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Third quarter trading at Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) shows a one-third increase in loans to £1.6bn, while deposits are 17% ahead at £2bn. Impairments are rising, though. The private bank is adding 40 new clients each month.
Although Vox Markets has called off merger discussions with PCG Entertainment (PCGE) the latter’s shareholders will have preferential rights to participate in the flotation of Vox. Shareholders have to be on the register on 11 October to benefit. PCG has released any claims it may have against Vox, although Vox has the right to sue Align Research, the third party in the merger plans. PCG says nothing negative was found about Align in due diligence. First Sentinel has resigned as corporate adviser to PCG and trading in the shares has been suspended.
Good Energy (GOOD) has launched One Point to offer electric vehicle charging. The company has also been awarded he green classification and mark.
The Home Office has awarded Sativa Group (SATI) a controlled drug licence to grow medicinal cannabis. This covers cannabis with a THC content of greater than 0.2%. Sativa already has a low-THC industrial hemp licence.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that its investee company Apollon Formularies has received its third medical cannabis licence in Jamaica. This is for experimental research and development.
World Health Life (LIFE) has completed the acquisition of Love Hemp and a £2m convertible debenture fundraising. A second tranche of debentures should be issued in the next few weeks. Love Hemp has product distribution agreements with supermarkets and health food stores.
Triple Point Investment Management is providing a £20m loan facility for Rutherford Health (RUTH) and this will be drawn down in phases. The loan terms improve as patient numbers increase at the three proton beam therapy centres.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has received the first quarterly interest payment from Silverstream. The 12-month note matures in August 2020.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) will consolidate 20 shares into one new share and trading will commence on 22 October.
Secured Property Development (SPD) had £537,000 in the bank at the end of June 2019, but it is finding it difficult to find a suitable acquisition.
Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) is as consistent as ever. It has published a trading statement related to its interims at 4.35pm on Friday. The 2018-19 trading update was published at 4.35pm on Thursday 18 April – the last day before a long weekend. There was no particular reason to hide the latest statement. First half revenues were flat compared with a first quarter decline of 2%. Cash fell £300,000 to £28.1m over a three-month period.
Murgitroyd (MUR) is recommending a 675p a share bid from a company set up by Sovereign Capital Partners LLP. This values the patent and trademark attorney at £62.8m. Murgitroyd joined AIM 18 years ago at 121p a share and has been a consistent dividend payer.
Fully listed logistic services provider Wincanton (WIN) is considering a bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and DBAY Advisers is also still assessing whether to bid.
Disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) plans to grow its revenues by up to 15% a year in each of the next three years. This follows an 18% increase to £26m in the year to June 2019, while pre-tax profit grew by one-fifth to £5.6m. The dividend was 21% higher at 5.54p a share. International markets account for 55% of revenues. Tristel is waiting for a response from the FDA, which should be forthcoming by the end of 2019.
Power projects developer Kibo Mining (KIBO) has raised £1.99m at 0.45p a share. This will be used to fund the development of power generation projects in Africa. The portfolio includes 1,055MW of power generation capacity with 355MW having heads of terms power purchase agreements. Each new share comes with a warrant exercisable at 0.8p a share.
Filtronic (FTC) has agreed to pay a warranty claim of $2m (£1.6m) and change a faulty component in antennas supplied in 2016-17. The fault relates to certain bandwidths in hot countries. The cash is payable in four instalments up until December 2020. On 23 October, Filtronic is set to report sales from continuing activities of £15.9m, down from £21.6m, and a small positive EBITDA. Filtronic has already received more than £10m of orders for its 5G backhaul transceivers due for delivery in 2019-20.
Woodford Investment Management has cut its stake in GYG (GYG) from 19.98% to less than 5%. That appears to have been a relief to the market because the share price of yacht painting services provider has recovered since the disposal. UBS has taken a 11.2% stake.
Kestrel Partners continues to build its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB), taking its stake from 25% to 26.1%. Kestrel owns 23 million shares in Brady (BRY) and, even if it makes a loss, it will be having a cash inflow. Hanover Acquisitions is offering 10p a share for the risk management software company, which values it at £8.3m.
Construction consultancy services provider Driver (DRV) says it will report underlying pre-tax profit of £3m for the full year, after £400,000 of rationalisation costs. That represents a strong performance in the second half. Net cash was £5m at the year-end, after share buy backs.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has taken a 43% stake in Elute Intelligence Holdings, which is developing software to search complex documents and detect plagiarism. Frontier IP is providing some of its own IP to an existing business to form Elute with the rest of the stake coming from providing services to the company.
Blue Star Capital (BLU) is raising £900,000 at 0.1p a share and the cash will be equally split between six investments in esports companies.
Power transmission products manufacturer Renold (RNO) says that cost savings are offsetting a downturn in trading. It is still on track to report an underlying full year pre-tax profit improving from £10.1m to £10.4m. Order intake remains weak.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has announced a restructuring of the Paradox project. This will enable the oil and gas company to focus on the most prospective acreage.
Quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) still has a cash buffer so that it can find a new manufacturing partner to replace the US one that has withdrawn from an agreement. There could still be net cash of £1.5m at the end of July 2020.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) is planning to raise cash at NOK0.35/share in Norway. That is equivalent to 2.95p/share, compared with a market price of 3.5p. The Azerbaijan-focused oil and gas company has a drilling rig that will be mobilised before the end of the month and well M-247 has been identified as a target. It was previously in production. Zenith has identified wells in the Muradkhani oilfield in which perforations of untapped intervals can generate additional production. This will happen in the next fortnight.
Former AIM company Getmapping has launched a strategic review and a formal sales process. Management of the believes that the geospatial services provider could grow faster with additional investment. A company taking a minority stake is another alternative. The process should be completed by the end of 2019. The shares are traded on the Britdaq matched bargains market.
Vienna-listed Fashion On Screen is moving into theatre by acquiring musicals producer Shaftesbury Avenue. The all-share purchase is valued at £2.5m. Fashion On Screen believes that some of the musicals could become film productions.
Wines and beer maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) increased interim sales by one-fifth to £6.74m with growth coming from all parts of the business. Gross margins improved, but the first half loss increased due to investment in developing brands. Cash has been spent on developing additional vineyards, a gin works and a new brewery, although there is still £5.19m in cash on the balance sheet. Bank debt is £6.45m and this is associated with the Ashford brewery, where there have been teething problems with commissioning the new equipment. The associated restaurant and retail store opened in May.
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased revenues by 44% to £5.07m in the year to April 2019. There was a disposal gain of £284,000 and that contributed to the rise in pre-tax profit from £361,000 to £759,000. Total dividends doubled to 2.5p a share. Property assets have increased by 52% to £88.3m. NAV is £21.2m.
Net assets of Western Selection (WESP) have fallen by one-third to 64p a share. The investment in loss-making Tudor Rose International has been written off. The value of the stakes in Bilby (BILB) and Brand Architekts (BAR), formerly Swallowfield, has fallen sharply. There is no final dividend.
IFA AFH Financial (AFHP) has confirmed that trading has been strong in the year to October 2019 and there will be a renewed focus on organic growth following a period of acquisition activity. There could be some small purchases, but there will be no requirement for cash from share issues.
KR1 (KR1) generated a gross profit of £5m in the six months to June 2019, although £4.29m of that is unrealised gains. The reported pre-tax profit is £4.62m. The NAV is £10.7m.
Dozens Savings (DSO1/DSO2) has had its 5% secured bonds October 2020 admitted to the NEX Exchange Growth Market. The bonds are offered to customers of parent company Project Imagine.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) says that investee company YBOO has been placed in administration and Quantuma appointed to handle the process. Angelfish invested £650,000 for a 35% stake and lent just over £1m for working capital, where a repayment demand led to the administration. Writing down this investment was predominantly behind the £1.72m loss reported for the year to June 2019. It has also meant that there are net liabilities of £2.27m. A capital raising was hit by the closure of SVS Securities.
Shareholders in SG Recruitment (SGRL) did not approve the AGM reappointment of Steven Howson as a director. David Sumner, who owns the majority of the shares in the company, has been appointed chief executive.
Healthcare company MiLOC Group (MLP) increased its interim revenues from HK$5.27m to HK$6.1m. The loss was still substantial, although it did decline from HK$25m to HK$19.4m. The launch of a traditional Chinese medicine-based body care product should happen in the coming months. MiLOC raised HK$652,000 at 30p a share.
Cannabis company Freyherr International Group (FRYR) generated revenues of £1.17min the first half of 2019 and it should reach more than £2m for the full year. There was a small profit in the first half, which was before Freyherr joined NEX.
MESH Holdings (MESH) has left NEX. Veni, Vidi, Vici (VVV), Global Capital (GCAP) and Secured Property Developments (SPD) have all had trading in shares suspended because of a failure to publish accounts. Trading in Queros Capital Partners 8% bonds 2025 (QCP) has been suspended because of a breach of rules. This involves the failure to appoint new independent non-execs.
DXS International (DXSP) has appointed Hybridan as broker.
Directa Plus (DCTA) is paying €2.1m to acquire a 51% stake in Romanian waste management and remediation services company Setcar. A placing and one-for-38 open offer at 75p a share will raise up to £8.24m before expenses for the graphene business. GVC Investment Company, which has a business in offshore oil and gas services, will acquire 47% of Setcar with an existing shareholder retaining 1.97%. Directa Plus and Setcar have worked together on the development of Grafysorber mobile decontamination units. This is one of the two main focuses for Directa Plus. The other is textiles.
Linde is taking a 20% in energy storage and clean fuel products developer ITM Power (ITM) in return for £38m. The two firms are entering into a joint venture that will supply hydrogen to large scale industrial projects with an installed electrolyser capacity of 10MW and above. A further £14m is being raised at 40p a share, which is the same price that Linde is paying. An open offer could raise up to £6.8m.
Duke Royalty (DUKE) is raising up to £20m at 44p a share, including an offer via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will enable Duke to sign up another royalty partner and undertake five follow-on investments. The total cost will be approximately £25m. There will also be spare cash and facilities to sign up other royalty partners.
Trading in antimicrobial technology developer Byotrol (BYOT) shares has been suspended because it has not published its accounts for the year to March 2019. It blames the effects of revenue recognition policy IFRS 15 and the Medimark acquisition for the delay. The preliminary figures have been published and they were better than expected due to changes in revenue recognition related to IFRS15. Some revenues originally recognised in the year before has been moved to last year. Revenues increased from £1.8m to £5.7m, with £1.8m coming from Medimark, and Byotrol moved from loss to a pre-tax profit of £600,000. There was £2.8m in the bank at the end of March 2019. Even if there are no further licence deals this year, Byotrol should trade at around breakeven.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) says that the trial investigating the potential of SFX-01 to reverse acquired resistance to endocrine therapies. The data suggest that there are no safety concerns in patients suffering from ER+ metastatic breast cancer. In combination with endocrine therapy, SFX-01 helped to stabilise the disease and showed some anti-tumour activity.
STM Group (STM) says that the Pension Regulator has confirmed that Carey Workplace Pension Trust is an approved Master Trust for auto-enrolment. This means that STM is well-placed to become a consolidator in the market.
Avation (AVAP) has repossessed two Airbus A321 aircraft from Thomas Cook and they are undergoing maintenance. They will subsequently be leased to other clients.
Flavourings supplier Treatt (TET) says it will achieve expectations in the year to September 2019 even though there has been a sharp fall in citrus raw material prices. Orange oil prices have halved, and this accounts for one-third of revenues. Non-citrus revenues are growing. Net cash is £15.8m. The full year results will be published on 26 November.
Proton Partners International (PPI) has set up a partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which means that the company’s Rutherford Cancer Centre North East will treat 120-150 patients a year. Woodford Investment Management has a 46.15% stake in Proton.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) intends to increase its stake in medicinal cannabis company Apollon Formularies to 2.34%. The long-term plan is to make an all share offer for Apollon. The Jamaican operation of Apollon has completed its third cannabis harvest. AfriAg has raised a further £250,000 at 0.1p a share. Sativa Group (SATI) has appointed Cenkos as its corporate adviser and broker, replacing Peterhouse. Stanford Capital has been appointed as joint broker of medicinal cannabis products developer Ananda Developments (ANA) and Peterhouse is staying on as corporate adviser and joint broker. Stanford has been issued with 3.33 million warrants exercisable at 0.45p each.
First Sentinel (FSBN) has published its 2018 figures, which were hit by a loss on its investment in Curzon Energy (CZN) and this led to a halving of NAV to £671,000. There are plans for a £7m bond listing on Euronext. Trading in First Sentinel shares has recommenced.
Since the year end, rail safety products developer Wheelsure (WHLP) has received further orders from London Underground, DLR and Siemens in Germany. Wheelsure may need additional working capital.
Gunsynd (GUN) will receive 225 shares (22.5%) in Oyster Oil and Gas Ltd as part of a settlement with creditors. Oyster requires additional cash in order to finance work on exploration assets.
Skills verification platform Indorse, where Coinsilium Ltd (COIN) has a 10% stake, will receive an investment of up to $6.5m from Brand Capital, the investment arm of India media company Times Group. Indorse has been valued at $15m for this investment, which means that Coinsilium’s stake has increased in value by 350% to $1.5m.
ULS Technology (ULS) has maintained its share of conveyancing transactions and reported flat pre-tax profit of £5.4m in the year to March 2019. This year will also be one of consolidation. Investment is being put into launching DigitalMove, which is an online platform that will make the business more efficient and provide access to additional customers. It can also be used to add new products and services.
Castleton Technology (CTP) is paying a maiden dividend of 1p a share. The provider of software and managed services to the social housing sector is expected to grow revenues by 7% this year and this could be supplemented by acquisitions. Strong cash generation means that there are spare debt facilities that can be used for acquisitions. This year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve from £5.6m to £6.4m.
Malvern International (MLVN) says that an unsettled claim means that there will be a profit shortfall in 2018. Originally a profit of £400,000 was expected but it will end up being just above breakeven. Trading in the first four months of 2019 is ahead of budget but the second half is the most important.
ClearStar Inc (CLSU) is on track this year even though the US market has softened. US unemployment has edged up, but the US remains the key market for the background checking services provider.
Telecoms marketing services provider Pelatro (PTRO) has won a contract with a large telecoms company in Asia. The contract is for the mViVa contextual marketing platform on a licence fee model. This contract and other recent work will add $1.5m to revenues. This provides an underpinning for the full year revenues forecast of $10.5m.
Diaceutics (DXRX) has acquired 16 million patient records a year to add to its patient data. Diaceutics has invested £1m to expand this global data.
Totally (TLY) has completed the acquisition of Greenbrook, which means that 90% of revenues will be generated by urgent care services. This deal should make Totally significantly profitable and enable it to start generating cash.
Some good news for Quartix (QTX) as subscriptions and new installations are increasing. This has led to a 5% upgrade in forecast 2019 revenues for the telematics business to £25.3m, although the profit forecast is unchanged at £6.5m.
Paragon Entertainment (PEL) intends to appoint an administrator following discussions with its bank, HSBC. There is not enough cash to pay all creditors.
Sports Direct International (SPD) is making a mandatory offer for GAME Digital (GAME) at 30p a share. The offer is open until 11 July. Sports Direct already has a 38.5% stake and it does not believe GAME can prosper on its own.
A major US customer is not going ahead with a contract with Nanoco (NANO) lasting until the end of 2019. The ending of the deal has nothing to do with the performance of the nanomaterial technology. Nanoco should have £6m in cash at the end of 2019.
BigDish (DISH) says its food booking platform is going live in Reading and Brighton, which is a particular region where expansion is targeted. BigDish says that it is fully funded to 2021.
In 2018, Newbury Racecourse (NYR) increased revenues by 8% to £19.3m. This was despite lower race course attendances because of two abandoned days of racing. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £188,000 to £568,000. The NAV was £50.7m at the end of 2018. There was a further £3.25m payment from David Wilson Homes, which helped to finance capital investment.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has entered into heads of terms with AIM-quoted Mkango Resources so that it can earn up to 75% of the Thambi licence in Southern Malawi. The licence allows exploration for uranium, tantalum and niobium. MetalNRG has to spend $500,000 in the first 12 months and then a further $700,000 in the next 12 months. A further $800,000 has to be spent in the third year to earn the full 75%. The Kyrgyz Republic has banned uranium exploration and mining and the farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit has been suspended.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) had a NAV of £554,000 at the end of 2018. There is £584,000 in cash on the balance sheet.
High Growth Capital (HASH) has raised £4.99m after expenses via a placing at 1.75p a share with Mirador FZE, which also has warrants to subscribe for 300 million shares at 2.5p each until the end of 2019. If the High Growth Capital share price closes above 4p for five consecutive days, the warrants have to exercised or they will lapse. Mirador has a 14.2% stake. Mike Power has been appointed as a non-executive director.
Sativa Investments (SATI) has opened the first Goodbody and Blunt centre in Bath. The centre will sell cannabidiol products and have a café area.
V22 (V22O) is asking shareholders to approve the cancellation of the NEX quotation 31 May, after nearly 13 years on the market. The art investor and studio space provider plans to sell assets and distribute the cash to shareholders. A matched bargains quotation via JP Jenkins is planned for six months after leaving NEX.
Trading in Valiant Investments (VALP) shares has been suspended because it has not produced its annual report.
Queros Capital Partners (BFD) has raised £205,000 in the past two weeks from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025.
The shortlist for the NEX share of the year at the Small Cap Awards 2019 has been announced. The companies are National Milk Records (NMR), Sativa Investments (SATI), NQ Minerals (NQMI), Chapel Down (CDGP), DXS International (DXSP) and Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) ,which is also on the shortlist for impact company of the year.
Capital equipment manufacturer Mpac Group (MPAC) is acquiring Lambert Automation for an initial £15m. UK-based Lambert provides automation equipment to the medical and healthcare markets. Revenues and profit have been declining, but there was an order intake of £24.5m in 2018 and that should help revenues to recover. Revenues were £17.9m in 2018. There is potential earn out consideration of up to £2.5m. Mpac’s own trading is in line with expectations.
Park Group (PARK) says that trading was better than expected in the second half of its financial year, but there were additional costs and the effects of accounting changes. Edison has reduced its 2018-19 pre-tax profit by 3% to £12.5m. Additional costs next year mean that the profit forecast has been cut from £14.3m to £11.7m.
Tracsis (TRCS) has acquired timetable optimisation software developer Bellvedi for an initial £4m with up to £7.9m more payable over four years depending on performance. Bellvedi made a pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £1.6m last year. Acquiring the ATTUne software means that less needs to spend on the development of existing Tracsis software. The deal adds 2% to this year’s earnings per share, moving it to 27.3p. Next year’s is enhanced by 7% to 32.3p.
Competitions organiser Best of the Best (BOTB) has published a fourth positive trading update in a year. This prompted finnCap to increase its earnings forecast from 15.4p a share to 18.6p a share. The previous upgrade was in January. The switch to a predominantly online model is paying off. Any upgrades to the forecasts for the year to April 2020 will happen after the 2018-19 figures are published on 20 June.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) says that the PQ Grass allergy phase III study will start a year later than expected. It should commence by June 2020. This follows an end of phase II study meeting with the FDA. This means that this year and next year the reported loss will be lower because of deferred spending on the study.
Eight Peaks Group (8PG) plans to cancel its AIM quotation because of limited liquidity. This will save £80,000 a year.
Trading in the shares of property investor Safeland (SAF) will end on 10 May.
Motor dealer Pendragon (PDG) is selling two Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in California. This is expected to generate around £60m of cash, although £6.9m of profit contribution before central costs will be lost. However, Jaguar Land Rover has right of first refusal.
Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has appointed Novum as broker and it has committed to invest £300,000 in convertible loan notes. The planned purchase of a 50% stake in used car market focused fintech company Pace Cloud.
Ross Group (RGP) has reported its 2018 results, but these are before the completion of the Archipelago Aquaculture which happened early in 2019. Revenues fell from £335,000 to £60,000 and a profit of £57,000 was turned into a loss of £250,000. That is partly down to costs relating to the acquisition of Archipelago Aquaculture.
Thalassa (THAL) received acceptances of 18.5% of the share capital in its bid for Local Shopping REIT (LSR) and this offer has lapsed. Thalassa owned or had acceptances of 39.3%.
Standard list shell Bermerle (BERM) went to a 50% premium on the first day of trading. However, the bid/offer spread of 1p/2p means that investors could only sell at the 1p a share placing price. The company is seeking a pharma acquisition. The areas that Bermele is assessing include diabetes, cancer and mental health. It is also looking at personalised medicine.
Standard list shell Auctus Growth (AUCT) had £920,000 in the bank at the end of 2018. Fellow shell daVictus (DVT) had £355,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and it has agreed to buy the rights to a restaurant concept from Typical Dutch NV for £100,000. The Havana Rolled Cigar Music Café concept has been developed at a site in Aruba. Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has also secured a possible acquisition in the form of Kanabo Research, which is a medicinal cannabis oil company. Kanabo is developing over the counter products and has distribution rights to a vaporiser. Spinnaker had £1.04m in the bank at the end of 2018.
Trading in the shares of Tex Holdings (TXH) and Avocet Mining (AVM) has been suspended because they have not published 2018 accounts.
Sports Direct Intl plc SPD is continuing to push its pre-conditional possible offer for Debenhams at 5p in cash per ordinary share announced on 25 March 2019 but it is now trying to add a sweetener with a proposal to Debenhams under which it would underwrite a £150 million pre-emptive equity issuance to existing Debenhams shareholders. There are of course strings attached, one of which is the appointment of Mike Ashley as Debenhams’ CEO. Whether that can be regarded as adding to the sweetness of the package, remains to be seen. What may derogate from the sweetness but Sports Direct regards as being a technical matter only, is its clarification that were it to complete, the Equity Issuance would be an alternative transaction to the Possible Offer and vice versa.
Unite Group plc UTG The increase in valuations over the quarter to the 31st March has been driven primarily by rental growth across the portfolio which is in line with the first quarter in 2018 and supports the company’s outlook of 3.0-3.5% for the whole of 2019. Reservations are strong for the 2019/20 academic year with 79% of bed spaces already let (compared with 77% at this time last year)
Keywords Studios plc KWS produced a strong performance in the year to the 31st December with further expansion of new and existing services. Revenue rose by 66% and on an adjusted basis profits before tax was up by 65% and basic earnings per share by 53%. The final dividend is to be increased from 0.98 p per share to 1.08p. bringing the total increase for the year to 10%. An encouraging start has been made to 2019 with significant new business gains. Strengthened market leadership and breadth and scale of services which the company now offers enables it to take advantage of the multiple growth opportunities which the company sees in a market that continues to grow in size and sophistication.
Castleton Technology plc CTP updates that it has recorded good organic growth in both revenue and profit in the year to the 31st March. The Board continues to be optimistic about the Group’s growth prospects and the market opportunity remains large. In particular new contract wins and acquisitions have made 2018 a milestone year and highlighted the company’s ability to develop new solutions.
easyJet plc EZY is not really looking forward with enthusiasm to its results for the six months which ended on the 31st March. Even for its winter period things look to have been difficult. Whilst revenue is expected to have grown by 7.3%, that was from seat capacity which was up by 14.5%, Revenue per seat is expected to have declined by about 7.4% Total headline costs in the first half are expected to increase by circa 18.8% due to increased capacity, higher fuel unit costs and a modest increase in cost per seat excluding fuel. easyJet is not backward in calling on Brexit to share the blame for its performance. Weaker customer demand which is being experience is blamed directly on macroeconomic uncertainty and “many unanswered questions surrounding Brexit”. Ticket yields in the UK and across Europe are also showing increasing signs of softness. All this uncertainty makes the company cautious about the future.Good to see that only external causes are to blame for the problems and they are nothing to do with management.
Sports Direct Intl plc SPD Mike Ashley has become so concerned for the future of other shareholders of Debenhams that he has written to the Debenhams Board in the hope that he can help it by demanding that it takes immediate steps to install him as CEO, The reason behind his thinking is that there is clearly no time to wait for a General Meeting to be called in order for this to be effected by shareholders. Giving shareholders their democratic rights, is it seems to be carefully avoided in some circumstances.
Codemaster Group Holdings CDM updates that trading through the second half of the year has continued to be strong. The Company anticipates reporting FY19 revenues of c.£71 million for the year to the end of March and adjusted EBITDA ,ahead of market expectations at .£18.5 million.
Sports Direct Intl. plc SPD has confirmed that it is considering making a firm offer to Debenhams of 5p in cash per ordinary share valuing Debenhams current issued share capital at approximately £61.4 million. This would represent a premium of approximately 127 % to the closing price of Debenhams shares on 26 March.
Imperial Brands plc IMB updates that it is on track to meet constant currency net revenue and earnings expectations for the full year. Group net revenue growth is at, or above, the upper end of its 1-4% revenue growth range and earnings per share growth is within its 4-8% guidance range. Even tobacco is on track to deliver modest revenue growth.
Bellway plc BWY claims a robust performance for the six months to the 31st January with revenue rising by 12.4%, profit before tax by 8.7% and earnings per share by 8.3%. The interim dividend is to be raised by 5% but even more important than that is a sign which makes it appear that old fashioned boom times may be returning. The average selling price during the half year has risen by 6.5% which makes a number of the other housebuilders look quite pedestrian by comparison, unless they are about to play catch up when they release their latest figures. No wonder the much subsidised industry remains the governmments friend.
Hilton Food Group plc HFG saw revenue on a constant currency basis rise by 21.9% during the year to the end of December, whilst volume was up by 13.5%. After rises of 23.3% in adjusted profit before tax and 14.3% in adjusted basic earnings per share of 14.3%, the increase in the final dividend brings the total increases for the year to 12.6%.
Goals Soccer Centres GOAL has requested that its shares be suspended from trading on AIM. after announcing that there has been a substantial misdeclaration of VAT, going back over several years. The value currently stands at approximately £12.0 m.but the final figure has still to be established. Future profitability may be impacted by the accounting policies which the company intends to adopt and it remains in discussions with its lenders about new facilities.These may lead to a material change in the overall financial position of the company and it is currently unable to provide clarity as to the extent of that impact without the receipt of further information.
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.
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.
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.
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 .