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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

National Milk Records (NMRP) generated revenues of £5.35m in the quarter to June 2020, down from £5.6m in the previous year. Milk recording revenues declined because of COVID-19 restrictions. There was limited disruption to other parts of the business. The second half of the year to June 2020 was still better than the first half.

British Honey Company (BHC) has signed a four-year global licensing and distribution agreement with English Heritage. Spirits will be sold under the English Heritage brand.

The Hellyer gold mine operated by NQ Minerals (NQMI) achieved record production levels in July. The new processing plant had a monthly throughput of 106,365 tonnes. There was 4,075 tonnes of lead concentrate, 1,509 tonnes of zinc concentrate, 461 ounces of gold and 89,854 ounces of silver produced.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) intends to refocus its investment strategy on the natural resources sector and change its name to Evrima. An investment has been made in Kalahari Key Metals Exploration. A share consolidation of ten shares into one new share is planned.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that its subsidiary CoalTech has signed heads of agreement for a feasibility study and commercialisation of a 5,000 tonnes per month pelletising plant in New South Wales. The study will take three months and it would take a further nine months. The plant would be near to a power station.

MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) increased its revenues from HK$10.7m to HK$15.4m in the year to December 2019, but the loss still increased to HK$40.6m, partly due to stock write-downs. Both traditional Chinese medicine products and the company’s clinics made higher contributions to revenues.

Asia Wealth Group Holdings (AWLP) reported a decline in revenues from $2.4m to $1.43m in the year to February 2020. There was a swing from profit to loss.

AIM

NWF (NWF) benefitted from strong demand for heating oil and the slump in the oil price. There were bumper profits from the fuel distribution business in the year to May 2020. Operating profit nearly doubled to £11m and this won’t be repeated. Opening cost of the new Crewe facility led to a dip in profit contribution from food distribution. The feeds business increased market share but profit fell. Group pre-tax profit improved from £9.7m to £11.5m. A pre-tax profit of £10.7m is forecast for next year.

Telecoms hardware manufacturer Filtronic (FTC) reported full year figures in line with the recent trading statement and there was a small pre-tax profit. Revenues are building up as demand for 5G products increases. There is spare manufacturing capacity and efficiency will improve as capacity is used up. The US-based subsidiary is in a good position to win 5G orders.

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) has signed two new distribution agreements. A deal with Arpadis Benelux will enable Genablle graphene dispersion technology to be sold in the main speciality chemicals markets in Europe. An agreement with Maroon Group provides access to the coatings and polymers sectors in North America.

Construction materials distributor Brickability (BRCK) generated revenues of £23.8m in the three months to June 2020. There was a loss in April but Brickability returned to profit in May and June.

Telecoms customer engagement software provider Pelatro (PTRO) is raising £21m at 47p a share. This will fund investment in sales and marketing and working capital. Pelatro is profitable but cash generation has been relatively poor, although it was better last year.

Lawyer Ince Group (INCE) has reported 2019-20 figures that show an underlying pre-tax profit of £7m, although earnings per share declined following share issues. The consolidation of international acquisitions has been completed and IT is being improved. First quarter trading is 10% below plan but the business is still profitable.

Intelligent Ultrasound (MED) was quick to develop a COVID-19 module for its machines and this helped to partly offset a drop in first half revenues. Losses continue but the potential launch of AI-based products in 2021 and 2022 will put the company in a good position to move into profit.

K3 Business Technology (KBT) is a much smaller business following the sale of its UK Dynamics subsidiary, but it has a more solid and profitable base. Interim revenues slipped from £27.9m to £27.2m. K3’s own IP contributed 48% of revenues.

Fulcrum Utility Services (FCRM) has a better base going into the year to March 2021, even though the multi-utility infrastructure services provider was hit by the construction lockdown in the first quarter. Housebuilding activity is improving. Operational inefficiencies are being addressed.

Entertainment events marketing services provider Reach4Entertainment (R4E) intends to leave AIM in order to save money and enable greater flexibility. The share price slumped after the announcement, but it has moved back above the price at the beginning of the week. Chief executive Marc Boyan has bought 70 million shares at 0.2155p a share. That takes his stake to 16.1%. Herald has sold its 14.4% stake and Matthew Freud has bought a 14.95% stake.

Pensions administrator STM (STM) says that interim trading was in line with expectations thanks to its recurring revenues and control of costs.

Mergers adviser K3 Capital (K3C) has acquired Quantuma Advisory, which is focused on insolvency and restructuring, for an initial £20.2m. A further £6.7m could be payable depending on performance over three years.

Yourgene Health (YGEN) is acquiring Coastal Genomics for an initial $5.5m and up to $8m dependent on performance. Vancouver-based Coastal is a sample preparation technology company. The technology complements Yourgene’s technology and gives it a North American base. Yourgene raised £15m at 17p a share.

MAIN MARKET

Castillo Copper (LON: CCZ) joined the standard list on 4 August. Castillo raised £1.3m at 1.7p a share and the share price ended the week at 2.45p (2.2p/2.7p). There are three core projects, but the one that management is focusing on is Mt Oxide. The plan is to develop a copper mine. The Ayra prospect is the main exploration target and £450,000 will be spent on the Mt oxide area. The other core projects are the Cangai copper project in Australia and the Zed projects in Zambia.

BATM (BVC) says Vodafone has completed proof-of-concept on the ARM-based uCPE, which includes BATM’s network functions vizualisation (NFV) operating system. Field trials are likely to follow. This shows that both the networking and biomedical have good growth prospects. Stifel forecasts a rise in BATM pre-tax profit from $4.8m to $7.7m in 2020.

Construction and infrastructure services provider NMCN (NMCN) had a strong first quarter but a tougher second quarter meant that interim pre-tax profit fell by three-quarters. Even so, an interim dividend of 10p a share has been announced, which partly compensates for the lack of 2019 final dividend. There was an improved performance in telecoms and water is at the lower point in the cycle. Construction sites are becoming more active. Progress Equity Research forecasts a full year pre-tax profit of £1.9m, before recovering to £7.6m next year. A forecast total dividend of 15p a share for 2020, would not quite be covered by earnings.

Seafox International was successful in persuading Gulf Marine Services (GMS) shareholders to appoint Hassan Heikal and Hesham Halbouny to the board of the offshore oil services provider. They each received 57.7% of the votes.

Standard list shell Boston International Holdings (BIH) had £310,000 in cash at the end of June 2020, although there is also an unsecured loan of £200,000.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) mined 165 bitcoin in July, down from 180 in June. There were problems in the middle of the month. Mining revenue was £1.25m in July.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 3 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that it is confident that it has the resources to trade through the current economic difficulties. Significant losses are expected this year and into next year. There was £1.27m in the bank at the end of 2019. Net assets were £50.9m. Newbury increased revenues by 3% to £19.8m in 2019, while underlying pre-tax profit fell by two-thirds to £490,000.

Blockchain technology and tokens investor KR1 (KR1) reported realised gains of £694,000 in 2019, while staking yields and advisory fees generated £422.000 in income. There was also a net unrealised gain on all investments of nearly £1m. Reported pre-tax profit was £1.36m, compared with a large loss the previous year because of a significant unrealised loss. NAV was £7.47m at the end of 2019.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is raising a further £447,500 at 7p a share. This also helps to extend the shareholder register. The cash will finance the reopening of the Beaconsfield gold mine.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that the capex on the Yangibana rare earths project, where Cadence has a 30% interest, will be reduced by A$68m (13% of the total) due to the relocation of the processing plant.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has secured a contract to produce 10,000 tonnes of ilmenite pellets from tailings sludge. This will increase the effectiveness of the ilmenite and get rid of the sludge. This indicates that there is a broader market for the pelleting technology than just coal.

Eight Capital Partners (ECP) is restructuring its investment in Financial Innovations Team because of a disappointing performance. The investment will be unwound, and the funds invested should be recovered. The stake has been returned to the vendors and a vendor loan has been cancelled and Eight Capital bonds returned. That totals €750,000 out of the aggregate consideration of €1.2m, with a further €100,000 to come. A £1 payment has secured an option to take a 60% stake Innovative Finance.

Incanthera (INC) has filed a new patent for its Sol skin cancer technology. This should extend the life of the Sol patents to 2041.

European Lithium Ltd (EUR) has received the A$1m balance of the $10m finance facility with Winance Investment.

AIM

Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) traded strongly in June following a tough three months. There was limited impact on the figures for the year to March 2020 with revenues of £621.5m and like-for-like growth of 0.4%. Higher interest charges held back pre-tax profit to £50.7m. Net debt was £365.9m, with most debt in the form of quoted bonds. There is £174.7m of cash in the balance sheet. This could be used to finance further acquisitions. Pre-tax profit is forecast to decline to £27m this year before improving to £54m next year. The outcomes will depend on the strength and consistency of the recovery.

Peter Gyllenhammar continues to build up his stake in Brand Architekts (BAR) and it has reached 6.1%. He owned less than 3% just over a fortnight ago. This follows the reduction in the stake held by Gresham House Strategic (GHS) to below 3%.

Fortiana Holdings has launched a recommended 300p a share bid for Highland Gold Mining (HGM) and that values the gold miner at £1.09bn. The Highland share price has not hit 300p since 2006.

At the end of March 2020, the NAV of Wynnstay Properties (WSP) was 792p a share. In the first quarter, 100% of rents were received.

Harwood Capital is offering 37.5p a share for property manager HML Holdings (HMLH) and this valued it at £19m.

Goldplat (GDP) says its gold recovery processing operations in South Africa and Ghana have increased profitability in the year to June 2020. South Africa more than doubled its profit contribution and Ghana moved from loss to profit. The higher gold price has offset shutdown periods. here was £3.2m in the bank at the end of June 2020. The loss-making Kilmapesa mine is being sold for an initial payment of $1.5m plus up to $1.5m via a 1% net smelter royalty. An unnamed UK listed company plans to make the acquisition if it raises at least $4m and gains shareholder approval.

Gemfields (GEM) reduced cash operating spending to below $5m in June and that left net cash of $9.3m. There is uncertainty about whether gemstone auctions will be held. If not, more cash is likely to be needed

Coro Energy (CORO) is not going ahead with the disposal of its Italian oil and gas assets Zenith Energy (ZEN) because regulatory approval has not been received.

Shareholders of cash shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) have voted to wind up the company, although one-fifth of the votes were against the resolution. A 74p a share distribution will be made by the end of September and a final distribution is planned by next July.

MAIN MARKET

Tex Holdings (TXH) says it needs additional working capital and is talking to its major shareholder. The plastics division is trading at 70% of expected levels, while engineering is having a difficult year, although orders improved in June. Other parts of the business are suffering delays in orders.

Books publisher Quarto (QRT) reported a slump in revenues from $56.4m to $46.9m, although the underlying loss dipped from $3.7m to $3.3m due to lower interest charges. Cash generated from operating activities was $8.38m. Pre-publication costs fell from $11.9m to $10.3m. Net debt was $36.6m at the end of June 2020.

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) says that it believes that the UK review of regulatory requirements for cannabis-related companies is near completion. When this happens Spinnaker should be able to complete the acquisition of Kanabo Research.

A gain on a disposal of an investment by Sure Valley Ventures has helped Sure Ventures (SURE) to increase its NAV to 92.6p a share.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 July 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) moved from loss to profit in the year to April 2020. Revenues were slightly lower at £3.28m, while a loss of £200,000 was turned into a pre-tax profit of £239,000. There was £1m in the bank at the end of April 2020, following the recent fundraising. There has only been a marginal drop in revenues due to COVID-19 and growth should return later in the year. Chairman Bob Sutcliffe has bought 46,153 shares at 6.5p each.

KR1 (KR1) has raised $493,000 from the sale of Nexus Mutual tokens. They cost $79,000. KR1 still owns three-quarters of the tokens it originally acquired in the blockchain-based mutual insurance company.

Gunsynd (GUN) has bought a stake in Eagle Mountain Mining at A$0.13 a share. The £110,000 investment in the ASX-listed company provides exposure to copper exploration. The cash will finance exploration at the Oracle Ridge copper mine project.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has raised £150,000 at 1p a share. The new shares come with warrants exercisable at 2.75p each.

The Tasmanian government has transferred the mining lease to the Beaconsfield gold mine to NQ Minerals (NQMI).

AfriAg Global (AFRI) had £76,000 in cash at the end of June 2020. There are also £1.16m of investments available for sale.

Eurocann International (BUD) has yet to identify a medicinal cannabis business that fits its acquisition criteria and price expectations, although it has made some short-term investments.

Trading in the shares of Lombard Capital (LCAP) has been suspended following a sharp rise in the share price.

AIM                                                                      

Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) is benefiting from its focus on building up recurring revenues from its e-invoicing platform. Additional products and services are being added to help accelerate growth. As revenues grow they will cover overheads and profit could increase rapidly after this point has been reached.

Frontier IP (FIPP) has raised £2.33m at 55p a share. This will enable the IP investment company to provide bridge finance and invest directly in funding rounds. Frontier also wants to take on more people to help advise and develop investee companies.

In the year to March 2020, Mercia Asset Management (MERC) generated enough income to cover its overheads for the first time. That was with a part-year contribution from Northern Ventures. However, there were fair value write downs of assets of £15.8m. The NAV is 32.1p a share. Funds under management are £658m. Since the year end there was a gain on the disposal of the stake in Native Antigen.

Oil and gas producer Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) has confirmed the major potential of the Cascadura discovery in Trinidad. The estimate for 2P reserves is 45 mmboe of gas/condensate. Touchstone’s production could be multiplied by ten. finnCap has set a risked-NAV of 91p a share.

Scientific instruments manufacturer Judges Scientific (JDG) says that first half order intake was 17% lower. North American orders were one-third lower. Like-for-like interim sales were 12% lower. Cash was generated from operations.

Disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) says that full year revenues were one-fifth ahead helped by an additional £1.5m due to COVID-19. Net cash was £6.2m at the end of June 2020.

Synairgen (SNG) says that its phase II trial of SNG001 in hospitalised COVID-19 patient shows a 79% reduction in the development of severe disease and death. Discussions have started with regulators.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR) has secured a joint venture with Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) to develop a gold mine in Ireland. Anglo Asian is committing to spend €2m for an initial 17.5% stake with an option to spend the same amount to take the stake to 25%. The maximum stake that can be earned is 55%, which would take the Clontibret gold deposit to the point where the mine is ready for construction. Anglo Asian has been issued with 325,000 Conroy warrants exercisable at 16p a share. Sanderson Capital Partners has cut its stake to below 3%.

Bidstack (BIDS) generated revenues of £275,000 in the first half, but the second half is more important. The in-game advertising company is winning business around the world.

Mattress retailer eve Sleep (EVE) generated slightly lower revenues of £12.2m in the first half of 2020, but the loss will be much lower due to cost savings. Cash was generated in the first half and there is net cash of £9.1m. Some competitors are withdrawing from the European market.

MAIN MARKET

Retailer French Connection (FCCN) has reduced costs during a tough trading period. Websites sales were 24% higher in the past 15 weeks. Stores started to reopen on 15 June, but the recovery is gradual.

Standard list shell Auctus Growth (AUCT) had £780,000 in the bank at the end of June 2020.

Bermele (BERM) intends to acquire Singapore-based East Imperial, which sells premium mixers and New Zealand spring water. There is a nine month exclusivity agreement. Trading in Bermele shares is suspended.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 25 May 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Daniel Thwaites (THW) closed its pubs and hotels on 20 May and it will not pay a final dividend for 2019-20. Net debt was £65.4m at the end of March 2020 and there are £16.6m of spare bank facilities. Trading had been strong, and the predominance of freehold properties means that rent payments is not as big a concern as it is for some pub operators.

Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) had a NAV of 127p a share at the end of 2019. The share price is 87.5p. There is cash of £4.8m and the company intends to pay off its bond, which has a 6% coupon. In 2019, pre-tax profit dipped from £117,000 to £114,000.

KR1 (KR1) has raised $353,000 from the sale of RPL tokens, relating to the Rocket Pool, which is developing a proof-of-stake infrastructure service using Ethereum 2.0. The tokens were acquired for $0.21 each and sold at $1.67 each. The majority of the RPL tokens acquired are still held by KR1 even though there was a buyer for all of them. The takeover of digital asset custodian Volt Ltd has generated a further $244,000.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has signed a framework agreement that will enable it to provide cancer treatment services to NHS trusts. The deal lasts an initial period of two years.

Altona Energy (ANR) has cancelled its open offer because the minimum amount was not raised. Instead, management is in discussions with three companies that could reverse into Altona. Cash will be required to cover the costs of a reverse takeover.

Trading has resumed in Lombard Capital (LCAP) shares. Lombard’s waste and recycling subsidiary is acquiring land in Preston for £1.08m. Lombard needs to issue more bonds in order to fully fund the purchase. Existing bond holders are swapping £507,000 worth into shares at 25p each and £320,000 has been raised from the exercise of warrants at 10p each. The current share price is 27.5p and it is more than five times the level it was two months ago. The site was previously used for recycling and Lombard will reapply for an environmental licence. It will be used for a waste to energy project and a plastic recovering plant.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has been appointed as adviser to Kesholabs, a Kenya-based blockchain technology developer. Kesholabs is developing three applications that could be launched within 12 months.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that CASA is set to resume limited operations after the lockdown in South Africa. CASA will produce test work and production of anthracite samples.

Ananda Developments (ANA) subsidiary DJT plants has met with the MHRA to discuss its plans to grow strains of cannabis. This is part of the licence application to grow medicinal cannabis. There will be further consultation with the UK authorities.

World High Life (LIFE) says that subsidiary Love Hemp has increased capacity for its LH Botanicals business.

IWEP is swapping part of its loan to Eight Capital Partners (ECP) into a 29.8% stake at 0.025p a share. Shares have also been issued to creditors to satisfy money owed.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has invested £270,000 in Stabiltech Biopharma as part of a £6m fundraising. The corporate finance subsidiary is advising the investee company on further fundraisings. The vaccine developer is developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19. Clinical trials should start in June.

Secured Property Developments (SPD) is still seeking property investments. There is £514,000 in the bank and net assets of £470,000.

All Star Minerals (ASMO0 has raised £80,000 at 0.02p a share and a further £170,000 is being sought. Ian Harebottle and Richard Lloyd, who both have mining experience, are joining the board.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £189,500 in placings at 7p a share and 7.5p a share. NQ has raised £340,000 in the past fortnight.

Shareholders have passed the resolution to consolidate 100 existing Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) shares into one new share.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) has appointed Peterhouse as joint broker.

Engineering businesses consolidator Vulcan Industries is seeking admittance to the Aquis Stock Exchange. The focus is profitable metal fabrication and precision engineering businesses. First Sentinel is corporate adviser. The expected admission date is 1 June.

AIM

Renalytix AI (RENX) plans to gain a Nasdaq listing. The renal diagnostics company has not decided how much money it wants to raise. Renalytix AI has launched a joint venture to develop and produce COVID-19 antibody test kits.

STM (STM) subsidiary Carey has won a court case brought by a client. Adams v Carey related to a non-advisory SIPP taken out by Adams and an investment that he asked to be put in the SIPP. The investment performed poorly, and Adams claimed for loss of value. This case has been going on for more than two years.

Employee background checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) has launched a COVID-19 testing service that will help employers with back to work planning. That could attract additional clients for ClearStar’s services.

Imaging services provider IXICO (IXI) increased interim revenues from £3.43m to £4.56m and that helped to more than double profit from £215,000 to £475,000. There was cash of £6.66m at the end of March 2020. The order book is strong. It was £15.3m at the end of the interim period and more has been added since then. Data analysis from existing trials is continuing during the lockdown.

Tiziana Life Science (TILS) intends to demerge its genomics-based personalised medicine businesses into a separate quoted vehicle. This will enable the business to raise cash to develop the StemPrintER technology for the prediction of disease recurrence in breast cancer patients.

Tissue products developer Tissue Regenix (TRX) raised £14.6m at a share price of 0.25p. This was much-needed cash because existing funds were about to run out.

A share placing by Open Orphan (ORPH) at 11p a share raised £12m after expenses. This will help to finance services for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, as well as more laboratory facilities.

Digital TV technology provider Mirada (MIRA) has extended the term for its revolving credit facility by 12 months to the end of November 2021. Earlier this month, Mirada launched a lower cost version of its technology. Iris in Swift Mode is a pre-packaged platform.

Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) has acquired the Eddie Stobart brand from Stobart Group (STOB), which will have to change its name, for £10m. An annual fee of £3m was payable for the brand. This will be saved from now on. There have been some reductions in activity due to COVID-19, but grocery and e-commerce demand remain strong.

Cash shell Summerway Capital (SWC) has £5.55m in the bank as it continues to seek an acquisition.

MAIN MARKET

Contango Holdings (CGO) has published a prospectus relating to the acquisition of the Lubu coal project. The potential deal was announced more than one year ago. A £1.4m placing at 5p a share in January will finance costs and initial investment in the Lubu project. Readmission is expected on 18 June.

The Takeover Panel Executive has denied Moss Bros (MOSB) bidder Brigadier’s attempt to lapse its offer. Brigadier has asked for the ruling to be reviewed.

Pure Gold Mining Inc (PUR) has secured a $15m investment at $1.52 a share. This will be invested in the Red Lake Mine.

Loans to Shefa Gems (SEFA) totalling £1.25m have been converted at a premium to the market price. The shares issued account for 14.5% of the enlarged share capital.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 30 March 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

AQSE and AIM-quoted Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) improved its underlying pre-tax profit from £4.4m to £5.8m in 2019, while the second interim dividend is 5% higher at 21p a share. This does not have to be agreed at an AGM. NAV rose from 1283p a share to 1364p a share. The total capital ratio has edged up from 17.2% to 17.3%.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its insurers stipulated that COVID-19 was excluded from the insurance for the abandonment of race meetings. There will be a significant loss of revenues even if horse racing remains suspended until the end of April. Events, the hotel and the nursery will also be hit. There are bank facilities that should be enough to cover needs for the foreseeable future and the company is talking with its lenders. Management still expects David Wilson Homes to make a further payment of £10.9m for the development sites it has acquired.

Employee-owned businesses investor Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) believes that the value of its investments has declined by up to 15% since the end of February. NAV will have fallen from 50.17p a share to a range of 42.6p a share to 45.1p a share. That offsets the increase in the previous six months.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) is cancelling its interim dividend of 14p a share. The hotel has been temporarily closed.

KR1 (KR1) has invested $65,000 in the Acala Network project and will receive 866,666.67 tokens at 7.5 cents each. Acala will offer a stablecoin that can be transferred across different blockchains and collateralised with digital assets.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that its 4.1%-owned investee company Macarthur Minerals is seeking a partner for its Lake Giles iron ore project in Western Australia. Another investee company, 16.7%-owned AIM-quoted European Metals Holdings (EMH), has secured a strategic investment by CEZ in the Cinovec project. CEZ will subscribe for a 51% stake in the company that owns the project, subject to EMH shareholder approval. The price payable has been reduced from €34.1m to €29.1m.

AFH Financial (AFHP) non-executive director has invested nearly £25,000 in the IFA at 198p a share.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that subsidiary Coal Agglomeration South Africa has stopped activities until 16 April, which is in line with the government lockdown.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) has cash of £26.4m and it could defer the July repayment of £2m of its £3.9m convertible loans, so it is in a strong position to cope with the effects of COVID-19.

Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has suspended mining in Rwanda because of COVID-19. This will be for an initial two weeks. Planning for continues exploration will continue.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has employed consultants to prepare a mine reopening due diligence study on the Beaconsfield gold mine.

TechFinancials (TECH) is exercising its option to acquire shares in Cedex Holdings and the resulting stake will be 97.3% or 90.8% fully diluted. The company will consider disposing of the stake.

World High Life (LIFE) is holding a general meeting on 14 April in order to gain shareholder approval for each existing share to be sub-divided into ten new shares.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has issued a further £245,000 of bonds. This takes the total value of bonds in issue to £1.23m. Trading in First Sentinel 7% bonds, February 2023, First Sentinel preference shares and EPE Special Opportunities 7.5% unsecured loan stock, 2022 has started again after the market maker resumed activities.

AIM

Novacyt (NCYT) has signed a contract manufacturing deal with Yourgene Health (YGEN) for its COVID-19 test. The initial plan is for Yourgene to manufacture critical components. A global distribution agreement for the COVID-19 test has been secured with Bruker-Hain Diagnostics for use on its instruments. The Philippines has approved the test for commercial use.

Graphene materials supplier Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) has successfully reduced its cost base and it had £4.3m in the bank at the end of January 2020. This should last until the second half of 2021. Revenues remain small but a number of coatings products using the company’s graphene have been launched in the past year. There is a pipeline of additional products.

Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) is still losing money, but it is generating cash. In 2019, ECSC revenues grew by 10% to £5.91m. Managed services revenues increased by 48% to £2.61m. Managed services has additional capacity and as more work is won margins could continue to improve. Consulting revenues dipped slightly to £2.9m, although they did grow in the second half. The other revenues come from third party products and other services.

Secure payments systems provider PCI-Pal (PCIP) is raising £5m at 30p a share. The cash will finance sales and marketing in North America and further product development. There will also be additional flexibility for any medium-term effects of COVID-19.

Georgia-focused oil and gas company Block Energy (BLOE) is acquiring two blocks adjacent to its own from Schlumberger. They include Block XIB, which is Georgia’s most productive block, although the peak production was in the 1980s. This will boost Block’s production by 245 barrels of oil per day. There is also another exploration block and a central production facility being acquired. There are 14 years remaining on the permits for the two blocks. Block is paying for the assets with 120 million options exercisable at nil cost. They are deemed to have a value of 5 cents each. The options can be exercised between 12 and 24 months from completion.

Replacement windows and doors supplier Safestyle UK (SFE) has temporarily ceased installations. Safestyle believes with cost reductions and government assistance it will be able to cope with the closure of activities until after the end of June.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) is still paying its 9.4p a share final dividend. Trading in the four months to February 2020 was subdued but in line with expectations. The company’s agricultural stores have been allowed to stay open. There may be some additional costs relating to COVID-19.

Geospatial software provider IQGeo (IQG) has secured an expansion to its contract with Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is worth £1.8m over three years.

MAIN MARKET

Trident Resources (TRR) is becoming a mining royalty company and moving to AIM. The first acquisition is a 1.5% free on board revenue royalty over part of the Koolyanobbing iron ore operation in Western Australia for a staged cash consideration of A$7m. There are plans to increase production from an annualised rate of 11Mtpa to 15Mtpa by the end of 2020. The initial payment is A$4m and the other A$3m is payable one year after completion. The most recent quarterly royalty was A$731,000. Further royalty interests are set to be acquired. A fundraising is planned and the company will change its name to Trident Royalties.

Dev Clever (DEV) says that COVID-19 restrictions have increased demand for its SaaS-based career guidance platforms. The US launch was in April.

Nanoco (NANO) says Merck has issued three-month notice of termination of its cadmium-free quantum dots licence agreement so that the licence can be renegotiated. The existing licence had minimum annual royalties. Merck continues to buy materials.

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) says that an investor commitment to provide £1.4m for the company when it acquires Kanabo Research has been terminated. This arrangement was made in July 2019 and the acquisition of the medicinal cannabis company has still not been completed.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) is amending the terms of the purchase of 80% of the Anglo American Oil and Gas (AAOG) subsidiary that owns 56% stake in the Tilapia oilfield in the Republic of Congo. The purchase price has been reduced by one-fifth to £800,000 and it will be paid in ten monthly instalments. Zenith will no longer issue any shares and it will not be providing a £250,000 secured loan facility.

Books publisher Quarto (QRT) says revenues fell from $149.3m to $135.8m in 2019 but it did return to profit. Banking facilities have been extended to July 2021.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) says the Wavertree project is at the final fit out stage, but work has been suspended due to COVID-19. There are 16 apartments and offices on the site in north west England.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 20 January 2020

NEX EXCHANGE

NQ Minerals (NQMI) generated gross revenues of A$15.5m and gross profit of A$7.4m from Hellyer gold mine in the fourth quarter. Full year revenues were A$53.9m and operating profit was A$12.2m. The profit grew steadily quarter by quarter. NQ has raised £311,000 at 7p a share. In December, £300,000 was raised at 6.5p a share.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that is subsidiary Coaltech has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uzbekistan ministry of innovation and development and Uzbekistan Railway. The coal fines project could have an initial value of $16m. A plant would be built to process coal fines into coal pellets. Coal mining is an important industry in Uzbekistan. There will be feasibility studies and the development of a business plan. This deal comes via the joint venture with Creon Investments, which is focused on Russia and former Soviet Union countries.

Ganapati (GANP) says that its Malta-based subsidiary has signed a two-year endorsement agreement with Welljam, which owns the rights to Usain Bolt’s services and image rights. Ganapati has is launching the first official Usain Bolt online slot game when the Tokyo Olympics are held during the summer. Usain Bolt will be attending the ICE London iGaming event in February. There are initial licence payments for image rights during the development of the slot game and a share of future revenues.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that its investee company iCAN Israel-Cannabis has raised money via a convertible that places a pre-money valuation of $20m on the company. Ananda invested $200,000 in a convertible loan in August 2018 and $100,000 of the loan has been converted into 120 shares worth $200,000 at the latest valuation. DJT Plants, which is 50%-owned by Ananda, has received planning permission for the construction of a facility for cannabis plant breeding and propagation.

Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) reported a dip in pre-tax profit from £334,000 to £306,000 in the six months to October 2019. The NAV improved from £21.2m to £21.9m over the six month period, even though £349,000 was paid in dividends.

Imperial X (IMPP) has switched its investing strategy back from medicinal cannabis to energy-related businesses. The focus is building a royalty stream from oil and gas interests.

Mark Leigh is taking over from Claire Spencer as finance director of Newbury Racecourse (NYR).

Broadband-focused shell SAPO (SAPO) has raised £27,500 at 2.75p a share.

Diverse Income Trust has reduced its stake in TechFinancials (TECH) to below 3%.

AIM

Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) generated organic growth of 10.5% in the first half and it is on course to meet analyst expectations for the full year. The main first half growth was in the corporate and pensions businesses. The most recent acquisition will take annualised non-legal revenues to 12% of the group total. A full year pre-tax profit of £21.3m is forecast.

Regional legal business Knights Group (KGH) increased interim revenues by one-third to £32m through a combination of acquired and organic growth. Underlying earnings were 9% ahead at 5.95p a share. Net debt was £17.1m at the end of October 2019. The interim dividend was raised by 83% to 1.1p a share, although Knights was not quoted for all the comparative period. Two Birmingham-based firms have been acquired since the period end.

Legal firm Ince Group (INCE) raised £12m at 45p a share. The share price has more than halved since the beginning of the year. The January 2019 placing was at 140p a share. There are plans to raise £2m by a one-for-8.398 open offer and £2m via an offer to staff. The cash will enable the working capital facility to be reduced and finance investment in building up staff numbers. Net debt was £10.4m at the end of September 2019.

Pharmaceutical services provider Ergomed (ERGO) has acquired Ashfield Pharmacovigilance Inc for $10m and this will be earnings enhancing in 2020. The deal boosts Ergomed’s position in pharmacovigilance services and gives it a stronger position in the US. Ashfield has annual revenues of $11.6m and contracted future revenues of $9.8m.

Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) has established a 50/50 renewable energy joint venture with Green Enesys that will operate a 36MW hybrid power (solar and biomass) project in Ivory Coast. This should reduce costs at the palm oil project in Ayenouan. There could be other potential power projects in the region. Dekel is benefiting from the recovery in the crude palm oil price. It produced 37,649 tonnes of crude palm oil in 2019, even though poor weather led to disappointing fourth quarter production. Later this year processing of cashew nuts should commence.

Biopesticides developer Eden Research (EDEN) generated revenues of £2m in 2019, down from £2.8m, and an operating loss of £1.4m. Product revenues grew even though the summer weather restricted usage of Botrytis.

Lettings agency The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) is setting up a financial services division. Acquisitions are planned and the first is a 72.25% stake in Auxilium Partnership, which is the business of newly appointed financial services director Mark Graves. This has been a source of growth for rival Belvoir (BLV).

D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) has confirmed that its second half trading is much stronger than the first half thanks to the contracts won by the Celebrus data analysis software business. The financials sector has been a productive customer base for Celebrus. D4T4 is increasingly winning SaaS business and this could hold back short-term growth, which could lead to the trimming of 2019-20 forecasts.

Instem (INS) continues to increase its recurring revenues. The pharma software company generated organic revenues growth of 12% in 2019. Pre-tax profit is expected to be £3.3m. Net cash was £5.9m. A jump in profit to £4.7m is forecast for 2020.

Estate agency Winkworth (WINK) says 2019 profit was modestly ahead of expectations and a total dividend of 7.8p a share is proposed, which is higher than forecast.

Telit Communications (TCM) did better than expected in 2019 and excluding the former automotive activities revenues grew by 8%. The internet of things technology developer is forecast to make a 2020 pre-tax profit of £20.1m.

Pharma data analytics firm Diaceutics (DXRX) generated more cash tan expected last year and made a small profit. Thee was cash of £11.7m at the end of 2019. The 2020 pre-tax profit could be £800,000.

Barkby Group (BARK) has exchanged contracts on a development site in Huntingdon, which has a gross development value of £10.7m.

Risk management software developer KRM22 (KRM) says 2019 revenues were slightly lower than expected at £4m. Delayed contracts are expected to be signed soon.

Telematics firm Quartix (QTX) managed to maintain revenues at £25.6m in 2019 and a small increase is expected in 2020. The mix of revenues has changed with fleet generating 80%, up from 73%, thanks to growth in the US and France. Insurance revenues fell as expected as low margin business was shed. Pre-tax profit is still expected to decline from £8.2m to £6.6m in 2019, with a further fall to £6.3m forecast for 2020. The dividend is expected to be reduced from 12.4p a share to 12.1p a share, although it will not be fully covered by earnings.

Base Resources (BSE) has increased production guidance for the Kwale mine with midpoints of 78,000t for rutile, 345,000t for ilmenite and 30,500t for zircon. There is a lack of supply of rutile and ilmenite, so this is good news. This should provide a strong boost to profit.

Pressure Technologies (PRES) has been fined £700,000 and will have to pay prosecution costs of £169,000 following the guilty verdict relating to a fatal accident at one of its sites in 2015. The first instalment of £215,000 is due in April with a further six equal instalments payable every six months between July 2020 and January 2023.

Oil and gas explorer and producer Empyrean Energy (EME) is raising £420,000 at 9p a share and chief executive Tom Kelly has contributed £200,000 of that cash. The placing was at a 9% premium to the market price. The cash will be spent on drilling offshore of Indonesia. There is a potential resource upgrade for the Mako gas discovery in Indonesia.

Mereo BioPharma (MPH) says that there have been positive results from the phase 2b study of Setrusumab in adults with osteogenesis imperfecta. They show that it is helping to build bone. A study with children is planned. A meeting with the FDA is due in the coming weeks. Earlier this year, Mereo signed a licence agreement for the use of Navicixizumab in ovarian cancer with Oncologie Inc. An upfront payment of $4m is due.

Nutrition provider Science in Sport (SIS) expects to report 2019 sales of £50.5m with underlying growth of nearly one-quarter. The fastest growth is outside of the UK. River and Mercantile has taken a 5.5% stake.

MAIN MARKET

Shareholders in AIM-quoted Anglo African Oil and Gas (AAOG) have agreed to the sale of 80% of its Congo subsidiary to Zenith Energy (ZEN) and it is waiting for government approval. There is a put and call option over the other 20%. If the call option is exercised Zenith will pay £1m in shares. If the production at the Tilapia oilfield averages at least 4,000 barrels of oil per day for 30 consecutive days, the put option can be exercised and Zenith would pay £2.5m in shares.

Endeavour Mining Corporation has ended its merger discussions with gold miner Centamin (CEY) blaming a lack of information. Endeavour still believes that a combination would be positive. Centamin is raising its final dividend to 6 cents a share, taking the 2019 total to 10 cents a share, up from 5.5 cents a share. Net cash was $348m at the end of 2019. The higher gold price will further boost cash generation. A new chief executive still has to be appointed.

Standard list cash shell Trident Resources (TRR) has £3.29m in cash at the end of October 2019, which is similar to NAV. Management is assessing a few mining project acquisition opportunities.

Stevia sweeteners producer PureCircle Ltd (PURE) says that shareholders owning more than 10% of the share capital have put forward three proposed directors to be voted on at the AGM on 10 February. The company is happy for Sridhar Krishnan, Lai Hock Meng, a former PureCircle director, and Oliver Maes, who was previously a PureCircle director, to be appointed to the board.

Books publisher Quarto (QRT) is raising £13.9m at 68p each. The open offer is underwritten and it will help to reduce the debt burden.

Menswear retailer and hirer Moss Bros (MOSB) Total sales were 3% lower in the 24 weeks to 11 January, but gross margin improved. Hire revenues fell by 17.7%. Cash is £12m.

OTHER MARKETS

Pallets manufacturer RM2 International (RM2) intends to move from AIM to matched bargains market Asset Match (www.assetmatch.com).

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 December 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Trading in the shares of Barkby Group (BARK) following the publication of the prospectus for the reverse takeover of the Dickson group companies and move to AIM. There will also be a share consolidation of 193 shares into 74 new shares. Barkby is paying £30.6m, predominantly in shares with £750,000 in cash, and raising £5m at 30p a share. The businesses include Workshop Coffee, which operates four coffee shops and is a wholesaler of speciality coffee, and a south east England-focused commercial property developer. Barkby will also acquire the right to invest in two private companies: Transcend Packaging, which won a contract to supply McDonalds with paper straws, and VivoPlex, which has developed a medical device for fertility monitoring. A dividend is planned for this financial year.

Schroders has bought the whole of the 29.8% stake in Rutherford Health (RUTH) that was previously held by Woodford Investment Management.

Trading in the shares of Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has been suspended. Tectonic South Africa has been awarded an interim land mining contract at a diamond mining project in Alexander Bay in South Africa. It is replacing a previous subcontract that the company had. Mining can resume until the full contract is agreed. That could be by next March. A private investor signed an option agreement for the purchase of a 64% stake in Tectonic South Africa. In return they will fund future project development. There is a £100,000 cash payment to Tectonic on completion. There are 120 days for the investor to raise the cash required. The figures for the year to June 2019 will not be published by the end of 2019.

SulNOx (SNOX) started trading last week and the share price rose from 50p to 55.5p (53p/58p). There have been 35,875 shares traded on NEX.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is raising £300,000 at 6.5p a share. This will fund an exploration programme to extend the life of the Hellyer mine.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company WeShop hopes to float on AIM in the second quarter of 2020. Pre-IPO funding of £2m has been secured. Vela Technologies (VELA) and Two Shields Investment (TSI) are also investors in WeShop.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that its CoalTech subsidiary has had successful tests with two listed South African coal consumers. Pelletised coal fines have been produced and they were deemed suitable. The first potential customer could sign up for a long-term supply agreement and the second could justify a plant at their location.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says that it generated 2019 revenues of $10.6m up to 17 December and the full year figure should be higher than the $10.9m reported in 2018. The starting of operations in Europe will help to grow revenues. Wishbone will receive $600,000 in relation to its operations in Honduras. There could be a further $400,000 depending on production. There will be a consolidation of 100 existing shares into one new share.

The CAMRA Members’ Investment Club has increased its stake in brewer Adnams (ADB) from 2.81% to 3.69%.

AIM

Focusrite (TUNE) is paying £39.2m for professional sound systems manufacturer Martin Audio. This will diversify the product range of the group and enhance earnings in the first year. The two companies are based near to each other in High Wycombe. In the 12 months to October 2019, Martin made an operating profit of £2.9m on revenues of £24.4m. ADAM Audio’s contribution has helped revenues to increase in the first quarter. Like-for-like revenues are lower due to adverse exchange rate movements and a on-off boost in the first quarter of the previous year.

Bidstack (BIDS) has entered into a two-year agreement with a global marketing services group, which will spend up to £10m on advertising via the Bidstack in-game platform over that period. None of the revenue will be in 2019, which is why the forecast will not be met and revenues will not be signficant.

Naked Wines (WINE) is paying a special dividend of 5.2p a share. The ex-dividend date is 24 December.

Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) is acquiring six VW car, one VW commercial vehicles and one SKODA franchise from Jardine Motors for up to £22.3m. Trading remains in line with expectations, but Edison has cut its 2020 profit forecast by £4.1m to £23.2m, partly due to the loss-making acquisition.

Filtronic (FTC) is selling its telecoms antenna business to Microdata for $5.5m (£4.2m). The company can concentrate on the 5G and defence markets.

ValiRx (VAL) says that the VAL201 phase I/II clinical trial is coming to an end and the initial results appear to show that there is an impact on patients with prostate cancer. The compound is also safe and well tolerated.

A trading statement from Van Elle (VANL) has led to Peel Hunt cutting its 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast from £4.8m to £4m. The ground engineering contractor says that the second quarter was stronger than the first and first half revenues have risen from £42.9m to £48m. However, pre-tax profit slumped from £2.8m to £1m. There should be some improvement in the second half. The share price has halved this year. The interims will be published on 22 January.

Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG) says the Russian authorities have confirmed the company’s residency in the Kamchatka advanced special economic zone and this could save $6m over seven years. Trans-Siberian will develop an extension of the Asacha gold mine and expects to invest up to $21.2m in the next five years.

Sabien Technology (SNT) has raised £300,000 at 0.15p a share. This will provide working capital as a review of the business continues. Sabien is seeking to broaden its range of products from energy efficiency to other technologies, particularly health and medical rehabilitation sectors. Alan O’Brien stepped down as chief executive and Richard Parris became executive chairman.

Shareholders have agreed to put Stirling Industries (STRL) into voluntary liquidation. Trading will be cancelled on 24 December.

MAIN MARKET

Sure Ventures (SURE) maintained its net asset value at 83.1p a share at the end of September 2019. That includes cash of £1.45m. Management believes that some of the earlier investments are maturing and they could have valuation uplifts.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £638,000 at 2p a share via a placing in Norway. The cash will be used to buy drilling equipment.

Career development and consumer engagement platforms provider Dev Clever (DEV) plans to raise more cash four months after raising £436,000 at 3.4p a share. The share price fell by around one-third just before and just after the company admitted it was raising money. The share price fell to 1.05p.

OTHERS

Getmapping has ended its strategic review and is no longer up for sale. The geospatial services provider believes it is not the optimal time to consider offers.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 29 July 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) is investing in the South Lake Medical centre in Kenya. Other investors include Johnson and Johnson’s social impact fund. The total investment is $950,000, but Inqo’s contribution is not quantified. The medical centre was previously owned by a flower growing business and it caters for its workers.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has issued £130,000 worth of 8% convertible loan notes. They expire on 24 July 2020. The conversion price is 2.75p a share. Creditors have also agreed to accept payments of £54,000 in shares.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) had nearly £22,000 in the bank at the end of June 2019. There is also a 15% stake in Mighty Oak Exploration, which has exploration licences for cobalt and lithium in Uganda, and 2.4% in KKME, which has nickel and platinum prospecting licences in Botswana. A freehold property is in the books for £204,000.

Panther Metals (PALM) has raised £130,000 at 0.3p a share and the cash will help to finance the development of the company.

AIM  

Parcel delivery business DX (DX.) says that figures for the year to June 2019 will be in line with expectations. That means that there will still be a small, but much reduced, loss. Revenues were 8% ahead at £322.5m. The loss of the passport delivery contract will hit this year but that will be offset by growth in the courier market. Net debt was £1.3m at the end of June 2019.

Cyber security services provider GRC International (GRC) has postponed its full year results because it is calculating deferred consideration payable for DQM Holdings. The expected deferred payment is £3.7m, which is higher than the original range. The deferred consideration should be 60% cash and 40% shares at 116.5p each. The share price has fallen to 49p. GRC wants to change the terms. GRC is loss-making and it wants to spread the cash payments. It may need to raise more cash.

Good news from Shield Therapeutics (STX) which has gained FDA approval for Feraccru in the US. The approval covers the treatment of iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, thanks to its high tolerability. This doubles the potential market for the treatment. Shield is in discussions with potential commercial partners. finnCap increased its target share price from 200p to 350p.

Safe credit card payments technology provider PCI Pal (PCIP) says that its full year loss will be in line with expectations of £4.6m. Total contract value in the US is £1.4m, which indicates that progress is being made in that important market. Net cash was £1.5m at the end of June 2019, although PCI Pal is awaiting a tax credit and some additional contract payments in the first quarter of this year. There could be scope to raise funds on the back of recurring revenues.

Document management software provider GetBusy (GETB) is growing its revenues internationally and its eponymous new software product GetBusy is reaching the point of a commercial launch. Net cash is £1.95m, which is plenty for the immediate requirements of the group.

Polarean Imaging (POLX) is raising £2.1m at 18p a share. Last December’s placing was at 14p a share. The medical imaging technology developer will use the cash to finance the phase III clinical trial for its technology, where patient enrolment should be complete in the third quarter of 2019, and preparations for a product launch. There will also be working capital to build polarisers for future orders.

Judges Scientific (JDG) says that order intake was 4% higher in the first half of 2019. Delivery times have also been reduced so the order book has fallen from 14 weeks to 132 weeks.  

Tristel (TSTL) has acquired 80% of its Italian distributor for an initial £600,000. This should be earnings neutral this year. The disinfection products supplier generated revenues of £26m in the year to June 2019, which were 17% higher than last year. Underlying pre-tax profit will be £5.5m. Management is waiting for a response from the FDA in the US for the usability and human factors pilot.

Tri-Star Resources’ (TSTR) 40%-owned SPMP has produced the first antimony metal from its plant in Oman. There is expected to be a slow ramp up of production until full production is reached in 2020. The gold recovery circuit has yet to produce commercial levels of gold. SPMP needs to raise additional debt in order to cover the upcoming months prior to antimony production reaching breakeven levels. There are negotiations concerning the conversion of mezzanine debt into interest-free shareholder loans or shares. Tri-Star is expected to lose £500,000 this year. Although SPMP is not being consolidated, there will be a share of profit. That could eventually be as much as £10m a year.

CCTV technology provider Synectics (SNX) says that results will be second half weighted this year. Interim profit fell from £1.5m to £1.2m, but Shore still forecasts a rise in full year pre-tax profit from £2.9m to £4m. Net cash was £5.3m at the end of May 2019. The interim dividend was increased by 8% to 1.3p a share.

Trading in United Oil and Gas (UOG) shares has been suspended ahead of the conditional acquisition of the Egyptian oil and gas business of Rockhopper Exploration (RKH) for $16m, with an initial cash payment of $11m. The main asset is a 22% working interest Abu Sennan and share of production was 813 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2018. Net book value was $13.8m at the end of 2018. United needs to raise cash for the deal and it is not expected to complete until the end of this year.   

MAIN MARKET 

At the AGM of Trifast (TRI) the chairman said that the industrial fasteners supplier was growing strongly in the US, particularly in the electronics and automotive sectors. Debt facilities have been increased and management is seeking acquisitions. The uncertain economic environment in Europe has led to some delays in the production schedules of clients.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) says that its subsidiary Minto Explorations is getting a working capital facility from Sumitomo Corporation as part of an offtake agreement for 55,000 tonnes of copper concentrate. That lasts until the 55,000 tonnes is delivered or the end of 2020. There will be an advanced payment for 90% of the value of concentrate each month. There is an interest charge.

Zen Global has decided not to make a bid for World Trade Systems (WTS) because it could not come to an agreement with major shareholder Suzhou Weibao about buying its shares and convertibles in return for coins issued by ultimate holding company Zen Ltd. Zen wanted to use WTS to use as a shell in which to reverse its blockchain operations.

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) had cash of £880,000 at the end of June 2019. The company subsequently received a commitment to invest up to £1.4m from a single investor conditional on the deal to acquire medicinal cannabis company Kanabo Research. The deal documentation is being prepared.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 22 July 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) improved its underlying pre-tax profit from £2.7m to £3.4m in the first half of 2019. The interim dividend has been raised from 15p a share to 16p a share. The recent residential mortgage portfolio acquisition was after the end of June. The strategy is to diversify the business and asset-based lending and specialist finance are being built up. Savings platform Arbuthnot Direct has recently been launched. The core private banking operations of Arbuthnot Latham are still growing, though. The shareholding in Secure Trust Bank has been sold down to below 10%, which means it is no longer consolidated. The change from associate led to a write down and NAV declined to £13.21 a share.

VI Mining (VIM) has so far paid $9.1m in cash to the vendors of the Minaspampa and Rosario projects in Peru. There is still $42.2m outstanding 18 months after the acquisition agreement was signed. Majority shareholder Sumner Group Holdings is raising money from a security token offering, which could be completed in the autumn. Some of the proceeds will be used to replace existing facilities and help to pay outstanding acquisition considering, pending renegotiation of the deal. Chief executive David Sumner has provided a $10m term loan, plus a £39m facility of which $3m has been drawn down. There is $1.2m outstanding on the Tassili Jewellery LLC loan facility.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has completed its acquisition of a 2.325% stake in cannabis company Apollon Formularies. The Jamaican subsidiary has produced its first licensed medical cannabis oils for commercial sale on the island.

MetalNRG (MNRG) has published a prospectus for its move to a standard listing on 23 July. It has raised £193,000 at 0.3p a share.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that its CoalTech subsidiary has signed a joint venture agreement with Creon Capital covering Russia and nearby countries. CoalTech is negotiating with other potential partners to set up operations in Europe, Indonesia and the US.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) says its mining subsidiary has received approval for the R and D tax incentive scheme in Australia for 2018-19. A claim is being prepared.

Share trading has recommenced in Ganapati (GANP) after it published results for the year to January 2019. There was a cash outflow from operations of £23.8m. Since January, two new games have been generated each month.

AIM

Focusrite (TUNE) has acquired Germany-based studio monitor loudspeakers supplier Pro Audio for £16.2m in cash and it will still have £12m left in the bank. Pro Audio supplies ADAM branded products and made a pre-tax profit of €1m. This is an earnings enhancing acquisition. The businesses will operate separately but work together to develop cross-selling benefits.

Swallowfield (SWL) is selling its manufacturing business to the much larger US manufacturer Knowlton Development Corporation for £35m in order to concentrate on its portfolio of personal care and beauty brands. This should leave net cash of £23m in Swallowfield and this will be used to acquire more brands. The company is changing its name to Brand Architekts Group.

Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) grew all its main operations. Acquisitions helped revenues to increase by one-fifth to £103.5m in the year to April 2019, but there was still organic growth of 9.5%. Pre-tax profit improved from £15.4m to £18.1m. The dividend was raised from 7p a share to 8p a share. Corporate business grew more modestly than other parts of the business, but this was impressive given market conditions for corporate deals. A profit of £21m is forecast for this year.

Victoria (VCP) has raised €330m via an issue of 5.25% senior secured notes 2024. This offer was three times subscribed. The floorcoverings manufacturer is using the money to refinance existing debt and will have £80m of cash after the issue.

Packaging machinery supplier Mpac Group (MPAC) is trading significantly ahead of expectations. Equity Development has increased its 2019 operating profit forecast from £4.6m to £5.5m.

Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) has completed a co-investment agreement with a Hong Kong-based family office for the investment in Japanese resort business Infinity Capital Group. The family office will pay Adamas $1m of the $2m already drawn by Infinity and the other $2m will be provided 50/50 by the two parties. The facility has a coupon of 17.5% per annum. This deal provides cash to invest in other opportunities. Adamas took advantage of a dip in the share price to buy back £30,400worth of shares at 38p each.

Velocys (VLS) has raised £7m at 3p a share on the back of news that Shell and British Airways will co-fund the development of the Immingham biorefinery project. The cash will be used for further technology development and to progress the Mississippi biorefinery project.

Block Energy (BLOE) has completed the increase from a 71.5% to 100% of its working interest in the West Rustavi field in Georgia. The cash and shares payment means tha Georgia Oil and Gas has increased its stake in Block to 7.7%. Miton has cut its stake from 9.17% to 4.73%.

Mortice (MORT) has decided to cancel its AIM quotation and is offering shareholders the chance to sell their shares for 12p each. A lack of liquidity and a weak share price making it difficult to finance acquisitions are the main reasons for leaving AIM.

Albert Technologies Ltd (ALB) also wants to leave AIM, but it is not offering an exit for shareholders. It believes it can attract investors, but they would prefer to invest in an unquoted company.  

Science Group (SAG) has been buying more shares in Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) at the bid price of 35p each and it has built up a 39.9% stake. It also has 3.1% acceptances for its bid.

Mirada (MIRA) has integrated Netflix into its set-top box platform and this will make its technology even more attractive to broadcasters.

Bangladesh has brought in a law that all listed companies have to pay at least 30% of post-tax profit, or an extra 10% tax charge will be levied. Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP) is assessing the legislation and will consider how best to manage cash.

Novacyt (NCYT) has sold its loss-making clinical labs business for £400,000 and it will concentrate on diagnostics businesses Primerdesign and Lab21. The first instalment of £100,000 has been paid and £100,000 more is due in September, but the rest will be paid in three equal instalments on the first, second and third anniversaries of the deal.

MAIN MARKET 

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has received a commitment to invest up to £1.4m from a single investor conditional on the deal to acquire medicinal cannabis company Kanabo Research. The investment will be for a maximum of 4.99% of the enlarged share capital, although if there is any of the £1.4m left it could be invested in a convertible loan note. The investment underpins the expected acquisition-related fundraising and a fee of 10% of the investment is payable.

General meeting resolutions to wind-up Avocet Mining (AVM) were withdrawn at its general meeting. This comes after discussions with shareholders. There is a few weeks cash left in the business and any potential transaction would have to come with finance to cover the costs of an acquisition process.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has commenced construction of 17 specially developed apartments and retail space on its West Derby property.

OTHER MARKETS 

Fashion On Screen has listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, which has European Growth Market status by the HMRC. This means that there is no stamp duty. The company had previously considered a listing on the Nasdaq First North market in Copenhagen. Fashion On Screen has raised more than £3m prior to its listing. A film based on the kidnapping of racing driver Juan Fangio in Cuba in 1958 could start before the end of the year (for more about the background to the story listen to https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p055fjfx).

Andrew Hore

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

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