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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.
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.
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.
Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has secured long-term facilities of £50m, which expires in 2023, and a £35m private placement of loan notes with BAE Systems Pensions Fund which lasts for 20 years. These replace existing loans. A revaluation of pub assets has delivered a £24m gain on book value.
Mechanical and electrical services provider Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has benefitted from strong spending in the water sector as Asset Management Plan 6 reaches its mid-point, as well as demand from the energy from waste sector. However, the energy from waste customer’s tough stance has held back group gross margin. In the year to May 2018, revenues improved from £17.2m to £25.9m, but pre-tax profit fell from £839,000 to £625,000. If the defined benefit scheme settlement gain is stripped out, then there is an improvement in profit from £463,000 to £558,000. There is £3.97m in the bank. The current order book is worth £12m.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) is pushing ahead with Flowstone Capital Ltd, which is a private crypto fund and it has set up Flowstone Management Ltd to manage the fund. Coinsilium has also secured a strategic advisory partnership with LC LITE, which is planning a token generation event to finance the development of a digital letter of credit system for importers and exporters.
Startup Giants (SUG) still had £665,000 in the ban at the end of July 2018. Thee are plans to raise more cash via the event management services provider Exponential Events’ platform.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) is in talks with blockchain-based sports ticketing platform Footies Tech to establish a new subsidiary to develop a blockchain-based venue management system. The idea is that TechFinancials will own 75% of the company and it would provide finance of up to $500,000 to develop a proof of concept. TechFinancials will licence its technology to the new company for free.
Formerly AIM-quoted Metminco (MNC) has withdrawn from the proposed acquisition of Gunsynd (GUN) investee company Sunshine Minerals after it failed to complete due diligence. Gunsynd says that there are other interested buyers even though the nickel price has fallen since the original announcement about the proposed acquisition.
The chairman and chief executive of DXS International (DXSP) have bought further shares last week. Chairman Bob Sutcliffe bought 18,857 shares at 10.5p each, while chief executive Bob Immelman acquired 19,802 shares at 10p a share which took his stake to 10.4%.
Ananda Investments (ANA) executive director Melissa Sturgess has bought another 500,000 shares at 0.4501p each.
Gordon Dadds (GOR) is acquiring Ince and Co International LLP and its associates, which will make it the largest quoted law firm. Annual revenues will be more than £110m. The estimated consideration will be £34m, depending on revenues generated in the three years after acquisition. The merged company will be called Ince Gordon Dadds. Share trading remains suspended until the full details of the deal are published.
Watkin Jones (WJG) says that its full year figures will be slightly better than expected. Good progress is being made with the build to rent operations, but the benefits will come in the future. The sale of a client portfolio of the student accommodation management division has led to a termination fee and a share in the profit of the disposal, which totals £4m.
Concepta (CPT) has obtained a CE Mark for its myLotus fertility testing technology. This enables women to test for their optimal level of fertility. The self-test platform has been launched at the Fertility Show in London. Initial sales will be via the company’s own website. It will take time to build up sales and it is likely to be next year when they become more significant. Concepta raised £2m in August so it is well-funded for its current requirements.
Goldplat (GDP) says that first quarter production fell to 6,100 ounces of gold because of problems sourcing raw materials in Ghana and South Africa, but there has been a recovery in the second quarter and it should be able to achieve full year production estimates of 39,5000 ounces of gold. The Kilpesa mine is being put on care and maintenance if a partner cannot be found and that could knock 3,700 ounces off the production figure.
Next Fifteen Communications (NFC) has raised £20m at 475p a share. The PR firm will use some of the cash to finance the acquisition of Activate Marketing Services for an initial $9m in cash. This technology-focused business is data-led and will continue to be operated separately. This is the latest example of Next Fifteen’s strategy of growing its digital marketing operations.
Gama Aviation (GMAA) says that growth has been slower than anticipated in the second half. The main culprits are the US air associate and slower than expected growth at the new Bournemouth ground services facility. This equates to a $3m cut in forecast operating profit for 2018 and the earnings per share forecast has been reduced by 19% to 21.3 cents.
The share price of floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) slumped on the back of a warning that margins were coming under pressure. Like-for-like revenue growth was more than 3% in the six months to September 2019, but less profit is being made. Victoria is attempting to refinance its two-year bank facility through the issue of a five-year €450m bond, which has been given a BB minus credit rating by Standard & Poors.
Safestay (SSTY) has acquired a 20-year lease on a site in Vienna. This is currently a hotel and it will be converted into a 234 bed hostel at a cost of less than €300,000. Safestay will have 13 hostels.
Pires Investments (PIRI) had a NAV of £950,000 at its year end. The £200,000 increase was mainly due to investments in SalvaRx and Eco (Atlantic) Oil and Gas.
Imaginatik (IMTK) has launched its six-for-nine open offer to shareholders. This could raise up to £253,000 at 1.1p a share. The closing date is 26 November.
Market research firm System1 Group (SYS1) has declared a maintained interim dividend of 1.1p a share, but the final dividend may be reduced. Interim revenues declined by 5% and pre-tax profit was lower without the £250,000 exceptional credit. That is due to investment in the Ad Ratings business. There was £3.55m in the bank at the end of September 2018.
Mporium (MPM) has signed a deal with BPC Land and Sales Marketing, a services provider to property developers. BPC will use Mporium’s IMPACT technology for digital advertising campaigns. This is a new sector for Mporium.
Biome Technologies (BIOM) has increased nine months revenues by 59% to £7m, which is more than for the whole of 2017. Biome is profitable and it had £2.5m in the bank at the end of September 2018. The main growth has come in the RF Technologies division. The bioplastics business increased its third quarter revenues, but nine months revenues are still lower.
Parity (PTY) has warned that there will be a significant shortfall in profit in 2018 because of the continuing delay of a major contract. WH Ireland has slashed its pre-tax profit forecast from £1.9m to £850,000, suggesting limited profit in the second half.
Meat and delicatessen products retailer Crawshaw (CRAW) is appointing an administrator because it was unable to raise the cash it required.
Elektron Technology (EKT) has increased its nine months revenues from £22.1m to £25.8m and the full year outcome is set to be ahead of expectations. Sight screening technology developer Elektron Eye Technology is expected to move into profit. Net cash was £8.5m at the end of October 2018.
Transportation software and services provider Tracsis (TRCS) has received a renewal and extension of data hosting services and software with a rail client. The contract is worth more than £2m over two years.
More bad news from superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) as 2018 figures are set to be well below expectations that have already been revised downwards. There will be a full year loss on revenues of €44m. There will be no dividend. Refit projects have been delayed and one shipyard undergoing maintenance. New build contracts have been won for 2019. The order book is worth €31.3m, of which €18.2m relates to 2019.
BlueRock Diamonds (BRD) has raised £626,000 at 0.3p a share with every two new shares coming with a warrant to subscribe for a share at 0.4p. The directors have invested £170,000. The cash will be used to open two of the five kimberlite pipes at the Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa.
Tern (TERN) has invested a further £1.1m in in virtual reality training and data analysis technology platform developer FRVS.
PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has appointed Menzies as administrator of its subsidiary PhotonStar LED Ltd. That business generated £1.15m of first half revenues of £1.33m. It also made most of the loss. More cash will be required for the remaining subsidiary.
TomCo Energy (TOM) has raised £100,000 at 8.5p and disposed of its stake in Red Leaf Resources for $133,333, which had no value in the balance sheet. This will take cash resources to £335,000. The field test on the Holliday block has been delayed due to a failure of couplings.
Ascent Resources (AST) is still finding it difficult to obtain the permits it is waiting for from the Slovenian authorities so that it can generate revenues from gas. Ascent is considering taking action in the European Court.
N4 Pharma (N4P) says clinical data suggests that its Nuvec technology is suitable for use with multiple antigens. It has delivered mRNA and pDNA in sufficient levels to generate the required immune response. The results of the next study should be available in the first half of 2019.
Wey Education (WEY) reported good results but WH Ireland has downgraded its forecasts for this year and next year. The broker is being more cautious about international growth prospects and cut the 2018-19 pre-tax profit forecast from £1.95m to £1.31m and the following year’s from £5.2m to £3.3m.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has made its second Portuguese investment. Des Solutio is developing greener versions of chemicals used to make beauty, pharma and personal care products. Frontier IP has taken a 25% stake.
Myanmar-focused social media platform operator MySQUAR Ltd (MYSQ) is raising £600,000 at 0.35p a share. Management is focusing on active users and in the first quarter of this financial year there were 412,338 active users of the mobile games offer and 426,750 media and mobile apps users. Last year’s revenues were $1.84m but they need to be much higher than that.
Property investor Safeland (SAF) has acquired North Downs golf club in Surrey for £1.07m and it will invest in the facilities.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) says that the US Bureau of Land Management has approved the application for a permit to drill the GV 22-1 well on the Paradox acreage in Utah.
Zotefoams (ZTF) has improved revenues by 16% in the nine months to September 2018. Full year profit is expected to be slightly better than anticipated. HPP sales have nearly doubled due to demand from the footwear and aviation sectors. Capacity is being increased.
Books publisher Quarto Group (QRT) has extended its facilities to the end of August 2020. The bank facility has been reduced. Large shareholders have agreed to provide unsecured and subordinated loans of $13m, repayable on 31 August 2020.
Stem cell services provider WideCells Group (WDC) is restructuring its Wideacademy educational subsidiary and closed its London office. Annualised savings are worth £400,000. Alan Greenberg has stepped down from the board.
Social media investment company Sealand Capital (SCGL) has published its full year figures and subsequent interim results. Trading in the shares has recommenced. The SecureCom business has been sold. Sealand has subscribed for a 55% interest in Guangzhou Ruiyou Information Technologies Co, which is a mobile game distributor. It is also party to a licenced operator agreement of the WeChat advertisement product in the UK and UAE. There was £758,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Gems explorer Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has raised £250,000 at 80p a share. The shares each come with one warrant exercisable at 100p a share.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has gained planning permission for a minor extension on its second property in north west England.
As a part time aviation buff, I probably take more note than others of the comings and goings at the Paris Air Show. The mood this year was very upbeat, with European Civil Aerospace very much in the ascendency.
Although demand remains healthy, the very nature of the industry structure means there are a relative a small number of major manufacturers. This doesn’t mean the manufacturers can monopolise – far from it. Pricing remains competitive in civil aviation, and means that company boardrooms have a constant battle to maintain margin.
After ferrying new French President Macron to open the Paris Air Show, Airbus (EPA: AIR) announced a deal for 100 single-aisle A320neo planes in its first big move, a real coup considering the firm is constantly battling US giant Boeing for orders amid burgeoning competition from China. This will create years of work for the global workforce. It’s thought that the firm had firm commitments for some $11bn worth of planes.
Not to be outdone, Boeing (NYSE: BA) unveiled plans for a newer and bigger version of its 737 Max aircraft, more or less declaring war on Airbus in the market for narrow-body passenger jets.
Boeing announced firm orders for more than 45 planes worth some $5.4bn. Buyers included Ryanair, China’s Okay Airways and the Aviation Capital Group leasing company. Pledges for a further 83 planes could be worth as much as $9.3bn.
However, with huge order backlogs for both firms, new orders aren’t perhaps the all important share price drivers that some might think. Airbus has accused Boeing of discounting narrow-body prices to win back market share, putting downward pressure on its suppliers. In addition aviation technology group Safran (EPA: SAF) has accused Pratt & Whitney, owned by United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX) of discounting engines in competition against the General Electric / Safran LEAP engine.
While it can be argued that the CA aftermarket industry offers greater upside risk than the aircraft manufacturers themselves, the low oil price means it makes greater economic sense to keep older planes in service, providing a welcome boost for the industry future. This view is lent further credence by upbeat forecasts from several companies, including UTC, Aero Systems, GE and Honeywell, who all said their 2017 aftermarket sales could be better than expected. And with the number of new planes coming off warranty, this looks set to continue.
So in summary, investing in the aircraft manufacturers directly, or the aftermarket industry looks to be a fairly safe place for your money. Emerging markets continue to fulfil the aircraft sales quota, while maintaining planes out of warranty is looking increasingly lucrative for the future. It might even be said that rather than taxiing out to the runway, the industry is awaiting clearance for take-off!