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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 4 February 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased its rental income by one-third to £1.95m in the six months to October 2018. Profit from continuing operations improved from £218,000 to £271,000 and a dividend of 0.83p a share has been announced. Four properties have been purchased since April 2018 and Hume House was sold.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) increased its NAV from 42.69p a share to 43.35p a share in the year to August 2018. The strategic focus is to make larger investments in bigger employee-owned businesses. There was £175,000 in the bank at the end of August 2018, so there appear to be limited funds available for further investments, although there are £1.3m of loans to investee companies.

Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) was hit by delays in projects planned by its Morgan Ashley joint venture in the six months to October 2018. Only one scheme reached financial close during the period and a loss was reported for the period. Modular buildings demand is strong with a good pipeline of potential projects. A profit is still expected for the 14 months to June 2019, but this still depends on the timing of projects.

Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) increased its full year profit from £127,000 to £153,000 on turnover 4% higher at £3.66m. There is £1.09m in the bank at the end of October 2018. The dividend was maintained at 21p a share, which is covered 1.2 times by earnings. The strategy is to encourage more direct bookings with the hotel and an online booking system was launched last September. The completion of refurbishment activities has enabled an increase in bookings for weddings. Bedroom refurbishments continue.

Formation Group (FRM) reported an improvement in revenues from £37m to £38.6m in the year to August 2018, but the operating loss nearly quadrupled to £416,000. There was a gain on financial asset of £450,000 and an exceptional cost of £318,000 relating to an accident in 2015. Management is cautious about taking on new property developments under the current economic conditions.

Karoo Energy (KEP) is still trying to raise cash to enable it to move to AIM. Management is confident that it will be able to raise the funds in the near future.

Formerly AIM-quoted Altona Energy (ANR) did not managed to obtain a replacement nominated adviser for Northland and it has moved to NEX on 1 February. Sino-Aus Energy Group is subscribing for £500,000 of 7% convertible loan notes July 2020. The conversion price depends on the market price in the 2o days prior to conversion although the minimum is 10p a share.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) has appointed Epsion Capital to help it raise up to £20m from a share issue at a price of at least 0.5p a share. There will be a warrant issued with every four shares. A circular is being prepared to gain shareholder approval. Early Equity (EEQP) has raised £187,500 at 0.75p a share.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that 15%-owned LHT has launched its hapac medicinal cannabis inhaling technology in Milan, Italy. The initial reaction has been positive.

VI Mining (VIM) has completed the acquisition of the Cushuro gold project for $27.5m in shares.

Nuclear notes linked to guaranteed contingent value rights relating to the takeover of British Energy will mature and stop being traded on 7 February.

Dealings in the shares of Wheelsure (WHLP) and Ecovista (EVTP) have been suspended because they have not published their results for the year to August 2018.

AIM  

Recruitment and training company Staffline (STAF) has delayed the publishing of its accounts because of concerns about invoicing. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Electronic and battery products supplier Solid State (SOLI) says trading is significantly better than previously expected. Gross margins are continuing to improve. finnCap upgraded its 2018-19 earnings per share forecast by 26% and the 2019-20 figure by 21%.

Filtronic (FTC) fell into loss in the first half even before the write-off of £500,000 of capitalised development costs. Massive MIMO antennas sales will not build up as quickly as initially expected. There is £2.2m in the bank so the antennas and telecoms hardware supplier has a strong cash position while it waits for orders to come through. There is expected to be a full year loss but cash should still be £1.8m. A focus on defence and public safety markets will help to diversify the customer base and provide new opportunities.

A court has ordered Grant Thornton to pay £21m relating to its failures in the auditing of AssetCo (ASTO) accounts in the financial years to March 2009 and March 2010. AssetCo had been seeking £40m from Grant Thornton and there is still interest to be calculated on the award.

Location Sciences (LSAI) says that 2018 trading was in line with expectations and 2019 has started well. There has been a soft launch of the Verify product that ensures that responses to advertising from mobiles are genuine. Paid for trials in the US will provide further evidence of effectiveness.

Begbies Traynor (BEG) has acquired Manchester-based Croft Transport Planning and Design, which provides highways and traffic advice to property developers, for an initial £1.5m in cash and shares. This widens the range of services offered by the property services division.

Utilitywise (UTW) has not published its accounts and trading in the shares has been suspended. The utility cost management consultancy has also effectively put itself up for sale as part of its strategic review. This was sparked by the failure to raise cash required from a share issue. The £25m bank facility expires in April.

MAIN MARKET  

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has secured an investment of up to $30m to fund the commercialisation of molecular biology products being developed by Ador Diagnostics, a joint venture with Gamida for Life, that is valued at $30m prior to the investment. The first $14.5m should be invested by the end of March and the rest will be invested at a 33.3% premium to the enterprise valuation after the initial investment by the end of 2020. Most of the cash will come from medical sector investors and Puma Brandenburg. BATM and Gamida will each invest $2m and after the initial investment BATM will own 38.2% of the company. Shore Capital will reinvest its total fees of $1m into Ador.

Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) is obtaining a $750,000 convertible security investment and a 24 month equity facility of up to $7m from an entity managed by The Lind Partners, which will get an initial commitment fee of $75,000. Between $100,000 and $300,000 can be drawn down each month. The shares will be issued at prices that are linked to market prices at the time. Rare earths production at the Gakara project in Burundi is expected to build up over 2019 as two further areas are opened up. Production costs were higher than sales revenues in the three months to December 2018.

Sportech (SPO) has acquired digital gaming technology business LOT.TO Systems, which has developed the iLottery platform.

Path Investments (PATH) has sold its Turkish oil and gas interests for £400,000. The focus is the acquisition of ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a forward funding and assignment of the contract of the Wavertree property in Liverpool. This is the second project that has reached this stage. Dukemount will continue to manage the redevelopment of the property and a development profit will be received on completion. Executive chairman Geoffrey Dart has been awarded a bonus of £80,000 for the completion of the first two transactions and it will be received in shares at 0.3p each.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard – Winter Of Discontent Impacts Begbies’ Business.

Begbies Traynor BEG claims that a winter of discontent has impacted business with 481,000 now in significant financial distress.  Those  in ‘critical’ financial distress increased by 25% year on year as the year came to a slow end and stand at  2,183. Real estate was the hardest hit sector in quarter 4 with a 9% increase. The retail industry should, it forecasts, be braced for a tough start to 2019 after poor Christmas trading from M&S and Debenhams. Link here to a detailed article by Begbies Traynor Regional Partner Julie Palmer 

Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ describes its third quarter performance to the 31st December as solid, with profits for the quarter collapsing by 87.6%. Fear not however as full year profit guidance is maintained. Passenger growth during the quarter was 15% and revenue 21%. A new carry on bag policy saw revenue per passenger rise by 7% and means that passengers now get the injured backs instead of the baggage handlers. Like all low cost airlines it is having to face the challenging industry-wide operating environment

Solid State plc SOLI updates that trading results for the year ending 31 March 2019 will now comfortably exceed current market consensus guidance. Revenues are expected to be above current guidance and adjusted profits significantly ahead. The strong demand seen in the first half has continued into the second half and the Value Added Distribution division has is now expected to deliver results well ahead of management’s previous expectations.

Ingenta ING  is now leaner and focussed on delivering first class services to all its customers claims the CEO, meaning it is significantly better placed to propel the business through the next stage of its growth. The Board confirms its intention to pay a dividend of 1.5 pence per ordinary share for the 2018 financial year.

Staffline Group STAF announces that publication of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018 has been delayed and a further update will be provided as soon as possible.

Rhythm One plc RTHM confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Taptica International Limited (“Taptica”) regarding a potential all-share offer for RhythmOne by Taptica.

Inspired Energy INSE expects to announce another strong set of results, delivering good growth in revenue, profits and cash for the year to the end of December. Group revenues are expected to be approximately 21 per cent ahead of 2017 with revenue growth expected to be approximately 29% ahead

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Brand CEO Alan Green talks Prairie Mining #PDZ,Staffline #STAF, Europa Metals #EUZ & IMC Exploration #IMCP on Vox Markets podcast

Brand CEO Alan Green talks Prairie Mining #PDZ,Staffline #STAF, Europa Metals #EUZ & IMC Exploration #IMCP with Justin Waite on the Vox Markets podcast. The interview is 44 minute 36 seconds in.

Ian Pollard – Sainsbury’s Investment in Price Cuts Pays Off

Sainsbury J SBRY First quarter sales for the 16 weeks to the 30th June saw a continuation of the improving volume trend which became evident in the second half of last year. Like for like retail sales grew by 0.2% excluding fuel and grocery sales rose by 0.5% helped by online grocery growth of 7.3% and an improving price position. Clothing and General Merchandise, including Argos both outperformed the market in what Sainsbury claims were challenging conditions.  It is also on track to achieve its target of 200m in cost savings for the current year.

National Express NEX has been awarded a major bus contract in  Morocco.covering the major cities of the Kingdom and with expectations of carrying 100m. passengers a year across 61 routes. The initial contract is for 15 years with an option to extend for a further 7 years and services are expected to commence with a year.

Gresham Technologies plc GHT expects a strong second half despite an anticipated decline of 5% in group revenue for the six months to the 30th June. Like for like Claretti revenue should show a rise of 17% for the first half but non Claretti revenues are expected to slide by 21%.

Staffline STAF updates that it is only trading inline despite a strong performance in The Recruitment division which has continued to perform strongly allowing it to meet growing customer demand during the six months to the 30th June.

Mattioli Woods MTW produced another year of strong and sustainable growth, with organic revenue growth of over 15% in the year to the 31st May. Acquisitions remain a core part of the company’s growth strategy. and recent acquisitions have continued to perform well. EBITDA has also continued to grow and the EBITDA margin for the year remains slightly ahead of the 20% target

Nektan NKTN delivered very strong growth, with record net gaming revenue  of £5.7m,in quarter 4 an increase of 10.9% over the third quarter and  36.7% compared to quarter 4 of 2017. The strong fourth quarter ensured that full year net gaming revenue was £19.4m, an increase of 48.1% over the previous year. The strong momentum is expected to continue in the year ahead.

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Ian Pollard – Staffline Still On Target For Bursting The Billion

Staffline STAF remains on target for its Burst The Billion plan. A strong set of results for for the year to 31st December produced a 27.5% rise in statutory profit before tax. The final dividend is to be increaed by 2.6%. Market share has increased more than ever and net debt has more than halved from from 36.7m to 16.5m.

Wetherspoon JD plc JDWY Strong growth in the second quarter matched that of the first quarter, with like for like sales to the 21st January and for the year to date, both rising by 6%.Underlying profit before tax was slightly ahead of expectations, helped by better than expected sales. Chairman,Tim Martin repeats his  accusations that the CBI, Whitbread, Sainsbury, the FT, The Times and The Gaurdian are trying to fool the public by issuing misleading information as to the costs of Brexit. Despite ample opportunity to rebuff Martins attack, every one of these august bodies has remained silent, apparently now accepting that Brexit will lead to a fall in food prices which the Customs Union keeps artificially high

Crest Nicholson Holdings CRST saw sales by volume grow by only 2% in the year to 31st October as against a 7% rise in value and a 33% rise in total dividends  for the year. Forward sales as at mid January were up by 8% in value but the volume figure is not disclosed.. Statutory revenue rose 5%, profit before tax by 6% and basic earnings per share by 7%. The new build housing market continues to be robust thanks to government policies and strong demand.

Sage Group SGE Group organic revenue for the first quarter to the 31st December grew by 6.3%.with North America putting in a strong performance and France under performing. The second quarter is is expected to be stronger and full year organic growth is expected to be in the region of 8%.

Plant Healthcare PHC made strong progress in the year to 31st December, in implementing its key strategic objectives.Revenue rose by 22%, helped by particularly strong sales growth of 100% in Europe Africa.

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W. H. Smith “Strong Group Performance” as High Street Falls 4%

W.H. Smith SMWH claims a strong performance across the group for the 21 weeks to 21st January, presumably hoping that nobody will go as far as reading the actual figures which show that High Street revenue actually fell by 4% and only travel revenue with a 10% increase, saved the day enabling Smiths to show a like for like sales increase of 1% and a total increase of 2%. As a result of the success of the travel division, the group expects that profit growth for the group as a whole will be slightly ahead of plan.

Restaurant Group RTN admits to a catalogue of management failures which led to a fall of 5.9% in 4th quarter trading which continued to be challenging and compares badly with a decline of 3.9% over the 53 weeks to1st January.  The decline is to be countered by improving its proposition and its operating processes, building a better business and delivering an attentive and engaging service, One can only hope that the people who failed to cope with the problems in 2016 will be able to deal with them in 2017, The first half of which is expected to be difficult and  no improvement showing until towards the end of the year.

Koovs KOOV is enjoying another year of excellent growth with sales for the 9 months to 31st December showing a rise of 101% and traffic, registered users and social media all up by 100%. The success of its premium party dress collection which sold out in record time, 59% of it within three days of launch has left the company excited about prospects for 2017

McCarthy & Stone MCS saw legal completions for the 20 weeks to the 20th January fall by 2% compared to the previous year as a result of a lower forward order book and a slight slowing in sales momentum since results were announced on the 15th November. Year to date reservations are  currently running ahead and are expected to bring in an extra 5% revenue, due to price increases. Profit before tax for 2017 will be more than usually weighted towards the second half.

Staffline Group STAF is increasing its final dividend by 29% after a year of strong organic growth which saw a rise in revenue of 26%. Underlying profit before tax rose by 30% and undiluted earnings per share by 23%. The company’s success means that it has increased its market share “more than ever”.

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Next Finds Horror On The High Street

Next NXT issues a stark warning about current profits and the level of both this years and next years sales. It failed to live up to its own expectations for 4th quarter sales in the face of what it describes as exceptional levels of uncertainty. Between the 1st November and 24th December sales fell by 0.4%. For the year to 24th December they fell by 1.1% even after taking into account new selling space. Even worse, end of season Sales were down by 7%. Group profit before tax for the full year to 17th January is now expected to be down by 3.6% and the downturn is  expected to continue  with a further warning that the company is budgeting for full price sales for 2017-18 to be down by a further 4.5%.

Ryanair RYA On the back of lower fares, December traffic surged by 20% to 9m passengers with load factor rising by 3% over a year ago. Even lower fares are promised for the coming summer.

Staffline Group STAF has experienced strong second half trading and expects full year profits to be announced on 25th January, will be in line.

Spectra Systems SPSY  Expects that profits for the year to 31st December will significantly exceed expectations, with revenue also ahead.

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Staffline (STAF) – A Year Of Transformational Growth

Staffline (STAF) is one of the UK’s largest work programme providers, with a history of strong growth.

Its share price has more than quadrupled in three years, from 297p in February 2013 to its present 1,304p, having fallen back from its November peak of 1,614p.

Growth in both the first and second halves of 2015 hovered at around the 50% mark. At the time of the interim results in July the interim dividend was raised by 50% to 7.5p and the final dividend announced today is following suit with a 48% rise to 20p.

Andy Hogarth the CEO of Staffline describes 2015 as another transformational year of organic and acquisitive growth.

Results for the year to 31st December show revenue up by 40% and underlying profit before tax by 52%. The shares have opened strongly this morning with a rise of 63p ( 4.68%) to 1,358p.

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