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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIM  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAIN MARKET 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard: National Express (NEX) – Another Record Breaking Set Of Results

National Express NEX is delighted to have again delivered a record-breaking set of results.  Group revenue rose by 5.6%, profit before tax by 10% and basic earnings per share by 13.1%. It is again proposed to increase the final dividend by 10 per cent.. Growth in the UK was very strong at 12.6% compared to 6.4% in North America and a decline of 15.1% in German rail

CRH plc CRH 2018 was another year of record profit delivery, with basic earnings per share up by 33% and group profit by 31% for the year to the 31st December. Sales for the year rose by 6% and the final dividend is being increased by the same amount. For 2019 the US economy is expected to continue to advance at a similar pace to recent trends and with positive progress also continuing in Europe.

Mondi plc MNDI has produced a strong financial and a robust operational performance for 2018. Whilst revenue was up by only 5%, on an underlying basis EBITDA rose by 19%, operating profit by 28%, basic earnings by 27%  and profit before tax by 25%. The recommended full year ordinary dividend of 76.0 euro cents per share, shows an increase of 23%

Bovis Homes BVS claims excellent operational progress and a 47% increase in profits for the year to the end of December. The first eight weeks  of the new year have seen good demand with average sales per site per week up 15.7%. The Board is recommending a 20% increase in ordinary dividend for FY18 to 57.0 pence per share reflecting the strong performance and also its confidence in the outlook for the business. Further operational and financial progress is expected in 2019.

Hunting Titan HTG also delivered a record performance in 2018 as the US onshore market accelerated and sales volumes improved in other international operations. Ongoing commodity price and geopolitical volatility ensures  that the company remains focused on the agility and flexibility of the business to respond to market conditions.

Howden joinery Group HWDN delivered another good performance in 2018 with sales increased by 7.7%, profit before tax up by 2.7% and basic earnings per share by 4.7%. The dividend is to be increased to 11.6p per share, a rise of 4.5%. Four new depots are to be opened in the Paris region but operations have ceased in the Netherlands and Germany from January 2019;

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Ian Pollard: Stagecoach Pleased With Operating Loss of £6.2m (Unadjusted)

Stagecoach Group plc SGC  is pleased to report positive half-year financial results, ahead of expectations, at least according to the Chief Executive, David Griffiths. These included a total unadjusted operating loss of £6.2m compared to a profit of £114.8m profit for 2018, which may lead the more cynical to comment that some people are easily pleased. Virgin Rail did produce a strong profit in the six months to the  27th October but a statutory loss of 5.5p per share compares with last years first half earnings per share of 13.6p. Not surprisingly the interim dividend remain unchanged. Encouraging results have been delivered at the UK regional bus business, together with high customer satisfaction. The above forecast rail earnings have enabled increased  expectations for full-year adjusted earnings per share.

Wood Group plc WG  has been awarded a $43 million (USD) contract by a large-cap midstream US company to construct 80 miles of steel pipeline in west Texas. This is a strategic pipeline for the US and a milestone project for the company.

 

Versarian plc VRS is delighted to have entered into an MOU with a subsidiary of a subsidiary of China Railway Group Limited (“CRG”).one of the world’s largest construction and engineering contractors. The cooperation is intended to explore the applications for graphene, which are specific to CTCE’s needs. IT is envisaged that CTCE will provide funding for any manufacturing venture in a structure to be agreed.

Image Scan Holdings IGE after rapid growth in both sales and profits between 2015 and 2017 the year to the 30th September proved to be a disaster. Sales fell from £5m to £3.5 and profit before tax slumped from £480,000 to £90,000 as the company was impacted by exceptional costs associated with the an aborted acquisition and a decline in portable X-ray orders .However the order pipeline is strong, the team has been strengthened and  research and development has been refocused with the aim of returning to the growth of previous years.

Brave Bison Grp plc BBSN reports it is on track for a year of real progress in 2018. Trading is ahead of management expectations with an improved financial performance, revenues growing and full-year EBITDA3 positive for the first time since the Group came to market in 2013, as well as expectations of cash flow being positive. In October the company was named as the worlds second-biggest digital media publisher for views and consistently in the top 10 during 2018. The shares are so far responding well in early trading this morning.

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Ian Pollard: Yourgene Health – Rapid Expansion in Asia, India, Middle East & Africa

Yourgene Health plc YGENWe are making excellent commercial progress”, claims newly appointed CEO Lyn Rees after revenues for the six months to the 30th September climbed by 45% and gross profit was up by 49%. The implementation of a further £1m annualised cost reduction program helped to bring the loss before tax down  by 35%. Significant commercial progress was achieved during the half year, including the addition of new laboratories in Africa and Asia and the signing of a 3-year agreement with one of India’s leading diagnostics groups to offer mass-population non-invasive prenatal testing (“NIPT”) screening. Existing markets in India, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia  are being rapidly expanded.

ULS Technology plc ULS continued to increase its market share and grow revenue and profits during the half year to the 30th September, despite housing market transactions being lower year-on-year. ULS continued to out perform the market. Revenue inceased by 3%, underlying profit before tax by 6% and adjusted basic earnings per share by 7%. The interim dividend is increased by 4%.

Plastics Capital PLA reports continued strong organic revenue growth across the Group for the half year to the 30th September. Profit before tax and earnings per share  both grew strongly by 75.4% and 67.9% respectively on revenue up by 11.4%. The company is now feeling the full effect of Sterling’s devaluation in 2016. Order books are healthy and good sales growth is expcted to continue for the foreseeable future.

Egdon Resources plc EGD reports a production update from the Ceres field which represents a material step up in both production and cash flow for Egdon. Gas sales net to Egdon for November are expected to be in excess of £235,000. Gas production from Ceres averaged 1.16 million cubic feet of gas per day (193 barrels of oil equivalent per day). following the installation of a new flow meter.

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