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LSE interview – Cathal Friel refocuses Open Orphan #ORPH as he raises 5m and buys virology specialist hVIVO

In a wide-ranging interview with London South East, Open Orphan Executive Chairman Cathal Friel outlines his vision for the business and explains how the combined talents of Open Orphan, hVivo and Venn Life Sciences will create a soon to be profitable pharmaceutical services one-stop shop.

Friel says this acquisition is the last however, as he is a major shareholder and he doesn’t want to see his own shareholding diluted along with everyone elses. The focus has been on reducing head count and building revenues at Venn Life Sciences since the Open Orphan IPO last June. Now, with the £13M bolt-on acquisition of hVivo, the London-based virology specialist company, the game has changed once again.

Friel says he sees hVivo as a loss-making and hugely undervalued asset. hVIVO went from being a vaccines and virology specialist to a drugs discovery business five years ago, with Neil Woodford and other investors putting in 113m of investment. “I really like Trevor Phillips and Tim Sharpington who came in 18 month ago to turn it around. But the previous management team got lost and we have picked up a bargain”. So how much are the assets worth today? “It’s very hard to say” explained Cathal, “113M in five years is a lot to spend but you can’t blow it all.

We have a 24 bed quarantine clinic facility which is worth 25 million or so on replacement value, we have a virology lab with the world’s largest stock of virology models likewise worth 25 million, and 7 or 8 million, so we 50 or 60 million of real assets”.

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 2 December 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Coinsilium (COIN) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Devmons to set up a joint venture using Coinsilium’s existing Gibraltar subsidiary TerraStream. The company will offer blockchain software and systems development. Devmons supplies the technology development expertise. More details will be published when the agreement is signed, and it is hoped that operations will commence in the first quarter of 2020. The new venture should not need significant funds, due to advanced payments being requested when any contract is won.

Gunsynd (GUN) has entered an agreement to sell its stake in Oyster Oil and Gas to Sajawin Pty Ltd. There will be a payment of £20,000 after the signing of the term sheet and a further £240,000 to be paid in two tranches, the second of which will be payable 60 days after completion. Sajawin still has to complete due diligence and raise at least A$1.5m when it reverses into an ASX shell. Gunsynd will subscribe for A$200,000 of shares. The deal can be terminated if the conditions are not met by the end of April. Production sharing contracts for four blocks in Djibouti are not included in the transaction. George Garnett has resigned as a non- executive director of Gunsynd.

Sativa Group (SATI) is exploring the possibility of an AIM quotation. It has appointed Cenkos Securities as adviser. Management hopes that the move could happen early next year. The first batch of seedlings is being prepared for a move to the cultivation room with the first extract of medicinal cannabis set to be delivered to King’s College London before the end of 2019. That will be used in research on inflammation and respiratory conditions. Crops take 12 weeks to grow.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) says that production at the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania is ahead of expectations, but there is room for improvement in 2020. NQ has made an additional investment of £150,000 in Tasmania Energy Metals in the form of a three-year convertible loan. NQ has an option to acquire the exploration licences and minerals processing facility that is being developed. The Barnes Hill nickel project mineral resource estimate has increased to 14.3 million tonnes grading 0.725 nickel and 0.05% cobalt.

Southern Africa-based social impact company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) increased its interim revenues but also made a higher loss. The Kazuko Lodge was hampered by the water shortage in the Cape Town area, but the weak Rand is boosting demand for holidays from Americans. There was an increase in honey produced by Bee Sweet Honey in Zambia. Cash in the bank improved from R12.3m to R21.2m. following a further cash injection by existing shareholders. The NAV was R179m at the end of August 2019.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has completed the sale of its African operations. The share consolidation was completed on 29 November.

Dana Group International Investments Ltd (DANA) says that its NAV fell from $51.9m to $7.03m in the 12 months to June 2019. There was a small profit for the year and the decline in NAV came from write-downs. Trading has ended in London Capital Group Holdings and Queros Capital Partners 8% bonds 2025.

 

AIM

Sustainable wood products supplier Accsys Technologies (AXS) is raising €46.3m in order to fund the completion of the Tricoya plant in Hull and the fourth Accoya reactor in Arnhem. It will also finance the evaluation of an Accoya plant in the US. The cash will be raised at €1.05 a share via a placing and a one-for-seven open offer. The Hull plant could be operational in the second half of 2020.

STM Group (STM) warns that the rebranding of its UK pensions business has been delayed as it awaits regulatory approval to operate as a Master Trust for auto-enrolment. New pension applications have been lower than expected. The 2019 underlying pre-tax profit is forecast at £2.5m. Next year’s indemnity insurance payment will cost an additional £500,000.

Wilmcote Holdings (WCH) is raising up to £6.5m via a 31.199996 for one open offer at 1p a share in order to replenish its coffers while it seeks a suitable acquisition in the chemicals and other sectors. There was £7.5m in cash at the end of June 2019. Wilmcote will look at smaller acquisitions than in the past.

Online fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) increased interim revenues by 53% to £2.82m with growth accelerating in the second quarter to September 2019. October revenues were more than £1m. Sosandar is still loss-making, but it could move into profit in 2020-21. The customer database has been significantly increased.

Parcel delivery firm DX (DX.) says its recovery continues to be on track. It expects to return to profit this year.

Cyber security services provider Shearwater Group (SWG) generated organic revenue growth of 11% in the first half. Overall revenues grew 262% to £16.3m. New managed service contracts provide revenue visibility. There was £1.68m in the bank at the end of September 2019.

A £5m fundraising at 0.15p a share will help Union Jack Oil (UJO) to finance the drilling of two appraisal wells at West Newton, where it has a 16.665% interest. There will also be a side-track well drilled at Biscathorpe.

There will be a second half shortfall in revenues at Malvern International (MLVN) with little improvement on the same period last year. Delays in approving overseas students, plus poor trading in London and Malaysia. WH Ireland has withdrawn forecasts. Cutting out Malaysian losses could enable Malvern to make a profit in 2020.

CAP-XX (CPX) is acquiring supercapacitor manufacturing assets from Murata, which a licensee of CAP-XX IP. This will boost manufacturing capacity and should improve profit. CAP-XX has raised £2.75m and an open offer could raise up to £750,000 more.

Live data systems company WANdisco (WAND) is raising $16.5m at 425p a share, which was a premium of 23% to the previous closing price. This will provide additional working capital. An existing customer has extended its relationship with WANdisco and the contract is worth $500,000.

 

MAIN MARKET

Interim figures from Associated British Engineering (ASBE) show improved revenues and a lower loss. That is mainly down to a better performance by British Polar Engines. The business has been rationalised and surplus space will generate revenues in the fourth quarter. The pension deficit remains a concern.

Flavourings supplier Treatt (TET) reported flat full year revenues of £112.7m, but a 5% improvement in underlying pre-tax profit to £13.3m. There was a 10% decline in citrus revenues, which was made up for by growth elsewhere. The dividend was raised from 5.1p a share to 5.5p a share. There will be increased US capacity next year.

Nuformix (NFX) is raising £1.25m at 7p a share in order to provide funds while it negotiates deals in Asia and North America for NXP002, which is focused on the treatment for human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. There will also be additional money spent on two other treatment programmes.

Highway Capital (HWC) had net liabilities of £908,000 at the end of August 2019. It continues to seek a suitable acquisition.

Blake Holdings is making a mandatory cash offer for Hardy Oil and Gas (HDY) having taken its stake to 42.27%. The 5p a share offer values Hardy at £3.7m.

Andrew Hore

 

 

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 18 November 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Trading in the shares of Barkby Group (BARK) has been suspended ahead of further information about a proposed reverse takeover. The acquisition of a group of companies referred to as the Dickson controlled entities is expected to cost £30m, predominantly paid in shares. There will also be a share placing to provide working capital for the enlarged group. Charles Dickson would become executive chairman if the deal goes ahead. The businesses include Workshop Coffee, which operates four coffee shops and is a wholesaler of speciality coffee, a commercial property developer. Barkby will also acquire the right to invest in two private companies: Transcend Packaging, which won a contract to supply McDonalds with paper straws, and VivoPlex, which has developed a medical device for fertility monitoring.

Brewer and pubs operator Daniel Thwaites (THW) says fears that interest rates will fall has required a £4m increase in the provision for its interest rate swaps. That is a non-cash item and underlying pre-tax profit increased from £5.6m to £6.2m in the six months to September 2019. That figure also excludes a quadrupling of property disposal profit to £800,000. Interim revenues improved 7% to £53.4m. The new brewery is operating at full capacity, while there was a small increase in like-for-like pub revenues. The contribution from hotels improved. Net debt was reduced by £8.6m to £61.6m compared with 12 months before, although £22.5m has been reclassified as due within one year. The interim dividend is unchanged at 1.1p a share.

NEX and AIM-quoted AFH Financial (AFHP) says it is trading in line with forecasts. The wealth manager will report underlying EBITDA of more than £17m, up from £10.4m, in the year to October 2019. Funds under management were £6bn. The contribution from acquisitions has been earnings enhancing. The total dividend is expected to be 8p a share and this is expected to rise by one-quarter to 10p a share in 2019-20. There was still £11.9m in the bank at the end of October 2019, although there is estimated to be £32.2m of contingent consideration and a £15m convertible loan in the balance sheet. The current focus is on organic growth and there should be enough cash generated, along with the current balance, to pay the deferred consideration over the next two years.

Ashley House (LSE: ASH) has published a trading statement and it is changing its year end from April to October following the disposal of the Morgan Ashley joint venture. In the 12 months to April 2019, revenues fell from £18.5m to £11.9m and a pre-tax profit of £805,000 was turned into a £2.95m loss. There was a loss contributed by joint ventures. Net debt was £1.8m.

Clinical support systems supplier DXS International (DXSP) is considering a move to AIM. This would be part of a potential fundraising to enable further investment in the business. DXS has already announced that it has been awarded a place on the NHS GPIT Futures framework from the beginning of 2020. This replaces the GPSoC2 framework and means that systems and services will be able to be bought centrally rather than with GP funds. The focus will be on the existing core product DXS Point of Care, analytics and reporting service CompleteCare, digital medicines service ExpertCare and condition management platform MyVytalCare. The first is already on sale and the rest will be launched in early 2020. DXS is gaining final approvals for its four solutions to be listed in the NHS catalogue.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £160,000 at 0.1p a share. This cash will be invested in additional shares in Apollon Formularies, which will take the company’s stake to 2.68%.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) believes that the lack of flotations is providing it with more opportunities. Primorus has received the £275,000 it was owed by Zuuse and still owns 57,205 shares and holds options over one million shares at A$0.50 (26p) each. The latest fundraising by Zuuse is at A$1 a share. There is a potential market to sell the shares even before a flotation.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) shareholder Formation Group has appointed Andrew Bennett as a non-executive director of the proton beam therapy firm.

David Lenigas has been appointed chairman of NQ Minerals (NQMI) and the board is in talks to replace existing debt with lower-cost debt. First Sentinel, which is run by former NQ Minerals director, has been appointed as corporate adviser.

Block Commodities (BLCC) has raised £388,000 from an issue of convertible loan notes and shares. This is less than the company wanted to raise more than six months ago. The share issue raised £133,000 at 0.02p a share, with a warrant exercisable at the same price, and the conversion of the loan notes will also be at the same price. The cash will be used to move into the medicinal cannabis sector. Additional shares are being issued to pay creditors.

EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had net assets of 246.47p a share at the end of October 2019.

One hundred shares in Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) will be consolidated into one new share on 18 November.

Karoo Energy has changed its name to IamFire (FIRE).

Queros Capital Partners (QCP) will leave NEX on 28 November.

AIM

DBAY Advisors does not intend to bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and instead will acquire 51% of the underlying subsidiary that owns the transport operations. The poor financial situation of the business led to the change of strategy and Eddie Stobart Logistics has recommended the deal, which involves the injection of £55m of additional finance through a PIK Facility. This will pay off a £35m loan and provide working capital. The deal requires the extension of other existing debt facilities. The interim results to May 2019 are still being compiled. An operating loss of at least £12m is expected, but the underlying business could make a full year operating profit of up to £2m. There could be a goodwill write-down of £50m. Net debt will be around £200m. Wincanton (WIN) is still considering a rival deal.

ECO Animal Health (EAH) is still suffering the after effects of the African Swine Flu outbreak in China and the US/China trade war hitting imports from the US. First half revenues from China fell by three-fifths. Restocking will take time to flow through in terms of FCO’s results. There will be a sharp fall in full year profit. The interims could also be affected by accounting policy changes.

Advanced surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has been selected to coat parts for the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. This is an important step in building up business in the aerospace sector. The Hardide-A coating will replace HVOF thermal spray coatings. HVOF is one of the most widely used coatings in aerospace and Hardide-A is said to be technically superior. Hardide has also been awarded a patent for a water droplet erosion resistant coating for blades and vanes, including those used on steam and gas turbines for power generation. A field test is planned.

Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) says that a test production run is planned later this month by 85%-owned Future Metal at its quarry in China. The plan is to restart production by the end of the year. This will help to underpin the Adamas NAV and provide potential upside. At the end of September 2019, NAV was 84p a share, which is more than three times the share price. Future Metal is 45.2% of that NAV and when the quarry is up and running then Adamas could raise cash by selling some of its stake. Cash is required to invest in new opportunities that are being presented to the company. Adamas issued 16.18 million shares at 34.8p each for its equity investment in Infinity TNP.

Safestay (SSTY) has bought the Hotel Auberge in Berlin, which is near to Berlin zoo, and intends to turn it into a 150-bed hostel. The site has an eleven year lease. This is the latest acquisition this year and it takes the total number of hostel sites to 18. The plan is to have 20 hostels by 2020.

MAIN MARKET

PureCircle Ltd (PURE) chief executive Magomet Malsagov has stood aside temporarily pending further investigation of the classification of the stevia sweeteners supplier’s inventory and other transactions. The investigations have identified that inventory was $23m too high. Other transactions could lead to additional valuation changes. There could be write downs of intangibles and inventories. There should not be any increase in net debt, although the figures are still not fully audited. Bank covenants may need to be waived. Finance director Rakesh Sinha had previously resigned, although he remains with the company until the end of January.

Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is seeking a buyer. Management believes the company needs to be part of a larger group with greater financial resources.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 21 October 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Third quarter trading at Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) shows a one-third increase in loans to £1.6bn, while deposits are 17% ahead at £2bn. Impairments are rising, though. The private bank is adding 40 new clients each month.

Although Vox Markets has called off merger discussions with PCG Entertainment (PCGE) the latter’s shareholders will have preferential rights to participate in the flotation of Vox. Shareholders have to be on the register on 11 October to benefit. PCG has released any claims it may have against Vox, although Vox has the right to sue Align Research, the third party in the merger plans. PCG says nothing negative was found about Align in due diligence. First Sentinel has resigned as corporate adviser to PCG and trading in the shares has been suspended.

Good Energy (GOOD) has launched One Point to offer electric vehicle charging. The company has also been awarded he green classification and mark.

The Home Office has awarded Sativa Group (SATI) a controlled drug licence to grow medicinal cannabis. This covers cannabis with a THC content of greater than 0.2%. Sativa already has a low-THC industrial hemp licence.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that its investee company Apollon Formularies has received its third medical cannabis licence in Jamaica. This is for experimental research and development.

World Health Life (LIFE) has completed the acquisition of Love Hemp and a £2m convertible debenture fundraising. A second tranche of debentures should be issued in the next few weeks. Love Hemp has product distribution agreements with supermarkets and health food stores.

Triple Point Investment Management is providing a £20m loan facility for Rutherford Health (RUTH) and this will be drawn down in phases. The loan terms improve as patient numbers increase at the three proton beam therapy centres.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has received the first quarterly interest payment from Silverstream. The 12-month note matures in August 2020.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) will consolidate 20 shares into one new share and trading will commence on 22 October.

Secured Property Development (SPD) had £537,000 in the bank at the end of June 2019, but it is finding it difficult to find a suitable acquisition.

AIM

Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) is as consistent as ever. It has published a trading statement related to its interims at 4.35pm on Friday. The 2018-19 trading update was published at 4.35pm on Thursday 18 April – the last day before a long weekend. There was no particular reason to hide the latest statement. First half revenues were flat compared with a first quarter decline of 2%. Cash fell £300,000 to £28.1m over a three-month period.

Murgitroyd (MUR) is recommending a 675p a share bid from a company set up by Sovereign Capital Partners LLP. This values the patent and trademark attorney at £62.8m. Murgitroyd joined AIM 18 years ago at 121p a share and has been a consistent dividend payer.

Fully listed logistic services provider Wincanton (WIN) is considering a bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and DBAY Advisers is also still assessing whether to bid.

Disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) plans to grow its revenues by up to 15% a year in each of the next three years. This follows an 18% increase to £26m in the year to June 2019, while pre-tax profit grew by one-fifth to £5.6m. The dividend was 21% higher at 5.54p a share. International markets account for 55% of revenues. Tristel is waiting for a response from the FDA, which should be forthcoming by the end of 2019.

Power projects developer Kibo Mining (KIBO) has raised £1.99m at 0.45p a share. This will be used to fund the development of power generation projects in Africa. The portfolio includes 1,055MW of power generation capacity with 355MW having heads of terms power purchase agreements. Each new share comes with a warrant exercisable at 0.8p a share.

Filtronic (FTC) has agreed to pay a warranty claim of $2m (£1.6m) and change a faulty component in antennas supplied in 2016-17. The fault relates to certain bandwidths in hot countries. The cash is payable in four instalments up until December 2020. On 23 October, Filtronic is set to report sales from continuing activities of £15.9m, down from £21.6m, and a small positive EBITDA. Filtronic has already received more than £10m of orders for its 5G backhaul transceivers due for delivery in 2019-20.

Woodford Investment Management has cut its stake in GYG (GYG) from 19.98% to less than 5%. That appears to have been a relief to the market because the share price of yacht painting services provider has recovered since the disposal. UBS has taken a 11.2% stake.

Kestrel Partners continues to build its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB), taking its stake from 25% to 26.1%. Kestrel owns 23 million shares in Brady (BRY) and, even if it makes a loss, it will be having a cash inflow. Hanover Acquisitions is offering 10p a share for the risk management software company, which values it at £8.3m.

Construction consultancy services provider Driver (DRV) says it will report underlying pre-tax profit of £3m for the full year, after £400,000 of rationalisation costs. That represents a strong performance in the second half. Net cash was £5m at the year-end, after share buy backs.

Frontier IP (FIPP) has taken a 43% stake in Elute Intelligence Holdings, which is developing software to search complex documents and detect plagiarism. Frontier IP is providing some of its own IP to an existing business to form Elute with the rest of the stake coming from providing services to the company.

Blue Star Capital (BLU) is raising £900,000 at 0.1p a share and the cash will be equally split between six investments in esports companies.

Power transmission products manufacturer Renold (RNO) says that cost savings are offsetting a downturn in trading. It is still on track to report an underlying full year pre-tax profit improving from £10.1m to £10.4m. Order intake remains weak.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has announced a restructuring of the Paradox project. This will enable the oil and gas company to focus on the most prospective acreage.

MAIN MARKET

Quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) still has a cash buffer so that it can find a new manufacturing partner to replace the US one that has withdrawn from an agreement. There could still be net cash of £1.5m at the end of July 2020.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) is planning to raise cash at NOK0.35/share in Norway. That is equivalent to 2.95p/share, compared with a market price of 3.5p. The Azerbaijan-focused oil and gas company has a drilling rig that will be mobilised before the end of the month and well M-247 has been identified as a target. It was previously in production. Zenith has identified wells in the Muradkhani oilfield in which perforations of untapped intervals can generate additional production. This will happen in the next fortnight.

OTHER MARKETS

Former AIM company Getmapping has launched a strategic review and a formal sales process. Management of the believes that the geospatial services provider could grow faster with additional investment. A company taking a minority stake is another alternative. The process should be completed by the end of 2019. The shares are traded on the Britdaq matched bargains market.

Vienna-listed Fashion On Screen is moving into theatre by acquiring musicals producer Shaftesbury Avenue. The all-share purchase is valued at £2.5m. Fashion On Screen believes that some of the musicals could become film productions.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 7 October 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Wines and beer maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) increased interim sales by one-fifth to £6.74m with growth coming from all parts of the business. Gross margins improved, but the first half loss increased due to investment in developing brands. Cash has been spent on developing additional vineyards, a gin works and a new brewery, although there is still £5.19m in cash on the balance sheet. Bank debt is £6.45m and this is associated with the Ashford brewery, where there have been teething problems with commissioning the new equipment. The associated restaurant and retail store opened in May.

Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased revenues by 44% to £5.07m in the year to April 2019. There was a disposal gain of £284,000 and that contributed to the rise in pre-tax profit from £361,000 to £759,000. Total dividends doubled to 2.5p a share. Property assets have increased by 52% to £88.3m. NAV is £21.2m.

Net assets of Western Selection (WESP) have fallen by one-third to 64p a share. The investment in loss-making Tudor Rose International has been written off. The value of the stakes in Bilby (BILB) and Brand Architekts (BAR), formerly Swallowfield, has fallen sharply. There is no final dividend.

IFA AFH Financial (AFHP) has confirmed that trading has been strong in the year to October 2019 and there will be a renewed focus on organic growth following a period of acquisition activity. There could be some small purchases, but there will be no requirement for cash from share issues.

KR1 (KR1) generated a gross profit of £5m in the six months to June 2019, although £4.29m of that is unrealised gains. The reported pre-tax profit is £4.62m. The NAV is £10.7m.

Dozens Savings (DSO1/DSO2) has had its 5% secured bonds October 2020 admitted to the NEX Exchange Growth Market. The bonds are offered to customers of parent company Project Imagine.

Angelfish Investments (ANGP) says that investee company YBOO has been placed in administration and Quantuma appointed to handle the process. Angelfish invested £650,000 for a 35% stake and lent just over £1m for working capital, where a repayment demand led to the administration. Writing down this investment was predominantly behind the £1.72m loss reported for the year to June 2019. It has also meant that there are net liabilities of £2.27m. A capital raising was hit by the closure of SVS Securities.

Shareholders in SG Recruitment (SGRL) did not approve the AGM reappointment of Steven Howson as a director. David Sumner, who owns the majority of the shares in the company, has been appointed chief executive.

Healthcare company MiLOC Group (MLP) increased its interim revenues from HK$5.27m to HK$6.1m. The loss was still substantial, although it did decline from HK$25m to HK$19.4m. The launch of a traditional Chinese medicine-based body care product should happen in the coming months. MiLOC raised HK$652,000 at 30p a share.

Cannabis company Freyherr International Group (FRYR) generated revenues of £1.17min the first half of 2019 and it should reach more than £2m for the full year. There was a small profit in the first half, which was before Freyherr joined NEX.

MESH Holdings (MESH) has left NEX. Veni, Vidi, Vici (VVV), Global Capital (GCAP) and Secured Property Developments (SPD) have all had trading in shares suspended because of a failure to publish accounts. Trading in Queros Capital Partners 8% bonds 2025 (QCP) has been suspended because of a breach of rules. This involves the failure to appoint new independent non-execs.

DXS International (DXSP) has appointed Hybridan as broker.

AIM  

Directa Plus (DCTA) is paying €2.1m to acquire a 51% stake in Romanian waste management and remediation services company Setcar. A placing and one-for-38 open offer at 75p a share will raise up to £8.24m before expenses for the graphene business. GVC Investment Company, which has a business in offshore oil and gas services, will acquire 47% of Setcar with an existing shareholder retaining 1.97%. Directa Plus and Setcar have worked together on the development of Grafysorber mobile decontamination units. This is one of the two main focuses for Directa Plus. The other is textiles.

Linde is taking a 20% in energy storage and clean fuel products developer ITM Power (ITM) in return for £38m. The two firms are entering into a joint venture that will supply hydrogen to large scale industrial projects with an installed electrolyser capacity of 10MW and above. A further £14m is being raised at 40p a share, which is the same price that Linde is paying. An open offer could raise up to £6.8m.

Duke Royalty (DUKE) is raising up to £20m at 44p a share, including an offer via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will enable Duke to sign up another royalty partner and undertake five follow-on investments. The total cost will be approximately £25m. There will also be spare cash and facilities to sign up other royalty partners.

Trading in antimicrobial technology developer Byotrol (BYOT) shares has been suspended because it has not published its accounts for the year to March 2019. It blames the effects of revenue recognition policy IFRS 15 and the Medimark acquisition for the delay. The preliminary figures have been published and they were better than expected due to changes in revenue recognition related to IFRS15. Some revenues originally recognised in the year before has been moved to last year. Revenues increased from £1.8m to £5.7m, with £1.8m coming from Medimark, and Byotrol moved from loss to a pre-tax profit of £600,000. There was £2.8m in the bank at the end of March 2019. Even if there are no further licence deals this year, Byotrol should trade at around breakeven.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the trial investigating the potential of SFX-01 to reverse acquired resistance to endocrine therapies. The data suggest that there are no safety concerns in patients suffering from ER+ metastatic breast cancer. In combination with endocrine therapy, SFX-01 helped to stabilise the disease and showed some anti-tumour activity.

STM Group (STM) says that the Pension Regulator has confirmed that Carey Workplace Pension Trust is an approved Master Trust for auto-enrolment. This means that STM is well-placed to become a consolidator in the market.

MAIN MARKET

Avation (AVAP) has repossessed two Airbus A321 aircraft from Thomas Cook and they are undergoing maintenance. They will subsequently be leased to other clients.

Flavourings supplier Treatt (TET) says it will achieve expectations in the year to September 2019 even though there has been a sharp fall in citrus raw material prices. Orange oil prices have halved, and this accounts for one-third of revenues. Non-citrus revenues are growing. Net cash is £15.8m. The full year results will be published on 26 November.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 23 September 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) continues to progress its development plans and some of the benefits are shown by the near-doubling of conference and events revenues in the first half. The remodelling of the main parade ring has been completed and a contractor appointed for work on the Royal Box, which will cost £2.5m. In the six months to June 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £7.57m, even though one race day was lost, and there was a slightly lower pre-exceptional loss of £317,000. There is a danger that legislation relating to fixed odds betting terminals could have a knock-on effect on Newbury’s revenues from bookies in the second half.

Shepherd Neame (SHEP) will be releasing its annual results on Wednesday. Peel Hunt expects pre-tax profit to be 5% lower at £11.2m, because there was no contribution from the Asahi brewing contract that ended in 2018. Excluding that contract, profit could have risen. Pubs have grown their like-for-like income and brewing volumes have recovered, but second half profit could be minimal. NAV of 1664p a share is forecast.

Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) has been hit by a short-term lack of sales activity in the NHS. In the year to April 2019, DXS reported an increased loss of £200,000, up from £46,000. Revenues dipped from £3.41m to £3.35m. More than £1m was spent on developing products during the year.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that dry herb medical inhalation system Hapac has been refined and sales of the device and Hapac sachets are growing. However, legal uncertainty in Italy means that Hapac has been removed from sale while a court case over labelling and cannabis content is heard in Parma. There are plans to launch Hapac in other markets. Ananda has a 15% stake in Hapac’s owner. Edward Nealon has increased his stake in Ananda from 5.31% to 6.91%.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that Apollon Formularies, a Jamaican cannabis company where it owns 2.325% and it intends to acquire the rest of the shares, has completed a six week pilot opening of a medicinal cannabis therapy centre to treat patients.

Karoo Energy (KEP) is in discussions with investors so that the company can be recapitalised and settle outstanding creditors. NEX has agreed to defer the withdrawal of Karoo shares from trading ahead of the publication of a circular.

AFH Financial (AFHP) has bought another IFA. It is paying up to £3.2m for Wirral-based Broadleaf Financial Services.

LF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital Trust own 50.6% of Rutherford Health (RUTH) following the latest cash injection of £12.5m at 176p a share.

AIM 

StatPro (SOG) is recommending a 230p a share cash bid from Confluence Technologies. That is a 55% premium to the market price and the share price has never been anywhere near that level. It is equivalent to more than 32 times last year’s earnings. Nearly two-thirds of the shares have agreed to accept the offer, which values the asset management software supplier at £161m.

Fulcrum Utility Services (LSE: FCRM) has managed to avoid publicity of its full year figures. On the plus side, they were released before the end of September so there is no danger of trading in the shares being suspended. They were in line with previous indications after multi-utility construction services provider Fulcrum and its auditors finally agreed on the way to interpret IFRS16, which relates to recognising revenues. Fulcrum is no longer allowed to take the revenues and profit from constructing its own utility assets through the income statement. Revenues were one-fifth higher at £48.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £7.9m to £8.6m. NAV is 20.5p a share.

Background and medical screening checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) grew its interim revenues by 17% to $11.6m and it is getting nearer to profitability. The underlying pre-tax loss was $500,000. This has prompted a small upgrade in the revenues forecast to $23.5m, but additional marketing costs mean that pre-tax loss is still likely to be $600,000. Net debt could be $700,000 at the end of 2019. Demand from the US labour market remains strong and ClearStar is building its presence in newer sectors.

MAIN MARKET

Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) is in talks to buy Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT consultancy and e-commerce app developer, for £2.3m in shares. Trading in the shares has been suspended. Due diligence is ongoing, and the shares will remain suspended until a readmission document relating to the reverse takeover is published. 

Advanced materials supplier Low and Bonar (LWB) is recommending a 15.5p a share cash bid from Germany-based FVB that values the company at £107m. The bidder says that its geographic reach will widen, and it will be able to enter the coated technical textiles market. Recent trading at Low and Bonar has been poor.

National Word (NWOR) is a standard list shell that has been launched by former Mirror boss David Montgomery so that he can acquire UK local newspapers.

Toiletries manufacturer Creightons (CRL) has agreed to acquire its premises in Peterborough for £3.8m. This needs to be agreed to be shareholders at a general meeting.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) has installed a further 1,000 cryptomining machines, taking the total to 6,000. That figure could double by next spring. In the six months to June 2019, Argo generated revenues of £2.93m and made a pre-tax profit of £947,000.

 

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 19 August 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a decline in first half revenues from £35.5m to £34.7m, while the loss increased from £840,000 to £1.15m. Beer volumes were 2% ahead, compared with a 1% decline in the market. Low alcohol beer sales grew. Gin sales fell because of greater competition. A fire at the Ship at Levington hampered the performance of the pubs business. Adnams made an underlying profit in 2018, thanks to a better second half performance. The new IT system went live in March and the implementation has been a distraction to management. The dividends are unchanged at 78p a share for each B share and 19.5p per A share.  

Bruce Pubs (PUB) has decided to cancel trading in its 7.2% secured bonds, 31 March 2022. There are £20,000 worth of bonds admitted to the market and there have been no trades. Bruce Pubs had wanted to raise up to £20m from the bond issue. It is therefore not a surprise that Bruce Pubs believes it is not worth having a trading facility. The bonds can be redeemed early by the company.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 10,164 tonnes of lead concentrate, 7,431 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 46,863 tonnes of pyrite concentrate in the first half of 2019. An operating profit of A$3.6m was made on sales of A$23m.

TechFinancials (TECH) had $1.23m in the bank at the end of June 2019. A reduction in trade receivables meant that there was a small cash inflow from operating activities, but there was $402,000 capitalised developed on the blockchain ticketing system.

China-focused healthcare company MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised £755,000 at 30p a share.

Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has gained a quotation for its bonds on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

AIM  

ICAMAP has acquired 7.94 million shares in easyHotel (EZH) at its offer price of 95p a share, taking its stake to 44.1%. This means that it is a mandatory cash offer.

Iofina (IOF) has launched IofinaEX Global to deal in hemp derived products in Central America and the Caribbean. Iofina will potentially link up with a government in the region that wants to develop its country as a hub for hemp derived products. There are no details of this potential partnership. The company believes that its regulatory expertise in the iodine market will be helpful in the CBD market. The US is likely to be a major market.

LightwaveRF (LWRF) has raised £1.3m at 7p a share. The smart homes equipment supplier wants the cash to finance further growth. There are also plans to secure a facility for stock.

Altitude (ALT) is considering the disposal of its Manchester-based promotion products supplier AdProducts.com. This would enable Altitude to concentrate on its AIM platform for promotional products suppliers.

Greatland Gold (GGP) has raised £4.2m at 1.85p a share and that will be used to finance exploration in the Paterson region of Australia. There has been positive exploration news from the Scallywag prospect in the Paterson region. A ground gravity survey starts this month and an induced polarisation survey next month. Then 3D modelling using the data will come up with drill targets.

Cyber security software and services provider Corero Network Security (CNS) says interim revenues are lower, but operating costs are unchanged. That means that the interim loss has increased. However, full year revenues are expected to be one-fifth higher, but higher investment in sales means that the loss will still be higher. Net cash was $3.6m at the end of June 2019.

Equals Group (EQLS) is raising up to £16m via a placing and open offer. The international payments company has raised £14m at 110p a share and up to £2m will come from the one-for-90 open offer. The cash will be used for acquisitions and working capital.

Tanfield (TAN) says that 49%-owned Snorkel International has moved back into profit in the second quarter of 2019, although the first half was still loss-making. Last year, the value of this investment in the access equipment supplier was cut from £36.3m to £19.1m.

Oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) says that there should not be a material effect on its operations from a change in Argentinian president. Revenues are US dollar based and cash is held in the same currency, so the decline of the Argentinian peso should not be too much of a problem.

Anthony Laiker has subscribed £25,000 in Vela Technologies (VELA) at 0.1p a share. A general meeting has to approve the share issue to the executive director, as well as an issue of 6.25 million warrants exercisable at 0.15p. Approval of the conversion of £200,000 of loan notes plus interest into nearly 241 million shares will also require the company to be given the ability to issue more shares. Laiker would than own more than 301 million shares.

Gfinity (GFIN) is pulling out of its Australian joint venture because the esports company wants to focus its cash on the US and other important markets.  

Workspace software provider Essensys (ESYS) says that its revenues were one-quarter higher at £20.5m in the year to July 2019. That was better than expected. Annual recurring revenues run rate is £17.3m.

MAIN MARKET  

Associated British Engineering (ASBE) made an increased loss of £1.81m, up from £582,000 the previous year. The company’s main pension fund remains a worry and there are ongoing discussions with the Pensions Regulator. There are net liabilities of £3.71m after the pension deficit of £4.98m.

Nanoco (NANO) generated revenues of £7.3m in the year to July 2019, more than double the previous year. The cadmium-free quantum dots developer had £7m in cash at the end of July and expects to have £6m at the end of 2019.

Highway Capital (HWC) has issued €30,000 of new convertible loan notes. These are convertible to a value in excess of 50% of the net asset value of the company at the time of conversion. The terms of an existing convertible loan note of £100,000 have been changed and the conversion price is 5p a share.

Shareholders in Avocet Mining (AVM) have voted against the resolution to wind up the company. This means that it is likely to go into administration unless there is a viable transaction that the board can assess.

Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) wanted shareholders to approve the voluntary liquidation of the company, but there is not enough support for the proposal. GRIT has sold 430 million shares in Kalia for £225,000 in order to provide working capital. A new board is being appointed to undertake a strategic review. James Normand will become chairman and Martin Lampshire as an executive director. Stephen Roberts will become a non-executive director.  

IMC Exploration (IMC) has been awarded two additional licences in County Wexford. They adjoin an existing licence where there are indications of gold.

Book publisher Quarto (QRT) reduced its interim loss from $6.6m to $4m on flat revenues of $56.4m. There was a change in the mix of revenues with children’s books increasing revenues by14% and in geographic terms more of the revenues were in the US, which moved into profit. Net debt has fallen by 11% to $65m.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) says that drilling has commenced at well C-37 in the Jafarli oilfield.

Pendragon (PDG) is selling its Chevrolet dealership in California for £17.2m. GM can alternatively nominate another purchaser if it wants. The rest of the US business will be sold.

Andrew Hore 

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 13 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

National Milk Records (NMR) improved revenues from £5.32m to £5.56m in the three months to March 2019. Disease testing revenues grew at the fastest rate. This quarter did not benefit from one-off revenues like the first two quarters of the financial year.

Gledhow Investments (GDH) reported a reduction in net assets to £735,000 at the end of March 2019. Gledhow has trebled its money in Block Energy and sold the stake, but most of the proceeds came after the end of March.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) believes that Sport:80 has missed the chance to float, but TruSpine still has a chance to become quoted. International payments and lifecycle software provider Zuuse could be ready for a flotation within 18 months.

Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) has finally published its results for the year to August 2018. They show revenues falling from £226,000 to £96,000, although the loss was similar at £336,000. UK and Netherlands demand were weaker than expected.

Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) says its joint venture Morgan Ashley has achieved financial close on two more projects. A further three could be closed in the current quarter. Even so, group pre-tax profit will be lower. There will be an update in July.

Sativa Investments (SATI) is changing its name to Sativa Group to reflect that it is a trading company with a greater focus on UK operations. The application for a Home Office research and development licence to grow medicinal cannabis is proceeding well. This is for its own requirements as well as growing some varieties for order.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has acquired properties in Warrington and Middlesbrough for more than £10m. The Communities and Local Government department is the long-term tenant of both properties. The Warrington property cost £2.9m and the Middlesbrough property £7.125m.

In the first four months of 2019, NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 6,857 DMT of lead concentrate, 4,763 DMT of zinc concentrate and 29,389 DMT of pyrite concentrate.

Giles Brand has increased his stake in EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) from 23.1% to 30.5%. EPE has a NAV of 241.3p a share. Almon I Holding SA has a 3.16% stake in Coinsilium Ltd (COIN).

MetalNRG (MNRG) is delaying a move to the Main Market because of the uranium exploration ban in The Kyrgyz Republic, which means that the proposed farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit has been suspended. Due diligence is progressing on the Thambani licence and the transaction agreement with Mkango Resources by the end of June. Once it has funding, MetalNRG will make progress with the Gold Ridge project.

Panther Metals (PALM) reported a doubled cash outflow from operating activities of £309,000 last year. There was £1,247 in the bank at the end of 2018.

AIM   

Begbies Traynor (BEG) says that trading was ahead of expectations. The business recovery and property services provider says both divisions performed well. Shore has upped its pre-tax profit forecast for the year to April 2019 by 6% to £7.1m, compared with £5.6m the year before. The full year figures will be published on 9 July.

Interactive Investor has decided not to make a bid for Share (SHRE).

RA International (RAI) has won two new contracts. A five year contract worth $9.8m has been awarded by the United Nations Support Office for vehicle and equipment fleet services in Somalia. This is for ten locations compared to one previously. There is also a contract for construction services relating to the US Embassy in Denmark.

Immupharma (IMM) intends to merge its two French subsidiaries and either get private equity backing or float the combined business on a European stockmarket. The business is developing the Nucant cancer programme (Elro) and the peptide platform (Ureka). Immupharma will concentrate on Lupus treatment Lupuzor and it is talking to potential corporate partners.

India-focused online fashion retail investment company Koovs (KOOV) has agreed a £10.5m cash injection at 15p a share by a subsidiary of Indian retailer Future Group.

Bidstack (BIDS) is raising £5m at 12.5p a share. This will finance the growth of the in-game advertising business. Bidstack reversed into Kin Group nine months ago and that that time raised cash at 6p a share.

Trading in contract research organisation Venn Life Sciences (VENN) shares is suspended ahead of the reverse takeover of Open Orphan DAC for £5.7m in shares. The strategy is to gain approval for and provide orphan drugs for the European market. Cash will be raised to fund the new strategy.

Keystone Law (KEYS) increased full year revenues from £31.6m to £42.7m and pre-flotation costs profit jumped from £2.54m to £4.75m. This year’s profit forecast had already been upgraded at the time of the trading statement and the figure is maintained at £5.6m. This year’s dividend is set to rise from 9p a share to 10.3p a share. The cash pile is expected to rise from £6.3m to £7m.

N+1 Singer has upgraded its profit forecasts for Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) following its interims. The pre-tax profit forecast for the year to August 2019 has been increased by 13% to £11m, up from £9.8m last year and not far off the figure for 2016-17. Capital investment is peaking and net debt is expected to rise to £9.1m by the end of August 2019. NAV is set to rise to 68p a share.

Vertu Motors (VTU) reported strong full year figures with growth in used cars and aftersales offsetting the downturn in new car sales. Pre-tax profit of £23.7m was higher than forecast but lower than the £28.6m reported for the previous year. Cash generation is also better than expected. This year’s forecast has been trimmed to £25.7m. The share price remains below its NAV of 44.9p a share.

Osirium Technologies (OSI) is considering raising additional funds in order to fully exploit its new product. Opus is a cyber security product for IT process automation. Additional business development managers and distribution partners have been taken on and additional cash would enable further geographic expansion. Osirium is good at retaining clients and Opus provides an additional product to sell to them.

Packaging manufacturer Robinson (RBN) has increased its revenues by 15% in the first four months of the year and most of that is due to higher volumes. This means that it is well on its way to growing full year revenues from £32.8m to £36.1m even though second quarter revenues may be lower due to destocking. Further capital spending has been funded by cash from operations.

MAIN MARKET 

Ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) increased interim revenues by 6% to £56.6m and pre-tax profit was 7% higher at £6.2m. Additional shares in issue mean that earnings per share were slightly lower. The core citrus business revenues fell slightly but other areas grew. Net cash was £9.4m at the end of March 2019. This will be spent on the relocation of UK operations and there will be net debt by the end of September 2019.

Air Partner (AIR) slipped out its figures for the year to January 2019 well after the market closed on Thursday. Even so, there was a positive share price reaction and there were no real disappointments. Underlying pre-tax profit was flat at £5.8m. The total dividend was edged up to 5.6p a share.

Macfarlane (MACF) has acquired protective packaging distributor Ecopac for £3.9m. A pre-tax profit of £500,000 was generated in 2017-18. Macfarlane will provide additional products for Ecopac to distribute.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) will hold the requisitioned general meeting on 16 May. Frank Timis is hoping to change the strategy of the company and conserve the cash pile for other uses. He wants Jonathan Bixby and Mike Edwards removed from the board. Argo expected to generate £220,000 in cryptoassets in April, which is similar to cash operating costs. These costs are expected to rise to £300,000 in May but the month should still be cash neutral.

Cardiff Property (CDFF) increased its NAV from 21.78p a share to 21.84p a share in the six months to March 2019. The interim dividend has been raised by 5% to 4.6p a share. Activity in the Thames Valley area has slowed in the first half.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 22 April 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

IMC Exploration Group (IMCP) has published the prospectus for its move to a standard listing. No fundraising is planned to accompany the flotation. Management believes that IMC has enough working capital for 12 months. There was €152,878 in cash available at the end of January 2019. This takes account of the statutory spending on its licences.

Block Commodities (BLCC) is calling a general meeting to enable shareholders to decide whether the company should become involved in the medicinal cannabis sector.

Ananda Developments (ANA) owns 15% of LHT, the owner of hapac medicinal cannabis inhaling technology. The hapac products are being sold in Italy and the product range is being widened. Other investments are being assessed.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has declared a second interim dividend of 0.83p a share.

Anne Yerburgh has been replaced as chairman of Daniel Thwaites (THW) by chief executive Richard Bailey, although she remains as a non-executive director in order to represent family shareholders. A replacement is being sought for former non-executive director Nick Mackenzie.

Queros Capital Partners (BFD) has raised £305,000 from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025. This will be used to provide bridging finance to UK businesses.

Chris Akers has a 3.97% stake in High Growth Capital (HASH) following the purchase of the intellectual property of Malta-based BDD, a company he founded. RRNB Capital Ltd has increased its shareholding from 1.92% to 9.95%, while Fujairah has raised its stake from 2.31% to 8.59%. High Growth Capital has completed the acquisition of additional shares in AI company Sentiance to take its stake to 15%. Whitman Howard has been appointed as corporate adviser and broker.

AIM  

Modern Water (MWG) reported its 2018 results at 6.19pm o the Thursday before Good Friday. Revenues increased by 18% to £4.2m and the reported loss was more than halved from £5.23m, although this included a £1.53m goodwill write off, to £2.47m. This appears to be the first time that Modern Water has slipped out results after the market has closed for the week. Let us hope that this does not become a habit. Serial offender Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) managed to put out its statement a bit earlier but after the close of the market. More can be found at https://ukinvestormagazine.co.uk/why-you-should-avoid-immunodiagnostic-systems-holdings/.

Enterprise software provider Sanderson (SND) says interim trading was ahead of expectations and further progress is expected in the second half. Interim revenues improved from £14.6m to £17m and underlying operating profit is one-third higher at £2.8m, which is partly due to accounting changes. Like-for-like operating profit would be one-fifth higher. Net cash was £3.29m at the end of March 2019. The order book is worth £8m. The interims will be published on 15 May.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum is investing £534,000 in MX Oil (MXO) for a 29.86% stake. He will appoint a non-executive chairman. This is part of a placing raising £680,000 at 0.04p a share. There are also 800 million warrants being issued that are exercisable at 0.04p over a five year period. Options over 10% of the enlarged share capital will be issued to management. The Aje field, where MX has a 5% investment is producing at around 3,150 barrels of oil per day and cash generated is being used to reduce project debt. The Aje field should start generating free cash in 2020 and that could move MX into profit in the first half of 2020. MX plans to consolidate 100 existing shares into one new share and change its name to ADM Energy.

Chief executive Sean Smith has bought 126,624 shares in biopesticide products developer Eden Research (EDEN) for 10.25p each. Finance director Alex Abrey has acquired 50,000 shares at 10.1p each. House broker Shore forecasts an increase in revenues from £2.8m to £3.7m in 2019, although the loss is expected to rise to £900,000. Shore expects Eden to move into profit in 2021.

PowerHouse Energy (PHE) has gained its first revenue generating contract for its DMG technology in conjunction with partner Waste2Tricity. Revenues will come from IP, design rights and licensing, followed by operational engineering.

Parity (PTY) is increasing its focus on the data analytics market and has appointed a new boss of consultancy services. Pre-tax profit halved to £850,000 in 2018 and a further decline is expected in 2019. Net debt is expected to remain at around £1m. Revenues are expected to continue to decline but there should be a greater proportion of the business coming from higher margin activities and profit is expected to bounce back to £1.5m in 2020.

Fryer and grease management services provider Filta (FLTA) increased revenues by 23% to £14.2m in 2018, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £1.81m to £2.2m. This is before any significant contribution from the Watbio acquisition, which cost savings appear to be on course. A 2019 pre-tax profit of £3.8m is forecast.

Nektan (NKTN) is selling a 57.5% stake in Respin for £300,000 to a new purchaser because the previous deal could not be completed at a higher price due to the fact that buyer could not raise the finance. The online gaming firm says that it owes £3.6m in tax to the HMRC and it is likely to need additional cash to pay the bill.

TruFin (TRU) plans to sell its stake in unsecured consumer finance provider Zopa for £44.5m, an increase of 22% on the 2017 valuation, and investing £25m in manufacturing finance provider Distribution Finance Capital, which will be floated on AIM in early May. There should also be £10m returned to investors later this year. That will leave early payment services provider Oxygen Finance and Satago Financial Solutions, which provides working capital to small businesses.

Delayed results from consumer care products supplier Venture Life Group (VLG) show revenues 17% ahead at £18.8m and nearly all the growth came from the company’s brands. Pre-tax profit improved from £63,000 to £710,000. Net cash was £5.8m so the company has funds to make additional acquisitions.

Yourgene Health (YGEN) has raised £11.8m at 10.25p a share and that will be used to fund the £6.3m cash payment for molecular diagnostics developer Elucigene, which will cost £9.2m in cash and shares.

Managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says net debt was £17.6m at the end of March 2019, compared with estimates of £20.2m. Pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £8m to £8.7m.

D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) has announced that its 2018-19 results will be ahead of expectations. This led to a pre-tax profit upgrade from £5.7m to £5.8m, but earnings per share were upgraded from 12.1p to 13.3p due to a low tax rate.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) has raised £5m through a placing at 13p a share. The cash will boost the balance sheet while management undertakes partnership discussions and additional work on SFX-01. The phase IIb data for SFX-01 in subarachnoid haemorrhage is expected in the third quarter of 2019.

Directa Plus (DCTA) doubled its total income to €2.5m in 2018. The graphene-based products developer has net cash of €5.2m, following a €3m outflow from operations.

Ariana Resources (AAU) says that the Kiziltepe gold mine produced 7,296 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2019. That was lower than the fourth quarter of 2018, but it is ahead of the average annualised quarterly guidance.

IG Design (IGR) is set for 10% organic sales growth in the year to March 2019 and total revenues rising from £327.5m to £447m. Pre-tax profit is expected to grow from £21.4m to £29.5m. There could be further merger benefits to come from the Impact Innovations acquisition.

Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) is selling its 20% stake in PEDL143 in the Weald Basin to UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) for £300,000.

MAIN MARKET 

Plastics and panels supplier Tex Holdings (TXH) made a small loss in 2018 following accounting changes to the recognition of revenues and there is no final dividend. Trading levels were lower in the second half. Tex is in breach of some of its bank loan covenants. The major shareholder continues to support the group. The share price fell by more than one-quarter.

Electronic products distributor DiscoverIE (DSCV) is on course to improve its full year pre-tax profit from £21.8m to £27.7m. The group has raised £29m at 400p a share in order to finance the acquisitions of US-based transformers and magnetic components manufacturer Hobart Electronics and UK-based rugged and submersible sensors manufacturer Positek. The total initial consideration is £15.9m.

Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) says full year profit is slightly better than expected even though demand from China has been reduced due to tariff wars with the US. Net debt was £15m at the end of March 2019 and it has agreed a new four-year bank facility of £80m. This could be used for acquisitions.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) has set the date for its requisitioned general meeting, which will be held on 16 May. The requisition came from an entity owning 13.8% that is controlled by Frank Timis, who does not believe that the company will provide a satisfactory return to shareholders with its current cryptomining strategy. The plan is to remove Jonathan Bixby and Mike Edwards as directors and appoint another director. Argo has more cash than its market capitalisation. Cash operating costs have been reduced to £280,000, compared with £500,000 of potential revenues expected in May.

Kazakhstan-focused vanadium miner Ferro-Alloy Resources (FAR) is already spending the money it raised when it gained a standard listing last month. Equipment, a mobile crane and vehicles have been acquired. The design of the extension to the existing facilities and for the connection to the high voltage power line has been completed. The share price has almost halved from the placing price of 70p to 37.37p. More background information can be found at https://ukinvestormagazine.co.uk/ferro-alloy-resources-goes-to-discount-on-first-day/.

BATM (BVC) has won an initial $2m armed forces contract for cyber security and this lasts 18 months.

Emmerson (EML) has signed heads of agreement for an offtake agreement for 100% of the production from the Khemisset potash project.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 1 April 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) increased its revenues last year, but it reported a loss. Beer volumes grew by 2.2% and revenues were 6% ahead at £78.9m. The loss of £877,000 was after £1.77m of pension and property impairment costs. The final dividend is unchanged at 150p per B share. Adnams is optimistic about the proposed government review into small breweries relief – if Adnams paid the same duty rates as small brewers it would save £7m a year.

European Lithium (EUR) is making progress with its definitive feasibility study for the Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria. The plan is to produce lithium chemical for batteries. A test programme has been completed and this is designed to improve grades and the amount of lithium-bearing mineral. Laser sorting was found to be the best method.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) has increased its NAV by 9% to 48.05p a share in the six months to February 2019.

Trading in the shares of Block Commodities (BLCC) has restarted following the publication of its interim results. There was $1,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and a further $400,000 has been raised via a convertible loan. This will fund the entry in the cannabis market. Block is collaborating with Hexis Lab to develop cannabis-based therapeutic and cosmeceutical products

Altona Energy (ANR) has net assets of £11m, but these are predominantly intangible assets. There are also £19.8m of potential tax losses. Altona is re-evaluating its underground coal gasification project in South Australia and assessing an investment in a Chinese vanadium mine.

MetalNRG (MNRG) plans to move to the standard list. An option agreement has been replaced with a farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit. This will reduce the immediate cash outflow. A $161,000 payment was made under the option agreement and $400,000 more has to be paid by 10 April to earn a 51% economic interest. This payment is conditional on a capital raising at the time of moving to the standard list. A further $1.99m investment is required in three equal tranches in order to maintain the stake. The payments are due in November 2019, April 2020 and October 2020.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) outperformed the MSCI UK Residential Property index last year, because it achieved 8.75% growth, compared with 5.2% for the index.

The net liabilities of Welney (WENP) increased from £234,000 to £301,000 in 2018. This is being funded by loans from directors. Costs have been kept low as management seeks a suitable acquisition.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) has issued 800,000 shares at 0.625p each to pay for adviser fees on the unwound acquisition of Palermo FC.

AIM  

Churchill China (CHH) improved margins last year. Revenues were 7% higher at £57.5m, but underlying pre-tax profit was 26% higher at £9.4m. Growth in exports is a major factor and they account for three-fifths of revenues. Retail sales fell and hospitality sales increased by £5m. The total dividend was raised from 24.6p a share to 29p a share. There was £14.4m in cash at the end of 2018.

Cloud-based communications software provider Cloudcall (CALL) increased recurring revenues by one-third last year and total revenues were 28% ahead at £8.8m. The fastest growth was in the US. The cash outflow from operations increased from £1.57m to £2.38m. This is due to higher operating costs in terms of product development and marketing.

Frontier IP (FIPP) has increased the value of its portfolio of investments by 27% to £11.5m in the six months to £11.5m. NAV is 38.8p a share. The deal by investee company Exscientia, which is involved in AI-based drug discovery, with Celgene Corporation should result in a substantial uplift in its valuation in the current six month period.

Parity (PTY) says it has lost a major contract with the Scottish government, but it should not have a significant effect on profit because it is low margin. This year’s revenues will be 10% below expectations. The 2018 results will be announced on 16 April.

Rambler Metals and Mining (RMM) has launched a one-for-one open offer to raise up to £1.7m at 1.4p a share and it closes on 12 April. This follows the £8.4m placing at 1,4p a share, which raised cash to pay off debt and provide working capital.

Alliance Pharma (APH) improved its pre-tax profit from £23.9m to £28.1m. This excludes a £1.9m write down of an acquired intangible relating to a manufacturing supply contract. A pre-tax profit of £32.8m is forecast for 2019.

Quixant (QXT) reported a strong second half to 2018 even though the gaming machines market was tough. Full year revenues were 5% higher at $115.2m and pre-tax profit improved from $17.7m to $18.2m. This year will also be second half weighted with revenues expected to hit $119m and pre-tax profit of $20m forecast.

MAIN MARKET 

Funds managed by Epiris LLP have launched a recommended cash offer of 193p a share for Ireland-based financial services group IFG (IFP), valuing it at £206m.

Ovoca Bio (OVB) is increasing its stake in IVIX to 59.9%. The additional 9.9% costs $2.04m. IVIX’s drug Libicore has met the pre-specified primary efficacy endpoint and significant outcomes in secondary endpoints as part of its phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Standard list shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) still had £1.54m in the bank at the end of 2018. Potential technology acquisitions are being assessed.

Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is still seeking an acquisition after the deal to buy Chorum fell through due to weak stockmarkets. There was £1.21m in the bank at the end of 2018.

Andrew Hore

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