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Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company Sport:80 has delayed its flotation because it has been tidying up its shareholder register. Fintech company Engage Technology is also seeking to float later in 2019 following new product launches. Engage raised £2.6m at £22 a share at the end of 2018, whereas the average buying price by Primorus was £20.03 a share. Investee company, AIM-quoted Greatland Gold (GGP) has published results from the second drilling campaign at Havieron in Western Australia. Every drill hole intersected mineralisation and they extend the overall mineralisation. Drilling will recommence in March. Primorus has raised cash by selling most of the stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) and Primorus was debt free at the end of 2018.
NEX has decided not to suspend trading in the shares of VI Mining (VIM) even though its corporate adviser Daniel Stewart is no longer a member of NEX. VI Mining had little or no notice of its adviser’s withdrawal. A new corporate adviser is being sought.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has acquired apprenticeship training provider Astara Training for £16,666 in shares at 9p each. Milamber lost £179,000 in the third quarter and there was £30,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.
Panther Metals (PALM) has announced the initial results of exploration activity at the Bear Lake project in Ontario. There was gold in soil anomalies at four of the five areas tested. Four areas have quartz vein sample assays above 5g/t gold. Two samples had large grade samples. The next phase of exploration is being planned and could start in the second quarter of 2019.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has signed a deal that could enable it to earn a 70% interest in a joint venture that owns the Palha tantalum property in northern Brazil.
AIM (February 2019 AIM Journal available here)
DP Poland (DPP) is running short of cash and is more than doubling its share capital through a heavily discounted placing raising £5.3m at 6p a share, with the possibility of an additional £500,000. The Domino’s Pizza franchisee for Poland has found competition is getting tougher and growth has slowed. The cash is required to cover losses and open more outlets. Peter Shaw is stepping down as chief executive at the end of June, nearly a decade after founding the business.
Ticketing and queueing technology provider Accesso Technology (ACSO) is reviewing its investment priorities although it says that 2018 figures should be broadly in line with expectations. These will be published on 27 March. A deal fell through and this cost $1.7m. Tom Burnet is moving from executive chairman to a non-exec role. The share price is less than one-third of last year’s high. BlackRock has cut its stake below 5%.
Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has launched a placing and 0.318-for-one open offer to raise up to £4.75m at 3.85p a share on top of the £8m subscription by former AIM company China Medical System Holdings, which will licence products for the Chinese market. The clinical trial for cancer treatment MTD201 will cost up to £7m.
Duke Royalty (DUKE) is acquiring its UK rival Capital Step and this will double the size of the portfolio to eleven investments and diversify it in terms of sectors. There is an initial £10m cash payment and the assumption of debt of £11.65m. There is performance related consideration of up to £1.5m. The deal is immediately earnings enhancing.
Visa has increased its bid for Earthport (EPO) from 30p a share to 37p a share, which beats the Mastercard offer of 33p a share. The latest bid values Earthport at £247m.
Taptica (TAP) has launched a recommended bid for RhythmOne (RTHM) and this will create one of the largest video advertising companies in the US. The offer is 28 Taptica shares for every 33 RhythmOne shares. Taptica shareholders will own 50.1% of the enlarged group. A $15m share buyback programme is planned after the merger. Ofer Druker will become chief executive.
Polemos (PLMO) has finalised the details of its reverse takeover of Digitalbox Publishing for £10m in shares and it is also acquiring the owner of the Daily Mash satirical news website for up to £1.2m in cash and shares. The model for the Entertainment Daily website will be used to improve the performance of the Daily Mash. A placing will raise £1.02m at 14p a share. The company will change its name to Digitalbox.
Hardide (HDD) is raising £3.6m at 1.5p a share so that it can move to new premises in the UK and invest in additional equipment. The surface coatings company is experiencing increasing demand from the oil and gas sector and there is potential for orders from aerospace companies. It will take two years to fully equip and move into the new facility. Hardide also intends to consolidate 40 shares into one new share.
finnCap has raised its forecasts for Tracsis (TRCS) following recent acquisitions. There is a 3% increase in earnings per share for this year and an 11% rise to 30.5p next year.
Stride Gaming (STR) has traded in line with previously downgraded expectations. Cost cutting continues to cover higher regulatory and tax costs. The online gaming operator will report a lower profit in 2018 and it is set to fall again in 2019. Net cash was £22.1m at the end of 2018.
Bowmark Capital has offered 110p a share for Tax Systems (TAX) and discussions continue. Tax Systems reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.
Victoria (VCP) has sold surplus land in Kidderminster for £2m. The land was in the books for £100,000 but it has obtained planning consent for housing.
Starcom (STAR) has renegotiated its agreement with Xplosive in South Africa, having originally announced it in October 2017. Xplosive has signed a 36-month agreement to pay a monthly fee for each of the Kylos units supplied for the monitoring of cattle. The fees are higher in the first six months and then reduce. The agreement should be worth $500,000.
Strix Group (KETL) has offered to acquire most of the assets of HaloSource (HAL) for $1.3m. Strix has provided working capital of $100,000. Due diligence is being carried out on the water filtration technology and if the deal goes through the cash will pay creditors, but there will be nothing for shareholders.
Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has announced that the Selva gas field in northern Italy has net 2P reserves of 13.3bcf and there are 2.26bcf attributable to Prospex, which has a 17% stake. Selva could start production in 2020 at a rate of up to 150,000 cubic metres/day.
Tau Capital (TAU) plans to raise cash via a placing through Peterhouse and then a capital distribution will be made to all shareholders. This will enable Tau to seek an acquisition. It has until 18 April to secure a deal or trading in the shares will be suspended. Armstrong Investments has increased its stake from 11.7% to 15.7%.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the SFX-01 clinical trial for subarachnoid haemorrhage is on course having completed recruitment and the primary endpoints should be available in the second quarter. Partners Investment Company has acquired at 3.15% stake.
Sports Direct International (SPD) made a £15m offer to buy Patisserie Valerie from the administrator, but this was not deemed enough. Even a higher selling price won’t provide anything for Patisserie Holdings shareholders.
Solicitor DWF plans to raise £75m via a March flotation an some of the cash will repay members’ capital contributions as well as invest in the business. Existing shareholders will also sell shares and partners’ remaining stakes will be locked up until April 2024.
Two former AIM-quoted companies are coming together to join the standard list. Daniel Stewart Securities, which is closing its broking business, is making an offer for Atlantic Carbon, which was previously known as Atlantic Coal, where Adam Wilson, who has had connections with Daniel Stewart, is executive chairman. Singapore-based backer Epsilon Investments refused to put more money into the broker and that is why it is closing. Epsilon holds a majority stake in Hyde Park Holdings, which owns broker Novum Securities. Last October, SeeThruEquity research suggested that Atlantic had an equity value of $86.8m and $68m of debt. In 2017, Atlantic was the largest producer of anthracite in the US with a market share of one-third based on 1.18 million tonnes produced. Atlantic is expected to have moved into profit in 2018, although it did generate cash from operations in 2017. The owners of more than 50% of Atlantic shares have agreed to accept the bid of 1.5587 shares for each Atlantic share.
Thalassa Holdings (THAL) is offering 14.64p a share in cash and 0.26 of a share for each share in The Local Shopping REIT. Thalassa already owns 25.5% of the bid target, which is valued at 32.8p a share. The bid is an alternative to the winding up of The Local Shopping REIT.
Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is no longer acquiring blockchain technology developer Chorum Group because of political uncertainty affecting the UK equity markets. Former Avanti Communications boss David Williams is the director of Chorum. Blockchain Worldwide has more than £1m in the bank and is also looking at other technology sectors for acquisitions.
Drilling of the Colter appraisal well in Dorset has commenced and United Oil and Gas (UOG) has a 10% interest. The drilling should take three weeks. The Selva gas field in Italy has net 2P reserves of 2.7bcf attributable to United, which has a 20% stake. Selva could start production in 2020. United intends to move to AIM.
Oil and gas producer Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £607,000 in Canada and the UK at C$0.05 a share and 3p a share respectively.
Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) has confirmed that its figures for the year to January 2019 will be in line with expectations. The Aspen property bridging loan business had a loan book of £18m at the end of January 2019. Cautious lending criteria means that new business has slowed in recent months and this has led to a 5% 2019-20 earnings downgrade to 230.1p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3.2m cyber security contract and this takes contracted revenues from this government customer to more than $10m. The latest contract will be delivered this year.
Chesterfield Resources (CHF) is expanding its exploration programme in Cyprus. Initial drilling in an area near historic mining has shown gold, copper and zinc mineralisation. Chesterfield is also applying for licences to extend its licence area.
Dev Clever (DEV) has launched pay per play multi-player, virtual reality game Vanguard: Fight for Rudiarius in Harlow shopping centre. The game will be rolled out to other UK sites.
Bluebird Merchant (BMV) has applied for a grant to help finance drilling at the Kochang project in South Korea and there should be news by the end of the month. There has also been a permit application to develop Kochang.
Galliford Try plc GFRD claims a very strong underlying performance for the year to the 30th June which is perhaps the understatement of the year, with profit before tax up by 145% and earnings per share by 128%. The final dividend is however reduced by 10%, following the re-statement of last years dividend. The continued financial support for the housebuilders by its friends in government begins to look more and more unjustified and more like an outright bribe to the industry in exchange for political support. This has become capitalist greed at its worst and nobody cares less that a direct consequence is that few can now afford what used to be a Tory birthright – ownership of your own home.
SSE plc SSE Things have not got any better for SSE after it issued its July update warning of the consequences of warm dry weather, lower consumption and higher gas prices, which were expected to impact first quarter operating profit by some £80m. It has continued to suffer from dry, still and warm weather and persistently high gas prices, resulting in higher energy costs, lower output from renewable sources and lower consumption. In the first five months operating profit has been negatively affected by about £190.m with the result that adjusted operating profit for the six months to 30 September 2018 is expected to be about halved from last year’s figure.
Sports Direct Intl SPD updates that its strategy to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the High Street will be ” a game changer.”, with current expectations that it will achieve between a 5% and 15% improvement in underlying EBITDA for the current financial year, excluding the acquisition of House of Fraser.
Dunelm Group DNLM reports what it describes as healthy sales growth during the last year which enables it to increase its final dividend by a mighty 1.9%. Group revenue for the year to the 30th June increased by 9.9% whilst like for like sales sales grew by 4.2%. Underlying operating profit before tax was down by 6.7%. The UK retail environment continues to remain challenging says the company but trading during the current financial year to date is in line with expectations .
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.
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.
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.
SSE plc SSE The first quarter was impacted by weather conditions with hydro output higher than last year due to higher snow melt but for both years output was below expected levels, with this year, some 20% lower than expected. Output from onshore and offshore wind farms has been around 15% below expectations due to poorer than average wind conditions. Finally temperatures in the UK for the three months to the 30th June were 1.5 degrees centigrade warmer than thirty-year average, leading to a fall of about 10% in average domestic gas demand. Dry, still and warm weather, has also been accompanied by persistently high gas prices. Thus energy costs have risen, electricity output from renewable sources has fallen at the same time as demand. All of these factors have negatively impacted adjusted operating profit for the quarter by some 80m which will potentially have an impact on the full year results.
Unilever plc ULVR claims a solid all round performance in challenging market conditions for its first half with one of the highlights being a 5% drop in turnover including an adverse currency impact of 8.9%. More and more companies failing to meet expextations, seek refuge in challenging market conditions, without ever explaining what exactly the challenges were and why management was incapable of meeting them. SSE appears to be no exception treating it as one of the facts of business life for which they need not offer a meaningful explanation.
Sports Direct Intl SPD will no doubt please shareholders with the news that t has am elevation strategy which is continuing to exceed expectations. Preliminary results for the year to the 29th April show that on a reported basis, profit before tax fell by 72.5% and earnings per share by 88.3%. On an underlying basis the figures showed rises of 34.5% and 74.6%, respectively.
Babcock International Group BAB updates that it has delivered strong growth in its aviation and nuclear sectors but defence revenues have been impacted, albeit perhaps only on a temporary basis, by another government restructuring in the creation of a Submarine Delivery Agency whose main purpose in life, apart from the creation of more jobs for the boys, appears to be the creation of slowdowns and delays in activity levels. Perhaps another level of bureaucracy could be added to get levels of activity back to where they were before the new agency was created.
Stratmin Global Resources which was quoted AIM until August 2017, is expected to join NEX on 6 June. Stratmin lost the AIM quotation because it failed to complete a reverse takeover, partly due to the fact that it was waiting for a promised investment. Stratmin is still in the process of completing the acquisition of Australian gold explorer Signature Gold, which would be paid for by the issue of 450 million shares at 2p each. After the deal, the company will change its name to Tectonic Gold.
Ananda Investments is the latest cannabis-focused investment vehicle to be joining NEX. The pre-money valuation is £500,000 and the minimum fundraising is £750,000. Ananda is willing to raise up to £4m. There are already potential investments being assessed. A reverse takeover valued at up to £10m appears most likely.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that 40%-owned AfriAg (Pty) Ltd increased its net profit from £104,000 to £179,000. This was equity accounted by AfriAg Global and the £72,000, up from £42,000, contribution helped offset the operating loss from the agricultural logistics group’s operations. The overall loss increased from £9,000 to £38,000. AfriAg (Pty) Ltd had the right to take a 60% stake in House of Hemp but this deal was terminated when the South African government delayed setting up the legal framework for medicinal cannabis. Focus has turned to other countries.
KR1 (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. That tax charge is included in trade creditors due within one year of £4.21m. There is cash in the bank, but total current assets were £3.5m. A creditor has subsequently been paid with £79,000 of shares, issued at 10p each. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year and there is regular daily trading in the shares.
Workspace provider and art collector V22 (V22) reported a 2017 pre-tax profit of £175,000, down from £1.01m the previous year. The profit included a gain on the sale of an option to acquire one of the company’s buildings. The NAV is £1.34m, equivalent to 4.26p a share. That increases to 8.68p a share if the company’s art collection is revalued. The shares are trading at 2.95p (2.7p/3.2p).
Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported a reduction in pre-tax profit from £652,000 to £384,000 in 2017. There was a reduction in revenues from £1.34m to £120,000 and the share of operating profit from a joint venture was more than halved. There was cash in the bank of £514,000 at the end of 2017. St Mark has raised £3.47m from a 6% bond. This cash will be invested in new projects. The NAV is 134p a share, compared with a share price of 95p (90p/100p).
Peru-based gold and silver producer VI Mining (VIM) reported a tripled loss of $6.33m for 2017. No revenues were generated and the NAV was $2.56m. That was before VIM acquired two projects for $51.3m and raised £5.35m at 500p a share.
Georgia-focused oil and gas company Block Energy withdrew from NEX on 23 March and it is set to join AIM on 11 June. It will be valued at £10.3m at 4p a share.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has identified an acquisition that could provide the opportunity to move to the standard list.
Iran-focused investment company Indigo Holdings (INGO) is reviewing its strategic options. Hamish Harris and Nicholas Harwood are stepping down from the board.
First Sentinel (FSBN) generated initial revenues of £156,000 but, even excluding admission expenses of £65,000, it lost £117,000 in the 15 months to December 2017. The NAV of the small company adviser and investor was £1.26m at the end of the year. Since then, a further £1.5m has been raised via a convertible bond.
Formation Group (FRM) fell back into loss in the six months to February 2018. Revenues fell by 15% to £17.2m and there was s wing from a pre-tax profit of £15,000 to a loss of £277,000. The loss was greater than the second half loss last year. The NAV is £9.95m, including £3.2m in cash.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) has received repayment of the loan it made to a developer of a retail scheme in York. This cash will be used to finance any property deals that management feel are good value, thanks to more realistic pricing.
Trading in the shares of DagangHalal (DGHL) and Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) have been suspended. DagangHal has failed to publish its 2017 accounts. Equatorial is in negotiations with South African mining company ARQ Minerals, which intends to invest £50,000 for 500 million shares. This has led to a delay in the publication of accounts.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has appointed Allenby to replace City and Merchant as its corporate adviser.
Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned that its TriConnex utility connections business was suffering from delays and even so interim figures showed a 4% rise in revenues to £62.9m and a 15% increase in pre-tax profit to £3.4m. The interim dividend was raised by 5% to 2.2p a share. Delays to the commencement of projects continue but the group order book has increased to more than £234m.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) is selling its systems integration and managed services businesses for £21.6m, so that it can concentrate on its software for smart buildings. The cash raised will pay off existing debt. Last year, the software division had revenues of £5.3m and made an operating profit of £1.4m.
Maritime monitoring equipment supplier SRT Marine Systems (SRT) has raised £3m at 25p a share and it is swapping £1.15m of short term loan notes for new three year loan notes. The cash will finance systems projects and product development. SRT is working on projects worth £30.5m.
A positive AGM statement from Parity (PTY) confirms that the trading of the consultancy and staffing divisions is going well. Parity should be cash positive by the end of the year and there is a strong pipeline of potential business.
Fishing tackle retailer Fishing Republic (FISH) increased revenues by 58% to £9.15m, but it slumped into loss. Trading was weaker than expected, particularly in the fourth quarter, and gross margin fell sharply even before stock write-offs. Fishing Republic has relaunched its website and the review of operations is ongoing. Five stores have been closed, reducing the total number to 14.
Share (SHRE) increased its revenues by one-fifth in the first quarter as the services provided for Computershare make a contribution in the full quarter. Broker commissions increased by 27% on the back of a 5% increase in trading volumes. First quarter market share dipped from 3.66% to 3.54%. An upgrade to the website has been completed.
Itaconix (ITX) is restructuring its UK operations in order to focus on core products. The main focus will be the US polymer operations. The annual fixed cost base will fall to less than £3.5m in 2019.
IDOX (IDOX) has appointed David Meaden as chief executive. He has experience of the public sector and software development. The information management software and services provider has closed its loss-making digital division. Underlying EBITDA is likely to be in the range of £13m-£15m for the full year, compared with previous expectations of £22.8m. Excluding digital, the EBITDA will be between £18m and £20m.
Immupharma (IMM) has further analysed the results of the phase III lupus treatment trial for Lupuzor. There were different results in the European and US parts of the trial with antibody positive patients in Europe showed a statistically significant improvement.
Haynes Publishing (HYNS) expects to report a better than expected full year profit. Underlying pre-tax profit will be 10% ahead at around £2.9m. Earnings per share will be hit by US tax changes.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has decided to leave the standard list. The digital media group says that the share price fall has hampered its ability to raise more cash to develop its Q-Flow technology. Revenues have not come through as quickly as expected. If cash were raised, it could reduce the free float so the shares would be suspended.
Sports Direct Intl SPD Mike Ashley claims a spectacular trading performance during the half year to the 29th October which is hardly justified by the reality of the situation, namely a fall of 1% in UK sports retail revenue or 1.2% on a like for like basis. So, he limits his claim to the trading performance in his flagship stores, of which they are going to open more. If his flagship stores are doing so well it makes the the rest of UK retail look even more gloomy. Gross margins in the UK fell by 80bps compared to a rise of 110bps for international retail. Group revenue for the half year rose by 4.7% which again only serves to illustrate how bad trading in UK high streets and shopping malls has become. Underlying profit before tax is, he claims, healthy with a rise of 22.9% although on a reported basis it fell by 67.3%. Underlying earnings per share were up by 32.9% as against a fall of 68.6% on a reported basis.
Ocado Group OCDO Sales growth was impacted during the quarter to the 3rd December, by a lack of capacity and especially a shortage of drivers. Average orders per week rose by 50% during the quarter, whilst the average order size remained stable.
PZ Cussons plc PZC Cautious consumers have created tough conditions and adversely affected performance in the half year to the 30th November with the result that profit for the half year is expected to be 10% lower than in the previous period, despite strong profitability in Asia, which has been offset by Africa and Europe. A robust and innovative pipeline has helped to underpin the first half and it is expected that the out turn for the full year, will be broadly in line .
Advanced Medical Solutions AMS updates on trading to the 31st December and confirms that it is continuing to deliver strong organic growth. Revenue and profit are,anticipated to be in line with current market expectations.
Bunzl BNZL Group revenue for the year to 31st December is expected to have risen by 15%, or 9-10% at constant exchange rates, as expected at the time of the October trading statement.
Barratt Developments BDEV Completions in the year to the 30th June rose by a lowly 0.4% on 2016 but it was still the highest volume for nine years, enabling Barratt to claim another excellent year which produced a strong operational and financial performance. The final dividend is being increased by 39% in addition to a 17.3p per share special dividend. Profit before tax rose by 12.1% and basic earnings per share by 11.3p. No mention is made this time round of what happened to the average house price but the tiny rise in completions produced a 9.4% rise in revenue, so perhaps that speaks for itself. The future still looks rosy with forward sales as at the 3rd September up by 13.8%.
McCarthy & Stone MCS managed to complete only 6 more sales in the year to the 31st August than it did in 2016 despite a strong recovery in the second half which saw a strong upward momentum in the average selling price, which is set to continue into the current year. For the year as a whole the average selling price rose by 3% and revenue by 4%. The forward order book at he year end was 21% head of last year.
Sports Direct SPD provides a trading update ahead of today’s much anticipated AGM. The only statistic provided is that underlying EBITDA for 2018 is expected to grow by between 5% and 15% which appears to indicate a certain amount of uncertainty amongst senior management as to the eventual outcome of the years trading. The company’s obsession with becoming the Selfridges of sport seems to continue and Mike Ashley admits it is their strategic goal and that in fact they are exceeding their expectations in moving towards it.
WANdisco WAND claims an outstanding performance in the six months to the 30th June with total bookings up by 73%, revenue by 71% and its first ever positive EBITDA of $0.3m. compared to last years first half loss of $4.5m. The result of this success is that the statutory operating loss fell from $17.9m to $3.8m. The order book is strong and the second half sales pipeline is gathering pace. Its latest Fusion version is claimed to have a broad appeal across multiple verticals, which presumably it regards as a good thing.
Brewer Adnams (ADB) continues to grow its beer volumes and Ghost Ship is behind much of that growth. Interim revenues improved from £31.2m to £33.2m, while there was a swing from a pre-tax profit of £1.86m to a £284,000 loss. There is a one-off cost of £721,000 mainly due to a write down in the value of the Swan Hotel and the costs of removing asbestos and a reduction in the disposal profit from £1.42m to £526,000. Even so, there was a still a sharp drop in underlying profit. The closure of the Swan Hotel knocked £550,000 off profit even before the one-off charges. Beer and spirit sales improved even though the Lagunitas beer distribution rights were sold one year ago. The B share dividend has been increased by 2p a share to 78p a share and the A share dividend has been improved by 0.5p a share to 19.5p a share. The capital investment programme is near to completion and bank debt has risen to £14.4m.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) is still finding it difficult to suitable investment. There was a £12,000 loss in the six months to June 2017. There is £310,000 in the bank and debtors of £415,000. Mark Jackson has increased his stake from 7.6% to 8.6%.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised A$1m at 10 cents a share and A$49,000 at 12 cents a share. NQ has also appointed Adrian Lungan to the board as a non-executive director. He effectively owns 11% of NQ.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has an option to acquire 7% of Singapore-based Indorse for SG$350,000. The option lasts for three months and Coinsilium has already invested SG$100,000 (£56,000) via a convertible loan. Along with the convertible, the stake could be 10%. Indorse plans to develop a blockchain-based decentralised network for professionals and it has raised $5.37m from a token pre-sale, which continues until 7 September. Coinsilium received Indorse tokens as part of the convertible investment.
Share (SHRE) had a strong first half in 2017 and Cenkos has upgraded its forecast on the back of the interims. Revenues generated by the owner of The Share Centre retail stockbroker, increased from £7.2m to £8.9m even though interest revenues continue to decline. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £110,000 to £310,000. The investment in digital, such as the upgraded website and app, are starting to pay off but there should be much more to come. Assets under management were one-quarter higher at £4.3bn. The 2017 earnings per share forecast has been raised by 94% to 0.3p and the 2018 forecast by 36% to 0.4p.
Conroy Gold & Natural Resources (CGNR) is being asked to hold another general meeting by Patrick O’Sullivan, who owns 28% of Conroy. O’Sullivan successfully removed six directors at the general meeting last week. However, Conroy says that the proposed appointments of Patrick O’Sullivan, Paul Johnson and Gervaise Heddle did not comply with the company’s constitution. The plan is to remove the three directors not affected by the original requisition: Professor Richard Conroy, Maureen Jones and Professor Garth Earls.
There have been more departures from Real Good Food (RGD) and this includes executive chairman Peter Totte. Finance director David Newman has also stepped down and he is replaced by Harveen Rai. Hugh Cawley becomes a non-executive director and Pat Ridgwell is interim chairman. Christopher Thomas moves from non-executive to executive director.
Fiserv has edged up its bid for Monitise (MONI) from 2.9p a share to 3.1p a share, which values the mobile technology company at £75m. Gross cash was £22.2m at the end of June 2017.
Fox Marble Holdings (FOX) has signed a three year agreement with US distributor Pristine Stone NYC, which will act as marketing sales and distribution agent in the US. As part of the deal Fox Marble gets a 5% stake in Pristine, which itself will receive 750,000 warrants in Fox Marble exercisable at 2p a share although that depends on achieving minimum volumes of $1.5m over three years.
Prospex Oil & Gas (PXOG) is acquiring a 50% economic interest in the EIV-1 Suceava concession in north east Romania for €750,000 plus the promise to finance €550,000 of this year’s work programme. The operator Raffles Energy owns the other 50%. The area includes an undeveloped discovery but the investment does not include the two producing fields in the area.
LiDCO (LID) has signed its first high use contract in the US. The patient monitoring devices developer has signed a two year contract with a potential two year extension. This order covers 44 monitors. However, disappointing sales in Europe and China, where a registration process has been messed up, have led to a forecast downgrade for this year. Interim revenues are 4% ahead at £3.94m but the full year revenues forecast has been cut from £9.5m to £8.6m, still higher than the £8.2m made last year. This means that the loss will be higher than originally forecast and LiDCO is not expected to move into profit next year.
Altona Energy (ANR) has agreed with its joint venture partners that there should be a different strategy for the coal asset at the Arckaringa site in Australia. The new strategy involves producing coal to create gas to generate electricity. Other by-products will be methanol and ethanol. A specialist adviser has been appointed to report on the best way of progressing with the strategy.
North Midland Construction (NMD) reported a more than doubled interim profit. In the six months to June 2017, revenues increased from £129.6m to £135.1m and pre-tax profit jumped from £512,000 to £1.22m. The main reason behind the improvement was a swing into profit by the telecommunications division. There were lower contributions from construction, because of project delays, and water divisions. The power division fell into loss. One customer still accounts for two-fifths of group revenues. The interim dividend was doubled to 3p a share. The FCA has concluded that it will not take any further action on a breach of the related party rules by the Moyle family as controlling shareholders.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) says that the laboratory assessment of material from the main vein at Gasagwe, which is part of the Gakara project in Burundi, showed an average total rare earth oxide grade of 62.17%. Rainbow hopes to start production at Gasagwe by the end of 2017 and it should produce ore for two years. Rare earths prices have strengthened so the ore is becoming more valuable.
Sports Direct SPD Preliminary results for the year to 30th April show revenue growth of 11.7% but apart from that it looks like Mike Ashley needs to get himself down the pub sharpish for another of those famous non alcoholic problem solving meetings. Profit before tax fell by 58.7% on an underlying basis and 22.2% on a reported basis whilst earnings per share were down by 67.9% on an underlying basis and 15.8% on a reported basis. Mr. Ashley lists a litany of reasons which impacted the company but bouncily proclaims that he is looking to the long term and will try to avoid short term volatility. Meanwhile he sees SDL as a sort of Selfridges. At least trading in his new flagship stores is exceeding expectations but “come uppance” may be today’s popular catch phrase in the city
easyJet EZJ has been granted its Air Operators Certificate and airline operators licence by the Austrian authorities and the first flight takes place today. Who ever thought that Brexit would lead to this. Presumably next come the visa problems for those trying to enter the city boundaries of Benidorm.
The third quarter to the 30th June has been a strong one with capacity rising by 9.5% and passengers by 10.8%. Revenue per seat at constant currency rates rose by 2.2%, ahead of guidance and the figures were further aided by strict cost control and an improved underlying trend in the trading environment. The result is that headline profit before tax expectations have been upgraded to between £380m. and £420m. for the full year.
Moneysupermarket.com MONY is increasing its interim dividend for the half year to 30th June by 3% and with a commitment that its progressive dividend policy will be continued. Group revenue for the half year rose by 5% led by a strong performance, especially in quarter 2, from insurance which showed a rise of 18% and good growth from money, credit cards and loans. However adjusted operating profit for the full year is now expected to be at the lower end of the consensus range.
Judges Scientific plc JDG is pleased to have seen the the reversal of a long term trend, in the half year to the 30th June. Organic order growth rose by 28.1%, matched by double digit like for like sales growth. Strong first quarter orders were followed by a good second quarter and interim results will be expected to show solid progress in revenue, EBIT and earnings per share.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has taken advantage of the high profile of cyber security to raise cash at a premium to the market price. Crossword raised £145,000 at 230p a share. The current mid-price is 195p a share and the most recent trade was at 197p a share last September. Brenlen Jinkens took up 50% of the new shares and he has 5.13% of the company.
Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) reported a dip in interim revenues due to the lack of funding so the planned £500,000 fundraising should enhance progress. In the six months to February 2017, the loss increased from £126,000 to £159,000 as revenues fell from £133,000 to £94,000.
Mechan Controls (MECP) improved its underlying 2016 operating profit from £518,000 to £594,000 on revenues that were 5% ahead at £4m but there have been significant changes since last year. Nirvana is the only subsidiary left. At the end of 2016, there was £829,000 in the bank and the NAV was £2.41m. Mechan is paying a final dividend of 2.27p a share and the shares go ex-dividend on 1 June. Once all the operations are sold money will be returned to shareholders.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) had cash in the bank of £341,000 and an NAV of £689,000 at the end of 2016. The company is valued at a 47% discount to NAV.
Social housing finance provider Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has raised an additional £875,000 by issuing 8% unsecured bonds 2025. That takes the bonds in issue to £3.5m – from 19 separate placings. So far, short-term bridging loans have generated income to fund the interest payments on the bonds. Longer-term, there are plans to acquire social housing properties.
Blockchain technology company investor Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that investee company RSK Labs has raised $3.5m. Coinsilium retains the right to 1% of RSK via a convertible. RSK has developed a sidechain to the Bitcoin that enables smart contracts. There could eventually be scope to handle more than 20,000 transactions per second but that requires the additional investment.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £751,000 at 0.3p a share. Colin Sutherland has been appointed as finance director.
Enterprise software provider Sanderson (SND) is growing strongly but the cost of investment in the business will hold back short-term profit. The digital retail division is growing fastest but its operating profit was flat as management investors in order to maintain the strong growth rate. In the six months to March 2017, revenues were 10% higher at £10.9m and operating profit was 5% ahead at £1.55m. There was net cash of £4.51m and the dividend was increased by 10% to 1.1p a share.
Software supplier Cerillion (CER) continues to grow its revenues as it starts to build its customer base outside the mobile sector. In the six months to January 2017, revenues were 10% ahead at £7.5m and underlying profit was nearly one-third higher at £900,000. Orders worth £9.4m were won during the period. The interim dividend was 8% higher at 1.4p a share. Directors’ sold 4.2 million shares at 120p each, which could help to improve the liquidity in the shares.
Redx Pharma (REDX) has failed in its attempt to juggle its cash requirements and its debt and administrators have been appointed. Liverpool City Council has previously extended the maturity date of its £2m loan but Redx did not repay the debt when it became due at the end of March. There is also interest due and that could total more than £1m. Redx nominally raised £12m in February – an equity swap agreement meant that not all of this was raised immediately – but does not appear to have raised enough to pay the loan. That is blatant bad management which has ended up destroying the investments of shareholders. Iain Ross recently took up the role of chairman so it would be unfair to blame him but the other directors, including those that have recently departed, were responsible for running the business properly and they knew when this money had to be repaid. The directors are Dr Neil Murray, Norman Molyneux, Dr Bernhard Kirschbaum and David Lawrence, while Dr Frank Armstrong, Peter McPartland, Dr Peter Jackson, Philip Tottey and Dr Derek Lindsay have resigned since Redx joined AIM. Investors’ should be aware of these people if they are or become involved in any other companies.
Lombard Risk Management (LRM) increased its revenues from £23.7m to £34.3m in the year to March 2017. The pre-tax loss was reduced from £2.2m to £1.6m. The year-end order book was worth £10.1m. Management expects the company to be cash profitable this year. Legislation continues to drive demand for reporting and risk software.
Flowgroup (FLOW) could not find a buyer for its energy supply business at an appropriate valuation so it is raising up to £29m in shares (at 1p each) and bonds, including more than £600,000 raised at 1p a share via PrimaryBid, to finance its development. This is highly dilutive even before any conversion of the bonds at the conversion price of 0.95p a share. Flowgroup also requires £1m to market its Flow boiler in Europe and £4m to end the manufacturing contract with Jabil. In 2016, there was a loss of £23.7m on revenues of £99m. Net cash was £3.7m at the end of 2016. An increasing number of smaller competitors are entering the energy supply market and this led to a reduction in customers. The funding will help Flowgroup to compete and build up its customer numbers.
Big data software supplier Fusionex International (FXI) plans to leave AIM and it already has the backing of shareholders owning 41.9% of the company for the general meeting vote on 15 June. Management blames the lack of liquidity in the shares and paucity of independent research. The also blame political uncertainty in Europe. Fusionex had a gravity defying rating in the first year or so of trading on AIM but the share price is currently less than one-fifth of the peak at the beginning of 2014. The company’s growth strategy will remain unchanged. There are plans to arrange a trading facility in the shares.
Safestay (SSTY) has paid €3m in cash for U Hostels, which operates a 226 bed hostel in Madrid. U Hostels also owns an apartment block near the hostel, where managed apartments are expected to be completed during 2018, and a building in Paris that is being converted into a 260 bed hostel, which has a 12 year lease that can be extended by a further 12 years. Safestay will have to invest up to €2.3m in the Paris development, which should be completed in early 2019. In total, including development spending, the acquisition cost will be up to €6.5m. The original Madrid hostel made a small loss on revenues of €1.3m. Earlier this year, Safestay raised £12.6m from the sale and leaseback of the Edinburgh and Elephant & Castle hostels – the leases are for 150 years.
Strategic Minerals (SML) made a maiden pre-tax profit in 2016. The $351,000 profit was after $691,000 of other income – predominantly the settlement of a rail dispute. The Cobre tailings business continues to generate profit and cash.
Thor Mining (THR) says that the Pilot Mountain tungsten resource inventory has risen to 11.73 million tonnes at 0.28% WO3. This does not include the GunMetal and Good Hope deposits.
Greatland Gold (GGP) has granted access to Newmont to the Ernest Giles tenements for a period of six months and it will have first right of refusal for a disposal or joint venture. An airborne survey has identified new structural targets suitable for gold mineralisation. Metal Tiger (MTR) has exercised 15 million warrants at 0.2p a share.
LED lighting systems developer PhotonStar LED (PSL) cut its full year loss from £3.03m to £1.43m on lower revenues. The first quarter of 2017 was tough but there have been orders for its Halcyon devices. R&D has been reduced.
Fairpoint (FRP) has delayed its full year figures yet again. They are promised at some point in June. If they do not come out then then trading in the shares will be suspended.
Arian Silver Corporation (AGQ) has raised £600,000 has raised at 0.5p a share. The cash will be used for exploration of silver and lithium projects.
Mortice (MORT) has won UK contracts worth £2.25m via its Elite subsidiary that take it into new sectors. Elite has won a three year cleaning and waste contract with Surrey and Sussex police and after securing a place on BMW’s approved supplier list a two year contract with the car maker.
Orogen (ORE) intends to acquire Thread 35, which owns e-commerce womenswear brand Sosandar. Orogen is lending up to £250,000 to Thread 35. Sosandar is targeted at 35-55 year old women. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Active Energy Group (AEG) has entered into an agreement in principle with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador which will provide a timber licence and a forest management agreement covering 1.2 million hectares. The licence would enable the harvesting of up to 140,000 cubic metres of wood annually.
Thomas Charlton has further increased his stake in North Midland Construction (NMD) taking it to 7.24%. Finance director Daniel Taylor recently acquired 23,321 shares at 305p each. North Midland says that its first quarter profit has increased from £237,000 to £580,000 on a 5% rise in revenues to £62.2m. The main reason behind the improvement was a swing from loss to profit by the telecoms infrastructure division but the construction and water divisions generated a lower profit. Management still believes that margins can be improved. The order book is worth £254m helped by the AMP6 water investment cycle getting going. There is the promise of growing dividends.
Shareholders have agreed to the proposed bonus issue by Sealand Capital Galaxy Ltd (SCGL). On 1 June, existing shareholders will receive nine bonus shares for each one they own, leaving them with ten times the number of shares and the share price would be adjusted from 28.5p to 2.85p. The November 2015 flotation price was 10p (1p adjusted) and earlier this year a further £1.4m was raised at 20p (2p adjusted) a share.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has signed a binding letter of intent for its first deal with a housing association to develop supported living accommodation. The plan is identify properties worth up to £5m which will be leased to Larch Housing Association on a 50 year lease at 6.5% a year plus inflation. Dukemount floated on 29 March.
Health food products supplier World Trade Systems (WTS) has entered into memoranda of understanding with Germany-based Naturemed and Germany-based Biestmilch, which will help it to widen its product range. Naturemed is a new company but Biestmilch was formed in 1999. Trading in the shares has been suspended for years and it is approaching ten years since there was a trade in WTS shares.
CIC Gold Group Ltd (CICG) left the standard list on 25 May. Management believes it will get a better valuation on another designated exchange.