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ECR Minerals #ECR – Business Operations Update

ECR Minerals plc (LON: ECR), the gold exploration and development company focussed on Australia, is pleased to provide the following update on its activities, which are centred on the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in Victoria, Australia. Both projects are 100% owned by ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Field mapping and geochemistry currently underway across numerous gold prospects in the Bailieston project area;
  • ECR has acquired a diamond drilling rig capable of drilling as deep as 1,300 metres, due for delivery next month and which will be deployed immediately on an ECR managed drill programme;
  • High priority gold prospects within the Bailieston and Creswick project areas with potential for immediate drilling have been identified.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented:

“There is continuing interest in ECR’s Bailieston and Creswick projects with regards to potential joint venture or earn in opportunities. However, there can be no guarantee that any transaction will occur. The Company will provide further updates as appropriate.

The engagement we are experiencing is not surprising given the interest in Victoria gold opportunities, as evidenced by the many corporate transactions that we have seen in the area.

ECR is also gearing up to launch next stage exploration campaigns across our properties and we look forward to providing updates as the work progresses

The Directors are very optimistic for the future, and the Company has a robust underlying cash position of £1.65m with which we can confidently push ahead with operational programmes.”

CURRENT EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES

With the approaching end of the Victorian winter, MGA has begun to ramp-up exploration at the Bailieston and Creswick projects. A programme of follow-up field mapping and geochemistry across numerous prospects in the Bailieston project area is currently underway. MGA has recently purchased its own portable Olympus XRF analyser in order to enhance and expedite its geochemical sampling capabilities.

A map of the eastern Bailieston project area showing some of the prospects and features referred to in this announcement can be viewed at:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2020/09/09/prospectsreefs-eastern-bailieston-tenement-area.jpg

Detailed mapping and geochemistry at the Cherry Tree, Cherry Tree South and Black Cat prospects is aimed at locating the surface position of shoots and identifying mineralisation along strike of trends established by historical and recent exploration. This will assist with the consideration of these prospects for drilling.

Cherry Tree (Historic Reserve #4) and Cherry Tree South are along the Bailieston trend and south of the Fosterville-style mineralisation mined in a small open cut in the 1990s at Historic Reserve #1 (HR1).

Rock chip samples were taken by MGA from Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree South as part of a 2018 sampling programme along the Bailieston trend. A total of 58 rock chip samples were taken at Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree South, with 17 samples returning grades of >1 g/t gold and the highest assay result being 8.8 g/t gold.

Field mapping and geochemical sampling at the Kings Cross and Pontings prospects in the Bailieston project area will follow-up earlier results including soil samples of up to 1.79 g/t gold at Kings Cross and rock chip samples of up to 8.31 g/t gold at Pontings.

PURCHASE OF DIAMOND DRILLING RIG AND POTENTIAL FUTURE DRILLING

MGA has recently signed a contract for the purchase of a new Cortech CSD1300G diamond drilling rig complete with spares and all downhole equipment, which is capable of drilling as deep as 1,300 metres. The rig is expected to be delivered in October 2020 and will give MGA an in-house drilling capability, which will be preferable to relying on contractors.

MGA has access to experienced drilling personnel to operate the rig, and it is expected that future drilling can be completed at lower cost and with greater flexibility using MGA’s own rig.

High priority gold prospects within the Bailieston and Creswick project areas which have the potential for immediate further drilling are detailed below. Once the drill rig has been received in Australia, a decision will be taken as to where it should first be put to work.

Bailieston Project – Blue Moon 

Blue Moon is an exciting new gold discovery made by MGA, with intercepts from 2019 reverse circulation (RC) drilling including 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres downhole (with 2 metres at 17.87 g/t gold) (see announcement dated 14 March 2019 for full details of the drill programme). The best 2019 drilling results came from the western fence line. The host sandstone thins towards the east, where the drill results diminished accordingly.

ECR plans to test whether the mineralisation continues to improve towards the west, subject to gaining surface access. There is also potential to carry out further drilling within the zones already tested, with the objective of establishing an initial JORC Mineral Resource.

Bailieston Project – HR3

Three dimensional (3D) modelling of historical data for the Bailieston Historic Reserve #3 (HR3) and the results of drilling in the area by MGA in 2017 was completed in late 2019 and has assisted in the identification of the architecture of the major folds, structures and cross structures at the prospect. HR3 comprises at least four closely-spaced lines of reef, including the Byron, Dan Genders, Scoulars and Maori Reefs, plus numerous cross-structures. This provides a number of drill-ready targets.

Creswick Project 

Drilling conducted by MGA in 2019 at the Slades Reef prospect covered 300 metres of the 12.5 kilometre strike length of the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) within ECR’s granted exploration licence (EL) and EL application areas at Creswick. This drilling encountered complex structures at Slades Reef; the cross section shown in ECR’s announcement dated 21 June 2019 showed drilling into interpreted faulted and parasitic folded DMS on an overall west-dipping limb.

Diamond drilling can be utilised to test this structural hypothesis and test the gold-bearing structures identified at Slades Reef where key faults intersect the anticline. Elsewhere at Creswick, field mapping and geochemical sampling could be used to attempt to delineate the surface expression of shoots to the south including Jackass Reef and Mills Reef ahead of potential drilling of these targets.

Review of Announcement by Qualified Person

This announcement has been reviewed by Dr Rodney Boucher of Linex Pty Ltd. Linex Pty Ltd provides geological services to Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, including the services of Dr Boucher, who has a PhD in geology, is a Member and RPGeo of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher is a Qualified Person as that term is defined by the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014 

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (MAR). Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service (RIS), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: 

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010 
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman   
Craig Brown, Director & CEO   
Email:info@ecrminerals.com   
Website: www.ecrminerals.com   
    
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174 
Nominated Adviser   
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford   
    
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500 
Broker   
Nick Emerson   

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd has 100% ownership of the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, Australia.

Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (TSX-V: FSX), ECR has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production at those projects.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines, and holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

Insatiable Gold Demand Set To Continue – ECR On The Cusp Of ‘Great’ Ness.

Insatiable Gold Demand Set To Continue – ECR On The Cusp Of ‘Great’ Ness. 

With the US Fed signalling a more relaxed approach to inflation in its end of month policy meeting, gold rebounded sharply after falling from August highs of  $2,075oz as markets interpreted Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments to mean that low interest rates are here for years to come.

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank believes that the Fed’s shift to let inflation and employment run higher will keep interest rates low for years to come, thereby lifting the appeal of non-interest-bearing gold.“There’s still room for bullion to set new all-time highs, although that may take time,” Hansen commented. “Powell’s speech did not threaten the bullish narrative for gold and silver.”

“Low interest rates for longer, a weaker dollar, massive amounts of stimulus and the increased demand for inflation hedges are likely to continue to drive demand for both metals,” he added.

Peter Hug, division head for precious metals at Kitco News is of the view that conditions have not changed for gold and silver.

Speaking to Kitco News on following the Fed meeting, Hug said conditions are positive for gold due to the amount of fiscal support provided by banks.

“The macro picture has not changed. Every central bank in the world has got their foot on the pedal, and I don’t think they’re going to take their foot off the pedal probably until the end of 2021.”

Old Gold projects resurfacing

The ever present strength in gold is sustaining huge levels of investor interest in junior gold explorers. As mining geologists take fees for their work in shares as well as cash, droves of canny investors are now following geologists on social media to try to get the early inside line to any upcoming projects, even to the point of investing into the company owning /operating the project as soon as a new appointment is announced. A successful drilling campaign can of course have a transformational effect the valuations of small cap explorers with quality projects, meaning that professional fees can potentially multiply in value. 

The outlook for gold being what it is, many dormant mining projects are being re-examined and feasibility studies revisited. The latest tools, survey techniques and digital / desktop assets available to mining engineers have proved transformative in the search for precious metals within existing dormant assets and mines around the world.  And as many projects have some infrastruture already in place, opportunities to ‘fast track’ such developments are ever present.

Mining Giants Lined Up for Fast Tracking 

The major mining companies around the world today all started somewhere. Many will have started life as microcap exporation companies, developing assets into production, and using the proceeds to fund other projects. In some cases, the fuding will have come from existing shareholders. With others a farm-in agreement will be reached with another mining company to share or bear the developments costs, which sees the partner ‘earn-in’, usually at an increasing level of project ownership as the money is spent.

The current ‘pedal to the metal’ approach to monetary easing is providing a perfect backdrop for project developments of this nature, and has created fertile hunting ground for the world’s leading mining companies seeking lucrative farm-in opportunities.  Equally, the project potential may see active investors support the board and go it alone.

AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR) is a company on the cusp of a series of game changing deals. The company 100% owns Bailieston and Creswick projects in Central Victoria, Australia, and also has financial interests in the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor projects following the sale of those licenses to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd. In addition ECR owns a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project in the north of the Philippines and a net smelter royalty agreement from the sale of the SLM gold project in Argentina.

Creswick

Creswick is situated within the Dimocks Main Shale, a geological feature considered to be highly prospective for gold, and which extends some 15km from the mining centre of Ballarat. ECR’s exploration licenses cover approximately 7km of this region. Following drilling results in 2019,  a highest grade duplicate result of 80.97 g/t gold came from a 1 metre interval that originally assayed 44.63 g/t, confirming the original findings. A study by pre-eminent consulting geochemist Dr Dennis Arne, whose experience includes extensive consultancy at the highly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria, underlined the significant gold exploration potential at Creswick, and ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’.

Bailieston

Bailieston is also at the centre of the current gold exploration boom in Victoria, close to the world-class Fosterville mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. Mining giant Newmont has a license application in for ground immediately to the north of ECR’s Black Cat prospect, plus an open cut gold mine was operated at Bailieston by Perseverance Corporation in the 1990’s. Quality samples have been logged from drilling by ECR at the Blue Moon prospect in 2019, including a 17.8g/t sample from a 2 metre interval, confirming Blue Moon as a new gold discovery. The Bailieston license areas also include a raft of other prospects, namely HR3, Cherry Tree, Red Moon and Yellow Moon.

Mining Major Joint Ventures and Drilling

Having previously sold three Victoria licences (Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects) for upfront cash and royalties to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd, along with a raft of warrant exercises, ECR is now fully funded to continue drilling at its 100% owned Creswick and Bailieston projects through to the end of 2021.

In a recent ShareTalk podcast here, ECR CEO Craig Brown provided some background on the most recent developments. He confirmed that several earlier offers to partner in the projects had been rejected, and that mining majors were interested in Creswick and the highly prospective Dimocks Main Shale gold trend that runs through Creswick from the Ballarat gold mine.  Citing some of the most recent gold asset sales in the region, Brown stated that both Creswick and Bailieston projects were superior in quality to many in the region, and that value could be realised in a Greatland Gold type asset sale and free carry deal structure. 

Progress and site visits are being hampered somewhat by the COVID lockdown – any teams flying in from other states are subject to a 14 day quarantine. But as regards the immediate future of both Creswick and Baileston, one thing is abundantly clear. ECR will commence drilling at one or both projects in the coming weeks, and given the ultra-bullish long term outlook for gold, mining majors seeking a JV will be keen to strike a deal sooner rather than later.

Currently valued at just GB£12m, many investors believe ECR is on the cusp of ‘Great’ Ness – a transformational Greatland Gold esque deal. Despite the lockdown restrictions, the insatiable demand for gold looks set to continue for the next 18 months – near perfect conditions for junior gold miners with superior quality assets. 

References:

Kitco: https://www.kitco.com/news/video/show/Kitco-NEWS/2957/2020-08-28/Every-central-bank-in-the-world-has-got-their-foot-on-the-pedal–Peter-Hug#_48_INSTANCE_puYLh9Vd66QY_=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kitco.com%2Fnews%2Fvideo%2Flatest%3Fshow%3DKitco-NEWS

Share Talk: https://www.pscp.tv/w/choS9jF4blFyWHlrQW5rall8MWt2SnBla0xBbWt4RVXUWZxBJJOsdYs2rhJuzDRWVD0-zN2rj-l_AWcuc8bF

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 31 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

KR1 (KR1) has made two more investments. There is a further investment of $100,000 in the cross-chain finance hub Acala Network in return for 153,846.15 ACA tokens at 65 cents each. KR1 now holds 1.02 million ACA tokens. That stake is valued at $663,000. There is also a new investment in MetaCartel Ventures Decentralised Autonomous Organisation. KR1 received 4,938 MCV shares for its $199,000 investment.

Imperial X (IMPP) plans to buy mineral assets and investments and a placing is raising £750,000 at 2.5p a share. The purchases involve the issue of more than 245 million shares plus 8.71 million warrants exercisable at 5p a share. Trading in the shares has been suspended until the acquisitions are completed. Imperial X is buying Howson Ventures Inc, plus assets from Anglo African Minerals, Cloudbreak Discovery and Cabox Gold. Howson owns the Rupert Minerals property in British Columbia and an investment in Anglo African Minerals, which holds licences in bauxite projects in Guinea.  

Gunsynd (GUN) says that its investment in ASX-listed Eagle Mountain is “well in the money” and it has the cash it requires for its immediate needs even though the disposal of the stake in Oyster Oil and Gas has still not been completed. Gunsynd invested £110,000 in copper/gold explorer Eagle Mountain at A$0.13 a share and the price has risen to A$0.24. Rincon Resources has appointed stockbrokers for its proposed listing on ASX. Gunsynd has invested £138,000 in Rincon and has a 28% stake. Spirits company Human Brands also still hopes to float. Nickel project developer Sunshine Minerals is being acquired by Malachite Resources. Gunsynd will receive 1.26 million shares in Malachite with further deferred consideration of 1.64 million shares.

IamFire (FIRE) is raising £5.5m gross through a discounted capital bond and it is participating in a fundraising for social commerce platform WeShop ahead of a future listing. The bond is being issued at a discount of 78.73% and net proceeds of £4.4m have been received. IamFire is providing £4.5m of a £9m convertible loan to WeShop. This has an interest rate of 8% and lasts for 36 months. A flotation is one of the conversion events and the conversion would be at a 20% discount to the flotation share price. There is also an exclusive option to subscribe for a 10% stake in WeShop at a pre-money valuation of £25m. This would involve an investment of £2.78m.

Primorus investments (PRIM) has invested £875,000 in WeShop. Primorus has made realised and unrealised gains £3.55m in the six months to June 2020. Greatland Gold (GGP) is the main reason for this. The NAV increased to £8.1m compared with a £4.3m market capitalisation.

BWA Group (BWAP) has agreed to sell its investment in Kings of the North Corp to St George’s Eco-Mining Corp, which sold it for £4.66m. The convertibles issued to St George’s will be cancelled and they amount to £4.3m. St George’s will issue 1.5 million shares and transfer 2.5 million warrants to BWA. St George’s is keeping its 21% stake in BWA.  

There was a £673,000 cash outflow at Cadence Minerals (KDNC) in the six months to June 2020. A cash raising means that there was £2.38m in cash at the end of the period.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) plans to undertake exploration work at the Hellyer mine, possibly as early as October/November this year.

Inqo Investments (INQO) increased annual revenues from R23.8m to R24.4m, but the loss increased from R2.5m to R6.1m. That was partly down to an inventory write-down of R1.44m and higher depreciation. Last year’s Bee Sweet honey harvest was one of the largest ever. The lodge at the Kuzuko Private Game Reserve had high occupancy rates before COVID-19. All the other activities have also been hit since the end of February.  

Eurocann International (BUD) intends to amend its investing strategy and change its name just over one year since it changed it from Valiant Investments.

SulNOx Group (SNOX) has appointed Allenby as corporate adviser.

AIM

Vianet (VNET) says that customer pub sites that have resumed operations have increased from 56% to 80% over the past six years. Vianet continues to offer reduced recurring charges to both closed and reopened customers. Customer demand for data analytics is recovering. The smart machines division says two-thirds of customer vending machines are in operation and generating normal levels of revenue. There have been orders for more than 1,9000 new orders for telemetry and contactless units during lockdown.  

Hostels operator Safestay (SSTY) is taking additional cost saving measures due to the continued uncertainty. Occupancy rates are running at around one-quarter and it is higher in those hostels opened earlier. Safestay has available overdraft facilities but these could run out by early next year if all hostels are not reopened by October and occupancy levels fall below 20% later this year. An occupancy rate of 57% is required for a hostel to breakeven. Sales of freeholds or terminating loss-making leases are being considered. Interim results will be published on 24 September.

Integumen (SKIN) is making an all-share offer for Modern Water (MWG) that values the latter at £21.25m. Integumen plans a ten-for-one share consolidation and it is offering one of these new shares for every ten Modern Water shares. Integumen produces test kits for Modern Water.

Drug discovery company C4X Discovery (C4XD) says that Indivior has started a phase I clinical trial for C4X_3256 for the treatment of opioid dependence. The trial will last until the end of the year, but there will be no data until 2021. C4X is making progress in identifying a candidate for the treatment of IBD and it has reached the lead optimisation stage for the treatment of Psoriasis. A collaboration with the GEN-COVID consortium, which will use C4X’s Taxonomy3 mathematical analysis technology to assess the role of genetics in disease susceptibility.

Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) says that milling equipment has been delivered to the raw cashew nut processing project in Cote d’Ivoire. The mill should be commissioned in the second quarter of next year.

Grant Thornton has managed to persuade the courts to reduce the damages owed to AssetCo (AST) from £29.8m to £20.8m. Including interest and costs the payment should be £25m.

President Energy (PPC) has formed a renewables division. There are opportunities in wind, solar, hydro and biomass in Argentina. President has commenced a workover programme on oil wells and there are plans to drill two new wells.

MAIN MARKET

Packaging supplier Macfarlane (MACF) reported a 2% decline in interim revenues to £105.6m. The second quarter decline was much lower than for the UK economy, helped by increasing exposure to ecommerce. Increased bad debts led to a 5.5% fall in pre-tax profit to £3.62m. An interim dividend of 0.7p a share is proposed. There could be a greater decline in full year profit, although the business will still be cash generative. Arden forecasts a fall in pre-tax profit from £14.4m to £11.1m.

BATM (BVC) has signed up its first tier 1 NFVTime virtual networking customer. The Asia-based telecoms company has signed up for an initial three years will provide a reference site for the technology. This contract could be a significant revenue generator in the years to come and follows the recent proof of concept trial with ARM and Vodafone.

Anglesey Mining (AYM) has raised £200,000 at 1.6p a share. The cash will be invested in studies for the development of the Parys Mountain zinc, copper, lead, silver and gold mine. Management is also assessing other projects.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a slump in revenues from £34.7m to £21m in the six months to June 2020 and there was a loss. That is no surprise given the problems of the hospitality sector. Online sales grew but could not offset the loss of on-trade sales. Net debt was £14m at the end of June 2020.

Medical device developer TruSpine Technologies (TSP) is on course to join the Aquis Stock Exchange on 20 August. TruSpine wants to raise £1.5m, which would give it a valuation of £31.5m. The investment is eligible for EIS-relief. TruSpine expects to make a FDA submission for Cervi-Lok, which is one of the three spinal stabilisation devices being developed, in the fourth quarter of 2020. Existing Aquis-quoted company Primorus Investments (PRIM) is an investor in TruSpine. In 2017, it invested £500,000 at a pre-money valuation of £15m. Another Primorus investment, Greatland Gold (GGP), has performed strongly in the second quarter and the share price is more than 155% ahead over the period.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £695,000 at 7p a share. NQ has also secured a $55m loan facility to refinance the project debt of the Hellyer gold mine. Interest savings should be $3.4m a year. Chairman David Lenigas has acquired 20,000 shares at $0.12 each.

Sativa Group (SATI) had a record July. The CBD products supplier has benefitted from sanitiser demand.

TechFinancials (TECH) reported a loss of $492,000 in the first half of 2020. There is $716,000 in the bank. The closure of the trading software operations will be completed in the second half. The Footies ticketing business still has not progressed in terms of signing up clients.

Recruitment company Sumner Group Health (SGRL) intends to withdraw from Aquis in order to save money. A general meeting will be held on 3 September.

IamFire (FIRE) has completed the purchase of a 10% stake in Bio2pure, in a deal that values the company at £8m. The investee company’s CoviPure disinfectant has been launched

AIM

Energy supplier Yu Group (YU.) has been criticised for its financial controls and systems back in 2018. A £300,000 fine has been waived because remedial action has been undertaken. Yu has acquired Bristol City Council-owned Bristol Energy’s B2B business for an initial £1.24m.

Appreciate (APP) was going to have a tough year even before COVID-19. In the year to March 2020, underlying pre-tax profit fell from £12.5m to £11.4m and there is likely to be a much larger profit decline this year. Trading has improved after a tough first quarter. If Appreciate had not been investing in its digital products it would have found recent months even more difficult. A property has been sold for £3.2m, which further enhances the cash pile of £29.6m at the end of March. The hamper business will be closed this year, but the overall Christmas savings business is holding up. Corporate demand is recovering.

Investment in VW emissions case work will hold back profit in the second half at credit hire firm Anexo (ANX). Lockdown led to a sharp fall in interim profit, but business is building up again. Profit could return to the 2019 level of £23m in 2021, even if there are no VW case revenues. A 0.5p a share interim dividend is being paid.

The geographic and sector spread of recruitment firm Empresaria (EMR) has helped it cope with difficult trading, particularly in its airline-related business. The business was profitable in the first and second quarters. The underlying interim pre-tax profit fell from £3.7m to £2.4m. There is no full year forecast.

Touchstone Exploration (TXP) has commenced drilling at Chinook on the Ortoire block in Trinidad. Chinook is valued at 2p a share by finnCap, but it could be significant like previous find Cascadura, which is valued at 78p a share. Cost cutting has helped to reduce year-on-year per barrel operating costs by 28% in the second quarter. There was still a second quarter loss. Production has declined to 1,396 barrels/day in the second quarter, but this will rise substantially when Cascadura comes into production.

STM (STM) has acquired pensions administrator Berkeley Burke for up to £2.9m. this will add to the UK operations. The business will be rebranded.

Pennant International (PEN) has an order book worth £36m and net cash of £2m. Annualised cost savings of £1m will help the second half performance and a profit is expected. That may not be enough to cover the first half loss.

Pires Investments (PIRI) investee company Getvisibility has signed a US distribution agreement. The data security business will gain access to US government work.

Matthew Freud has taken his stake in Reach4Entertainment (R4E) to 18.7%. The company’s chief executive has increased his stake to 18.7%. The general meeting to vote on the proposal to leave AIM is on 21 August.

MAIN MARKET

Tex Holdings (TXH) says interim revenues fell from £21.8m to £18.5m and the loss has increased from £351,000 to £1.36m. There is £2.54m in the bank, but net debt is £10.7m. The board still wants to raise more cash. The plastics business is still profitable, although it made a lower contribution. The engineering loss was slightly lower, but boards and panels fell from profit to loss.

MATCHED BARGAINS

Fastjet (FJET) is moving from AIM to Asset Match and the airline is reregistering as a private limited company. Trading is expected to start on 24 August. The first auction will be on 30 September.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 April 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Cannabis products-focused company Sativa (SATI) has received a bid approach from StillCana Inc, which has built two high volume CBD extraction facilities in Europe. StillCana is Europe’s largest producer of CBD distillate and isolate. StillCana plans to offer 0.33651 of one share for each Sativa share. Sativa shareholders would own 65% of the enlarged business. If StillCana does not go through with the bid it may be required to pay Sativa £1m as a break fee. Trading in Sativa shares has been suspended. Peterhouse has been appointed as corporate adviser.

In the six months to December 2019, there was a £224,000 cash outflow at Imperial X (IMPP) as it assessed the way forward. The new investing strategy is focused on acquiring royalties in the oil and gas sector. There was £179,000 in the bank at the end of 2019. Imperial X has subsequently raised £27,700 at 2.5p a share.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) had net assets of £4.76m at the end of 2019. One of the successes has been the investment in Greatland Gold (GGP) and TruSpine Technologies is moving towards a flotation.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) owns 16% of AIM-quoted European Metal Holdings (EMH) whose shareholders have approved the £25.8m investment for a 51% stake in the holder of the Cinovec licences in the Czech Republic.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) says that the resource at the Barnes Hill nickel project to 25Mt at 0.6% nickel and 0.05% cobalt on a 0.25% nickel cut-off grade.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) n on-executive director Nigel Boardman has acquired an initial 5,020 shares in two amounts (1,500 shares at 960p each and 3,520 shares at 1010p each).

Altona Energy (ANR) has extended the closing date of its open offer until 12 May and it may consider a further extension if the market uncertainty continues.

AIM

Cyber security services provider Shearwater (SWG) has raised £3.75m at 240p a share. Directors David Williams and Phil Higgins are each investing £125,000. A new £4m, 3-year bank facility has been negotiated. In the year to March 2020, Shearwater generated revenues of £33m and underlying EBITDA was £3.2m. There has been a move towards higher margin business. Management believes that COVID-19 will provide opportunities to expand the business. There are acquisition opportunities with revenues of between £2m and £20m.

Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) has confirmed that profit for 2019-20 was better than expected and gross margins improved from 22.8% to 25.9%.

Last year was tough for transport and logistics firm Xpediator (XPD) and this year won’t be easy, but it has a good base and the new Southampton warehouse will come on stream early in 2021. In 2019, revenues grew but lower freight forwarding margins and higher overheads hit pre-tax profit and it fell to £5.2m. Xpediator should still be profitable in 2020 and the second quarter tends to be a weaker period. A scrip dividend of 1.05p a share has been declared.

Health monitoring equipment supplier LiDCO (LID) had a strong start to its new financial year thanks to strong demand from the NHS. Since January 195 monitors have been sold, which is nearly as many as last year. The pre-tax loss is expected to continue to reduce and LiDCO has started to generate cash from operations.

Foreign exchange provider Equals (EQLS) increased first quarter revenues by one-third to £8.3m. The majority of this was business to business revenues. There was a sharp decline in travel money business in March.

Dragon Capital Group is offering a purchase facility to minority shareholders in Dragon-Ukrainian Properties and Development (DUPD) as part of the plan to cancel the AIM quotation. The purchase price is 10p a share.  Shareholder approval for the departure from AIM will be sought at the general meeting in Kiev on 6 May.

DBAY Advisers is building up a stake in Wynnstay Group (WYN) and it has reach ed 6.47%. It is taking advantage of the decline in the share price, although it has rebounded strongly in the past few weeks. Investec has sold most of its stake. Trading has been subdued in the current financial year.

Dawn Ward and Tracy Lewis have resigned from the board of Staffline (STAF) and the company is seeking replacements. Henry Spain Investment Services has increased its stake in Staffline to 13.6%.

Mark Greenwood has taken his stake in Richland Resources (RLD) to 29.1%.

MAIN MARKET

LED light fittings and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) reported 2019 figures in line with expectations. Revenues were %5 ahead at £172.1m and improved margins meant that pre-tax profit jumped from £6.3m to £15.8m. Revenues and profit are expected to fall back this year due to COVID-19 with the major hit coming in the second quarter after modest supply issues in the first quarter. Cash outflow should be limited to £500,000 a month while lockdowns are in force in Europe. There are bank facilities available to the group. Looking further ahead, Luceco is involved in a growth market and there should be acquisition opportunities.

J Smart Contractors (SMJ) reported a decline in interim pre-tax profit from £1.12m to £265,000. Net cash was £13.7m at the end of January 2020. An unchanged interim dividend of 0.95p a share has been announced.

Cathay International Holdings (CTI) has launched a 16.7456-for-one open offer at 1.5p each, plus a subscription to at the same share price. This could raise up to £105m. This will reduce borrowings and provide cash to put into investee companies.

BATM (BVC) has received a $31m order for 1,000 critical care ventilators. One-quarter of the cash has been paid upfront and the rest will be paid when the ventilators are delivered later this year.

A trading statement by fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) sparked a 6% 2019-20 profit downgrade to £17.2m by finnCap.

Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) says that sales and margins have fallen so far this year. Operating costs have been reduced. Sales of former sites are helping to reduce net debt, which is £65m. The fraud investigation has led to a £4m non-cash charge and there could be further write-downs.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 February 2020

NEX EXCHANGE

NEX and AIM-quoted Arbuthnot Banking Group (ARBB) says that there has been an increase in the level of confidence in its markets since the General Election. That was too late to have much effect on the 2019 results, but full year pre-tax profit will be at the upper end of expectations. Last year, customer loan balances rose by 31% and deposits by 22%.

Sativa Group (SATI) says that it welcomes the guidance from the Food Standards Agency on the safe use of CBD products and the timetable for novel food authorisation. Management points out that Sativa’s products do not include THC. Sativa expects to report 2019 gross profit slightly higher than expectations on lower than marginally lower than expected. Goodbody Wellness has piloted three retail stores, but they did not perform as well as expected. PhytoVista Laboratories has completed more than 3,000 tests on cannabis-based products. That includes Sativa’s own products and a new sports range is near launch. Medicinal cannabis-based development is focused on veterinary treatments.

EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has increased its NAV by 55% to 317.2p a share following a strong performance by Whittard of Chelsea and a recovery in the share price of fully listed Luceco. Pharmacy2U continues to grow strongly. Last year, 2.3% of the shares in issue were bought back by the company. New investments are being sought for available funds.

Ethical housing investor Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) increased its NAV by 15% to 106p a share in the year to January 2020. Chief executive Joseph McTaggart bought 1,991 shares at 61.75p each.

Hellyer gold mine operator NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £210,000 at 7p a share.

Investment company Primorus Investments (PRIM) has benefitted from the sharp share price rise in Greatland Gold (GGP) and the stake is worth two-fifths of the company’s market value. The current profit is £1.25m. Investee company TruSpine is on course to float in London this year. The spine stabilisation devices developer has gained a new cornerstone investor. Primorus is debt free.

Trading in the shares of Altona Energy (ANR) has been suspended because it has not published its annual report for the year to June 2019. Cash needs to be raised to keep the company going and management says that shareholders will be invited to participate in a fundraising. The company says it expects to publish the report in the next two weeks and blames the delay on a change of auditor and a new accounting treatment for its exploration licences. Final terms for the acquisition of the previously announced new petroleum exploration licence application are being negotiated.

SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) majority shareholder and chief executive David Sumner has also taken on the role as chairman after the resignation of Alan Kitchin and Katie Hiess from the board.

AIM

Brickability (BRCK) has acquired McCann Roofing Products for £2.75m. Essex-based McCann imports roofing and building products from Europe and generated a 2019 pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £8.2m. This deal adds additional suppliers to the group and should be immediately earnings enhancing.

Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has convened the requisitioned general meeting on 3 March. Eridge Capital wants to remove Matt Lofgran and Ewen Ainsworth from the board and replace them with Andrew Morrison. Eridge was previously known as former AIM company New World Oil and Gas. Nostra Terra’s subsidiary has loans that have a key man clause which stipulate that Lofgran has to be president of the subsidiary unless it give consent or there will be a default.

Drug discovery platform developer e-Therapeutics (ETX) has overhauled its board and raised £1.6m at 3p a share. Former Silence Therapeutics boss Ali Mortazavi becomes executive chairman. Ian Ross is stepping down to concentrate his role at Silence Therapeutics. Chief executive Ray Barlow and finance director Steve Medlicott are also leaving. An additional independent non-executive director will be appointed.

Gemfields Group Ltd (GEM) joined AIM last Friday. The share price ended the day at 11.7p.

Bidstack (BIDS) expects to have generated £150,000 from programmatic advertising for video games. That is much lower than previously hoped because it is taking much longer to get advertising agencies to take in-game advertising seriously. There was cash of £3.14m at the end of 2019 following a loss of £5.3m. There was £6m in the bank at the end of June 2019. First half revenues will still be small.

Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Nottingham law firm Fraser Brown Solicitors for up to £8.28m in cash and shares. This follows the purchase of Croftons Solicitors, which is based in Manchester, for up to £2.8m. A new revolving credit facility of £40m has been agreed and it lasts until June 2023.

Octopus Investments has cut its stake in Staffware (STAF) from 13.2% to 0.53%. Gresham House Asset Management increased its stake from 6.7% to 10.6%.

Filta Holdings (FLTA) says it should make an EBITDA of £3.2m in 2019. Cost savings and investment software will help the fryer management services provider to produce a much better performance in 2020.

Keystone Law (KEYS) has traded in line with expectations. Pre-tax profit is forecast to increase from £5.1m to £5.7m.

Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) says that the FDA has accepted the new drug application for Akindi Sprinkle as a treatment for infants and children. Approval could be gained by the autumn and it will be the only licenced treatment specifically for children. There was cash of £4.6m at the end of 2019.

MAIN MARKET

Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is recommending a 700p a share bid from Infopro Digital, valuing the company at £114.5m. The two companies fit well together and will have greater scale.

Finance provider S and U (SUS) says that its figures for the year to January 2020 will be in line with expectations and trading has been getting better in the past few weeks. The used car market has held up well even though the new car market is week. This is why second hand car finance provider Advance should produce another record performance in 2020-21. Property bridging finance provider Aspen has made the progress hoped because of delays in repayments and the loan book is lower than expected, but it is still a young business. A 2019-20 pre-tax profit of £35.5m is expected to increase to £39m this year. The latest total dividend will be raised by around 5% to 124p a share.

JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN) is raising cash from the placing of up to 49.7 million shares. This will fund a pipeline of investments. The bookbuild will close on 26 February.

Ultimate Products (UPGS) says that sales growth is easing this year with first half revenues 3% ahead at £67.7m. There is also uncertainty about the supply of products from China. Even so, Shore is maintaining its full year pre-tax forecast of £8.77m, a small increase on last year. That could change.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) is widening the geographic scope of its activities by negotiating to acquire an oil production licence in West Africa. Zenith has raised £135,000 through a share issue at 1.5p a share. It has also entered into an equity sharing agreement with a consortium of institutional investors. The nominal amount raised is £810,000, but the ultimate amount will depend on the share price when each tranche is paid over the next 12 months. The benchmark price is NOK0.2231/share, equivalent to around 1.85p. The share price is 1.43p, so the first instalment is likely to be below the notional level if there is no share price recovery.

BATM Communications (BVC) has gained a $1.3m order from a Middle East-based poultry firm for its agri-waste treatment system.

Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) says market conditions are more challenging and there has been a slow start to the fourth quarter, which is normally the strongest. Margins have fallen and profit will be at the lower end of the range of forecasts. The Coronavirus has led to the extended closure of Chinese sites, but this is a small percentage of production.

Cathay International Holdings (CTI) says that production at its plants is on hold or preparing to gradual resume production because of the effects of the Coronavirus. The hotel business has been hit by a sharp reduction in occupancy rates.

Avation (AVAP) has made firm orders for two ATR 72-600 aircraft that will be leased to US-Bangla, the largest private airline in Bangladesh.

Predator Oil and Gas (PRD) is raising £3.56m at 4p a share. This will finance the drilling of the Moulouya well in Morocco and provide cash for further investment in Trinidad.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 February 2020

NEX EXCHANGE

Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) is in discussions with providers of additional finance. Sales increased and costs were reduced in the year to August 2019. Two-fifths of sales come from Transport for London, where the Tracksure locking device is mandatory for one application.

The transfer of the exploration licence for the area surrounding the Hellyer gold mine to NQ Minerals (NQMI) has been approved.

Gunsynd (GUN) says that its 6.18%-owned investee company Brazil Tungsten is short of cash and needs to raise money at a discounted share price or go into administration. The value of the investment has already been written down and it is in the balance sheet at £400,000, which is 17% of Gunsynd NAV. This could be written down to nil.

Smaller company investor Gledhow Investments (GDH) made a £110,000 gain on disposals after overheads. The NAV was £884,000 at the end of September 2019, compared with a market capitalisation of £500,000 at 0.95p/1.25p. There was cash of £125,000 at the end of September 2019. This was before the £95,000 gain (£220,000 proceeds) on the disposal of shares in Yolo Leisure and Technology, now Asimilar (ASLR), and the takeover proceeds of £81,000 for Netalogue Technologies.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has treated more than 100 cancer patients at its proton beam therapy centres.

IamFire (FIRE) has reduced non-core costs and is seeking acquisitions that do not require a lot of capital. The hydrocarbon licences in Botswana have been relinquished. An interim profit was reported, but there was a £88,000 cash outflow from operating activities because trade payables were reduced.

Gowin New Energy 2% preference shares (GWPT) have been admitted to NEX. Up to £5m of preference shares will be issued. The cash will be loaned to the tea business of 15%-owned Goyoung International.

AIM

Telecoms hardware manufacturer Filtronic (FTC) reported lower interim revenues from continuing activities but margins improved because of a change in product mix. Capacity is being increased at the Sedgefield factory. There was £121,000 in the bank at the end of November 2019. That is before the $5.5m from the disposal of the antennas business. Growth is coming from defence and mmWave (X-Haul products) that are used in the 5G mobile market.

More good news from Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) as the results of the test well at Cascadura were better than expected. The rate during the test was more than 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. There will be a pressure build up test. There should be further news in March. Shore has increased its risked NAV estimate by one-fifth to 48p a share.

Andalas Energy and Power (ADL) has appointed Leslie Peterkin as chief executive and Mark Rollins as chairman. They have experience in the oil and gas sector. Andalas also raised £525,000 at 0.15p a share, which was a 20% premium to the market price, and most of the cash came from the two men. Dr Robert Arnott and Simon Gorringe have stepped down from the board. The company is changing its name to Advance Energy.

DP Poland (DPP) increased system sales by 13% last year with 3% like-for-like growth. The pizza stores operator improved its performance during the year and there was an acceleration of growth in the second half. DPP has 69 stores with six opened last year. There was still £3.6m left in the bank at the end of 2019.

Volvere (VLE) has made another food manufacturing acquisition. Essex-based Indulgence Patisserie is in administration and the desserts maker is costing £1.25m. Freehold premises and equipment is being acquired. The business lost £230,000 on revenues of £3.3m. Volvere already owns pie maker Shire Foods, which has an overlapping customer base.

PCI-Pal (PCIP) says interim revenues were 70% higher at £2m. Total annual contract revenues are £5m. There is a small net debt figure with a further £1.25m of facilities. The PCI compliant payment services provider will still lost money this year.

Mergers adviser K3 Capital (K3C) reported improved interim figures even though trading conditions remained tough. A full year pre-tax profit of £7.4m, similar to two years ago, is forecast. The interim dividend was raised from 3.6p a share to 3.7p a share and the total dividend is expected to increase from 7.6p a share to 11.4p a share. If K3 can maintain its interim margins, then the full year outcome could be better.

Argentina-based oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) had a disappointing 2019 with revenues declining by 13% to $41m because of an oil price cap. The company traded at breakeven. A return to a significant profit is expected in 2020.

Greatland Gold (GGP) says that maiden drilling at Derby North on the Warrentinna project in Tasmania has intersected high-grade gold mineralisation. This is more good news following the plans to announce a maiden resource for Havieron before the end of this year. NCM has spent enough money to earn a 30% stake in Havieron. This will be increased to 40% after another $10m of spending.

MAIN MARKET

Nuformix (NFX) says that it still has not received the £2.5m it is owed by NSB. Despite assurances the money has not been paid and the therapeutics company’s contact has been dismissed. Dave Tapolczay has resigned as chairman.

Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) had £100,000 in the bank at September 2019 and it has started the fundraising process for the reverse takeover of two companies with technology mineral assets in Africa and the US.

Social media company Iconic Labs (ICON) is generating revenues and has relaunched the Gay Star N website, which is trading better than expected. Icon is still trying to sort out its historic financing agreements and difficulties. Additional facilities have been provided by the existing finance provider, which has agreed to reduce previous amounts owed by 30%. Again, though, the new finance is in the form of convertibles, so yet more shares are likely to be issued.

Landscape Acquisition Holdings (LAHL) expects the proposed acquisition of AP WIP Investment, which generates rental income from wireless telecom assets, in early 2020. There is $501m in the bank and the acquisition should cost $333m.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 16 December 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) is investing in new portfolio company The Security Awareness Group Ltd (TSAG), which was established to acquire an existing business that has been trading for more than two decades. It provides training to ensure than employees are aware of cyber security and potential for human error. The £405,000 investment in loans, preference and ordinary shares, will enable the acquisition to be completed and leave Capital for Colleagues with a 34% stake. Management will own 51% and an employee ownership trust the rest.

Fuel emulsifier technology developer SulNOx is joining NEX on 17 December and it will be valued at £42.3m at 50p a share. SulNOx originally said it planned to join NEX during the spring when it raised £550,000 in pre-IPO funds. It has developed a process that can emulsify hydrocarbon fuels, such as diesel and heavy oils. The products can reduce Nitrous Oxide, Carbon Dioxide and Sulphur Oxide gases and particulates, as well as making combustion more efficient. The emulsifier can be used in existing engines.

Health property developer Ashley House (ASH) is exploring opportunities for modular affordable housing. Overheads have been reduced but the company says that it retains its core team and has appointed Paul Williamson as head of the modular activities. Adrian Wright, who is the largest shareholder with a 13.4% stake, has been appointed to the board.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has met with the management of AIM-quoted investee company Greatland Gold (GGP) and it says that it believes that the Havieron gold/copper deposit may host more than 20 million ounces. Further share acquisitions are possible. Primorus currently owns 37 million shares at an average cost of 1.71p each, which is slightly higher than the market price. Newcrest Mining is farming-in to Havieron. Six rigs will be working on the project over the coming months.

Gunsynd (GUN) had cash of £568,000 out of total net assets of £2.36m at the end of July 2019. Gunsynd did raise £498,000 from a share issue during the period. There was an unrealised loss on investments of £224,000 partly offset by a realised profit of £35,000. There was a £400,000 cash outflow from operations. The stake in Oyster Oil and Gas was valued at £350,000 and Gunsynd has subsequently agreed to sell the shares for a total of £260,000. Production sharing contracts for four blocks in Djibouti are not included in the transaction.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is expanding the capacity of the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania. A 100 tonne per hour mining dredge should be operational by the end of the year.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) is increasing its interim dividend from 7p a share to 9p a share and this goes ex-dividend on 19 December. The final dividend will be maintained at 14p a share.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has sold its stake in Tirupati Graphite for £86,844. The initial investment in 2016 was £40,000.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had a net asset value of 261.97p a share at the end of November 2019.

The acquisition of Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) has been completed and trading on NEX will end on 10 January.

Jersey-based Zandra Holdings has increased its stake in Formation Group (FRM) from 74.62% to 89.99%.

AIM

Lawyer Gately (GTLY) is acquiring T-three Group, which offers human resources services for £3.4m. Pro forma sales from continuing operations were £4.2m and EBITDA was £700,000 and the deal should be immediately earnings enhancing. This business fits with Kiddy which was acquired last year.

Feed, fuel and food distributor NWF (NWF) has leased another warehouse on the back of a five-year contract with a food customer. This will add 37,000 pallet spaces in Crewe, which will be predominantly used up by this contract. There is a five-year break clause on the lease. There will be £500,000 of start-up costs this year. Two fuel distributors have been acquired for £5m in recent weeks. The contributions from these will offset the additional cost in the year to May 2020. The feed business has grown its volumes and market share. Interim profit should be better than the weak comparisons.

Pelatro (PTRO) has won another contract. This is for providing additional campaign management services to an existing telecoms client. The deal involves monthly revenues with a share of gains. It is worth $1m over three years.

Investment in connected devices technology is starting to pay off for Vianet (VNET) with the revenues and profit of the smart machines division growing strongly. Additional contracts have been won that provide additional business over the next five years. These contracts alone cover 20,000 units. Technology upgrades are helping the smart zones division to retain and generate more revenues from pub clients. The US smart zones business made its maiden profit in the period. The interim dividend is maintained at 1.7p a share.

Versarien (VRS) has enough cash for its current requirements. The graphene products developer had £2.64m in cash at the end of September 2019. There is an invoice discounting facility available to provide additional liquidity. There is £898,000 of borrowings which are being paid back at around £30,000/month. At the current rate of cash outflow, the cash should last around one year, although a company is not going to wait until it runs out to raise more cash. The hard wear components business is generating cash, but the plastics business has been a drain. There are still plenty of opportunities for Versarien, including in China.

Open Orphan (ORPH) is merging with hVIVO (HVO) via an offer for 2.47 shares for each hVIVO share. Both companies are clinical research organisations. There is limited overlap in the services offered.

Integumen (SKIN) has raised £1.37m at 1.5p a share. The company needs additional funds because a potential client is doing due diligence. Revenues are expected to quadruple to £4m in 2020. Capacity at the Labskin laboratory is being increased.

Audio equipment supplier Focusrite (TUNE) is holding a general meeting to increase the amount it is allowed to borrow from up to £15m to up to £60m. Net cash was £14.9m at the end of August 2019, but the company is keen to make acquisitions.

Digital chemistry analysis company Deepmatter (DMTR) says that AstraZeneca has agreed to use its DigitalGlassware technology in Sweden alongside its own automated compound synthesis platform. This is an initial trial to assess how the technologies can work together. Data capture by DigitalGlassware could reduce cost and time, as well as providing improved analysis.

Spitfire Oil Ltd (SRO) had cash of $2.1m at the end of June 2019. Spitfire has relinquished the Salmon Gums lignite licences. It is a shell and has to make an acquisition by 29 February or trading in the shares will be suspended. This seems likely. The there is six months to make an acquisition or lose the AIM quotation.

Coral Products (CRU) has gained approval to offset production from its plastics recycling plant against the plastic packaging waste levy. Production hours have been doubled and the equipment should be run 24 hours a day by the end of April.

FireAngel Safety Technology (FA.) expects to report a loss nearly double its previous expectations at between £2.6m and £2.9m. that is partly down to lower sales from higher margin products. The fire and smoke alarms company could still be profitable in 2020.

Packaging supplier Robinson (RBN) says that 2019 revenues are slightly lower than forecast but pre-tax profit will be better than expected at £2.2m.

Digital services provider The Panoply Holdings (TPX) reported a one-third increase in interim revenues to £13.4m and the public sector is becoming a greater percentage of revenues. The company is on course to move into profit this year. A pre-tax profit of £3m is forecast.

Wind sensor technology developer Windar Photonics (WPHO) is raising £1.41m at 27.5p a share. This follows the trading statement admitting that sales are disappointing.

India-focused online retailer Koov (KOOV) has been placed in administration because a funder failed to come up with the cash it promised.

MAIN MARKET

ASX-listed Adriatic Metals (ADT1) has joined the standard list. Adriatic has projects in Bosnia Herzegovina. The main focus is the Vares project, north of Sarajevo. There is lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold and barite.

Shefa Gems Ltd (SEFA) has announced a maiden resource for the Kishon Mid-Reach project. The contained revenues are $41/tonne, predominantly due to the Carmel Sapphire. The mining cost is estimated at $26/tonne and it could be reduced.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) has decided not to acquire Nordic Petroleum because of high costs. Work on the C-37 well in Azerbaijan should enable production of more than 250 barrels of oil a day.

Hadrian’s Wall Secured Investments Ltd (HWSL) says it should not continue in its current form due to the large discount to NAV. A review could end up with a decision to run down the company. Brett Miller has been appointed to the board. A new NAV figure has been delayed.

Ferro-Alloy Resources (FAR) says that a sharp fall in the vanadium price has hit short-term profitability and cash generation. It remains confident that the operations in southern Kazakhstan are still viable.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 19 August 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a decline in first half revenues from £35.5m to £34.7m, while the loss increased from £840,000 to £1.15m. Beer volumes were 2% ahead, compared with a 1% decline in the market. Low alcohol beer sales grew. Gin sales fell because of greater competition. A fire at the Ship at Levington hampered the performance of the pubs business. Adnams made an underlying profit in 2018, thanks to a better second half performance. The new IT system went live in March and the implementation has been a distraction to management. The dividends are unchanged at 78p a share for each B share and 19.5p per A share.  

Bruce Pubs (PUB) has decided to cancel trading in its 7.2% secured bonds, 31 March 2022. There are £20,000 worth of bonds admitted to the market and there have been no trades. Bruce Pubs had wanted to raise up to £20m from the bond issue. It is therefore not a surprise that Bruce Pubs believes it is not worth having a trading facility. The bonds can be redeemed early by the company.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 10,164 tonnes of lead concentrate, 7,431 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 46,863 tonnes of pyrite concentrate in the first half of 2019. An operating profit of A$3.6m was made on sales of A$23m.

TechFinancials (TECH) had $1.23m in the bank at the end of June 2019. A reduction in trade receivables meant that there was a small cash inflow from operating activities, but there was $402,000 capitalised developed on the blockchain ticketing system.

China-focused healthcare company MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised £755,000 at 30p a share.

Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has gained a quotation for its bonds on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

AIM  

ICAMAP has acquired 7.94 million shares in easyHotel (EZH) at its offer price of 95p a share, taking its stake to 44.1%. This means that it is a mandatory cash offer.

Iofina (IOF) has launched IofinaEX Global to deal in hemp derived products in Central America and the Caribbean. Iofina will potentially link up with a government in the region that wants to develop its country as a hub for hemp derived products. There are no details of this potential partnership. The company believes that its regulatory expertise in the iodine market will be helpful in the CBD market. The US is likely to be a major market.

LightwaveRF (LWRF) has raised £1.3m at 7p a share. The smart homes equipment supplier wants the cash to finance further growth. There are also plans to secure a facility for stock.

Altitude (ALT) is considering the disposal of its Manchester-based promotion products supplier AdProducts.com. This would enable Altitude to concentrate on its AIM platform for promotional products suppliers.

Greatland Gold (GGP) has raised £4.2m at 1.85p a share and that will be used to finance exploration in the Paterson region of Australia. There has been positive exploration news from the Scallywag prospect in the Paterson region. A ground gravity survey starts this month and an induced polarisation survey next month. Then 3D modelling using the data will come up with drill targets.

Cyber security software and services provider Corero Network Security (CNS) says interim revenues are lower, but operating costs are unchanged. That means that the interim loss has increased. However, full year revenues are expected to be one-fifth higher, but higher investment in sales means that the loss will still be higher. Net cash was $3.6m at the end of June 2019.

Equals Group (EQLS) is raising up to £16m via a placing and open offer. The international payments company has raised £14m at 110p a share and up to £2m will come from the one-for-90 open offer. The cash will be used for acquisitions and working capital.

Tanfield (TAN) says that 49%-owned Snorkel International has moved back into profit in the second quarter of 2019, although the first half was still loss-making. Last year, the value of this investment in the access equipment supplier was cut from £36.3m to £19.1m.

Oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) says that there should not be a material effect on its operations from a change in Argentinian president. Revenues are US dollar based and cash is held in the same currency, so the decline of the Argentinian peso should not be too much of a problem.

Anthony Laiker has subscribed £25,000 in Vela Technologies (VELA) at 0.1p a share. A general meeting has to approve the share issue to the executive director, as well as an issue of 6.25 million warrants exercisable at 0.15p. Approval of the conversion of £200,000 of loan notes plus interest into nearly 241 million shares will also require the company to be given the ability to issue more shares. Laiker would than own more than 301 million shares.

Gfinity (GFIN) is pulling out of its Australian joint venture because the esports company wants to focus its cash on the US and other important markets.  

Workspace software provider Essensys (ESYS) says that its revenues were one-quarter higher at £20.5m in the year to July 2019. That was better than expected. Annual recurring revenues run rate is £17.3m.

MAIN MARKET  

Associated British Engineering (ASBE) made an increased loss of £1.81m, up from £582,000 the previous year. The company’s main pension fund remains a worry and there are ongoing discussions with the Pensions Regulator. There are net liabilities of £3.71m after the pension deficit of £4.98m.

Nanoco (NANO) generated revenues of £7.3m in the year to July 2019, more than double the previous year. The cadmium-free quantum dots developer had £7m in cash at the end of July and expects to have £6m at the end of 2019.

Highway Capital (HWC) has issued €30,000 of new convertible loan notes. These are convertible to a value in excess of 50% of the net asset value of the company at the time of conversion. The terms of an existing convertible loan note of £100,000 have been changed and the conversion price is 5p a share.

Shareholders in Avocet Mining (AVM) have voted against the resolution to wind up the company. This means that it is likely to go into administration unless there is a viable transaction that the board can assess.

Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) wanted shareholders to approve the voluntary liquidation of the company, but there is not enough support for the proposal. GRIT has sold 430 million shares in Kalia for £225,000 in order to provide working capital. A new board is being appointed to undertake a strategic review. James Normand will become chairman and Martin Lampshire as an executive director. Stephen Roberts will become a non-executive director.  

IMC Exploration (IMC) has been awarded two additional licences in County Wexford. They adjoin an existing licence where there are indications of gold.

Book publisher Quarto (QRT) reduced its interim loss from $6.6m to $4m on flat revenues of $56.4m. There was a change in the mix of revenues with children’s books increasing revenues by14% and in geographic terms more of the revenues were in the US, which moved into profit. Net debt has fallen by 11% to $65m.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) says that drilling has commenced at well C-37 in the Jafarli oilfield.

Pendragon (PDG) is selling its Chevrolet dealership in California for £17.2m. GM can alternatively nominate another purchaser if it wants. The rest of the US business will be sold.

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

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