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Chapel Down Group (CDGP) increased sales last year, but the loss was also higher. Sales of wine and beer grew and revenues from continuing activities improved from £12.86m to £14.8m, while the loss more than doubled from £850,000 to £2.09m. the Chapel Down Gin Works in Kings Cross has been closed. There was still £2.47m in the bank at the end of 2019, even after the loss and £12m of investment in fixed assets and land. There are 428 acres of planted vineyard. Wine stocks have also increased following a good harvest. The Ashford brewery has been completed and full brewing capacity will be available before the end of the year. Martin Glenn is succeeding John Dunsmore as chairman.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has entered into a £55m development framework agreement with Equitix, an investor in infrastructure assets. This will finance up to five diagnostic facilities in the UK. Each will be owned by a special purpose vehicle funded by Equitix and operated by Rutherford. An initial agreement has been made with a NHS Trust. Rutherford also announced a collaboration with Panthera Biopartners, which will be able to use Rutherford’s clinics for trials of potential cancer treatments.
Racing recommenced at Newbury Racecourse (NYR) on 11 June. Three race meetings have been held and five more are planned by the end of August. No public are being admitted. Revenues are coming from media rights. The Rocking Horse nursery reopened earlier this month.
Good Energy (GOOD) is increasing its investment in Next Green Car, which owns Zap-Map, to 50.1% through the exercise of a convertible loan.
BWA (BWAP) has spent £120,000 of the initial commitment of £250,000 for two rutile licence areas in Cameroon. Drilling programmes are being designed. COVID-19 has hampered progress with the company’s Canadian interests.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that investee company Factom Inc has filed for Cahpter 11 bankruptcy protection because of its failure to raise more cash. It could exit Chapter 11 protection within three months if things go to plan.The investment was valued at £237,000.
IamFire (FIRE) is reviewing strategies having raised £500,000 at 2.5p a share. Each share comes with two warrants with an exercise price of 10p a share. The investment focus is natural resources, mining and disruptive technology.
SAPO (SAPO) is still seeking a broadband investment and net assets were £1.1m at the end of 2019. At 3.2p a share, SAPO is valued at £6m.
Gunsynd (GUN) has invested £137,750 in Rincon Resources, which gives it a stake of 28.4%. Rincon has the rights to three prospective gold and base metals projects in Western Australia. Gunsynd has sold its stake in United Oil and Gas (UOG).
All Star Minerals (ASMO) has raised a further £200,000 at 0.02p a share, taking the total raised in share issues to £280,000. Convertible loan notes worth £55,000 have been converted into 275 million shares with 34 million shares at 0.01p each to pay liabilities. This means that more than 1.3 billion shares have been issued, which has nearly doubled the shares in issue.
Recent trading at floorcoverings supplier Victoria (VCP) has exceeded expectations. Manufacturing has restarted in all the company’s plants. All the main countries are doing relatively well considering the disruption due to COVID-19 and in the most recent three weeks revenues were 85% of pre-COVID-19 budget. The UK carpets business is only just getting going again. Net debt is £370m, which is predominantly bonds that last until July 2024. Cash generation can reduce debt, although management is likely to look for potential acquisitions.
Wynnstay Group (WYN) reported a decline in interim revenues but that was due to lower commodity prices. The interim dividend has been maintained at 4.6p a share. The agriculture division maintained its operating profit, but there was an improved profit from the merchanting division. Pre-tax profit edged up from £4.3m to £4.5m. Shore Capital has reinstated forecasts. It expects a pre-tax profit of £6.7m, down from £7.9m. This id a deliberately cautious figure.
MSQ Partners has launched a 0.5p a share bid for Be Heard Group (HRD) and that values the digital media company at £6.2m. The acquirer was the subject of a buyout last year. The combined business will have the backing of Lloyds Development Capital and the greater scale will help to win larger clients.
United Oil and Gas (UOG) says that average production from the Abu Sennan concession in the first two weeks of June was 13,900 boepd, of which its working interest is 3,060 boepd. That is 69% higher than the average daily figure in April. The 2P reserves at Abu Sennan have been increased by 12.55 to 13.5MMboe
Transense Technologies (TRT) has transferred its iTrack tyre monitoring business to a Bridgestone subsidiary for $1m and it will receive quarterly royalty revenues for the next ten years. That royalty would be £150,000/ quarter currently, but growth should be faster under Bridgestone. Two Transense directors are moving with iTrack. This leaves Transense with its SAWsense (wireless tyre sensor technology) and Translogik (tyre test equipment) businesses. Transense could move into profit in 2021-22.
A positive trading statement from allergy vaccines developer Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) led finnCap to increase its 2020 pre-tax profit forecast even though revenue growth is slower than expected. A 2019-20 profit of £2.9m is expected, partly due to the timing of research spending. Allergy is expected to move back into loss in 2020-21.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP) increased its revenues and pre-tax profit in the nine months to March 2020, with particularly strong growth in the third quarter. There is some disruption to international distribution and supply and full year revenue growth will be lower than originally expected.
Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) reported flat full year revenues of €20.9m for 2019. The loss was barely changed at €3.29m. There has been a decline in the palm oil price in recent months, which will hamper performance this year. The cashew project is making good progress.
Strong first half trading at BATM Advanced Communication (BVC) has led to broker upgrades for 2020. The biomedical division has done particularly well, but the networks and cyber division has also done better than expected. Stifel is raising its revenues forecast from $138m to $155m, while the EBITDA estimate has been increased by one-third to $13m. Shore Capital expects to increase forecast revenues by 17% to around $154m with a significant improvement in EBITDA expected.
Construction services provider nmcn (NMCN) made a positive start in the first quarter of this year. Revenues were 4% ahead at £97.9m and pre-tax profit 6% higher at £1.8m. This period was hardly affected by the lockdown. Since the end of March, work has been at three-quarters of normal levels. There was £11.8m in cash at the end of March 2020. The interims will be reported on 6 August and there should be guidance for the full year outcome.
Tex Holdings (TXH) expects to make further cost savings and consolidate more of its activities. The plastics division is operating at 70% of expected levels, while the engineering division has suffered delays but not lost business.
Standard list shell Boston International (BIH) had £302,000 in cash at the end of 2019. It is still assessing the proposed acquisition of invoice factoring company Alexanders Discount Ltd
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has raised £1.25m at 3p a share. The cash will accelerate trial mining at the Gakara rare earth project in Burundi.
The 2019 figures of Ross Group (RGP) include pharmaceutical grade Chitin producer Archipelago Aquaculture Group (AAG) for the first time. There were restructuring and impairment costs relating to the acquisition. Pilot production is being implemented and there are joint venture discussions with the company that has developed the Ionic Liquid extraction process licenced by AAG. There was a £3.6m loss in 2019.
SMALL CAP AWARDS 2020
Company of the year: Volex
Technology company of the year: Avacta
Impact company of the year: ITM Power
IPO of the year: Diaceutics
Transaction of the year: Kape acquisition of Private Internet Access
Executive director of the year: David Cicurel (Judges Scientific)
Innovative financing of the year: Yu Group
Journalist of the year: Joanne Hart (Mail on Sunday)
Analyst of the year: Lorne Daniel (finnCap)
VCT manager of the year: Amati
UK smaller companies fund manager of the year: JPM UK Smaller Companies
Lifetime achievement award: Giles Hargreave
Trading in the shares of Barkby Group (BARK) has been suspended ahead of further information about a proposed reverse takeover. The acquisition of a group of companies referred to as the Dickson controlled entities is expected to cost £30m, predominantly paid in shares. There will also be a share placing to provide working capital for the enlarged group. Charles Dickson would become executive chairman if the deal goes ahead. The businesses include Workshop Coffee, which operates four coffee shops and is a wholesaler of speciality coffee, a commercial property developer. Barkby will also acquire the right to invest in two private companies: Transcend Packaging, which won a contract to supply McDonalds with paper straws, and VivoPlex, which has developed a medical device for fertility monitoring.
Brewer and pubs operator Daniel Thwaites (THW) says fears that interest rates will fall has required a £4m increase in the provision for its interest rate swaps. That is a non-cash item and underlying pre-tax profit increased from £5.6m to £6.2m in the six months to September 2019. That figure also excludes a quadrupling of property disposal profit to £800,000. Interim revenues improved 7% to £53.4m. The new brewery is operating at full capacity, while there was a small increase in like-for-like pub revenues. The contribution from hotels improved. Net debt was reduced by £8.6m to £61.6m compared with 12 months before, although £22.5m has been reclassified as due within one year. The interim dividend is unchanged at 1.1p a share.
NEX and AIM-quoted AFH Financial (AFHP) says it is trading in line with forecasts. The wealth manager will report underlying EBITDA of more than £17m, up from £10.4m, in the year to October 2019. Funds under management were £6bn. The contribution from acquisitions has been earnings enhancing. The total dividend is expected to be 8p a share and this is expected to rise by one-quarter to 10p a share in 2019-20. There was still £11.9m in the bank at the end of October 2019, although there is estimated to be £32.2m of contingent consideration and a £15m convertible loan in the balance sheet. The current focus is on organic growth and there should be enough cash generated, along with the current balance, to pay the deferred consideration over the next two years.
Ashley House (LSE: ASH) has published a trading statement and it is changing its year end from April to October following the disposal of the Morgan Ashley joint venture. In the 12 months to April 2019, revenues fell from £18.5m to £11.9m and a pre-tax profit of £805,000 was turned into a £2.95m loss. There was a loss contributed by joint ventures. Net debt was £1.8m.
Clinical support systems supplier DXS International (DXSP) is considering a move to AIM. This would be part of a potential fundraising to enable further investment in the business. DXS has already announced that it has been awarded a place on the NHS GPIT Futures framework from the beginning of 2020. This replaces the GPSoC2 framework and means that systems and services will be able to be bought centrally rather than with GP funds. The focus will be on the existing core product DXS Point of Care, analytics and reporting service CompleteCare, digital medicines service ExpertCare and condition management platform MyVytalCare. The first is already on sale and the rest will be launched in early 2020. DXS is gaining final approvals for its four solutions to be listed in the NHS catalogue.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £160,000 at 0.1p a share. This cash will be invested in additional shares in Apollon Formularies, which will take the company’s stake to 2.68%.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) believes that the lack of flotations is providing it with more opportunities. Primorus has received the £275,000 it was owed by Zuuse and still owns 57,205 shares and holds options over one million shares at A$0.50 (26p) each. The latest fundraising by Zuuse is at A$1 a share. There is a potential market to sell the shares even before a flotation.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) shareholder Formation Group has appointed Andrew Bennett as a non-executive director of the proton beam therapy firm.
David Lenigas has been appointed chairman of NQ Minerals (NQMI) and the board is in talks to replace existing debt with lower-cost debt. First Sentinel, which is run by former NQ Minerals director, has been appointed as corporate adviser.
Block Commodities (BLCC) has raised £388,000 from an issue of convertible loan notes and shares. This is less than the company wanted to raise more than six months ago. The share issue raised £133,000 at 0.02p a share, with a warrant exercisable at the same price, and the conversion of the loan notes will also be at the same price. The cash will be used to move into the medicinal cannabis sector. Additional shares are being issued to pay creditors.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had net assets of 246.47p a share at the end of October 2019.
One hundred shares in Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) will be consolidated into one new share on 18 November.
Karoo Energy has changed its name to IamFire (FIRE).
Queros Capital Partners (QCP) will leave NEX on 28 November.
DBAY Advisors does not intend to bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and instead will acquire 51% of the underlying subsidiary that owns the transport operations. The poor financial situation of the business led to the change of strategy and Eddie Stobart Logistics has recommended the deal, which involves the injection of £55m of additional finance through a PIK Facility. This will pay off a £35m loan and provide working capital. The deal requires the extension of other existing debt facilities. The interim results to May 2019 are still being compiled. An operating loss of at least £12m is expected, but the underlying business could make a full year operating profit of up to £2m. There could be a goodwill write-down of £50m. Net debt will be around £200m. Wincanton (WIN) is still considering a rival deal.
ECO Animal Health (EAH) is still suffering the after effects of the African Swine Flu outbreak in China and the US/China trade war hitting imports from the US. First half revenues from China fell by three-fifths. Restocking will take time to flow through in terms of FCO’s results. There will be a sharp fall in full year profit. The interims could also be affected by accounting policy changes.
Advanced surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has been selected to coat parts for the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. This is an important step in building up business in the aerospace sector. The Hardide-A coating will replace HVOF thermal spray coatings. HVOF is one of the most widely used coatings in aerospace and Hardide-A is said to be technically superior. Hardide has also been awarded a patent for a water droplet erosion resistant coating for blades and vanes, including those used on steam and gas turbines for power generation. A field test is planned.
Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) says that a test production run is planned later this month by 85%-owned Future Metal at its quarry in China. The plan is to restart production by the end of the year. This will help to underpin the Adamas NAV and provide potential upside. At the end of September 2019, NAV was 84p a share, which is more than three times the share price. Future Metal is 45.2% of that NAV and when the quarry is up and running then Adamas could raise cash by selling some of its stake. Cash is required to invest in new opportunities that are being presented to the company. Adamas issued 16.18 million shares at 34.8p each for its equity investment in Infinity TNP.
Safestay (SSTY) has bought the Hotel Auberge in Berlin, which is near to Berlin zoo, and intends to turn it into a 150-bed hostel. The site has an eleven year lease. This is the latest acquisition this year and it takes the total number of hostel sites to 18. The plan is to have 20 hostels by 2020.
PureCircle Ltd (PURE) chief executive Magomet Malsagov has stood aside temporarily pending further investigation of the classification of the stevia sweeteners supplier’s inventory and other transactions. The investigations have identified that inventory was $23m too high. Other transactions could lead to additional valuation changes. There could be write downs of intangibles and inventories. There should not be any increase in net debt, although the figures are still not fully audited. Bank covenants may need to be waived. Finance director Rakesh Sinha had previously resigned, although he remains with the company until the end of January.
Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is seeking a buyer. Management believes the company needs to be part of a larger group with greater financial resources.