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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 March 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN MARKET

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 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 21 January 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Sport Capital Group (SCG) is acquiring Italian football club Palermo for a nominal sum. The deal also includes the project for a new stadium for the Serie B team, which is currently five points clear at the top of the table. Promotion back to Serie A would boost revenue generation and it would also trigger an earn-out payment. There is also potential for more sponsorship and match revenues. There is a plan to raise up to £10m from a bond issue that would be traded on NEX.

Clinical decision support technology provider DXS International (DXSP) reported a lower interim loss in the six months to October 2018. Revenues edged up from £1.61m to £1.69m and the loss declined from £92,000 to £35,000. Tax credits meant that there was a post-tax profit of £70,000, up from £28,000. The GPSoC tender has been delayed but it is expected to be completed this year.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that its priorities for 2019 are to demonstrate the potential of the blockchain investments that it has and to take advantage of the growing sector. There were record levels of investment in the blockchain sector last year. Management wants movements in the share price to reflect progress rather than the movement of the price of bitcoin, as has been the case in the past year.

KR1 (KR1) has set up a subsidiary in Gibraltar. KRX Ltd will sponsor token-based projects that will list on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which operates the first regulated blockchain exchange. The subsidiary will generate fees from clients and there are a limited number of sponsors.

AFH Financial Group (AFHP) has acquired fellow wealth management firm Hayburn Rock for up to £3.5m. The initial payment is £900,000. In 2017, the firm made a profit of £400,000.

TechFinancials (TECH) is selling its stake in MarketFinancials, which no longer trades, for €100,000. The investment had no value on the balance sheet.

Smaller company investor Gledhow Investments (GDH) had £167,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018, having made a small profit in the period. The NAV is £793,000.

Ashley House (ASH) is changing its year from April to June. This is the end of the first six months period for joint venture Morgan Ashley Care Developments LLP. There will be interim results for the six months to October 2018 reported at the end of January.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has commissioned the Hellyer processing plant and in the fourth quarter generated £3.2m of revenues from lead, zinc and pyrite.

AIM   

Ascent Resources (AST) is attempting to raise cash at 0.3p a share, which is a 20% discount to the market price, via PrimaryBid.com. Ascent has successfully raised cash via the platform in the past. The broker handling the deal is Stanford Capital Partners. Ascent, which has €400,000 in the bank plus a deposit for a bank guarantee of €200,000, is refocusing its expansion outside of Slovenia because of regulatory hold ups in the country. Revenues from the export of gas from Slovenia totalled €2.1m in 2018 but gaining permission to process the gas and sell it to the national grid has proved difficult.

Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Leicester-based legal services business Cummins for £1.57m in cash and shares. This fits well with the existing east Midlands operations. In the six months to October 2018, group revenues were 37% ahead at £23.9m and organic growth was 10%. Underlying pre-tax profit doubled to £4.4m. The maiden interim dividend is 0.6p a share. Net debt was £9.5m at the end of October 2018. Average fees per fee earner was one-quarter higher at £66,000.

Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) did better than expected last year. The 2018 pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 5% to $29m. Net cash is $25m and 50% of the excess over $15m will be paid in a special dividend on top of the ordinary dividend. Somero has also paid $2m for concrete pouring and line dragging company Line Dragon and this broadens the product range.

Student accommodation activities fuelled the growth of Watkin Jones (WJG) last year but private rental will become increasingly important from this year onwards. Richard Simpson has taken over as chief executive.

Kromek (KMK) is making progress towards breakeven and it has plenty of cash in the bank to take it there. The imaging and radiation detection technology developer has a strong order book. There was a dip in first half revenues because of the transfer of production to a new site in Pittsburgh. Even so, full year revenues are forecast to increase from £11.8m to £15m and the loss should reduce from £2.5m to £1.9m.

Tri-Star Resources (TSTR) is selling its antinomy exploration interests in Turkey. The company’s main asset is the 40% shareholding in the Sohar antinomy and gold production facility in northern Oman. Some engineering problems have to be sorted out before the plant is fully up and running. More cash will be required. The venture has requested $10.5m from its shareholders.

The market was disappointed by news from Verona Pharma (VRP) about the clinical trial results for COPD treatment Ensifentrine (RPL554). Two different does were used in combination with Stiolto Respimat. The treatment did work better than the placebo, but the improvement in breathing was not statistically significant. The share price slumped by more than one-third, although there was a small subsequent recovery.

CH Bailey (BLEY) has decided to cancel its AIM quotation and it is asking for shareholder approval. The company is offering to buy back shares at 100p each via a tender offer.

Ariana Resources (AAU) says that its 50%-owned Kiziltepe mine produced 27,110ounces of gold in 2018. Ariana expects its $33m development loan to be fully repaid during 2019.

Tax Systems (TAX) had reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.

Ideagen (IDEA) is acquiring Cork-based Scannell Solutions, which provides environmental health and safety software, for £3.5m. Annualised revenues are around €1m, of which, two-thirds is recurring.

Consumer engagement technology provider Pelatro (PTRO) has confirmed that 2018 figures are in line with expectations and there was improved cash generation in the second half. Net cash was $1.8m at the end of 2018. finnCap expects 2019 pre-tax profit to double from $2.9m to $6m.

Plexus Holdings (POS) plans to buy back 4.95 million shares owned by LLC Gusar. The price will be 50.5p a share. Gusar will use the cash to buy two POS-GRIP wellhead systems, which it announced it was going to buy one year ago.

Midwich Group (MIDW) has acquired MobilePro AG, which expands the audio visual products distributor into Switzerland. The business has annual revenues of CHF25m.

Pharmaxis has completed a toxicity study for two LOXL2 inhibitors in which Synairgen (SNG) has a 17%carried financial interest. Pharmaxis can brief potential licensing partners with the information gained.

Tracsis (TRCS) is acquiring Compass Informatics, which is a data analytics and systems development business. Tracsis is paying up to €5.15m for the Dublin-based company, which made a pre-tax profit of £600,000 last year.

Portmeirion Group (PMP) has achieved record sales in 2018 and beat the profit forecast of £9.5m. The fastest growth came in the home fragrance division.

Iofina (IOF) achieved record iodine production levels in the second half of 2018. Full year production was 17% higher at 588.8 million tonnes. There should be a further rise in production this year and that could move Iofina into profit.

Brandon Hill has initiated coverage of Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) and it has valued the company’s Lahtojoki diamond project in Finland at $32.9m, based on an average diamond price of $100/carat.

The People’s Operator (TPOP) has postponed the appointment of an administrator as negotiations with interested parties continue.

Kestrel Opportunities has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) from 22.2% to 23.1%. Little more than one year ago the stake was below 15%.

Caledonia Mining Corporation (CMCL) has cut 2019 gold production guidance for its Blanket Mine and WH Ireland has downgraded its forecast from 61,200 ounces to 55,500 ounces, which is at the higher end of the guidance. There was 54,5000 ounces of gold produced in 2018.

MAIN MARKET 

Athelney Trust (ATY) is holding the requisitioned general meeting on Tuesday 22 January. Robin Boyle has requisitioned a general meeting in order to get himself reappointed. He left the board last year after a disagreement over the future of the investment company. He wanted to stay on as a non-executive director to shepherd the change in investment management for the trust. The plan is to get Gresham House involved in the investment management. Boyle also wants David Lawman and Paul Coffin to be appointed and the three existing directors, Dr Emmanuel Pohl, Simon Moore and Jemma Jackson, to be removed.

Path Investments (PATH) has signed heads of agreement with ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue. Path had £31,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018.

Challenger Acquisitions Ltd (CHAL) has agreed to sell its $300,000 investment in the Dallas Wheel project back to the developers. Challenger has received $27,000 in interest and will receive $50,000 a month, plus interest, for six months.

Gresham Technologies (GHT) has sold its VME mainframe software business for £2m.

Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has sufficient cash to finance continued exploration in the first quarter of 2019. By the middle of the year the gems explorer will be able to estimate how much cash it requires to start trial mining.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard: HSBC Pays The Penalty – Yet Again

HSBC has had to cave in and pay yet another huge penalty to fend off claims in the US of widespread fraud and corruption. It took the benighted bank some ten years until 1916 before it had the grace to cough up and agree to pay compensation to US customers to whom it brought financial misery and in many cases deliberately made homeless. The bank has now been forced to pay a huge $765 million settlement to the US Department of Justice but still will not admit to any wrongdoing, which raises the rather major question, as to why in that case it has agreed to make the payment. Banks are not particularly noted for their generosity.

The bank paid up rather than try to defend itself against allegations that it misled investors, misrepresented the quality of securities, hurt people and abused their trust, caused major losses by investors and contributed to a crisis of foreclosures. The amount involved at $24bn was not chicken feed but this is the worlds bank so nobody has actually been sent to prison. The bank claims that it has put things right by strengthening its internal controls but in the same breath it admits that it is still completing the turn-around of its US operations. Twelve years after the event and it has still not got its act together!

Page Group plc PAGE saw third quarter gross profit rise by 19.7%, the highest quarterly growth rate since 2011. The increase ranged from virtually nil (0.8%) in the UK, to 30% in the Americas and 27.7% in Asia Pacific. operating profit for 2018 is expected to be marginally ahead of consensus

Sanderson Group plc SND updates that trading results for the year to the end of September are significantly ahead of 2017, but also slightly ahead of current market expectations. Group revenue rose by nearly 50% and operating profit  by 30% to over £5 million compared to 2017’s: £3.90 million. Sales orders in the second half of the year were strong and on a like-for-like basis, the order book at he year end was up by over 9%.

Iofina plc IOF produced the largest quarterly total of crystalline iodine in its history with a total of 172.3 metric tonnes for the third quarter, an increase of 37.8% over the third quarter of 2017. The company expects the positive momentum which it is currently experiencing will significantly increase Group revenue and profits from those attained in the first half.”

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Ian Pollard – Forex volatility impacts Diageo #DGE

Diageo plc DGE updates prior to its AGM that the year has started well but increased foreign exchange volatility in emerging markets will have a £175m impact on sales and a £45m.impact on operating profit for the fiscal year.

Stobart Group plc STOB  has issued a pre close trading statement for the six months to the 31st August showing that aviation passenger numbers at London Southend Airport have risen by 37%. Further growth will be added with the start of Ryanair flights in spring 2019, the target being to reach 5m passengers per year by 2022. Stobart claims it is well placed to deliver the ambitious growth targets set by the Board to double the value of the business. An interim dividend of 4.5p per share is to be paid.

Kier Group plc KIE announces what it describes as a good set of results for the year to 30th June with all divisions performing well. The year ended with a record order book of 10.2bn in construction and services. Both profit before tax and basic earnings per share rose by 9% and an increase of 2% is proposed in the full year dividend.

Iofina IOF has continued to improve both revenue and profitability. in the half year to the 30th June. Revenue rose by 20% on top of which it benefited from price rises of 8% and production increases. Iodine prices are continuing to rise and production increased by 12% ahead of revised production targets. EBITDA was up by 6% and the operating loss was reduced to $47,000 and the loss before tax to $0.8m.

The City Pub Group CPC claims it made strong progress in the half year to the 1st July, with sales up by 24%, adjusted EBITDA by 25% and adjusted profit before tax by 73%. Nine pubs have been opened this year and it anticipates operating more than 50 by mid 2019. It is ahead of its strategy to double in size to 65-70 sites by 2021.The momentum seen in the first half has continued into the second half

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Ian Pollard: Iofina #IOF Hit By Anti Dumping Duties

Iofina IOF expects to see a significant rise in production for 2018 with a target of 575 to 605 metric tonnes of crystalline iodine compared to 503 metric tonnes in 2017. As a bonus on top of that, iodine price have continued to strengthen. The cloud on the horizon however, is that Iofina and a number of other companies have been found guilty of dumping iodine into China, resulting in the imposition of anti dumping duties. A final decision on this is not expected until the autumn but the poor state of trade relationships between the US and China means that a favourable outcome is not a certainty

DS Smith plc SMDS produced a strong set of results in the year to 30th April as it saw a return to growth. Revenue and adjusted profit before tax both rose by 17% on a constant currency basis and basic earnings per share rose by 10%. Margins were strong and good momentum is being maintained in the current year.

 Volex plc VLX produced its best financial performance for five years  and claims that it is strongly positioned for future growth. The year to the first of April saw the company produce its first statutory profit after tax since 2012. Last years statutory loss of $8.5m was turned into a profit before tax of $7m.and revenues are expected to show organic growth in the current year.

Angling Direct ANG is continuing its strategy of consolidating the fishing tackle market with the acquisition of Ted Carter Fishing Tackle which has a 3,000 s.ft. store at Preston. Carter had a turnover of £1.2m. in the year to 31st March and the consideration for the takeover is £125,000 plus stock at valuation, payable in cash.

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Dominos – Swiss Sales Surge Follows Price Reductions

Dominos Pizza Grp DOM Sales during the 13 weeks to the 24th September rose by 11.9% on a like for like and constant currency basis. Demand was strong and the quarter saw a record number of store openings as well as a recovery in like for like sales. Switzerland led the way with like for like growth of 20.4%, following price reductions earlier in the year and a surge of 69.6% in online sales.

Marstons plc MARS Updates that both sales and profits for the year to the end of September, were ahead of last year and despite recent market conditions being subdued further growth is targeted for 2018 when the opening of 15 new pubs and bars and 6 lodges is expected. For brewing the 2017 year has been transformational with own brewed volumes up by 6%. Taverns on the other hand produced like for like sales growth of 1.6% and Destination and Premium only managed 0.9%.

Ted Baker Plc TED Interim results for the 28 weeks to 12th August saw group revenue rise by 9.5% on a constant currency basis whilst basic earnings per share were up by 12.2%. Asia was particularly strong with a rise in sales of 19.6% on a constant currency basis. Overall the half year performance was in line with expectations with profit before tax up by 17.8% and the interim dividend being increased by 17.5%.

easyHotel plc EZH The  year to the end of September was one of accelerated growth with a strong like for like performance in both owned and franchised hotels enabling the company to continue to outperform the market. Total sales for the year rose by 39% with like for like revenue in owned hotels up by 13.7% and by 8.6% in franchised hotels. 2560 owned rooms and 2263 frnchised rooms are under negotiation.

Iofina IOF  produced more iodine than expected  in the third quarter of 2017 which became a landmark period, as at the same time, global iodine prices continued to recover.

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Iofina Benefits From Increased Production And Rising Prices

Iofina IOF reached a number of significant operation and financial milestones during the six months to the 30th June and is now optimistic about the remainder of the year. Production during the half year exceeded expectations and spot iodine prices have risen by 25% since the start of the year, after earlier weakness which led to a fall in revenue of 18%. EBITDA has more than tripled from US$0.2m to $0.7m and the group is increasingly positive about future profitability

Saga plc SAGA pre tax profit before tax for the six months to 31st July fell by 6.3% and the interim dividend is increased by 11.1%. Saga would prefer that you concentrate on underlying profit before tax which grew by 5.5%, enabling it to claim four consecutive years of growth. Growth in travel was strong with travel profits rising by 63%.

Smiths Group SMIN claims that it is well positioned to return to growth but not just yet and the likely starting date is given as 2018. For the year to 31st July the dividend is being increased by a cautious 3% after full year revenue rose by 11%, pre tax profit by 17% and like for like basic earnings per share by 15%. Problems  such as unspecified market challenges in the John Crane subsidiary and new product delays in Smiths medical impacted the years outcome.

Windar Photonics WPHO which developed and produces wind sensors for wind turbines saw first half turnover rise by 62% exceeding that for the whole of 2016 which was a challenging year. At the same time operating costs fell by 47%, resulting in the net loss for the six months to 30th June falling from last years E1.8m to 0.8m and the EBITDA loss falling by 74%. Further growth is expected in the second half.

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Apple Declares War On Imagination Technology.

Imagination Technology IMG. Apple has served notice on IMG that in 15 months to 2 years time it will stop using IMGs intellectual property in its new products, be they phones, tablets, i pods or watches. This means that IMG will not then be eligible for royalty payments from Apple under the present agreement. Apple is IMG’s largest customer and has been using IMG’s intellectual property for many years. Now it looks like war with only the lawyers licking their lips at the prospect.

Apple insists that it has been working on its own separate, independent graphics designs. IMG has asked Apple to produce evidence that these will not infringe IMG’s patents, confidential information and intellectual property rights. Apple, being Apple, has ignored the request. Does the invasion of Poland draw nigh?

Reckitt Benckiser RB. has come to the conclusion that French’s Foods is such a fantastic performer with great brands, great people and a history of out performance that it it is going to launch a strategic review of food  so that it can decided what to do with this “great food business” i.e. French’s. Well if its such a good performer and its people are so great, there should only be one answer and a management which was even only slightly clued up would know what that answer was without wasting time on strategic reviews. Simple  – replace themselves with the management of French Foods, start a strategic review of their own present performance  and ascertain why French’s does so well by comparison.

Obviously a strategic review keeps group management busy and out of harms way but in the end management is supposed to manage.

Iofina IOF Problems with a partner over brine supplies have proved to be a blessing in disguise. Alternative sources of supply have been investigated, as a result of which IOF expects to be able to increase iodine production above end 2016 levels and to reduce overall production costs.

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Sterlings Decline and Fall Is Helpful – So Far

RPC Group RPC claims an encouraging overall performance for the quarter to 30th June. Revenue was significantly higher and adjusted operating profit was significantly ahead of management expectations, plus the added bonus of favorable currency movements, resulting from our politicians successful attempts to destroy the value of our currency.

Amino Technologies AMO Revenue for the half year to 31st May surged by 58% and adjusted profit before tax by 40%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 10%. Last years first half statutory profit of £3.6m. was turned into a stautory loss of £0.5m after taking into account £3.5m of exceptionals and a further £1.1m amortisation of acquired intangibles.

Pinewood Group PWS is increasing its final dividend by 14.3%, after what it claims is another strong set of results. Revenue for the year to 31st March rose by 10.9% and profit after tax was up by 51.6%. The fall in the value of sterling was a positive factor.

Iofina IOF has performed well during the first half of 2016, achieving its production targets and increasing revenue, despite a fall in the price of iodine, which it appears has now stabilised.

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