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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 March 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN MARKET

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 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 24 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Proton Partners International (PPI) has set up a partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which means that the company’s Rutherford Cancer Centre North East will treat 120-150 patients a year. Woodford Investment Management has a 46.15% stake in Proton.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) intends to increase its stake in medicinal cannabis company Apollon Formularies to 2.34%. The long-term plan is to make an all share offer for Apollon. The Jamaican operation of Apollon has completed its third cannabis harvest. AfriAg has raised a further £250,000 at 0.1p a share. Sativa Group (SATI) has appointed Cenkos as its corporate adviser and broker, replacing Peterhouse. Stanford Capital has been appointed as joint broker of medicinal cannabis products developer Ananda Developments (ANA) and Peterhouse is staying on as corporate adviser and joint broker. Stanford has been issued with 3.33 million warrants exercisable at 0.45p each.

First Sentinel (FSBN) has published its 2018 figures, which were hit by a loss on its investment in Curzon Energy (CZN) and this led to a halving of NAV to £671,000. There are plans for a £7m bond listing on Euronext. Trading in First Sentinel shares has recommenced.

Since the year end, rail safety products developer Wheelsure (WHLP) has received further orders from London Underground, DLR and Siemens in Germany. Wheelsure may need additional working capital.

Gunsynd (GUN) will receive 225 shares (22.5%) in Oyster Oil and Gas Ltd as part of a settlement with creditors. Oyster requires additional cash in order to finance work on exploration assets.

Skills verification platform Indorse, where Coinsilium Ltd (COIN) has a 10% stake, will receive an investment of up to $6.5m from Brand Capital, the investment arm of India media company Times Group. Indorse has been valued at $15m for this investment, which means that Coinsilium’s stake has increased in value by 350% to $1.5m.

AIM 

ULS Technology (ULS) has maintained its share of conveyancing transactions and reported flat pre-tax profit of £5.4m in the year to March 2019. This year will also be one of consolidation. Investment is being put into launching DigitalMove, which is an online platform that will make the business more efficient and provide access to additional customers. It can also be used to add new products and services.

Castleton Technology (CTP) is paying a maiden dividend of 1p a share. The provider of software and managed services to the social housing sector is expected to grow revenues by 7% this year and this could be supplemented by acquisitions. Strong cash generation means that there are spare debt facilities that can be used for acquisitions. This year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve from £5.6m to £6.4m.

Malvern International (MLVN) says that an unsettled claim means that there will be a profit shortfall in 2018. Originally a profit of £400,000 was expected but it will end up being just above breakeven. Trading in the first four months of 2019 is ahead of budget but the second half is the most important.

ClearStar Inc (CLSU) is on track this year even though the US market has softened. US unemployment has edged up, but the US remains the key market for the background checking services provider.

Telecoms marketing services provider Pelatro (PTRO) has won a contract with a large telecoms company in Asia. The contract is for the mViVa contextual marketing platform on a licence fee model. This contract and other recent work will add $1.5m to revenues. This provides an underpinning for the full year revenues forecast of $10.5m.

Diaceutics (DXRX) has acquired 16 million patient records a year to add to its patient data. Diaceutics has invested £1m to expand this global data.

Totally (TLY) has completed the acquisition of Greenbrook, which means that 90% of revenues will be generated by urgent care services. This deal should make Totally significantly profitable and enable it to start generating cash.

Some good news for Quartix (QTX) as subscriptions and new installations are increasing. This has led to a 5% upgrade in forecast 2019 revenues for the telematics business to £25.3m, although the profit forecast is unchanged at £6.5m.

Paragon Entertainment (PEL) intends to appoint an administrator following discussions with its bank, HSBC. There is not enough cash to pay all creditors.

MAIN MARKET 

Sports Direct International (SPD) is making a mandatory offer for GAME Digital (GAME) at 30p a share. The offer is open until 11 July. Sports Direct already has a 38.5% stake and it does not believe GAME can prosper on its own.

A major US customer is not going ahead with a contract with Nanoco (NANO) lasting until the end of 2019. The ending of the deal has nothing to do with the performance of the nanomaterial technology. Nanoco should have £6m in cash at the end of 2019.

BigDish (DISH) says its food booking platform is going live in Reading and Brighton, which is a particular region where expansion is targeted. BigDish says that it is fully funded to 2021.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 25 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIM  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN MARKET 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hore

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