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National Express NEX is delighted to have again delivered a record-breaking set of results. Group revenue rose by 5.6%, profit before tax by 10% and basic earnings per share by 13.1%. It is again proposed to increase the final dividend by 10 per cent.. Growth in the UK was very strong at 12.6% compared to 6.4% in North America and a decline of 15.1% in German rail
CRH plc CRH 2018 was another year of record profit delivery, with basic earnings per share up by 33% and group profit by 31% for the year to the 31st December. Sales for the year rose by 6% and the final dividend is being increased by the same amount. For 2019 the US economy is expected to continue to advance at a similar pace to recent trends and with positive progress also continuing in Europe.
Mondi plc MNDI has produced a strong financial and a robust operational performance for 2018. Whilst revenue was up by only 5%, on an underlying basis EBITDA rose by 19%, operating profit by 28%, basic earnings by 27% and profit before tax by 25%. The recommended full year ordinary dividend of 76.0 euro cents per share, shows an increase of 23%
Bovis Homes BVS claims excellent operational progress and a 47% increase in profits for the year to the end of December. The first eight weeks of the new year have seen good demand with average sales per site per week up 15.7%. The Board is recommending a 20% increase in ordinary dividend for FY18 to 57.0 pence per share reflecting the strong performance and also its confidence in the outlook for the business. Further operational and financial progress is expected in 2019.
Hunting Titan HTG also delivered a record performance in 2018 as the US onshore market accelerated and sales volumes improved in other international operations. Ongoing commodity price and geopolitical volatility ensures that the company remains focused on the agility and flexibility of the business to respond to market conditions.
Howden joinery Group HWDN delivered another good performance in 2018 with sales increased by 7.7%, profit before tax up by 2.7% and basic earnings per share by 4.7%. The dividend is to be increased to 11.6p per share, a rise of 4.5%. Four new depots are to be opened in the Paris region but operations have ceased in the Netherlands and Germany from January 2019;
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Victoria plc VCP decided to take advantage of difficult market conditions to pursue market share. The Board now recognises this impacted earnings this year and has unsettled some shareholders. It believes however that the strategy is in the best long-term interests of the Group and its shareholders and appears in effect to have told the shareholders to take a walk and has continued with the strategy. The Board believes markets are down 6-8% in the UK and Australia and flat in Europe but the Group has continued to grow overall like-for-like revenues and gained meaningful market share. The Group expects that the current-year to March 2019 EBITDA is likely to be £95m-£97 million a rise of nearly 50% over the year to March 2018 and the Group’s 2019 underlying pre-tax profits are expected to be around around 35-39% higher than 2018.
Reckitt Benckiser Gp plc RB claims that 2018 was a year of good financial progress, achieved in an environment of challenging market conditions. Pro-forma and LFL growth came in at 3%. plus 2% from volume and +1% from price / mix.The final dividend is being being increased to 100.2p, a rise of 3% and like for like net growth is targeted at 3.4% for 2019. The CEO says that the company is well positioned for long term, sustainable growth.
Angling Direct plc ANG expects to report revenue of £42.0 million,an increase of 38.9% for the 12 months to the 31st January compared to the same period in the previous year.In store sales showed an increase of 50% overall or 6.2% on a like for like basis. whilst online sales grew by 30.3%. International sales surged by 98% to £4.66m and now account for 20.9% of the Group’s online sales. with shipments going to 49 different countries, this success has delighted the board. The business has also now been structured in readiness for Brexit
Xpediator plc XPD confirms that it has achieved its growth objectives and recorded significant increases in sales and profits for the twelve months to 31 December 2018. Total revenues increased by 54% Import Services Logistics and Anglia Forwarding, both of which were acquired during 2018, contributed an additional 18% in revenue and added over 400 new customers. The Company’s Brexit team has been working closely with leading transport associations and port authorities to plan ahead. and will be able to support both exporters and importers post Brexit.
National Milk Records (NMRP) increased its interim revenues from £10.5m to £11.7m, although some of this was due to seasonal factors and one-off testing business. Pre-tax profit improved from £0.96m to £1.13m. Net debt was £2.06m at the end of December 2018. Every part of the business grew its revenues. Milk volumes are set to be strong in the second half, although milk margins are been squeezed by a decline in the milk price and higher feed costs.
Barkby (BARK) has completed the acquisition of Centurian Automotive for an initial payment of £201,000 in shares at 4.775p each, with up to £251,000 more based on performance over three years. Operating profit in each of the years is required to be at least £200,000 in order to achieve the full payment. The consideration represents a discount to net assets and will be equivalent to up to 20% of Barkby. In the year to March 2018, the automotive dealer made a pre-tax profit of £123,000 on revenues of £5.6m.
Sandal (SAND) says there was a significant increase in Energie MiHome sales in December, particularly later in the month, but trading is still below expectations because of a lack of cash to spend on marketing. The stock overhang has been unwound. A Wi-Fi adapter plug has been added to the range, which is being rolled out in Denman’s Electrical Wholesale branches.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) owned Palermo Football Club for less than one month before selling it back to the previous management team. It was bought for a nominal sum and is being sold for a nominal value, following further due diligence. The company’s representatives joined the board in December and resigned last week. Debt will be settled at the same time. Sports Capital had been trying to raise up to £20m over the next few months.
Trading has recommenced in the shares of EcoVista (EVTP) after it published its results for the year to August 2018. There was a £142,000 property revaluation gain and net assets were £1.39m. There are plans to launch a €10m Eurobond issue to fund further property site acquisitions in London, Hertfordshire and Essex.
Gold explorer Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has completed stage one drilling on the Specimen Hill project in Queensland and each hole drilled intersected gold. Geological modelling results will be available in March. A further 7,500 metres of drilling is being planned.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has raised $400,000 at 20 cents a unit (one share and one-half warrant). The expenses of the placing were $28,000. The cash will be used for assessing coltan opportunities in Colombia and Brazil. NQ Mining (NQMI) has raised £54,000 at 11p a share.
Panoply Holdings (TPX) has made its third acquisition since floating in December. UK-based GreenShoot Labs provides digital services using artificial intelligence technology. There is no initial consideration and any payment will depend on performance.
Marketing and media services provider Ebiquity (EBQ) traded in line with expectations last year. The disposal of the advertising intelligence was completed on 2 January. This cut net debt to around £8m. The continuing business is expected to continue to grow at 8% a year.
Online merchandising software and services provider ATTRAQT Group (ATQT) increased its 2018 revenues by 26% to £17.1m and the loss declined from £4.1m to £2.7m. The largest customer has renewed for two years. Annual recurring revenues are £16m.
GRC International (GRC) has acquired data consulting business DQM Group for an initial £5.9m with up to £5m in deferred consideration, although it is not expected to be more than £3.5m. This is a significantly earnings enhancing deal.
Cabot Energy (CAB) is consolidating 100 shares into one new share and raising up to £2.85m at 10p per consolidated share. The cash will pay off trade creditors. The main focus is Canada but Cabot believes its Italian oil and gas exploration assets could still be valuable even though the Italian government has suspended exploration work and is reviewing the situation.
The administrator has sold most of the businesses of Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) but there will be no money for shareholders. Dublin-based Causeway Capital has acquired Patisserie Valerie and AF Blakemore acquired Philpotts for a total of £13m, of which £3m is deferred. Baker and Spice was sold to the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs for £2.5m. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 25 February. Paul Mumford of Cavendish Asset Management believes that the company’s banks should have supported a rescue and been more attentive to what was happening at the company. He thinks that shareholders should seek compensation from the banks.
Malvern International (MLVN) has confirmed that it moved into profit in 2018. The education business has doubled its London-based revenues and this made up for difficult trading in Malaysia.
Realm Therapeutics (RLM) is selling is hypochlorous acid assets for $10m and intends to leave AIM. Realm already had $18.8m in the bank at the end of 2018. The plan is to use the cash to complete a strategic transaction in the life sciences sector. The ADSs will continue to be listed on Nasdaq.
Stride Gaming (STR) has started a strategic review. The choices are acquisitive or organic expansion or the sale of the online gaming company.
Renalytix AI (RENX) has secured a joint venture with laboratory and clinical trials operator AKESOgen and this will enable Renalytix AI to provide additional services in the US. The artificial intelligence-based kidney diagnostics already has a presence in New York and the new joint venture is based in Georgia.
Administrators have been appointed to Utilitywise (UTW) but none of the subsidiaries is in administration. Shareholders are not likely to get anything from the administration process. Unitlitywise was unable to raise the cash it required to keep going and meet liabilities.
Heavitree Brewery (HVT) improved full year revenues from £7.3m to £7.61m and pre-tax profit grew from £1.55m to £2.25m, although that included profit on the sale of pubs and other property of £824,000, up from £6,000. The previous year had benefited from the write-back of a bad debt provision. The final dividend is being increased from 4p a share to 4.25p a share. Heavitree no longer has to cover a pension scheme deficit because three people transferred out of the scheme.
Bowmark Capital has launched a 110p a share recommended cash bid for Tax Systems (TAX) and MXC Capital Ltd (MXC) has accepted with its 25.6% stake. The bid values the tax software provider at £100.6m.
Kodal Minerals (KOD) has published the results of the drilling programme at the Bougouni lithium project. These will be used to update the JORC resource, which should happen by the end of February. Kodal has met with the Mali authorities to update them.
Insignals Neurotech is the third Portuguese spin out for Frontier IP (FIPP) and it will hold a 33% stake. Insignals is developing technology for brain stimulation surgery.
Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI) has made another scientific instruments acquisition and it has raised £2.5m at 34p a share to help finance it. A further £100,000 was raised via PrimaryBid. Graticules manufactures reticules and graticules and fits with the digital imaging division. It cost £3.4m and has added 6% to next year’s earnings per share.
Strategic Minerals (SML) has announced a trebled resource at Redmoor, in which it has a 50% stake. There is an inferred tin equivalent contained metal of 137,000 tonnes.
James Latham (LTHM) has acquired the timber merchant that has the rights to sell Accoya wood in Ireland. Abbey Woods will cost an initial €1.825m with a further €300,000-€400,000 depending on completion accounts. Further deferred consideration of up to €400,000 depending on performance over two years. Last year, Abbey Woods generated EBITDA of €379,000 on revenues of €7.5m and it has operations in Dublin and Cork.
Vast Resources (VAST) says that the tranche B offtake finance from Mercuria Energy Trading did not happen. This means that the planned December and January repayments of the loan from Sub Sahara Goldia Investments have not been made Talks continue with potential finance providers to replace the cash to invest in 80%-owned copper, silver, gold, zinc, lead, tungsten, molybdenum Baita Plai project. Bergen Global Opportunities Fund is pausing the second tranche of the $3m bridge facility because the share price has been below 0.2p for two days. A placing has raised £896,000 at 0.135p a share and this will repay the £525,000 owed to Bergen. There are discussions with a potential cornerstone investor for a diamond project in Zimbabwe.
RiverFort Global Opportunities (RGO) has subscribed for shares in Pires Investments (PIRI), that will give it a 24.3% stake. RiverFort is taking nearly 50% of the shares issued in a placing that raised £782,000 at 2.4p a share for Pires. The cash will be used for new investments.
Trading in the shares of African Battery Materials (ABM) will resume on Monday 18 February following the issue of 200 million shares at 0.5p each. The cash will be used to pay creditors and leave enough to finance the business for 12 months. Andrew Bell has been appointed executive chairman and Paul Johnson as executive director.
Windar Photonics (WPHO) will undershoot the 2018 forecast, but there should be higher orders from Vestas and another manufacturer next year. Even so, 2019 forecasts are likely to be reduced. Total 2018 revenues were 59% ahead at €3.5m and higher gross margins meant that the loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell from €1.22m to €360,000. The end of year order book was worth €1m.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has more than trebled its proved and probable reserves to 2.43 million barrels of oil. Net proved reserves are 764,030 barrels of oil.
President Energy (PPC) has updated the reserves position. The Argentina and Louisiana reserves are valued at almost $300m, which is equivalent to 21p a share. That is more than twice the market capitalisation. Production is predominantly oil but gas production will increase this year.
Harwood Wealth Management (HW.) has acquired IFA Castleton Financial Planning for up to £1.6m.
Trading in the shares of Urals Energy (UEN) has been suspended following the resignation of Allenby as nominated adviser. A general meeting, which will be held on 22 February, has been called by Adler Impex SA in order to remove three directors and appoint four other directors. Oil production was 1,690 barrels/day in January. Loans made without board approval have meant that the company is short of cash.
Waste-to-energy technology developer PowerHouse Energy (PHE) is confident that it could sign up a customer in the next quarter. There is increasing interest and six potential sites are being assessed. Potential engineering, procurement and construction contractors have approached PowerHouse. Development partner Waste2Tricity is in negotiations with Toyota Tsusho, which would be a way of entering the Japanese market.
Braveheart Investment Group (BRH) has reduced its stake in Remote Monitored Systems (RMS) from 5.9% to 1.32%. Stephen Jones increased his stake from below 3% to 14.5% in just over one month.
Dewscope Ltd, where Mark Horrocks is a director, has cut its stake in Sabien Technology (SNT) from 12.7% to less than 3%. Chris Akers has also reduced his stake from 16.9% to less than 3% and Brendan Adams has cut his shareholding from 4.2% to under 3%. These stakes were acquired on 14 December, when the mid-price was 0.11p. On 11 February, when the shares were sold, the share price increased from 0.145p to 0.175p. Sabien reported a decline in interim revenues from £462,000 to £342,000, but the loss was reduced from £233,000 to £207,000 due to cost reductions.
TV programme producer DCD Media (DCD) expects to report revenues of £7.3m and a small EBITDA in 2018. Trading has started well in 2019 helped by business that was delayed from last year.
HaloSource (HAL) is seeking shareholder approval for the disposal of assets to Strix (KETL) for $1.3m. The cash will pay creditors and fund the winding down of the business. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 12 March.
WANdisco (WAND) has raised $17.5m at 546p a share to provide cash to support relationships with partners. WANdisco has become an advanced technology partner with Amazon Web Services.
Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) is issuing 6.1 million shares to China Aerospace for a 6.8% stake in Hong Kong Mining Holdings, where Adamas already has a 84.8% stake. This is a complicated deal, but Adamas can tell China Aerospace where to transfer these shares. It means that Adamas will not necessarily increase its shareholding in the mining company. Sorting out what was effectively a stock overhang should make it easier to do a deal that will unlock cash for Adamas.
NetScientific (NSCI) has concluded its strategic review and it has decided to cancel its AIM quotation. The remaining cash will be spent on the investee companies with the best prospects of providing a return before the company runs out of money.
Angus Energy (ANGS) is repaying the £1.5m initial advance from YA II and RiverFort Global Opportunities. Angus has raised £2.2m at 4p a share.
The University of British Columbia has ordered a polariser system from Polarean Imaging (POLX).
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has made the earnings enhancing acquisition of profitable Newcastle insolvency practice KRE. The initial payment is £450,000 with up to £150,000 more based on revenue targets over 12 months.
Full year figures will be lower than expected at IFA Tavistock Investments (TAVI) but a maiden dividend is still on the cards.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) will report a 45% increase in 2018 revenues, with most of the growth coming from software.
Cryptocurrency mining services provider Argo Blockchain (ARB) is refocusing its business. All existing contracts will be terminated by the beginning of April. The focus will be Argo’s own currency mining. Ongoing costs will be cut by one-third. Net cash is £15m and that is much more than the market capitalisation of Argo. The cash outflow should be stemmed in the second half of 2019. Hadron Capital recently increased its stake to 7.6%.
Trading is in line at fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) even though the UK automotive market is weak. More than two-thirds of sales are overseas. Additional UK stocks for Brexit are worth around £2m.
Commercial aircraft leasing company Avation (AVAP) expects to report a doubled interim profit on revenues that have risen from $52.4m to $58m.
Outdoor digital media company Grand Vision Media Holdings (GVMH) has signed a partnership agreement with Rakuten Bank in Japan to add to the one it signed with CY Group in South Korea. GVMH’s marketing services will help its partners promote themselves to Chinese tourists. GVMH has glasses-free 3D technology.
Helen Sachdev has been appointed as a non-executive director of Athelney Trust (ATY) and Frank Ashton has taken on the role of executive chairman. Discussions continue with Gresham House Asset Management about taking over the management of the company’s investments.
Future (FUTR) has secured a new £90m revolving credit facility and it is acquiring CyclingNews.com and Procycling Magazine, which generate annual revenues of £2m. This deal widens the sports publishing activities.
REA Holdings (RE.) significantly increased palm oil production in 2018, even though extraction rates were lower than expected. The Kota Bangun coal concession is heading towards reopening the mine, although there are local disputes.
TUI AG TUI has seen its first quarter performance so impacted by accountancy adjustments that the figures have become virtually meaningless due to the first-time application of IFRS 15 and of IFRS 9 in the previous year. The best that that can be said is that performance has been in line save for markets and airlines which were weak and faced signs of headwinds.The summer heatwave was partly responsible for that together with overcapacity in Spain due to the shift in demand to the Eastern Mediterranean. The growth strategy however is said to be intact. Markets & Airlines must be something of a problem because the headwinds which are buffeting it get repeated mentions, one after another in the story of what appears to have been a not very satisfactory first quarter.
Plus 500 Ltd PLUS produced a record financial performance in the year to the 31st December, after an exceptional first quarter benefitting in particular from Crypto currency trading. It is expected that 2019 profit will be materially lower than current market expectations. The company describes 2018 as a momentous year, well ahead of original expectations with revenue up by 65%, EBITDA by 95%, earnings per share by 90% and dividends by 18%.
Touchstar plc TST benefitted from strong trading in the Transportation sector for the year to 31st December and. losses for the year will be considerably better than market expectations. Although turnover will be somewhat lower than expected this will be more than compensated for by higher margins and dynamic cash generation, has enabled the group to end the financial year with a healthy net cash position. the Board expects to see significant improvement in the Group’s performance in 2019.
Loop Up Group plc LOOP has traded strongly in 2018, with revenue in line with consensus expectations and profitability comfortably ahead. It was a year of transformational growth with new offices seen in Chicago, Dallas, LA, Atlanta and Madrid. Continuing strong demand is seen for the LoopUp product in 2019
Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company Sport:80 has delayed its flotation because it has been tidying up its shareholder register. Fintech company Engage Technology is also seeking to float later in 2019 following new product launches. Engage raised £2.6m at £22 a share at the end of 2018, whereas the average buying price by Primorus was £20.03 a share. Investee company, AIM-quoted Greatland Gold (GGP) has published results from the second drilling campaign at Havieron in Western Australia. Every drill hole intersected mineralisation and they extend the overall mineralisation. Drilling will recommence in March. Primorus has raised cash by selling most of the stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) and Primorus was debt free at the end of 2018.
NEX has decided not to suspend trading in the shares of VI Mining (VIM) even though its corporate adviser Daniel Stewart is no longer a member of NEX. VI Mining had little or no notice of its adviser’s withdrawal. A new corporate adviser is being sought.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has acquired apprenticeship training provider Astara Training for £16,666 in shares at 9p each. Milamber lost £179,000 in the third quarter and there was £30,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.
Panther Metals (PALM) has announced the initial results of exploration activity at the Bear Lake project in Ontario. There was gold in soil anomalies at four of the five areas tested. Four areas have quartz vein sample assays above 5g/t gold. Two samples had large grade samples. The next phase of exploration is being planned and could start in the second quarter of 2019.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has signed a deal that could enable it to earn a 70% interest in a joint venture that owns the Palha tantalum property in northern Brazil.
AIM (February 2019 AIM Journal available here)
DP Poland (DPP) is running short of cash and is more than doubling its share capital through a heavily discounted placing raising £5.3m at 6p a share, with the possibility of an additional £500,000. The Domino’s Pizza franchisee for Poland has found competition is getting tougher and growth has slowed. The cash is required to cover losses and open more outlets. Peter Shaw is stepping down as chief executive at the end of June, nearly a decade after founding the business.
Ticketing and queueing technology provider Accesso Technology (ACSO) is reviewing its investment priorities although it says that 2018 figures should be broadly in line with expectations. These will be published on 27 March. A deal fell through and this cost $1.7m. Tom Burnet is moving from executive chairman to a non-exec role. The share price is less than one-third of last year’s high. BlackRock has cut its stake below 5%.
Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has launched a placing and 0.318-for-one open offer to raise up to £4.75m at 3.85p a share on top of the £8m subscription by former AIM company China Medical System Holdings, which will licence products for the Chinese market. The clinical trial for cancer treatment MTD201 will cost up to £7m.
Duke Royalty (DUKE) is acquiring its UK rival Capital Step and this will double the size of the portfolio to eleven investments and diversify it in terms of sectors. There is an initial £10m cash payment and the assumption of debt of £11.65m. There is performance related consideration of up to £1.5m. The deal is immediately earnings enhancing.
Visa has increased its bid for Earthport (EPO) from 30p a share to 37p a share, which beats the Mastercard offer of 33p a share. The latest bid values Earthport at £247m.
Taptica (TAP) has launched a recommended bid for RhythmOne (RTHM) and this will create one of the largest video advertising companies in the US. The offer is 28 Taptica shares for every 33 RhythmOne shares. Taptica shareholders will own 50.1% of the enlarged group. A $15m share buyback programme is planned after the merger. Ofer Druker will become chief executive.
Polemos (PLMO) has finalised the details of its reverse takeover of Digitalbox Publishing for £10m in shares and it is also acquiring the owner of the Daily Mash satirical news website for up to £1.2m in cash and shares. The model for the Entertainment Daily website will be used to improve the performance of the Daily Mash. A placing will raise £1.02m at 14p a share. The company will change its name to Digitalbox.
Hardide (HDD) is raising £3.6m at 1.5p a share so that it can move to new premises in the UK and invest in additional equipment. The surface coatings company is experiencing increasing demand from the oil and gas sector and there is potential for orders from aerospace companies. It will take two years to fully equip and move into the new facility. Hardide also intends to consolidate 40 shares into one new share.
finnCap has raised its forecasts for Tracsis (TRCS) following recent acquisitions. There is a 3% increase in earnings per share for this year and an 11% rise to 30.5p next year.
Stride Gaming (STR) has traded in line with previously downgraded expectations. Cost cutting continues to cover higher regulatory and tax costs. The online gaming operator will report a lower profit in 2018 and it is set to fall again in 2019. Net cash was £22.1m at the end of 2018.
Bowmark Capital has offered 110p a share for Tax Systems (TAX) and discussions continue. Tax Systems reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.
Victoria (VCP) has sold surplus land in Kidderminster for £2m. The land was in the books for £100,000 but it has obtained planning consent for housing.
Starcom (STAR) has renegotiated its agreement with Xplosive in South Africa, having originally announced it in October 2017. Xplosive has signed a 36-month agreement to pay a monthly fee for each of the Kylos units supplied for the monitoring of cattle. The fees are higher in the first six months and then reduce. The agreement should be worth $500,000.
Strix Group (KETL) has offered to acquire most of the assets of HaloSource (HAL) for $1.3m. Strix has provided working capital of $100,000. Due diligence is being carried out on the water filtration technology and if the deal goes through the cash will pay creditors, but there will be nothing for shareholders.
Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has announced that the Selva gas field in northern Italy has net 2P reserves of 13.3bcf and there are 2.26bcf attributable to Prospex, which has a 17% stake. Selva could start production in 2020 at a rate of up to 150,000 cubic metres/day.
Tau Capital (TAU) plans to raise cash via a placing through Peterhouse and then a capital distribution will be made to all shareholders. This will enable Tau to seek an acquisition. It has until 18 April to secure a deal or trading in the shares will be suspended. Armstrong Investments has increased its stake from 11.7% to 15.7%.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the SFX-01 clinical trial for subarachnoid haemorrhage is on course having completed recruitment and the primary endpoints should be available in the second quarter. Partners Investment Company has acquired at 3.15% stake.
Sports Direct International (SPD) made a £15m offer to buy Patisserie Valerie from the administrator, but this was not deemed enough. Even a higher selling price won’t provide anything for Patisserie Holdings shareholders.
Solicitor DWF plans to raise £75m via a March flotation an some of the cash will repay members’ capital contributions as well as invest in the business. Existing shareholders will also sell shares and partners’ remaining stakes will be locked up until April 2024.
Two former AIM-quoted companies are coming together to join the standard list. Daniel Stewart Securities, which is closing its broking business, is making an offer for Atlantic Carbon, which was previously known as Atlantic Coal, where Adam Wilson, who has had connections with Daniel Stewart, is executive chairman. Singapore-based backer Epsilon Investments refused to put more money into the broker and that is why it is closing. Epsilon holds a majority stake in Hyde Park Holdings, which owns broker Novum Securities. Last October, SeeThruEquity research suggested that Atlantic had an equity value of $86.8m and $68m of debt. In 2017, Atlantic was the largest producer of anthracite in the US with a market share of one-third based on 1.18 million tonnes produced. Atlantic is expected to have moved into profit in 2018, although it did generate cash from operations in 2017. The owners of more than 50% of Atlantic shares have agreed to accept the bid of 1.5587 shares for each Atlantic share.
Thalassa Holdings (THAL) is offering 14.64p a share in cash and 0.26 of a share for each share in The Local Shopping REIT. Thalassa already owns 25.5% of the bid target, which is valued at 32.8p a share. The bid is an alternative to the winding up of The Local Shopping REIT.
Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is no longer acquiring blockchain technology developer Chorum Group because of political uncertainty affecting the UK equity markets. Former Avanti Communications boss David Williams is the director of Chorum. Blockchain Worldwide has more than £1m in the bank and is also looking at other technology sectors for acquisitions.
Drilling of the Colter appraisal well in Dorset has commenced and United Oil and Gas (UOG) has a 10% interest. The drilling should take three weeks. The Selva gas field in Italy has net 2P reserves of 2.7bcf attributable to United, which has a 20% stake. Selva could start production in 2020. United intends to move to AIM.
Oil and gas producer Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £607,000 in Canada and the UK at C$0.05 a share and 3p a share respectively.
Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) has confirmed that its figures for the year to January 2019 will be in line with expectations. The Aspen property bridging loan business had a loan book of £18m at the end of January 2019. Cautious lending criteria means that new business has slowed in recent months and this has led to a 5% 2019-20 earnings downgrade to 230.1p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3.2m cyber security contract and this takes contracted revenues from this government customer to more than $10m. The latest contract will be delivered this year.
Chesterfield Resources (CHF) is expanding its exploration programme in Cyprus. Initial drilling in an area near historic mining has shown gold, copper and zinc mineralisation. Chesterfield is also applying for licences to extend its licence area.
Dev Clever (DEV) has launched pay per play multi-player, virtual reality game Vanguard: Fight for Rudiarius in Harlow shopping centre. The game will be rolled out to other UK sites.
Bluebird Merchant (BMV) has applied for a grant to help finance drilling at the Kochang project in South Korea and there should be news by the end of the month. There has also been a permit application to develop Kochang.
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased its rental income by one-third to £1.95m in the six months to October 2018. Profit from continuing operations improved from £218,000 to £271,000 and a dividend of 0.83p a share has been announced. Four properties have been purchased since April 2018 and Hume House was sold.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) increased its NAV from 42.69p a share to 43.35p a share in the year to August 2018. The strategic focus is to make larger investments in bigger employee-owned businesses. There was £175,000 in the bank at the end of August 2018, so there appear to be limited funds available for further investments, although there are £1.3m of loans to investee companies.
Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) was hit by delays in projects planned by its Morgan Ashley joint venture in the six months to October 2018. Only one scheme reached financial close during the period and a loss was reported for the period. Modular buildings demand is strong with a good pipeline of potential projects. A profit is still expected for the 14 months to June 2019, but this still depends on the timing of projects.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) increased its full year profit from £127,000 to £153,000 on turnover 4% higher at £3.66m. There is £1.09m in the bank at the end of October 2018. The dividend was maintained at 21p a share, which is covered 1.2 times by earnings. The strategy is to encourage more direct bookings with the hotel and an online booking system was launched last September. The completion of refurbishment activities has enabled an increase in bookings for weddings. Bedroom refurbishments continue.
Formation Group (FRM) reported an improvement in revenues from £37m to £38.6m in the year to August 2018, but the operating loss nearly quadrupled to £416,000. There was a gain on financial asset of £450,000 and an exceptional cost of £318,000 relating to an accident in 2015. Management is cautious about taking on new property developments under the current economic conditions.
Karoo Energy (KEP) is still trying to raise cash to enable it to move to AIM. Management is confident that it will be able to raise the funds in the near future.
Formerly AIM-quoted Altona Energy (ANR) did not managed to obtain a replacement nominated adviser for Northland and it has moved to NEX on 1 February. Sino-Aus Energy Group is subscribing for £500,000 of 7% convertible loan notes July 2020. The conversion price depends on the market price in the 2o days prior to conversion although the minimum is 10p a share.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) has appointed Epsion Capital to help it raise up to £20m from a share issue at a price of at least 0.5p a share. There will be a warrant issued with every four shares. A circular is being prepared to gain shareholder approval. Early Equity (EEQP) has raised £187,500 at 0.75p a share.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says that 15%-owned LHT has launched its hapac medicinal cannabis inhaling technology in Milan, Italy. The initial reaction has been positive.
VI Mining (VIM) has completed the acquisition of the Cushuro gold project for $27.5m in shares.
Nuclear notes linked to guaranteed contingent value rights relating to the takeover of British Energy will mature and stop being traded on 7 February.
Dealings in the shares of Wheelsure (WHLP) and Ecovista (EVTP) have been suspended because they have not published their results for the year to August 2018.
Recruitment and training company Staffline (STAF) has delayed the publishing of its accounts because of concerns about invoicing. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Electronic and battery products supplier Solid State (SOLI) says trading is significantly better than previously expected. Gross margins are continuing to improve. finnCap upgraded its 2018-19 earnings per share forecast by 26% and the 2019-20 figure by 21%.
Filtronic (FTC) fell into loss in the first half even before the write-off of £500,000 of capitalised development costs. Massive MIMO antennas sales will not build up as quickly as initially expected. There is £2.2m in the bank so the antennas and telecoms hardware supplier has a strong cash position while it waits for orders to come through. There is expected to be a full year loss but cash should still be £1.8m. A focus on defence and public safety markets will help to diversify the customer base and provide new opportunities.
A court has ordered Grant Thornton to pay £21m relating to its failures in the auditing of AssetCo (ASTO) accounts in the financial years to March 2009 and March 2010. AssetCo had been seeking £40m from Grant Thornton and there is still interest to be calculated on the award.
Location Sciences (LSAI) says that 2018 trading was in line with expectations and 2019 has started well. There has been a soft launch of the Verify product that ensures that responses to advertising from mobiles are genuine. Paid for trials in the US will provide further evidence of effectiveness.
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has acquired Manchester-based Croft Transport Planning and Design, which provides highways and traffic advice to property developers, for an initial £1.5m in cash and shares. This widens the range of services offered by the property services division.
Utilitywise (UTW) has not published its accounts and trading in the shares has been suspended. The utility cost management consultancy has also effectively put itself up for sale as part of its strategic review. This was sparked by the failure to raise cash required from a share issue. The £25m bank facility expires in April.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has secured an investment of up to $30m to fund the commercialisation of molecular biology products being developed by Ador Diagnostics, a joint venture with Gamida for Life, that is valued at $30m prior to the investment. The first $14.5m should be invested by the end of March and the rest will be invested at a 33.3% premium to the enterprise valuation after the initial investment by the end of 2020. Most of the cash will come from medical sector investors and Puma Brandenburg. BATM and Gamida will each invest $2m and after the initial investment BATM will own 38.2% of the company. Shore Capital will reinvest its total fees of $1m into Ador.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) is obtaining a $750,000 convertible security investment and a 24 month equity facility of up to $7m from an entity managed by The Lind Partners, which will get an initial commitment fee of $75,000. Between $100,000 and $300,000 can be drawn down each month. The shares will be issued at prices that are linked to market prices at the time. Rare earths production at the Gakara project in Burundi is expected to build up over 2019 as two further areas are opened up. Production costs were higher than sales revenues in the three months to December 2018.
Sportech (SPO) has acquired digital gaming technology business LOT.TO Systems, which has developed the iLottery platform.
Path Investments (PATH) has sold its Turkish oil and gas interests for £400,000. The focus is the acquisition of ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a forward funding and assignment of the contract of the Wavertree property in Liverpool. This is the second project that has reached this stage. Dukemount will continue to manage the redevelopment of the property and a development profit will be received on completion. Executive chairman Geoffrey Dart has been awarded a bonus of £80,000 for the completion of the first two transactions and it will be received in shares at 0.3p each.
Countryside Props plc CSP Total completions in the first quarter from the 1st October to the 30th December rose by 28 % and the forward order book by 78%. The strong growth in completions was driven by a sharp increase in affordable homes, up 52% and Private Rental Sector, up 66% . This was due to the acquisition of Westleigh. Broadly flat average selling prices at £395,000 with a 1% to 2% underlying increase, is not the sort of news which the housebuilding industry, likes to hear.
Restaurant Group plc RTN opened a record number of new sites in 2018 but saw like for like sales fall by 2% and total sales rise by 1%. Since the World Cup however the Group has delivered like-for-like sales growth and the Pubs business is continuing consistently to trade ahead of the pub restaurant sector and the Concessions business has also traded strongly. The company describes the year as a pivotal one which is hardly matched by the sales figures..
Biome Technologies plc BIOM saw 2018 group revenues show a rise of 42% over 2017.. Over 2018, sales of the non-woven filter mesh for the US single serve coffee market increased, together with other revenues, by more than 50%, The company’s portfolio of bioplastics applications are expected to contribute substantially to sales, particularly in the latter part of 2019.particularly, something known as the rigid ring project. A much higher performing disposable cutlery is another new product expected to be successful in the US. Revenues in the RF Technologies division for the year ended 31 December 2018 provided a 75% increase on the previous year. 2019 is expected to see a gradual but substantial increase in Bioplastics revenues.
Shield Therapeutics plc STX has entered 2019 in good shape with revenues for the year to 31st December 2018 expected to to have soared to. £11.9 million from 2017’s £637,000 and including the 11m. upfront payment received from Norgine on the signing of the licence agreement. Royalty income from Norgine during 2019, is anticipated to grow steadily based on sales in the UK and Germany,
Sport Capital Group (SCG) is acquiring Italian football club Palermo for a nominal sum. The deal also includes the project for a new stadium for the Serie B team, which is currently five points clear at the top of the table. Promotion back to Serie A would boost revenue generation and it would also trigger an earn-out payment. There is also potential for more sponsorship and match revenues. There is a plan to raise up to £10m from a bond issue that would be traded on NEX.
Clinical decision support technology provider DXS International (DXSP) reported a lower interim loss in the six months to October 2018. Revenues edged up from £1.61m to £1.69m and the loss declined from £92,000 to £35,000. Tax credits meant that there was a post-tax profit of £70,000, up from £28,000. The GPSoC tender has been delayed but it is expected to be completed this year.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that its priorities for 2019 are to demonstrate the potential of the blockchain investments that it has and to take advantage of the growing sector. There were record levels of investment in the blockchain sector last year. Management wants movements in the share price to reflect progress rather than the movement of the price of bitcoin, as has been the case in the past year.
KR1 (KR1) has set up a subsidiary in Gibraltar. KRX Ltd will sponsor token-based projects that will list on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which operates the first regulated blockchain exchange. The subsidiary will generate fees from clients and there are a limited number of sponsors.
AFH Financial Group (AFHP) has acquired fellow wealth management firm Hayburn Rock for up to £3.5m. The initial payment is £900,000. In 2017, the firm made a profit of £400,000.
TechFinancials (TECH) is selling its stake in MarketFinancials, which no longer trades, for €100,000. The investment had no value on the balance sheet.
Smaller company investor Gledhow Investments (GDH) had £167,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018, having made a small profit in the period. The NAV is £793,000.
Ashley House (ASH) is changing its year from April to June. This is the end of the first six months period for joint venture Morgan Ashley Care Developments LLP. There will be interim results for the six months to October 2018 reported at the end of January.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has commissioned the Hellyer processing plant and in the fourth quarter generated £3.2m of revenues from lead, zinc and pyrite.
Ascent Resources (AST) is attempting to raise cash at 0.3p a share, which is a 20% discount to the market price, via PrimaryBid.com. Ascent has successfully raised cash via the platform in the past. The broker handling the deal is Stanford Capital Partners. Ascent, which has €400,000 in the bank plus a deposit for a bank guarantee of €200,000, is refocusing its expansion outside of Slovenia because of regulatory hold ups in the country. Revenues from the export of gas from Slovenia totalled €2.1m in 2018 but gaining permission to process the gas and sell it to the national grid has proved difficult.
Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Leicester-based legal services business Cummins for £1.57m in cash and shares. This fits well with the existing east Midlands operations. In the six months to October 2018, group revenues were 37% ahead at £23.9m and organic growth was 10%. Underlying pre-tax profit doubled to £4.4m. The maiden interim dividend is 0.6p a share. Net debt was £9.5m at the end of October 2018. Average fees per fee earner was one-quarter higher at £66,000.
Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) did better than expected last year. The 2018 pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 5% to $29m. Net cash is $25m and 50% of the excess over $15m will be paid in a special dividend on top of the ordinary dividend. Somero has also paid $2m for concrete pouring and line dragging company Line Dragon and this broadens the product range.
Student accommodation activities fuelled the growth of Watkin Jones (WJG) last year but private rental will become increasingly important from this year onwards. Richard Simpson has taken over as chief executive.
Kromek (KMK) is making progress towards breakeven and it has plenty of cash in the bank to take it there. The imaging and radiation detection technology developer has a strong order book. There was a dip in first half revenues because of the transfer of production to a new site in Pittsburgh. Even so, full year revenues are forecast to increase from £11.8m to £15m and the loss should reduce from £2.5m to £1.9m.
Tri-Star Resources (TSTR) is selling its antinomy exploration interests in Turkey. The company’s main asset is the 40% shareholding in the Sohar antinomy and gold production facility in northern Oman. Some engineering problems have to be sorted out before the plant is fully up and running. More cash will be required. The venture has requested $10.5m from its shareholders.
The market was disappointed by news from Verona Pharma (VRP) about the clinical trial results for COPD treatment Ensifentrine (RPL554). Two different does were used in combination with Stiolto Respimat. The treatment did work better than the placebo, but the improvement in breathing was not statistically significant. The share price slumped by more than one-third, although there was a small subsequent recovery.
CH Bailey (BLEY) has decided to cancel its AIM quotation and it is asking for shareholder approval. The company is offering to buy back shares at 100p each via a tender offer.
Ariana Resources (AAU) says that its 50%-owned Kiziltepe mine produced 27,110ounces of gold in 2018. Ariana expects its $33m development loan to be fully repaid during 2019.
Tax Systems (TAX) had reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.
Ideagen (IDEA) is acquiring Cork-based Scannell Solutions, which provides environmental health and safety software, for £3.5m. Annualised revenues are around €1m, of which, two-thirds is recurring.
Consumer engagement technology provider Pelatro (PTRO) has confirmed that 2018 figures are in line with expectations and there was improved cash generation in the second half. Net cash was $1.8m at the end of 2018. finnCap expects 2019 pre-tax profit to double from $2.9m to $6m.
Plexus Holdings (POS) plans to buy back 4.95 million shares owned by LLC Gusar. The price will be 50.5p a share. Gusar will use the cash to buy two POS-GRIP wellhead systems, which it announced it was going to buy one year ago.
Midwich Group (MIDW) has acquired MobilePro AG, which expands the audio visual products distributor into Switzerland. The business has annual revenues of CHF25m.
Pharmaxis has completed a toxicity study for two LOXL2 inhibitors in which Synairgen (SNG) has a 17%carried financial interest. Pharmaxis can brief potential licensing partners with the information gained.
Tracsis (TRCS) is acquiring Compass Informatics, which is a data analytics and systems development business. Tracsis is paying up to €5.15m for the Dublin-based company, which made a pre-tax profit of £600,000 last year.
Portmeirion Group (PMP) has achieved record sales in 2018 and beat the profit forecast of £9.5m. The fastest growth came in the home fragrance division.
Iofina (IOF) achieved record iodine production levels in the second half of 2018. Full year production was 17% higher at 588.8 million tonnes. There should be a further rise in production this year and that could move Iofina into profit.
Brandon Hill has initiated coverage of Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) and it has valued the company’s Lahtojoki diamond project in Finland at $32.9m, based on an average diamond price of $100/carat.
The People’s Operator (TPOP) has postponed the appointment of an administrator as negotiations with interested parties continue.
Kestrel Opportunities has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) from 22.2% to 23.1%. Little more than one year ago the stake was below 15%.
Caledonia Mining Corporation (CMCL) has cut 2019 gold production guidance for its Blanket Mine and WH Ireland has downgraded its forecast from 61,200 ounces to 55,500 ounces, which is at the higher end of the guidance. There was 54,5000 ounces of gold produced in 2018.
Athelney Trust (ATY) is holding the requisitioned general meeting on Tuesday 22 January. Robin Boyle has requisitioned a general meeting in order to get himself reappointed. He left the board last year after a disagreement over the future of the investment company. He wanted to stay on as a non-executive director to shepherd the change in investment management for the trust. The plan is to get Gresham House involved in the investment management. Boyle also wants David Lawman and Paul Coffin to be appointed and the three existing directors, Dr Emmanuel Pohl, Simon Moore and Jemma Jackson, to be removed.
Path Investments (PATH) has signed heads of agreement with ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue. Path had £31,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Challenger Acquisitions Ltd (CHAL) has agreed to sell its $300,000 investment in the Dallas Wheel project back to the developers. Challenger has received $27,000 in interest and will receive $50,000 a month, plus interest, for six months.
Gresham Technologies (GHT) has sold its VME mainframe software business for £2m.
Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has sufficient cash to finance continued exploration in the first quarter of 2019. By the middle of the year the gems explorer will be able to estimate how much cash it requires to start trial mining.