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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 25 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Good Energy (GOOD) increased full year revenues from continuing operations from £104.5m to £116.9m, helped by last winter’s cold weather and a price increase, and pre-tax profit recovered from £700,000 to £1.7m. The renewable electricity supplier and generator has increased its dividend from 3.3p a share to 3.5p a share. Net debt was £40.1m at the end of 2018. Energy supply volumes increased by 3%, but domestic volumes were 1.2% lower in an increasingly competitive market. The growth came in the business side, which increased volumes by 23%. Good Energy generates energy from six solar sites and two wind farms. The company expects to continue to grow business volumes and invest in digital technology. Non-executive director Nemone Wynn-Evans has bought 9,500 shares at 105p each.

Trading in PCG Entertainment (PCGE) shares has been suspended because it is in talks to acquire VOX Markets and Align Research.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has been told by its potential nominated adviser does not believe its is suitable for an AIM quotation. This also means that the planned fundraising cannot go ahead. A refinancing is required. There are trade creditors of around £300,000. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has maintained its 3.4% stake in Fresho by participating in its latest fundraising, which was at a 76% premium to the price paid for the initial investment. The investment is worth A$673,000.

Dana Group International Investments Ltd (DANA) reported swing from loss of $129,000 to a profit of $95,000 in the six months to December 2018, due to other income of $276,000.

Tectonic Gold (TAU) says that roc chip samples from the Clermont project in Queensland show up to 8.01g/t gold, 140g/t silver and 6.32% copper.

Panther Metals (PALM) has completed the acquisition of Parthian Resources and its former shareholders own 16.1% of Panther.

Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has raised a further £225,000 at 90p a share.

Imperial X (IMPP) has changed its focus to medicinal cannabis. There was a small cash outflow in the six months to the end of December 2018. There was nearly £70,000 in the bank with net cash of £19,000. There are net liabilities and more cash will be required later this year.

Steve Howson is stepping down as chief executive of SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) and he will become a non-executive director. Majority shareholder David Sumner will be interim chief executive.

AIM  

Footasylum (FOOT) has recommended a 82.5p a share bid from JD Sports Fashion (SPD) which values the footwear retailer at £90.1m. JD Sports was buying shares between 50p and 75p and built up a 18.7% stake. The bidder promises to maintain the separate commercial identity. Footasylum floated in November 2017 at 164p a share.

Diaceutics (DXRX) ended the week at 97.5p, having floated at 72p. The company provides data analysis and advisory services to pharma companies seeking to develop and commercialise diagnostic tests. There were £15.2m of placing proceeds net of expenses and £5.5m will be spent on the acquisition of data, while the rest will be used to pay off debt and develop AI analysis technology. There is limited liquidity in the shares because they are tightly held.

Wynnstay Group (WYN) warns that trading in the second quarter is weak because of the warmer winter weather. There has also been a weakening in farmgate prices. Interim figures will be well below the first half of last year and the full year will be below forecast. Peel Hunt argues that it has already factored these elements into its forecast for rival feed supplier NWF (NWF) and it is not changing its forecasts.

Pelatro (PTRO) has launched a data monetisation platform with a revenue share contract with an existing client, which is worth $500,000 in the first year. This is a product that can be sold to other customers.

Financial trading platform Aquis Exchange (AQX) reported 2018 revenues ahead of expectations and it doubled its market share during the year. The subscription-based model means that higher trading levels by a trader lead to subscription income levels going up. Aquis will continue to be loss-making this year, but the relatively fixed cost base means that once this is covered the profit should grow significantly as revenues grow.

Scientific instruments supplier Judges Scientific (JDG) increased is cash generation from operations from £10.9m to £15.7m in 2018. There was 5.5% organic growth in revenues and underlying operating profit rose by just over one-third to £14.7m. The cash balance has increased to £15.7m, which provides firepower for acquisitions. Shore Capital has edged up its earnings per share forecast from 188.8p to 190p.

Volvere (VLE) says full year revenues from continuing operations will rise from £16.2m to £18.6m. There was a £23.1m gain on the sale of Impetus Automotive. There was an underlying loss on continuing activities, but the frozen pie maker Shire Foods improved its profit contribution. There is £34.1m of cash in the Volvere balance sheet.

Frontier IP (FIPP) says that the outcome for the year to June 2019 is likely to be ahead of management expectations. A deal by investee company Exscientia, which is involved in AI-based drug discovery, with Celgene Corporation should result in a substantial uplift in its valuation.

Science in Sport (SIS) had a 25-day contribution from the profitable PhD Nutrition business in 2018. The group’s underlying loss increased last year, but PhD will help to reduce the loss and the cash outflow from operations, which was £6.42m last year. There is £8m in the bank and even with capital investment requirements that should be enough to cover requirements this year.

Ceramic products supplier Portmeirion Group (PMP) increased its 2018 pre-tax profit by 10% to £9.7m and a further rise to £10.3m is forecast for this year. Online sales are growing rapidly from a relatively low base. The home fragrance business is doing well, and capacity is being added. The total dividend is 8% higher at 35.7p a share.

Share (SHRE) improved its significantly improved its profitability in the second half of 2018, although trading levels weakened towards the end of the year. That weakness has continued into the early months of this year. Evan so, Cenkos forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £700,000 to £1.3m, upgraded from £1.1m, in 2019.

Clear Leisure (CLP) has placed its 50%-owned data mining operation in Serbia on a care and maintenance basis. This is due to the fall in the price of cryptocurrency. Legal actions and negotiations continue concerning a number of past investments. Clear has paid £76,000 for a 10% stake in PBV, which provides data services for the Italian legal sector. At the end of 2018, there were €2.1m of bonds converted into shares.

Andrew Perloff has increased his stake in 600 Group (SIXH) from 6.19% to 8.85%.

Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has changed the ratio of its ADRs from two shares for each ADR to 20 shares for each ADR. This is a way of getting the trading price of the ADRs on NASDAQ back above $1.

EQTEC (EQT) could be a beneficiary of the deal done by its largest shareholder EBIOSS with Urbaser for the collection, treatment and possible conversion of waste to energy. Urbaser is conducting due diligence on EQTEC’s gasification technology and this could be used for any waste to energy plant if all three parties come to an agreement on a specific opportunity. Projects could be in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Romania.

A local authority report has placed a five year reserve status on the Plymouth Airport site where Sutton Harbour (SUH) has a 135 year lease. The local authorities are keen that the site should be used for general aviation, but a viable business plan needs to be put together. Sutton Harbour would like to develop the site.

Tau Capital (TAU) has sent a circular to shareholders concerning a capital return of $1.19m or 2.42 cents a share, raise $150,000 via a placing at 0.1 cents a share and change its name to UK Onshore. Reverse takeover candidates are being assessed. Gerwyn Williams and Nigel Burton will join the board.

Synectics (SNX) has won a £1m order from the oil and gas sector. This is the largest order for its surveillance systems from this sector for a number of years. Synectics reported a rise in full year revenues from £70.1m to £71.2m and pre-tax profit slipped from £3.02m to £2.86m. The full year dividend is increased from 4p a share to 4.7p a share.

MAIN MARKET 

Athelney Trust (ATY) has responded to the letter from former director Dr Pohl, who wants to regain his place on the board along with Simon Moore and remove David Lawman. Dr Pohl has acquired more than 100,000 shares in the past month, and this means that five shareholders own more than 50% of the investment company putting its investment trust status at risk. As long as there is more than 35% of the company held by the public this is not a problem, but it would be if Dr Pohl joined the board. There have been £90,000 of extra costs because of disputes between the two major shareholders. The plan remains to bring Gresham House on board as fund manager

WideCells Group (WDC) is changing its name to Iconic Labs and moving into digital marketing and technology. The management of this business previously built up social publisher Unilad. In the first 12 months, an agency consulting division will be launched to assists clients to develop brands. There are plans to build up a distribution and publishing division through acquisitions and launch content licensing and e-commerce divisions. There is little indication of what will happen to the stem cell operations, although management appears to believe that the insurance business could be worth pursuing. Historic liabilities are being resolved. The convertible loan note holder continues to convert a proportion of the loan note that is below 30% and then sell the shares. There are 785.6 million shares in issue with more to come.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has raised £436,500 at 2.25p a share. The cash will be used for the pre-construction phase of the South Korean gold projects. An agreement has been made with a local landowner for the use of land outside the main entrance of the Kochang mine.

Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has raised £1.56m at 8.5p a share via an offer through PrimaryBid.com. This cash will fund a move by the natural resources company into the organic cannabidiol market. It has established Zoetic Organics in the US and it believes that hydrogen produced by Highland in Kansas can be used as a fertiliser with potential to increase the size of the plant. First revenues could be achieved in the summer.

Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) claims that Alchemy Utilities Ltd has sabotaged the proposed reverse takeover by refusing to provide audited accounts. Stranger is trying to get back the £300,000 it lent to Alchemy as well as its reverse takeover costs of £450,000. Stranger believes that the Alchemy management team may have misrepresented its financial status. An alternative acquisition is being lined up, but Stranger had negative net assets at the end of September 2018 and there are additional costs since then.

Standard list shell Hertsford Capital (HERT) still had £2.88m in cash at the end of 2018.

Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) is growing its gross profit but EBITDA is similar to the same period last year, which was around £650,000.

PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) has ended its wafer production activities in Germany and it intends to apply its wire sawing expertise to cutting non-silicon materials. There are plans to return £38.5m to shareholders, which is equivalent to 24p a share and that is not far short of the current market price. That could still leave more than €10m of cash. Management is considering whether to maintain a listing.

Sure Ventures (SURE) says 23%-owned Suir Valley Ventures has maintained its 10% stake in WarDucks, which is developing an AR game, by participating in a €3.3m fundraising.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 26 November 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Blockchain venture builder Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that RIF Labs is acquiring RSK Labs, where Coinsilium owns 65,000 series Seed-1 preferred shares. The cost of the investment was $83,750. The acquisition is a share for token swap and Coinsilium will end up with 1.95 million RIF tokens, which is the equivalent of 139.4 bitcoins, currently valued at $773,000. However, an initial 12.5% of the consideration will be released six months after the deal is completed and then 2.5% each month for 42 months.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has entered into an additional marketing and off-take agreement with Traxys Europe. The deal covers the production from the Hellyer project in Tasmania for the first five years. This includes a facility for prepayment.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) says that its Australian subsidiary has received a A$590,000 tax rebate from the Australian government. A 43.5% rebate is due on qualifying technical expenditure and so far more than A$2m has been received. Spending continues.

Gowin New Energy Group Ltd (GWIN) chief executive Chen Chih-Lung is lending £40,000 to the company for 12 months at an annual interest rate of 2%.

AIM    

Music and audio equipment supplier Focusrite (TUNE) is continuing to grow internationally although Asia is growing at the fastest rate. Full year revenues grew by 14% to £75.1m, while pre-tax profit improved from £9.51m to £11.3m. The dividend is 22% higher at 3.3p a share. There is £22.8m of cash in the bank and this could be used for add-on acquisitions. Tariffs on Chinese exports are being used as a way of testing out price rises for the US market. Forecast profit growth is modest but there is potential for outperformance.

Tristel (TSTL) is buying its distributor in Benelux and France and this will enhance earnings. The maximum payment for Ecomed will be €6.8m (£6m) with €5m paid up front. The deal also provides an additional warehouse in Europe. A full year contribution in 2019-20 will increase pre-tax profit by £700,000 to £6.5m.

Sustainable timber supplier Accsys Technologies (AXS) has increased its capacity for Accoya production by 50% and this will help production in the second half. Demand for Accoya is strong and sales increased from €28.3m to €31.1m in the six months to September 2018. The development of the Tricoya plant in Hull is progressing. Construction could be completed in the middle of 2019 and it will breakeven at 40% of capacity. Tricoya, which is used in MDF-type panels, is currently produced from Accoya and this plant will free up Accoya production for other customers. Numis forecasts a rise in full year revenues from €60.9m to €73.1m and a decline in loss to €5.1m. Net debt is expected to be €46m at the end of March 2019 and it will continue to rise because of the capital investment programmes. If partners can be secured in the USA and Asia then this could provide a significant boost to the company.

Initial drilling results at the Havieron licence area in Western Australia provided good news for Greatland Gold (GGP) with two wide zones of gold and copper mineralisation intersected. This significantly extends the known mineralisation.

Immunodiagnostic System Holdings (IDH) is up to its old tricks. The interim figures were published at 5.04pm on Friday 23 November. To be fair this is 14 minutes earlier than the half year trading statement so maybe the company is improving. Here’s hoping. Interim revenues were flat at £18.5m but the company fell into loss. There was £27.8m of cash in the bank (net cash of £26.5m) at the end of September 2018. Maybe some of this should be spent on an alarm clock so management can get up in the morning to release its results.

Chris Jagusz has stood down as chief executive of Redcentric (RCN) as revenue growth has been hard to come by. The latest interims have sparked downgrades for 2018-19 with revenues cut by 5% to £94.2m.

SIMEC AtlantisEnergy (SAE) has singed a joint venture with AD Normandie Developpement and this will enable the commencement of tidal energy projects between France and Alderney. A capacity of 3,000MW is being targeted and there is potential for EU grants.

Innovation software provider Imaginatik (IMTK) has achieved annualised cost savings of £1.2m, but the strategic review held back revenues and new orders in the first half. The cash outflow declined. Trading levels are picking up.

There are no competition concerns about the Ebiquity (EBQ) disposal of its advertising intelligence business to Neilsen Media Research. The business has been underperforming because of the uncertainty and this will enable the deal to go ahead. Ebiquity says that 2018 operating profit will be lower than expected.

Positive news about the Wressle oil project, where the planning officer for North Lincolnshire has recommended approval. The original application was refused two years ago. Operator Egdon Resources (EDR) owns a 30% interest in Wressle, Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) has a 30% interest and Union Jack Oil (UJO) has a 27.5% interest. Humber Oil and Gas owns the other 12.5%.

Integumen (SKIN) has raised £355,000 from a placing at 0.44p a share. This cash will support the development and commercialisation of Labskin. Integumen is paying €40,000 and six million shares to former chief executive Declan Service.

Sutton Harbour (SUH) returned to profit in the six months to September 2018, although the corresponding period had a hefty asset write-down, and it is raising cash for pre-construction funding. An open offer of 77-for-786 at 29p a share will raise up to £3m and close on 6 December. Planning approvals have been received for the Sugar Quay and Harbour Arch Quay schemes in Plymouth.

Electronic and battery products supplier Solid State (SOLI) is starting to improve its performance, although there may still be a decline in full year profit. In the six months to September 2018, revenues were 5% ahead at £23.6m and pre-tax profit improved from £1.55m to £1.66m. The interim dividend was 5% higher at 4.2p a share. The order book was worth £29.6m at the end of September 2018.

TomCo Energy (TOM) has appointed Turner Pope to replace SVS as broker and trading in the shares has recommenced.

SEC (SECG) is acquiring France-based public and corporate affairs business CLAI. An initial 10% stake, but with 50.1% of voting rights, will cost €490,000 in cash. A further stake of 40.01% will be acquired in the second half of 2020 and another 10% in the second half of 2023. The shareholders can ask SEC to buy the remaining shares between 30 July 2025 and 30 November 2025. The final payments are based on an earnout although the maximum will be €8.8m. In 2017, CLAI made a pre-tax profit of €551,000 on revenues of €4.49m. The acquisition could be earnings enhancing. CLAI will continue to be run by existing management.

Majestic Wine (WINE) is finding the UK market tough and margins are coming under pressure. Peel Hunt has reduced its 2018-19 pre-tax profit forecast by £2m to £12.8m, partly due to increased investment in Naked.

Kestrel has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) to 22.2%.

Another disappointing trading statement from Fire Angel Safety (FA.) has led to a 2018 profit downgrade. Stock problems and delays to orders have hit the smoke alarms supplier. Scottish legislation due to be passed next year should provide a boost to demand. Fire Angel will be loss-making in 2018 but should make a small second half profit.

Legal services firm Knights Group (KGH) says that interim figures will be in line with expectations with double digit organic revenue growth. The interims will be announced on 15 January.

Maritime identification systems developer SRT Marine (SRT) had already flagged its 9% increase in interim revenues to £3.2m and increased underlying loss of £1.3m. There was little contribution from the GeoVS analytics system. There are expected to be significant deliveries in the second half, but timing cannot be guaranteed. A full year profit of around £3m is expected if the deliveries do take place. SRT is no longer considering investing in its own satellite constellation for this business.

FIH Group (FIH) reported flat interim profit, although there was a sharp improvement in contribution by the Momart art and museum logistics business. There was a decline in the performance of the Gosport ferry and Falkland Islands activities.

Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) says interim revenues will be one-fifth higher at £46.4m with around 50% of this organic growth. Full year revenues should be at least £102m. EBITDA margins should be maintained suggesting full year EBITDA of more than £19m. That is slightly higher than previous consensus.

Argentina-focused oil and gas producer and explorer President Energy (PPC) says the first Puesto Flores development well is producing at 600 bopd, having peaked at 1,000 bopd. This is as much as was anticipated from all three development wells. The results from the second development well appear positive and testing is about to commence. finnCap believes that the first well could have a post-tax NPV of $20m.

Pallett developer and manufacturer RM2 International (RM2) is raising £13m at 105p a share, following a 200-for-one share consolidation. This replaces the second tranche of a previously announced placing which would have happened at 1p a share (200p a share equivalent) but RM2 did not meet the performance requirements to spark the other placing. All but one of the investors set to buy shares previously will subscribe to the new placing. The cash will be used to fit track and trace devices to existing pallets, produce new pallets and cover admin costs. The cash will last until next April.

finnCap has sharply downgraded its pre-tax profit forecasts for telecoms services provider Maintel Holdings (MAI) due to project delays. The 2018 figure has been cut from £12.9m to £9.8m and the 2019 figure from £16.1m to £12.7m. The 2018 dividend is still expected to be 34.5p a share, although the cover will fall to 1.6 times. There is a move towards recurring revenues which will have a longer-term benefit for Maintel.

Restaurants operator Tasty (TAST) has revised its £7m term loan facility, which will be extended until March 2022. Quarterly repayments will be reduced from July 2019, by which time the amount draw down will be reduced by £1.1m. Net debt is currently £4.3m.

The NAV of value-focused investment vehicle Gresham House Strategic (GHS) has held up well considering the stockmarket decline. It grew to 1264p a share at the end of September 2018 and it was still 1243.2p a share on 16 November. The stake in IMImobile (IMO) has been reduced but it remains a strong performer. Cloud communications software supplier IMImobile improved its interim revenues by one-quarter and organic growth was 15%. The growth came from the European and American operations. Established customers are buying more services from the company and acquisitions are supplementing growth. Liontrust has increased its IMImobile stake to 21.4% but Kestrel has cut its to below 3%.

Payment protection software provider PCI-PAL (PCIP) is paying former boss William Catchpole his contracted entitlements plus £100,100 in settlement of his claims. The board unanimously asked Catchpole to leave in October. The final loan note repayment of £250,000 has been received from the buyer of the contact centre business.

Digital and media recruiter Nakama Group (NAK) reported flat interim net fees of £2.7m, but it managed to return to profit thanks to reduced costs. Further cost cutting is underway. There was a £558,00 cash inflow from operations and net debt was £488,000.

Antennas developer MTI Wireless Edge (LSE: MWE) has completed its merger with Israel-quoted majority shareholder MTI Computers and the initial benefits will show through in the second half. The interim figures show organic growth in revenues of 2%, but that growth should accelerate in the second half. Water management technology provider Mottech is winning new business and there are good prospects for the other divisions. The NAV is 17.8p a share and the full year dividend could be 1.25p a share.

Two directors have invested nearly £230,000 in shares in Condor Gold (CNR) at 22pa share. Non-executive Jim Mellon took his stake to 7%, while executive chairman Mark Child has reached 6%. Condor has been granted an important environmental permit for the development of a processing plant at its La India project in Nicaragua. SRK Consultants is preparing an updated mineral resource.

Juridica Investments Ltd (JIL) plans to leave AIM as part of the process of winding-up the company. The quotation will be cancelled on 21 December after liquidators from KPMG Channel Islands are appointed. Management fees will be reduced.

Online women’s fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) continues to build up its sales, having been trading for two years, and they reached £1.84m in the six months to September 2018. The loss was nearly £2m. Returns were 52% but that was put down to a high level of dress sales in the period and it can be more difficult to get the right fit. The benefits of the move to the Magento 2 ecommerce platform and the investment in the website are showing through in the second half. October was a record month. A placing raised £3m after the balance sheet date so pro forma cash is £5.56m.

600 Group (SIXH) has rationalised its UK business and sorted out its pension problems. Interim revenues were slightly ahead but underlying margins improved from 5.1% to 6%. The machine tools and laser marking equipment supplier is expected to improve its full year pre-tax profit from $3.05m to $3.9m.

Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) has performed well considering the dip in the new car market. Used vehicles and aftersales offset some of the decline. There was a 2% decline in revenues to £630m and underlying pre-tax profit fell by 13%  to £9.8m. The capital investment programme for new sites has peaked and the benefits of that investment are still to come.

Veltyco Group (VLTY) is still finding it difficult to collect the money it is owed. This means that its cash is running low and this will impact its ability to promote its own brands.

Graphene materials supplier Directa Plus (DCTA) is confident that it will achieve 2018 revenues of €2.3m and this figure could double in 2019. Growth is coming from textiles, environmental and elastomers customers.

Ubisense Group (UBI) is selling RTLS SmartSpace for up to £35m, which is around two-thirds of the software company’s current market value. The group had cash of £6.8m in the middle of November 2018. Funds managed by Investcorp Technology Partners will pay an initial £30m. Liabilities of £3.1m and a loan of £1.75m will have to be paid out of the proceeds. The company’s name will be changed to IQGeo and it will focus on the myWorld product, which helps telecom companies to integrate their technology ecosystem. The myWorld business generated interim revenues of £5.7m but £3.2m was geospatial services from third party products. Some of the cash will be distributed to shareholders.

The decline in annual pre-tax profit at Stride Gaming (STR) from £18.9m to £14.8m was no surprise given the impact of regulation and tax. The online bingo and gaming company is likely to report a further fall in profit this year. A special dividend of 8p a share has been announced and in future 50% of net earnings will be paid in dividends.

MAIN MARKET  

Packaging and labels supplier Macfarlane Group (MACF) continues to grow revenues organically, supplemented by recent acquisitions. Organic growth has been 5% and overall growth is 13%. The fourth quarter is important, though. Full year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve by 47% to £13.6m and earnings per share by one-third to 7p. Acquisition payments should be offset by cash generated in the second half.

S and U (SUS) has increased its investment in Aspen Bridging from £20m to £30m. Aspen has been trading for less than two years and is already in profit.

Creightons (CRL) increased its interim profit by 44% to £1.38m on revenues one-third ahead at £22.3m. The main growth in sales has come from retailer own brands, while Creightons own brands raised their sales by 11%.

David Brown has sold his 4.55% stake in Associated British Engineering (ASBE).

Sealand Capital (SCGL) has formed a new subsidiary called ePurse (HK) Ltd, which is generating commissions from WeChat Pay activities in Hong Kong. Licences have been obtained in the UK and Dubai.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 July 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved back into profit in the year to March 2018 and it is paying a dividend of 0.4p a share. The e-commerce technology company edged up revenues from £1.04m to £1.07m, while a loss of £46,000 was turned into a profit of £82,000, even after amortisation of £70,000, up from £20,000 in the previous year.  Net assets of £770,000 include £502,000 of cash.  There are a growing number of opportunities for this financial year.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has signed an IP sharing agreement with Canada-based Veritas Pharma. This could help with Sativa’s plans to grow medicinal cannabis and also help to choose a particular strain.

Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has completed its investment agreement with ARQ Minerals and this formalises the commitment to work together in Nigeria. The St Leonard’s mine is supplying trial amounts of coal. ARQ helps to manage the mine and it is subscribing £50,000 each for two tranches of shares in the operating company, which will take is stake to 50%. ARQ will also own 1,000 million warrants exercisable at 0.02p a share. ARQ has committed to producing a minimum of 40,000 tonnes of coal and every 1,000 tonnes produced above this level will earn an additional 0.625% stake in the operating company, which can take the stake up to a maximum level of 75%. ARQ and Equatorial will be paid 10% of gross profit each month with the rest of the profit shared in line with their equity interests.

Welney (WENP) has announced a general meeting to vote on the appointment of Mark Jackson and Mark Chapman as directors.

Secured Property Developments (SPD) still had £627,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018 because it has not been able to find an investment at a realistic price.

Blockchain investment company Coinsilium Group (COIN) says that Malcolm Burne has been appointed as project adviser to the company’s blockchain platform development company TerraStream.

New director Melissa Sturgess has bought 9.23 million shares in Imperial Minerals (IMPP) at 1p each. That is a 29% stake.

Medicinal cannabis sector investment company High Growth Capital Ltd (HASH) had £522,000 in the bank at the end of March 2018 and it has raised £250,000 at 0.4p a share.

AIM  

Parity (PTY) is still on track to achieve double digit profit growth this year. The IT recruitment and consultancy services provider remains modestly rated even though the share price has risen substantially this year.

Yu Group (YU.) says interim revenues increased by 69% to £35m. The energy supplier expects full year revenues to be at least £82m, which means that operating profit should rise by three-quarters. There is £18.2m in the bank.

Frontier IP Group (FIPP) says that portfolio company Tarsis Technology has entered into a collaboration with a major crop protection products company. The company will provide the funds to further develop the Tarsis technology to deliver chemical pesticides and fungicides in a more controlled way. In return the company gets exclusive rights to particular agrochemicals usage and Tarsis would get royalties from commercial products. Frontier IP is lending Tarsis £150,000 in return for share options.

Consumer healthcare business Venture Life Group (VLG) is raising £18.75m at 40p a share to help finance the acquisition of Dentyl Dual action mouthwash and BB Mints for £4.2m and repay £3.7m of convertible loan notes. The remaining cash will be used for further acquisitions. The share issue more than doubles the number of shares in issue.

Odey has withdrawn its general meeting requisition at Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) following the appointment of Anthony Bromovsky and Duncan Goldie-Morrison to the board.

600 Group (SIXH) has offloaded its pension scheme to specialist insurer Pension Insurance Corporation. The scheme will be wound up and surplus funds after tax will be returned to the machine tools supplier. That could be up to £4m. Full year revenues grew from $58.8m to $66m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from $2.65m to $3.05m. That excludes the gain on the sale of ProPhotonix (PPTX) shares.

Integumen (SKIN) is raising £700,000 at 0.65p a share and renegotiated the deal with food supplements supplier Cellulac so that it will acquire a 9.35% stake. Cellulac’s chief executive and chief operations officer will join Integumen in those roles. Cellulac will grant Integumen a licence to sell its products in certain territories.

A positive trading statement from audio visual equipment distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) has led to a forecast upgrade. Earnings per share forecasts have been raised by 3% for each of the next three years. The 2018 profit is expected to be £28.3m and earnings per share 27.6p. The interims will be published on 11 September.

EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has signed a manufacturing agreement with Oragenics Inc. EKF will supply drug substances for the customer and this will boost next year’s profit by 5%.

LiDCO (LID) has signed a distribution deal with a Chinese supplier of blood monitoring cuffs and this will help to replace the lost income from the Argon distribution contract. It may take time to build up sales, though.

Woodford Investment has increased its stake in superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) to 21.5%. This comes at a time that Old Mutual has been selling down its stake after the recent profit warning.

Corporation tax software supplier Tax Systems (TAX) has grown its recurring and non-recurring revenues in the first half of 2018 and total revenues were 14% higher, which includes 9% organic growth. Net debt is down to £17.5m.

Synectics (SNX) had net cash of £9.1m at the end of May 2018. The surveillance technology company increased interim revenues by 3% to £34.7m thanks to strong demand from the gaming sector. Underlying profit improved from £1.3m to £1.5m. Stockdale has maintained its full year profit forecast at £3.1m.

EMIS (EMIS) says that its primary care business is sorting out its problems and the net cash grew to £32.3m at the end of June 2018. The health IT technology supplier says that the business has grown in the first half and still expects an improvement in full year profit. The share price has recovered since the disappointing trading statement earlier this year.

Ken Kroeger has become permanent chief executive of driver monitoring systems technology developer Seeing Machines (SEE) and he will had over the chairmanship to Jack Boyer at the beginning of 2019.

MAIN MARKET    

Investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) says that its NAV dipped to 264.2p a share at the end of June 2018, although this was partly due to the payment of the final dividend of 8.9p a share. Excluding that, there was a 4% decline. There was an improvement on the net return on ordinary activities from £110,000 to £125,000, but the loss in the capital part of the income statement was slightly higher than that revenue gain. The total value of investments was £5.61m and NAV was £5.7m. During the first half, shareholdings in Countrywide, Debenhams, DX, Juridica Investments, HC Slingsby and Sprue Aegis were sold.

Avation (AVAP) has acquired a second new Airbus A220-300 aircraft and leased it to airBaltic.

Flying Brands Ltd (FBDU) is raising £500,000 at 2.5p a share in order to help finance obtaining FDA clearance for StoneChecker software and design a cloud-based interface, as well as boost commercial operations. Subsidiary Imaging Biometrics is involved with a phase II trial that will use its IB Rad Tech technology to process data from 20 sites to determine how well dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging in measuring the effectiveness of brain tumour treatment.

Andrew Hore

Kingfisher – Increased Transformation Activity – Profits Fall

Kingfisher plc KGF The jargon filled half year report claims that the six months to 31st July saw a significant increase in the level of transformation activity but it can not hide the fact that sales continued to fall and profits slumped. An increase of 2.5% in the interim dividend will not fool anybody. Sales appear reasonable with a rise of 4.5% until you look at them in constant currency terms which shows a fall of 1.3% Profit figures are given in a variety of guises, all of them bad. In constant currency terms they fell by 4.6%.  On an adjusted basis they were down 5.7% and  basic earnings per share followed suit with a fall of 4.4%  On a statutory basis pre tax profits fell by 5.9% and post tax profits by 8.1%. To add to the misery the company is cautious about what it calls the second half :”backdrop” in France and the UK.

Diageo DGE has issued a trading commentary ahead of its AGM asserting that it is expecting mid single digit top line growth for the current year, relying on the strength of its  marketing, innovation and commercial execution but it expects to be impacted by a late Chinese New Year and an expected motorway ban in India, hardly signs of unbridled confidence.

600 Group plc SIXH updates before todays AGM that its current machine tool order book is up by 60% and industrial lasers by 36%, on the same time last year, which augurs well for trading in the second half of the year.

Cello Group CLL Despite a slight fall in revenue Cello claims an encouraging first half, producing a statutory profit before  tax of £2.7m for the 6 months to the 30th June, compared to a loss of £0.8m last year whilst basic earnings per share came in at 2.16p compared to last years loss of 1.08p per share. The interim dividend is increased by 5%

Science in Sport  SIS experienced continued strong growth in the half year to the 30th June, with revenue rising by 28% and e commerce delivering 87% growth, followed by International with a rise of 55%. Whilst still producing operating losses, profitability at EBITDA level is expected for the full year.

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Sainsbury’s Lesson in Retailing

Sainsbury J. SBRY put in a strong performance during the quarter to the 1st July with retail like for like sales growing by 2.3% and grocery sales by an even larger 3%. Online grocery sales surged by 8%. In General merchandising and Clothing, Sainsbury outperformed the market and this was not a one quarter flash in the pan. Clothing sales rose by 7.2% which is enough to make most clothing retailers turn green with envy, especially as this is the third consecutive quarter in which Sainsbury has stormed ahead on clothing sales, the second half of the previous financial year having produced growth of 15.2%.

The secret to the strong overall performance is put down to three simple things, quality, choice and value. Most of the big retailers would claim the same. The difference with Sainsbury is that it is not just more tired old jargon, it is actually giving it to the customers.

Hunting plc HTG expects to remain loss making as a group during the first half but with positive EBITDA. Its Perforating Systems Business has produced results ahead of management expectations, having benefited from the increase in onshore drilling in the US. Elsewhere conditions in Europe and in US offshore drilling remain weak as a result of the continuing law oil price. Hopes for the future hinge at present on US onshore drilling.

Imagination Technologies IMG completed its restructuring in the year to the 30th April and ended up producing a strong set of results. Group revenue rose by 19% and the adjusted loss per share fell from 9.2p to 0.9p whilst on a reported basis the decline was from 29.8p to 10.1p The impact of the dispute with Apple continues.

Apple no doubt, sees no reason why it should seek a resolution. All it has to do is sit tight and wait for the dawn of the new era when it no longer needs the technology provided for  so long by Imagination Technologies. And if Apple is wrong on that, it won’t matter a jot by then. The damage will have been done and were Apple not a completely scrupulous and honest company, it would probably be able to pick up the bits and pieces and buy them for next to nothing. Meanwhile Imagination continues preliminary discussions with potential bidders for the whole Group.

600 Group plc SIXH now conducts over 60% of its activities in the US with only 12% of group sales being made to the EU in the year to the 1st April. Profits for the year rose by 79% and earnings per share by 50%. Current order books at the year end were 29% up in industrial lasers and 50% in machine tools compared to the same time last year.

Johnson Services Group JSG has traded very well during the half year to the 30th June and expects that results will be slightly ahead of management expectations.

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Weak New Car Sales Cast A Cloud

600 Group SIXH 60% of group activities are now in the US giving the company considerable protection against any damaging consequences from Brexit.  Only 13% of group sales go to Europe and the company is now concentrating on building up its presence in South East Asia.The year to 2nd April was not a good one with profit before tax nosediving from £3.68m. to £1.01m and earnings per share more than halving from from 2.66p to 1.26p. Machine tools is a challenging market and the company did well to show a 3% rise in revenue and it is contuing to implement structural changes.

Hays plc HAS claims an excellent financial performance for the year to 30th June, with like for like net fee growth of 7%, producing an 11% rise in profit before tax and a 14% rise in earnings per share. The final dividend is to be increased by 5%.  Both earnings and cash were ahead of market expectations, although on net fee growth the UK and Ireland lagged behind the rest of the world. The broad geographical spread of the company’s activities saw more than 22 countries producing growth in excess of 10%.

Safestore Hldgs SAFE saw its strong trading performance continue during quarter 3. to the  Like for like revenue to 31st July rose by 6.6% at constant exchange rates, the UK being particularly strong with a rise of 7.5%. Closing occupancy rates were up by 2.6% and again the UK put in a strong performance. The weakness of sterling helped results from the Paris operation. Pricing during the quarter was robust with the average rate up 0.6%. Tax adjusted earnings were ahead of current market expectations.

Vertu Motors VTU Expects that full year results will show robust trading with profitability ahead of last year and revenue and profitability both reaching record levels. There is however the odd cloud or two looming on the horizon in that new retail vehicle registrations have been weak since April and the company expects this to continue.New vehicle orders for September are reflecting the changed situation.

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Machine Tools And 600 Group – Rich Pickings

Machine tool orders are a prime indicator of the health of a country’s manufacturing sector and the machine tools  industry is an economic bellwether and one of the best and most reliable friend an investor could have. It will be the first to warn  of a manufacturing downturn and the first to indicate a coming upturn.

Capital expenditure on machine tools is hit as companies draw in their horns in expectation of a coming recession.  Similarly it is the first to rise as companies see signs of confidence beginning to return. Companies order machine tools when they expect to be manufacturing and selling a lot more goods.

2014 was a good year for the machine tool sector in the US. On the other hand 2015 was a disaster which has continued into 2016. In August 2015 US machine tool orders hit a 5 year low, dropping 10.2% on July and by  a whopping 21% on the previous August. By October it was even worse, with orders down 28% on October 2014. The causes were the strength of the dollar, the collapse in oil and commodity prices and slower growth in China.  For the UK and Europe replace the dollar with the pound and the Euro and the story is repeated. By the end of 2015 European orders were down 18.8% on the year.

600 Group (SIXH) is a UK engineering company whose main area of activity is machine tools. Its fortunes and share price have rigidly followed the cyclical pattern of statistics for machine tool orders. In a trading update issued today it  describes 2015 as a difficult year with the difficulties continuing into 2016 in both its European and US markets. Full year results are expected to be below current estimates which is very bad news, when one considers that those estimates were themselves made in the middle of a year of recession.

And this is where the company is the investors friend because its share price  faithfully, one could say almost rigidly, follows the pattern of machine tool orders. In 2011, for example the share price plummeted from 38p to less than 7.5p in August 2012.

In 2014, a stronger year for machine tool orders, it recovered to 23p but then went into decline again as orders collapsed in 2015. Last night it closed at 13p. and then responded to this mornings bad news with a 23% nosedive to 10p.

The same pattern has been repeated previously with a collapse in 2008 from a high of 57p. to a lowly 9.75p in early 2009.

So bull or bear, keep an eye on those machine tool order statistics, and rich pickings are there to be made.

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