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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has asked Woodford Investment Management to subscribe for £25m worth of shares at 176p a share. This is part of an agreement with Woodford that was outlined in the prospectus and it comes at a time when the fund manager is coming under pressure for poor performance and it has closed redemptions from one of its funds. The cash will pay off a loan and provide working capital.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is making a £155,000 investment in Tasmania Energy Metals and the two companies will evaluate whether they should develop an integrated facility for the treatment of metal concentrate. NQ also has an exclusivity period until the end of July during which to decide whether to acquire Tasmania’s assets.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has signed an offtake agreement with a Swiss supplier of cannabis oil. This will be used to manufacture cannabidiol products.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has invested £300,000 in Apollon Formularies for a 0.71% stake. Apollon plans to open a licenced retail medicinal cannabis dispensary and processing facility in Jamaica by the end of the month.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that it is unlikely to return to paying dividends or return capital to shareholders before 2022 at the earliest. There is uncertainty about future revenue streams from fixed-odds betting terminals and how this could impact UK betting. It could reduce prize money levels. The onsite hotel has increased revenues by 15% so far this year.

Trading in shares of Equatorial Mining (EM.P) has been suspended ahead of publishing accounts. They should be published at the time of the general meeting to gain approval of the acquisition of Rwanda-based miner and explorer Eastinco. A £1.2m fundraising is also planned.

Altona Energy (ANR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shaanxi Qianyan Vanadium and Magnesium Mining, which owns a vanadium mine in China. The plan is to forma joint venture where Altona will be the controlling shareholder. Due diligence will take up to six months and there will be a JORC-compliant mineral resource classification report. The estimated reserve is 190,000 tonnes of vanadium.

Formation Group (FRM) has secured a £10m subscription at 7.71p a share through the acquisition of Zandra Holdings, whose asset is £10m in cash. This takes the Kennedy Private Trust stake in Formation to 89.99%. A £10m loan facility ahs also been secured.

The Little Bear mine area has been transferred to Panther Metals (PALM) and the Little Bear vein is a high priority drill target in order to see if the bonanza grade gold mineralisation still exists at depth. Panther has also applied for a licence over the Annaburroo gold project in Northern Territory, Australia.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has secured a £600,000 secured revolving credit facility and spent £465,000 on a bungalow in Didcot to be redeveloped into a home providing specialist support for four adults.

Valiant Investments (VALP) is raising £263,000 at 1.5p a share and it is changing its name to Eurocann International as an indication of the change in strategy to investment in the medicinal cannabis sector. Jeremy Rose will become chief executive and he has a number of directorships including of Speakeasy Cannabis.  Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi will become a non-executive.

EcoVista (EVTP) had £419,000 in cash at the end of February 2019 and it is seeking further investment. The interim loss declined from £238,000 to £202,000. Net assets were £1.19m at the end of February 2019.

Share trading in Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has been suspended because it has not published its 2018 accounts.

AIM  

The smart machines division of Vianet (VNET) is going to be the source of profit growth for the coming years. Profit can be improved by converting the vending machines that came with the Vendman acquisition to Vianet’s contactless technology, as well as winning new business. The smart zones pub dispensing technology division should be able to maintain its contribution with lower UK profit due to pub closures being offset by an improved performance in the US. Pre-tax profit is expected to improve from £2.7m to £2.9m, although earnings per share will be hit by a higher tax charge.

Interim revenues at smart home devices supplier LightwaveRF (LWRF) increased 120% to £2.5m, although there was still a pre-tax loss of £1.35m.  New distribution channels are helping to accelerate growth in revenues. The company could move into profit next year

Bad weather in the US has hampered the progress of Somero Enterprises (SOM) and led to forecast downgrades. Demand for concrete levelling equipment is normally stronger in the spring. This year’s earnings have been cut by 12% and next year by 11%. This will also reduce the potential dividend. The forecast 2019 normal dividend plus payout of surplus cash has been cut from 27.8 cents a share to 19.8 cents a share.

Waste-to-energy technology developer EQTEC (EQT) is acquiring a 19.99% stake in North Fork Community Power, a biomass gasification power project in California. EQTEC will supply $2.5m worth of equipment from its Newry site in return for the stake. It also expects to generate €2.2m from selling additional equipment.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has signed a distribution agreement for the Microsaic 4500 MID MS detector with CM Corporation for the South Korean market.

A shareholder owning a 17.2% stake in Rurelec (RUR) intends to propose an AGM resolution for the appointment of Gordon Fisher as a director. He is a former boss of a freight forwarding and customs brokerage. The electricity generator reduced its pre-tax loss from £5.8m to £600,000 in 2018, mainly due to lower overheads, exchange gains and a disposal gain. NAV is 4.4p a share, which is more than four times the share price.

Driver (DRV) had already said that its interims would be disappointing and pre-tax profit slumped from £2.11m to £762,000. The Middle East and Asia Pacific were tough markets with lower contributions. The expert witness operations made a reduced contribution. A 0.5p a share interim dividend was announced, and the ex-dividend date is 19 September. The company is also buying back shares in order to put a floor under the share price.

Chemicals-focused shell Wilmcote Holdings (WCH) is in exclusive discussions with Arclin Inc for a potential acquisition. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Acquisitions consultancy K3 Capital (K3C) has confirmed that trading is in line with previous guidance and EBITDA is at the upper end of the range of £4.5m to £5m. An 80% payout would mean a reduction in dividend from 11.2p a share to 7.2p a share.

Osirium Technologies (OSI) has won a contract with a European telecoms services provider. The three year contract covers cyber security software and services.

MAIN MARKET 

A strong first half has continued into the second half trading for automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) and pre-tax profit for the year to May 2019 is expected to exceed expectations by 10%. This suggests pre-tax profit of around £2m. The results will be announced on 12 September.

Caffyns (CFYN) reported a small improvement in underlying pre-tax profit to £1.45m in the year to March 2019. New car sales were 10% lower, which is more than three times the market decline. However, there was growth in used car sales and aftersales revenues.

Positive news from Argo Blockchain (ARB) where results for May were well ahead of the company’s budgets. New cryptomining hardware has started contributing faster than expected and rising cryptocurrency prices have improved mining yields. A further £2.85m is being invested in equipment. There was £685,000 generated in May, based on a bitcoin price of $8,575, while cash operating costs were £280,000. Second quarter figures will be better than expected. If the bitcoin price is maintained, then there will be £2.85m of crypto assets at the end of the second quarter.

BigDish (DISH) has raised £2.1m at 7.2p a share and this should be enough cash for the restaurant platform until 2021. The UK rollout will be accelerated.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) is acquiring the Minto mine from Capstone Mining. Pembridge will pay up to $20m out of future cash flows. Commercial production could recommence before the end of the year. A $10m loan has been secured.

Symphony International Holdings (SIHL) has made an investment in Soothe Healthcare, which manufactures feminine hygiene products under the Paree and Pariz brands.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard – Harmful MPs Blamed For Significant Brexit Damage To UK Economy

K3 Capital Group plc K3C makes no bones about the significant uncertainty being created by the countries hapless politicians and the damage they are doing to the UK’s economic and political environment in the run up to Brexit,  against what is becoming an increasingly difficult backdrop.  At least here is somebody prepared to stand up and paint a true picture of how harmful our rulers really are. Significant transactions which the company has been working on continue to make progress and are in advanced stages of commercial negotiation.but they continue to experience challenges and take longer to complete than anticipated, Consequently they  may not close within the current financial year which ends on the 31st May. The Group has continued to perform well  and four out of five income streams across the Group will see strong growth. Despite this the mishandling of the Brexit situation is damaging the prospects of these high value transactions and will inevitably lead to a temporary dip in profitability

GVC Holdings plc GVC updates that it has made an excellent start to the year with continued strong volume growth in all major territories for the quarter between 1st January and 31st March. Total online NGR grew by 17% and total group retail NGR by 8%.

Creo Medical Group plc CREO continued to deliver against its strategic objectives during the 18 months to the 31st December reflecting a period of considerable progress. A widening suite of innovative medical devices was developed, The list of physicians participating in the  Clinical Education Programme as part of a training led commercialisation plan was increased and the distribution network and manufacturing capacity was evolved in anticipation of commercial launch.The operating loss of £17.7m compared to £8.9m for the12 months to 30 June 2017 and was in line with management expectations.The company feels it has now established a solid platform for future growth.

Tricorn Group plc TCN expects profit before tax for the year to the 31st March to be about 30% up on the previous year, whilst revenue for the Year is expected to be around 2.5 per cent ahead.

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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 28 January 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Full year figures from AFH Financial Group (AFHP) show how successful its acquisition strategy is with revenues 51% higher at £50.7m and pre-tax profit that nearly doubled to £6m. Despite the additional shares issued to part-finance these acquisitions, underlying earnings per share were one-third higher. The dividend is 50% higher at 6p a share. Acquisitions have continued since the year end. Management believes that it can double funds under management to £10bn in three to five years.

Startup Giants (SUG) has commenced a programme to raise up to £3m. There will be an initial share placing to raise £200,000. The company has launched its 2019 accelerator round for pre-seed capital tech entrepreneurs. Funding of up to £100,000 can be received by successful applications.

KR1 (KR1) has invested $200,000 in Rlay, a data collaboration framework for crowdsourcing. KR1 will receive an undetermined number of discounted tokens. This will be a discount to the lowest price paid by any investor in the tokens. KR1 has spent £50,000 in 50,000 Nash tokens.  These are the first tokens issued out of Liechtenstein.

MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has signed a deal with Master Kingdom Ltd in order to create a range of body care and body wash products, which will be sold under the Artist’s brand name.

MetalNRG (MNRG) says that the Kyrgyzstan authorities have granted the application for a mining licence for the company’s uranium project in the country. The in-situ value of the uranium reserves is $253m and there is potential exploration upside.

Johnny Martin Smith is joining the board of VI Mining (VIM) and trading in the shares has resumed. Smith is a former mining analyst.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £142,000 at 11p a share. Bryan Smart has resigned from the board.

BWA Group (BWAP) had nearly £45,000 left in the bank at the end of October 2018. Elections have delayed progress with the potential licence acquisitions for rutile sands deposits in Cameroon. Investee company Prego International is moving from Guernsey to Norway and it may merge with another business.

Milamber Ventures (MLVP) is seeking a replacement for First Sentinel Corporate Finance as its corporate adviser.

AIM   

Mporium (MPM) has signed a partnership deal with claims management firm Allay, which will use the company’s technology to generate leads for its business. Allay will be issued a 25% stake in Mporium in return for the revenuesthat will be generated, which could be worth millions of pounds. The stake could be increased to 29.9% if Mporium is successful in winning leads for Allay.

Mastercard has launched a rival bid for Earthport (EPO) and Visa is considering its position. The new bid is 33p a share and this values the company at £233m. That is a 10% premium to the Visa bid.

Aquaculture business Benchmark (BMK) has expanded its production capacity and is launching new products. Revenues were 8% higher at £151.5m and it would have been higher at constant exchange rates. It made an underlying pre-tax profit of £5.6m last year, up from £4.7m, and that could nearly double this year. Net debt was £55.7m.

Sureserve (SUR) has been restructured and non-core businesses sold. This enables it to concentrate on compliance and energy support services. Full year revenues from the continuing operations were 5% higher at £191m and underlying pre-tax profit improved from £5.4m to £6.6m. This was better than expected and net debt was £11.4m. The dividend has been halved to 0.25p a share.

K3 Capital (K3C) was expected to report lower figures in the first half due to the timing of larger corporate finance deals and the mergers and acquisitions achieved interim revenues 4% lower at £7.2m and an even larger decline in profit. The second half should be better and revenues could be slightly higher than last year at £16.6m, but full year pre-tax profit is forecast to fall from £7.3m to £7m.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) reported record full year results. The higher milk price has led to increased demand for dairy feed. Revenues grew from £390.7m to £462.7m and pre-tax profit moved from £7.9m to £9.5m. The agriculture and retail divisions both improved their profit and the latter added additional sites in the second half that were not profitable in the period. There was the normal second half cash inflow but it was not as great as in the past, so net debt was nearly £1m. The dividend has been raised 6% to 13.4p a share.

InfraStrata (INFA) has raised £1.5m at 1.2p a share. This will boost its balance sheet while it negotiates with investors in the Islandmagee gas storage project. One equity investor has appointed advisers to do due diligence work. The project will continue to progress as these negotiations continue and the cash will make sure that progress is made while the final funding package is secured.

Lighthouse Group (LGT) has secured a deal to transfer the members and assets of its pension trust to Smart Pensions Ltd. The IFA will protect itself from the rising cost of the administration and capital requirements of pension trusts.

Audioboom (BOOM) grew last year’s revenues by 92% to $11.7m, although this was a 13 month period, and it says that there was no cash outflow from operations in the final three months. That meant that there was $1.6m in the bank at the end of 2018.

Robinson (RBN) traded in line with expectations last year. The packaging manufacturer expects revenues of £32.8m, which is a 10% improvement. The fastest growth was in Poland. Even so, pre-tax profit will be lower, but it should bounce back in 2019.

A large localisation project has been cancelled and this will hamper the progress of Zoo Digital (ZOO) in the second half of its financial year. The legacy DVD business is also declining faster than anticipated. This means that ZOO will not be profitable in the year to March 2019.

Velocity Composites (VEL) increased its full year revenues by 15% to £24.5m, and there was a small loss, but business wins are slower than previously hoped. Revenues could be flat this year.

Another upgrade for audio visual products distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) following its latest trading statement. Pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £24.3m to £29.1m and then a further increase to £31.7m in 2019.

MAIN MARKET 

Robin Boyle has failed to get back on the board of Athelney Trust (ATY) but he was successful in removing the existing directors. David Lawman and Paul Coffin were appointed although the latter resigned at the end of the week and he was replaced by Frank Ashton. The proposed tender offer and placing was also passed.

Dev Clever Holdings (DEV) is the latest company to float on the standard list. A share issue has raised £898,000 at 1p a share, including £220,000 due to the conversion of debt. The software development company was valued at £3.73m. The share price ended the week a 7.75p.

Nanoco (NANO) has signed a contract extension with a US company and this lasts until the end of 2019. This underpins the current year forecast.

Ross Group (RGP) has issued the final 21.3 million shares for the acquisition of Archipelago Aquaculture, which plans to start producing Chitin to help to produce quality shrimp. The deal was announced last September, and 17.9 million shares were issued at 1p a share. Global Blue Technologies Inc owns 19.9% of Ross.

Interim figures from Haynes Publishing (HYNS) show a 23% increase in underlying pre-tax profit to £1.6m on a 7% rise in revenues to £18.3m. Digital revenues were 23% higher at £9.7m. The growth in revenues and profit was in the UK and Europe. The interim dividend is unchanged at 3.5p a share. Net cash was £2.6m.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 December 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Ecommerce software provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved into profit in the first half and had £648,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. Revenues increased by £168,000 to £647,000, even though subscription-based pricing is reducing the initial revenues from B2B clients. A loss of £60,000 became a pre-tax profit of £142,000, helped by lower operating expenses.

Veni Vidi Vici Ltd (VVV) is acquiring a 51% stake in a licence in the Shangri La gold, silver and copper project in Western Australia for A$220,000, which is payable to Goldfields Consolidated in the form of 190,000 shares and A$20,000 in cash. The shares cannot be sold for three months. VVV will spend an initial A$300,000 over three years and Goldfields will receive a 10% management fee.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has raised £367,000 at 4p a share and each new share comes with a two-year warrant exercisable at 7.5p a share. If the share price averages more than 15p for five consecutive days, then the company can require the warrants to be exercised.

Gastropubs operator Barkby Group (BARK) has signed heads of terms to acquire Northamptonshire-based upmarket car dealer Centurian Automotive Ltd. The most recent accounts were for a dormant company and shows £200 in the bank.

Quetzal Securities Ltd sold 6.75 million shares in Pelican House Mining (PHM) for 0.5p each and Eight Capital Partners (ECP) acquired 8.25 million shares at 0.491p each. Quetzal subsequently sold a further 6.75 million shares in Pelican shares, leaving a 13.2% stake, to Eight Capital at 0.5p a share, taking its stake to 15.3%.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2018. An interim of 7p a share will be paid in January (ex-dividend 20 December) and a final dividend of 14p a share paid in May (ex-dividend 18 April).

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has appointed Northland as broker.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (EL.P) had a NAV of 200.95p a share at the end of November 2018. The shares are trading at 160p.

AIM  

Construction consultancy Driver Group (DRV) reported a 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £3.8m, up from £2.5m, and it is returning to paying dividends with a 0.5p a share payment. Net cash is £6.9m, helped by a property disposal, and this could reach more than £10m by September 2019 even after dividend payments. The Diales expert witness business is becoming an increasingly important revenue generator and overall utilisation levels have improved. There has also been a focus on better margin work in the Middle East.

SigmaRoc (SRC) is in the process of acquiring precast concrete products supplier CPP Building Products for £15.2m, although the deal requires shareholder approval for share issues, so it will not happen until early January. CPP is based in north west England and fits well with the existing precast concrete business. In the year to August 2018, revenues were £20.9m and EBITDA was £2.6m. This year’s trading is in line with expectations. There are plans to refinance the convertible loan notes.

Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned about delays to its utility connection contracts with housebuilders and the 2017-18 figures were slightly better than expected with flat pre-tax profit of £9.2m. Nexus has a strong order book and could increase its 2018-19 pre-tax profit to £10.4m. The new electric vehicle charging points division will take time to build up.

Advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has benefited from an upturn in demand from the oil and gas sector. It is also getting nearer to obtaining its first aerospace orders. Hardide remains loss-making and this will still be the case next year as it continues to invest in increasing capacity in the UK and US as demand grows.

Curtis Banks (CBP) has purchased around 600 SIPPS with assets of £180m from Hargreaves Hale, which will continue to manage the assets. Curtis Banks will launch a new SIPP product in January.

Clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences (VENN) is collaborating with Open Orphan DAC. The two firms will share resources in the orphan drugs market. Venn is raising £1m from a two-year loan note issue.

WH Ireland has upgraded its forecast for banknote authentication and brand protection technology business Spectra Systems (SPSY) for the second time. The underlying pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 10% to $4.5m. The 2019 forecast, which had previously been upgrade by 16%, is maintained for the time being.

Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that its 60%-owned subsidiary MAST Energy Developments has an exclusive option to undertake due diligence and acquire three peaking power sites totalling 31.3MW. This would provide initial revenues for Kibo later next year. Kibo has renewed its memorandum of understanding with Mozambique-based electric utility Electricidade de Mocambique for the financing and operation of the Benga independent power project.

eServGlobal Ltd (ESG) says that 2018 revenues will be lower than expected due to weak trading at the PayMobile business and the failure to close orders. The PayMobile business may be sold and the focus will be the HomeSend remittances business.

NWF (NWF) says feeds demand was strong in the summer because of a lack of natural grazing. In contrast, the hot weather held back demand for fuels. A Solihull-based fuel distributor has been acquired. The food distribution business continues to trade at around capacity because of contract wins. The interims will be published on 29 January.

ReNeuron (RENE) has important clinical trial results coming up in the next 18 months. A retinitis pigmentosa treatment is in phase I/II trials and there should be data in mid-2019. A phase IIb trial for a CTX cell therapy-based treatment for chronic stroke is due to report by early 2020. There was £30.7m in the bank at the end of September 2018. Management is seeking partners to help it to make the most of its technology.

PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised £100,000 at 0.02p a share and this will enable the board to assess new business opportunities.

Property adviser Fletcher King (FLK) is maintaining its interim dividend at 1p a share even though pre-tax profit has dipped from £148,000 to £132,000. Ratings appeals revenues were lower. There is £2.28m of cash in the balance sheet.

Kromek (KMK) has secured an initial contract with the US Department of Defense worth $2m over 12 months. The plan is to develop a proof-of-concept device for a vehicle-mounted biological threat identifier.

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) started trading on AIM on Friday and the share price ended the day at 272.5p. Crossword raised £2m at 290p a share.

Volex (VLX) is buying cable assemblies and connectors manufacturer GTK for £14.3m in cash and shares. in the year to July 2018, GTK generated a pre-exceptional operating profit of £1.7m. There was £1.3m in the bank. The deal is earnings enhancing.

African Battery Metals (ABM) has found it difficult to raise the cash it requires and trading in the shares has been suspended.  The company wants to come to a settlement with creditors so that it could continue to trade.

Smaller company mergers and acquisitions business K3 Capital Group (K3C) is cautiously optimistic but the full year outcome will depend on the timing of deals. There could be a small dip in pre-tax profit to £7m this year and there could be a corresponding dip in dividend from 11.2p a share to 10.8p a share.

Telit Communications (TCM) says that it will not complete the sale of its automotive business until next year. Telit is expected to make a 2018 loss. Further cost savings are being made in the Internet of Things operations.

More bad news from Filtronic (FTC) with sales of Massive MIMO antennas lower than expected. The main customer has reduced its forecast demand. The capitalised development costs of £500,000 will be written off and options are being reviewed. The rest of the business is trading in line with expectations. Filtronic will be loss-making this year. Net cash was £2.3m at the end of November 2018.

Science Group (SAG) has ended its formal sale process because of stockmarket and exchange rate uncertainty. The strategic review continues. Trading is in line with expectations and the company will recommence the share buy back programme. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of November 2018.

Like-for-like sales growth has been slowing at DP Poland (DPP) and this means that progress in 2019 is unlikely to be as good as expected. This means that it will take longer to reach profitability. Rivals have been spending money on marketing and warm weather has also held DP Poland back. A full year trading update will be published on 29 January.

Taptica International Ltd (TAP) plans to spend up to $10m on buying back shares and it has already spent nearly £110,000. There was net cash of $42.1m at the end of June 2018.

Tristel (TSTL) says that the US regulatory process for its disinfection products is on track and interim pre-tax profit should be £2.2m.

TomCo Energy (TOM) has managed to secure £550,000 at 2p a share. The previous £532,000 placing at 8.5p a share was pulled. Laurence Read has become a non-executive director.

RA International (RAI) has won a five year contract worth up to $5.6m from a US corporate client in Central Africa.

MAIN MARKET   

Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR) is moving to AIM and it has decided to exercise its option to acquire US rights to COPD treatment Tudorza from AstraZeneca. This deal should complete by the end of the year and it will trigger a payment of $5m. A further $20m is payable upon approval of Duaklir and then there is further deferred consideration of $100m.

Tex Holdings (TXH) has warned that second half earnings will be lower than anticipated due to delayed deliveries and reorganisation costs.

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) is on course to complete the expansion of its Runcorn facility by the end of 2018 with commercial volume manufacturing by the middle of 2019.

Lb-shell (LBP) is being wound-up because of potential litigation relating to before it became a shell. There is unlikely to be anything left for shareholders.

Giant Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) is installing a $1m data centre in Singapore.

Andrew Hore

Quoted Micro 18 June 2018

Small cap award winners 2018

Company of the year

ZOO Digital (ZOO)

The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.

NEX company of the year

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.

Impact company of the year

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)

Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.

IPO of the year

K3 Capital (K3C)

Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m.  In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.

 

Fintech company of the year

FAIRFX Group (FFX)

Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.

Transaction of the year

Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce

Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.

Executive director of the year

Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)

Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.

Journalist of the year

Paul Scott – Stockopedia

Fund manager of the year

Nick Williamson – Old Mutual

Microcap fund manager of the year

Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity

Analyst of the year

Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald

Lifetime achievement award

Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management

Special services to small caps

John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)

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NEX EXCHANGE   

Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit.  The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.

Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.

IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.

South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.

AIM   

NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.

Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.

RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.

Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.

Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.

Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.

Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.

Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.

Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.

MAIN MARKET    

WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.

China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.

Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.

BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.

Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.

Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 22 January 2018

NEX EXCHANGE

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) reported a decline in full year revenues from £560,000 to £372,000 and there was no repeat of the realised gains on investments in the previous year. There was an increase in unrealised gains from £71,000 to £317,000. However, there was a £1.32m investment impairment. This meant that a profit of £158,000 was turned into a loss of £1.17m. There is £1.28m in the bank. The employee-owned businesses investor is focusing on managing its portfolio and the advisory business spun off into a joint venture. The NAV is 42.7p a share.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has invested the £1.4m it raised when it joined NEX last year. These investments include fellow NEX-quoted company NQ Minerals, where First Sentinel boss Brian Stockbridge is chairman, AIM-quoted UK Oil and Gas Investments and AIM-quoted Premier African Minerals. There is a £65,000 loan to unquoted tea cafés operator Yumchaa, where Stockbridge is 50% shareholder. The loan has an interest rate of 12% and lasts until October.

Block Energy (BLOK) has further delayed the planned move to AIM. The oil and gas company has a new expected admission date of end-February. Trading remains suspended on NEX.

AIM

Mark Watkin Jones intends to step down as chief executive of student and private rental accommodation developer Watkin Jones (WJG) but he will stay until a successor is identified. In the year to September 2017, revenues were 13% higher at £301.9m and underlying operating profit rose by a similar percentage to £42.7m. The dividend was 6.6p a share, equivalent to a 10% increase if Watkin Jones had been quoted for all the previous year. Investor demand for student accommodation and private rental residential property remains strong.

Van Elle (VNL) has an outstanding debt of £1.6m from failed facilities management and construction company Carillion. finnCap has also assumed lower second half profit of £1.3m relating to expected business from Carillion. The specialist piling contractor has a poor record since floating and this does not help.

Engineering and IT recruitment company Gattaca (GATC) says that most of Carillion’s debt to the company is insured with around £100,000 uninsured. Premier Technical Services (PTSG) says that it has £800,000 of annual revenues with Carillion with £300,000 still owed. Elsewhere, business is in line with expectations. Bilby (BILB) says that it does not think that the contract with CarillionAmey will be impacted.

Sinclair Pharma (SPH) directors have been buying shares on the back of the news that it has received regulatory approval of Ellanse pre-mixed bioresorbable collagen stimulating fillers in Brazil, one of the most important global markets. Ellanse will be soft launched immediately and the full launch is a matter of weeks away. Other Sinclair dermatological products are selling well in Brazil.

K3 Capital (K3C) reported interim figures that were better than forecast. This led to a £1m increase in forecast full year revenues but the pre-tax profit forecast is maintained at £5.4m because of additional costs required to accelerate the growth of the business. The business broker and corporate finance adviser announced an interim dividend of 2.85p a share and a total dividend of 8.2p a share is forecast for the full year.

Full year trading at Midwich (MIDW) was better than expected with revenues 28% ahead at £470m, helped by acquisitions performing ahead of expectations. The audio visual equipment distributor has also improved gross margin. The 2017 results will be published on 13 March.

Utilitywise (UTW) has changed its accounting policy relating to initial revenue recognition of new contracts.

LiDCO (LID) has signed up a new Japanese distributor. Merit Medical has a three year exclusive agreement and there is potential to significantly increase last year’s sales of £117,000. The LiDCOunity version 2 monitor has been approved in Japan.

African Battery Metals (ABM) is the new name for Sula Iron and Gold. Prior to the name change, £1.75m was raised and the Riverfort facility terminated with an associated buy back of shares. ABM is paying $100,000 ($50,000 is still outstanding) for a 70% stake in cobalt licences in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The other shareholder will retain its 30% stake up until a decision is made to mine, so ABM will pay the exploration costs.

Orosur Mining Inc (OMI) produced 7,052 ounces of gold at an average cash operating cost of $867/ounce in the second quarter and plans to produce at least 30,000 ounces in the financial year. Although the South America-focused gold producer and explorer generated $2.16m in cash in the second quarter, there was a $251,000 loss in the period because the all in sustaining cost was higher than the gold price received. Asset Chile has forfeited the 16% stake it earned in Anillo because it did not move into phase 2 of the project.

Shareholders have approved share buybacks by China New Energy Ltd (CNEL) until the end of 2019. Up to one-fifth of the shares can be acquired for less than 2p a share. The bioenergy technology developer and operator increased revenues from £8.85m to £24.7m in 2017 and the order book is worth £13.7m. The company was profitable last year and anticipates it will be in 2018.

Data software company WANdisco (WAND) says bookings increased 45% to $22.5m in 2017 with two-thirds generated by WANdisco Fusion software. There was cash of $27.4m at the end of 2017, with $4m from a new growth capital facility.

Thor Mining (THR) has had its stake in US Lithium diluted to 20.8% due to a A$240,000 fundraising at A$0.12 a share, which is four times the Thor acquisition price. US Lithium plans an ASX-listing.

Veltyco Group (VLTY) is acquiring a 51% stake in Varkasso, which has exclusive rights to use the crypto wallet technology platform 8Crypt, for £265,000 in cash and shares. Veltyco will incorporate the 8Crypt crypto wallet in all the gaming platforms it is involved with.

Newmont Mining has decided not to become involved in the Greatland Gold (GGP)-owned Ernest Giles gold project in Australia. It appears that the project was not in the right place or large enough for Newmont to go ahead with, although it took its time to make a final decision. Greatland benefits from the work conducted by Newmont, which has identified a large gold anomaly. Targeted exploration will be undertaken at Ernest Giles in the first quarter of 2018.

Kodal Minerals (KOD) says that the authorities have approved its exploration licences for the Bougouni lithium project in southern Mali. Triumvirat Mining Company will have a 10% economic interest in the licences, which are for an initial three year life. There has been positive drilling news concerning the Ngoualana and Sogola-Baoule prospects.

Electrical accessories supplier Volex (VLX) moved from the Main Market to AIM on 19 January.

Waste gasification technology business EQTEC (EQT) has partially repaid a five-year, £1.1m loan facility with an annual interest rate of 15%. The remaining balance of £621,000 is repayable in July 2020. The £2m of convertible secured loan note with Altair Group Investment Ltd has been extended until July 2020 and the interest rate doubled to 15%.

Renewable fuels technology developer Velocys (VLS) has raised £14m via a placing at 10p a share and hopes to raise up to £4.4m through an open offer at the same price. Last year, there was a £1.16m share issue at 45p a share. The cash will be used to finance initial development of the Mississippi biorefinery and fund the UK waste-to-renewable jet fuel project which has been around for many years.

Generic drugs supplier Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP) expects to complete the £18.2m acquisition of a 85.2% stake in Nuvista Pharma by the end of February.

Gama Aviation (GMAA) says last year’s trading was in line with expectations. The business aviation services provider has incurred $1m of costs relating to legal proceedings and there will be a similar amount to come. There will be around $2.5m of restructuring costs and write-downs. Net debt fell from $19m to $13m.

Although Blancco Technology Group (BLTG) says that first half sales declined this is due to the fact that certain contracts were not repeated in the latest period. The data erasure software business is expected to report continuing full year revenues 6% higher at £28.5m. However, higher overheads mean that there will be little profit.

Cyber security software supplier Crossrider (CROS) says that 2017 trading was in line with expectations and revenues improved 16% to $65.8m, while underlying EBITDA was 29% ahead at $8.3m. Profitability from the core activities more than doubled. There was $69.4m in the bank at the end of 2017.

Legend Gold Corp shareholders have agreed to the arrangement for Altus Strategies (ALS) to acquire the entity that owns the Legend gold projects in Mali in return for 41.1 million Altus shares. The mining projects investor is also applying for a dual listing on the TSX-V. Legend shareholders will be issued three Altus shares for each Legend share that they own, giving them 27.6% of Altus.

Toys supplier Character Group (CCT) says it has exited Christmas with “virtually no excess stocks”. International sales were poor but domestic sales grew. Pokemon products will be launched during the summer.

Caledonia Mining Corporation (CMCL) reported higher than guided annual production at the Blanket gold mine. The prediction was 54,000-56,000 ounces but the outcome was 56,135 ounces.

Sustainable pallets manufacturer RM2 International SA (RM2) had unrestricted cash of $4.1m at the end of 2017, but that could fall to $2m by the end of January. That means that there should be enough cash until the third week in February. Management continues to seek additional finance. There are plenty of potential customers but little in the way of orders.

Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS) has raised a further £150,000 at 150p. This is on top of the £150,000, £275,000 and £200,000 raised at the same price during November and December. There is a warrant with each new share and they are exercisable at 160p a share, although the most recent warrants last until January 2024. The cash is being invested in the phase IIa clinical trial for the Milciclib cancer treatment.
Remote tracking and monitoring products developer Starcom (STAR) says that last year’s turnover improved from $5.1m to $5.5m and lower operating costs mean that it will move from loss to breakeven. Strong orders mean that revenues and margins should improve this year.
Condor Gold (CNR) has obtained a TSX listing.

MAIN MARKET

Path Investments (PATH) is cancelling its standard listing even before finalising its acquisition of a 50% participating interest in the Alfeld-Elze licence and gas field in Germany. The plan is to cancel the standard listing on 19 February and raise money and apply for an AIM quotation in the first quarter of 2018. Path has previously been on AIM in a different guise but if the deal does not go ahead the plan would be to maintain the standard listing.

World Trade Systems (WTS) plans a transaction involving the sale of its assets to a new company that will float on the Channel Islands-based The International Stock Exchange. WTS shareholders will be distributed shares in the new company that will be used to acquire the assets.
Loss-making telecoms firm Toople (TOOP) did not publish a full set of figures on RNS. That is always a giveaway. It did announce that the operating loss declined by 23% to £1.31m in the year to September 2017. Cash flow is much more important for a colander company like Toople.

Technology investment company Sure Ventures (SURE) has joined the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market, having raised £3.31m at 100p a share. The main focus is augmented reality, fintech and the Internet of Things.

Challenger Acquisitions Ltd (CHAL) has invested $300,000 in a new giant observation wheel for Dallas, Texas. Challenger also has the opportunity to operate the wheel.

Andrew Hore

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