are owned by the subsidiary. Gunsynd has raised £500,000 at 0.037p a share.

Trading in Via Developments (VIA1) debentures has recommenced following the publication of figures for 18 months to September 2018. The company has net liabilities of £329,000 with long-term debt of £5.68m offset by cash of £91,000. A subsidiary is securing debt and equity for a project that will generate management fees fir Via, but that won’t happen until September.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) is holding a general meeting on 3 July in order to gain shareholder approval for the acquisition of the 97.5% of Coal Tech and its related business that it does not own for £27.2m in shares at 2.75p each. CoalTech transforms discarded coal into coal pellets.

Lombard Odier sold 1.65 million shares in Chapel Down Group (CDGP) at 75p a share, reducing its stake to 11.5%. Chief executive Frazer Thompson exercised 2.39 million options at 12.5p a share and finance director Richard Woodhouse exercised 200,000 options at 10p a share and all these shares were sold at 75p each.

AIM 

Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) has received another bid approach. Previous potential bidder Science Group (SAG) has built up a 28.3% stake in Frontier so it is in a strong position. It says that it does not intend to sell the shares to another bidder and could block any move to cancel the AIM quotation.

Park Group (PARK) increased investment in the business last year and this knocked underlying pre-tax profit progress which was flat at £12.5m, before asset write-downs. The dividend was increased by 5% to 3.2p a share. There was a smaller contribution from Christmas savings, but growth from corporate promotions and incentives offset that. Increasingly, business is card-based. There was £36.9m of the company’s own cash at the end of March 2019. There will be a dip in profit this year due to higher overheads and profit growth should resume in 2020-21. Chief executive Ian O’Doherty has bought 30,000 shares at 69.5p each.

Stanley Gibbons (SGB) has resolved claims against former management at antique dealer Mallett and this will result in a cash inflow of £850,000 over 12 months.

Safestyle (SSTY) has acquired the freehold of a 161 bed hostel in Pisa for €3.25m. This takes the company’s portfolio to 14 hostels, including the Paris site that is under construction.

Last year was about OnTheMarket (OTMP) building up the number of agencies on its property portal and increasing the number of homebuyers looking at the properties advertised. The rival to Rightmove and Zoopla needs to convert these agencies into fee payers and that process has just started. OnTheMarket will continue to be loss-making this year with higher marketing spending likely to offset higher revenues. Cash is expected to fall from £15.7m to £6.6m at the end of January 2019.

NWF (NWF) did better than expected in the year to May 2019. The feeds business was slightly behind the previous year, but new business helped the food warehouse business to significantly improve its performance and fuels did better than expected despite the milder winter, although behind the previous year. The results will be published on 30 July.

Industrial equipment distributor HC Slingsby (SLNG) says that pressure on margin means that operating profit in the four months to April 2019 is lower, even though revenues are slightly higher. Uncertainty over Brexit is affecting levels of demand in the first half of 2019. Net debt was £1.3m at the end of May 2019.

The actuarial deficit on the Molins UK Pension Fund has been cut from £69.9m to £35.2m over a three-year period. Mpac (MPAC) believes the deficit should be eliminated by July 2024. That is based on maintained payments into the scheme.

Filta (FLTA) says that its figures will be more skewed towards the second half. This is partly down to the integration of the Watbio grease management business. There has been growth in the FiltaSeal business and the North American FiltaFry fryer management franchise business.

Avingtrans (AVG) has acquired the Booth Industries specialist door manufacturing business from the administrator of Redhall (RHL) for £1.8m in cash. Booth made a pre-tax profit of £300,000 last year.

MAIN MARKET 

Full year results from fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) were slightly better than expected. Revenues were 6% ahead at £209m, while re-tax profit was a similar percentage higher at £23.5m. The dividend was increased by 10% to 4.25p a share. Trading remains tough.

Aquila Services (AQSG) has acquired education and sports consultancy Oaks Consultancy for up to £1.7m in cash and shares. In the year to March 2019, Oaks made a pre-tax profit of £254,000 on revenues of £909,000.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) is converting $2.89m of loans into 121.5 million shares. Management made most of the loans and chief executive Colin Patterson will end up with 19.1% of Bluebird. Bluebird is debt-free.

Standard list shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) lost £2.3m in 2018 due to overheads and due diligence costs. There is still £26.9m in the bank.

Andrew Hore

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

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

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 25 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Good Energy (GOOD) increased full year revenues from continuing operations from £104.5m to £116.9m, helped by last winter’s cold weather and a price increase, and pre-tax profit recovered from £700,000 to £1.7m. The renewable electricity supplier and generator has increased its dividend from 3.3p a share to 3.5p a share. Net debt was £40.1m at the end of 2018. Energy supply volumes increased by 3%, but domestic volumes were 1.2% lower in an increasingly competitive market. The growth came in the business side, which increased volumes by 23%. Good Energy generates energy from six solar sites and two wind farms. The company expects to continue to grow business volumes and invest in digital technology. Non-executive director Nemone Wynn-Evans has bought 9,500 shares at 105p each.

Trading in PCG Entertainment (PCGE) shares has been suspended because it is in talks to acquire VOX Markets and Align Research.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has been told by its potential nominated adviser does not believe its is suitable for an AIM quotation. This also means that the planned fundraising cannot go ahead. A refinancing is required. There are trade creditors of around £300,000. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has maintained its 3.4% stake in Fresho by participating in its latest fundraising, which was at a 76% premium to the price paid for the initial investment. The investment is worth A$673,000.

Dana Group International Investments Ltd (DANA) reported swing from loss of $129,000 to a profit of $95,000 in the six months to December 2018, due to other income of $276,000.

Tectonic Gold (TAU) says that roc chip samples from the Clermont project in Queensland show up to 8.01g/t gold, 140g/t silver and 6.32% copper.

Panther Metals (PALM) has completed the acquisition of Parthian Resources and its former shareholders own 16.1% of Panther.

Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has raised a further £225,000 at 90p a share.

Imperial X (IMPP) has changed its focus to medicinal cannabis. There was a small cash outflow in the six months to the end of December 2018. There was nearly £70,000 in the bank with net cash of £19,000. There are net liabilities and more cash will be required later this year.

Steve Howson is stepping down as chief executive of SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) and he will become a non-executive director. Majority shareholder David Sumner will be interim chief executive.

AIM  

Footasylum (FOOT) has recommended a 82.5p a share bid from JD Sports Fashion (SPD) which values the footwear retailer at £90.1m. JD Sports was buying shares between 50p and 75p and built up a 18.7% stake. The bidder promises to maintain the separate commercial identity. Footasylum floated in November 2017 at 164p a share.

Diaceutics (DXRX) ended the week at 97.5p, having floated at 72p. The company provides data analysis and advisory services to pharma companies seeking to develop and commercialise diagnostic tests. There were £15.2m of placing proceeds net of expenses and £5.5m will be spent on the acquisition of data, while the rest will be used to pay off debt and develop AI analysis technology. There is limited liquidity in the shares because they are tightly held.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) warns that trading in the second quarter is weak because of the warmer winter weather. There has also been a weakening in farmgate prices. Interim figures will be well below the first half of last year and the full year will be below forecast. Peel Hunt argues that it has already factored these elements into its forecast for rival feed supplier NWF (NWF) and it is not changing its forecasts.

Pelatro (PTRO) has launched a data monetisation platform with a revenue share contract with an existing client, which is worth $500,000 in the first year. This is a product that can be sold to other customers.

Financial trading platform Aquis Exchange (AQX) reported 2018 revenues ahead of expectations and it doubled its market share during the year. The subscription-based model means that higher trading levels by a trader lead to subscription income levels going up. Aquis will continue to be loss-making this year, but the relatively fixed cost base means that once this is covered the profit should grow significantly as revenues grow.

Scientific instruments supplier Judges Scientific (JDG) increased is cash generation from operations from £10.9m to £15.7m in 2018. There was 5.5% organic growth in revenues and underlying operating profit rose by just over one-third to £14.7m. The cash balance has increased to £15.7m, which provides firepower for acquisitions. Shore Capital has edged up its earnings per share forecast from 188.8p to 190p.

Volvere (VLE) says full year revenues from continuing operations will rise from £16.2m to £18.6m. There was a £23.1m gain on the sale of Impetus Automotive. There was an underlying loss on continuing activities, but the frozen pie maker Shire Foods improved its profit contribution. There is £34.1m of cash in the Volvere balance sheet.

Frontier IP (FIPP) says that the outcome for the year to June 2019 is likely to be ahead of management expectations. A deal by investee company Exscientia, which is involved in AI-based drug discovery, with Celgene Corporation should result in a substantial uplift in its valuation.

Science in Sport (SIS) had a 25-day contribution from the profitable PhD Nutrition business in 2018. The group’s underlying loss increased last year, but PhD will help to reduce the loss and the cash outflow from operations, which was £6.42m last year. There is £8m in the bank and even with capital investment requirements that should be enough to cover requirements this year.

Ceramic products supplier Portmeirion Group (PMP) increased its 2018 pre-tax profit by 10% to £9.7m and a further rise to £10.3m is forecast for this year. Online sales are growing rapidly from a relatively low base. The home fragrance business is doing well, and capacity is being added. The total dividend is 8% higher at 35.7p a share.

Share (SHRE) improved its significantly improved its profitability in the second half of 2018, although trading levels weakened towards the end of the year. That weakness has continued into the early months of this year. Evan so, Cenkos forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £700,000 to £1.3m, upgraded from £1.1m, in 2019.

Clear Leisure (CLP) has placed its 50%-owned data mining operation in Serbia on a care and maintenance basis. This is due to the fall in the price of cryptocurrency. Legal actions and negotiations continue concerning a number of past investments. Clear has paid £76,000 for a 10% stake in PBV, which provides data services for the Italian legal sector. At the end of 2018, there were €2.1m of bonds converted into shares.

Andrew Perloff has increased his stake in 600 Group (SIXH) from 6.19% to 8.85%.

Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has changed the ratio of its ADRs from two shares for each ADR to 20 shares for each ADR. This is a way of getting the trading price of the ADRs on NASDAQ back above $1.

EQTEC (EQT) could be a beneficiary of the deal done by its largest shareholder EBIOSS with Urbaser for the collection, treatment and possible conversion of waste to energy. Urbaser is conducting due diligence on EQTEC’s gasification technology and this could be used for any waste to energy plant if all three parties come to an agreement on a specific opportunity. Projects could be in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Romania.

A local authority report has placed a five year reserve status on the Plymouth Airport site where Sutton Harbour (SUH) has a 135 year lease. The local authorities are keen that the site should be used for general aviation, but a viable business plan needs to be put together. Sutton Harbour would like to develop the site.

Tau Capital (TAU) has sent a circular to shareholders concerning a capital return of $1.19m or 2.42 cents a share, raise $150,000 via a placing at 0.1 cents a share and change its name to UK Onshore. Reverse takeover candidates are being assessed. Gerwyn Williams and Nigel Burton will join the board.

Synectics (SNX) has won a £1m order from the oil and gas sector. This is the largest order for its surveillance systems from this sector for a number of years. Synectics reported a rise in full year revenues from £70.1m to £71.2m and pre-tax profit slipped from £3.02m to £2.86m. The full year dividend is increased from 4p a share to 4.7p a share.

MAIN MARKET 

Athelney Trust (ATY) has responded to the letter from former director Dr Pohl, who wants to regain his place on the board along with Simon Moore and remove David Lawman. Dr Pohl has acquired more than 100,000 shares in the past month, and this means that five shareholders own more than 50% of the investment company putting its investment trust status at risk. As long as there is more than 35% of the company held by the public this is not a problem, but it would be if Dr Pohl joined the board. There have been £90,000 of extra costs because of disputes between the two major shareholders. The plan remains to bring Gresham House on board as fund manager

WideCells Group (WDC) is changing its name to Iconic Labs and moving into digital marketing and technology. The management of this business previously built up social publisher Unilad. In the first 12 months, an agency consulting division will be launched to assists clients to develop brands. There are plans to build up a distribution and publishing division through acquisitions and launch content licensing and e-commerce divisions. There is little indication of what will happen to the stem cell operations, although management appears to believe that the insurance business could be worth pursuing. Historic liabilities are being resolved. The convertible loan note holder continues to convert a proportion of the loan note that is below 30% and then sell the shares. There are 785.6 million shares in issue with more to come.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has raised £436,500 at 2.25p a share. The cash will be used for the pre-construction phase of the South Korean gold projects. An agreement has been made with a local landowner for the use of land outside the main entrance of the Kochang mine.

Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has raised £1.56m at 8.5p a share via an offer through PrimaryBid.com. This cash will fund a move by the natural resources company into the organic cannabidiol market. It has established Zoetic Organics in the US and it believes that hydrogen produced by Highland in Kansas can be used as a fertiliser with potential to increase the size of the plant. First revenues could be achieved in the summer.

Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) claims that Alchemy Utilities Ltd has sabotaged the proposed reverse takeover by refusing to provide audited accounts. Stranger is trying to get back the £300,000 it lent to Alchemy as well as its reverse takeover costs of £450,000. Stranger believes that the Alchemy management team may have misrepresented its financial status. An alternative acquisition is being lined up, but Stranger had negative net assets at the end of September 2018 and there are additional costs since then.

Standard list shell Hertsford Capital (HERT) still had £2.88m in cash at the end of 2018.

Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) is growing its gross profit but EBITDA is similar to the same period last year, which was around £650,000.

PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) has ended its wafer production activities in Germany and it intends to apply its wire sawing expertise to cutting non-silicon materials. There are plans to return £38.5m to shareholders, which is equivalent to 24p a share and that is not far short of the current market price. That could still leave more than €10m of cash. Management is considering whether to maintain a listing.

Sure Ventures (SURE) says 23%-owned Suir Valley Ventures has maintained its 10% stake in WarDucks, which is developing an AR game, by participating in a €3.3m fundraising.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 18 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Peel Hunt forecasts a dip in Shepherd Neame (SHEP) pre-tax profit from £11.8m to £11.2m in the year to June 2019. The broker still expects the total dividend to be increased from 29.2p a share to 30p a share.

Etaireia Investments (ETIP) has suspended Ian Fellman as a non-executive director pending investigation into certain matters. The mortgagee of two units at Whitehouse Business park in Peterlee has enforced security and sold the properties and these have been written off the Etaireia balance sheet. David Barnett, who owns 37.8% of the company, has requisitioned a general meeting in order to have himself appointed to the board.

European Lithium (EUR) expects to commence drilling in the second quarter in order to convert the resource in zone one of the Wolfsburg lithium project into measured and indicated categories. The company is part of a syndicate applying for grant funding for building up battery production in Germany. Lithium hydroxide is expected to continue to rise in price until 2022 and then fall back. European Lithium is in talks with lithium battery plant operators in Europe about an offtake agreement. The company had £3.3m of cash and financial assets at the end of 2018, as well as a convertible note of £2.56m, with more available to draw down. There was a cash outflow of £2.6m in the six month period. European Lithium is also ASX-listed and is considering a listing in Vienna.

Sandal (SAND) has decided to leave the NEX Exchange growth market after four years. Management says that share trading is limited, and the company has not been able to raise the cash it wanted to. They believe it would be easier to raise funds as an unquoted company. The company already has the backing of enough shareholders to make a general meeting pointless. The last day of trading is 10 April.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has already made a significant gain on its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) after the miner announced a $65m farm-in agreement with Newcrest for the Havieron gold copper project in Western Australia. Newcrest, which will ear up to 70% of the project, also has first right of refusal over the rest of the Paterson project area. The Greatland stake cost 1.71p a share. Even after some profit-taking, the Greatland share price is 2p, which represents a gain of more than £100,000 on the Primorus investment. Primorus has invested £875,000 in WeShop Ltd and has a 3.5% stake worth more than £1m. WeShop has developed new branding for its platform, added to its product range and enhanced the management team. The number of WeShop retailers has trebled to more than 9,000. The technology provides access to more than 20,000 merchants around the world. Vela Technologies (VELA) has a 1.42% stake in WeShop, which cost £100,000 and is valued at £427,000. Two Shields Investments (TSI) invested at a later date and has a 1.2% stake valued at £350,000.

Barkby Group (BARK) made a small interim loss on revenues of £1.82m. The three gastropubs operated by the company were profitable before central overheads and exceptionals. There was £37,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and a VAT refund is expected. This period is before the acquisition of Centurian Automotive, which was acquired for shares.

Gunsynd (GUN) has sold its stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) at 1.405p a share. The 31.17 million shares raised £438,000. Gunsynd had net assets of £2.18m at the end of January 2019, including £543,000 in cash. The flotation of FastBase Inc has been delayed and Gunsynd is no longer advising the company. Human Brands International Inc, where Gunsynd has a £300,000 convertibles investment, is on course for a standard listing.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has incorporated a subsidiary in Gibraltar and it is applying for a business licence.

Ganapati (GANP) says that its subsidiary GanaEight Coin Ltd, which is developing and operating a blockchain-based online casino platform, has launched a virtual token private pre-sale of its initial virtual financial asset offering.

Gavin Burnell has bought 5.83 million shares in Hot Rocks Investments (HRIP) and that takes his stake to 22.3%. His fellow director Charles Vaughan bought 750,000 shares, taking his shareholding to 1.67%. Non-executive chairman Brian Rowbotham bought the same number of shares, taking his stake to 3.09%. The shares were all acquired at 0.136p each.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has commenced gold mining under the joint venture agreement with VAST Mineral Sands in Australia, where it has a 50% economic interest. Tectonic has provided the initial funding. Tectonic is considering moving to the standard list.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has taken a 3.48% stake in standard listed coal bed methane company Curzon Energy (CZN). Brian Kinane has resigned as a director of Curzon.

AIM  

Driver Group (DRV) disappointed the market with a warning because of delayed expert witness contracts in the first half. The construction consultancy services provider has not made the expected progress in the Middle East and south east Asia and full year underlying pre-tax profit will be slightly lower than the £3.5m originally forecast. There is a strong pipeline of potential business, but this has to be secured in order to reassure investors about the full year outcome. There is still £5.1m in the bank. Driver will spend up to £500,000 buying back shares and it has already spent £124,000 at 55p a share. The directors have also been buying shares.

Bowmark Capital has increased its bid for Tax Systems (TAX) from 110p a share to 115p a share, valuing the company at £102.3m. The subsequent general meeting voted in favour of the scheme of arrangement.

Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) increased its revenues from £4.12m to £5.38m, while the loss was cut by two-thirds to £1m. The loss should be much lower in 2019 and cash should be generated so that net cash exceeds £1m. Demand for cyber security continues to grow and the consulting division is getting business from existing and new clients. This is also feeding through to additional managed services business.

Marshall Motor (MMH) managed to edge up its underlying pre-tax profit to £25.7m even though trading conditions remain tough for car dealers. There was a strong last quarter for the used cars division. A small dip in profit to £24.1m is expected for 2019.

Franchise Brands (FRAN) had a full 12-month contribution from the Metro Rod business acquired in 2017, although the full benefits of the restructuring of the business and IT investment are still to come through. These changes should help to generate organic growth this year. Allenby forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £2.9m to £3.5m in 2019. The group is in a position to seek more acquisitions, particularly ones that add to the services provided by Metro Rod.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS) grew its full year revenues by 69% to £578,000 and gross margin improved. The protein identification product ProteinID will be launched later this month. There was still £5.4m in the bank at the end of 2018. This is enough to cover the expected cash requirements.

Standard list shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) has appointed James Brotherton as finance director. He was previously finance director at Tyman, where he was involved in acquisitions, and he earned £568,000 in 2017. Fully listed Tyman, which was previously on AIM, made an underlying pre-tax profit of £72.7m in 2018. The acquisition Safe Harbour is seeking will be in distribution and business services. WSP founder Chris Cole was recently appointed as independent non-executive director. There was £28.1m in the bank at the end of June 2018.

Immupharma (IMM) is seeking partners for its lupus treatment Lupuzor and is also seeking to commence a managed access programme in Europe for the treatment. An extension study from the original phase III trial has commenced.

RedT Energy (RED) is raising up to £3.2m via a placing and open offer at 2p a share, ahead of a strategic review to decide how to finance the business. Last October, the energy storage equipment developer raised £5.03m at 7p a share. The company could generate $1m from the sale of its US business and costs are being cut. The plan is to cut the monthly cash costs to less than £500,000. Discussions continue with strategic partners.

SimplyBiz Group (SBIZ) has signed a five-year contract with insurer Aviva, which will use the company’s Zest employee benefits technology platform to deliver a new benefits product for smaller clients. This follows a three-year contract with Taylor Wimpey, which will use Zest to deliver employee benefits to its 5,000 plus employees.

Concepta (CPT) is supplying its myLotus fertility test to Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Proton Power Systems (PPS) has signed a letter of intent with Skoda for the development of fuel cell electric buses using Proton’s HyRange systems. The plan is to build 10 buses by the first quarter of 2020.

i3 Energy (I3E) has raised £16m via a placing at 16p a share, although it is partly dependent on shareholder approval for the issue of additional shares. Existing shareholders are being given the opportunity to subscribe up to £2m through an open offer. Along with a £24m loan, the cash will fund the drilling of three wells. Two will be on the Liberator oil field and the other will be on the Serenity prospect.

Paragon Entertainment Ltd (PEL) has raised £150,000 at 0.8p a share, which was a 23% discount to the market price. Management and an existing shareholder bought the shares.

Urals Energy (UEN) failed to replace Allenby as nominated adviser and the quotation has been cancelled.

Mereo BioPharma (MPH) expects its merger with OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) achieved crude oil sales of 1,994 barrels per day in January and 2,179 barrels per day in February. The realised prices were $52/barrel and $56.84/barrel for each month respectively. Current estimated production is 2,358 barrels per day.

MAIN MARKET 

Quarto Group (QRT) reported a 51% recovery in underlying 2018 pre-tax profit to $5.9m, although the publisher’s revenues were slightly lower. The best performance was in children’s publishing. Net debt fell by 6% to $60.4m.

Local Shopping REIT (LSR) has responded to the bid by Thalassa (THAL) and it continues to find it opportunistic. The company is committed to returning cash to shareholders and it argues that they will get more cash than the £9m on offer as part of the cash and shares bid. The offer is 14.64p in cash and 0.26 of a Thalassa share for each Local Shopping REIT share.

Path Investments (PATH) has withdrawn from the proposed transaction with ARC Marlborough after due diligence. The plan was to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland.

European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has converted more of its bonds into shares in WideCells Group (WDC) having sold most of the recently converted shares. A further 115 million shares have been issued in return for £115,000 of bonds and a penalty payment of £172,500.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has submitted an application for a permit to develop the Kochang Mine in South Korea. The application for the Gubong mine should get a response by 23 March.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 February 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company Sport:80 has delayed its flotation because it has been tidying up its shareholder register. Fintech company Engage Technology is also seeking to float later in 2019 following new product launches. Engage raised £2.6m at £22 a share at the end of 2018, whereas the average buying price by Primorus was £20.03 a share. Investee company, AIM-quoted Greatland Gold (GGP) has published results from the second drilling campaign at Havieron in Western Australia. Every drill hole intersected mineralisation and they extend the overall mineralisation. Drilling will recommence in March. Primorus has raised cash by selling most of the stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) and Primorus was debt free at the end of 2018.

NEX has decided not to suspend trading in the shares of VI Mining (VIM) even though its corporate adviser Daniel Stewart is no longer a member of NEX. VI Mining had little or no notice of its adviser’s withdrawal. A new corporate adviser is being sought.

Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has acquired apprenticeship training provider Astara Training for £16,666 in shares at 9p each. Milamber lost £179,000 in the third quarter and there was £30,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.

Panther Metals (PALM) has announced the initial results of exploration activity at the Bear Lake project in Ontario. There was gold in soil anomalies at four of the five areas tested. Four areas have quartz vein sample assays above 5g/t gold. Two samples had large grade samples. The next phase of exploration is being planned and could start in the second quarter of 2019.

Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has signed a deal that could enable it to earn a 70% interest in a joint venture that owns the Palha tantalum property in northern Brazil.

AIM  (February 2019 AIM Journal available here)

DP Poland (DPP) is running short of cash and is more than doubling its share capital through a heavily discounted placing raising £5.3m at 6p a share, with the possibility of an additional £500,000. The Domino’s Pizza franchisee for Poland has found competition is getting tougher and growth has slowed. The cash is required to cover losses and open more outlets. Peter Shaw is stepping down as chief executive at the end of June, nearly a decade after founding the business.

Ticketing and queueing technology provider Accesso Technology (ACSO) is reviewing its investment priorities although it says that 2018 figures should be broadly in line with expectations. These will be published on 27 March. A deal fell through and this cost $1.7m. Tom Burnet is moving from executive chairman to a non-exec role. The share price is less than one-third of last year’s high. BlackRock has cut its stake below 5%.

Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has launched a placing and 0.318-for-one open offer to raise up to £4.75m at 3.85p a share on top of the £8m subscription by former AIM company China Medical System Holdings, which will licence products for the Chinese market. The clinical trial for cancer treatment MTD201 will cost up to £7m.

Duke Royalty (DUKE) is acquiring its UK rival Capital Step and this will double the size of the portfolio to eleven investments and diversify it in terms of sectors. There is an initial £10m cash payment and the assumption of debt of £11.65m. There is performance related consideration of up to £1.5m. The deal is immediately earnings enhancing.

Visa has increased its bid for Earthport (EPO) from 30p a share to 37p a share, which beats the Mastercard offer of 33p a share. The latest bid values Earthport at £247m.

Taptica (TAP) has launched a recommended bid for RhythmOne (RTHM) and this will create one of the largest video advertising companies in the US. The offer is 28 Taptica shares for every 33 RhythmOne shares. Taptica shareholders will own 50.1% of the enlarged group. A $15m share buyback programme is planned after the merger. Ofer Druker will become chief executive.

Polemos (PLMO) has finalised the details of its reverse takeover of Digitalbox Publishing for £10m in shares and it is also acquiring the owner of the Daily Mash satirical news website for up to £1.2m in cash and shares. The model for the Entertainment Daily website will be used to improve the performance of the Daily Mash. A placing will raise £1.02m at 14p a share. The company will change its name to Digitalbox.

Hardide (HDD) is raising £3.6m at 1.5p a share so that it can move to new premises in the UK and invest in additional equipment. The surface coatings company is experiencing increasing demand from the oil and gas sector and there is potential for orders from aerospace companies. It will take two years to fully equip and move into the new facility. Hardide also intends to consolidate 40 shares into one new share.

finnCap has raised its forecasts for Tracsis (TRCS) following recent acquisitions. There is a 3% increase in earnings per share for this year and an 11% rise to 30.5p next year.

Stride Gaming (STR) has traded in line with previously downgraded expectations. Cost cutting continues to cover higher regulatory and tax costs. The online gaming operator will report a lower profit in 2018 and it is set to fall again in 2019. Net cash was £22.1m at the end of 2018.

Bowmark Capital has offered 110p a share for Tax Systems (TAX) and discussions continue. Tax Systems reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.

Victoria (VCP) has sold surplus land in Kidderminster for £2m. The land was in the books for £100,000 but it has obtained planning consent for housing.

Starcom (STAR) has renegotiated its agreement with Xplosive in South Africa, having originally announced it in October 2017. Xplosive has signed a 36-month agreement to pay a monthly fee for each of the Kylos units supplied for the monitoring of cattle. The fees are higher in the first six months and then reduce. The agreement should be worth $500,000.

Strix Group (KETL) has offered to acquire most of the assets of HaloSource (HAL) for $1.3m. Strix has provided working capital of $100,000. Due diligence is being carried out on the water filtration technology and if the deal goes through the cash will pay creditors, but there will be nothing for shareholders.

Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has announced that the Selva gas field in northern Italy has net 2P reserves of 13.3bcf and there are 2.26bcf attributable to Prospex, which has a 17% stake. Selva could start production in 2020 at a rate of up to 150,000 cubic metres/day.

Tau Capital (TAU) plans to raise cash via a placing through Peterhouse and then a capital distribution will be made to all shareholders. This will enable Tau to seek an acquisition. It has until 18 April to secure a deal or trading in the shares will be suspended. Armstrong Investments has increased its stake from 11.7% to 15.7%.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the SFX-01 clinical trial for subarachnoid haemorrhage is on course having completed recruitment and the primary endpoints should be available in the second quarter. Partners Investment Company has acquired at 3.15% stake.

Sports Direct International (SPD) made a £15m offer to buy Patisserie Valerie from the administrator, but this was not deemed enough. Even a higher selling price won’t provide anything for Patisserie Holdings shareholders.

MAIN MARKET  

Solicitor DWF plans to raise £75m via a March flotation an some of the cash will repay members’ capital contributions as well as invest in the business. Existing shareholders will also sell shares and partners’ remaining stakes will be locked up until April 2024.

Two former AIM-quoted companies are coming together to join the standard list. Daniel Stewart Securities, which is closing its broking business, is making an offer for Atlantic Carbon, which was previously known as Atlantic Coal, where Adam Wilson, who has had connections with Daniel Stewart, is executive chairman. Singapore-based backer Epsilon Investments refused to put more money into the broker and that is why it is closing. Epsilon holds a majority stake in Hyde Park Holdings, which owns broker Novum Securities. Last October, SeeThruEquity research suggested that Atlantic had an equity value of $86.8m and $68m of debt. In 2017, Atlantic was the largest producer of anthracite in the US with a market share of one-third based on 1.18 million tonnes produced. Atlantic is expected to have moved into profit in 2018, although it did generate cash from operations in 2017. The owners of more than 50% of Atlantic shares have agreed to accept the bid of 1.5587 shares for each Atlantic share.

Thalassa Holdings (THAL) is offering 14.64p a share in cash and 0.26 of a share for each share in The Local Shopping REIT. Thalassa already owns 25.5% of the bid target, which is valued at 32.8p a share. The bid is an alternative to the winding up of The Local Shopping REIT.

Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is no longer acquiring blockchain technology developer Chorum Group because of political uncertainty affecting the UK equity markets. Former Avanti Communications boss David Williams is the director of Chorum. Blockchain Worldwide has more than £1m in the bank and is also looking at other technology sectors for acquisitions.

Drilling of the Colter appraisal well in Dorset has commenced and United Oil and Gas (UOG) has a 10% interest. The drilling should take three weeks. The Selva gas field in Italy has net 2P reserves of 2.7bcf attributable to United, which has a 20% stake. Selva could start production in 2020. United intends to move to AIM.

Oil and gas producer Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £607,000 in Canada and the UK at C$0.05 a share and 3p a share respectively.

Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) has confirmed that its figures for the year to January 2019 will be in line with expectations. The Aspen property bridging loan business had a loan book of £18m at the end of January 2019. Cautious lending criteria means that new business has slowed in recent months and this has led to a 5% 2019-20 earnings downgrade to 230.1p a share.

BATM (BVC) has won a $3.2m cyber security contract and this takes contracted revenues from this government customer to more than $10m. The latest contract will be delivered this year.

Chesterfield Resources (CHF) is expanding its exploration programme in Cyprus. Initial drilling in an area near historic mining has shown gold, copper and zinc mineralisation. Chesterfield is also applying for licences to extend its licence area.

Dev Clever (DEV) has launched pay per play multi-player, virtual reality game Vanguard: Fight for Rudiarius in Harlow shopping centre. The game will be rolled out to other UK sites.

Bluebird Merchant (BMV) has applied for a grant to help finance drilling at the Kochang project in South Korea and there should be news by the end of the month. There has also been a permit application to develop Kochang.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 19 November 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Renewable energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) has traded slightly ahead of expectations and been cash generative in the first ten months of 2018. Customer numbers have remained flat. The financial year should be in line with expectations. This reassurance led to a 17% increase in the share price, although it is still more than two-fifths lower than one year ago.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) has made a further investment in TG Engineering Ltd, which makes steel and aluminium components for the aerospace and medical sectors. A loan of £150,000 takes the total loan to £625,000, alongside a 35% stake.

MetalNRG (MNRG) has raised £159,500 from a placing at 1p a share and the exercise of warrants. This will fund the investment in the uranium mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, over which MetalNRG has an option, and progress work at the Gold Ridge project in Arizona. There was £77,000 in the bank at the end of August 2018.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced its first lead, gold and silver concentrate from the Hellyer polymetallic project in Tasmania. This has been delivered to Traxys Europe and payment has been received.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has mapped a large intrusive intersection of two major crustal faults at Mount Cassidy. This could a significant intrusive related gold system.

Clinical support systems provider DXS International (DXSP) has set a target of achieving a six-fold increase in turnover over the next five years and it believes that post-tax profit could reach £7m a year. This would come on the back of past investment in developing new products, two of which have been launched recently.

Ganapati (GANP) says that its Malta-based subsidiary has signed a games licence agreement with NYX Interactive for the supply of gaming software. After the initial software is supplied, Ganapati will supply one game each month for three years.

TechFinancials Inc (TECH) will receive a $867,000 dividend from 51%-owned Asia Pacific-focused subsidiary DragonFinancials.

AIM    

Frontier IP (FIPP) has raised £2.49m at 65p a share from existing and new investors and this will finance an expansion of the management team and provide working capital for the business. The value of the company’s investment portfolio has increased by one-third to £9m and there was £1.1m in the bank at the end of June 2018. The NAV increased from £11.8m to £12.7m. The cash should last into 2020 even if there are no proceeds from investment realisations.

SVS has pulled the £532,000 placing at 8.5p a share for TomCo Energy (TOM) and resigned as broker. SVS says that there has been a material change because of the suspension of the field test on the Holliday block in Utah. Trading in the shares has been suspended. TomCo has cash of £250,000.

There were disappointing phase III trial results for the Hutchison China Meditech (HCM) drug Fruquintinib, which did not achieve the primary endpoint in treating non-small cell lung cancer patients. That knocked nearly one-fifth off the share price.

AB Dynamics (ABDP) continues to grow strongly and is already planning to add to its capacity at its new site. Forecasts were raised for the automotive testing and simulator systems supplier earlier in the year and the full year outcome was a 51% increase in revenues to £37.1m and a jump in underlying pre-tax profit from £5.9m to £8.6m. A profit of £10.4m is expected this year.

Eve Sleep (EVE) is changing its focus following the appointment of a new chief executive. The mattress supplier will focus less on heavy marketing for one-off purchases and instead expand its range and generate repeat purchases. Lower marketing spending will reduce the growth rate of revenues. There was £7m in the bank at the end of October 2018 and the company wants to raise a further £15m.

Genedrive (GDR) has raised £5.6m after expenses from a placing at 23p a share, jointly run by Stanford Capital Partners and Peel Hunt, and an issue of loan notes to the British Growth Fund. There was £3.53m in the bank at the end of June 2018. The funds will finance the launch of the Genedrive HCV-ID kit for hepatitis C diagnosis and further assay development for antibiotic induced hearing loss and tuberculosis.

Trakm8 (LSE: TRAK) slipped out its interims on a Friday, albeit at 7am and not at Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) o’clock (around 4.30pm). In the six months to September 2018, revenues fell 38% to £8.84m and even excluding contract manufacturing, which is not done any more, the decline is 26%. Recurring revenues fell by 7%. Even taking the most flattering figures, a pre-tax profit of £363,000 last time was turned into a £2.46m loss. Net debt more than doubled to £5.73m.

Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) is going to make a better full year profit than expected despite the disruption of new testing rules. That has helped used car sales. The 2018 pre-tax profit is still expected to decline from £29.1m to £25.7m, but that is an improvement for the continuing operations.

Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP) has increased its first quarter revenues by 26%, although some of the improvement came from Nuvista, which did not contribute in the corresponding period. Pre-tax profit was 17% higher at BDT973 million. Beximco reported a 37% increase in export sales for its last financial year and they accounted for 12% of total sales. There are five treatments with US approval and it will take time to build up sales. The plan is to eventually generate two-fifths of revenues from exports.

Trinidad-focused oil and gas producer Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) generated $9.12m from operations in the nine months to September 2018, up from $2.22m in the corresponding period last year, thanks to higher production and selling prices and slightly lower operating expenses. This cash has been used to increase development spending.

Wynnstay Properties (WSP) is increasing its interim dividend by 8% to 7p a share. The NAV was760p a share at the end of September 2018 and 99% of the property portfolio is let. There was a decline in income due to disposals.

AIM shell Stirling Investments (STRL) had £7.7m of cash at the end of September 2018. Management includes ex-Melrose management. The share price has fallen from 100p to 74.5p, which is less than the cash per share.

IFA Lighthouse Group (LGT) has signed an agreement with Tavistock Investments (TAVI) for the use of the latter’s investment products, which will be offered by Lighthouse as well as its own Luceo Asset Management products. Tavistock raised £1.2m at 3.28p a share and Lighthouse subscribed for £1m of the total.

Event driven marketing technology services provider Mporium Group (MPM) has raised £2.3m at 5p a share.

Mercantile Ports and Logistics (MPL) is raising £27.75m at 2p a share and could raise a further £2.07m via an open offer.

Fastjet (FJET) has raised £9m at 1p a share in order to keep itself going. There has also been a £3.16m subscription from Solenta Aviation and £19.1m worth of shares have been issued to acquire four Embraer 145s from Solenta and settle various fees, charges and loans. A further £4.1m could be raised via and open offer at 1p a share. This should finance the airline business for 2019.

Empyrean Energy (EME) has raised £1m at 10p a share and this will provide working capital.

Allenby Capital has resigned as nominated adviser to CSF Group (CSFG) and will step down at the end of 2018. CSF has been turned down by potential replacements and trading is likely to be suspended at the end of 2018 and the quotation cancelled at the end of January 2019.

Rasmala (RMA) plans to cancel its AIM quotation and tender for up to 20% of tis share capital at 150p a share.

MAIN MARKET  

Resources-focused standard list shell Cobra Resources (COBR) floated on 15 November when it raised £523,500 at 1.5p a share. The share price ended the week at 1.75p. The board believes this is a good time to identify and acquire undervalued base and precious metals projects, which are already have a good management team and are well on the way to becoming a producing asset. There could be direct investments or farm-ins. There are 59.9 million warrants exercisable at 2p each.

The former Golden Saint Resources, now known as Golden Saint Technologies (GST), is planning to join the standard list. A placing at 0.75p a share will raise £911,000, of which £270,000 will go to pay directors fees that are owed. The rest will pay other costs. The company has switched from diamond exploration to an installer of network and connectivity products.

Trifast (TRI) reported interims in line with expectations and the fastenings supplier is on track to improve full year pre-tax profit from £22.2m to £23.1m. Management is cautious about the UK, but two-thirds of revenues are overseas.

Andrew Gaughan is stepping down as chief executive of Sportech (SPO) in February. The chairman will take up an executive position for an interim period and he purchased 250,000 shares at 40.6p each. The potential acquisition of ilottery provider Lot.to Systems was also announced with a strategic alliance initially put in place.

Avation (AVAP) has announced a 2 cents a share interim dividend. The aviation leasing business estimates that in the six months to December 2018 leasing revenues will increase from $41.7m to $57.8m and, along with a disposal gain, this means that interim profit will be better than expected and much higher than the $7.3m achieved in the first half of the previous year.

IQ-AI (IQAI) has made its first commercial sale of StoneChecker Software to a South Korean hospital.

BigDish (DISH) is building up resources to grow its business in the UK next year. The restaurants platform is considering selling its Asian business.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has completed a $380,000 placing at 2.5p a share. Each of the new shares has a warrant exercisable at 2.5p, which has to be done if the share price trades at 3p a share or above for ten consecutive days.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 24 September 2018

NEX EXCHANGE       

In the first half of 2018, Newbury Racecourse (NYR) increased media revenues by one-fifth and, along with growth in nursery and lodge revenues, this helped the racecourse operator to raise revenues by 5% to £7.33m even though two race days were lost to bad weather. Enough cash was generated to more than cover capital spending.

Block Commodities (BLCC) has signed a non-binding letter of intent with the Eelleet Network Corp, which intends to buy Block. There would be an all share recommended offer and the enlarged business would list on the Canadian Stock Exchange. Trading in Block shares has been suspended.

Ananda Developments (ANA) has obtained a £300,000 convertible loan facility with two directors, Charles Morgan and Melissa Sturgess. The annual interest rate is 10% and the conversion price is 0.75p a share. The manufacture of 15%-owned Liberty Herbal Technologies’ vaporisers and consumable packs containing four hapac sachets of 0.25g medicinal cannabis has commenced in China. AfriAg Global (AFRI) has applied for a medicinal cannabis licence in the UK. Fellow cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) has set up a German wholesaling subsidiary and it will invest €80,000 for a 60% stake.

In the six months to June 2018, St Mark Homes (SMAP) increased revenues from £71,000 to £139,000 and it made a small loss excluding negative goodwill release. The interim dividend was unchanged at 5.5p a share. The NAV is £5.9m, including £754,000 in cash, which is equivalent to 134p a share. St Mark is trying to gain planning permission for the commercial development in Sutton High Street. Two other properties in London are being redeveloped and sales have commenced. A development in Wembley should start in 2019.

TechFinancials Inc (TECH) reported a profit in the first half of 2018, but that was due to a change in the fair value of the option to acquire 90% of Cedex. Revenues fell 48% to $3.78m and the underlying loss of the fintech software provider increased from $282,000 to $971,000. The blockchain operations made an initial contribution of $1.23m to revenues. The B2C operations have ceased in Europe and the company wants to sell its subsidiary with a FSA licence. Higher regulations have hampered the B2B technology customers.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) reported an increased interim loss of $9.43m due to higher finance costs. Admin costs were flat. The development of the Hellyer gold project in Tasmania is progressing well and the first sales of concentrate should happen before the end of this year. Work continues towards a move to a standard listing.

Less than one month after asking for trading in the company’s 7% bonds 2021 to be suspended Positive Healthcare (DOC) has appointed Eric Walls and Wayne Harrison of KSA to advise on a liquidation process. Irregularities were identified at the principal operating subsidiary and Positive is unable to pay the next instalment of interest on the bonds.

Eight Capital Partners (MORE) had cash of £773,000 at the end of June 2018. That was before the former Cogenpower acquired €111,100 worth of 8% corporate bonds 2020 in Italian financial services company Finance Partners Group. Other financial services and technology investments are being considered.

EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has been readmitted to NEX and AIM on 21 September, after it completed its migration from the Isle of Man to Bermuda.

AIM  

IT recruitment and consultancy Parity (PTY) remains on track for an improvement in pre-tax profit from £1.7m to £1.9m but cash generation is not as good as expected. Net debt is still expected to reduce from £1.6m to £900,000. The previously announced Primark managed services contract has started well, although another contract has been delayed. The consultancy business continues to contribute a growing proportion of profit.

Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU) has agreed locations for pilot production at the Lesedi coal bed methane project in Botswana and the first well should be spudded in October.

N+1 Singer has upgraded its forecast for EKF Diagnostics (EKF) following the interim figures. There was a 5% decline in revenues to £20.4m, while underlying profit improved from £2.3m to £2.7m. Around £250,000 has been added to the profit, taking pre-tax profit to £7.7m. The launch of haemoglobin analyser DiaSpect following FDA approval will boost next year’s figures. The spin out of RenalytixAI continues and it will require a general meeting.

Audio products supplier Focusrite (TUNE) says full year revenues were in line with expectations of £75.4m, while cash of £22.8m is better than forecast. A pre-tax profit of £10.8m is forecast. There are concerns about US tariffs.

Tanfield (TAN) has warned that it may not get anything for its stake in Snorkel if the call option is exercised. Management has already said that it will write down the value of the investment to £19.1m ($25.3m), which already knocks 12p a share off NAV, but there is a disagreement about the interpretation of the original agreement.

Disappointing results from the Atopic Dermatitis study has led Realm Therapeutics (RLM) to appoint MTS Health Partners to advise on strategy alternatives. Realm is considered to be in an offer period. There was $21.3m in the bank at the end of August.

Short-term weakness in the oil palm price has held back the progress of plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) in the first half, but crude palm oil production is increasing in line with expectations (91,900 tons in the first half). That means that full year revenues are likely to be flat and pre-tax profit will be lower. Longer-term growth will come from increased production from more recently planted areas.

Online women’s fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) is coming up to its first year on AIM and the growth momentum continues.

Huadong Medicine Aesthetics has launched its recommended 32p a share cash bid for Sinclair Pharma (SPH) and that values the company at £166.6m.

There has been a lot of activity at Frontier IP (FIPP) in the past week. The AB Sugar head of innovation Matthew White is joining the company as head of commercialisation. Recycled building materials developer Alusid has raised £1.34m, including the conversion of a £348,000 loan from Frontier IP, which has a 35.6% stake. The Alusid investment had been valued at £700,000 and the latest fundraising values it at £1.73m. The cash will be used by Alusid to invest in its manufacturing facility, which should start production in 2020. The total cost will be £10m. A new company has been set up to develop new antibiotics. Frontier IP has a 10% stake in Amprologix, which has been spun out of the University of Plymouth. The first product is likely to be a cream that contains epidermicin, which can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.

There was a switch in the mix of revenues at job screening services provider ClearStar Inc (CLSU) in the first half as revenues increased by 11% to $9.9m. The growth has come from Medical Information Systems, which has lower margins and this means that the overall loss is reducing more slowly than expected. The cash outflow is small. Net cash is $1.2m.

Diurnal Group (DNL) is going along as expected with the launch of its Alkindi paediatric adrenal insufficiency treatment in Germany but the market has been unnerved by a negative comment from a German government research organisation. It pointed out that the performance of Alkindi was not compared with another treatment which has not been given regulatory approval. This does not appear likely to affect the relationship with the German regulatory authorities. There will be news from the European phase III trial for Chronocort before the end of the year.

Stockdale has initiated research on professional services group Christie Group (CTG) and expects a full year profit of £3.5m. It has already achieved an interim profit of £1.75m.

VR Education (VRE) still had £4.9m in the bank at the end of June 2018. Since then there have been improvements to the ENGAGE platform ahead of the full commercial launch before the end of the year. The full version of Titanic VR was launched in August and it is set to be launched on Playstation.

Energy supplier Yu Group (YU.) continues to grow rapidly and it is moving into the water sector. Interim revenues jumped from £20.8m to £35.8m, while underlying pre-tax profit moved ahead from £1.15m to £1.8m. Growth is coming from the larger corporate sector which has held back margins because they are via brokers. The interim dividend is one-fifth higher at 1.2p a share. There was £18.2m in the bank at the end of June 2018.

N4 Pharma (N4P) has undertaken a strategic review following the failure of the reformulation of sildenafil to achieve its key targets in its clinical trial. It would cost a lot and increase risk if the company undertook further reformulation of this generic. The generics division has been closed and the focus will be the Nuvec delivery system. Initial results from research should be available before the end of the year. There was £1.6m in the bank at the end of June 2018.

MAIN MARKET  

Books publisher Quarto Group (QRT) increased interim revenues from $50.2m to $56.2m and the underlying loss fell from $8.7m to $6.6m. Net debt was $73.2m at the end of June 2018. Management is talking to banks to extend the bank facility until August 2020. Costs are being reduced.

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) intends to broaden its investment remit to include cannabis processing, as well as the energy and industrial sectors. Finance professional Alan Hume has joined the board of the standard list shell. He was previously an adviser to the company and until last year finance director of Zenith Energy (ZEN). Between 2010 and 2012 he was finance director of Xtract Energy (XTR).

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has completed its feasibility report into the reopening of the Gubong gold mine and the joint venture with Southern Gold has started. Production of 10,000 ounces of gold is initially targeted.

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 9 April 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

Good Energy (GOOD) has renewed its offshore wind power deal with Orsted for a further two years. This secures 12% of the output of a North Sea wind farm and this can power more than 26,000 homes. Generation has been ahead of expectations.

KR1 (KR1) has announced its latest investments. An investment of £184,000 has been made in Nexus Mutual Project (NXM) tokens. The number of tokens will be confirmed after the public token sale. KR1 will receive the tokens at a 17.5% discount to the lowest price offered in the public sale. Nexus Mutual will use blockchain technology to recreate insurance mutual. The company has also invested £150,000 in Argent Labs Ltd, which is creating a decentralised banking protocol on the Ethereum blockchain. KR1 has invested €201,000 in the private pre-sale for the Herdius project.

Gibraltar-based TDH Ltd has taken on Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) as its adviser for a token generation event. The TrustedHealth platform will create a decentralised global network of doctors and healthcare specialists offering virtual consultations. They will pay with TDH tokens and the token sale started on 27 March and lasts until 27 April. Faruk Saylam has sold 1.5 million shares, which leaves him with a 4.4% stake.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has been granted a mining lease for the Sunbeam silver mine in northern Queensland. This will enable the processing of 48,000 tonnes of mineral stockpiles, which include gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and antimony.

MetalNRG (MNRG) says the prospective buyer of the company’s stake in US Cobalt has completed due diligence. MetalNRG will receive 21.7 million shares in ASX-listed Tyranna Resources Ltd for its 15.38% stake in US Cobalt.

Angelfish Investments (ANGP) says that One Media Enterprises has been acquired by OTC-quoted OneLife Technologies Corp but the payment it is due will have to wait until the buyer is allowed to raise cash. That should be later in April. Angelfish will have its original investment repaid along with management fees plus an uplift in the amounts due. The timing of the first instalment is still uncertain.

First Sentinel (FSBN) has raised a further £62,000 from a bond issue. The company plans to issue up to £4m of bonds.

Gowin New Energy Group Ltd (GWIN) says that Mr Chen Chih Lung has converted his loan note into 40 million shares at 1p each. This takes his stake in Gowin to 21.6%.

AIM   

SimplyBiz Group (SBIZ) joined AIM on 4 April. It was valued at £130m at the placing price of 170p but the share price ended the week at 160.5p. The company provides compliance and business services to financial advisers.

Higher managed services revenues helped AdEPT Telecom (ADT) to make further progress last year. Pre-tax profit is expected to be £7.4m and the dividend will be raised 13% to 8.75p a share. Debt is lower than expected.

Broadcast industry software provider Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) is hopeful that it can secure terms to extend its bank facility until November 2019. Pebble is adding industry experience with the appointment of Graham Pitman as a non-executive director.

Gooch and Housego (GHH) says trading is in line with expectations and the order book is at a record level of £84.7m. Demand for high reliability fibre couplers has been weak but is expected to recover in the second half. The manufacturing sites have been organised into three technical groupings and performance is improving. The interims will be published on 5 June.

Floorcoverings supplier James Halstead (JHD) says it is considering a bid for Airea (AIEA) but it has yet to approach for the Burmatex-branded floorcoverings business. Airea is closing its Ryalux residential carpet business. There is £3.7m in the bank and the pension deficit has been reduced. Eight shareholders own around 48% of Airea.

appScatter (APPS) is adding to its service that enables organisations to publish their apps on multiple stores and platforms by paying £13.5m in cash and shares for data analysis business Priori Data. This should provide a full service for clients. There are plans to raise £15m at 70p a share.

Denial of service online attacks prevention technology developer Corero Network Security (CNS) is still loss-making and it is raising £4m at 5.75p a share, as well as trying to secure a £3m debt facility. One year ago, Corero raised £5.6m at 5p a share.

FairFX (FFX) can issue Mastercard branded cards and is launching a commercial finance offer to business customers.

Mytrah Energy (MYT) has recommended a bid from majority shareholder Raksha Energy Holdings Ltd. Raksha is offering 45p a share in cash to mop up the 42.1% of the wind power producer it does not own. That is higher than the share price has been for 16 months but not much more than 50% of the level it was nearly three years ago. This bid values Mytrah at £78.9m.

Hornby (HRN) says sales improved towards the end of the financial year as European product was delivered. There was net cash of £4m at the end of March 2018 but management says that a larger debt facility is required for seasonal working capital requirements. Barclays will waive a covenant on the existing facility.

1Spatial (1SPA) has won a £1.6m deal with Land and Property Services in Northern Ireland. Most of this will be generated over the next five years. The geospatial data provider is expected to get near to breakeven in the year to January 2019.

Watkin Jones (WJG) says that first half trading is in line with expectations. Student accommodation developments continue to make the largest contribution with a pipeline of 9,800 beds. The build to rent development business has secured planning consents on three sites, covering 700 units. The management business has contracts to manage more than 14,000 beds, even though the sale by a client of student properties covering more than 5,000 beds meant that the new owner took on their management.

MAIN MARKET    

Ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) says that interim revenues are 11% higher this year, helped by new business wins. Current full year forecasts predict an increase in revenues from £109.6m to £117.3m so Treatt is well on its way to achieving that. A full year profit of £14.4m is forecast. There will be a small negative foreign exchange charge in the first half but the US tax charge will be lower than previously expected.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has completed the $500,000 farm-in spending on the Gubong mine and following the publication of a feasibility study the expenses will be shared 50/50 with Southern Gold.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 26 March 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

Continuing revenues from renewable energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) increased from £89.7m to £104.5m but underlying pre-tax profit was nearly two-thirds lower at £734,000 due to higher admin and interest costs. There was also a decline in gross margin. An increase in working capital meant that there was a £4.92m cash outflow from operating activities. There was a decline in NAV due to the loss on discontinued generation development activities. Net debt was £53.1m at the end of 2017.

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a 9% increase in beer volumes in 2017, even though cash sales fell by 5%. Overall sales were 6% ahead at £74.8m despite losing £1m in revenues from the closure of the Swan Hotel for refurbishment. Even if the exceptional expenses of £721,000 for removing asbestos from the Swan Hotel, are added back, the pre-tax profit, excluding disposal gains, fell from £3.59m to £1.6m. Capital investment continues with the IT system being upgraded. The full year dividend was edged up from 226p a share to 228p a share. There plans to produce an alcohol-free version of Ghost Ship.

MetalNRG (MNRG) is selling its 15.4% stake in US Cobalt to ASX-listed Tyranna Resources, which is acquiring the whole of the company. MetalNRG will receive 21.7 million shares in Tyranna at a valuation of A$0.017 a share. The shares are trading at A$0.025, which would value the deal at £300,000. First Sentinel has raised £45,000 at 13p a share and issued a further £25,000 worth of shares at the same price to market maker Winterflood.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has exercised its option to take its stake in Indorse to 10%. The additional 3.5% of the company is being bought for £97,000, taking the total investment to £246,000. Singapore-based Indorse has tested its blockchain-based social network for professionals and moved to the Mainnet. A new feature will enable token issuers to verify their advisory board. Coinsilium is advising Bundle Network on its token generating event. Bundle enables people to trade across unconnected cryptocurrency without needing to open individual accounts.

Imperial Minerals (IMPP) has raised £20,000 at 2p a share. There was just over £37,000 in the bank at the end of 2017, following a £35,000 cash outflow in the previous six months. Imperial is still seeking an opportunity in metals, such as gold, lithium, cobalt and zinc.

First Sentinel (FSBN) has appointed Colin Maltby to the board and invested £43,500 in the Union Jack Oil (UJO) placing raising £1.25m at 0.085p a share.

Baron Bloom has stepped down from the board of Etaireia Investments (ETIP) after the publishing of criticism by a judge, who said that he had been dishonest during divorce proceedings with his ex-wife.

Block Commodities (BLOC) has entered into a strategic partnership with blockchain-based financial services platform Wala and token issuer Dala. The businesses will be working together to establish the blockchain-based agricultural commodity trading initiative that Block has been developing. Dala would be used as the token for the food commodities trading ecosystem. Block’s existing joint venture will supply $10m of Dala token loans to 50,000 small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dana Group International Investments Ltd (DANA) increased its net assets from $0.31 a share to $0.36 a share in 2017. There was a $4.15m increase in the valuation of the investment in Bonyan International Investment.

AIM   

New management at social video content developer and owner Brave Bison (BBSN) will be judged on this year’s figures rather than the 2017 results. In 2017, revenues fell 48% to £9.1m and cost cutting helped to reduce the underlying operating loss before the restructuring costs and write-offs of acquired intangibles. The cash outflow from operations fell by two-thirds to £1.53m. There is £4.82m in the bank so that provides time for further improvement in performance. Collecting ad revenues for third party content on social platforms remains a significant revenue generator but commissioned sponsored content is becoming an increasingly important fee earner.

Cambridge Cognition (COG) reported a small decline in revenues because of lumpy contract wins in the previous year and the delays to two clinical trials. A small loss was reported but the neuroscience health company is expected to bounce back this year to a profit of £500,000.

Utilitywise (UTW) has finally published its figures for the year to July 2017. More conservative accounting policies mean that an under consumption of energy increased the loss to £8.5m. The utility cost management adviser had a £6.18m cash outflow from operating activities. Net debt rose from £5.5m to £19m and banking covenant breaches have been waived by the bank. The debt increase was partly down to dividend payments but there is no final dividend. The interim results will be published on 23 April.

Energy procurement business Inspired Energy (INSE) increased its underlying pre-tax profit from £7m to £9.7m, while earnings per share were one-quarter higher at 1.57p. Inspired has bought SystemsLink 2000, whose software Inspired uses, for £3.875m and Energy Cost Management, which specialises in water management services, for up to £2m.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) is confident that the 3D seismic data that has been acquired over the Gunnison Valley Unit on the Paradox oil and gas acreage in Utah provides the information required to decide a drill site for the fourth quarter and attract a farm-in partner to help finance the drilling. There are ongoing discussions with prospective partners and this should ensure that the current cash in the bank will last longer. Last September, £3m was raised at 4p a share.

Immupharma (IMM) says that it expects results from its phase III trial for Lupuzor by mid-April. The Lupus treatment has generated the required data and this will be analysed.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) continues to benefit from improved sentiment in the farming sector. Feed demand is above last year’s levels and grain volumes are improving, although margins are squeezed. Like-for-like retail sales are higher and an outlet has been acquired in mid-Wales.

Trading in Green and Smart Holdings (GSH) shares has been suspended because it will not publish its 2016-17 accounts by the end of March. The audit should be completed by the end of April.

CloudCall Group (CALL) grew revenues by two-fifths last year. The underlying loss was £2.6m and further investment in sales and marketing means that even though revenue growth could be near to last year’s level the loss will be similar. The recurring cloud-based software and telecoms services revenues that will be generated from the investment will reduce the loss and move the business into profit in the following two or three years.

James Latham (LTHM) says that its figures for the year to March 2018 will be in line with expectations. This reflects an improvement in the second half. The Wigston timber depot has been moved to a new site.

Parity Group (PTY) has signed a managed services deal with Primark Stores and, along with other extensions, this takes annual revenues from this area to £5m plus. Primark is important because most of the clients on this side of the business are in the public sector. Parity can generate £2m of cash a year.

Gama Aviation (GMAA) reported a 28% rise in underlying operating profit to $18.7m. The main growth has come from the aircraft management business, which was boosted by acquisition in the US. There were also improvements in Europe and Middle East. Gama is investing in two new ground maintenance sites in the US and this continued investment is holding back short-term profit for this division.

KCR Residential REIT (KCR) has raised £1.56m at 70p a share and capitalised loans of £1.59m. The cash will be invested in the private rental portfolio. Debt has been reduced to 45% of investment property value. Energiser Investments (ENGI) has taken a 24.7% in KCR by subscribing for shares and capitalising its £494,000 loan.

There was a cash outflow of £738,000 at Botswana Diamonds (BOD) in the six months to December 2017. That was before the £865,000 raised in a share issue. There is £230,000 left in the bank. A scoping study is being undertaken at the Thorny River project in South Africa. Drilling continues at the Ontevreden project.

Golden Saint Resources (GSR) is asking for shareholder backing for leaving AIM on 24 April. It still plans to acquire EMS Wiring Systems but it wants to join the standard list after the deal goes through.

OKYO Pharma Corporation left AIM on 23 March and the company has migrated to Guernsey. A special dividend payment is planned.

NWF has received bid acceptances for the equivalent of 42.6% of the share capital of Stellar Diamonds (STEL).

Directa Plus (DCTA) has entered into an agreement with Sartec to develop a system to treat contaminated water in the oil and gas sector by using the Grafysorber technology. Directa Plus provides the technology and support while the partner will finance the development of the first plant, starting in the second quarter of 2018.

Noel Collett is stepping down as chief executive of retail butcher Crawshaw Group (CRAW) but he will remain while a replacement is found. Finance director Alan Richardson plans to move to a new job in May. Crawshaw is estimated to have lost £2m in the year to January 2018, Trading has been poor in the first six weeks of the new financial year. There was £5m in the bank at the end of January 2018, which is similar to the company’s market capitalisation.

Grafenia (GRA) says trading has been mixed. Volumes and margins in the printing business have been below budget in recent months. Grafenia is trying to replace these revenues with licence fees, signage and website sales. Full year revenues will be two-fifths higher at nearly £15m and the loss will be similar. Net debt will be around £2.85m.

Gaming Realms (GMR) has sold two affiliate businesses for up to £2.4m. Their revenues have been declining. In 2017, group revenues were flat at £31.6m but continuing operations made a positive underlying EBITDA. Real money gaming revenues were 5% higher but social revenues were lower. New licensing deals have been signed with the likes of 888 and Golden Nugget Casino this year.

Vipera (VIP) says that 12.5% shareholder Sella Open Fintech Platform is contemplating making a bid for the mobile financial software developer.

Gatemore has taken its stake in TLA Worldwide (TLA) to 7%. Gatemore took its initial stake just after trading in TLA, which is most famous for publishing a profit warning after trading had finished prior to Christmas 2016, recommenced after it published its 2016 figures last November.

Harwood Wealth Management (HW.) is paying £4.6m, plus £1.54m for cash balances, for Southampton-based AE Financial Services. The business generated a profit of £500,000 last year.

Altona Energy (ANR) has reviewed the data for the Westfield tenement and put together a three phase drilling programme. This will cost A$1.5m in total, with the first phase costing A$230,000. The second phase will help to define a JORC resource. The final phase will be part of the preparation of a bankable feasibility study. The drilling is targeting shallow coal seams.

More bad news from toilet tissue manufacturer Accrol Group Holdings (ACRL) and the share price has fallen by three-quarters. The loss is going to be higher than expected. Net debt will be £34m by the end of April.

MAIN MARKET    

London and Associated Properties (LAS) says that the tenant of Brixton Markets has exercised its pre-emption rights to acquire the markets. Market Village will pay £37.25m for assets that have a book value of £24.5m.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) says it has made swift progress at the Kochang mine and sampling of the underground workings is ongoing. This has cost $65,000 so far. Feasibility studies at Kochang and Gubong should be completed in the third quarter of 2018. Bluebird has to spend $500,000 on each project to earn 50% in a joint venture for each project with Southern Gold.

Andrew Hore

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