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Peel Hunt has edged up its pre-tax profit forecast for brewer and pubs operator Shepherd Neame (SHEP) following the publication of its figures for the year to June 2019. They showed revenues of £145.8m and pre-tax profit of £11.4m, which was slightly better than expected. Brewing profit more than halved to £900,000 after the Asahi contract ended, but this was more than made up for by the contribution from managed and tenanted pubs. Own-brewed volumes have risen by 5.8% in the first few weeks of the year and managed ad tenanted pubs are showing like-for-like income increases. Debt costs will be lower than previously expected so the 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast has moved from £11.5m to £11.7m, which will allow a slightly higher anticipated dividend of 31p a share – twice covered by earnings. There is potential to acquire more pubs.
In the 17 months to May 2019, pubs operator and automotive dealer Barkby Group (BARK) made a pre-tax profit of £75,000 on revenues of £6.29m. Stripping out the amount acquisitions were made under net asset value and acquisition cost, the profit is £135,000. The addition of pub sites, taking the total to six gastropubs and inns, and the purchase of Centurian Automotive, will significantly increase revenues in the latest 12-month period. The plan is to have up to 12 pub sites within five years.
Karoo Energy (KEP) is changing its name to IamFire and raising £143,000 at 2.4p a share. Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi has been appointed as an executive director and Jeremy Ross joins as a non-executive. They are both directors of cannabis company Eurocann International (BUD). The existing business is being sold to Noel Lyons and other opportunities in the oil and gas and base and precious metals sectors will be assessed.
National Milk Records (NMRP) has been hit by a cyber attack and this will reduce profit this year. It has interrupted IT operations and EBITDA is set to be 10% lower than expected in the year to June 2020.
WH Ireland has published a broker note on Cadence Minerals (KDNC) and this suggests that the 27% stake in the Amapa iron ore mine in Brazil is a potential company maker, even before any benefits from the lithium project investments. The mine produced between 2007 and 2014 before being closed because of an incident at the port on the Amazon and a falling iron ore price. The total resource is estimated at 245Mt grading 41% Fe, but this figure dates back to 2012. The mine life could be 15 years. Capex of $168m will be required to restart mining and processing. The 27% stake will effectively cost Cadence less than £6m. The other shareholder is Singapore-based commodity trader IndoSino. If other investors are sought, then Cadence has the right to increase its stake to 49%.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) plans to consolidate every 20 existing shares into one new share. A general meeting will be held on 16 October. Primorus expects its A$500,000 loan note with Zuuse to be repaid, plus interest, in the next couple of weeks.
St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported an improvement in interim pre-tax profit from £18,000 to £84,000. The housebuilder achieved this improvement because of a much larger share of the operating profit in a joint venture and increased interest receivable. Admin expenses rose even though revenues were lower. NAV is 126p a share.
Recently floated cash shell World High Life (LIFE) plans to acquire Love Hemp in return for £4m in cash and the issue of 30 million shares. A further £2m could become payable in the next three years depending on the achievement of turnover targets. If more than target turnover is achieved in any year then the vendors will receive 5% of the excess. Love Hemp is a supplier of CBD and hemp products and it made a pre-tax profit of £532,000 on turnover of £2.5m in the year to June 2018. World High Life plans to raise up to £5m in order to finance the acquisition.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says joint venture DJT has applied for a licence to grow >0.2% THC cannabis and has been registered with the Drugs Licensing and Compliance Unit of the Home Office. DJT has acquired Aristaeus Elements, which is setting up as a cannabis extraction and processing facility, for £1 and assumption of debt of £51,000 – the deposit paid for the equipment for the plant. The plan is to finance the investment in the facility through debt secured against offtake contracts.
Blockchain-related investment company Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) reported a dip in revenues from £1.33m to £109,000, but a reversal of an impairment charge and gains on financial assets meant that it still made a pre-tax profit of £242,000, down from £554,000 the previous year. The non-cash gains meant that cash fell from £592,000 to £475,000 over the six months to June 2019. NAV increased from £2.36m to £2.59m.
First Sentinel (FSEN) reported a fall in interim revenues from £963,000 to £710,000, while the loss increased from £46,000 and £114,000.
Panther Metals (PALM) says that early identification of an area of the Big Bear project in Ontario shows high gold grades. The 100% owned area has been extended via the acquisition of four additional mining claims.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) generated revenues of £14.2m in the first half of 2019. The Hellyer polymetallic mine was not in production in the corresponding period last year. There was still a £17.9m loss because of high admin expenses. There was £65.6m of debt at the end of June 2019 and management believes that it can get more favourable terms now the mine is up and running.
Domain name registry Minds + Machines (MMX) is improving the quality of its earnings and it is nearer to sorting out legacy problems. Renewal revenues almost cover costs. Interim net revenues increased from $5.3m to $7.4m, while pre-tax profit trebled to $1.8m, helped by a full six month contribution from ICM. A full year pre-tax profit of $4.1m is forecast. Operating expenses should rise much slower than revenues and cash generation should be strong. A $5.1m cash payment will be made in the second half in order to cover those legacy costs. Even after that, the company should have net cash of more than $5m at the end of 2019. Longer-term, Minds + Machines could become a dividend payer.
Pelatro (PTRO) is dependent on fourth quarter licence sales to achieve forecasts following the 14% increase in interim revenues to $2.7m. That means that second half revenues of the telecoms marketing services and technology provider need to be $7.8m to achieve the 2019 target. There are some large potential sales in the pipeline, but delays of a few weeks could mean that they drop into 2020. Repeat revenues more than doubled in the first half because more of the business won has been in the form of revenue gain share contracts that take time to build up and produce revenues over a longer period than a one-off licence, which is recognised as revenue straight away.
Maestrano (MNO) has conditionally agreed to acquire Airsight Holdings, which offers engineering surveying services using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. Airsight had revenues of A$1.04m in the year to June 2019 and it is loss making because of development spending. Maestrano will issue 73.4 million shares to pay for the acquisition. There could be further payments depending on revenues. The Maestrano chairman is a shareholder in Airsight.
Escape Hunt (ESC) increased revenues from £800,000 to £2.2m in the first half of 2019 but it remains loss-making. Franchise revenues were flat, and all the growth came from the operated sites. Escape Hunt has signed an agreement with Proprietors Capital Holdings for the roll-out of franchise sites in North America.
Mattress supplier eve Sleep (EVE) reduced its loss but cash is still flowing out of the business. Net cash was £12.5m at the end of June 2019 and it is expected to be £8m by the end of the year.
S and U (SUS) is adding new motor finance business even though loan standards have been tightened. Motor finance business Advantage Finance is on course to achieve its 20th year of profit growth. Bridging loans provider Aspen made a profit of £502,000 in the first half. Interim pre-tax profit rose by 3% to £17.1m and the dividend was increased by 6% to 34p a share.
Suit hire and retail business Moss Bros (MOSB) broke even, before the IFRS16 accounting changes for leases, in the six months to July 2019, which was slightly better than expected. A full year loss is still expected because despite like-for-like retail sales growth, hire revenues are declining and the IFRS16 changes will knock £2.5m off pre-tax profit. There was cash of £18.2m at the end of July 2019.
finnCap has reduced its 2019-20 forecasts for InnovaDerma (IDP) following its figures for the year June 2019. The beauty and health products supplier increased revenues by one-fifth to £12.9m and pre-tax profit more than doubled to £1.4m. This year’s pre-tax profit is expected to be £2m, down from £2.3m previously, because higher costs relating to marketing more than offset improved sales expectations. To put this in perspective, the 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast back in August 2018 was £2.6m. InnovaDerma needs to start meeting forecasts rather than having them downgraded on a regular basis.
Tex Holdings (TXH) has appointed Price Bailey LLP. Trading appears to be picking up in the plastics and engineering businesses. There is a record order book of £12m.
Ananda Developments (ANA) is amending its investing strategy and acquiring Tiamat Agriculture, which is applying for a UK controlled drug cannabis cultivation and supply licence. Anglia Salads and JEPCO will provide cannabis growing expertise. The new investing strategy will include the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. URA Holdings will subscribe £400,000 for shares at 0.45p each.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £1m at 0.1p a share and the cash will be used to acquire a 2.34% stake in Apollon Formularies Ltd. AfriAg hopes to gain first refusal to acquire the rest of Apollon in a transaction that would value the company at £40m.
Good Energy (GOOD) will redeem the first Good Energy Bond, which was launched in 2013, before the end of June. The outstanding principal is £3.6m and the cash for repayment will come from the disposals of Newton Downs and Brynwhilach solar farms to the local communities. The cash helped to develop nearly 150MW of renewable generation projects.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says that gold recoveries in Honduras have been low and it is considering whether to sell to the joint venture partner or take full control of the operations. Gold trading volumes are increasing but the contribution to overheads is modest.
Panther Minerals (PALM) has applied for an exploration licence for the Marrakai gold project in Northern Territory, Australia. Panther has also acquired additional ground surrounding the former Little Bear mine in Ontario, Canada.
Formation Group (FORM) reported a reduced loss in the six months to February 2019. There is £3.05m in cash in the balance sheet.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) is investing up to £150,000 in convertible loan notes in ASSIF, which is developing a digital product to improve mental health. The first tranche has been drawn down and the rest will be invested when design work is completed. The loan notes are convertible into up to 35% of ASSIF, depending on the milestones achieved prior to conversion.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has shipped 34,500 tonnes of precious metal pyrite concentrate from the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania.
Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has started offering high energy proton beam therapy in Bomarsund in Northumberland.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) non-executive director Dominic Burke has nearly doubled his shareholding to 2.8%. Tim Syder increased his stake to 3.1%.
V22 (V22O) will leave NEX at the close of business on 31 May.
SafeCharge International (SCH) is recommending a $5.55 (436p) a share cash offer from a subsidiary of fellow payment services provider Nuvei Corporation, valuing the company at £699m. The final dividend of 7.22p a share will be paid. The international payments processor joined AIM five years ago at 162p a share. Nuvei has a strong market position in North America and SafeCharge provides scale in Europe.
Trading in the shares of LXB Retail Properties (LXB) has been suspended following court approval of the dissolution of the company and a return of capital of 1.2p a share. The cancellation of the quotation will happen on 31 May.
Volvere (VLE) has sold its oldest subsidiary Sira Defence and Security for £3m, although management bonuses of £320,000 will be paid out of the proceeds. Sira cost a nominal amount and has contributed cash to the group. This leaves 80%-owned frozen pies maker Shire Foods, which increased its full year pre-tax profit from £635,000 to £854,000. Even stripping out incentive payments relating to the sale of the Impetus business, Shire hardly makes enough profit to cover central overheads.
Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) has confirmed that its full year revenues will be at least £102m and EBITDA at least £19m, an increase of 15%. The growth is a combination of acquisitive and organic. Knights Group (KGH) says that its full year revenues will be not less than £52.4m and underlying pre-tax profit will be ahead of expectations at £9.7m.
Argentina-focused oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) increased revenues by 160% to $47.2m in 2018 and this enabled it to move into profit. This year pre-tax profit is set to improve from $3.5m to $17.3m as last year’s acquisition makes a more significant contribution and capital investment starts to pay back. Average production is expected to be 3,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019.
Science Group (SAG) has taken a 9% stake in digital radio technology developer Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) at 12.5p a share. Science offered to acquire the whole company via a cash bid of 30p a share but the proposal met with a negative response from the target’s board and the offer has been withdrawn.
Caledonian Trust (CNN) has renegotiated the conditions of the proposed sale of St Margaret’s House in Edinburgh, which was announced in February 2018. The buyer is still in the process of applying for planning consent and it has three months in which to submit the application, plus 12 months to secure consent. A further three months will be allowed to find a pre-let and Caledonia will vacate the property six months after that. This means that it could be two years before the transaction is completed. The consideration is still £15m, compared with a book value of £8m.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has received a £300,000 investment at 1.2p a share and appointed Colin Harrington to the board as executive chairman. Origin Creek Energy has a 14.8% shareholding following the share issue. This replaces the previously announced subscription at a lower share price and Robert Bensh has left the board because of that.
Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that 60%-owned flexible power generation development subsidiary MAST Energy Developments is acquiring Bordersley Power Ltd, which is developing a 5MW gas-fuelled power generation plant and relevant grid connections. The deal is dependent on certain conditions.
Cellcast (CLTV) is owed £453,000 by a Kenyan client of its gaming and lottery consultancy activities, which generated revenues of £395,000 in 2018. The government in Kenya is cracking down on advertising of gambling and it had previously raised taxation rates. Cellcast had £698,000 in the bank at the end of 2018.
Trading in the shares of Dublin-based Amryt Pharma (AMYT) has been suspended ahead of the proposed all share acquisition of the larger Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Novelion Therapeutics Inc. Amryt plans to raise $60m from a share issue.
Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) has made a non-binding offer for Entertainment AI Inc although it is still subject to due diligence on the artificial intelligence and machine learning company. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) says trading continues to improve even though sales to UK professional customers are subdued. The overseas market is stronger. Margins are improving.
Motor finance provider S and U (SUS) says that profit from its core business has improved so far this year. The property bridging lending business has increased its loan book to £22m.
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.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) is developing a blockchain-based sports ticketing business with Footies Tech Ltd. The new company will licence blockchain technology from TechFinancials, which will have a 75% stake in the company. TechFinancials will provide up to $500,000 to the company and this commitment is dependent on a client signing up within three months. The idea is to make the sports club take control of the initial sale and any secondary ticket transactions. Former Liverpool FC chairman Ian Ayre will be chairman of the new company.
Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has invested £60,000 in Pelican House (PHM) at 0.45p a share. Eight Capital will be issued 13.33 million warrants exercisable at 0.45p a share. Eight Capital is appointing John Treacy to the board of Pelican, which is changing its investment strategy from natural resources to sports and leisure.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has raised £2m at 290p a share and it will move to AIM on 14 December. The share price peaked at 430p in March. Crossword is valued at £13.6m at the placing price. Hargreave Hale AIM VCT has taken a 7.37% stake.
Early Equity (EEQP) is assessing additional investments that fit its strategy. There was £437,000 of cash in the balance sheet at the end of August 2018. The main investment is a 47.1% stake in healthcare products distributor Yicom Global.
Miton has increased its stake in Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) from 15.5% to 17.8%. DXS International (DXSP) chief executive David Immelman has bought 20,002 shares at 9.9p each, taking his stake to 10.45%.
Welney (WENP) is considering a couple of proposals that can enable the company to move ahead. The loan note holders have agreed not to call in the loans for at least another 12 months. Net liabilities were £268,000 at the end of June 2018.
Block Commodities (BLCC) has launched the Farmer 3.0 (described as an integrated agri-business ecosystem) pilot project, which covers up to 1,000 Ugandan farmers. The plan is to expand the service to up 50,000 farmers.
Plastics Capital (PLA) has still to see the benefits of its investment in capacity and winning new business. In the six months to September 2018, revenues improved 11% to £40.6m and underlying pre-tax profit recovered from £1.2m to £2.1m. Net debt was £15.7m at the end of September 2018 to £14.5m by March 2019. Cenkos forecasts a 2018-19 profit of £5m, rising to £5.4m next year.
Broker finnCap (FCAP) joined AIM and completed the acquisition of Cavendish Corporate Finance last week. finnCap raised £3.75m at 28p a share.
The People’s Operator (TPOP) has the chance to receive an investment from the owner of LycaMobile. A share capital reorganisation is required before any shares can be issued. Every 2,000 shares will be consolidated into one share. An investment of £1.3m will be in shares (29.9%) and convertible loan notes – convertible at 10p a share.
Evgen Pharam (EVG) says that the final patient in the STEM:SFX-01 trial for metastatic breast cancer will take her last dose by the end of 2018. The final readout for the trial should be in March.
Ceres Power (CWR) has finalised its collaboration with Weichai Power. They will create a fuel cell manufacturing joint venture in China and technology will be licenced to the new venture, which could generate up to £30m in payments. There is also a £9m joint development agreement for range extenders for electric buses. Weichai will invest £28m at 164.5p a share.
Hagai Tal has resigned as chief executive of Taptica International Ltd (TAP) after he was criticised about his actions at a previous company. Rivi Bloch takes over as interim chief executive. The business appears to be changing with revenues not up to expectations but margins improving.
Panther Securities (PNS) is paying a special dividend of 15p a share after what it calls the best year it has experienced. Next year at least 12p a share will be paid.
Woodford has says that it will subscribe £8m in a fundraising for eve Sleep (EVE) and Channel 4 says that it will invest £900,000. Chairman Paul Pindar will invest £1m. Discussions continue with other investors in order to raise the £15m required.
Vianet (VNET) is growing its smart machines operations and it was responsible for the growth in revenues in the first half. The pubs market remains tough and smart zones revenues dipped, but there is the prospect of a large order in the US. Full year profit is expected to improve from £2.7m to £3m. The interim dividend is maintained and the total dividend for the year should be unchanged at 5.7p a share.
Versarien (VRS) has signed a supply agreement to supply a new graphene enhanced polymer range to AECOM. Interim revenues were 19% higher at £5.22m. There was cash of £6.07m at the end of September 2018. There was a £1.1m cash outflow in the six month period.
Omega Diagnostics (ODX) continues to lose money and net debt was £700,000 at the end of September 2018. The £2m overdraft facility should provide enough finance for the company’s needs. The commercialisation of Visitect CD4 is important to long-term progress for the company. CE marking for advance disease should be awarded soon. The timing of approvals and therefore revenues is difficult to predict.
Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) has resolved its dispute with xG Technology Inc over the disposal of its hardware business. No further liabilities are due by either party and the forecast cash balances for Pebble Beach will not be materially different.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has agreed an operational plan with the Utah authorities for its acreage in the Paradox Basin and this includes recently acquired acreage. A suitable drilling rig should be available in the first quarter of 2019. The plan is to secure funding for the drilling programme.
Zinc Media Group (ZIN) has appointed Mark Browning, who is currently boss of ITN Productions, as chief executive and he will start in the first half of 2019. He replaces former finance director David Galan, who became full-time chief executive in February.
Adam Formela has stepped down as chief executive of packaging manufacturer Robinson (RBN). Martin McGee has become interim chief executive.
Trading in the shares of MySQUAR (MYSQ) will end on 10 December. Additional cash is required and a sale of assets to a NEX-quoted company in return for shares could happen. The investigation of past financial transactions continues.
Fishing tackle retailer Fishing Republic (FISH) has appointed administrators.
Cryptocurrency mining services provider Argo Blockchain (ARB) estimates that its current annualised revenues are $6.2m (£4.8m). Trading is ahead of expectations. Net cash was £15m at the end of November 2018.
Sand U (SUS) says trading is in line with expectations. There has been a reduction in demand for finance for used cars. This means that the loan portfolio is growing more slowly than expected.
Standard list shell Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) is evaluating opportunities in the cannabis market.
Blockchain venture builder Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that RIF Labs is acquiring RSK Labs, where Coinsilium owns 65,000 series Seed-1 preferred shares. The cost of the investment was $83,750. The acquisition is a share for token swap and Coinsilium will end up with 1.95 million RIF tokens, which is the equivalent of 139.4 bitcoins, currently valued at $773,000. However, an initial 12.5% of the consideration will be released six months after the deal is completed and then 2.5% each month for 42 months.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has entered into an additional marketing and off-take agreement with Traxys Europe. The deal covers the production from the Hellyer project in Tasmania for the first five years. This includes a facility for prepayment.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) says that its Australian subsidiary has received a A$590,000 tax rebate from the Australian government. A 43.5% rebate is due on qualifying technical expenditure and so far more than A$2m has been received. Spending continues.
Gowin New Energy Group Ltd (GWIN) chief executive Chen Chih-Lung is lending £40,000 to the company for 12 months at an annual interest rate of 2%.
Music and audio equipment supplier Focusrite (TUNE) is continuing to grow internationally although Asia is growing at the fastest rate. Full year revenues grew by 14% to £75.1m, while pre-tax profit improved from £9.51m to £11.3m. The dividend is 22% higher at 3.3p a share. There is £22.8m of cash in the bank and this could be used for add-on acquisitions. Tariffs on Chinese exports are being used as a way of testing out price rises for the US market. Forecast profit growth is modest but there is potential for outperformance.
Tristel (TSTL) is buying its distributor in Benelux and France and this will enhance earnings. The maximum payment for Ecomed will be €6.8m (£6m) with €5m paid up front. The deal also provides an additional warehouse in Europe. A full year contribution in 2019-20 will increase pre-tax profit by £700,000 to £6.5m.
Sustainable timber supplier Accsys Technologies (AXS) has increased its capacity for Accoya production by 50% and this will help production in the second half. Demand for Accoya is strong and sales increased from €28.3m to €31.1m in the six months to September 2018. The development of the Tricoya plant in Hull is progressing. Construction could be completed in the middle of 2019 and it will breakeven at 40% of capacity. Tricoya, which is used in MDF-type panels, is currently produced from Accoya and this plant will free up Accoya production for other customers. Numis forecasts a rise in full year revenues from €60.9m to €73.1m and a decline in loss to €5.1m. Net debt is expected to be €46m at the end of March 2019 and it will continue to rise because of the capital investment programmes. If partners can be secured in the USA and Asia then this could provide a significant boost to the company.
Initial drilling results at the Havieron licence area in Western Australia provided good news for Greatland Gold (GGP) with two wide zones of gold and copper mineralisation intersected. This significantly extends the known mineralisation.
Immunodiagnostic System Holdings (IDH) is up to its old tricks. The interim figures were published at 5.04pm on Friday 23 November. To be fair this is 14 minutes earlier than the half year trading statement so maybe the company is improving. Here’s hoping. Interim revenues were flat at £18.5m but the company fell into loss. There was £27.8m of cash in the bank (net cash of £26.5m) at the end of September 2018. Maybe some of this should be spent on an alarm clock so management can get up in the morning to release its results.
Chris Jagusz has stood down as chief executive of Redcentric (RCN) as revenue growth has been hard to come by. The latest interims have sparked downgrades for 2018-19 with revenues cut by 5% to £94.2m.
SIMEC AtlantisEnergy (SAE) has singed a joint venture with AD Normandie Developpement and this will enable the commencement of tidal energy projects between France and Alderney. A capacity of 3,000MW is being targeted and there is potential for EU grants.
Innovation software provider Imaginatik (IMTK) has achieved annualised cost savings of £1.2m, but the strategic review held back revenues and new orders in the first half. The cash outflow declined. Trading levels are picking up.
There are no competition concerns about the Ebiquity (EBQ) disposal of its advertising intelligence business to Neilsen Media Research. The business has been underperforming because of the uncertainty and this will enable the deal to go ahead. Ebiquity says that 2018 operating profit will be lower than expected.
Positive news about the Wressle oil project, where the planning officer for North Lincolnshire has recommended approval. The original application was refused two years ago. Operator Egdon Resources (EDR) owns a 30% interest in Wressle, Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) has a 30% interest and Union Jack Oil (UJO) has a 27.5% interest. Humber Oil and Gas owns the other 12.5%.
Integumen (SKIN) has raised £355,000 from a placing at 0.44p a share. This cash will support the development and commercialisation of Labskin. Integumen is paying €40,000 and six million shares to former chief executive Declan Service.
Sutton Harbour (SUH) returned to profit in the six months to September 2018, although the corresponding period had a hefty asset write-down, and it is raising cash for pre-construction funding. An open offer of 77-for-786 at 29p a share will raise up to £3m and close on 6 December. Planning approvals have been received for the Sugar Quay and Harbour Arch Quay schemes in Plymouth.
Electronic and battery products supplier Solid State (SOLI) is starting to improve its performance, although there may still be a decline in full year profit. In the six months to September 2018, revenues were 5% ahead at £23.6m and pre-tax profit improved from £1.55m to £1.66m. The interim dividend was 5% higher at 4.2p a share. The order book was worth £29.6m at the end of September 2018.
TomCo Energy (TOM) has appointed Turner Pope to replace SVS as broker and trading in the shares has recommenced.
SEC (SECG) is acquiring France-based public and corporate affairs business CLAI. An initial 10% stake, but with 50.1% of voting rights, will cost €490,000 in cash. A further stake of 40.01% will be acquired in the second half of 2020 and another 10% in the second half of 2023. The shareholders can ask SEC to buy the remaining shares between 30 July 2025 and 30 November 2025. The final payments are based on an earnout although the maximum will be €8.8m. In 2017, CLAI made a pre-tax profit of €551,000 on revenues of €4.49m. The acquisition could be earnings enhancing. CLAI will continue to be run by existing management.
Majestic Wine (WINE) is finding the UK market tough and margins are coming under pressure. Peel Hunt has reduced its 2018-19 pre-tax profit forecast by £2m to £12.8m, partly due to increased investment in Naked.
Kestrel has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) to 22.2%.
Another disappointing trading statement from Fire Angel Safety (FA.) has led to a 2018 profit downgrade. Stock problems and delays to orders have hit the smoke alarms supplier. Scottish legislation due to be passed next year should provide a boost to demand. Fire Angel will be loss-making in 2018 but should make a small second half profit.
Legal services firm Knights Group (KGH) says that interim figures will be in line with expectations with double digit organic revenue growth. The interims will be announced on 15 January.
Maritime identification systems developer SRT Marine (SRT) had already flagged its 9% increase in interim revenues to £3.2m and increased underlying loss of £1.3m. There was little contribution from the GeoVS analytics system. There are expected to be significant deliveries in the second half, but timing cannot be guaranteed. A full year profit of around £3m is expected if the deliveries do take place. SRT is no longer considering investing in its own satellite constellation for this business.
FIH Group (FIH) reported flat interim profit, although there was a sharp improvement in contribution by the Momart art and museum logistics business. There was a decline in the performance of the Gosport ferry and Falkland Islands activities.
Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) says interim revenues will be one-fifth higher at £46.4m with around 50% of this organic growth. Full year revenues should be at least £102m. EBITDA margins should be maintained suggesting full year EBITDA of more than £19m. That is slightly higher than previous consensus.
Argentina-focused oil and gas producer and explorer President Energy (PPC) says the first Puesto Flores development well is producing at 600 bopd, having peaked at 1,000 bopd. This is as much as was anticipated from all three development wells. The results from the second development well appear positive and testing is about to commence. finnCap believes that the first well could have a post-tax NPV of $20m.
Pallett developer and manufacturer RM2 International (RM2) is raising £13m at 105p a share, following a 200-for-one share consolidation. This replaces the second tranche of a previously announced placing which would have happened at 1p a share (200p a share equivalent) but RM2 did not meet the performance requirements to spark the other placing. All but one of the investors set to buy shares previously will subscribe to the new placing. The cash will be used to fit track and trace devices to existing pallets, produce new pallets and cover admin costs. The cash will last until next April.
finnCap has sharply downgraded its pre-tax profit forecasts for telecoms services provider Maintel Holdings (MAI) due to project delays. The 2018 figure has been cut from £12.9m to £9.8m and the 2019 figure from £16.1m to £12.7m. The 2018 dividend is still expected to be 34.5p a share, although the cover will fall to 1.6 times. There is a move towards recurring revenues which will have a longer-term benefit for Maintel.
Restaurants operator Tasty (TAST) has revised its £7m term loan facility, which will be extended until March 2022. Quarterly repayments will be reduced from July 2019, by which time the amount draw down will be reduced by £1.1m. Net debt is currently £4.3m.
The NAV of value-focused investment vehicle Gresham House Strategic (GHS) has held up well considering the stockmarket decline. It grew to 1264p a share at the end of September 2018 and it was still 1243.2p a share on 16 November. The stake in IMImobile (IMO) has been reduced but it remains a strong performer. Cloud communications software supplier IMImobile improved its interim revenues by one-quarter and organic growth was 15%. The growth came from the European and American operations. Established customers are buying more services from the company and acquisitions are supplementing growth. Liontrust has increased its IMImobile stake to 21.4% but Kestrel has cut its to below 3%.
Payment protection software provider PCI-PAL (PCIP) is paying former boss William Catchpole his contracted entitlements plus £100,100 in settlement of his claims. The board unanimously asked Catchpole to leave in October. The final loan note repayment of £250,000 has been received from the buyer of the contact centre business.
Digital and media recruiter Nakama Group (NAK) reported flat interim net fees of £2.7m, but it managed to return to profit thanks to reduced costs. Further cost cutting is underway. There was a £558,00 cash inflow from operations and net debt was £488,000.
Antennas developer MTI Wireless Edge (LSE: MWE) has completed its merger with Israel-quoted majority shareholder MTI Computers and the initial benefits will show through in the second half. The interim figures show organic growth in revenues of 2%, but that growth should accelerate in the second half. Water management technology provider Mottech is winning new business and there are good prospects for the other divisions. The NAV is 17.8p a share and the full year dividend could be 1.25p a share.
Two directors have invested nearly £230,000 in shares in Condor Gold (CNR) at 22pa share. Non-executive Jim Mellon took his stake to 7%, while executive chairman Mark Child has reached 6%. Condor has been granted an important environmental permit for the development of a processing plant at its La India project in Nicaragua. SRK Consultants is preparing an updated mineral resource.
Juridica Investments Ltd (JIL) plans to leave AIM as part of the process of winding-up the company. The quotation will be cancelled on 21 December after liquidators from KPMG Channel Islands are appointed. Management fees will be reduced.
Online women’s fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) continues to build up its sales, having been trading for two years, and they reached £1.84m in the six months to September 2018. The loss was nearly £2m. Returns were 52% but that was put down to a high level of dress sales in the period and it can be more difficult to get the right fit. The benefits of the move to the Magento 2 ecommerce platform and the investment in the website are showing through in the second half. October was a record month. A placing raised £3m after the balance sheet date so pro forma cash is £5.56m.
600 Group (SIXH) has rationalised its UK business and sorted out its pension problems. Interim revenues were slightly ahead but underlying margins improved from 5.1% to 6%. The machine tools and laser marking equipment supplier is expected to improve its full year pre-tax profit from $3.05m to $3.9m.
Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) has performed well considering the dip in the new car market. Used vehicles and aftersales offset some of the decline. There was a 2% decline in revenues to £630m and underlying pre-tax profit fell by 13% to £9.8m. The capital investment programme for new sites has peaked and the benefits of that investment are still to come.
Veltyco Group (VLTY) is still finding it difficult to collect the money it is owed. This means that its cash is running low and this will impact its ability to promote its own brands.
Graphene materials supplier Directa Plus (DCTA) is confident that it will achieve 2018 revenues of €2.3m and this figure could double in 2019. Growth is coming from textiles, environmental and elastomers customers.
Ubisense Group (UBI) is selling RTLS SmartSpace for up to £35m, which is around two-thirds of the software company’s current market value. The group had cash of £6.8m in the middle of November 2018. Funds managed by Investcorp Technology Partners will pay an initial £30m. Liabilities of £3.1m and a loan of £1.75m will have to be paid out of the proceeds. The company’s name will be changed to IQGeo and it will focus on the myWorld product, which helps telecom companies to integrate their technology ecosystem. The myWorld business generated interim revenues of £5.7m but £3.2m was geospatial services from third party products. Some of the cash will be distributed to shareholders.
The decline in annual pre-tax profit at Stride Gaming (STR) from £18.9m to £14.8m was no surprise given the impact of regulation and tax. The online bingo and gaming company is likely to report a further fall in profit this year. A special dividend of 8p a share has been announced and in future 50% of net earnings will be paid in dividends.
Packaging and labels supplier Macfarlane Group (MACF) continues to grow revenues organically, supplemented by recent acquisitions. Organic growth has been 5% and overall growth is 13%. The fourth quarter is important, though. Full year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve by 47% to £13.6m and earnings per share by one-third to 7p. Acquisition payments should be offset by cash generated in the second half.
S and U (SUS) has increased its investment in Aspen Bridging from £20m to £30m. Aspen has been trading for less than two years and is already in profit.
Creightons (CRL) increased its interim profit by 44% to £1.38m on revenues one-third ahead at £22.3m. The main growth in sales has come from retailer own brands, while Creightons own brands raised their sales by 11%.
David Brown has sold his 4.55% stake in Associated British Engineering (ASBE).
Sealand Capital (SCGL) has formed a new subsidiary called ePurse (HK) Ltd, which is generating commissions from WeChat Pay activities in Hong Kong. Licences have been obtained in the UK and Dubai.
Veni Vidi Vici Ltd (VVV) joined NEX on 2 August. The minerals investment company has net cash of £513,000, following a £490,000 subscription at 50p a share. The focus will be precious metals and base metals opportunities in Australia, Western Europe and North America. Management will concentrate on capital appreciation.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) is changing its domicile from the Isle of Man to Bermuda. The private equity investment company will have to be readmitted to NEX and AIM. EPE has invested £2m in Main Market-listed LED lighting company Luceco at 39.74p a share. That takes EPE’s stake in Luceco to 27.4%. Poor trading has meant that the Luceco share price has slumped to well below its 2016 flotation level. EPE has redeemed 50% of its unsecured loan notes.
Etaireia (ETIP) has appointed Dennis Rogers as chief executive. He has more than three decades of experience in property development.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has issued 2.685 billion shares, around one-quarter of the enlarged share capital, to wipe out the convertible loan note debt and other creditors. Twenty three year old Devon Marais, who works with ARQ Minerals, which is helping Equatorial to extract coal from the St Leonard’s mine in Nigeria, has been appointed as a non-executive director of Equatorial.
Asia Wealth Group Holdings (AWLP) reported a profit last year. In the year to February 2018, revenues increased from $1.52m to $2.16m, while a pre-tax loss of $110,000 was turned into a pre-tax profit of $150,000. That figure was helped by a $114,000 currency gain, compared with a $19,000 loss. There was still a small net loss from operations before other income.
Petrol stations operator Applegreen (APGN) intends to take a majority stake in UK Motorway services operator Welcome Break. The purchase of a 55% stake for €361.8m would be a reverse takeover. The deal would make Applegreen market leader in the UK as well as Ireland.
A subsidiary of Stride Gaming (STR) has been issued a notice by the Gambling Commission, which intends to levy a significant financial penalty because of the manner in which it carried on its trading. This is not final and there might be room to appeal but it has hit the share price of the online bingo operator.
The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) increased interim revenues by 11% to £5.3m. Most of the growth came from management service fees from the property lettings franchisees. The EweMove estate agency business was profitable.
Goldplat (GDP) says that gold production fell by 17% to 35,400 ounces, which is lower than anticipated, but pre-tax profit will be in line with expectations because of a higher margin per ounce. There was 39,400 ounces of gold sold during the year.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP) has received abbreviated new drug application approval from the FDA to sell Nadolol tablets, which are a generic form of Corgard and used for managing high blood pressure. This is the fifth approval in the US. A pre-tax profit of £33.3m is forecast for the year to June 2018.
Tough UK trading and higher costs held back the results of security and facilities management services provider Mortice Ltd (MORT) in the year to March 2018. Revenues were 21% higher at $219m, but underlying pre-tax profit was down by 16% to $3.9m. Net debt was $18.4m.
Precision marketing software supplier Pelatro (PTRO) is acquiring assets from the Danateq Group for an initial $7m. The deal will take the group into central Europe and adds to the recurring revenues base. A placing has raised £6m at 73p a share.
GetBusy (GETB) grew its interim revenues from £4.5m to £5.2m, with £4.5m of that figure recurring revenues. Annualised recurring revenues are running at £9.4m. Profit generated from document management software sales is being ploughed back into developing the existing product and the new GetBusy software. There is £2.37m in the back.
Starcom (STAR) says that interim revenues have improved from $1.92m to $3m and the loss will be lower. Most of the revenue increase came from two large clients. Growth is starting to come from higher margin security products. The 2018 loss is expected to be much lower than last year’s.
Kosovo-based quarry operator Fox Marble Holdings (FOX) increased interim sales from €329,000 to €614,000 and the second half has started strongly. The benefits of investment in capital equipment are beginning to show through.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has joined the standard list after raising £25m at 16p a share, which values the company at £47m. However, the share price fell to 12.5p by the end of the first day of trading on 3 August. Argo is developing a global datacentre management business facilitating cryptocurrency Mining-as-a-Service. It currently covers four cryptocurrencies. AIM-quoted Vela Technologies (VELA) owns 2.5 million shares, which were acquired for 8p a share.
Motor finance provider S&U (SUS) achieved record first half profit as the second hand car market continues to grow. Quality standards have been tightened with 25% of applications accepted, but net receivables have reached £263m. The property bridging loan book has risen from £11m to £16m over six months. The interims will be announced on 25 September.
BigDish (DISH) was originally going to reverse into AIM shell Nyota Minerals Ltd but instead it has joined the standard list. The company operates an online and mobile restaurant reservation platform, which is in operation in the Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purchase of Pouncer, takes the company into the UK. Revenues come from booking fees per diner. BigDish raised £2.22m at 4.5p a share.
Path Investments (PATH) is raising £10m to complete the farm-in agreement with 5P Energy for the proposed acquisition of a 50% participating interest in the Alfeld-Elze II licence and gas field. This will make Path cash generative. The new shares will be eligible for EIS and VCT relief because Path is moving to AIM.
Dave Brieth has sold his stake in telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP).
Associated British Engineering (ASBE) reported a sharp increase in full year revenues from £1.04m to £1.6m in the year to March 2018. The loss fell from £962,000 to £582,000. This includes investment in developing new diesel engines. The NAV is £976,000, as the loss was partly offset by a £600,000 property revaluation gain. The oil and gas-related operations are still depressed.
Mila Resources (MILA) plans to acquire Capital Metals, which owns 100% of a high-grade mineral sands project in southern Asia. The reverse takeover will be subject to due diligence and shareholder approval.
Fandango Holdings (FHP) has ended bid discussions with Corporate Commercial Collections and Vatbridge following initial due diligence.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) grew 2017 revenues from the nursery, hotel and media operations. There was a 11% increase in raceday attendances, which totalled 196,000 last year, leading to a 1% like-for-like rise in revenues. Overall revenues were 5% higher at £17.8m, while underlying pre-tax profit edged up from £178,000 to £188,000. There was a small cash outflow from operations. Capital investment meant that cash was reduced from £12.9m to £5.2m with more payments to come from the David Wilson Homes deal. A further £5.17m will be spent on upgrading the Pall Mall stand. There are concerns that the cutting of maximum stakes for gaming machines following the recent government announcement could hit bookmaker sponsorship and media rights revenues.
Block Commodities Ltd (BLCC) has a secured a strategic investment from Swarm Fund, which is a decentralised marketplace platform using blockchain. Investors will be able to participate in the FarmCoin asset-backed investment coin via the Swarm platform. FarmCoin is a joint venture between FinComEco and Block Commodities focused on the agriculture sector. There will be up to $45m of FarmCoin tokens issued.
National Milk Records (NMR) is holding a general meeting on 4 June in order to propose a reduction in capital that should put it in a position to have distributable reserves if it wants to pay a dividend.
Pre-IPO investor Primorus Investments (PRIM) had cash of £561,000 at the end of 2017. The NAV was £4.95m. This was after a £3.26m inflow from share issues.
Watkin Jones (WJG) has found a new chief executive but he will not be able to start until the beginning of 2018. Richard Simpson is joining from student accommodation developer Unite Group. The build to rent operations of Watkin Jones has secured a development arrangement for a site in Reading, which will have 315 apartments.
GAN (GAN) and Webis (WEB) are two companies that could benefit from the legalisation of online sports betting in the US. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to overturn the Federal prohibition of sports betting. US sports betting could be worth $6bn by 2023. That covers online and onsite gambling. GAN can launch a sports betting service in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the second half of this year – in time for the NFL season. GAN already has a deal with Betfair in New Jersey and adding sports betting will increase revenues. Webis has a US subsidiary called WatchandWager, which is based in California, a strong potential market for sports betting.
Genedrive (GDR) has agreed to sell its research and pharmacogenomics divisions to a director for up to £1.9m so that it can concentrate on its core Genedrive diagnostics platform. The initial payment is £1.15m with the rest deferred and subject to claims for R and D tax credits.
Lakehouse (LAKE) is acquiring heating and renewables services provider Just Energy Solutions, which fits with the company’s gas compliance businesses in the public sector and expands coverage in the industrial and commercial sectors. There is no upfront cost and payments will be dependent on profitability over two years. Lakehouse has also won a £55m, three year, Warm Homes contract with the Wales government.
Oil and gas demand is recovering at advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) but it is still well below previous levels. Other customers are enhancing growth and aerospace business is on the horizon. Interim revenues were 43% higher at £2.16m but the company is still loss-making. That will continue for a couple of years.
Angling Direct (ANG) increased revenues by 44% to £30.2m in the year to January 2018 and this led to an upgrade in forecast revenues for the current year. The fishing tackle retailer grew online sales by 54% but these tend to be lower margin. Pre-tax profit was £900,000 and it is expected to rise to £1.1m this year.
Online women’s fashion retailer Sosander (SOS) says that its full year revenues will be at least £1.34m. Like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter nearly quadrupled and gross margins are improving.
Portmeirion (PMP) has increased revenues by one-fifth in the first four months to 2018, although the second half of the year is always the more significant. Full year profit is still forecast to rise from £8.8m to £9.4m.
Churchill China (CHH) says that trading is ahead of the same period last year. The ceramic products manufacturer continues to have success in Europe and other export markets.
A new patent application has been filed for SkinBiotix by SkinBiotherapeutics (SBTX) and this covers the increasing of filaggrin levels in skin. Filaggrin is required for the formation of the outer layer of skin. Eczema sufferers have a low level of filaggrin.
The People’s Operator (TPOP) is increasing its UK subscribers but US numbers have declined so the performance was down in the first quarter of 2018. Churn is declining. Margins are better than expected. Even so, progress is too slow and an alternative strategy is required by the virtual mobile network business and it is considering divesting the US subscribers. That should cut cash burn by one-third.
A bathing water test by Molendotech, which is one of the investee companies of Frontier IP Group (FIPP), is being launched by Halma. This follows the agreement earlier this year.
Altona Energy (ANR) will begin a drilling programme on the Westfield tenement of the Arckaringa coal project during August. There could be 100mt of coal in the tenement. It will take three weeks to drill 15 holes to a depth of 120 metres.
Active Energy Group (AEG) intends to acquire a controlling interest in PowerWood Canada. Which owns forestry assets in Canada. This will secure feedstock for the roll-out of CoalSwitch, the biomass replacement for coal. There are plans to construct a 25 tonne per hour CoalSwitch plant in Alberta.
Servoca (SVCA) wants shareholders to agree to the cancellation of the AIM quotation. Management says that this will save £150,000 a year.
Volex (VLX) is buying Silcotec Europe for €18.1m and raising £36m at 75p a share. Silcotec supplies harnesses and electronic sub-assemblies to the medical, telecoms and computer industries and generated an operating profit of €3.1m.
Audioboom (BOOM) is not going ahead with the reverse takeover of Triton Digital Canada Inc because it could not raise the cash from a placing. A £700,000 break fee in cash (£90,000) and shares is payable. The audio business still requires more cash and that is why trading in the shares is still suspended.
Sportech (SPO) has a strong presence in the US so it is in a good position to benefit from the legalisation of sports betting. It already has 90 licenced operator clients and its own network of off-track betting facilities in Connecticut.
The reasons behind founder Laurence Orbach increasing his stake in books publisher Quarto Group Inc (QRT) to 20.1% have become clear. Orbach was removed from the board in November 2012 but he has joined with 27% shareholder Lion Rock to unseat four non-executive directors at the AGM. Orbach and former finance director Mick Mousley have returned to the board, along with two nominees from Lion Rock. Orbach becomes executive chairman.
Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has completed bulk sampling in zone 1 and this should enable a resource estimate to be calculated.
Standard list shell Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has signed heads of terms for a 50% stake in CarCloud, a car sales-based fintech company. The deal to acquire energy storage systems developer Phestor is off. That follows the abortive takeover of Myclubbetting.
S&U (SUS) says non-prime car finance applications are 10% higher this year, although approval rates have fallen. Net receivables have increased by £48m to £258m.
North Midland Construction (NMD) has made a strong start to the year. There is a secured workload of £310m for this year and this should enable an improved financial performance this year.
World Trade Systems (WTS) wants to diversify its business outside of China. A new Taiwan-based health and fitness subsidiary is being incorporated. Kun Xin International will provide a loan facility of up to £3m to finance the new business. European opportunities are being sought.
Blood diseases treatments developer Hemogenyx Pharma (HEMO) has signed a development agreement with a global pharma company, which will provide Hemogenyx with free technical support and some intellectual property. The pharma company will be granted a research licence for anything jointly developed.
Sativa Investments (SAPI) joined NEX on 29 March after raising £1.1m at 1p a share. The share price has already reached 3.125p. Sativa has £1.5m in cash that it can invest in businesses involved in medicinal cannabis. The initial focus is Canada.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) reported a slight reduction in NAV to 41.5p a share at the end of February 2018. The portfolio includes 17 unquoted employee owned businesses with a value of £5.24m.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has entered into a three-year, $10m loan facility with a US private equity firm and this will be used to develop the Hellyer mine. The facility has a 12% annual interest charge and it is secured on the company’s assets. NQ has entered into a silver purchase deed with the finance provider and has to sell them 30% of the first 8 million ounces recovered from the Hellyer mine and 10% of the payable silver for the lifetime of mine. The price will be the lower of $6/ounce or 80% of market price.
Gunsynd (GUN) says that investee company Human Brands is acquiring a 10% stake in wine and spirits distributor Milestone Beverages HK Ltd, which can help to increase the distribution coverage of the investee company’s drinks brands. Gunsynd owns 6.18% of Brazil Tungsten Holdings, which has been forced to suspend operations after a fatal accident. The investment is currently valued at £500,000.
Welney (WENP) made a broadly similar interim loss of £37,000 and it has net liabilities of £234,000.
Block Commodities (BLOC) has reduced its interim loss from $1.19m to $782,000.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) has reached agreement with 4Navitas, which will make a payment to cover the majority of costs incurred when Angelfish was trying to negotiate a joint venture agreement.
Etaireia Investments (ETIP) has raised £50,000 at 0.06p a share.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has sold 50% of its stake in Pharmacy 2U, for double its cost, at the same time as the digital pharmacy services provider raised £40m of new cash.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has extended the closing date of the one-for-four open offer to raise up to £1.05m at 94p a share from 26 March to 30 April.
MySQUAR Ltd (MYSQ) slipped out its interim figures at 5.32pm after the market had closed for Easter. They show near-doubled cash outflow from operating activities of $2.22m. There was $68,000 in the bank at the end of 2017. Management is hopeful that the $218,000 of trade receivables at the end of December 2017 can be collected by June. Since then, MySQUAR has issued £2.11m of convertible bonds at 90% of their face value to Atlas Capital Markets Ltd. There are also more than 20 million warrants exercisable at 3.15p a share. There is talk of an acquisition of a mobile payment services business.
Conviviality (CVR) is calling in administrators after a rescue fundraising failed to win the backing of investors.
Publisher Axel Springer is investing £125m in Purplebricks (PURP) and this will give it 11.9% of the estate agency. The shares are being acquired at 360p each and £25m worth of existing shares are being acquired from management. Full year revenues will double but a weak UK market, exacerbated by the weather and potentially by negative publicity. There was £51.7m in the bank at the end of February 2018. The additional cash will enable a faster roll-out in the US and entry into other markets.
Royal Bank of Scotland has bid 120p a share for FreeAgent (FREE) and that values the accounting software provider at £53m. The founders will take shares and have a 23.5% stake in the bid vehicle. FreeAgent floated 18 months ago at 84p a share. At the beginning of 2017, FreeAgent signed a deal with RBS, which offers the company’s SaaS-based software to small business customers. More than 10,000 customers have taken up the software.
Polarean Imaging (POLX) joined AIM on 29 March and raised £3m at 15p a share. Polarean has developed xenon gas-based technology that enables MRI scans to produce better images. Amphion Innovations (AMP) retains a 23.2% stake.
Polemos (PLMO) has withdrawn its general meeting resolutions. The placing and 100-for-one share consolidation will not go ahead for the time being. There could be an open offer and placing at the previously proposed price of 0.01p a share.
Thor Mining (THR) is acquiring 40% of an exploration licence, which has 13 outcropping tungsten deposits and one copper deposit and 100% of a prospective copper exploration licence. Thor is issuing A$550,000 of shares to Rox Resources in payment for these purchases. The 60%-owner of the first licence has the right to match the price offered.
Tracsis (TRCS) increased its interim profit by one-third to £2.4m as revenues grew by 18% to £18.1m. The software division increased its profit and there was a recovery in the traffic and data services division. There is more improvement to come from the latter division. The interim dividend is 17% higher at 0.7p a share. There is £18.5m in the bank. There will be a second half contribution from the rail sector delay repay businesses acquired in February. Progress is being made in selling remote condition monitoring technology in North America.
Internet gaming software supplier GAN (GAN) reported a reduced loss of £4.2m for 2017. There was £2.7m in the bank at the end of 2017 and since then has raised £2m via an unsecured 9% convertible loan note. There could be further fundraisings in order to make the most of the prospects for real money internet gaming in the US.
Inland Homes (INL) increased its adjusted EPRA NAV by 6% to 97.63p a share. Interim pre-tax profit improved from £4.95m to £5.37m. The interim dividend was raised 30% to 0.65p a share. The landbank has been expanded to 7,372 plots.
Altona Energy (ANR) slightly increased its first half loss to £260,000 and there was £690,000 in the bank at the end of 2017. The current focus is conventional coal mining at the Arckaringa coal project in Australia. Altona is assessing less wet coal seams.
RM2 International (RM2) is raising £25.3m at 1p a share, just over 50% after a general meeting and the rest dependent on the reduction of operating costs and commercial launch of new technology, and converting preferred shares into 3.16 billion shares. There are also plans for an open offer to raise around £4.5m. The new cash will be used to retrofit existing pallets with ELIoT track and trace devices and produce new RM2 ELIoT pallets. Former chief executive John Walsh has stepped down from the board, as has Frederic de Mevius. Woodford appears likely to end up owning around two-thirds of RM2. The second tranche is dependent on Woodford agreeing that key performance indicators have been met. Three members of RM2’s management will acquire shares in the placing via a reduction in their salaries over an 18 month period.
STM Group (STM) reported better than expected 2017 and this led to an upgrade for 2018. Last year’s pre-tax profit improved from £2.6m to £4m, helped by an increased provision release from the acquired life book. The underlying pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £3.2m to £4.2m in 2018.
Caledonian Trust (CNN) reported a NAV of 185.7p a share at the end of 2017. This was helped an increase in the valuation of St Margaret’s House, which is in the process of being sold.
The SimplyBiz Group provides regulatory and support services to financial advisers and is set to join AIM on 4 April.
Sosandar (SOS) has gained momentum since floating last year. The online women’s fashion retailer continues to lose money but the customer database has increased nearly ten-fold to 36,328.
NetScientific (NSCI) is running out of money and it needs more by the end of June. A placing and subscription will raise up to £6m at 52.5p a share. The cash will be used to provide additional financial backing for investee companies.
Manx Financial Services (MFX) has acquired Blue Star Business Solutions, which is a broker for IT equipment funding, for an initial £1.5m in cash. This could increase to up to £4m depending on performance.
Connemara Mining (CON) is focusing on three main areas: the Inishowen gold project in Donegal, the Mine River gold project in Wicklow and Wexford and multiple zinc exploration projects. The next exploration is at the 100%-owned Mine River gold project where high grade intersections will be targeted.
Wynnstay Properties (WSP) has increased the value of its investment properties by £1.63m to £30.1m in the year to March 2018. The NAV has increased by 100p a share to more than 770p a share.
Real Good Food (RGD) has agreed a loan note facility of up to £4m with three major shareholders. Longer-term, a share issue will be required.
Vernalis (VER) lost £37.6m in 2017, mainly down to exceptional write-downs and unrealised foreign exchange movements. There was £46m in the bank. US commercial activity should finish by the end of September and that will slow the ongoing cash outflow.
Kestrel has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems Group (PEB) from 15.2% to 16.6%. The share price has been on a downward trajectory and borrowings are significant but Kestrel must believe that the software company will survive.
Life science software provider Instem (INS) coupled its 2017 figures with a contract announcement for its SEND software. Revenues were 18% ahead at £21.7m, and that included organic growth of 5%, while pre-tax profit recovered from £500,000 to £1.9m. A further improvement to £2.7m is expected this year.
Feedback (FDBK) has raised £440,000 at 1.25p a share and it will invest in sales and marketing for the TexRAD and Cadran technology, as well as developing a clinical evidence base for TexRAD.
Oracle Power (ORCP) has raised £550,000 at 1.4p a share to provide cash for the company as it moves to financial close for the development of the Thar Block VI lignite coal mine and power plant in the Sindh province in Pakistan.
GoTech Group (GOT) plans to sell its Sportsdata business to Starnevesse for £1. The company was a shell prior to the acquisition of the business in May 2016 and it effectively became a shell again when it stopped supporting the business at the end of 2017. There is £566,000 in the bank and there will be a £100,000 cash payment as part of the settlement of indebtedness to Starnevesse.
Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has signed an agreement with Unimicro Technologies Inc, which will integrate Microsaic’s 4500 MiD mass spectrometry detector into its Capillary Electrophoresis instruments.
Collagen Solutions (COS) is restructuring its New Zealand operations. The plan is to focus on tissue collection and processing and then consolidate collagen production in Glasgow. Annual cost savings should be £200,000 and one-off costs will be £150,000.
Chris Akers has increased its stake in YOLO Leisure (YOLO) from 6.8% to 7.93%.
S&U Group (SUS) reported a one-fifth increase in pre-tax profit to £30.2m. The car finance provider achieved this despite a start-up loss from the bridging finance business Aspen. The total dividend for the year was increased from 91p a share to 105p a share. A rise in pre-tax profit to £35.8m is forecast for this year.
Book publisher Quarto Group Inc (QRT) slumped into loss in 2017, although the underlying pre-tax profit fell from $13.9m to $3.9m. Net debt was $64m. The year end is being changed to March.
Shefa Yamim (SEFA) had NIS6.49m in the bank at the end of 2017 following its flotation. Bulk sampling results for the Kishon Mid-Reach gemstones project have been positive and the processing plant has been upgraded.
Path Investments (PATH) has postponed its exit from the standard list until further notice. The plan is to move to AIM when the proposed oil and gas asset acquisition is made but the timing remains uncertain.
North Midland Construction (NMD) reported a fall in profit in 2017 even though revenues increased from £250.5m to £291.8m. Pre-tax profit more than halved from £2.06m to £1m. That is because the loss on legacy contracts increased from £3.85m to £7.29m. The final dividend is unchanged at 3p a share even though the total dividend is one-third higher at 6p a share.
NCC (NCC) has sold its web performance business for £7.5m. The sale process for the software testing business is continuing.
Ascent Resources AST updates on progress with its Petišovci project in Slovenia, and says the installation of the necessary infrastructure to accommodate export production has now been completed. As a result, recertification on the Croatian side of the border is moving towards a positive conclusion.
Merlin Entertainments MERL reports a 0.7% increase in H1 PBT to £50m, on revenues up 19.4%. As the company approaches the peak trading period, it is making good progress across most businesses, but remains cautious on the near term outlook for UK attractions, reflecting the recent terror attacks. Despite this trading uncertainty, Merlin anticipates delivering FY profits in line with current expectations.
Millennium & Copthorne MLC says half-year revenues increased by 16% to £485m, but cautions that there is continuing pressure on the profitability of hotel operations, particularly in North Asia and New York.
Pearson PSON reports a 1% increase in half-year sales to £2,047m, with a statutory operating profit of £16m (H1 2016: £286m loss. The group declared an interim dividend of 5p (2016: 18p) and plans a share buyback of £300m following the announced reduction and recapitalisation of the stake in PRH.
RPS Group RPS reports a 35% hike in interim pre-tax profits to £27.2m, with an equivalent increase in adjusted EPS to 8.71p (2016: 6.44p). Net bank borrowings reduced slightly to £93.4m (June 2016: £95m), and RPS declared a 3% increase in the dividend to 4.80p. CEO Alan Hearne said the strong first half results “enable us to anticipate modestly exceeding market expectations for the full year”.
Royal Bank of Scotland RBS reports H1 operating profit before tax of £1,951m. Adjusted return on equity across PBB, CPB and NatWest Markets was 14.1% compared with 10.9% in H1 2016. Common Equity Tier 1 ratio increased by 70 basis points in the quarter to 14.8%, and remains ahead of the stated RBS target of 13%. RBS retains 2017 FY financial guidance and medium term financial outlook as provided in 2016 Annual Results document.
S & U SUS says trading at motor finance subsidiary Advantage continues at record levels, while Aspen Bridging is proceeding cautiously and gradually establishing itself in the bridging market.
YouGov YOU says trading for the year ended 31 July 2017 is now expected to be ahead of the Board’s previous expectations. YouGov reports another year of revenue growth well ahead of the global market research sector and has maintained the performance trends reported in the first half of the current financial year.