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High Growth Capital (HASH) is increasing its stake in Sentiance to 15% and is negotiating an option to acquire a majority stake in the artificial intelligence and machine learning business. The additional 5% stake will cost £7m in shares issued at 0.8p each. The option would enable an increase in the total stake to between 51% and 84.8%. The company would offer 100,000 of its own shares for each Sentiance share and the option is subject to High Growth Capital raising at least £25m. High Growth Capital has also acquired the intellectual property of Malta-based BDD, a company founded by Chris Akers, for £4m in shares at 1p each. The project involves an annual blockchain raffle that would raise money for social impact and environmental initiatives.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) had a net asset value of 205.2p a share at the end of January 2019, which was 12.5% lower than the year before. The stake in fully listed LED lighting products manufacturer Luceco (LUCE) is a significant part of the portfolio and its valuation fell by 27.7%. There has been a recovery in the Luceco share price since the end of January, even though there was a decline of three-quarters in 2018 pre-tax profit to £3m. The EPE NAV had risen to 232.8p a share on 9 April on the back of Luceco share price rise. The EPE share price is 180p.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) is subscribing £150,000 for a 9.14% stake in Just Bee Drinks and is also providing a loan facility of up to £100,000 at a annual interest charge of 10%. Just Bee has developed a natural juicy water drink sweetened with honey. This means that there is no added sugar. More than one million bottles were sold last year, and revenues doubled. The drink is already sold in Waitrose and Boots. Just Bee had net assets of £83,000 at the end of March 2018. Angelfish has also provided a £100,000 debt facility at the same interest rate to Wallet Ads. The previous loan of £150,000 was converted into a 20% stake.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) nearly doubled zinc concentrate production at the Hellyer mine in Tasmania to 3,015 DMT in the first quarter of 2019, while lead concentrate production increased by 18% to 4,712 DMT. Pyrite concentrate production jumped by 331% to 18,488 DMT.
Video games developer and services provider Sumo (SUMO) reported better than expected 2018 revenues of £38.7m and pre-tax profit of £9m. Sumo has been acquiring businesses to give it extra capacity as well as opening new studios. There is plenty of demand for Sumo’s services so utilisation rates are high and there is further upside from performance-based royalties and its own IP.
Destiny Pharma (DEST) had £12.1m in the bank at the end of 2018 and this will last into 2020. That should be long enough for the phase IIb study of XF-73 for the prevention of post-surgery infections.
Maiden full year results from legal services and credit hire business Anexo (ANX) have led to an upgrade by its broker Arden. The 2019 pre-tax profit forecast has been edged up from £17.8m to £18.1m, up from £16.1m in 2018, and the 2020 figure is 4% higher at £20.1m. Net debt is expected to increase from £17.3m to £26.3m in order to finance the growth of its legal business.
RA International (RAI) continues to win contracts, but larger contracts are taking longer to secure. RA provides services to remote locations in nine countries in Africa and the Middle East. Having joined AIM last summer, RA has $27.8m in the bank and this is helping it to tender for and win larger contracts. The average contract term is 4.4 years. This makes revenues relatively predictable and they are expected to rise by 10% this year to more than £60m.
Property investor Safeland (SAF) intends to leave AIM and secure a matched bargain facility on Asset Match. It is tendering for shares at 42.5p each, which compares with an NAV of 140.2p a share at the end of September 2018.
Having sold the RTLS SmartSpace business, the continuing revenues of geospatial software and services provider IQGeo (IQG) fell from £16.5m to £9.98m, although recurring revenues were 22% higher, and gross margin improved. There were lower software revenues, but the main decline was in the sale of third party products. There is a significant market for the company’s products and new modules are being launched. However, the full benefits of changes being made by management will probably not show through until next year. There is £30.9m in the bank and some of this will be returned to shareholders after a capital reorganisation is completed.
Interim revenues generated by LightwaveRF (LWRF) have more than doubled to £2.5m which is nearly as much as the £2.8m generated in the previous 12 months. Direct sales, e-commerce and telesales have contributed to the growth, as has the development of retail clients.
Legal firm Gordon Dadds (GOR) has acquired Gibraltar-based Rampart Corporate Advisers for up to £1.34m depending on performance. Rampart specialises in e-gaming, fintech and distributed ledger technology, and made a profit of £400,000 in the year to June 2018. Five former Ince network firms are joining Ince Gordon Dadds, although they remain independent. This would add £23m to existing group annual revenues of £77m. The firms are based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Greece and Germany. This will boost profitability.
Strategic Minerals (SML) says the Cobre magnetite operations generated cash of $206,000 in the first quarter and the group cash balance was $1.24m at the end of March 2019. Volumes were lower because customers were undertaking plant maintenance and the continued suspension of a major client’s contract. There should be seven years of magnetite stockpile. The company expects to acquire the other 50% of the Redmoor tin/tungsten project by the end of May. This will cost £2.66m.
PhotonStar LED (PSL) says that it has enough cash for its immediate needs, but the blocking of the issuing of more shares by shareholders means that there is not enough cash to follow the strategy to find a reverse takeover target. The company may launch an open offer or ask shareholders for a second time for the authority to issue shares without offering them to existing shareholders a second time. Having become a cash shell, the company has been dropped from the FTSE AIM All Share index. It has six months to find an acquisition. A number of potential acquisition targets have been met by the board. Additional directors will be appointed.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has raised £275,000 at 1.1p a share in order to finance the appraisal of projects. The shares are being acquired by new executive chairman Robert Bensh, who has experience of the US oil and gas sector. Chief executive Matthew Idiens has more than doubled his stake to 2.52% by acquiring two million shares at 1.75p each. The finance director Chris Eadie has also more than doubled his stake to 1.2% at 1.67p a share. New non-executive director Tom Reynolds also bought shares.
Concepta (CPT) is raising £2.3m at 3p a share to finance marketing and further development of its myLotus fertility test.
Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) had £6.2m in cash at the end of January 2019. There was a total cash outflow of £4.57m in the latest six month period. The main capital investment at the Runcorn site is almost complete. Non-executive director Chris Batterham has bought 125,000 shares at 47.354p each. Miton has reduced its stake to 4.96%.
Bonmarche (BON) says the mandatory cash bid of 11.445p a share by Spectre undervalues the retailer. Bonmarche is reducing costs. Cavendish Asset Management has edged its stake up to 10%.
Standard list shell Contango Holdings (CGO) has entered into an agreement to acquire the Lubu coalfield project in Zimbabwe for £6.45m in shares at 5p each. Once regulatory approvals have been gained the acquisition should go ahead and trading in the shares can recommence. That should happen by the end of June. There will be a placing to raise cash to fund initial trial mining.
Telecom services provider Toople (TOOP) says that it had more than £1.1m in the bank at the end of March 2019. That is a £1m reduction on the level at the end of September 2018, when there was also a shareholder loan, which was assigned a value of £572,000 in the balance sheet but has a cash value of £607,000. There is no indication if this loan has gone down. Last year, admin expenses were £1.55m, net of other income, and that was more than revenues. Revenues have grown but even if gross margin were to improve there will still be a significant first half loss.
Nuformix (NFX) has signed an agreement for cannabinoid therapeutics development, licensing and commercialisation for an initial upfront payment and other research and development and milestone payments that could total up to £51m. Canada-based Ebers Tech Inc will use Nuformix technology to develop a range of consumer and pharma products.
Zegona Communications (ZEG) has increased its stake in Euskaltel to 21%.
European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has transferred 35.4 million shares in WideCells (WDC) to David Sefton and Linton Capital, which has promised to hold them for 12 months. European High Growth Opportunities still owns 18.2% of WideCells.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company Sport:80 has delayed its flotation because it has been tidying up its shareholder register. Fintech company Engage Technology is also seeking to float later in 2019 following new product launches. Engage raised £2.6m at £22 a share at the end of 2018, whereas the average buying price by Primorus was £20.03 a share. Investee company, AIM-quoted Greatland Gold (GGP) has published results from the second drilling campaign at Havieron in Western Australia. Every drill hole intersected mineralisation and they extend the overall mineralisation. Drilling will recommence in March. Primorus has raised cash by selling most of the stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) and Primorus was debt free at the end of 2018.
NEX has decided not to suspend trading in the shares of VI Mining (VIM) even though its corporate adviser Daniel Stewart is no longer a member of NEX. VI Mining had little or no notice of its adviser’s withdrawal. A new corporate adviser is being sought.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has acquired apprenticeship training provider Astara Training for £16,666 in shares at 9p each. Milamber lost £179,000 in the third quarter and there was £30,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.
Panther Metals (PALM) has announced the initial results of exploration activity at the Bear Lake project in Ontario. There was gold in soil anomalies at four of the five areas tested. Four areas have quartz vein sample assays above 5g/t gold. Two samples had large grade samples. The next phase of exploration is being planned and could start in the second quarter of 2019.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has signed a deal that could enable it to earn a 70% interest in a joint venture that owns the Palha tantalum property in northern Brazil.
AIM (February 2019 AIM Journal available here)
DP Poland (DPP) is running short of cash and is more than doubling its share capital through a heavily discounted placing raising £5.3m at 6p a share, with the possibility of an additional £500,000. The Domino’s Pizza franchisee for Poland has found competition is getting tougher and growth has slowed. The cash is required to cover losses and open more outlets. Peter Shaw is stepping down as chief executive at the end of June, nearly a decade after founding the business.
Ticketing and queueing technology provider Accesso Technology (ACSO) is reviewing its investment priorities although it says that 2018 figures should be broadly in line with expectations. These will be published on 27 March. A deal fell through and this cost $1.7m. Tom Burnet is moving from executive chairman to a non-exec role. The share price is less than one-third of last year’s high. BlackRock has cut its stake below 5%.
Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has launched a placing and 0.318-for-one open offer to raise up to £4.75m at 3.85p a share on top of the £8m subscription by former AIM company China Medical System Holdings, which will licence products for the Chinese market. The clinical trial for cancer treatment MTD201 will cost up to £7m.
Duke Royalty (DUKE) is acquiring its UK rival Capital Step and this will double the size of the portfolio to eleven investments and diversify it in terms of sectors. There is an initial £10m cash payment and the assumption of debt of £11.65m. There is performance related consideration of up to £1.5m. The deal is immediately earnings enhancing.
Visa has increased its bid for Earthport (EPO) from 30p a share to 37p a share, which beats the Mastercard offer of 33p a share. The latest bid values Earthport at £247m.
Taptica (TAP) has launched a recommended bid for RhythmOne (RTHM) and this will create one of the largest video advertising companies in the US. The offer is 28 Taptica shares for every 33 RhythmOne shares. Taptica shareholders will own 50.1% of the enlarged group. A $15m share buyback programme is planned after the merger. Ofer Druker will become chief executive.
Polemos (PLMO) has finalised the details of its reverse takeover of Digitalbox Publishing for £10m in shares and it is also acquiring the owner of the Daily Mash satirical news website for up to £1.2m in cash and shares. The model for the Entertainment Daily website will be used to improve the performance of the Daily Mash. A placing will raise £1.02m at 14p a share. The company will change its name to Digitalbox.
Hardide (HDD) is raising £3.6m at 1.5p a share so that it can move to new premises in the UK and invest in additional equipment. The surface coatings company is experiencing increasing demand from the oil and gas sector and there is potential for orders from aerospace companies. It will take two years to fully equip and move into the new facility. Hardide also intends to consolidate 40 shares into one new share.
finnCap has raised its forecasts for Tracsis (TRCS) following recent acquisitions. There is a 3% increase in earnings per share for this year and an 11% rise to 30.5p next year.
Stride Gaming (STR) has traded in line with previously downgraded expectations. Cost cutting continues to cover higher regulatory and tax costs. The online gaming operator will report a lower profit in 2018 and it is set to fall again in 2019. Net cash was £22.1m at the end of 2018.
Bowmark Capital has offered 110p a share for Tax Systems (TAX) and discussions continue. Tax Systems reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.
Victoria (VCP) has sold surplus land in Kidderminster for £2m. The land was in the books for £100,000 but it has obtained planning consent for housing.
Starcom (STAR) has renegotiated its agreement with Xplosive in South Africa, having originally announced it in October 2017. Xplosive has signed a 36-month agreement to pay a monthly fee for each of the Kylos units supplied for the monitoring of cattle. The fees are higher in the first six months and then reduce. The agreement should be worth $500,000.
Strix Group (KETL) has offered to acquire most of the assets of HaloSource (HAL) for $1.3m. Strix has provided working capital of $100,000. Due diligence is being carried out on the water filtration technology and if the deal goes through the cash will pay creditors, but there will be nothing for shareholders.
Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has announced that the Selva gas field in northern Italy has net 2P reserves of 13.3bcf and there are 2.26bcf attributable to Prospex, which has a 17% stake. Selva could start production in 2020 at a rate of up to 150,000 cubic metres/day.
Tau Capital (TAU) plans to raise cash via a placing through Peterhouse and then a capital distribution will be made to all shareholders. This will enable Tau to seek an acquisition. It has until 18 April to secure a deal or trading in the shares will be suspended. Armstrong Investments has increased its stake from 11.7% to 15.7%.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the SFX-01 clinical trial for subarachnoid haemorrhage is on course having completed recruitment and the primary endpoints should be available in the second quarter. Partners Investment Company has acquired at 3.15% stake.
Sports Direct International (SPD) made a £15m offer to buy Patisserie Valerie from the administrator, but this was not deemed enough. Even a higher selling price won’t provide anything for Patisserie Holdings shareholders.
Solicitor DWF plans to raise £75m via a March flotation an some of the cash will repay members’ capital contributions as well as invest in the business. Existing shareholders will also sell shares and partners’ remaining stakes will be locked up until April 2024.
Two former AIM-quoted companies are coming together to join the standard list. Daniel Stewart Securities, which is closing its broking business, is making an offer for Atlantic Carbon, which was previously known as Atlantic Coal, where Adam Wilson, who has had connections with Daniel Stewart, is executive chairman. Singapore-based backer Epsilon Investments refused to put more money into the broker and that is why it is closing. Epsilon holds a majority stake in Hyde Park Holdings, which owns broker Novum Securities. Last October, SeeThruEquity research suggested that Atlantic had an equity value of $86.8m and $68m of debt. In 2017, Atlantic was the largest producer of anthracite in the US with a market share of one-third based on 1.18 million tonnes produced. Atlantic is expected to have moved into profit in 2018, although it did generate cash from operations in 2017. The owners of more than 50% of Atlantic shares have agreed to accept the bid of 1.5587 shares for each Atlantic share.
Thalassa Holdings (THAL) is offering 14.64p a share in cash and 0.26 of a share for each share in The Local Shopping REIT. Thalassa already owns 25.5% of the bid target, which is valued at 32.8p a share. The bid is an alternative to the winding up of The Local Shopping REIT.
Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is no longer acquiring blockchain technology developer Chorum Group because of political uncertainty affecting the UK equity markets. Former Avanti Communications boss David Williams is the director of Chorum. Blockchain Worldwide has more than £1m in the bank and is also looking at other technology sectors for acquisitions.
Drilling of the Colter appraisal well in Dorset has commenced and United Oil and Gas (UOG) has a 10% interest. The drilling should take three weeks. The Selva gas field in Italy has net 2P reserves of 2.7bcf attributable to United, which has a 20% stake. Selva could start production in 2020. United intends to move to AIM.
Oil and gas producer Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £607,000 in Canada and the UK at C$0.05 a share and 3p a share respectively.
Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) has confirmed that its figures for the year to January 2019 will be in line with expectations. The Aspen property bridging loan business had a loan book of £18m at the end of January 2019. Cautious lending criteria means that new business has slowed in recent months and this has led to a 5% 2019-20 earnings downgrade to 230.1p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3.2m cyber security contract and this takes contracted revenues from this government customer to more than $10m. The latest contract will be delivered this year.
Chesterfield Resources (CHF) is expanding its exploration programme in Cyprus. Initial drilling in an area near historic mining has shown gold, copper and zinc mineralisation. Chesterfield is also applying for licences to extend its licence area.
Dev Clever (DEV) has launched pay per play multi-player, virtual reality game Vanguard: Fight for Rudiarius in Harlow shopping centre. The game will be rolled out to other UK sites.
Bluebird Merchant (BMV) has applied for a grant to help finance drilling at the Kochang project in South Korea and there should be news by the end of the month. There has also been a permit application to develop Kochang.