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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 14 September 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Investment company S-Ventures is set to join the market on 16 September. The strategy is to make investments in consumer health and organic food businesses in the UK and Europe. The S-Ventures management will use their expertise to help smaller brands grow faster and achieve greater scale. Up to three acquisitions are planned each year and they are likely to have values of between £150,000 and £2m.

Evrima (EVA) has secured an option to acquire a 17.2% stake in Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration (KKME), which would increase its investment in the Botswana-focused nickel, copper and platinum explorer to 19.6%. The former Sport Capital Group has 60 days to acquire the stake for $183,000 in the form of 2.3 million shares at 6p each. The same number of warrants will be issued, and they are exercisable at 12p each. AIM-quoted Power Metals has a

Block Commodities (BLCC) has been fined £7,000 by the Aquis Stock Exchange. Block failed to make sure that it provided accurate and fully up to date information to investors about fundraisings. It also failed to consult with its corporate adviser. Trading in the shares remains suspended.

All Star Minerals (ASMO) is assessing potential gemstones opportunities in Africa.

Lombard Capital (LCAP) has sold a 29.5% stake in LCP Financial for £275,000 in order to provide funds to develop the waste and recycling operations.

Early Equity (EEQP) has appointed Novum Securities as its corporate adviser and trading has recommenced in the shares.

Gold explorer Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has raised £403,000 at 0.275p a share. Each new share has a warrant attached that is exercisable at 0.7p each after the results of the exploration drilling are released. The cash will finance drilling.

AIM

Michelmersh Brick (MBH) has restarted production following lockdown despatches have recovered more quickly than the sector. Interim revenues fell by 17% and underlying pre-tax profit was halved, but full year expectations have been upgraded. The bricks manufacturer is operating at normal levels and June 2020 revenues were better than those in June 2019. Canaccord Genuity has upgraded its full year profit forecast from £5.3m to £6.5m, down from £9.7m in 2019. Limited UK brick production capacity means that Michelmersh is in a strong position and it has demonstrated its resilience this year. 

Internet domain name registry and services provider CentralNic (CNIC) is paying $36m for the Codewise businesses, which provide monetisation services and online marketing tools. This fits with Team Internet and will be significantly earnings enhancing from day one. A placing raised £30m at 75p a share.

Synairgen (SNG) has published interim data for its SNG001 treatment that suggests that it could be effective for COVID-19 patients, particularly those suffering with more severe symptoms.

Belvoir Group (BLV) weathered the COVID-19 lockdown well. Financial services increased their contribution in the first half and lettings income held up. Underlying pre-tax profit improved by 7% to £3.16m, helped by the Lovelle acquisition. Earnings per share were 16% higher at 7.3p. The interim dividend is 3.4p and a further 2p is payable in lieu of the final dividend that was not paid. The former boss sold shares at 150p each.

The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) reported an unchanged interim pre-tax profit of £2m and an interim dividend of 2.1p a share is being paid. Cash has risen to £6.1m. Lettings income held up and trading was strong in June. The core business and online operation EweMove both performed strongly in July.

Arden has initiated research on Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) and it believes that the palm oil and cashew nut processer is worth 7.6p a share. The broker believes that Dekel could make an operating profit next year. Profit should build up over the next few years as cashew nuts processing activities grow.

Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises (SOM) is resuming dividends and paying a deferred final dividend of 20.7 cents a share as well as an interim of 4 cents a share. That will cost $14m. North American interim sales held up best with European sales falling by one-quarter. Pre-tax profit is still expected to fall from $28m to $17.6m, but net cash should be $20m at the end of 2020.

Digital invoicing services provider Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) is on course to move into profit in the current financial year. The loss per share was reduced from 3.5p to 1.4p in the year to April 2020 and there was cash generated from operations.

Irrigation products supplier Amiad Water Systems (AFS) reported a decline in revenues but profit increased as margins improved. Amiad was already reducing its cost base when COVID-19 started to hamper the business. This led Stifel to increase its full year pre-tax profit forecast to $4.5m. Further growth could come from new products and potential acquisitions.

Building and construction products supplier Alumasc (ALU) has realigned its cost base but pre-tax profit was still one-third down at £3.7m as full year revenues declined by 16% to £76m. A 2p a share dividend was declared. Trading has been recovering since the June year end. Further cost saving benefits will help profit to recover this year. finnCap forecasts £6.4m pre-tax profit for 2020-21.

New SIPP business has been slow for STM (STM) but the recurring revenue base means that interim revenues were maintained at £11.8m. Additional personnel costs reduced pre-tax profit by nearly one-third to £1.1m. There is £17.6m in the bank and that enables STM to pay an interim dividend of 0.55p a share, which should be one-third of the total for the year. A full year pre-tax profit of £2.5m is forecast, with a rebound to £4.5m in 2021.

Recruitment firm Hydrogen (HYDG) plans to cancel the AIM quotation. A tender offer of 40p a share provides investors with a way to sell their shares prior to the cancelation.

MAIN MARKET

LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) has realigned costs so that they are more in line with revenues. In the first half of 2020, revenues fell by 13% to £71.6m, but operating profit was one-quarter higher at £9m. Gross margins continue to increase, and overheads have been kept down. Operating profit margin of 12.3% was higher than ever before.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 24 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Medical device developer TruSpine Technologies (TSP) ended the week at 34.5p (32p/37p). TruSpine has raised £1.4m at 36p a share with a commitment for a further £250,000. This should provide enough cash until Cervi-Lok, which is one of the three spinal stabilisation devices being developed, starts to generate sales.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that its joint venture with IOV Labs has signed a deal with RedFOX Labs to build fast scaling internet business on the RSK blockchain. Coinsilium has also secured an adviser role to Indorse for a forthcoming initiative to revive the token economics of its IND token through a decentralised finance model. The value of Coinsilium’s cryptocurrency holdings is $575,000, with further tokens worth $105,000 set to vest over the next 12 months.  

KR1 (KR1) has started to generate revenues from staking activities on the Polkadot network, which is KR1’s largest investment. So far, 530.67 DOT have been generated and this has raised $194,802.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) is raising £1.25m at 12p a share. This will provide working capital and help to pay back loan notes, which are currently valued at £1.7m.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) is raising £400,000 at 2p a share. Gold exploration is commencing at the Wishbone II project in Queensland. Exploration will also restart at the White Mountains project.

Gunsynd (GUN) owns 4.97 million shares in nickel project developer Sunshine Minerals, which is being acquired by Malachite Resources. Gunsynd will receive 1.26 million shares in Malachite with further deferred consideration of 1.64 million shares.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has released positive news from surface stockpiles at the Beaconsfield gold mine. The average grade is 3.2g/tonne in 80,000 tonnes of surveyed stockpiles.

World High Life (LIFE) is increasing production capacity by 400%. The new Love Hemp facility will produce 43,000 units of CBD oils, capsules and cosmetics each day. July sales were 57% higher than in June with much higher online sales.

Belvedere Leisure (BELV) has agreed a new strategy with Landal GreenParks UK, which involves delivering lodges for domestic tourism and staycations. The company is in negotiations to acquire the Barncrosh site in Scotland and the company is seeking other sites. Belvedere Leisure Park has been placed in administration and will no longer guarantee the company bonds.

Ian Harebottle and Richard Lloyd have been appointed as directors of All Star Minerals (ASMO).

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) chief executive Alistair Currie bought 86,419 shares at 25p each and 13,581 at 29.5p each. He has a 3.28% stake.

AIM

Online fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) doubled its revenues last year. In the year to March 2020, revenues jumped from £4.44m to £9.03m, while the loss more than doubled from £3.55m to £7.81m. First quarter revenues were 54% higher and the lower marketing costs helped to reduce operating costs by 71%. July revenues were 57% higher than the same time last year. Gross margins have improved. There was still £4.4m in cash at the end of June 2020.

Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) lost £8.9m in the first half of 2020. That is not surprising given that the car showrooms were shut for ten weeks. A small loss is expected for the full year, although this will depend on September demand. Vertu Motors (VTU) says that it lost £5.2m in the March to June period, but made a pre-tax profit of £7.4m in July. Used vehicle sales made a record gross profit last month with volume growth of 13.7%.

Ceramic products manufacturer Churchill China (CHH) managed to make a small profit before exceptional items. Revenues slumped from £31.9m to £18.9m with a strong start to the year offset by COVID-19 in the second quarter. The majority of sales were of hospitality products. Cash improved to £16.3m thanks to the fact that there was no final dividend last year. A potential interim dividend will be reviewed in December when the fourth quarter trading is clearer.

Elypsis Solutions has sold a 3.4% stake in Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) to Heirloom Investment Management, leaving it with 53.6%. The Adamas share buyback programme is still active. NAV was 75p a share at the end of June 2020, compared to a share price of 26.5p.

Oil and gas producer Hurricane Energy (HUR) admits that it is likely to materially downgrade the resource estimate for the Lancaster early production system and the West of Shetland portfolio of assets. Production is expected to decline from the current 17,000 barrels of oil per day.

Synthetic heavy fuel developer Quadrise Fuels International (QFI) will receive $150,000 for equipment and support supplied to Greenfield Energy for a commercial trial, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Renalytix AI (RENX) has announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca for the use of the KidneyIntelX technology in other chronic diseases.  

EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has made a $5m investment in Trellus Health in return for a 31% stake. Trellus has licenced a platform for the management of inflammatory bowel disease.

Cyber security services provider Shearwater Group (SWG) says positive momentum is continuing. An underlying EBITDA is being made due to higher margin products and efficiencies. There is £4.1m in the bank.

MAIN MARKET

Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) still has not published its 2019 accounts. Further work is required on the corporate leasing division and vehicle financing arrangements. Net debt was £13.5m at the end of June 2020, helped by delayed government payments. There was a significant first half loss in 2020.

OKYO Pharma (OKYO) is seeking a Nasdaq listing. It has raised £1.44m through additional convertible loan notes to finance clinical development.

BATM (BVC) is on course to increase full year underlying pre-tax profit from $5.2m to $8.8m on a revenues one-third higher. There was cash of $44.3m at the end of June 2020. A resumption of dividend payments is promised at the end of the year. The bio-medical division increased interim revenues by two-thirds to $50m and improved its gross margin. Demand for COVID-19 diagnostic kits remains strong. The networking division improved interim revenues by 3% to $27.4m.

LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) has upgraded its 2020 underlying operating profit guidance from £18m to at least £23m, helped by improved gross margins. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be at least 11p a share. The interims will be published on 8 September.

Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL) has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Cindrigo and Cindrigo Energy, which are involved in waste-to-energy and biomass energy projects.

Metal Tiger (MTR) wants to obtain an Australian Stock Exchange listing before the end of the year.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 20 July 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

In the year to February 2020, Rutherford Health (RUTH) nearly quadrupled its revenues from £1.47m to £5.61m, although the loss increased from £21.5m to £29.3m. There were three proton beam cancer treatment centres open at the end of the period, but two were not operating for long. They have continued to operate throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period. A fourth is opening in Liverpool later this month. Net cash was £8.6m at the end of February 2020. There is £43.7m of contracted capital expenditure. Negotiations with the NHS should lead to Rutherford helping to deal with the backlog of cancer patients. Management is in contact with the manager of the Woodford stake.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) made a small pre-tax profit in the first half of 2020 after base rate reductions cost it £2.7m and provisions were increased. NAV was 1248p a share. Customer loans were 27% higher (at £1.62bn) than one year before. The private bank business fell into loss, while the Arbuthnot Latham and commercial bank profit contributions declined.

British Honey Company (BHC) has signed a joint venture with Cottisford Ltd, which is a 29% shareholder. The new JV is called Tusmore Collection and each partner will invest up to £1m (initially £100,000) in order to set up a distillery and bonded warehouse in the grounds of the Tusmore Park Estate in Oxfordshire. That will take 18 months. A new whiskey brand will be developed.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has negotiated a new $41m bank facility with ING as part of the refinancing of previous debt. The facility will last for six years. This will reduce the interest costs of the Hellyer mine by $2.5m a year.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) reported a slump in interim turnover from £1.55m to £1.18m, while the loss more than doubled from £101,000 to £277,000 in the six months to April 2020. This included a period where the hotel was closed. There was £587,000 in the bank. The hotel reopened in early July.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has yet to complete the acquisition of Apollon UK, which owns a stake in a Jamaican business that cultivates cannabis and has a licence to process it. There was £98,000 in cash at the end of 2019, as well as £1.17m of investments.

IamFire (FIRE) plans to take a 10% stake in Bio2pure, which owns technology to clean lakes and ponds. Richard Griffiths has acquired a 3.21% stake, while Mantis Hldings, Natural Technology Evolution and Max Capital have each taken a 3.57% shareholding. IamFire acquired 10 million shares (4.39%) in Sport Capital (SCG) in a placing that raised £324,000 at 0.3p a share.

Altona Energy (ANR) has launched a pre-funding campaign via NR Private Market (https://lounge.nrprivatemarket.com). The fundraising should happen in the next few weeks. Altona’s new focus is a rare earth metals project in Malawi. Altona believes that raising money in this way will make it easier for private investors to become involved.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that its investee company European Metals Holdings (EMH) plans a Czech listing given the local interest in the Cinovec project. Cadence owns 16% of EMH.

Veni Vidi Vici (VVV) had £339,000 in the bank at the end of June 2020. As part of a joint venture agreement, the company is responsible for the initial spending of A$300,000 on the Shangri La gold copper silver project in Western Australia. Joint venture partner Goldfields will manage the venture and receive a fee of 10% of expenses.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £200,000 by issuing 200,000 Green Finance preference shares.

PCG Entertainment has changed its name to Upper Thames Holdings (UPPT) and trading in the shares has resumed. The consolidation of 100 shares into one new share has been completed.

Coinsilium Group (COIN) is assessing its investment portfolio as part of its strategic review. It wants to sell the portfolio either by selling the subsidiary that owns the stakes or other transactions.

AIM                                                                      

Digital TV technology Mirada (MIRA) increased continuing revenues by 13% to $13m last year and it generated cash. In the year to March 2020, work was carried out on deployments that should yield growing licence and managed services revenues in the future. Capitalised development spending was $4.3m last year and this was partly financed by the cash generated from operations. Net debt was $5.1m. Lockdown has led to increased consumption and take up of services, but it could delay the finalisation of new contracts.

Background check services provider ClearStar (CLSU) says hiring activity levels in the US have soared following an easing of the lockdown. Even so, first half revenues were still lower despite a 74% rise in June, compared with the weak April level, which is back to the level in February. Interim revenues were $8.9m and net debt was $1.4m at the end of June 2020.

Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) is raising £3.13m at 25p a share via a placing and open offer and each new share comes with a warrant exercisable at 40p a share. The cash will help to finance additional investments by the pan-Asian investment company. The company’s name will be changed to Jade Road Investments Ltd.

Renalytix AI (RENX) is raising $74.3m from an oversubscribed offer and trading has started on Nasdaq. The offer price was 537p a share and $13.50 per ADS. The cash will be spent on the commercialisation of KidneyIntelX.

TV and film subtitling and dubbing services provider Zoo Digital (ZOO) has weathered the short-term problems related to Covid-19 and started the new financial year strongly. Even though newer content creation has been delayed, older programming is being processed. Zoo should get near to breaking even in the year to March 2021.

Omega Diagnostics (ODX) is expected to move into profit this year, but it is difficult to assess sales of the Visitect CD4 (particularly when it gains WHO prequalification) and Covid-19 tests.

MAIN MARKET

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) has raised £3.4m at 17.5p a share. This will provide cash until the end of 2021. Nanoco has obtained third party funding for its litigation with Samsung. A successful claim could exceed the current market capitalisation of the company.

Interim revenues were 14% lower at LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) although sales started to stabilise by the end of the period. Gross margins have improved, and overheads cut by 15%. Underlying operating profit increased from £7.2m to £9m.

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has launched three new diagnostic kits for Covid-19. Sales will commence by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 8 June 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Sativa Group (SATI) has agreed a merger with Stillcana Inc. The share swap is 0.33507 of a Stillcanna share for every Sativa share. That values the cannabis products company at £10.7m and its shareholders will own 65% of the enlarged group. Trading in Sativa shares restarted on 4 June.

Engineering businesses consolidator Vulcan Industries (VULC) floated on 1 June. It was valued at £6.98m at the 3p a share placing price. Vulcan raised £746,500 via a subscription and placing and £239,000 will be spent on costs. . Vulcan has already completed four acquisitions. They supply automotive components, fire doors and frames, nails and architectural metal work. Trading was weaker than expected last year. Zanete Fergusone sold three businesses to Vulcan and her family interests own 47.7% of the company. A manufacturer of pressed steel bearing housings is set to be the next acquisition.

Adnams (ADB) has put its refinancing negotiations on hold since the COVID-19 lockdown. The long-term facilities have been extended by six months. Adnams is considering the government loan scheme. There will be a substantial interim loss.

IFA group AFH Financial (AFHP) believes that £3m of temporary annualised cost savings will help to offset a decline in gross revenues this year. Interim revenues were 5% ahead at £38.2m but pre-tax profit was flat due to higher interest costs. The interim dividend is 5p a share, instead of the anticipated 7p a share. A further 2p a share may be paid later in the year depending on the prospects at the time. Underlying full year pre-tax profit should improve from £16.9m to £18m, which is a small downgrade on previous forecasts.

Good Energy (GOOD) has seen no significant financial impact from COVID-19. Cash collection has been in line with previous years. The generation assets have produced above average output. The final dividend has been deferred.

Altona Energy (ANR) is assessing the potential acquisition of a majority stake in a rare earths project. The Chambe project is in Southern Malawi. Due diligence will take up to three months.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has sold a majority interest in Tectonic South Africa to AIM-quoted Kazera Global. Tectonic will retain a 10% interest in the diamonds project. Tectonic has received £100,000.

Investment company Gledhow Investments (GDH) increased net assets from £735,000 to £907,000 by March 2020. Gledhow had £147,000 in cash at the end of March.

Welney (WENP) has published full year and interim figures. At the end of December 2019, net liabilities were £361,000. A consolidation of 100 shares into one new share will be followed by a £15,000 placing at 0.3p a share. A loan stock issue will raise £35,000. Trading in the shares restarted on 3 June. Keith, Bayley, Rogers has been appointed as corporate adviser. The company’s name will be changed to Quetzal Capital

Black Sea Property (BSP) is renegotiating its credit facilities. Management is uncertain how trading will fair this year.

Lombard Capital (LCAP) is changing its accounting reference date from 31 March to 30 June. Barry Fromson has been appointed as an executive director.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has raised £300,000 at 1.35p a share and issued £70,000 worth of share for fees and to convert loans. Peterhouse has replaced Turner Pope as broker.

AIM

Mereo Biopharma (MPH) has raised $70m (£56m) including $19.4m (£15.5m) via a share placing at 17.4p each and $50.6m (£40.5m) through a convertible loan note issue. The cash will be used to reduce debt and fund the company into 2022. Mereo plans a phase 1b study for cancer treatment etigilimab during the fourth quarter.

Life sciences IT services provider Instem (INS) continues to trade strongly and net cash was £8.3m at the end of April 2020. The 2019 figures show a rise in pre-tax profit from £2.8m to £3.2m and a jump to £4.2m is expected in 2020. Existing business continues but new business may take longer to secure, and this led to a small downgrade.

Amryt Pharma (AMYT) has signed a distribution agreement with Swixx BioPharma for leptin deficiency treatment Myalepta in 17 eastern European countries.

Armadale Capital (ACP) says that the definitive feasibility study update has increased the NPV of the Mahenge Liandu graphite project in Tanzania by 20% to $430m. That is based on a 30% rise in average annual production.

Bidstack (BIDS) has raised £5.5m at 4p a share. The in-game advertising technology developer will use the cash to expand internationally and fund marketing and further technology development.

Telematics firm Quartix (QTX) says that subscriptions have held up and installations are recovering after an initial slump in April. Trading in the first four months of 2020 was ahead of the same time last year. Some clients have been allowed payment deferrals. There is £9.5m in the bank.

President Energy (PPC) has raised £2.24m at 1.85p a share via PrimaryBid. A placing raised a further £2.5m. Trafigura is subscribing a further $6m at the same share price. Along with a $4.1m debt for equity swap this will reduce debt to around $15m. There will be a $98.5m write down of assets, particularly the Paraguay exploration activities. Even excluding this, there will be a loss this year. The crude oil reference price in Argentina has been set at $45/barrel until the end of the year, which is higher than the current global price.

MAIN MARKET

Tex Holdings (TXH) improved sales and gross margins last year, but there was still a slightly increased pre-tax loss due to redundancies and professional fees. Revenues increased from £40.1m to £43.1m, and if exceptional costs are stripped out there was a decrease in pre-tax loss to £661,000. The plastics division is profitable, but the engineering division is losing money. The overdraft has been repaid with the proceeds of a shareholder loan. The pension surplus has increased NAV from 127p a share to 134p a share. There are plans to reduce costs by an annualised £1.5m.

LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) says trading has improved in recent weeks and it expects the first half profit and cash generation to be at least as good as the same period last year. That is despite lower revenues.

Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) is closing 12 more dealership sites. Annual savings of £50m are anticipated. Trading has recommenced at Lookers sites, but activity is still weak. Net debt was £57m at the end of May.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 April 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Cannabis products-focused company Sativa (SATI) has received a bid approach from StillCana Inc, which has built two high volume CBD extraction facilities in Europe. StillCana is Europe’s largest producer of CBD distillate and isolate. StillCana plans to offer 0.33651 of one share for each Sativa share. Sativa shareholders would own 65% of the enlarged business. If StillCana does not go through with the bid it may be required to pay Sativa £1m as a break fee. Trading in Sativa shares has been suspended. Peterhouse has been appointed as corporate adviser.

In the six months to December 2019, there was a £224,000 cash outflow at Imperial X (IMPP) as it assessed the way forward. The new investing strategy is focused on acquiring royalties in the oil and gas sector. There was £179,000 in the bank at the end of 2019. Imperial X has subsequently raised £27,700 at 2.5p a share.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) had net assets of £4.76m at the end of 2019. One of the successes has been the investment in Greatland Gold (GGP) and TruSpine Technologies is moving towards a flotation.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) owns 16% of AIM-quoted European Metal Holdings (EMH) whose shareholders have approved the £25.8m investment for a 51% stake in the holder of the Cinovec licences in the Czech Republic.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) says that the resource at the Barnes Hill nickel project to 25Mt at 0.6% nickel and 0.05% cobalt on a 0.25% nickel cut-off grade.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) n on-executive director Nigel Boardman has acquired an initial 5,020 shares in two amounts (1,500 shares at 960p each and 3,520 shares at 1010p each).

Altona Energy (ANR) has extended the closing date of its open offer until 12 May and it may consider a further extension if the market uncertainty continues.

AIM

Cyber security services provider Shearwater (SWG) has raised £3.75m at 240p a share. Directors David Williams and Phil Higgins are each investing £125,000. A new £4m, 3-year bank facility has been negotiated. In the year to March 2020, Shearwater generated revenues of £33m and underlying EBITDA was £3.2m. There has been a move towards higher margin business. Management believes that COVID-19 will provide opportunities to expand the business. There are acquisition opportunities with revenues of between £2m and £20m.

Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) has confirmed that profit for 2019-20 was better than expected and gross margins improved from 22.8% to 25.9%.

Last year was tough for transport and logistics firm Xpediator (XPD) and this year won’t be easy, but it has a good base and the new Southampton warehouse will come on stream early in 2021. In 2019, revenues grew but lower freight forwarding margins and higher overheads hit pre-tax profit and it fell to £5.2m. Xpediator should still be profitable in 2020 and the second quarter tends to be a weaker period. A scrip dividend of 1.05p a share has been declared.

Health monitoring equipment supplier LiDCO (LID) had a strong start to its new financial year thanks to strong demand from the NHS. Since January 195 monitors have been sold, which is nearly as many as last year. The pre-tax loss is expected to continue to reduce and LiDCO has started to generate cash from operations.

Foreign exchange provider Equals (EQLS) increased first quarter revenues by one-third to £8.3m. The majority of this was business to business revenues. There was a sharp decline in travel money business in March.

Dragon Capital Group is offering a purchase facility to minority shareholders in Dragon-Ukrainian Properties and Development (DUPD) as part of the plan to cancel the AIM quotation. The purchase price is 10p a share.  Shareholder approval for the departure from AIM will be sought at the general meeting in Kiev on 6 May.

DBAY Advisers is building up a stake in Wynnstay Group (WYN) and it has reach ed 6.47%. It is taking advantage of the decline in the share price, although it has rebounded strongly in the past few weeks. Investec has sold most of its stake. Trading has been subdued in the current financial year.

Dawn Ward and Tracy Lewis have resigned from the board of Staffline (STAF) and the company is seeking replacements. Henry Spain Investment Services has increased its stake in Staffline to 13.6%.

Mark Greenwood has taken his stake in Richland Resources (RLD) to 29.1%.

MAIN MARKET

LED light fittings and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) reported 2019 figures in line with expectations. Revenues were %5 ahead at £172.1m and improved margins meant that pre-tax profit jumped from £6.3m to £15.8m. Revenues and profit are expected to fall back this year due to COVID-19 with the major hit coming in the second quarter after modest supply issues in the first quarter. Cash outflow should be limited to £500,000 a month while lockdowns are in force in Europe. There are bank facilities available to the group. Looking further ahead, Luceco is involved in a growth market and there should be acquisition opportunities.

J Smart Contractors (SMJ) reported a decline in interim pre-tax profit from £1.12m to £265,000. Net cash was £13.7m at the end of January 2020. An unchanged interim dividend of 0.95p a share has been announced.

Cathay International Holdings (CTI) has launched a 16.7456-for-one open offer at 1.5p each, plus a subscription to at the same share price. This could raise up to £105m. This will reduce borrowings and provide cash to put into investee companies.

BATM (BVC) has received a $31m order for 1,000 critical care ventilators. One-quarter of the cash has been paid upfront and the rest will be paid when the ventilators are delivered later this year.

A trading statement by fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) sparked a 6% 2019-20 profit downgrade to £17.2m by finnCap.

Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) says that sales and margins have fallen so far this year. Operating costs have been reduced. Sales of former sites are helping to reduce net debt, which is £65m. The fraud investigation has led to a £4m non-cash charge and there could be further write-downs.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 20 April 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) increased its NAV by 54.6% to 317.18p a share in the year to January 2020. The main gains are from fully listed Luceco (LUCE), although the share price has fallen back since then, and Whittard of Chelsea. Whittard closed its 49 stores during March. The focus is conserving cash to find existing investments rather than new investments.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that DEV Mineraco, the owner of the Amapa iron ore project, has been given permission to ship iron ore from the company’s port in Brazil. The stockpile has 1.39Mt of iron ore and the cash generated will help to bring the mine back into production. Cadence owns 30% of Yangibana rare earth deposit, which has received environmental approval for mining.

SulNOx Group (SNOX) says it is taking longer than expected to conclude a deal to sell its diesel conditioner through a major UK fuel distributor. The plan is to undertake engine trials with major engine manufacturers. COVID-19 has led to delays in getting trials underway.

First Sentinel (FSEN) is raising £151,000 at 20p a share. This will provide additional working capital.

Gunsynd (GUN) is consolidating 85 existing shares into one new share.

Ganapati (GANP) has gained shareholder approval to leave AQSE by 15 May.

AIM

In changing times there is one thing that can be relied on and that is Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) putting out its trading statement after 4.30pm on a Friday. Never one to disappoint, Immunodiagnostic Holdings has done it again. Full year revenues were 2% ahead at £39.3m. Cash was maintained at £27.6m.

Nu-Oil and Gas (NUOG) is planning to acquire a Europe-based plastic recycling and processing business. The group would then become a consolidator under the current management. The deal has not been finalised and trading in the shares will be suspended until an acquisition document is published or the deal is called off.

Aquis Exchange (AQX) increased revenues by 73% to £6.9m and the loss was reduced to £800,000. There was £11m in the bank at the end of 2019. The market share of pan European trading increased from 3.8% to 4.62%. Market volumes have increased following the COVID-19 stockmarket concerns.

Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) is raising £500,000 at 55p a share. This will make sure there is enough cash to keep the business going even if there is an extended disruption to trading.

Parcel and freight delivery company DX (DX.) says activity has been reduced by one-third. Net debt was £8.9m at the end of March. Profitability has been delayed until 2020-21.

A circular has been posted by Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) for a general meeting on 13 May. The first resolution is for the removal of Matt Lofgran from the board and the other two resolutions provide the company with the ability to issue shares.

Bluejay Mining (BJAY) has signed a memo of understanding with a company that will take 50% of the production of the Dundas Ilmenite project.

Construction consultancy services provider Driver (DRV) was not impacted by COVID-19 in the first half and the recovery in pre-tax profit should be as expected. Business in April and May remains encouraging. Net cash is £3.3m. There will be no interim dividend.

Oil and gas producer Empyrean Energy (EME) has raised £411,000 at 3.5p a share and plans to launch an open offer to existing shareholders. It is not going ahead with a previously announced placing. The additional cash is required to pay Empyrean’s share of the costs of two wells drilled at the end of 2019. The 1C contingent resource estimate for the Mako gas field, where Empyrean has a 8.5% stake, has been increased by 76% to 323bcf. A production rate of 150 MMscf/day could be achieved.

Beeks Financial Cloud (BKS) has acquired network monitoring and trade analytics software provider Velocimetrics for an initial £1.3m. The maximum earnout payment is £4.55m. This adds real-time transaction tracking technology to Beeks’ software.

Cake Box (CBOX) was growing strongly before COVID-19 hit the cake retail chain. Store closures in the second half of March reduced annual like-for-like sales growth to 2%. Pre-tax profit will be in the range of £4.1m to £4.3m. There will not be a final dividend.

Circle Property (CRC) says its NAV has increased by 4.7% to 290p a share at the end of March 2020. The focus on office properties has helped. Loan to value is 40%. A maintained dividend has been indicated by the board.

Kodal Minerals (KOD) has been granted a further three-year term for two of the gold concessions in the Ivory Coast.

Intelligent Ultrasound (MED) has raised £5.2m at 10.5p a share to bolster its balance sheet ahead of the commencement of royalties from its AI software. The cash will finance further development. There was already net cash of £7.3m at the end of 2019, although some of this cash will already have been used.

Jubilee Metals (JML) has recommenced mining at the Inyoni Surface PGM and chrome project and the Windsor JV PGM project.

MAIN MARKET

Sure Ventures (SURE) says that 25.9%-owned investee fund Sure Valley Ventures has made a follow-on investment in Admix, which provides advertising services in video games. Sure has a 7.02% stake in Admix.

Engineering and construction services provider NMCN (NMCN) says that it continues to work on around two-thirds of its current projects. There will be no final dividend for 2019. Net cash was £25.8m at the end of 2019. A further trading update is planned for 23 April.

Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) says that production at the Gakara mine is increasing and 100 tonnes of concentrate has been exported since February.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Ananda Developments (ANA) is amending its investing strategy and acquiring Tiamat Agriculture, which is applying for a UK controlled drug cannabis cultivation and supply licence.  Anglia Salads and JEPCO will provide cannabis growing expertise. The new investing strategy will include the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. URA Holdings will subscribe £400,000 for shares at 0.45p each.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £1m at 0.1p a share and the cash will be used to acquire a 2.34% stake in Apollon Formularies Ltd. AfriAg hopes to gain first refusal to acquire the rest of Apollon in a transaction that would value the company at £40m.

Good Energy (GOOD) will redeem the first Good Energy Bond, which was launched in 2013, before the end of June. The outstanding principal is £3.6m and the cash for repayment will come from the disposals of Newton Downs and Brynwhilach solar farms to the local communities. The cash helped to develop nearly 150MW of renewable generation projects.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says that gold recoveries in Honduras have been low and it is considering whether to sell to the joint venture partner or take full control of the operations. Gold trading volumes are increasing but the contribution to overheads is modest.

Panther Minerals (PALM) has applied for an exploration licence for the Marrakai gold project in Northern Territory, Australia. Panther has also acquired additional ground surrounding the former Little Bear mine in Ontario, Canada.

Formation Group (FORM) reported a reduced loss in the six months to February 2019. There is £3.05m in cash in the balance sheet.

Angelfish Investments (ANGP) is investing up to £150,000 in convertible loan notes in ASSIF, which is developing a digital product to improve mental health. The first tranche has been drawn down and the rest will be invested when design work is completed. The loan notes are convertible into up to 35% of ASSIF, depending on the milestones achieved prior to conversion.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has shipped 34,500 tonnes of precious metal pyrite concentrate from the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania.

Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has started offering high energy proton beam therapy in Bomarsund in Northumberland.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) non-executive director Dominic Burke has nearly doubled his shareholding to 2.8%. Tim Syder increased his stake to 3.1%.

V22 (V22O) will leave NEX at the close of business on 31 May.

AIM  

SafeCharge International (SCH) is recommending a $5.55 (436p) a share cash offer from a subsidiary of fellow payment services provider Nuvei Corporation, valuing the company at £699m. The final dividend of 7.22p a share will be paid. The international payments processor joined AIM five years ago at 162p a share. Nuvei has a strong market position in North America and SafeCharge provides scale in Europe.

Trading in the shares of LXB Retail Properties (LXB) has been suspended following court approval of the dissolution of the company and a return of capital of 1.2p a share. The cancellation of the quotation will happen on 31 May.

Volvere (VLE) has sold its oldest subsidiary Sira Defence and Security for £3m, although management bonuses of £320,000 will be paid out of the proceeds. Sira cost a nominal amount and has contributed cash to the group. This leaves 80%-owned frozen pies maker Shire Foods, which increased its full year pre-tax profit from £635,000 to £854,000. Even stripping out incentive payments relating to the sale of the Impetus business, Shire hardly makes enough profit to cover central overheads.

Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) has confirmed that its full year revenues will be at least £102m and EBITDA at least £19m, an increase of 15%. The growth is a combination of acquisitive and organic. Knights Group (KGH) says that its full year revenues will be not less than £52.4m and underlying pre-tax profit will be ahead of expectations at £9.7m.

Argentina-focused oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) increased revenues by 160% to $47.2m in 2018 and this enabled it to move into profit. This year pre-tax profit is set to improve from $3.5m to $17.3m as last year’s acquisition makes a more significant contribution and capital investment starts to pay back. Average production is expected to be 3,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019.

Science Group (SAG) has taken a 9% stake in digital radio technology developer Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) at 12.5p a share. Science offered to acquire the whole company via a cash bid of 30p a share but the proposal met with a negative response from the target’s board and the offer has been withdrawn.

Caledonian Trust (CNN) has renegotiated the conditions of the proposed sale of St Margaret’s House in Edinburgh, which was announced in February 2018. The buyer is still in the process of applying for planning consent and it has three months in which to submit the application, plus 12 months to secure consent. A further three months will be allowed to find a pre-let and Caledonia will vacate the property six months after that. This means that it could be two years before the transaction is completed. The consideration is still £15m, compared with a book value of £8m.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has received a £300,000 investment at 1.2p a share and appointed Colin Harrington to the board as executive chairman. Origin Creek Energy has a 14.8% shareholding following the share issue. This replaces the previously announced subscription at a lower share price and Robert Bensh has left the board because of that.

Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that 60%-owned flexible power generation development subsidiary MAST Energy Developments is acquiring Bordersley Power Ltd, which is developing a 5MW gas-fuelled power generation plant and relevant grid connections. The deal is dependent on certain conditions.

Cellcast (CLTV) is owed £453,000 by a Kenyan client of its gaming and lottery consultancy activities, which generated revenues of £395,000 in 2018. The government in Kenya is cracking down on advertising of gambling and it had previously raised taxation rates. Cellcast had £698,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.

Trading in the shares of Dublin-based Amryt Pharma (AMYT) has been suspended ahead of the proposed all share acquisition of the larger Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Novelion Therapeutics Inc. Amryt plans to raise $60m from a share issue.

MAIN MARKET 

Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) has made a non-binding offer for Entertainment AI Inc although it is still subject to due diligence on the artificial intelligence and machine learning company. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) says trading continues to improve even though sales to UK professional customers are subdued. The overseas market is stronger. Margins are improving.

Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) says that profit from its core business has improved so far this year. The property bridging lending business has increased its loan book to £22m.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 15 April 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

High Growth Capital (HASH) is increasing its stake in Sentiance to 15% and is negotiating an option to acquire a majority stake in the artificial intelligence and machine learning business. The additional 5% stake will cost £7m in shares issued at 0.8p each. The option would enable an increase in the total stake to between 51% and 84.8%. The company would offer 100,000 of its own shares for each Sentiance share and the option is subject to High Growth Capital raising at least £25m. High Growth Capital has also acquired the intellectual property of Malta-based BDD, a company founded by Chris Akers, for £4m in shares at 1p each. The project involves an annual blockchain raffle that would raise money for social impact and environmental initiatives.

EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) had a net asset value of 205.2p a share at the end of January 2019, which was 12.5% lower than the year before. The stake in fully listed LED lighting products manufacturer Luceco (LUCE) is a significant part of the portfolio and its valuation fell by 27.7%. There has been a recovery in the Luceco share price since the end of January, even though there was a decline of three-quarters in 2018 pre-tax profit to £3m. The EPE NAV had risen to 232.8p a share on 9 April on the back of Luceco share price rise. The EPE share price is 180p.

Angelfish Investments (ANGP) is subscribing £150,000 for a 9.14% stake in Just Bee Drinks and is also providing a loan facility of up to £100,000 at a annual interest charge of 10%. Just Bee has developed a natural juicy water drink sweetened with honey. This means that there is no added sugar. More than one million bottles were sold last year, and revenues doubled. The drink is already sold in Waitrose and Boots. Just Bee had net assets of £83,000 at the end of March 2018. Angelfish has also provided a £100,000 debt facility at the same interest rate to Wallet Ads. The previous loan of £150,000 was converted into a 20% stake.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) nearly doubled zinc concentrate production at the Hellyer mine in Tasmania to 3,015 DMT in the first quarter of 2019, while lead concentrate production increased by 18% to 4,712 DMT. Pyrite concentrate production jumped by 331% to 18,488 DMT.

AIM  

Video games developer and services provider Sumo (SUMO) reported better than expected 2018 revenues of £38.7m and pre-tax profit of £9m. Sumo has been acquiring businesses to give it extra capacity as well as opening new studios. There is plenty of demand for Sumo’s services so utilisation rates are high and there is further upside from performance-based royalties and its own IP.

Destiny Pharma (DEST) had £12.1m in the bank at the end of 2018 and this will last into 2020. That should be long enough for the phase IIb study of XF-73 for the prevention of post-surgery infections.

Maiden full year results from legal services and credit hire business Anexo (ANX) have led to an upgrade by its broker Arden. The 2019 pre-tax profit forecast has been edged up from £17.8m to £18.1m, up from £16.1m in 2018, and the 2020 figure is 4% higher at £20.1m. Net debt is expected to increase from £17.3m to £26.3m in order to finance the growth of its legal business.

RA International (RAI) continues to win contracts, but larger contracts are taking longer to secure. RA provides services to remote locations in nine countries in Africa and the Middle East. Having joined AIM last summer, RA has $27.8m in the bank and this is helping it to tender for and win larger contracts. The average contract term is 4.4 years. This makes revenues relatively predictable and they are expected to rise by 10% this year to more than £60m.

Property investor Safeland (SAF) intends to leave AIM and secure a matched bargain facility on Asset Match. It is tendering for shares at 42.5p each, which compares with an NAV of 140.2p a share at the end of September 2018.

Having sold the RTLS SmartSpace business, the continuing revenues of geospatial software and services provider IQGeo (IQG) fell from £16.5m to £9.98m, although recurring revenues were 22% higher, and gross margin improved. There were lower software revenues, but the main decline was in the sale of third party products. There is a significant market for the company’s products and new modules are being launched. However, the full benefits of changes being made by management will probably not show through until next year. There is £30.9m in the bank and some of this will be returned to shareholders after a capital reorganisation is completed.

Interim revenues generated by LightwaveRF (LWRF) have more than doubled to £2.5m which is nearly as much as the £2.8m generated in the previous 12 months. Direct sales, e-commerce and telesales have contributed to the growth, as has the development of retail clients.

Legal firm Gordon Dadds (GOR) has acquired Gibraltar-based Rampart Corporate Advisers for up to £1.34m depending on performance. Rampart specialises in e-gaming, fintech and distributed ledger technology, and made a profit of £400,000 in the year to June 2018. Five former Ince network firms are joining Ince Gordon Dadds, although they remain independent. This would add £23m to existing group annual revenues of £77m. The firms are based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Greece and Germany. This will boost profitability.

Strategic Minerals (SML) says the Cobre magnetite operations generated cash of $206,000 in the first quarter and the group cash balance was $1.24m at the end of March 2019. Volumes were lower because customers were undertaking plant maintenance and the continued suspension of a major client’s contract. There should be seven years of magnetite stockpile. The company expects to acquire the other 50% of the Redmoor tin/tungsten project by the end of May. This will cost £2.66m.

PhotonStar LED (PSL) says that it has enough cash for its immediate needs, but the blocking of the issuing of more shares by shareholders means that there is not enough cash to follow the strategy to find a reverse takeover target. The company may launch an open offer or ask shareholders for a second time for the authority to issue shares without offering them to existing shareholders a second time. Having become a cash shell, the company has been dropped from the FTSE AIM All Share index. It has six months to find an acquisition. A number of potential acquisition targets have been met by the board. Additional directors will be appointed.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has raised £275,000 at 1.1p a share in order to finance the appraisal of projects. The shares are being acquired by new executive chairman Robert Bensh, who has experience of the US oil and gas sector. Chief executive Matthew Idiens has more than doubled his stake to 2.52% by acquiring two million shares at 1.75p each. The finance director Chris Eadie has also more than doubled his stake to 1.2% at 1.67p a share. New non-executive director Tom Reynolds also bought shares.

Concepta (CPT) is raising £2.3m at 3p a share to finance marketing and further development of its myLotus fertility test.

MAIN MARKET 

Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) had £6.2m in cash at the end of January 2019. There was a total cash outflow of £4.57m in the latest six month period. The main capital investment at the Runcorn site is almost complete. Non-executive director Chris Batterham has bought 125,000 shares at 47.354p each. Miton has reduced its stake to 4.96%.

Bonmarche (BON) says the mandatory cash bid of 11.445p a share by Spectre undervalues the retailer. Bonmarche is reducing costs. Cavendish Asset Management has edged its stake up to 10%.

Standard list shell Contango Holdings (CGO) has entered into an agreement to acquire the Lubu coalfield project in Zimbabwe for £6.45m in shares at 5p each. Once regulatory approvals have been gained the acquisition should go ahead and trading in the shares can recommence. That should happen by the end of June. There will be a placing to raise cash to fund initial trial mining.

Telecom services provider Toople (TOOP) says that it had more than £1.1m in the bank at the end of March 2019. That is a £1m reduction on the level at the end of September 2018, when there was also a shareholder loan, which was assigned a value of £572,000 in the balance sheet but has a cash value of £607,000. There is no indication if this loan has gone down. Last year, admin expenses were £1.55m, net of other income, and that was more than revenues. Revenues have grown but even if gross margin were to improve there will still be a significant first half loss.

Nuformix (NFX) has signed an agreement for cannabinoid therapeutics development, licensing and commercialisation for an initial upfront payment and other research and development and milestone payments that could total up to £51m. Canada-based Ebers Tech Inc will use Nuformix technology to develop a range of consumer and pharma products.

Zegona Communications (ZEG) has increased its stake in Euskaltel to 21%.

European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has transferred 35.4 million shares in WideCells (WDC) to David Sefton and Linton Capital, which has promised to hold them for 12 months. European High Growth Opportunities still owns 18.2% of WideCells.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 June 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

There are eight companies in the running for the NEX Exchange company of the year at the Small Cap Awards. The awards will be held at The Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.

Kent-based wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has built up a significant presence in the English wines market. The company has a winery in Tenterden and it is building a new brewery for its beer operations. Chapel Down reported a 15% increase in annual sales to £11.8m. Wine sales were one-fifth higher at £8.12m with cider and beer sales, via associate Curious Drinks, were 7% ahead at £3.68m. Operating profit improved from £346,000 to £470,000 but there was a much larger loss from the Curious Drinks associate so pre-tax profit was lower. The new brewery should be open in the first quarter of 2019.

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is still at a very early stage of its development but it more than doubled its revenues in 2017. The loss still increased from £950,000 to £1.24m despite the improvement in revenues from £345,000 to £737,000. The cash outflow was £1.06m, which left £490,000 in the bank. Since then, £2.16m was raised via a placing at 270p a share. Crossword has interests in a number of early stage businesses, including CyberOwl, a joint venture between Coventry University and Crossword, which has backing from Mercia Fund Management. CyberOwl is developing network security software for target-centric monitoring.

Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has one of the longest track records on NEX and it has its highest share price in more than one decade of trading. Field Systems designs, installs and supplies electrical, instrumentation and control systems, for the water, power and transport sectors. In the six months to November 2017, revenues jumped from £8.47m to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £114,000 to £211,000. There was £3.34m of cash in the bank and NAV was £3.31m, which is more than the market capitalisation.

KR1 (KR1) has had a successful year buying and trading various coins and tokens. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year. KR1 generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m.

Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) was originally part of the Milk Marketing Board and after it was spun off it joined the forerunner of NEX. National Milk Records generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices.

Energy saving electrical products supplier Sandal (SAND) reported flat interim revenues of £1.88m but it masks the growth in the sales of MiHome products. This growth will continue in the second half. The interim pre-tax profit edged up from £35,000 to £44,000. Sandal secured a term loan of up to £500,000 from major shareholder Greenbrook Industries Ltd and £250,000 was used to buy back 862,068 shares from Greenbrook. The shares were cancelled and this will enhance earnings per share.

Daniel Thwaites (THW) is a brewer, hotels and pubs operator that has been trading for more than two centuries. It has also been on NEX for more than two decades, since the London Stock Exchange closed rule 4.2, which was a matched bargains facility for unquoted companies. Some of these former rule 4.2 companies moved to AIM, while others, including a number of regional brewers, moved to Ofex/NEX. In the six months to September 2017, revenues improved from £44m to £48m and underlying pre-tax profit were flat at £5.9m. The shares are trading at a near-50% discount to NAV.

Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) is an ethical housing REIT and it is also on the shortlist for the impact company of the year. The company develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or needing extra care. Earlier this year, Walls and Futures raised £80,000 from an open offer at 94p a share. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%. Walls and Futures has joined the MSCI IPD UK Residential Property Index.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 June.

Cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) is widening its remit. It is asking shareholders to agree to investments outside of Canada.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has completed the acquisition of offices in Leicester for £4.385m. The Leicester Crown Prosecution Service pays an annual rent of £290,000.

St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying a maintained interim dividend of 5.5p a share and the ex-dividend date is 5 July. The dividend will cost £247,000. The carbon emissions trading business has also started electronic currency mining.

China CDM Exchange Centre Ltd (CCEP) reported a small dip in revenues from £898,000 to £888,000 but it managed to increase its profit from £2,000 to £35,000.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has secured Contax Partners as technical partner and project manager for the shale gas project in Botswana. Contax will accept £800,000 worth of shares in Karoo as payment for services. Karoo hopes to apply for admission to AIM by 1 July.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says full production at its Honduras processing plant has been delayed because permits have not been received for the processing of larger amounts of gold ore.

EPE Special Opportunities (EL.P) had an NAV of 228.16p a share at the end of May 2018.

AIM   

Property investment adviser First Property Group (FPO) reported flat pre-tax profit of £9.23m in the year to March 2018. The final dividend is 3% higher at 1.18p a share. The underlying NAV rose from 47.6p a share to 53.1p a share. Third party assets under management were 45% higher at £454m, which is mainly down to the new office fund. Progress this year will be held back by the departure of the tenant in a building in Poland. Some of the space has already been re-let and the rest should be during the year.

Pawnbroker Ramsdens (RFX) continues to grow on the back of strong foreign exchange revenues. Last year, they were 26% higher at £11.3m. Group revenues were 16% ahead at £39.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit rose 60% to £6.5m. Net cash was £12.7m, although that does include foreign currency stocks. The total dividend was 6.6p a share.

Gooch and Housego (GHH) increased interim revenues by 7% to £55.6m and underlying pre-tax profit was13% ahead at £7m. Aerospace was the main growth area as subsea telecoms demand was weak. The photonics and optical equipment company is on course for a full year profit of £18.5m.

Artilium (ARTA) is recommending a cash and shares bid from Pareteum. The offer is 0.1016 of a Pareteum share and 1.9p in cash for each Artilium share, which values the telecoms software supplier at £78m. The offer follows a strategic alliance between the two companies that was announced last year.

IT managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says that some public sector contracts have been cancelled and there will be upfront costs for a new contract with the NHS in Yorkshire. That means that 2018-19 EBITDA will be 10% lower than previously forecast.

Imaginatik (IMTK) has completed its strategic review and the chairman and chief executive are both leaving and they are waiving compensation. This will help to reduce annual costs by £750,000. The business is no longer up for sale because no suitable bid was received. Annualised revenues are £2.8m and the innovation software business could move into profit after a full year’s benefit of the cost savings. Former chairman Matt Cooper has sold £225,000 worth of shares at 0.5p each and reinvested the cash in a new £225,000 convertible, interest free loan note. Octopus has reduced its stake from 27.2% to 7.1%.

Mass spectrometry instruments supplier Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has raised £5.5m at 2p a share and an additional £102,000 via a PrimaryBid.com offer.

Trading in cash shell Monreal (MORE) has been suspended because the former Cogenpower has not completed a deal. The board is asking for shareholder approval to move to NEX after the AIM quotation is cancelled on 3 July. The investment strategy will focus on technology, media and telecoms.

Education-focused virtual reality content supplier VR Education (VRE) has delayed the full launch of the latest version of its Titanic VR product until August but it is not expected to affect full year expectations. Work has started with the BBC on 1943: Berlin Blitz.

Driver Group (DRV) continues to improve its margins and profit helped by the growth of the Diales expert witness business. Middle East revenues were lower but profit was higher, while high utilisation rates in Asia Pacific meant that was a sharp swing back to profit in the region. Underlying pre-tax interim profit doubled to £2.1m om the six months to March 2018 and Driver ended the period with net cash of £800,000. The sale and leaseback of the company’s head office was completed in April and net cash is forecast at £5.5m for the end of September 2018. A full year profit of £3.5m, up from £2.5m, is forecast. A return to dividend payments is a possibility in the next year or so.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has enough cash to push forward with the exploration of its Paradox basin acreage in the US. Rose is still earning its 75% working interest in the acreage and it has already received interest from potential farm-in partners that could help finance the first well, which could cost $7m-$8m. A competent person’s report will provide an updated resource in the next few weeks.

The smart machines division was behind the small improvement in profit at Vianet (VNET) in the year to March 2018. That was helped by a contribution from the Vendman acquisition. The smart zones drinks dispensing technology made a slightly lower contribution to profit as it lost more pub customers but the US side is making progress. Research and development spending on technology peaked at £1.5m last year and should fall this year. Net cash fell to £1.27m because of the extra spending but the dividend was maintained at 5.7p a share. The investment should start to pay off this year and pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £2.7m to £3m.

MAIN MARKET    

LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) is closing its loss-making US business at a cost of £2m. The US business lost £1.9m last year. Luceco announced an operating profit of £14.2m in 2017.

Quarto Group Inc (QRT) has appointed former finance director Mick Mousley as interim finance director following the departure of Carolyn Bresh. This follows the change of control at the AGM.

Lb-shell (LBP) is asking for shareholder approval for the creation of £435,000 of unsecured convertible loan notes with a conversion price of 0.025p a share. That requires the par value to be reduced to 0.025p a share. Full conversion could mean the issue of shares equivalent to 89.4%. Three directors will own a total of £290,000 of the loan notes. The former Intelligent Energy will offer shareholders the chance to sell their shares for 0.025p each.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 7 May 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

Forbes Ventures (FOR) has sold its stake in KCR Residential REIT (KCR) for £145,000. The remaining investment is in challenger bank Civilised Investments Ltd. Nigel Quinton, who has run two building societies, has been appointed as finance director of Forbes. Igor Zjali has become a non-executive director. The investment strategy covers disruptive technology in the property and fintech sectors.

KR1 (KR1) has been raising cash from partially disposing of token holdings. Cash has been generated from sales of tokens issued by six projects and this will be available for re-investment. KR1 has already acquired 30,587 tokens in the Waves project at $6.41 each.

Angelfish Investments (ANGP) says that there has been a further delay in its investee company Rapid Nutrition’s plans to gain a quotation in London. Rapid, which is already quoted on the SIX Swiss Exchange, has developed a nutraceutical product range. One of the terms of a £150,000 loan to Rapid was that it should be admitted to the London market by the end of February, but this date was extended to the end of April and has been extended again to the end of July. The principal and interest, up until the end of February, will convert into Rapid shares. Interest has been payable in cash since the end of February.

EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) reported a 35.6% decrease in NAV to 234.4p a share at the end of January 2018. That was mainly down to the poor performance of fully listed LED lighting company Luceco (LUCE) after sales growth did not turn into higher profit. EPE is considering exercising the option to redeem up to 50% of the outstanding unsecured loan notes. Redeeming £4m of loan notes would save £300,000 in interest. There is £28m in the bank.

Middle East-focused investment company Indigo Holdings (INGO) has lost €165,300 on an Iran-based car ride-sharing app. This will be mainly offset by a book gain of around €160,000 on its investment in Sheypoor following another fundraising round.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has started to refurbish the Hellyer flotation plant in Tasmania. The mill should be commissioned in the third quarter of 2018.

First Sentinel (FSBN) has invested in AIM-quoted Amur Minerals and unquoted Titan FM Ltd in April. An investment of $250,000 has been made in the form of a contribution to a $10m loan facility made available to Amur. Titan FM is an acquisition vehicle in the facilities management sector with a focus on areas covered by strict regulation. The £50,000 pre-IPO investment helped to finance the first acquisition of a provider of air conditioning and refrigeration services. Two more acquisitions are planned this year as is a quotation on NEX. The latest tranche of First Sentinel bonds has raised a further £1m.

Valiant Investments (VALP) reported a flat full year loss of £216,000 and this would have been higher if there had not been a swing from a £3,000 loss on listed investment movements to a £25,000 gain. Valiant has invested some of its cash in five AIM-quoted, dividend paying companies. Valiant had a NAV of £197,000.

Sandal (SAND) has appointed David Munting as finance director and Richard Green as a non-executive.

AIM   

Minds + Machines (MMX) swung from loss to profit in 2017 and it is acquiring four top level domains. Minds + Machines is paying $10m in cash and $31m in shares in two tranches for the membership interests of Florida-based ICM Registry, which owns .xxx, .sex, .adult and .porn. In 2017, revenues were $7.27m (78% recurring) and net income was $3.5m. The recurring nature of the revenues and the reduced dependence on China should help the group to start paying dividends in the next couple of years. Multinational brands buy related domain names with these suffixes so that nobody else can. This helps to boost recurring revenues. Not all of the other purchasers are sex-related, either. The main uncertainty concerns whether the group will get a lower rating because of the association with sex-related businesses.

Sanderson Group (SND) says that its interim results are slightly ahead of expectations and the positive momentum is continuing. The enterprise software supplier’s operating profit has increased from £1.55m to £2m.  Two-thirds of the improvement has come from recent acquisition Anisa and the rest is organic.

DX (Group) (DX.) has raised £4.76m at 8.5p a share, which is much higher than the indicated minimum price of 7.41p that is being used to capitalise the company’s loan notes. These additional shares will heavily dilute existing shareholders. The cash will be used to restructure the parcel delivery networks, open new depots and finance IT investment.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) is acquiring eight country stores previously operated by Countrywide Farmers, which has gone into administration. Five of the stores take Wynnstay into Devon and Cornwall. The stores have annual sales of £16.4m.

Berkeley Energia (BKY) has announced plans to move to the standard list and the Spanish Stock Exchanges in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. The admissions should happen by the end of May. No money will be raised because the cash injected by the Oman sovereign wealth fund covers the upfront capital costs of developing the Salamanca project in Spain.

A combination of lower costs and higher iodine prices meant that Iofina (IOF) reduced its underlying loss from $5.4m to $3.4m in 2017. There was also a $5.3m impairment charge. There was a cash inflow before working capital movements. The new IO#7 plant started up in February and there could be another plant in the next year. Iofina is on course to be profitable in 2019.

Sinclair Pharma (SPH) has secured a €23m loan facility. This will replace bank debt and help to finance the aesthetics company’s new strategy in the US following the decision to terminate the Silhouette InstaLift distribution agreement with Thermi when reorder rates were disappointing. Negotiations are ongoing with potential distribution partners in the US. There was growth in other markets, including Brazil, and the 2017 loss was lower.

Pelatro (PTRO) provides precision marketing services to telecoms companies that helps them to retain subscribers and generate more income from each of them. Maiden results for Pelatro show a jump in underlying profit to $1.8m but the trade receivables are the most significant number in the accounts. Despite the profit there was a small cash outflow after tax payments. That is because trade receivables were $1.78m and $756,000 of that figure is for more than 121 days. That is because the company used extended payment terms to help to attract a customer. There is $3.1m in the bank so Pelatro has the cash to finance additional working capital for that and future deals. It is best to keep an eye on the trade receivables.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has raised £1m at 3.25p a share. The cash will be used to finance progress with the Paradox project towards being drill-ready. There are also other partnership and investment opportunities in the region.

Gloo Networks (GLOO) cannot find a suitable acquisition and it is winding itself up. Shareholders should receive at least 47p a share. The original placing price was 120p, so three-fifths of the cash has gone in less than three years without doing a deal.

Braime (TF and JH) (BMTO) reported a jump in pre-tax profit from £1.3m to £2.2m in 2017. The total dividend has been increased from 9.3p a share to 10.2p a share. Pressings profit was flat and the improvement came from the materials handling division.

Safestyle UK (SFE) says Steve Bermingham will retire as chief executive at the end of this year and he is being replaced by Mike Gallacher, who until recently ran First Milk, the farmer-owned milk business, which he restructured.

Trading in Green and Smart Holdings (GSH) shares was suspended because it did not publish its 2016-17 accounts by the end of March. The audit was expected to be completed by the end of April, but it is still going on and the accounts are not expected before June. Discussions continue with a potential investor.

MAIN MARKET    

Stem cell services provider WideCells Group (WDC) is running out of cash and has not been able to publish its 2017 accounts so trading in the shares has been suspended. Directors have loaned the company a further £115,000, on top of a previous £100,000. At the end of June 2017, there was cash of £869,000 and debt of £634,000. That was before any of the director loans. It appears that management has taken too long to sort out the funding it requires and the potential share issue, if it is arranged, could be significantly dilutive.

Nanoco (NANO) has launched Nanoco 2D Materials Ltd in order to develop nanomaterials. The University of Manchester has invested £400,000 via a convertible.

Symphony International Holdings (SIHL) is paying an ordinary and special dividend of 12 cents in total. That will cost $71.5m. The Asian healthcare and hospitality businesses investor has sold investments and realised gains have helped to fund the payment.

St Ives (SIV) has completely exited book printing with the sale of Clays for £20m. The pension liabilities will stay with St Ives and it will contribute £2.5m to the pension fund. Net debt was £42.2m on 2 February 2018.

Trading in Sealand Capital (SCGL) shares has been suspended because it could not publish its 2017 accounts by the end of April.

Small Cap Awards (14 June, Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch, London) Nominees

IPO of the Year

Alpha FX Group

Appscatter Group

Boku

Keystone Law Group PLC

K3 Capital Group

Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd

Ramsdens Holdings

Xpediator

Company of the Year

Bilby

Bioventix

Faron Pharmaceuticals

Frontier Developments

LoopUp Group

Nostra Terra Oil and Gas Company

TMT Investments

Water Intelligence

Wey Education

ZOO Digital Group

NEX Exchange Company of the Year

Chapel Down

Crossword CyberSecurity

Field Systems Designs

KR1

National Milk Records

Sandal

Daniel Thwaites

Walls & Futures

Executive Director of the Year

Zillah Byng-Thorne (CEO) and Penny Ladkin-Brand (CFO) – Future plc

Dr. Stuart Green, CEO – Zoo Digital Group PLC

Chris Gurry, Group Managing Director – CML MicroSystems PLC

Tom Ilube, CEO – Crossword Cybersecurity PLC

Dr Markku Jalkanen, CEO – Faron Pharmaceuticals

Bobby Kalar, CEO – Yu Group PLC

Dr. James Millen, CEO – Physiomics PLC

Ian Simm, CEO – Impax Asset Management Group PLC

Frazer Thompson, CEO – Chapel Down Group PLC

Andrew Wass, CEO – Gear4Music Holdings PLC

Impact Company of the Year Sponsored by Impact Investment Network

Ashley House

HaloSource

Walls & Future

Fintech Company of the Year

FairFX Group

FreeAgent Holdings

Proactis Holdings

ULS Technology

Transaction of the Year 

Proactis Holdings PLC – Acquisition of Perfect Commerce

Work Group PLC / Gordon Dadds Group PLC – Reverse takeover

Atlantis Resources Limited – Uksmouth power stations deal (SUSPENDED)

Frontier IP Group PLC – Transactions FairFX Group PLC – Acquisition of CardOne

7digital Group PLC – Acquisition of 24-7

Impax Asset Management Group PLC – Acquisition of Pax World Management LLC

Analyst of the Year

Vadim Alexandre, Head of Research – Northland Capital Partners

Kevin Ashton, TMT Analyst – Cantor Fitzgerald

Eric Burns, Deputy Head of Institutional Research – WH Ireland Limited

David Johnson, Research Director – Allenby Capital Limited

Rob Sanders, Head of Growth Companies Research – Stockdale Securities Limited

Simon Strong, Head of Research Growth Companies – Cenkos Securities PLC

Journalist of the Year

Smit Berry – Small Company Sharewatch

Joanne Hart – Midas

Jamie Nimmo – Mail on Sunday

Paul Scott – Stockopedia

Mark Shapland – Evening Standard

Merryn Somerset Webb – Financial Times

Simon Thompson – Investors Chronicle

Fund Manager of the Year

Daniel Nickols – Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies

James Thorne – Threadneedle UK Smaller Companies

Nick Williamson – Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies

James Zimmerman – Jupiter UK Smaller Companies

Microcap Fund Manager of the Year

Guy Feld – Cannaccord (Hargreave Hale Limited)

David Horner – Chelverton Small Companies Dividend Trust PLC

Judith MacKenzie – Downing LLP

Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management

Gervais Williams – Miton Group PLC

Lifetime Achievement Award To be announced on the evening

Special Services to Small Caps To be announced on the evening.
Andrew Hore

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