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National Milk Records (NMRP) increased its interim revenues from £10.5m to £11.7m, although some of this was due to seasonal factors and one-off testing business. Pre-tax profit improved from £0.96m to £1.13m. Net debt was £2.06m at the end of December 2018. Every part of the business grew its revenues. Milk volumes are set to be strong in the second half, although milk margins are been squeezed by a decline in the milk price and higher feed costs.
Barkby (BARK) has completed the acquisition of Centurian Automotive for an initial payment of £201,000 in shares at 4.775p each, with up to £251,000 more based on performance over three years. Operating profit in each of the years is required to be at least £200,000 in order to achieve the full payment. The consideration represents a discount to net assets and will be equivalent to up to 20% of Barkby. In the year to March 2018, the automotive dealer made a pre-tax profit of £123,000 on revenues of £5.6m.
Sandal (SAND) says there was a significant increase in Energie MiHome sales in December, particularly later in the month, but trading is still below expectations because of a lack of cash to spend on marketing. The stock overhang has been unwound. A Wi-Fi adapter plug has been added to the range, which is being rolled out in Denman’s Electrical Wholesale branches.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) owned Palermo Football Club for less than one month before selling it back to the previous management team. It was bought for a nominal sum and is being sold for a nominal value, following further due diligence. The company’s representatives joined the board in December and resigned last week. Debt will be settled at the same time. Sports Capital had been trying to raise up to £20m over the next few months.
Trading has recommenced in the shares of EcoVista (EVTP) after it published its results for the year to August 2018. There was a £142,000 property revaluation gain and net assets were £1.39m. There are plans to launch a €10m Eurobond issue to fund further property site acquisitions in London, Hertfordshire and Essex.
Gold explorer Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has completed stage one drilling on the Specimen Hill project in Queensland and each hole drilled intersected gold. Geological modelling results will be available in March. A further 7,500 metres of drilling is being planned.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has raised $400,000 at 20 cents a unit (one share and one-half warrant). The expenses of the placing were $28,000. The cash will be used for assessing coltan opportunities in Colombia and Brazil. NQ Mining (NQMI) has raised £54,000 at 11p a share.
Panoply Holdings (TPX) has made its third acquisition since floating in December. UK-based GreenShoot Labs provides digital services using artificial intelligence technology. There is no initial consideration and any payment will depend on performance.
Marketing and media services provider Ebiquity (EBQ) traded in line with expectations last year. The disposal of the advertising intelligence was completed on 2 January. This cut net debt to around £8m. The continuing business is expected to continue to grow at 8% a year.
Online merchandising software and services provider ATTRAQT Group (ATQT) increased its 2018 revenues by 26% to £17.1m and the loss declined from £4.1m to £2.7m. The largest customer has renewed for two years. Annual recurring revenues are £16m.
GRC International (GRC) has acquired data consulting business DQM Group for an initial £5.9m with up to £5m in deferred consideration, although it is not expected to be more than £3.5m. This is a significantly earnings enhancing deal.
Cabot Energy (CAB) is consolidating 100 shares into one new share and raising up to £2.85m at 10p per consolidated share. The cash will pay off trade creditors. The main focus is Canada but Cabot believes its Italian oil and gas exploration assets could still be valuable even though the Italian government has suspended exploration work and is reviewing the situation.
The administrator has sold most of the businesses of Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) but there will be no money for shareholders. Dublin-based Causeway Capital has acquired Patisserie Valerie and AF Blakemore acquired Philpotts for a total of £13m, of which £3m is deferred. Baker and Spice was sold to the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs for £2.5m. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 25 February. Paul Mumford of Cavendish Asset Management believes that the company’s banks should have supported a rescue and been more attentive to what was happening at the company. He thinks that shareholders should seek compensation from the banks.
Malvern International (MLVN) has confirmed that it moved into profit in 2018. The education business has doubled its London-based revenues and this made up for difficult trading in Malaysia.
Realm Therapeutics (RLM) is selling is hypochlorous acid assets for $10m and intends to leave AIM. Realm already had $18.8m in the bank at the end of 2018. The plan is to use the cash to complete a strategic transaction in the life sciences sector. The ADSs will continue to be listed on Nasdaq.
Stride Gaming (STR) has started a strategic review. The choices are acquisitive or organic expansion or the sale of the online gaming company.
Renalytix AI (RENX) has secured a joint venture with laboratory and clinical trials operator AKESOgen and this will enable Renalytix AI to provide additional services in the US. The artificial intelligence-based kidney diagnostics already has a presence in New York and the new joint venture is based in Georgia.
Administrators have been appointed to Utilitywise (UTW) but none of the subsidiaries is in administration. Shareholders are not likely to get anything from the administration process. Unitlitywise was unable to raise the cash it required to keep going and meet liabilities.
Heavitree Brewery (HVT) improved full year revenues from £7.3m to £7.61m and pre-tax profit grew from £1.55m to £2.25m, although that included profit on the sale of pubs and other property of £824,000, up from £6,000. The previous year had benefited from the write-back of a bad debt provision. The final dividend is being increased from 4p a share to 4.25p a share. Heavitree no longer has to cover a pension scheme deficit because three people transferred out of the scheme.
Bowmark Capital has launched a 110p a share recommended cash bid for Tax Systems (TAX) and MXC Capital Ltd (MXC) has accepted with its 25.6% stake. The bid values the tax software provider at £100.6m.
Kodal Minerals (KOD) has published the results of the drilling programme at the Bougouni lithium project. These will be used to update the JORC resource, which should happen by the end of February. Kodal has met with the Mali authorities to update them.
Insignals Neurotech is the third Portuguese spin out for Frontier IP (FIPP) and it will hold a 33% stake. Insignals is developing technology for brain stimulation surgery.
Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI) has made another scientific instruments acquisition and it has raised £2.5m at 34p a share to help finance it. A further £100,000 was raised via PrimaryBid. Graticules manufactures reticules and graticules and fits with the digital imaging division. It cost £3.4m and has added 6% to next year’s earnings per share.
Strategic Minerals (SML) has announced a trebled resource at Redmoor, in which it has a 50% stake. There is an inferred tin equivalent contained metal of 137,000 tonnes.
James Latham (LTHM) has acquired the timber merchant that has the rights to sell Accoya wood in Ireland. Abbey Woods will cost an initial €1.825m with a further €300,000-€400,000 depending on completion accounts. Further deferred consideration of up to €400,000 depending on performance over two years. Last year, Abbey Woods generated EBITDA of €379,000 on revenues of €7.5m and it has operations in Dublin and Cork.
Vast Resources (VAST) says that the tranche B offtake finance from Mercuria Energy Trading did not happen. This means that the planned December and January repayments of the loan from Sub Sahara Goldia Investments have not been made Talks continue with potential finance providers to replace the cash to invest in 80%-owned copper, silver, gold, zinc, lead, tungsten, molybdenum Baita Plai project. Bergen Global Opportunities Fund is pausing the second tranche of the $3m bridge facility because the share price has been below 0.2p for two days. A placing has raised £896,000 at 0.135p a share and this will repay the £525,000 owed to Bergen. There are discussions with a potential cornerstone investor for a diamond project in Zimbabwe.
RiverFort Global Opportunities (RGO) has subscribed for shares in Pires Investments (PIRI), that will give it a 24.3% stake. RiverFort is taking nearly 50% of the shares issued in a placing that raised £782,000 at 2.4p a share for Pires. The cash will be used for new investments.
Trading in the shares of African Battery Materials (ABM) will resume on Monday 18 February following the issue of 200 million shares at 0.5p each. The cash will be used to pay creditors and leave enough to finance the business for 12 months. Andrew Bell has been appointed executive chairman and Paul Johnson as executive director.
Windar Photonics (WPHO) will undershoot the 2018 forecast, but there should be higher orders from Vestas and another manufacturer next year. Even so, 2019 forecasts are likely to be reduced. Total 2018 revenues were 59% ahead at €3.5m and higher gross margins meant that the loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell from €1.22m to €360,000. The end of year order book was worth €1m.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has more than trebled its proved and probable reserves to 2.43 million barrels of oil. Net proved reserves are 764,030 barrels of oil.
President Energy (PPC) has updated the reserves position. The Argentina and Louisiana reserves are valued at almost $300m, which is equivalent to 21p a share. That is more than twice the market capitalisation. Production is predominantly oil but gas production will increase this year.
Harwood Wealth Management (HW.) has acquired IFA Castleton Financial Planning for up to £1.6m.
Trading in the shares of Urals Energy (UEN) has been suspended following the resignation of Allenby as nominated adviser. A general meeting, which will be held on 22 February, has been called by Adler Impex SA in order to remove three directors and appoint four other directors. Oil production was 1,690 barrels/day in January. Loans made without board approval have meant that the company is short of cash.
Waste-to-energy technology developer PowerHouse Energy (PHE) is confident that it could sign up a customer in the next quarter. There is increasing interest and six potential sites are being assessed. Potential engineering, procurement and construction contractors have approached PowerHouse. Development partner Waste2Tricity is in negotiations with Toyota Tsusho, which would be a way of entering the Japanese market.
Braveheart Investment Group (BRH) has reduced its stake in Remote Monitored Systems (RMS) from 5.9% to 1.32%. Stephen Jones increased his stake from below 3% to 14.5% in just over one month.
Dewscope Ltd, where Mark Horrocks is a director, has cut its stake in Sabien Technology (SNT) from 12.7% to less than 3%. Chris Akers has also reduced his stake from 16.9% to less than 3% and Brendan Adams has cut his shareholding from 4.2% to under 3%. These stakes were acquired on 14 December, when the mid-price was 0.11p. On 11 February, when the shares were sold, the share price increased from 0.145p to 0.175p. Sabien reported a decline in interim revenues from £462,000 to £342,000, but the loss was reduced from £233,000 to £207,000 due to cost reductions.
TV programme producer DCD Media (DCD) expects to report revenues of £7.3m and a small EBITDA in 2018. Trading has started well in 2019 helped by business that was delayed from last year.
HaloSource (HAL) is seeking shareholder approval for the disposal of assets to Strix (KETL) for $1.3m. The cash will pay creditors and fund the winding down of the business. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 12 March.
WANdisco (WAND) has raised $17.5m at 546p a share to provide cash to support relationships with partners. WANdisco has become an advanced technology partner with Amazon Web Services.
Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) is issuing 6.1 million shares to China Aerospace for a 6.8% stake in Hong Kong Mining Holdings, where Adamas already has a 84.8% stake. This is a complicated deal, but Adamas can tell China Aerospace where to transfer these shares. It means that Adamas will not necessarily increase its shareholding in the mining company. Sorting out what was effectively a stock overhang should make it easier to do a deal that will unlock cash for Adamas.
NetScientific (NSCI) has concluded its strategic review and it has decided to cancel its AIM quotation. The remaining cash will be spent on the investee companies with the best prospects of providing a return before the company runs out of money.
Angus Energy (ANGS) is repaying the £1.5m initial advance from YA II and RiverFort Global Opportunities. Angus has raised £2.2m at 4p a share.
The University of British Columbia has ordered a polariser system from Polarean Imaging (POLX).
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has made the earnings enhancing acquisition of profitable Newcastle insolvency practice KRE. The initial payment is £450,000 with up to £150,000 more based on revenue targets over 12 months.
Full year figures will be lower than expected at IFA Tavistock Investments (TAVI) but a maiden dividend is still on the cards.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) will report a 45% increase in 2018 revenues, with most of the growth coming from software.
Cryptocurrency mining services provider Argo Blockchain (ARB) is refocusing its business. All existing contracts will be terminated by the beginning of April. The focus will be Argo’s own currency mining. Ongoing costs will be cut by one-third. Net cash is £15m and that is much more than the market capitalisation of Argo. The cash outflow should be stemmed in the second half of 2019. Hadron Capital recently increased its stake to 7.6%.
Trading is in line at fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) even though the UK automotive market is weak. More than two-thirds of sales are overseas. Additional UK stocks for Brexit are worth around £2m.
Commercial aircraft leasing company Avation (AVAP) expects to report a doubled interim profit on revenues that have risen from $52.4m to $58m.
Outdoor digital media company Grand Vision Media Holdings (GVMH) has signed a partnership agreement with Rakuten Bank in Japan to add to the one it signed with CY Group in South Korea. GVMH’s marketing services will help its partners promote themselves to Chinese tourists. GVMH has glasses-free 3D technology.
Helen Sachdev has been appointed as a non-executive director of Athelney Trust (ATY) and Frank Ashton has taken on the role of executive chairman. Discussions continue with Gresham House Asset Management about taking over the management of the company’s investments.
Future (FUTR) has secured a new £90m revolving credit facility and it is acquiring CyclingNews.com and Procycling Magazine, which generate annual revenues of £2m. This deal widens the sports publishing activities.
REA Holdings (RE.) significantly increased palm oil production in 2018, even though extraction rates were lower than expected. The Kota Bangun coal concession is heading towards reopening the mine, although there are local disputes.
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.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) is acquiring Italian football club Palermo for a nominal sum. The deal also includes the project for a new stadium for the Serie B team, which is currently five points clear at the top of the table. Promotion back to Serie A would boost revenue generation and it would also trigger an earn-out payment. There is also potential for more sponsorship and match revenues. There is a plan to raise up to £10m from a bond issue that would be traded on NEX.
Clinical decision support technology provider DXS International (DXSP) reported a lower interim loss in the six months to October 2018. Revenues edged up from £1.61m to £1.69m and the loss declined from £92,000 to £35,000. Tax credits meant that there was a post-tax profit of £70,000, up from £28,000. The GPSoC tender has been delayed but it is expected to be completed this year.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that its priorities for 2019 are to demonstrate the potential of the blockchain investments that it has and to take advantage of the growing sector. There were record levels of investment in the blockchain sector last year. Management wants movements in the share price to reflect progress rather than the movement of the price of bitcoin, as has been the case in the past year.
KR1 (KR1) has set up a subsidiary in Gibraltar. KRX Ltd will sponsor token-based projects that will list on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which operates the first regulated blockchain exchange. The subsidiary will generate fees from clients and there are a limited number of sponsors.
AFH Financial Group (AFHP) has acquired fellow wealth management firm Hayburn Rock for up to £3.5m. The initial payment is £900,000. In 2017, the firm made a profit of £400,000.
TechFinancials (TECH) is selling its stake in MarketFinancials, which no longer trades, for €100,000. The investment had no value on the balance sheet.
Smaller company investor Gledhow Investments (GDH) had £167,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018, having made a small profit in the period. The NAV is £793,000.
Ashley House (ASH) is changing its year from April to June. This is the end of the first six months period for joint venture Morgan Ashley Care Developments LLP. There will be interim results for the six months to October 2018 reported at the end of January.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has commissioned the Hellyer processing plant and in the fourth quarter generated £3.2m of revenues from lead, zinc and pyrite.
Ascent Resources (AST) is attempting to raise cash at 0.3p a share, which is a 20% discount to the market price, via PrimaryBid.com. Ascent has successfully raised cash via the platform in the past. The broker handling the deal is Stanford Capital Partners. Ascent, which has €400,000 in the bank plus a deposit for a bank guarantee of €200,000, is refocusing its expansion outside of Slovenia because of regulatory hold ups in the country. Revenues from the export of gas from Slovenia totalled €2.1m in 2018 but gaining permission to process the gas and sell it to the national grid has proved difficult.
Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Leicester-based legal services business Cummins for £1.57m in cash and shares. This fits well with the existing east Midlands operations. In the six months to October 2018, group revenues were 37% ahead at £23.9m and organic growth was 10%. Underlying pre-tax profit doubled to £4.4m. The maiden interim dividend is 0.6p a share. Net debt was £9.5m at the end of October 2018. Average fees per fee earner was one-quarter higher at £66,000.
Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) did better than expected last year. The 2018 pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 5% to $29m. Net cash is $25m and 50% of the excess over $15m will be paid in a special dividend on top of the ordinary dividend. Somero has also paid $2m for concrete pouring and line dragging company Line Dragon and this broadens the product range.
Student accommodation activities fuelled the growth of Watkin Jones (WJG) last year but private rental will become increasingly important from this year onwards. Richard Simpson has taken over as chief executive.
Kromek (KMK) is making progress towards breakeven and it has plenty of cash in the bank to take it there. The imaging and radiation detection technology developer has a strong order book. There was a dip in first half revenues because of the transfer of production to a new site in Pittsburgh. Even so, full year revenues are forecast to increase from £11.8m to £15m and the loss should reduce from £2.5m to £1.9m.
Tri-Star Resources (TSTR) is selling its antinomy exploration interests in Turkey. The company’s main asset is the 40% shareholding in the Sohar antinomy and gold production facility in northern Oman. Some engineering problems have to be sorted out before the plant is fully up and running. More cash will be required. The venture has requested $10.5m from its shareholders.
The market was disappointed by news from Verona Pharma (VRP) about the clinical trial results for COPD treatment Ensifentrine (RPL554). Two different does were used in combination with Stiolto Respimat. The treatment did work better than the placebo, but the improvement in breathing was not statistically significant. The share price slumped by more than one-third, although there was a small subsequent recovery.
CH Bailey (BLEY) has decided to cancel its AIM quotation and it is asking for shareholder approval. The company is offering to buy back shares at 100p each via a tender offer.
Ariana Resources (AAU) says that its 50%-owned Kiziltepe mine produced 27,110ounces of gold in 2018. Ariana expects its $33m development loan to be fully repaid during 2019.
Tax Systems (TAX) had reduced net debt from £20.5m to £13.9m by the end of 2018. Pre-tax profit of £5.8m is forecast for 2018.
Ideagen (IDEA) is acquiring Cork-based Scannell Solutions, which provides environmental health and safety software, for £3.5m. Annualised revenues are around €1m, of which, two-thirds is recurring.
Consumer engagement technology provider Pelatro (PTRO) has confirmed that 2018 figures are in line with expectations and there was improved cash generation in the second half. Net cash was $1.8m at the end of 2018. finnCap expects 2019 pre-tax profit to double from $2.9m to $6m.
Plexus Holdings (POS) plans to buy back 4.95 million shares owned by LLC Gusar. The price will be 50.5p a share. Gusar will use the cash to buy two POS-GRIP wellhead systems, which it announced it was going to buy one year ago.
Midwich Group (MIDW) has acquired MobilePro AG, which expands the audio visual products distributor into Switzerland. The business has annual revenues of CHF25m.
Pharmaxis has completed a toxicity study for two LOXL2 inhibitors in which Synairgen (SNG) has a 17%carried financial interest. Pharmaxis can brief potential licensing partners with the information gained.
Tracsis (TRCS) is acquiring Compass Informatics, which is a data analytics and systems development business. Tracsis is paying up to €5.15m for the Dublin-based company, which made a pre-tax profit of £600,000 last year.
Portmeirion Group (PMP) has achieved record sales in 2018 and beat the profit forecast of £9.5m. The fastest growth came in the home fragrance division.
Iofina (IOF) achieved record iodine production levels in the second half of 2018. Full year production was 17% higher at 588.8 million tonnes. There should be a further rise in production this year and that could move Iofina into profit.
Brandon Hill has initiated coverage of Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) and it has valued the company’s Lahtojoki diamond project in Finland at $32.9m, based on an average diamond price of $100/carat.
The People’s Operator (TPOP) has postponed the appointment of an administrator as negotiations with interested parties continue.
Kestrel Opportunities has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) from 22.2% to 23.1%. Little more than one year ago the stake was below 15%.
Caledonia Mining Corporation (CMCL) has cut 2019 gold production guidance for its Blanket Mine and WH Ireland has downgraded its forecast from 61,200 ounces to 55,500 ounces, which is at the higher end of the guidance. There was 54,5000 ounces of gold produced in 2018.
Athelney Trust (ATY) is holding the requisitioned general meeting on Tuesday 22 January. Robin Boyle has requisitioned a general meeting in order to get himself reappointed. He left the board last year after a disagreement over the future of the investment company. He wanted to stay on as a non-executive director to shepherd the change in investment management for the trust. The plan is to get Gresham House involved in the investment management. Boyle also wants David Lawman and Paul Coffin to be appointed and the three existing directors, Dr Emmanuel Pohl, Simon Moore and Jemma Jackson, to be removed.
Path Investments (PATH) has signed heads of agreement with ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue. Path had £31,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Challenger Acquisitions Ltd (CHAL) has agreed to sell its $300,000 investment in the Dallas Wheel project back to the developers. Challenger has received $27,000 in interest and will receive $50,000 a month, plus interest, for six months.
Gresham Technologies (GHT) has sold its VME mainframe software business for £2m.
Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has sufficient cash to finance continued exploration in the first quarter of 2019. By the middle of the year the gems explorer will be able to estimate how much cash it requires to start trial mining.
Ananda Developments (ANA) is acquiring 15% of UK-based Liberty Herbal Technologies Ltd, which is the owner and developer of hapac, a technology for vaping cannabis. The investment cost £460,000 and Ananda has the right of first refusal for any further fundraisings in the next two years. The technology can be used to provide a measured medicinal dose. A commercial launch is planned in Italy before the end of the year and in Canada next year. Ananda is holding a general meeting to extend its geographical focus to the UK and Italy.
Chapel Down Group (CDGP) is leasing 388 acres of land adjoining its existing vineyards on the North Downs. This site will be vined between 2019 and 2021 and with the rest of the land that has already been planted it will be the largest vineyard in England.
DagangHalal (DGHL) intends to leave NEX after less than three years on the market. Trading in the shares has been limited but this is not surprising given the problems the company has had. Shareholders owning 84.7% of the company are in favour of the withdrawal from NEX and this will happen on 1 October.
Trading in Etaireia (ETIP) shares was suspended because the annual report for the year to March 2018 was not published by the end of August. The results were released on 5 September and trading was restored. The loss was increased from £622,000 to £857,000, following a £434,000 write down on the value of land at Dalry. The NAV was £1.81m at the end of March 2018.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) remains suspended with full year results due to be published by the middle of September. The audit of Essential Learning still needs to be completed.
Hot Rocks Investments (HRIP) had nearly £17,000 in the bank at the end of March 2018. The NAV was £722,000. The majority of the loss of £219,000 in the year was due to share-based payments. Hot Rocks has a stake in Minergy Ltd, which has floated on the Botswana Stock Exchange and has been granted a mining licence for the Masama coal project. Production could start by next February. Another investee company, Block Energy (BLOK) has floated on AIM and more than two million shares have been acquired in standard list flotation Predator Oil and Gas.
Ecovista (EVTP) has raised £550,000 from a convertible loan note issue, which has to be repaid or converted (at 0.0005p a share) by the end of August 2019.
Bilby (BILB) founder Phil Copolo and his son Leigh have left the board of the building and gas maintenance services provider and sold more than 31% of the company to institutional investors at a discount of around 6% to the then market price. Janet Copolo still owns 7.2% of Bilby and cannot sell until 3 September 2019, according to an agreement with Stanford Capital Partners, which was sole book runner of the placing. Miton has increased its stake from 15.1% to 19.8%, while MI Discretionary Fund has bought 8.19% and Ruffer has acquired 8%.
TLA Worldwide (TLA) published its latest profit warning at 10.35am on 4 September. At least it was while the markets were still trading rather than after they had closed for Christmas. Numis has had enough and resigned as nominated adviser. Trading is weak and TLA is set to breach banking covenants. TLA needs to raise cash.
Microsaic Systems (MSYS) is still building he base from which it can grow over the next few years. The interim figures do not reflect the progress that is being made. Revenues doubled from a low base, but higher costs meant that there was a flat loss of £1.5m. There is £6.96m in the bank at the end of June 2018 so the mass spectrometry technology developer has plenty of time to build up its revenues. The venture with a global bioprocessing partner is progressing and is in an integration phase. Commercialisation should be completed by early 2020. New agreements with two manufacturers and four distributors augur well for growth over the next 18 months. The target is revenues of more than £17m in 2022.
A full first half contribution from the Carlton acquisition helped Michelmersh Brick (MBH) to increase interim revenues by 43% to £23.1m and underlying pre-tax profit by 57% to £3.8m. The interim dividend has been raised by 51% to 1.06p a share. Demand for bricks remains strong and there is limited production capacity.
Tax Systems (TAX) continues to reduce its net debt, putting it in a good position to make further acquisitions. Net debt was reduced by 15% to £17.5m over a six month period. Interim revenues grew by 14% to £8m and order intake is 22% higher. The corporation tax software provider is broadening its range of software in order to make the most of the move to a digital tax system in the UK.
Filtration systems supplier Amiad Water Systems (AFS) grew its interim profit even though growth in revenues was modest. Stifel Nicolaus expects a stronger second half with full year revenues improving from $112.3m to $116.8m and then a further acceleration in growth to $123.4m. Although underlying pre-tax profit is expected to be flat at $5.1m, it is forecast to jump to $6.8m in 2019. A jump in 2018 dividend to 6.5p a share is forecast, despite relatively flat earnings per share. The dividend would still be more than twice covered.
Performance-based mobile marketing services provider Taptica International Ltd (TAP) continues to grow internationally and, via a combination of acquisitions and organic growth, interim revenues were 119% higher at $144m. Underlying pre-tax profit improved from $12.3m to $18m. An interim dividend of 3.98 cents a share is being paid. Net cash was $42.1m at the end of June 2018.
Mobile location data services provider Location Sciences (LSAI) increased revenues from £49,000 to £234,000 in the first half of 2018 but there is a lot more to come. New products have been launched and it will take time for them to make a significant contribution. Even so, 2018 revenues of £702,000 are forecast, rising to £2.2m in 2019. The loss will reduce but a profit is not forecast until 2020. There was £720,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018 and more funding will be required to achieve the expected growth in sales.
Finsbury Food (FIF) is acquiring Free From bakery manufacturer Ultrapharm for an initial £17m with more dependent on performance. The business made a pre-tax profit of £800,000 in 2017. The acquisition is earnings enhancing.
Safestyle UK (SFE) has settled litigation with former employees who set up in competition. They will change their brand name from SafeGlaze and promise not to use confidential information.
IFA Lighthouse (LGT) continues to prosper. Interim revenues were 5% ahead at £26.9m and pre-tax profit 12% higher at £1.26m. Net cash was £9.6m. and the interim dividend is two-thirds higher at 0.2p a share. Growth has been coming from the affinity business.
Commercial aircraft lessor Avation (AVAP) reported a 16% increase in revenues to $109.1m in the year to June 2018. However, pre-tax profit dipped by 6% due to a gain on aircraft sales in the corresponding period. The dividend was increased by one-fifth to 7.25 cents a share. The NAV was equivalent to 283p a share. Cannacord Genuity forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from $18.9m to $23.8m this year.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Rascasse Developments in order to expand into the Midlands.
Kavango Resources (KAV) has received a permit for an airborne electromagnetic geophysical survey of the Kalahari Suture Zone area, which covers 12 prospecting licences.
Haynes Publishing (HYNS) increased full year revenues by 13% to £33.8m and underlying pre-tax profit by a similar percentage to £2.9m. The total dividend is unchanged at 7.5p a share. Net cash was £2.5m at the end of May 2018. Growth in the sales of digital products is faster than the decline in other revenues.
Finsbury Food Group FIF has acquired 100% of the share capital of Ultrapharm Limited a specialist Free From bakery manufacturer with site in the UK & Poland. Finsbury claims that the acquisition supports the Group’s ongoing strategy to further diversify its product capability into high growth areas.
Tax Systems plc TAX enjoyed a strong first half with revenue growth of 14% for the six months to the 30th June.EBITDA for the half year grew by 9% and order intake by 22%.
Footasylum FOOT expects growth for the full year to be significantly lower than previous guidance with adjusted EBITDA down to less than half that for full year 2018. Revenue for the six months to the 25th August is expected to show a rise of 18.5% with online revenue in particular up by 28.5%. Trading has however, been impacted by weak consumer sentiment and more challenging conditions in July and August. Delays in store openings and upgrades.have also exacerbated the situation.
Biome Technologies BIOM delivered an exceptional start to the year and an outstanding first half enabled it to deliver a small operating profit of £0.2m. in the six months to the 30th June compared to last years loss of £0.2m. Group revenue for the half increased by 47% to £4.4m.
Safestyle UK plc SFE announces a comprehensive settlement of its claims against NIAMAC Developments Ltd (trading as SafeGlaze UK) for alleged trade mark infringement, passing off, misuse of confidential information, malicious falsehood and various other matters. NIAMAC has agreed that the existing court injunctions against it will be replaced by formal undertakings to the court. Steps have also been agreed to prevent the possibility of any acts of intimidation or harassment of Safestyle UK representatives and in addition, SafeGlaze UK will also change its trading name. A fairly comprehensive victory, if ever there was one.
Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved back into profit in the year to March 2018 and it is paying a dividend of 0.4p a share. The e-commerce technology company edged up revenues from £1.04m to £1.07m, while a loss of £46,000 was turned into a profit of £82,000, even after amortisation of £70,000, up from £20,000 in the previous year. Net assets of £770,000 include £502,000 of cash. There are a growing number of opportunities for this financial year.
Sativa Investments (SATI) has signed an IP sharing agreement with Canada-based Veritas Pharma. This could help with Sativa’s plans to grow medicinal cannabis and also help to choose a particular strain.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has completed its investment agreement with ARQ Minerals and this formalises the commitment to work together in Nigeria. The St Leonard’s mine is supplying trial amounts of coal. ARQ helps to manage the mine and it is subscribing £50,000 each for two tranches of shares in the operating company, which will take is stake to 50%. ARQ will also own 1,000 million warrants exercisable at 0.02p a share. ARQ has committed to producing a minimum of 40,000 tonnes of coal and every 1,000 tonnes produced above this level will earn an additional 0.625% stake in the operating company, which can take the stake up to a maximum level of 75%. ARQ and Equatorial will be paid 10% of gross profit each month with the rest of the profit shared in line with their equity interests.
Welney (WENP) has announced a general meeting to vote on the appointment of Mark Jackson and Mark Chapman as directors.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) still had £627,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018 because it has not been able to find an investment at a realistic price.
Blockchain investment company Coinsilium Group (COIN) says that Malcolm Burne has been appointed as project adviser to the company’s blockchain platform development company TerraStream.
New director Melissa Sturgess has bought 9.23 million shares in Imperial Minerals (IMPP) at 1p each. That is a 29% stake.
Medicinal cannabis sector investment company High Growth Capital Ltd (HASH) had £522,000 in the bank at the end of March 2018 and it has raised £250,000 at 0.4p a share.
Parity (PTY) is still on track to achieve double digit profit growth this year. The IT recruitment and consultancy services provider remains modestly rated even though the share price has risen substantially this year.
Yu Group (YU.) says interim revenues increased by 69% to £35m. The energy supplier expects full year revenues to be at least £82m, which means that operating profit should rise by three-quarters. There is £18.2m in the bank.
Frontier IP Group (FIPP) says that portfolio company Tarsis Technology has entered into a collaboration with a major crop protection products company. The company will provide the funds to further develop the Tarsis technology to deliver chemical pesticides and fungicides in a more controlled way. In return the company gets exclusive rights to particular agrochemicals usage and Tarsis would get royalties from commercial products. Frontier IP is lending Tarsis £150,000 in return for share options.
Consumer healthcare business Venture Life Group (VLG) is raising £18.75m at 40p a share to help finance the acquisition of Dentyl Dual action mouthwash and BB Mints for £4.2m and repay £3.7m of convertible loan notes. The remaining cash will be used for further acquisitions. The share issue more than doubles the number of shares in issue.
Odey has withdrawn its general meeting requisition at Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) following the appointment of Anthony Bromovsky and Duncan Goldie-Morrison to the board.
600 Group (SIXH) has offloaded its pension scheme to specialist insurer Pension Insurance Corporation. The scheme will be wound up and surplus funds after tax will be returned to the machine tools supplier. That could be up to £4m. Full year revenues grew from $58.8m to $66m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from $2.65m to $3.05m. That excludes the gain on the sale of ProPhotonix (PPTX) shares.
Integumen (SKIN) is raising £700,000 at 0.65p a share and renegotiated the deal with food supplements supplier Cellulac so that it will acquire a 9.35% stake. Cellulac’s chief executive and chief operations officer will join Integumen in those roles. Cellulac will grant Integumen a licence to sell its products in certain territories.
A positive trading statement from audio visual equipment distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) has led to a forecast upgrade. Earnings per share forecasts have been raised by 3% for each of the next three years. The 2018 profit is expected to be £28.3m and earnings per share 27.6p. The interims will be published on 11 September.
EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has signed a manufacturing agreement with Oragenics Inc. EKF will supply drug substances for the customer and this will boost next year’s profit by 5%.
LiDCO (LID) has signed a distribution deal with a Chinese supplier of blood monitoring cuffs and this will help to replace the lost income from the Argon distribution contract. It may take time to build up sales, though.
Woodford Investment has increased its stake in superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) to 21.5%. This comes at a time that Old Mutual has been selling down its stake after the recent profit warning.
Corporation tax software supplier Tax Systems (TAX) has grown its recurring and non-recurring revenues in the first half of 2018 and total revenues were 14% higher, which includes 9% organic growth. Net debt is down to £17.5m.
Synectics (SNX) had net cash of £9.1m at the end of May 2018. The surveillance technology company increased interim revenues by 3% to £34.7m thanks to strong demand from the gaming sector. Underlying profit improved from £1.3m to £1.5m. Stockdale has maintained its full year profit forecast at £3.1m.
EMIS (EMIS) says that its primary care business is sorting out its problems and the net cash grew to £32.3m at the end of June 2018. The health IT technology supplier says that the business has grown in the first half and still expects an improvement in full year profit. The share price has recovered since the disappointing trading statement earlier this year.
Ken Kroeger has become permanent chief executive of driver monitoring systems technology developer Seeing Machines (SEE) and he will had over the chairmanship to Jack Boyer at the beginning of 2019.
Investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) says that its NAV dipped to 264.2p a share at the end of June 2018, although this was partly due to the payment of the final dividend of 8.9p a share. Excluding that, there was a 4% decline. There was an improvement on the net return on ordinary activities from £110,000 to £125,000, but the loss in the capital part of the income statement was slightly higher than that revenue gain. The total value of investments was £5.61m and NAV was £5.7m. During the first half, shareholdings in Countrywide, Debenhams, DX, Juridica Investments, HC Slingsby and Sprue Aegis were sold.
Avation (AVAP) has acquired a second new Airbus A220-300 aircraft and leased it to airBaltic.
Flying Brands Ltd (FBDU) is raising £500,000 at 2.5p a share in order to help finance obtaining FDA clearance for StoneChecker software and design a cloud-based interface, as well as boost commercial operations. Subsidiary Imaging Biometrics is involved with a phase II trial that will use its IB Rad Tech technology to process data from 20 sites to determine how well dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging in measuring the effectiveness of brain tumour treatment.