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Lok’nStore Group plc LOK enjoyed robust sales growth in the half year to 31st January with total revenue rising by 7.7% At the end of the first half occupancy was up by 8.8% and the let price per ft. had risen by 1.4%. The document storage business was sold at a profit and the proceeds will be used to fund ongoing investment into its highly accretive development pipeline of new landmark self-storage centres, which will be high growth assets. In the core self storage business growth was particularly strong at 9.2%
Windar Photonics plc WPHO Despite total revenue for the year to 31st December increasing by 59% the company did not fully achieve its 2018 targets.and was especially hit in the second half by component shortages.Operating costs for the year were unchanged, gross profit rose by 86% and EBITDA loss fell by 71%. Component shortages resulted in orders, received in 2017 not being fully delivered during the year and consequently having to be rolled into 2019. The issue was compounded by new orders from Asian markets then having to be deferred so that they will now not be delivered until this year. These were unexpected challenges which the company was not expecting. None the less growth is expected to be maintained in line with previous years.
DCD Media plc DCD is optimistic about the current years trading because sales which should have fallen into last years failed to do so with the result that the first quarter of the current year has got off to a good start. No explanation is given as to why last years expected sales failed to live up to expectations.or as why 2019s performance should be any better.
Clarkson CKN expects both first half and full year profits to be materially below those of last year after the first quarters financial performance fell below the boards expectations. Blame is put on a challenging environment in shipping and offshore capital markets, which caused transactions to be put back, lower freight rates hit the tanker market, and the impact of the lower dollar which is the main currency used by the groups banking and and broking businesses.
It seems unbelievable that only six weeks agree, the company was so full of confidence for the future that it increased its final dividend by 12% after a strong performance in the year to 31st December and following early signs of recovery in shipping markets. On that very same day, the 12th March the chairman proclaimed that it was well positioned for the future and there were early signs of recovery in the shipping market. Does the Board really expect shareholders to believe that two thirds of the way through the first quarter there was not the slightest sign that the company had been hit by serious problems, the disclosure of which which are more than likely to send the share price into a nose dive when markets open this morning.
It actually opens today’s update with the startling confession that during the first quarter it faced ‘certain headwinds’ .Explanations are called for as to why shareholders and markets have been kept in such ignorance.
Rotork ROR Order intake rose by 27% on an organic constant currency basis during the quarter to the 1st April and the order book ended the quarter, 18.6% higher than it started it. The increase was experienced across all divisions and revenues for the full year are now expected to show mid to high singe digit growth.
Morgan Advanced Materials MGAM anticipates that full year headline profit margins will be slightly ahead of last year and also announces its departure from the Composite and Defence Systems business.
Lok’n Store Group LOK Group like for like revenue rose by 8.3% in the half year to the 31st January leading to a rise of 21.3% in adjusted profit before tax. The interim dividend is to be increased by 11% to 3p per share. The company is expected to continue to grow strongly and positive momentum has continued into the second half.
Barclays BARC has now been charged by the Serious Fraud Office with an additional charge to that which was brought against it in June 2017 but this time relating to the loan itself rather than simply an allegation of providing unlawful financial assistance in 2008. It will be interesting to see who comes out of it worst, Barclays or the SFO whose reputation for competent and skilful prosecuting is hardly of the highest.
Lok’ n Store Group LOK enjoyed strong trading during the first half year to the 31st January. January produced the highest ever levelof new monthly storage sales. First half like for like revenue rose by 6.9%, self storage occupancy as at 31st January was up by 6% and price per sq. foot let was up by 0.4% compared to year ago. Trading at the new stores which have been opened is claimed to have been excellent.
Sosander SOS delivered a strong performance in December and January with net revenue having exceeded management expectations. Over Xmas and the New Year there were multiple sell outs on a number of products, generating large waiting lists which have been satisfied by repeat orders.
Proteome Sciences PRM Unaudited revenues for the year to the 31st December rose by 18%, whilst at the same time, costs fell by 5% and the order book strengthened. Re organisation in the first half led to a stronger performance in the fourth quarter with robust and increasing demand. Despite that progress has been lower than management would have wished for and the company is still loss making although the loss is expected to hve been reduced from £ 2.9m to £ 2.1m.
Proxama PROX delivered a 75% rise in revenue during the year to the 31st December, accompanied by a significant reduction in costs led by a large fall from 60 to 23 in the number of employees. The directors expect to see a fall of at least 50% in costs for the full year. A new management team was appointed during the year giving the company a lean expert team with the right skills and the lowest ever cost base.
Proactis Holdings PHD expects to report a 123% rise in revenue for the six months to the 31st Januay and a rise of 183% in adjusted EBITDA. This surge follows the acquisition at the beginning of August of Perfect Commerce LLC which contributed 50% of the total revenue for the half year. The company is also on target to produce the £5m. of synergies expected for the full year.
Computacenter CCC has enjoyed buoyant market conditions in quarter one and believes that its 2017 performance will exceed current market expectations. Revenue in Germany was particularly strong with a rise of 32% in the quarter to the 24th April and France managing 6%. As seems to be happening so frequently this year, the UK lagged way behind with a fall of 1%. The company points out that these comparatives are made against a weak first half in 2016 and will return to a more normal state in the second half.
Petra Diamonds PDL. Production was flat during the third quarter, held back by unseasonable heavy rainfall in South Africa. Over the nine months to the 31st March however, the picture was brighter with production rising by 15% and Revenue by 27%. The volume of diamonds sold was up by 33%. Prices for rough diamonds rose by 2%, compared to the first half.
Fishing Republic FISH claims strong progress was made in 2016 as it sought to take advantage of the highly fragmented state of the fishing tackle market. Revenue rose by 41% and profit before tax by 32% in the year to 31st December. Website sales were up by 132% and in store sales by 82% or 16% on a like for like basis. Five new stores were opened during the year and there are more to come in 2017.
Lok’n store Group LOK is increasing its interim dividend by 12.4% after the first half year to 31st March produced strong trading and cash flow. Revenue rose by 4.5%, adjusted pre tax profit by 13.5% and net debt fell by 35% to £16.7m. Expansion continues with 4 more new stores set to open in 2017 and sites for a further four, already been identified.
FAIRFX Group FFX beat expectations in the year to 31st December. with turnover up by 27% and gross profit rising by 31.2%. The trading loss fell by 58%, ahead of expectations and a net profit was achieved in the 4th quarter. 2017 has got off to a strong start with first quarter turnover rising by 32.9%
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has taken a 0.84% stake in potential challenger bank Civilised Investments in return for £200,000 in cash. The cash investment was raised through a placing of shares at 0.5p each with Gravity Investments, which owns 62.1% of Forbes. A further six million shares were issued at the same price to settle fees. Civilised is applying for a UK banking licence in June 2016. The strategy is not to have branches but local bankers will provide loans and business banking products by attracting personal savings.
Kryptonite1 (KR1) has invested £99,905 for 25,811 tokens in Melonport AG, which is building its own blockchain protocol for digital asset management built on the Ethereum platform. Melonport raised $2.5m in 14 minutes.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £128,750 at 0.8p a share. For working capital. Daniel Stewart has been appointed as corporate adviser.
FT8 (GFT) has failed to secure the agreed monthly payments from Billyst Holdings and this means that trading in the shares of FT8 has been suspended because of the company’s uncertain financial position.
Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) has moved into Continental Europe through the acquisition of Avalon and GrassInc for an initial £9.7m in cash with deferred and contingent payments of up to £12m over four years. This is an important part of the overall strategy for the group and it also takes Victoria into the artificial grass market. The deal should be immediately earnings-enhancing with the two businesses making a 2016 operating profit of £3.6m.
Construction dispute resolution services provider Driver Group (DRV) has raised £8m at 40p a share – a 15% discount to the market price – in order to reduce borrowings and grow the business. There is also a one-for-26p open offer at 40p a share that could raise up to £500,000 – closing on 8 March. Driver has negotiated new banking facilities of £8m, down from £12m, and this expires in 2020. Net debt was £9.9m at the end of September 2016. Driver made a loss in the year to September 2016 but it moved back into profit in the second half. In the past year, Driver has reduced annualised overheads by £1.3m, cut underperforming fee earners, improved cash collection and implemented more rigorous bidding controls. Driver plans to scale down the project management operations and the main businesses should be sold by the end of this financial year. South America and eastern Europe have been identified as growth areas. New non-executive director John Horgan has been appointed as a replacement for David Webster.
Fuel cell technology developer AFC Energy (AFC) has raised £6m, £5.5m net of expenses, at 10p a share – a 40% discount to the market price. Up to £2m more could be raised from a one-for-15 open offer at the same share price – closing on 2 March. The cash will be used to deliver commitments on the joint development agreement with De Nora, additional testing and a scoping study with Peel Environmental for potential projects. Jim Gibson has been appointed as chief operating officer.
Middlesbrough-based pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) joined AIM on 15 February. The placing will raise £15.6m at 86p a share, valuing the company at £26.5m. The share price ended the week at 95.5p.
Tracsis (TRCS) disappointed the market with a warning that delays in contracts means that this year will be even more second-half weighted and there is still uncertainty whether certain software contracts will complete in this financial year. The transportation optimisation software and services provider still believes it can achieve this year’s forecast profit but the market was not as sure. The share price fell by nearly one-third following the trading statement and Downing is one investor that has added to its stake having previously taken profits. Interim revenues will grow from £13.1m to £15.5m but pre-tax profit will only be slightly higher than last year’s figure of £2.9m. The full year outcome could depend on the rail franchise bid timetable.
Higher LED sales helped Holders Technology (HDT) to increase overall revenues by 2% to £11.4m but the LED business is still losing money and a German business has been closed. The underlying loss increased from £141,000 to £195,000, prior to restructuring costs of £183,000. An increases in trade creditors meant that cash improved to £781,000. A final dividend of 0.25p a share is proposed. There are signs of an improvement in demand for printed circuit board materials and new smart lighting products should boost the LED business.
Vela Technologies (VELA) has raised £550,000 from a bond issue via the UK Bond Network. This should enable Vela to complete the additional investment of £150,000 in Portr, the airline passenger facilitation and baggage transport service, taking its stake to 4.27%.
Collagen Solutions (COS) is raising up to £8m from a placing and one-for-five open offer at 5p a share and this will be topped up with a £4m bond issue to Norgine Ventures, which has a coupon of 10% and 6.77 million warrants exercisable at 5.911p each. The cash will finance the expansion of the medical collagen business, commercial medical device products and launch ChondroMimetic, which is a collagen-based implant to treat small cartilage and bone defects, later this year.
Online gaming business generator Veltyco Group (VLTY) says that its 2016 figures will be significantly better than expected. An EBITDA of more than €2m, up from the initial forecast of €1.4m, on revenues of more than €5.7m, ahead of a forecast of €4.9m, is anticipated.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has signed a services agreement with APTrans, a Cheshire-based consortium of drug developers that can provide technical expertise, for the development of SFX-01. A US patent has been granted covering the manufacturing process for SFX-01. The patent lasts until 2033. Further patents are expected to be awarded around the world.
Ascent Resources (AST) raised £3m at 1.85p a share in its latest fundraising via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will be spent on developing the Petisovci gas project in Slovenia.
Self-storage operator Lok’nStore (LOK) says that self-storage sales were 3.9% higher, thanks to higher occupancy, and document storage sales 8.8% ahead in the first half. There is a pipeline of two owned and two managed stores, which will add 14% to capacity. NAV is expected to be 404p a share at the end of July 2017.
PowerHouse Energy Group (PHE) has raised £2.5m at 0.8p a share on the back of last week’s deal with Peel. Hillgrove will receive £2m as part-payment for its loan with £1.4m converted into shares at 0.5p each. A G3-UHt waste to energy unit is being shipped from Australia and should reach the UK in March.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) is starting a phase I clinical study for safety and tolerability of Acarovac MPL as a house dust mite allergy vaccine. The trial will be in Spain, covering 32 patients and lasting one year. The global market could be worth $1.5bn a year.
Patient monitoring equipment developer LiDCO Group (LID) says that its 2016-17 revenues will be slightly lower than forecast but it will make a small profit. The loss of a US customer held back growth with revenues 8% ahead at £8.2m, although revenues from group products were 14% higher this was partly offset by lower sales of third party products.
EP Minerals has terminated its lease over the County Line Diatomite project, so Sunrise Resources (SRES) will need to find an alternative method of commercialising the potential project.
Keras Resources (KRS) says that there is a JORC-based inferred mineral resource of 36,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 6.1g/t for the Copenhagen deposit. This means that the Warrawoona gold project has a JORC mineral resource of 410,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 2.2g/t. The focus will be the higher grade Copenhagen deposit, which has more potential.
Mariana Resources (MARL) has completed three of seven planned drill holes at the Ergama project in Turkey and two of these have found large but low grade deposits.
Executive chairman John Hawkins has been given the push by Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) as part of the closure of the group’s head office following the disposal of the Vislink broadcast equipment business. Hawkins received £260,000 a year as chief executive and £100,000 a year as chairman and his contract stipulates 12 months notice. John Varney becomes non-executive chairman. The bank apparently remains supportive and the 2016 figures will be published on 31 March.
Cloud-based telecoms software supplier CloudCall Group (CALL) says that customer relationship management software provider and corporate partner Bullhorn is deploying CloudCall’s software with its US staff. This will provide a reference for potential US customers of a combined software package. Full year figures will be published on 28 March and these will be in line with expectations.
Simian Global (SMG) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy BVI-incorporated media and advertising business GVC Holdings Ltd. Standard list shell Simian Global floated on 10 January when it raised £769,500 at 15p a share. This valued the company, which was seeking a technology, media and telecoms sector acquisition, at £935,000. Trading in the shares was suspended at 17.5p.
Avation (AVAP) is trading at a discount of around one-fifth to its NAV of 249p a share at the end of 2016. In the six months to December 2016, the aircraft leasing company’s revenues were 43% ahead at $45.1m and pre-tax profit 50% higher at $8.4m. Bid discussions for 22 ATR 72 aircraft continue but management wants a significant premium to the NAV.
PRE-IPO / OTHER TRADING FACILITIES
Former AIM-quoted Clinical Computing, which is currently traded on Britdaq,has initiated a strategic review and this could lead to the sale of the healthcare IT company. In the year to March 2016, revenues fell from £1.67m to £1.5m but a loss of £204,000 was turned into a profit of £23,000. There is £825,000 in the bank and net assets of £654,000, which is more than its market capitalisation on Britdaq.
Fidessa Group FDSA claims solid growth for the year as a whole but then admits that most of it was due to the weakness of sterling rather than the success of the company and its management. At constant exchange rates revenue rose by 3% and profit before tax by a lowly 1% compared to the actual exchange rate figures of 12% and 25% respectively. The reality however is used to give shareholders a big present with an 11% rise in both the final and special dividends.
Firestone Diamonds FDI held its first diamond sale last week in Antwerp. All carats on offer, a total of 75,936, were sold at an average price of US$107 per carat, producing a total of US$8.14m. The highest price achieved for a single stone exceeded US$1m. The company describes the total as pleasing as the diamonds were recovered from lower quality ore areas. Over 90 companies viewed the diamonds and 38 were successful. A second auction is expected before the end of March.
Plastics Capital PLA Third quarter revenues were ahead of expectations following stronger than expected demand and trading condition remain generally good. Full year results however, are expected to be in line.
EG Solutions EGS Strong second half trading produced record revenues up by over 50% to £5.69m., compared to the first half total of £2.5m. The first half loss of £0.89m. was turned into positive EBITDA of over £2.m Several new contracts have been signed with major global companies in America, Asia and Europe.
Lok’nStore Group LOK First half trading in the self storage business remained solid with revenue up by 3.9% and self storage occupancy rose by 4.6%. Document storage revenue was up by 8%
House broker Daniel Stewart expects energy efficiency and home automation products supplier Sandal (SAND) to move into profit this year. In the year to May 2016, Sandal made a loss of £268,000 on revenues of £3.3m and this year the profit is forecast to be £105,000. The Energenie energy efficiency and home control products are expected to nearly double their sales to £1.4m this year and then double them again next year. The revenues of connectors business PowerConnections are expected to be flat.
Rail safety products developer Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) plans to raise £106,000 at 1p a share and chief executive Gerhard Dodl says he will acquire some of the shares. The cash will be used for working capital.
Mechan Controls (MECP) says that it is still investigating the possible disposal of some of its business and it has received further approaches from potential buyers, including approaches from management teams of some of the subsidiaries. The offers do not appear to be high enough to provide the exit price wanted by the Mechan board. Mechan has gained shareholder approval to buy back up to 10% of its share capital.
Wealth management adviser Asia Wealth Group Holdings (AWLP) is talking to a number of potential acquisitions. In the six months to August 2016, revenues improved from $578,000 to $601,000 and the loss was halved to $11,000, helped by lower expenses. There was a $91,000 cash inflow in the six month period. There is nearly $1.4m in the bank.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO/EO.P) will be left with a 24.3% stake in LED lighting products and wiring accessories supplier Luceco following its flotation on the Main Market. EPE sold shares worth £38m and had £10m of loans repaid. The cash will be The share price has risen from 130p to 148p. The stake is valued at £57.8m and this is still more than two-fifths of EPE‘s gross asset value.
Vislink (VLK) is selling its original core business to a former AIM-quoted company with an even worse track record. Vislink hopes to complete the $16m sale of the loss-making broadcast and surveillance hardware business to xG Technology Inc by the end of the year. It appears that xG Technology will have to raise cash in order to fund the acquisition. xG Technology left AIM at the end of 2013 after seven years on the junior market when it failed to build up significant revenues from the technology it had developed. The buyer has recently bought another business, which is much smaller than the Vislink business but the acquisition will undoubtedly form the core of the enlarged business. The Vislink hardware business was in the books at £22.7m, before central net liabilities, at the end of June 2016 – nearly £30m lower than six months before thanks to losses and write-downs. That is still well below the stated disposal price. Vislink had net assets of £22.9m at the end of June 2016. Executive chairman John Hawkins was appointed to the board on 1 April 2011 and net assets were £47m at the end of June 2011. There have been further share issues since then. If the disposal does go ahead then Vislink will be left with its profitable broadcast software business and have minimal debt.
Lok’nStore (LOK) has grown its underlying NAV by 28% to 386p a share thanks to the continued investment in the portfolio of self storage sites and strong trading. This year the valuer was changed to Jones Lang LaSalle. Supply is limited compared with the demand for self storage. Occupancy rates increased by 2% last year and prices also increased. There are plans for a further four sites – two managed stores and two owned in Gillingham and Wellingborough – over the next year or so, at a cost of £10m, while the recently opened Chichester, Bristol and Southampton sites are still building up their occupancy. There was also a much better contribution from document storage after a few years of flat performances.
Trading continues to improve at security and facilities management services provider Mortice (MORT). Interim revenues are expected to be 57% ahead at around $80m through a combination of acquisitive and organic growth. The fastest growth has been in facilities management where revenues have more than doubled thanks to the UK business with more to come due to recent contract wins. The Indian operations also continue to grow. This means that Mortice is on course to grow full year revenues from $133.5m to $170m, which should enable pre-tax profit to rise from $2.4m to $4.2m.
Core infection control products have grown fast enough to more than offset a continued decline in older product sales by Tristel (TSTL). In the year to June 2016, revenues grew 12% to £17.1m. Overseas revenues grew by more than one-fifth and they account for nearly two-fifths of group revenues. North America remains a major potential market and the first FDA approvals for products should be next year. There will be additional regulatory costs this year. House broker finnCap forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £3.3m to £3.6m.
BP Marsh & Partners (BPM) increased its NAV from 243p a share to 253p a share in the six months to July 2016. There is £7.9m of cash available for new investments after taking account of commitments to existing investee companies. The investment company has plenty of opportunities in the insurance broking and related markets but it is very careful when making a new investment.
Gold producer Orosur Mining Inc (OMI) has reduced its cash operating costs to $693/ounce in the three months to August 2016, which is well below expectations and the figure of $954/ounce in the corresponding period in the previous financial year. This cost reduction was helped by the mining of higher grades and costs will rise in the second quarter. The price received for gold sold was also higher but year-on-year production fell from 12,471 ounces to 9,950 ounces so revenues fell from $14.5m to $12.7m. Even so, Orosur moved from a loss to a profit of $2.76m and there was a $4.8m cash inflow from operations. Net cash was $4.7m at the end of August 2016. Orosur expects to produce between 35,000 and 40,000 ounces of gold and cash operating costs are expected to be between $800/ounce and $900/ounce. Orosur is capitalised at less than £19m.
Kyrgyz Republic-focused Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (CGH) has rejected a bid approach, which was at a 30% premium to the then market price. That suggests a bid of 11p a share or more. The bankable feasibility study for the Tulkubash heap leach project.
Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has received government approval to drill the Boleslaw-1 well in the Kolo licence area in Poland and this should happen before the end of the year. The final application for the drilling permit has to be submitted. Well pad construction should begin early in November. The intial target has been identified as having potential for near-term production. Prospex owns 49% of the company that owns the Kolo licence.
Premier African Minerals (PREM) has bought a 4.5% stake in Casa Mining, which in turn owns 71.25% of the Misisi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For $250,000. This was funded by a £300,000 placing at 0.32p a share. Premier could add a further 30% stake. Premier also owns 2% of Circum Minerals, which expects to be awarded a mining licence for its Danakil potash project in Ethiopia by the end of this year. Morgan Stanley is assessing ways of moving the project forward, including a strategic partner or flotation.
More good news for Thor Mining (THOR) about the Molyhil project. The assay results have confirmed elevated levels of tungsten. More drilling is planned on the three targets that have been identified.
Starcom (STAR) has raised £300,000 for working capital after a $100,000 loan facility failed to be secured. The share placing was at 2.5p a share. The previous placing in March raised £450,000 at 1.5p a share. The cash is needed because some payments will not be received until early next year. There was recently a judgement against a subsidiary and two of the Starcom directors in the ongoing litigation brought by Top-Alpha Capital, although Starcom believes this could be overturned by a higher court. Starcom should at least meet the expectation of improved revenues in 2016.
Investment company Mercom Capital (MCC) is pending £600,000 on a 16% stake in Mexican fintech company Mobile Wireless and Satellite SAPI (MOWISAT). The strategy is to offer lending, payments and e-commerce services to unbanked people as a mobile virtual network operator. There are 109 million mobile users in Mexico and the vast majority are on prepay packages. Meanwhile, Mercom’s 10.2% shareholder Calvet International plans to requisition a general meeting at Mercom to propose board changes and a change in strategy.
Standard list shell Mila Resources (MILA) is seeking to acquire an interest in a resources project, most likely in emerging markets. The ideal target would involve a project that is already well down the line and would benefit from a cash injection to move it towards production. Mila has around £1m in the bank after the costs of the flotation. The share price has risen from 5p to 8.25p in the fortnight since it floated.
Pearson PSON has brought out a new literacy programme which management has obviously not read. Had it done so they could have written their 9 month interim management statement in something like English instead of nonsense such as “some 3,600 Full Time Equivalent employees have been notified of exit.” – and this from a purveyor of higher education products, who seems to be surprised that its nine month sales have declined by7% although this is glossed over as due to retailer inventory corrections. Come off it. A slump in sales is still a slump in sales however you dress it up in fancy language. Pearson even claims that this is a good competitive performance even though sales are continuing to suffer from a further 3% fall and sales are trending lower than expected in North American higher education..
Fortunately the declining pound is there to rescue management to the extent that if current exchange rates persist, earnings per share are expected to increase by about 4.5p or some 8%. Saving weak management is not supposed to be the reason for allowing the pound to collapse.
Lok’n Store Group LOK claims that the year to 31st July was an exciting one which produced an impressive performance with more to come. Document storage more than doubled its profits and self storage performed strongly. The annual dividend is to be increased by 12.5%
Mortice Limited MORT has enjoyed another strong period of growth with year on year revenue for the first half, up by 57%, including contributions from its two acquisitions which have been performing well.
Image Scan Holdings IGE Sales for the year to the end of September have almost doubled with a rise from £1.7m to £3.3m and margins rising from 38% to 42%. Pretax trading profit for the year is expected to have risen over sixfold to £0.64m. As a sign of continuing success the outstanding year end order book has almost tripled from a year ago and now stands at £1.7m.
Tristel TSTL results for the year to the end of June are ahead of market expectations and the full year dividend is to be increased by 11%. Overseas sales rose by 22% and total turnover by 12%. Pretax profit and EBITDA before share based payments rose by 27% and 26% respectively. Tristel has no debt and there is £5.7m in the bank.
Beer and spirits volumes were both higher in the first half for Adnams (ADB). Beer volumes were 7% ahead, while the volumes of the less-mature spirits business were 60% higher in the first half. However, increased marketing costs meant that operating profit fell from £962,000 to £624,000, while disposal profit jumped from £407,000 to £1.42m – including the sale of UK distribution rights for Lagunitas to Heineken. The second half is always stronger for the pub and retail operations. A £7m investment is being made to increase brewery capacity by next summer. The A and B dividends have been increased by 5.6% to 19p and 76p respectively. The record date for the dividends is 9 September. There were 132 shares traded during the week at prices between 10500p and 10850p.
WMC Retail Partners (WELL) expects to make a lower interim loss this year. WMC has agreed in principle a funding package of £1.8m plus revised terms for the lease of Cornish Market World, which is still losing money even though a reconfiguration has improved performance. Interests related to two directors are lending the company £300,000, taking the total outstanding to £400,000, ahead of completion of the funding package. These loans are repayable at the end of November but longer term loans, which shareholders have to approve, are being negotiated.
National Milk Records (NMRP) has appointed Mark Frankcom, who has previous experience in the dairy industry, as its new finance director. Since April 2011, Frankcom has been a director of Gloucestershire-based Combined Brewers, which was known as Cotswold Spring Brewery prior to its merger with Severn Vale Brewery, where he owns 33.3% of the shares. At 77.5p (76p/79p) a share , NMR is valued at £5.8m. The latest trade was 320 shares at 76p each on 10 August.
There has been mixed news for blockchain technology investor Coinsilium (COIN). Factom, which has developed technology to time stamp trading data, has done a deal with digital information platform DataYes to publish pricing data on the “3,000 most valuable Chinese stocks”. Coinsilium has a 1.9% stake in Factom. The management of Mexico-based digital currency exchange MeXBT, where Coinsilium has a 17.6% stake, has temporarily suspended its exchange operations in order to perform a review.
Diversified Oil & Gas (DOIL) has bought back £197,000 worth of 8.5% unsecured bonds from a bondholder fund. There are £9.93m worth of bonds in issue, including the bonds bought back.
Premier Technical Services Group (PTSG) continued to grow strongly in the first half and it has not been hit by the Brexit vote. In the past two weeks, Premier has secured two access installation contracts worth £2.5m. The construction-related order book stretches out to 2018 and the testing and maintenance operations also have a strong order book. The two dry and wet riser systems installation businesses acquired in July will contribute to the second half.
Staff turnover is holding back the progress of energy procurement services provider Utilitywise (UTW) and it has overhauled its management, including the appointment of a new chief executive. Brendan Flattery is joining the company at the beginning of October, having previously headed Sage’s European business. Sales grew by 19% in the year to July 2016, while EBITDA will be slightly higher than last year at around £18m. Earnings per share forecasts have been reduced by around 10% to 17.7p, which is slightly lower than the previous year.
Digital media company Milestone (MSG) is providing NaPo with a white label version of its Backstage HD music publishing platform. NaPo is a mobile reward platform and revenues generated will be shared 50/50.
Audio visual services provider MediaZest (MDZ) says that it is targeting its first ever post tax profit in 2016-17. In the year to March 2016m revenues grew from £2.48m to £3.14m, while the post tax loss was cut from £656,000 to £109,000, excluding share-based payment charge. There are two large projects that could come through later this year or early in 2017.
Self-storage sites operator Lok’nStore (LOK) says that like-for-like storage occupancy was 2% higher last year and prices have increased by a similar percentage. This lead to a 5.2%increase in sales and means that Lok’nStore is on course to increase earnings per share buy one-third to 10.3p. There are plans for new outlets including one in Gillingham, Kent.
Information management software provider Ideagen has acquired Covalent, which is similar to its own business, for £3.6m. Covalent has a customer base that includes the NHS, local government and housing associations and annual recurring revenues are £1.9m. This deal has led to a 8% increase in forecast 2017-18 earnings per share to 3.5p.
Mining services provider Management Resource Solutions (MRS) has agreed to acquire the min assets of SubZero Group Ltd for A$6.12m in cash and shares. This cost includes the assumption of A$2.85m of equipment finance and employee benefits. SubZero, which has generated annual revenues of A$40m, fits with MRS’ project management and labour hire businesses and will double group revenues. Operating sites will be consolidated and corporate costs reduced. Rising coal prices should lead to recovery in demand for the group’s services in Australia.
Publisher Quarto (QRT) has acquired becker&mayer publishing assets for $9.8m. The US-based business is a book publisher and toy business and a further $1.25m could become payable. The US will account for 45% of group revenues, while children‘s publishing will be 30% of group revenues. Quarto is second half weighted so the interim loss is no surprise. The interim dividend is unchanged at 5.13 cents a share but in pence terms it will be higher. Full year profit is expected to improve from $14.1m to $15.5m.
Tex Holdings (TXH) says that a change in mix of work meant that profit did not reflect the improvement in interim turnover from £17.8m to £20.6m. Pre-tax profit was flat at £495,000. Plastics turnover fell in the first half but sales volumes have picked up in the second half. The interim dividend has been increased by one-quarter to 2.5p a share.
St Ives plc SIV Despite trading during the 8th months to 1st April being 5% ahead of last year, St Ives has had to issue an urgent warning that underlying profit before tax for the current year is likely to be materially below expectations. The outlook for the final quarter has deteriorated due to economic uncertainty which has led to the cancellation and deferral of significant projects and the impact is likely to be felt throughout the whole of the next financial year.
Lok’n Store Group LOK claims its interims for the 6 months to 31st January are “great”, with record results ahead of expectations on all fronts. Profit before tax rose by 155% after like for like revenue grew by 8% and adjusted EBITDA by 13.1%. The interim dividend is being increased by 14.6%. As a sign that profit growth should continue in robust fashion, like for like occupancy rose by 2.4% and prices for occupied units by 3.3%.
Randall & Quilter RQIH turned 2014’s loss of £1.6m into a pre tax profit of £2.8m for the year to the end of December, whilst earnings per share came in at 4.2p compared to 2014’s loss per share of 6.3p. The turn round was due entirely to a significantly stronger second half which alone produced a trading profit of over £7m.