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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has asked Woodford Investment Management to subscribe for £25m worth of shares at 176p a share. This is part of an agreement with Woodford that was outlined in the prospectus and it comes at a time when the fund manager is coming under pressure for poor performance and it has closed redemptions from one of its funds. The cash will pay off a loan and provide working capital.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is making a £155,000 investment in Tasmania Energy Metals and the two companies will evaluate whether they should develop an integrated facility for the treatment of metal concentrate. NQ also has an exclusivity period until the end of July during which to decide whether to acquire Tasmania’s assets.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has signed an offtake agreement with a Swiss supplier of cannabis oil. This will be used to manufacture cannabidiol products.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has invested £300,000 in Apollon Formularies for a 0.71% stake. Apollon plans to open a licenced retail medicinal cannabis dispensary and processing facility in Jamaica by the end of the month.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that it is unlikely to return to paying dividends or return capital to shareholders before 2022 at the earliest. There is uncertainty about future revenue streams from fixed-odds betting terminals and how this could impact UK betting. It could reduce prize money levels. The onsite hotel has increased revenues by 15% so far this year.

Trading in shares of Equatorial Mining (EM.P) has been suspended ahead of publishing accounts. They should be published at the time of the general meeting to gain approval of the acquisition of Rwanda-based miner and explorer Eastinco. A £1.2m fundraising is also planned.

Altona Energy (ANR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shaanxi Qianyan Vanadium and Magnesium Mining, which owns a vanadium mine in China. The plan is to forma joint venture where Altona will be the controlling shareholder. Due diligence will take up to six months and there will be a JORC-compliant mineral resource classification report. The estimated reserve is 190,000 tonnes of vanadium.

Formation Group (FRM) has secured a £10m subscription at 7.71p a share through the acquisition of Zandra Holdings, whose asset is £10m in cash. This takes the Kennedy Private Trust stake in Formation to 89.99%. A £10m loan facility ahs also been secured.

The Little Bear mine area has been transferred to Panther Metals (PALM) and the Little Bear vein is a high priority drill target in order to see if the bonanza grade gold mineralisation still exists at depth. Panther has also applied for a licence over the Annaburroo gold project in Northern Territory, Australia.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has secured a £600,000 secured revolving credit facility and spent £465,000 on a bungalow in Didcot to be redeveloped into a home providing specialist support for four adults.

Valiant Investments (VALP) is raising £263,000 at 1.5p a share and it is changing its name to Eurocann International as an indication of the change in strategy to investment in the medicinal cannabis sector. Jeremy Rose will become chief executive and he has a number of directorships including of Speakeasy Cannabis.  Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi will become a non-executive.

EcoVista (EVTP) had £419,000 in cash at the end of February 2019 and it is seeking further investment. The interim loss declined from £238,000 to £202,000. Net assets were £1.19m at the end of February 2019.

Share trading in Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has been suspended because it has not published its 2018 accounts.

AIM  

The smart machines division of Vianet (VNET) is going to be the source of profit growth for the coming years. Profit can be improved by converting the vending machines that came with the Vendman acquisition to Vianet’s contactless technology, as well as winning new business. The smart zones pub dispensing technology division should be able to maintain its contribution with lower UK profit due to pub closures being offset by an improved performance in the US. Pre-tax profit is expected to improve from £2.7m to £2.9m, although earnings per share will be hit by a higher tax charge.

Interim revenues at smart home devices supplier LightwaveRF (LWRF) increased 120% to £2.5m, although there was still a pre-tax loss of £1.35m.  New distribution channels are helping to accelerate growth in revenues. The company could move into profit next year

Bad weather in the US has hampered the progress of Somero Enterprises (SOM) and led to forecast downgrades. Demand for concrete levelling equipment is normally stronger in the spring. This year’s earnings have been cut by 12% and next year by 11%. This will also reduce the potential dividend. The forecast 2019 normal dividend plus payout of surplus cash has been cut from 27.8 cents a share to 19.8 cents a share.

Waste-to-energy technology developer EQTEC (EQT) is acquiring a 19.99% stake in North Fork Community Power, a biomass gasification power project in California. EQTEC will supply $2.5m worth of equipment from its Newry site in return for the stake. It also expects to generate €2.2m from selling additional equipment.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has signed a distribution agreement for the Microsaic 4500 MID MS detector with CM Corporation for the South Korean market.

A shareholder owning a 17.2% stake in Rurelec (RUR) intends to propose an AGM resolution for the appointment of Gordon Fisher as a director. He is a former boss of a freight forwarding and customs brokerage. The electricity generator reduced its pre-tax loss from £5.8m to £600,000 in 2018, mainly due to lower overheads, exchange gains and a disposal gain. NAV is 4.4p a share, which is more than four times the share price.

Driver (DRV) had already said that its interims would be disappointing and pre-tax profit slumped from £2.11m to £762,000. The Middle East and Asia Pacific were tough markets with lower contributions. The expert witness operations made a reduced contribution. A 0.5p a share interim dividend was announced, and the ex-dividend date is 19 September. The company is also buying back shares in order to put a floor under the share price.

Chemicals-focused shell Wilmcote Holdings (WCH) is in exclusive discussions with Arclin Inc for a potential acquisition. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Acquisitions consultancy K3 Capital (K3C) has confirmed that trading is in line with previous guidance and EBITDA is at the upper end of the range of £4.5m to £5m. An 80% payout would mean a reduction in dividend from 11.2p a share to 7.2p a share.

Osirium Technologies (OSI) has won a contract with a European telecoms services provider. The three year contract covers cyber security software and services.

MAIN MARKET 

A strong first half has continued into the second half trading for automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) and pre-tax profit for the year to May 2019 is expected to exceed expectations by 10%. This suggests pre-tax profit of around £2m. The results will be announced on 12 September.

Caffyns (CFYN) reported a small improvement in underlying pre-tax profit to £1.45m in the year to March 2019. New car sales were 10% lower, which is more than three times the market decline. However, there was growth in used car sales and aftersales revenues.

Positive news from Argo Blockchain (ARB) where results for May were well ahead of the company’s budgets. New cryptomining hardware has started contributing faster than expected and rising cryptocurrency prices have improved mining yields. A further £2.85m is being invested in equipment. There was £685,000 generated in May, based on a bitcoin price of $8,575, while cash operating costs were £280,000. Second quarter figures will be better than expected. If the bitcoin price is maintained, then there will be £2.85m of crypto assets at the end of the second quarter.

BigDish (DISH) has raised £2.1m at 7.2p a share and this should be enough cash for the restaurant platform until 2021. The UK rollout will be accelerated.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) is acquiring the Minto mine from Capstone Mining. Pembridge will pay up to $20m out of future cash flows. Commercial production could recommence before the end of the year. A $10m loan has been secured.

Symphony International Holdings (SIHL) has made an investment in Soothe Healthcare, which manufactures feminine hygiene products under the Paree and Pariz brands.

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

Ian Pollard – Clarkson #CKN Challenged By Headwinds

Clarkson plc CKN   Despite a challenging start to the year Clarkson produced a robust performance for the year to the end of December.Underlying profit before tax fell by 10% and earnings per share declined from 116p to 105p.The CEO is happy with this as it enables the dividend to be increased by 3% making it  the16th consecutive year of increased dividends. Headwinds are having their impact in the form of political uncertainty and natural disasters but these are expected to diminish as the year passes.

Polymetal International POLY  Preliminaries to the 31st December showed that 2018 was a year of strong operating and financial results,with revenue rising by 4% and gold sales up by 10$. Adjusted EBITDA was up by 5%, although average realised gold and silver prices both fell. A final dividend of US$ .31 is proposed. The dividend declared during the period has risen by 47% from last years 32 cents to the current 47 cents.

Xaar plc XAR updates that underlying trading results for the year to 31 December 2018 are in line with previous expectations and delays in ramp up of new product volumes in China have resulted in an unfavourable aging profile of working capital.   Provisions are therefore being taken on the basis of prudency.

Silence Therapeutics plc SRN updates that 2018 was a defining year for the company, with transformational change throughout the business. With the approval by the FDA of the first RNAi therapeutics, a new class of medicines has effectively been created. In-human clinical trials are due to commence later in 2019 to demonstrate both safety and tolerability. The interim Chair of Silence describes it as being at the cutting edge of an extremely promising new class of therapeutics.

Driver Group plc DRV reports that  the cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period due to a slowing in the speed of client conversion, in particular in the Middle East and south-east Asian markets. The cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period and the shortfall is unlikely to be recovered in the second half. Full year underlying profits before taxation are now expected to be slightly below the 2017/18 result at approximately £3.5m.

Find beachfront villas for sale in Greece;   http://www.hiddengreece.net

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 December 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Ecommerce software provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved into profit in the first half and had £648,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. Revenues increased by £168,000 to £647,000, even though subscription-based pricing is reducing the initial revenues from B2B clients. A loss of £60,000 became a pre-tax profit of £142,000, helped by lower operating expenses.

Veni Vidi Vici Ltd (VVV) is acquiring a 51% stake in a licence in the Shangri La gold, silver and copper project in Western Australia for A$220,000, which is payable to Goldfields Consolidated in the form of 190,000 shares and A$20,000 in cash. The shares cannot be sold for three months. VVV will spend an initial A$300,000 over three years and Goldfields will receive a 10% management fee.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has raised £367,000 at 4p a share and each new share comes with a two-year warrant exercisable at 7.5p a share. If the share price averages more than 15p for five consecutive days, then the company can require the warrants to be exercised.

Gastropubs operator Barkby Group (BARK) has signed heads of terms to acquire Northamptonshire-based upmarket car dealer Centurian Automotive Ltd. The most recent accounts were for a dormant company and shows £200 in the bank.

Quetzal Securities Ltd sold 6.75 million shares in Pelican House Mining (PHM) for 0.5p each and Eight Capital Partners (ECP) acquired 8.25 million shares at 0.491p each. Quetzal subsequently sold a further 6.75 million shares in Pelican shares, leaving a 13.2% stake, to Eight Capital at 0.5p a share, taking its stake to 15.3%.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2018. An interim of 7p a share will be paid in January (ex-dividend 20 December) and a final dividend of 14p a share paid in May (ex-dividend 18 April).

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has appointed Northland as broker.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (EL.P) had a NAV of 200.95p a share at the end of November 2018. The shares are trading at 160p.

AIM  

Construction consultancy Driver Group (DRV) reported a 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £3.8m, up from £2.5m, and it is returning to paying dividends with a 0.5p a share payment. Net cash is £6.9m, helped by a property disposal, and this could reach more than £10m by September 2019 even after dividend payments. The Diales expert witness business is becoming an increasingly important revenue generator and overall utilisation levels have improved. There has also been a focus on better margin work in the Middle East.

SigmaRoc (SRC) is in the process of acquiring precast concrete products supplier CPP Building Products for £15.2m, although the deal requires shareholder approval for share issues, so it will not happen until early January. CPP is based in north west England and fits well with the existing precast concrete business. In the year to August 2018, revenues were £20.9m and EBITDA was £2.6m. This year’s trading is in line with expectations. There are plans to refinance the convertible loan notes.

Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned about delays to its utility connection contracts with housebuilders and the 2017-18 figures were slightly better than expected with flat pre-tax profit of £9.2m. Nexus has a strong order book and could increase its 2018-19 pre-tax profit to £10.4m. The new electric vehicle charging points division will take time to build up.

Advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has benefited from an upturn in demand from the oil and gas sector. It is also getting nearer to obtaining its first aerospace orders. Hardide remains loss-making and this will still be the case next year as it continues to invest in increasing capacity in the UK and US as demand grows.

Curtis Banks (CBP) has purchased around 600 SIPPS with assets of £180m from Hargreaves Hale, which will continue to manage the assets. Curtis Banks will launch a new SIPP product in January.

Clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences (VENN) is collaborating with Open Orphan DAC. The two firms will share resources in the orphan drugs market. Venn is raising £1m from a two-year loan note issue.

WH Ireland has upgraded its forecast for banknote authentication and brand protection technology business Spectra Systems (SPSY) for the second time. The underlying pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 10% to $4.5m. The 2019 forecast, which had previously been upgrade by 16%, is maintained for the time being.

Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that its 60%-owned subsidiary MAST Energy Developments has an exclusive option to undertake due diligence and acquire three peaking power sites totalling 31.3MW. This would provide initial revenues for Kibo later next year. Kibo has renewed its memorandum of understanding with Mozambique-based electric utility Electricidade de Mocambique for the financing and operation of the Benga independent power project.

eServGlobal Ltd (ESG) says that 2018 revenues will be lower than expected due to weak trading at the PayMobile business and the failure to close orders. The PayMobile business may be sold and the focus will be the HomeSend remittances business.

NWF (NWF) says feeds demand was strong in the summer because of a lack of natural grazing. In contrast, the hot weather held back demand for fuels. A Solihull-based fuel distributor has been acquired. The food distribution business continues to trade at around capacity because of contract wins. The interims will be published on 29 January.

ReNeuron (RENE) has important clinical trial results coming up in the next 18 months. A retinitis pigmentosa treatment is in phase I/II trials and there should be data in mid-2019. A phase IIb trial for a CTX cell therapy-based treatment for chronic stroke is due to report by early 2020. There was £30.7m in the bank at the end of September 2018. Management is seeking partners to help it to make the most of its technology.

PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised £100,000 at 0.02p a share and this will enable the board to assess new business opportunities.

Property adviser Fletcher King (FLK) is maintaining its interim dividend at 1p a share even though pre-tax profit has dipped from £148,000 to £132,000. Ratings appeals revenues were lower. There is £2.28m of cash in the balance sheet.

Kromek (KMK) has secured an initial contract with the US Department of Defense worth $2m over 12 months. The plan is to develop a proof-of-concept device for a vehicle-mounted biological threat identifier.

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) started trading on AIM on Friday and the share price ended the day at 272.5p. Crossword raised £2m at 290p a share.

Volex (VLX) is buying cable assemblies and connectors manufacturer GTK for £14.3m in cash and shares. in the year to July 2018, GTK generated a pre-exceptional operating profit of £1.7m. There was £1.3m in the bank. The deal is earnings enhancing.

African Battery Metals (ABM) has found it difficult to raise the cash it requires and trading in the shares has been suspended.  The company wants to come to a settlement with creditors so that it could continue to trade.

Smaller company mergers and acquisitions business K3 Capital Group (K3C) is cautiously optimistic but the full year outcome will depend on the timing of deals. There could be a small dip in pre-tax profit to £7m this year and there could be a corresponding dip in dividend from 11.2p a share to 10.8p a share.

Telit Communications (TCM) says that it will not complete the sale of its automotive business until next year. Telit is expected to make a 2018 loss. Further cost savings are being made in the Internet of Things operations.

More bad news from Filtronic (FTC) with sales of Massive MIMO antennas lower than expected. The main customer has reduced its forecast demand. The capitalised development costs of £500,000 will be written off and options are being reviewed. The rest of the business is trading in line with expectations. Filtronic will be loss-making this year. Net cash was £2.3m at the end of November 2018.

Science Group (SAG) has ended its formal sale process because of stockmarket and exchange rate uncertainty. The strategic review continues. Trading is in line with expectations and the company will recommence the share buy back programme. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of November 2018.

Like-for-like sales growth has been slowing at DP Poland (DPP) and this means that progress in 2019 is unlikely to be as good as expected. This means that it will take longer to reach profitability. Rivals have been spending money on marketing and warm weather has also held DP Poland back. A full year trading update will be published on 29 January.

Taptica International Ltd (TAP) plans to spend up to $10m on buying back shares and it has already spent nearly £110,000. There was net cash of $42.1m at the end of June 2018.

Tristel (TSTL) says that the US regulatory process for its disinfection products is on track and interim pre-tax profit should be £2.2m.

TomCo Energy (TOM) has managed to secure £550,000 at 2p a share. The previous £532,000 placing at 8.5p a share was pulled. Laurence Read has become a non-executive director.

RA International (RAI) has won a five year contract worth up to $5.6m from a US corporate client in Central Africa.

MAIN MARKET   

Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR) is moving to AIM and it has decided to exercise its option to acquire US rights to COPD treatment Tudorza from AstraZeneca. This deal should complete by the end of the year and it will trigger a payment of $5m. A further $20m is payable upon approval of Duaklir and then there is further deferred consideration of $100m.

Tex Holdings (TXH) has warned that second half earnings will be lower than anticipated due to delayed deliveries and reorganisation costs.

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) is on course to complete the expansion of its Runcorn facility by the end of 2018 with commercial volume manufacturing by the middle of 2019.

Lb-shell (LBP) is being wound-up because of potential litigation relating to before it became a shell. There is unlikely to be anything left for shareholders.

Giant Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) is installing a $1m data centre in Singapore.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 June 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

There are eight companies in the running for the NEX Exchange company of the year at the Small Cap Awards. The awards will be held at The Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.

Kent-based wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has built up a significant presence in the English wines market. The company has a winery in Tenterden and it is building a new brewery for its beer operations. Chapel Down reported a 15% increase in annual sales to £11.8m. Wine sales were one-fifth higher at £8.12m with cider and beer sales, via associate Curious Drinks, were 7% ahead at £3.68m. Operating profit improved from £346,000 to £470,000 but there was a much larger loss from the Curious Drinks associate so pre-tax profit was lower. The new brewery should be open in the first quarter of 2019.

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is still at a very early stage of its development but it more than doubled its revenues in 2017. The loss still increased from £950,000 to £1.24m despite the improvement in revenues from £345,000 to £737,000. The cash outflow was £1.06m, which left £490,000 in the bank. Since then, £2.16m was raised via a placing at 270p a share. Crossword has interests in a number of early stage businesses, including CyberOwl, a joint venture between Coventry University and Crossword, which has backing from Mercia Fund Management. CyberOwl is developing network security software for target-centric monitoring.

Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has one of the longest track records on NEX and it has its highest share price in more than one decade of trading. Field Systems designs, installs and supplies electrical, instrumentation and control systems, for the water, power and transport sectors. In the six months to November 2017, revenues jumped from £8.47m to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £114,000 to £211,000. There was £3.34m of cash in the bank and NAV was £3.31m, which is more than the market capitalisation.

KR1 (KR1) has had a successful year buying and trading various coins and tokens. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year. KR1 generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m.

Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) was originally part of the Milk Marketing Board and after it was spun off it joined the forerunner of NEX. National Milk Records generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices.

Energy saving electrical products supplier Sandal (SAND) reported flat interim revenues of £1.88m but it masks the growth in the sales of MiHome products. This growth will continue in the second half. The interim pre-tax profit edged up from £35,000 to £44,000. Sandal secured a term loan of up to £500,000 from major shareholder Greenbrook Industries Ltd and £250,000 was used to buy back 862,068 shares from Greenbrook. The shares were cancelled and this will enhance earnings per share.

Daniel Thwaites (THW) is a brewer, hotels and pubs operator that has been trading for more than two centuries. It has also been on NEX for more than two decades, since the London Stock Exchange closed rule 4.2, which was a matched bargains facility for unquoted companies. Some of these former rule 4.2 companies moved to AIM, while others, including a number of regional brewers, moved to Ofex/NEX. In the six months to September 2017, revenues improved from £44m to £48m and underlying pre-tax profit were flat at £5.9m. The shares are trading at a near-50% discount to NAV.

Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) is an ethical housing REIT and it is also on the shortlist for the impact company of the year. The company develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or needing extra care. Earlier this year, Walls and Futures raised £80,000 from an open offer at 94p a share. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%. Walls and Futures has joined the MSCI IPD UK Residential Property Index.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 June.

Cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) is widening its remit. It is asking shareholders to agree to investments outside of Canada.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has completed the acquisition of offices in Leicester for £4.385m. The Leicester Crown Prosecution Service pays an annual rent of £290,000.

St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying a maintained interim dividend of 5.5p a share and the ex-dividend date is 5 July. The dividend will cost £247,000. The carbon emissions trading business has also started electronic currency mining.

China CDM Exchange Centre Ltd (CCEP) reported a small dip in revenues from £898,000 to £888,000 but it managed to increase its profit from £2,000 to £35,000.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has secured Contax Partners as technical partner and project manager for the shale gas project in Botswana. Contax will accept £800,000 worth of shares in Karoo as payment for services. Karoo hopes to apply for admission to AIM by 1 July.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says full production at its Honduras processing plant has been delayed because permits have not been received for the processing of larger amounts of gold ore.

EPE Special Opportunities (EL.P) had an NAV of 228.16p a share at the end of May 2018.

AIM   

Property investment adviser First Property Group (FPO) reported flat pre-tax profit of £9.23m in the year to March 2018. The final dividend is 3% higher at 1.18p a share. The underlying NAV rose from 47.6p a share to 53.1p a share. Third party assets under management were 45% higher at £454m, which is mainly down to the new office fund. Progress this year will be held back by the departure of the tenant in a building in Poland. Some of the space has already been re-let and the rest should be during the year.

Pawnbroker Ramsdens (RFX) continues to grow on the back of strong foreign exchange revenues. Last year, they were 26% higher at £11.3m. Group revenues were 16% ahead at £39.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit rose 60% to £6.5m. Net cash was £12.7m, although that does include foreign currency stocks. The total dividend was 6.6p a share.

Gooch and Housego (GHH) increased interim revenues by 7% to £55.6m and underlying pre-tax profit was13% ahead at £7m. Aerospace was the main growth area as subsea telecoms demand was weak. The photonics and optical equipment company is on course for a full year profit of £18.5m.

Artilium (ARTA) is recommending a cash and shares bid from Pareteum. The offer is 0.1016 of a Pareteum share and 1.9p in cash for each Artilium share, which values the telecoms software supplier at £78m. The offer follows a strategic alliance between the two companies that was announced last year.

IT managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says that some public sector contracts have been cancelled and there will be upfront costs for a new contract with the NHS in Yorkshire. That means that 2018-19 EBITDA will be 10% lower than previously forecast.

Imaginatik (IMTK) has completed its strategic review and the chairman and chief executive are both leaving and they are waiving compensation. This will help to reduce annual costs by £750,000. The business is no longer up for sale because no suitable bid was received. Annualised revenues are £2.8m and the innovation software business could move into profit after a full year’s benefit of the cost savings. Former chairman Matt Cooper has sold £225,000 worth of shares at 0.5p each and reinvested the cash in a new £225,000 convertible, interest free loan note. Octopus has reduced its stake from 27.2% to 7.1%.

Mass spectrometry instruments supplier Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has raised £5.5m at 2p a share and an additional £102,000 via a PrimaryBid.com offer.

Trading in cash shell Monreal (MORE) has been suspended because the former Cogenpower has not completed a deal. The board is asking for shareholder approval to move to NEX after the AIM quotation is cancelled on 3 July. The investment strategy will focus on technology, media and telecoms.

Education-focused virtual reality content supplier VR Education (VRE) has delayed the full launch of the latest version of its Titanic VR product until August but it is not expected to affect full year expectations. Work has started with the BBC on 1943: Berlin Blitz.

Driver Group (DRV) continues to improve its margins and profit helped by the growth of the Diales expert witness business. Middle East revenues were lower but profit was higher, while high utilisation rates in Asia Pacific meant that was a sharp swing back to profit in the region. Underlying pre-tax interim profit doubled to £2.1m om the six months to March 2018 and Driver ended the period with net cash of £800,000. The sale and leaseback of the company’s head office was completed in April and net cash is forecast at £5.5m for the end of September 2018. A full year profit of £3.5m, up from £2.5m, is forecast. A return to dividend payments is a possibility in the next year or so.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has enough cash to push forward with the exploration of its Paradox basin acreage in the US. Rose is still earning its 75% working interest in the acreage and it has already received interest from potential farm-in partners that could help finance the first well, which could cost $7m-$8m. A competent person’s report will provide an updated resource in the next few weeks.

The smart machines division was behind the small improvement in profit at Vianet (VNET) in the year to March 2018. That was helped by a contribution from the Vendman acquisition. The smart zones drinks dispensing technology made a slightly lower contribution to profit as it lost more pub customers but the US side is making progress. Research and development spending on technology peaked at £1.5m last year and should fall this year. Net cash fell to £1.27m because of the extra spending but the dividend was maintained at 5.7p a share. The investment should start to pay off this year and pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £2.7m to £3m.

MAIN MARKET    

LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) is closing its loss-making US business at a cost of £2m. The US business lost £1.9m last year. Luceco announced an operating profit of £14.2m in 2017.

Quarto Group Inc (QRT) has appointed former finance director Mick Mousley as interim finance director following the departure of Carolyn Bresh. This follows the change of control at the AGM.

Lb-shell (LBP) is asking for shareholder approval for the creation of £435,000 of unsecured convertible loan notes with a conversion price of 0.025p a share. That requires the par value to be reduced to 0.025p a share. Full conversion could mean the issue of shares equivalent to 89.4%. Three directors will own a total of £290,000 of the loan notes. The former Intelligent Energy will offer shareholders the chance to sell their shares for 0.025p each.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 18 December 2017

NEX EXCHANGE

Wine and beer maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has raised £18.53m at 50p a share and could raise up to £1.47m more via a one-for-35 open offer at the same share price. The latest acceptance date is 5 January. Chapel Down will invest in an additional 500 acres of vineyard land and more money will be put into marketing. The family interests of Michael Spencer have invested in the fundraising. Nigel Wray has invested a further £500,000 but his stake has fallen to 16.5%, prior to the open offer. This year’s turnover is expected to be at least £11.6m and management expects growth to accelerate after the additional investment. New gin and vodka brands have been launched and the Ashford brewery should be up and running by the end of 2018.

Ashley House (ASH) has signed a joint venture with Morgan Sindall to develop extra care and supported living housing. This deal sparked a 55% increase in the share price to 14.75p. Morgan Sindall is paying £4m in total for the 50% stake in the joint venture, with £1.5m of this dependent on certain completion factors. It should all be paid by the end of 2018. The Ashley House housing division will complete two existing schemes and then own 50% of the joint venture, which will develop any further schemes. This additional cash will help to accelerate the growth of this part of the business. There is already a pipeline of potential developments. Ashley House will make an interim loss but expects to profitable for the full year.

e-commerce technology provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) reduced its interim loss as revenues grew from £317,000 to £479,000. There has been a lower number of larger projects, particularly in the food and drink sector, and Netalogue would have been profitable without the investment in the company’s technical team. A move towards a SaaS-based model could hold back short-term revenues.

AIM-quoted, spread betting business London Capital Group (LCG) has joined the NEX Exchange Growth Market on 15 December. Glio Holdings Ltd owns 78.1% of London Capital.

Early Equity (EEQP) has made two more investments. It has invested £60,000 in TruSpine Technologies Ltd, which plans to join AIM next year. TruSpine has developed the Faci-LOK and Cervi-FAS minimally invasive spine stabilisation devices and the VOSC catheter atherosclerosis treatment product. The plan is to gain FDA authorisation for Faci-LOK next year and then float. TruSpine is valued at £15m. A £35,000 investment in the profitable corporate finance and asset management business Farina Investments (UK) Ltd has been made ahead of a flotation. Early Equity raised £115,000 at 0.6p a share.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2017.

Lombard Capital (LCAP) says that it is progressing towards the issue of an investment bond that will be quoted on a recognised bond market. There was nearly £60,000 in the bank at the end of September 2017.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) raised £720,000 at 9p a share and this will be used to invest in blockchain companies and expand the company’s own advisory business. Last June, £250,000 was raised at 2.2p a share. Coinsilium has been appointed as an adviser to token generation event of Hdac Technology AG, which is developing payment platforms for connected devices.

Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has raised £5,000 at 0.01p a share and issued further shares for convertible loan notes and warrants at the same price. Valiant Investments (VALP) has raised £34,000 at 0.1p a share. Via Developments (VIA1) has issued a further £50,000 of debenture stock.

AIM

Satellites owner Avanti Communications Group (AVN) has revealed a financial restructuring that could put it on a firm footing. Certainly, without this restructuring the outlook would be bleak. The $557m of 2023 loan notes will be converted into two billion shares, while investors in the 2021 loan notes are being asked to accept and extension of the term and lower income. Annual interest charges would still be $36.6m

Best of the Best (BOTB) says that it expects to pay remote gaming duty and this will knock £300,000 from profit this year and £600,000 next year. This year’s pre-tax profit is forecast to decline from £1.5m to £1.4m, with a further fall to £1.2m in 2018-19. Net cash is expected to be £2.6m at the end of April 2018. The company is still claiming £4.5m of VAT so this could provide a cash boost in the future.

Plant Impact (PIM) is suffering continued delays in demand for its Veritas product in Brazil. A new partnership with Albaugh Brazil will commercialise other Plant Impact products in Brazil. This has sparked the decision to consider putting the company up for sale. Cash is running out and a further £7m would need to be raised to keep the company going well into 2019.

Van Elle Holdings (VANL) has defeated the five resolutions proposed by former chairman Michael Ellis at last week’s general meeting.

Recruitment and outsourcing services provider Servoca (SVCA) reported better than expected full year figures. Pre-tax profit improved from £3.5m to £3.9m. Education and healthcare will be the main growth areas.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) is collaborating with King’s College London to examine the use of SFX-01 as a therapy against ischaemic stroke. Multiple doses will be assessed and this will take nine months. This could lead to a clinical trial that might be funded by a charity organisation associated with King’s College.

Range Resources Ltd (RRL) returned to AIM following the reverse takeover of producing oil and gas assets in Trinidad from Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN).

Defence equipment and services supplier Cohort (CHRT) had a weak first half but it expects to more than make up for that in the second half. There was a mixed performance with some parts of the business finding trading conditions difficult. The order book is worth £132m. Full year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve from £14.5m to £15.4m.

Savannah Resources (SAV) says that it has discovered high-grades and large intercepts in the latest drilling at the Mina do Barroso lithium project. A maiden mineral resource estimated could be announced before the year end with potential for upgrades from further drilling.

Daniel Stewart expects China New Energy (CNEL) to report a jump in pre-tax profit from £400,000 to £2.6m in 2017. The shares are trading on less than four times fully-taxed 2017 prospective earnings. The company constructs bioenergy plants that convert feedstock into ethanol. The most recently reported order book was worth £28.7m with the orders due to be fulfilled in 2017 and 2018. Demand from China is strong and there is also international business.

Coal bed methane projects developer Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU) has secured a listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and trading commenced on 13 December. Tlou raised £2.4m at 11p a share.

Synairgen (SNG) has secured a £5m cash injection from a deal with Pharmaxis, which will take over the development of LOXL2 in fibrotic diseases. Synairgen will also receive 17% of any partnering revenues. This compares with £3m invested by Synairgen in LOXL2. The cash will enable Synairgen to fund the phase IIa study for SNG001 for COPD. The trial should be complete by the end of 2018.

New management has turned around the performance of contract disputes and expert witness services provider Driver (DRV) and it moved back into profit last year. Cost savings have been made and the focus is on profitable business rather than just growing revenues. Cash collection is improving with net debt down to £200,000 and there is likely to be net cash of £2m in one year’s time. This year’s revenues are likely to be flat at around £60m but pre-tax profit should improve from £2.5m to £2.7m.

One month after its previous trading statement IDOX (IDOX) says that an internal audit has found that it should not recognise all the revenues that it originally intended to. This will knock £3m off profit for 2016-17. The software company reported its full year figures in December but the attest full year figures have been delayed until February. Chief executive Andrew Riley is away ill and former boss Richard Kellett-Clarke has taken over on a temporary basis.

Abzena (ABZ) reported interims in line with expectations. Growth came from the chemistry and manufacturing businesses. This is a period of capital investment as various parts of the company move to new facilities. The ADC master services agreement with a US biotech will yield at least $5m in services revenues over the next 12 months. This deal is shared between chemistry and manufacturing divisions.

Surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) is starting to improve its gross margin as demand improves. There is even some signs of improved demand from the oil and gas sector. Even so, Hardide remains loss-making but it still has not gained any orders from Airbus. It raised £2.5m for capital investment earlier this year. A new reactor will be installed in the US in this financial year and another next year.

MAIN MARKET

Titon Holdings (TON) continues to benefit from strong demand for its window ventilation components in South Korea. The majority of profit comes from South Korea and that is where all the growth came from last year as the contributions from the UK and North America fell. In the year to September 2017, revenues were one-fifth ahead at £28m, while pre-tax profit improved from £2.14m to £2.49m. The dividend growth of 20% to 4.2p a share is ahead of earnings per share growth. A pre-tax profit of £2.81m is forecast for this year.

Avation (AVAP) has secured an initial $100m revolving facility to finance the acquisition of aircraft.

Sealand Capital Galaxy Ltd (SCGL) has secured an agreement with AIM-quoted MySQUAR (MYSQ) for the distribution of its games on MySQUAR’s platform and MySQUAR’s games on the Huawei InTouch platform. This is initially a two year deal.

Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) says that it expects to complete the acquisition of biogas and renewable energy business Alchemy Utilities. A five-year £20m bond is being raised.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard – Ashtead (AHT) to exceed expectations

Ashtead Group AHT is to increase its interim dividend by 16% and will also over the next 18 months, commence a share buy back programme of up to £1bn. The second quarter results showed growth exceeding that achieved in the first quarter and it is expected that full year results will now exceed expectations. For the half year to the 31st October rental revenue rose by 20%, profit before tax by 23% and earnings per share by 22%’

Balfour Beatty BBY reports that its performance to date is in line but still insists on ignoring the fact that the ludicrous and oft used name of its quality programme “Build to Last”  just acts as a constant reminder of the horrors of the not too distant past.

Driver Group DRV saw  a significant improvement on all fronts in the year to the 30th September with like for like revenue rising by 15%. Last years loss of £0.4m has been turned into a profit before tax of £2.5m and net borrowings slumped from £9.9m to £0.2m and are continuing to fall further.

Zytronic ZYT The year to the 30th September saw a significant improvement in trading profit which rose from £4.3m to £5.4m, with basic earnings per share up by 29%. The final dividend is to be increased by 39% making a total rise of 32% for the full year. A sound  base has now been created, says the company, for further dividend increases in the future.

Joules Group JOUL updates that it has performed well in the half year to the 26th November, with group revenue rising by 18.2% in constant currency. Further expansion has been delivered across channels and products, reflecting the growing appeal of its brands as well as a growing customer base which now exceeds  more than 1 million active customers.

Servoca plc SVCA A strong financial performance across all five of its business areas during the year to the 30th September saw revenue rise by 15.9% and adjusted profit before tax  and EBITDA up by 11.4% and and 12.8% respectively.  The final dividend is increased to 0.4p, a rise of14.3p

Waterfront villas & houses for sale in Greece    http://www.hiddengreece.net

Quoted Micro 20 February 2017

NEX EXCHANGE

Forbes Ventures (FOR) has taken a 0.84% stake in potential challenger bank Civilised Investments in return for £200,000 in cash. The cash investment was raised through a placing of shares at 0.5p each with Gravity Investments, which owns 62.1% of Forbes. A further six million shares were issued at the same price to settle fees. Civilised is applying for a UK banking licence in June 2016. The strategy is not to have branches but local bankers will provide loans and business banking products by attracting personal savings.

Kryptonite1 (KR1) has invested £99,905 for 25,811 tokens in Melonport AG, which is building its own blockchain protocol for digital asset management built on the Ethereum platform. Melonport raised $2.5m in 14 minutes.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £128,750 at 0.8p a share. For working capital. Daniel Stewart has been appointed as corporate adviser.

FT8 (GFT) has failed to secure the agreed monthly payments from Billyst Holdings and this means that trading in the shares of FT8 has been suspended because of the company’s uncertain financial position.

AIM

Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) has moved into Continental Europe through the acquisition of Avalon and GrassInc for an initial £9.7m in cash with deferred and contingent payments of up to £12m over four years. This is an important part of the overall strategy for the group and it also takes Victoria into the artificial grass market. The deal should be immediately earnings-enhancing with the two businesses making a 2016 operating profit of £3.6m.

Construction dispute resolution services provider Driver Group (DRV) has raised £8m at 40p a share – a 15% discount to the market price – in order to reduce borrowings and grow the business. There is also a one-for-26p open offer at 40p a share that could raise up to £500,000 – closing on 8 March. Driver has negotiated new banking facilities of £8m, down from £12m, and this expires in 2020. Net debt was £9.9m at the end of September 2016. Driver made a loss in the year to September 2016 but it moved back into profit in the second half. In the past year, Driver has reduced annualised overheads by £1.3m, cut underperforming fee earners, improved cash collection and implemented more rigorous bidding controls. Driver plans to scale down the project management operations and the main businesses should be sold by the end of this financial year. South America and eastern Europe have been identified as growth areas. New non-executive director John Horgan has been appointed as a replacement for David Webster.

Fuel cell technology developer AFC Energy (AFC) has raised £6m, £5.5m net of expenses, at 10p a share – a 40% discount to the market price. Up to £2m more could be raised from a one-for-15 open offer at the same share price – closing on 2 March. The cash will be used to deliver commitments on the joint development agreement with De Nora, additional testing and a scoping study with Peel Environmental for potential projects. Jim Gibson has been appointed as chief operating officer.

Middlesbrough-based pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) joined AIM on 15 February. The placing will raise £15.6m at 86p a share, valuing the company at £26.5m. The share price ended the week at 95.5p.

Tracsis (TRCS) disappointed the market with a warning that delays in contracts means that this year will be even more second-half weighted and there is still uncertainty whether certain software contracts will complete in this financial year. The transportation optimisation software and services provider still believes it can achieve this year’s forecast profit but the market was not as sure. The share price fell by nearly one-third following the trading statement and Downing is one investor that has added to its stake having previously taken profits. Interim revenues will grow from £13.1m to £15.5m but pre-tax profit will only be slightly higher than last year’s figure of £2.9m. The full year outcome could depend on the rail franchise bid timetable.

Higher LED sales helped Holders Technology (HDT) to increase overall revenues by 2% to £11.4m but the LED business is still losing money and a German business has been closed. The underlying loss increased from £141,000 to £195,000, prior to restructuring costs of £183,000. An increases in trade creditors meant that cash improved to £781,000. A final dividend of 0.25p a share is proposed. There are signs of an improvement in demand for printed circuit board materials and new smart lighting products should boost the LED business.

Vela Technologies (VELA) has raised £550,000 from a bond issue via the UK Bond Network. This should enable Vela to complete the additional investment of £150,000 in Portr, the airline passenger facilitation and baggage transport service, taking its stake to 4.27%.

Collagen Solutions (COS) is raising up to £8m from a placing and one-for-five open offer at 5p a share and this will be topped up with a £4m bond issue to Norgine Ventures, which has a coupon of 10% and 6.77 million warrants exercisable at 5.911p each. The cash will finance the expansion of the medical collagen business, commercial medical device products and launch ChondroMimetic, which is a collagen-based implant to treat small cartilage and bone defects, later this year.

Online gaming business generator Veltyco Group (VLTY) says that its 2016 figures will be significantly better than expected. An EBITDA of more than €2m, up from the initial forecast of €1.4m, on revenues of more than €5.7m, ahead of a forecast of €4.9m, is anticipated.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) has signed a services agreement with APTrans, a Cheshire-based consortium of drug developers that can provide technical expertise, for the development of SFX-01. A US patent has been granted covering the manufacturing process for SFX-01. The patent lasts until 2033. Further patents are expected to be awarded around the world.

Ascent Resources (AST) raised £3m at 1.85p a share in its latest fundraising via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will be spent on developing the Petisovci gas project in Slovenia.

Self-storage operator Lok’nStore (LOK) says that self-storage sales were 3.9% higher, thanks to higher occupancy, and document storage sales 8.8% ahead in the first half. There is a pipeline of two owned and two managed stores, which will add 14% to capacity. NAV is expected to be 404p a share at the end of July 2017.

PowerHouse Energy Group (PHE) has raised £2.5m at 0.8p a share on the back of last week’s deal with Peel. Hillgrove will receive £2m as part-payment for its loan with £1.4m converted into shares at 0.5p each. A G3-UHt waste to energy unit is being shipped from Australia and should reach the UK in March.

Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) is starting a phase I clinical study for safety and tolerability of Acarovac MPL as a house dust mite allergy vaccine. The trial will be in Spain, covering 32 patients and lasting one year. The global market could be worth $1.5bn a year.

Patient monitoring equipment developer LiDCO Group (LID) says that its 2016-17 revenues will be slightly lower than forecast but it will make a small profit. The loss of a US customer held back growth with revenues 8% ahead at £8.2m, although revenues from group products were 14% higher this was partly offset by lower sales of third party products.

EP Minerals has terminated its lease over the County Line Diatomite project, so Sunrise Resources (SRES) will need to find an alternative method of commercialising the potential project.

Keras Resources (KRS) says that there is a JORC-based inferred mineral resource of 36,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 6.1g/t for the Copenhagen deposit. This means that the Warrawoona gold project has a JORC mineral resource of 410,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 2.2g/t. The focus will be the higher grade Copenhagen deposit, which has more potential.

Mariana Resources (MARL) has completed three of seven planned drill holes at the Ergama project in Turkey and two of these have found large but low grade deposits.

Executive chairman John Hawkins has been given the push by Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) as part of the closure of the group’s head office following the disposal of the Vislink broadcast equipment business. Hawkins received £260,000 a year as chief executive and £100,000 a year as chairman and his contract stipulates 12 months notice. John Varney becomes non-executive chairman. The bank apparently remains supportive and the 2016 figures will be published on 31 March.

Cloud-based telecoms software supplier CloudCall Group (CALL) says that customer relationship management software provider and corporate partner Bullhorn is deploying CloudCall’s software with its US staff. This will provide a reference for potential US customers of a combined software package. Full year figures will be published on 28 March and these will be in line with expectations.

MAIN MARKET

Simian Global (SMG) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy BVI-incorporated media and advertising business GVC Holdings Ltd. Standard list shell Simian Global floated on 10 January when it raised £769,500 at 15p a share. This valued the company, which was seeking a technology, media and telecoms sector acquisition, at £935,000. Trading in the shares was suspended at 17.5p.

Avation (AVAP) is trading at a discount of around one-fifth to its NAV of 249p a share at the end of 2016. In the six months to December 2016, the aircraft leasing company’s revenues were 43% ahead at $45.1m and pre-tax profit 50% higher at $8.4m. Bid discussions for 22 ATR 72 aircraft continue but management wants a significant premium to the NAV.

PRE-IPO / OTHER TRADING FACILITIES

Former AIM-quoted Clinical Computing, which is currently traded on Britdaq,has initiated a strategic review and this could lead to the sale of the healthcare IT company. In the year to March 2016, revenues fell from £1.67m to £1.5m but a loss of £204,000 was turned into a profit of £23,000. There is £825,000 in the bank and net assets of £654,000, which is more than its market capitalisation on Britdaq.

Andrew Hore

 

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