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Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 2 September 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) generated revenues of £777,000 in the 15 months to March 2019. The nursing staff provider lost £2.63m. Since the year end, more contracts have been signed with NHS hospitals, as well as with a hospital in the UAE. The staff offered to hospitals have all obtained qualifications in English and 76% end up being employed. Most of the previous debt has been converted into shares, so net debt was £91,000 at the end of March 2019.

Lombard Capital (LCAP) reported an increase in net liabilities from £234,000 to £537,000 at the end of March 2019. There were £750,000 worth of bonds issued during the period.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE) hopes that the acquisition of Vox Markets and Align Research should be closed in early October. Previous operations have been provided for in full and have been sold. There was £14,000 in the bank at the end of March 2019.

A new investor to Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has subscribed £100,000 for shares at 70p each, which is a one-third premium to the market price at the time. Westerby Trustee Services Ltd owns 3.8% of the company on behalf of Westerby Private Pension (R Prest).

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that the judicial restructuring plan for the Amapa iron ore project has been approved by the Sao Paulo commercial court. This will enable Cadence to acquire a 20% stake in Amapa. A further $3.5m investment will take the stake to 27%. Cadence plans to consolidate 100 existing shares into one new share. Shareholders will be asked to approve the proposal at the AGM on 20 September.

Paul Tuson is stepping down as finance director of Rutherford Health (RUTH) and the reappointment resolution was withdrawn from the AGM agenda.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has opened its third Goodbody CBD Wellness store in Bristol, following store openings in Bath and Cirencester. It is seeking franchisees to roll-out further stores around the country.

Panther Metals (PALM) chief executive Darren Hazelwood has acquired 18.87 million shares at 0.3p each. That takes his stake to 10.3%.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £59,000 at 14p a share via a placing with D Beta One EQ Ltd.

AIM  

President Energy (PPC) insists that it will continue to be profitable even though the Argentinian authorities are attempting to fix the price that producers can sell oil and the dollar exchange rate used for the price for a 90-day period. President has decided to delay its well drilling programme until the first quarter of 2020 and the focus will be gas wells. Gas sales from four wells in Estancia Vieja and Las Bases will commence production by the end of September. A new gas pipeline should be completed by the end of the year. finnCap has withdrawn its forecasts.  

Order books and production volumes are ahead of last year at gift wrap and greetings products supplier IG Design (IGR) thanks to a combination of organic growth and last year’s US acquisition. IG is on course to increase pre-tax profit from £30.3m to £36m.

Online musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) says that it has taken actions that are already helping to improve gross margin.

Cambridge Cognition (COG) says sales are lower than expected. The digital neuroscience services provider says that full year revenues will fall from £6.13m to around £5.5m. The loss will be around £2.8m. First half revenues were £2.1m and the loss was £1.74m. There is a strong order book, so this augurs well for next year.

Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) has funded the second tranche of the investment in Infinity Capital Group. The $2m is being funded equally by Adamas and a Hong Kong family office.  

MAIN MARKET 

Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) intends to move to AIM if its acquisition of media-focused artificial intelligence and machine learning company Entertainment AI goes ahead.

At a general meeting, shareholders in Tex Holdings (TXH) approved the 2018 report and accounts and directors’ remuneration report, but they did not approve the reappointment of Scrutton Bland as auditors.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) is reaping the benefits of its investment in crypto mining equipment. The cost of 1,000 machines has already been recouped and Argo is on course to recoup the cost of a further 2,267 machines.

Ross Group (RGP) did not generate any revenues in the six months to June 2019 and the loss was £3.15m. Ross acquired start-up operations during the period. They will supply Chitin.

Asian consumer businesses investor Symphony International Holdings (SIHL) increased its NAV by 14% to $560.4m in the six months to June 2019.

George Bennett has become chief executive of Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) and Martin Eales has left the board. In the year to June 2019, Rainbow sold 850 tonnes of concentrate from the Gakara project, although bad weather hampered production in the fourth quarter. Sales prices have declined.

China-focused healthcare investment company Cathay International (CTI) reported a decrease in revenues from $49.2m to $38.3m. There was a $7.9m gain on the sale of shares in Zhejiang Starry Pharmaceutical, but that was not enough to cover the operating loss and interest costs.

OTHER MARKETS

Britdaq-quoted Staminier Ltd has secured a three-year option over 13 acres of land near to the south terminal of Gatwick Airport and it wants to build a car park with 2,200 spaces. In July, Staminier acquired a majority stake in eco-friendly housebuilder Eco-Space 41 Ltd. There is a four-year option to acquire the other 49% for £750,000. The strategy is to acquire businesses at a discount to their intrinsic value. There are plans to move to a more liquid stockmarket.

Asset Match will provide a trading facility for shares of former AIM company Albert Technologies Ltd. The first auction will be during September.

US Oil and Gas (USOP) has raised $382,000 at 31p a share. This follows a fundraising in July of $577,000 at 30p a share. The cash will be spent on exploration.

Andrew Hore 

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 26 August 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) grew revenues by one-third to £136,000 but the ethical housing provider moved from profit to loss. In the year to March 2019, revenues improved from £103,000 to £136,000. The main reason behind the reported loss was a reduction in the gain on revaluation of assets from £198,000 to £145,000. The NAV still increased from £3.25m to £3.31m. These figures were prior to the acquisition of a property in Didcot. There is a pipeline of other potential transactions.

Barkby Group (BARK) has appointed finnCap as its corporate adviser.

Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser to Gamfook Jewellery (GAMF) and that follows the resignation of its auditor Crowe and the continued delays to the publication of the accounts for 2018. Peterhouse took over as corporate adviser from Daniel Stewart in March. Gamfook floated in December 2018.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has opened its latest centre in Reading. The company was previously known as Proton Partners International Ltd.

Henry Lees-Buckley is taking on the chief executive role at Sativa Group (SATI) and Geremy Thomas has moved to deputy chairman.

AIM  

Injection moulded plastic products Coral Products (CRU) returned to profit in the year to April 2019, although the underlying pre-tax profit only edged up from £568,000 to £580,000 because of a decline in exceptional costs. The second half was not as good as the first half, but cost cutting enabled a recovery at the end of the year. Net debt was £8.2m at the end of April 2019. There is no final dividend following the interim of 0.25p a share. Continuing problems at a major customer could continue to hamper progress. Equipment enabling recycling of plastic products is up and running. New products will be launched later this year, including roof tiles and road highway sound barriers.

International staffing provider Empresaria (EMR) had a tough first half, but despite this the company still expects to maintain its full year profit at £11.4m. Interim net fee income was 7% ahead but underlying pre-tax profit was one-fifth lower at £3.7m. That suggests a much stronger second half even though the German and Japanese businesses remain subdued, although they could start to recover. The diversification of the business in terms of sectors and geographies helps to offset the weakness in parts of the group. New chief executive Rhona Driggs is putting in place a new strategy, which should help next year’s figures.

Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) has maintained its NAV at $1.10 a share (88p a share). Investee company Hong Kong Mining Holdings is still on course to restart mining operations and it is acquiring additional land for mining activities. Fook Lam Moon is assessing opportunities to expand its catering operations. The internal fit out for Infinity Capital’s Tellus Niseko project should be completed before the end of September.

MySale Group (MYSL) has raised £11.2m at 2p a share, which is a 58% discount to the market price. There will be £5.5m used to pay down bank facilities. The number of shares in issue is trebled. This follows a strategic review by the retailer, which is refocusing on Australasian operations and the selling down of stock. The cost base will be reduced.

Transport optimisation software and equipment supplier Tracsis (TRCS) grew its cash pile to £24m at the end of July 2019, even after paying around £9m on acquisitions. Pre-tax profit is in line with expectations at £9.4m, up from £8.5m.

Breedon Group (BREE) intends to change its tax domicile from Jersey to the UK. The company will still be incorporated in Jersey. The general meeting to gain approval to change the article of association will be held on 9 September.

Packaging supplier Robinson (RBN) improved gross margins by 12 percentage points to 19.7% in the first half, but that was partly offset by higher overheads. Pre-tax profit improved from £478,000 to £684,000. Net debt was £9.1m. The interim dividend is unchanged at 2.5p a share.

IT services provider Adept4 (AD4) is in talks to acquire CloudCoCo, which was set up by former sales directors of Redcentric. The deal would involve the issue of new shares that would nearly double the number in issue. The Business Growth Fund has agreed to sell £5m of unsecured loan notes to MXC Capital for £3.5m.

Data software and services provider D4T4 (D4T4) says that the figures will be second half weighted this year but not as much as last year.

Science Group (SAG) has increased its stake in Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) by subscribing £1m at 25p a share. This takes the stake to 52.3% (costing £6.9m) and this means that Frontier’s results will be consolidated. A standby facility is also being provided. Frontier’s cost base is being reduced.

Commodity trading and risk management software provider Brady (BRY) expects 2019 revenues to be around one-fifth lower than previous forecasts. That means that revenues are expected to decline from £23.2m in 2018 to £19m and this will lead to a loss of more than £4m.

Three directors have been removed from the board of Management Resource Solutions (MRS) and they have been replaced by John Copley and Robert Wall following a requisitioned general meeting.

Cancer therapies developer Scancell (SCLP) has initiated the UK SCIB1 phase 2 clinical trial for advanced melanoma, where SCIB1 is used in conjunction with the checkpoint inhibitor Pembrolizumab.  

The financial director of Maestrano (MNO) has resigned to take up a role in Australia. The software company continues to undertake due diligence on a potential acquisition. An Australian bank client has decided not to go ahead with a new banking platform. There should be enough cash to last into next year.

Cyber security company Osirium Technologies (OSI) has signed up the first customer for its Opus privileged process automation software, plus two customers for the PxM platform. The Opus client is an asset manager that is already a user of PxM.

Cellcast (CLTV) has called a general meeting on 6 September in order to approve the sale of its operations. The company will change its name to Vintana.

MAIN MARKET 

BATM (BVC) reported an improved interim profit, but that was due to a one-off unrealised gain after an investment in the Ador diagnostics joint venture. Revenues dipped from $58.2m to $56.2m. The second half performance will be more important. Revenues are expected to grow from $119.6m to $128.5m, with pre-tax profit jumping form $2m to $6.7m. There is further longer-term growth to come from both the biomedical and networking divisions. The recent fundraising means that there is plenty of cash to finance growth.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) is further increasing its capacity and this could make it the largest quoted cryptocurrency miner by next year.

Injection moulding and engineering company Tex Holdings (TXH) says net assets per share have fallen from 168p to 140p after it swung into loss last year. There is no final dividend. The plastics division is trading profitably and orders have improved at the engineering division.

Path Investments (PATH) plans to acquire FineGems Extraction Corporation, which has a 75% stake in a company that holds the Jagoda licence in Zambia. The assets are near to production. They are manganese ore and tourmaline deposits. The acquisition would leave existing shareholders with 50% of the enlarged share capital.

Gold explorer IMC Exploration (IMC) has raised £150,000 at 1p a share and has paid £27,000 of professional fees in shares. The cash will be spent on exploration and geological work on a tailings project in Avoca, County Wicklow.

Dev Clever (DEV) has appointed Novum Securities as joint broker and raised £436,000 at 3.4p a share. The consumer engagement systems company has secured a three-year agreement with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, which will offer Dev Clever’s Engage gamification platform and its learning and development platform to retail customers.

 Andrew Hore 

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 10 June 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Proton Partners International Ltd (PPI) has asked Woodford Investment Management to subscribe for £25m worth of shares at 176p a share. This is part of an agreement with Woodford that was outlined in the prospectus and it comes at a time when the fund manager is coming under pressure for poor performance and it has closed redemptions from one of its funds. The cash will pay off a loan and provide working capital.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is making a £155,000 investment in Tasmania Energy Metals and the two companies will evaluate whether they should develop an integrated facility for the treatment of metal concentrate. NQ also has an exclusivity period until the end of July during which to decide whether to acquire Tasmania’s assets.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has signed an offtake agreement with a Swiss supplier of cannabis oil. This will be used to manufacture cannabidiol products.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) has invested £300,000 in Apollon Formularies for a 0.71% stake. Apollon plans to open a licenced retail medicinal cannabis dispensary and processing facility in Jamaica by the end of the month.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that it is unlikely to return to paying dividends or return capital to shareholders before 2022 at the earliest. There is uncertainty about future revenue streams from fixed-odds betting terminals and how this could impact UK betting. It could reduce prize money levels. The onsite hotel has increased revenues by 15% so far this year.

Trading in shares of Equatorial Mining (EM.P) has been suspended ahead of publishing accounts. They should be published at the time of the general meeting to gain approval of the acquisition of Rwanda-based miner and explorer Eastinco. A £1.2m fundraising is also planned.

Altona Energy (ANR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shaanxi Qianyan Vanadium and Magnesium Mining, which owns a vanadium mine in China. The plan is to forma joint venture where Altona will be the controlling shareholder. Due diligence will take up to six months and there will be a JORC-compliant mineral resource classification report. The estimated reserve is 190,000 tonnes of vanadium.

Formation Group (FRM) has secured a £10m subscription at 7.71p a share through the acquisition of Zandra Holdings, whose asset is £10m in cash. This takes the Kennedy Private Trust stake in Formation to 89.99%. A £10m loan facility ahs also been secured.

The Little Bear mine area has been transferred to Panther Metals (PALM) and the Little Bear vein is a high priority drill target in order to see if the bonanza grade gold mineralisation still exists at depth. Panther has also applied for a licence over the Annaburroo gold project in Northern Territory, Australia.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has secured a £600,000 secured revolving credit facility and spent £465,000 on a bungalow in Didcot to be redeveloped into a home providing specialist support for four adults.

Valiant Investments (VALP) is raising £263,000 at 1.5p a share and it is changing its name to Eurocann International as an indication of the change in strategy to investment in the medicinal cannabis sector. Jeremy Rose will become chief executive and he has a number of directorships including of Speakeasy Cannabis.  Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi will become a non-executive.

EcoVista (EVTP) had £419,000 in cash at the end of February 2019 and it is seeking further investment. The interim loss declined from £238,000 to £202,000. Net assets were £1.19m at the end of February 2019.

Share trading in Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has been suspended because it has not published its 2018 accounts.

AIM  

The smart machines division of Vianet (VNET) is going to be the source of profit growth for the coming years. Profit can be improved by converting the vending machines that came with the Vendman acquisition to Vianet’s contactless technology, as well as winning new business. The smart zones pub dispensing technology division should be able to maintain its contribution with lower UK profit due to pub closures being offset by an improved performance in the US. Pre-tax profit is expected to improve from £2.7m to £2.9m, although earnings per share will be hit by a higher tax charge.

Interim revenues at smart home devices supplier LightwaveRF (LWRF) increased 120% to £2.5m, although there was still a pre-tax loss of £1.35m.  New distribution channels are helping to accelerate growth in revenues. The company could move into profit next year

Bad weather in the US has hampered the progress of Somero Enterprises (SOM) and led to forecast downgrades. Demand for concrete levelling equipment is normally stronger in the spring. This year’s earnings have been cut by 12% and next year by 11%. This will also reduce the potential dividend. The forecast 2019 normal dividend plus payout of surplus cash has been cut from 27.8 cents a share to 19.8 cents a share.

Waste-to-energy technology developer EQTEC (EQT) is acquiring a 19.99% stake in North Fork Community Power, a biomass gasification power project in California. EQTEC will supply $2.5m worth of equipment from its Newry site in return for the stake. It also expects to generate €2.2m from selling additional equipment.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has signed a distribution agreement for the Microsaic 4500 MID MS detector with CM Corporation for the South Korean market.

A shareholder owning a 17.2% stake in Rurelec (RUR) intends to propose an AGM resolution for the appointment of Gordon Fisher as a director. He is a former boss of a freight forwarding and customs brokerage. The electricity generator reduced its pre-tax loss from £5.8m to £600,000 in 2018, mainly due to lower overheads, exchange gains and a disposal gain. NAV is 4.4p a share, which is more than four times the share price.

Driver (DRV) had already said that its interims would be disappointing and pre-tax profit slumped from £2.11m to £762,000. The Middle East and Asia Pacific were tough markets with lower contributions. The expert witness operations made a reduced contribution. A 0.5p a share interim dividend was announced, and the ex-dividend date is 19 September. The company is also buying back shares in order to put a floor under the share price.

Chemicals-focused shell Wilmcote Holdings (WCH) is in exclusive discussions with Arclin Inc for a potential acquisition. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Acquisitions consultancy K3 Capital (K3C) has confirmed that trading is in line with previous guidance and EBITDA is at the upper end of the range of £4.5m to £5m. An 80% payout would mean a reduction in dividend from 11.2p a share to 7.2p a share.

Osirium Technologies (OSI) has won a contract with a European telecoms services provider. The three year contract covers cyber security software and services.

MAIN MARKET 

A strong first half has continued into the second half trading for automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) and pre-tax profit for the year to May 2019 is expected to exceed expectations by 10%. This suggests pre-tax profit of around £2m. The results will be announced on 12 September.

Caffyns (CFYN) reported a small improvement in underlying pre-tax profit to £1.45m in the year to March 2019. New car sales were 10% lower, which is more than three times the market decline. However, there was growth in used car sales and aftersales revenues.

Positive news from Argo Blockchain (ARB) where results for May were well ahead of the company’s budgets. New cryptomining hardware has started contributing faster than expected and rising cryptocurrency prices have improved mining yields. A further £2.85m is being invested in equipment. There was £685,000 generated in May, based on a bitcoin price of $8,575, while cash operating costs were £280,000. Second quarter figures will be better than expected. If the bitcoin price is maintained, then there will be £2.85m of crypto assets at the end of the second quarter.

BigDish (DISH) has raised £2.1m at 7.2p a share and this should be enough cash for the restaurant platform until 2021. The UK rollout will be accelerated.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) is acquiring the Minto mine from Capstone Mining. Pembridge will pay up to $20m out of future cash flows. Commercial production could recommence before the end of the year. A $10m loan has been secured.

Symphony International Holdings (SIHL) has made an investment in Soothe Healthcare, which manufactures feminine hygiene products under the Paree and Pariz brands.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 6 May 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

In 2018, Newbury Racecourse (NYR) increased revenues by 8% to £19.3m. This was despite lower race course attendances because of two abandoned days of racing. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £188,000 to £568,000. The NAV was £50.7m at the end of 2018. There was a further £3.25m payment from David Wilson Homes, which helped to finance capital investment.

MetalNRG (MNRG) has entered into heads of terms with AIM-quoted Mkango Resources so that it can earn up to 75% of the Thambi licence in Southern Malawi. The licence allows exploration for uranium, tantalum and niobium. MetalNRG has to spend $500,000 in the first 12 months and then a further $700,000 in the next 12 months. A further $800,000 has to be spent in the third year to earn the full 75%. The Kyrgyz Republic has banned uranium exploration and mining and the farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit has been suspended.

Secured Property Developments (SPD) had a NAV of £554,000 at the end of 2018. There is £584,000 in cash on the balance sheet.

High Growth Capital (HASH) has raised £4.99m after expenses via a placing at 1.75p a share with Mirador FZE, which also has warrants to subscribe for 300 million shares at 2.5p each until the end of 2019. If the High Growth Capital share price closes above 4p for five consecutive days, the warrants have to exercised or they will lapse. Mirador has a 14.2% stake. Mike Power has been appointed as a non-executive director.

Sativa Investments (SATI) has opened the first Goodbody and Blunt centre in Bath. The centre will sell cannabidiol products and have a café area.

V22 (V22O) is asking shareholders to approve the cancellation of the NEX quotation 31 May, after nearly 13 years on the market. The art investor and studio space provider plans to sell assets and distribute the cash to shareholders. A matched bargains quotation via JP Jenkins is planned for six months after leaving NEX.

Trading in Valiant Investments (VALP) shares has been suspended because it has not produced its annual report.

Queros Capital Partners (BFD) has raised £205,000 in the past two weeks from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025.

The shortlist for the NEX share of the year at the Small Cap Awards 2019 has been announced. The companies are National Milk Records (NMR), Sativa Investments (SATI), NQ Minerals (NQMI), Chapel Down (CDGP), DXS International (DXSP) and Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) ,which is also on the shortlist for impact company of the year.

AIM     

Capital equipment manufacturer Mpac Group (MPAC) is acquiring Lambert Automation for an initial £15m. UK-based Lambert provides automation equipment to the medical and healthcare markets. Revenues and profit have been declining, but there was an order intake of £24.5m in 2018 and that should help revenues to recover. Revenues were £17.9m in 2018. There is potential earn out consideration of up to £2.5m. Mpac’s own trading is in line with expectations.

Park Group (PARK) says that trading was better than expected in the second half of its financial year, but there were additional costs and the effects of accounting changes. Edison has reduced its 2018-19 pre-tax profit by 3% to £12.5m. Additional costs next year mean that the profit forecast has been cut from £14.3m to £11.7m.

Tracsis (TRCS) has acquired timetable optimisation software developer Bellvedi for an initial £4m with up to £7.9m more payable over four years depending on performance. Bellvedi made a pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £1.6m last year. Acquiring the ATTUne software means that less needs to spend on the development of existing Tracsis software. The deal adds 2% to this year’s earnings per share, moving it to 27.3p. Next year’s is enhanced by 7% to 32.3p.

Competitions organiser Best of the Best (BOTB) has published a fourth positive trading update in a year. This prompted finnCap to increase its earnings forecast from 15.4p a share to 18.6p a share. The previous upgrade was in January. The switch to a predominantly online model is paying off. Any upgrades to the forecasts for the year to April 2020 will happen after the 2018-19 figures are published on 20 June.

Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) says that the PQ Grass allergy phase III study will start a year later than expected. It should commence by June 2020. This follows an end of phase II study meeting with the FDA. This means that this year and next year the reported loss will be lower because of deferred spending on the study.

Eight Peaks Group (8PG) plans to cancel its AIM quotation because of limited liquidity. This will save £80,000 a year.

Trading in the shares of property investor Safeland (SAF) will end on 10 May.

MAIN MARKET 

Motor dealer Pendragon (PDG) is selling two Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in California. This is expected to generate around £60m of cash, although £6.9m of profit contribution before central costs will be lost. However, Jaguar Land Rover has right of first refusal.

Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has appointed Novum as broker and it has committed to invest £300,000 in convertible loan notes. The planned purchase of a 50% stake in used car market focused fintech company Pace Cloud.

Ross Group (RGP) has reported its 2018 results, but these are before the completion of the Archipelago Aquaculture which happened early in 2019. Revenues fell from £335,000 to £60,000 and a profit of £57,000 was turned into a loss of £250,000. That is partly down to costs relating to the acquisition of Archipelago Aquaculture.

Thalassa (THAL) received acceptances of 18.5% of the share capital in its bid for Local Shopping REIT (LSR) and this offer has lapsed. Thalassa owned or had acceptances of 39.3%.

Standard list shell Bermerle (BERM) went to a 50% premium on the first day of trading. However, the bid/offer spread of 1p/2p means that investors could only sell at the 1p a share placing price. The company is seeking a pharma acquisition. The areas that Bermele is assessing include diabetes, cancer and mental health. It is also looking at personalised medicine.

Standard list shell Auctus Growth (AUCT) had £920,000 in the bank at the end of 2018. Fellow shell daVictus (DVT) had £355,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and it has agreed to buy the rights to a restaurant concept from Typical Dutch NV for £100,000. The Havana Rolled Cigar Music Café concept has been developed at a site in Aruba. Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has also secured a possible acquisition in the form of Kanabo Research, which is a medicinal cannabis oil company. Kanabo is developing over the counter products and has distribution rights to a vaporiser. Spinnaker had £1.04m in the bank at the end of 2018.

Trading in the shares of Tex Holdings (TXH) and Avocet Mining (AVM) has been suspended because they have not published 2018 accounts.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 1 April 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) increased its revenues last year, but it reported a loss. Beer volumes grew by 2.2% and revenues were 6% ahead at £78.9m. The loss of £877,000 was after £1.77m of pension and property impairment costs. The final dividend is unchanged at 150p per B share. Adnams is optimistic about the proposed government review into small breweries relief – if Adnams paid the same duty rates as small brewers it would save £7m a year.

European Lithium (EUR) is making progress with its definitive feasibility study for the Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria. The plan is to produce lithium chemical for batteries. A test programme has been completed and this is designed to improve grades and the amount of lithium-bearing mineral. Laser sorting was found to be the best method.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) has increased its NAV by 9% to 48.05p a share in the six months to February 2019.

Trading in the shares of Block Commodities (BLCC) has restarted following the publication of its interim results. There was $1,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and a further $400,000 has been raised via a convertible loan. This will fund the entry in the cannabis market. Block is collaborating with Hexis Lab to develop cannabis-based therapeutic and cosmeceutical products

Altona Energy (ANR) has net assets of £11m, but these are predominantly intangible assets. There are also £19.8m of potential tax losses. Altona is re-evaluating its underground coal gasification project in South Australia and assessing an investment in a Chinese vanadium mine.

MetalNRG (MNRG) plans to move to the standard list. An option agreement has been replaced with a farm-in agreement for the Kamushanovskoye uranium deposit. This will reduce the immediate cash outflow. A $161,000 payment was made under the option agreement and $400,000 more has to be paid by 10 April to earn a 51% economic interest. This payment is conditional on a capital raising at the time of moving to the standard list. A further $1.99m investment is required in three equal tranches in order to maintain the stake. The payments are due in November 2019, April 2020 and October 2020.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) outperformed the MSCI UK Residential Property index last year, because it achieved 8.75% growth, compared with 5.2% for the index.

The net liabilities of Welney (WENP) increased from £234,000 to £301,000 in 2018. This is being funded by loans from directors. Costs have been kept low as management seeks a suitable acquisition.

Sport Capital Group (SCG) has issued 800,000 shares at 0.625p each to pay for adviser fees on the unwound acquisition of Palermo FC.

AIM  

Churchill China (CHH) improved margins last year. Revenues were 7% higher at £57.5m, but underlying pre-tax profit was 26% higher at £9.4m. Growth in exports is a major factor and they account for three-fifths of revenues. Retail sales fell and hospitality sales increased by £5m. The total dividend was raised from 24.6p a share to 29p a share. There was £14.4m in cash at the end of 2018.

Cloud-based communications software provider Cloudcall (CALL) increased recurring revenues by one-third last year and total revenues were 28% ahead at £8.8m. The fastest growth was in the US. The cash outflow from operations increased from £1.57m to £2.38m. This is due to higher operating costs in terms of product development and marketing.

Frontier IP (FIPP) has increased the value of its portfolio of investments by 27% to £11.5m in the six months to £11.5m. NAV is 38.8p a share. The deal by investee company Exscientia, which is involved in AI-based drug discovery, with Celgene Corporation should result in a substantial uplift in its valuation in the current six month period.

Parity (PTY) says it has lost a major contract with the Scottish government, but it should not have a significant effect on profit because it is low margin. This year’s revenues will be 10% below expectations. The 2018 results will be announced on 16 April.

Rambler Metals and Mining (RMM) has launched a one-for-one open offer to raise up to £1.7m at 1.4p a share and it closes on 12 April. This follows the £8.4m placing at 1,4p a share, which raised cash to pay off debt and provide working capital.

Alliance Pharma (APH) improved its pre-tax profit from £23.9m to £28.1m. This excludes a £1.9m write down of an acquired intangible relating to a manufacturing supply contract. A pre-tax profit of £32.8m is forecast for 2019.

Quixant (QXT) reported a strong second half to 2018 even though the gaming machines market was tough. Full year revenues were 5% higher at $115.2m and pre-tax profit improved from $17.7m to $18.2m. This year will also be second half weighted with revenues expected to hit $119m and pre-tax profit of $20m forecast.

MAIN MARKET 

Funds managed by Epiris LLP have launched a recommended cash offer of 193p a share for Ireland-based financial services group IFG (IFP), valuing it at £206m.

Ovoca Bio (OVB) is increasing its stake in IVIX to 59.9%. The additional 9.9% costs $2.04m. IVIX’s drug Libicore has met the pre-specified primary efficacy endpoint and significant outcomes in secondary endpoints as part of its phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Standard list shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) still had £1.54m in the bank at the end of 2018. Potential technology acquisitions are being assessed.

Blockchain Worldwide (BLOC) is still seeking an acquisition after the deal to buy Chorum fell through due to weak stockmarkets. There was £1.21m in the bank at the end of 2018.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 24 December 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

China-based Gamfook Jewellery had planned to join the standard list, but it has decided to float on NEX. The online retailer of customised jewellery had intended to raise cash at 15p a share, but the flotation on NEX on Christmas Eve will be an introduction at 15p a share. Management hopes the flotation will help to increase its profile and customer base. A dividend based on 28% of profit attributable to shareholders is promised.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has maintained its NAV at 92p a share at the end of September 2018. In the six months to September 2018, rents increased from £33,000 to £67,000. Additional supported housing opportunities have been assessed.

KR1 (KR1) has raised £785,000 at 5p a share and paid £40,000 in fees to advisers in shares at the same price. KR1 director Keld van Schreven subscribed for 50,000 shares. The cash will fund further blockchain token investments.

Panther Metals (PALM) has signed heads of terms for the acquisition of Parthian Resources, which owns exploration assets in Australian. Parthian shareholders will own 15% of Panther if the deal goes ahead. One of these shareholders is Kerim Sener, who is non-executive chairman, who will end up with 4% of Panther. The deal should be completed in January 2019.

Blockchain investment company Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that Gibraltar-based StartupToken has attracted a £193,000 investment from South Korea-based Blockwater Capital in return for a 7.4%. Coinsilium had invested £360,000 in StartupToken during November and the value of the investment has doubled to £722,000. Executive chairman Malcolm Palle has bought 200,000 shares in Coinsilium at 3.6p a share, taking his stake to 6.35%.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) is acquiring the remaining 97.5% of CoalTech LLC for £24.6m. This will be funded by a share issue. A circular will be published in the first quarter of 2019. A new incentive plan for management, in the form of options exercisable at 2.5p a share, is planned.

IMC Exploration (IMCP) has issued five million shares at 1p ia share and every five shares has a warrant exercisable at 1p a share. The £50,000 will be used to continue exploration in Avoca, County Wicklow. Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has raised £300,000 at 0.1p a share. The cash raised will be used to accelerate production at the Honduras gold facility. NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £38,000 at 12p a share.

Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has issued shares valued at nearly £302,000 to creditors at a range of share prices. Management has acquired the majority stake in Milamber USA and Milamber retains a 20% stake. Milamber has also reduced its stake in Vocademia to 5% with the rest of the share capital acquired through the return of 900,000 Milamber shares. A further 166,667 shares were returned for Milamber’s stake in White Cobalt. Milamber has created a new training compliance company called Checkbox and taken a 51% stake in an education joint venture with Black Arrow Space Technologies, which is developing commercial orbital launch services.

Imperial Mining (IMPP) is changing its name to Imperial X to reflect the change in investment focus from resources to the cannabis sector.

Medicinal cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) says that investee company Rapid Dose Therapeutics Inc has listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. This has provided a 70% uplift in the initial investment value for a gain of C$140,000.

Lombard Capital (LCAP) had £4,130 in cash and £112,000 in assets available for sale. at the end of September 2018. Lombard still plans to issue an asset-backed investment bond.

Tectonic Gold (TAU) says that initial analysis of drilling at the Specimen Hill project in Queensland has confirmed mineralisation with grades up to 6.06g/t. Full results should be available in January.

Trafalgar Property Group (TRAF) is raising up to £1m through an issue of 8.5% convertible bonds 2025. The issue could eventually be increased to £5m. The bonds will be traded on NEX. The cash will be used to fund residential development and planning applications. Trafalgar has limited cash and it lost money last year.

AIM   

Filta Group (FLTA) has multipled the size of its grease management operations in the UK through the acquisition of Watbio for £6.9m in cash and shares, plus working capital adjustment. Cenkos has provisionally upgraded its 2019 earnings forecast by 26% to 11.8p, assuming completion of the deal in early January. Filta is raising £3m at 200p a share, which is a premium to the market price, and has obtained a £4m, five-year loan facility. Filta started building a grease management division through acquisition just over one year ago. Watbio generates annual revenues of £10.3m and pre-tax profit of £800,000 so it is much larger than the existing operations. It also offers other drain management services.

A strong performance from property servies more than made up for a weak first half performance of the business recovery division of Begbies Traynor (BEG) and pre-tax profit was 9% higher at £3.2m on revenues 8% ahead at £28m. The number of insolvencies increased in the first half but there was no repeat of the large one-off fee in the first half of the previous year. The interim dividend was raised by 14% to 0.8p a share. Net debt fell 10% to £6.3m. The performances of the divisions will reverse in the second half and 2018-19 pre-tax profit should improve from £5.6m to £6.4m.

President Energy (PPC) has drilled the third Puesto Flores well on budget and there have been good oil shows, but they are lower than the previous two wells. All three wells could be in production by the end of the year.

AssetCo (ASTO) has transferred the loal employees in Abu Dhabi to the new supplier of fire services. There is a possibility of winning work in the region. The litigation against former auditor Grant Thornton continues and a judgement could happen in the first couple of months of 2019.

URA Holdings (URA) was not able to complete the acquisition of Entertainment AI early enough to prevent the cancelation of the AIM quotation on 24 December. The acquisition could still happen.

Real Good Food (RGD) has sold jams maker R and W Scott for £1.5m, of which £500,000 is deferred until September 2019, and the assumption of £2.45m of debt. That takes disposal proceeds to £17.8m and completes the main corporate activity. The cake decoration and food ingredients businesses make up the majority of the remaining group.

Small business financial services provider City of London Group (CIN) continues to lose money as it builds up its activities. Recognise continues to try to obtain a UK banking licence.

HaloSource Corporation (HALO) has not been able to secure additional finance and trading in the shares has been suspended. There is limited cash left.

Thalassa Holdings (THAL) intends to move to a standard listing. No new shares will be issued and the move should take place on 25 January.

Revenue and EBITDA growth in the range of 15% to 20% is expected by Craneware (CRW) in the six months to December 2018. The healthcare accounting software provider has a 100% renewal rate in dollar terms in the first half.

Replacement windows and doors manufacturer Safestyle (SFE) has improved its order intake in the past six months after its agreement with a former employee who was competing with the company. However, costs have increased and the 2018 loss will be between £8.2m and £8.6m. The 2019 performance could be ahead of expectations. Otus Capital Mananagement has taken a 5.42% stake.

Audio equipment supplier Focusrite (TUNE) had a strong November but it is still cautious about the full year. The trade dispute between the US and China remains a concern.

N4 Pharma (N4P) has extended the licence agreement with UniQuest for Nuvec. It has become an exclusive global licence with certain fields licensed back to UniQuest.

finnCap has resigned as nominated adviser and broker to The People’s Operator (TPOP) and that could scupper the placing with the owner of LycaMobile. An investment of £1.3m in shares (29.9%) and convertible loan notes was planned.

Yu Group (YU.) says that the Financial Conduct Authority is investigating the accuracy of its announcements between March and October. Poor internal controls caused a shortfall in profitability. The energy supplier has revealed that its 2018 loss could be as high as £7.85m, which is higher than previously estimated. This is due to a decline in gross margins and balance sheet corrections. There was £11m in the bank at the end of November 2018.

LiDCO Group (LID) will report float full year revenues and this has led to a £800,000 increase in forecast pre-tax loss to £1.9m. The take-up of the high usage programme has been slower than expected and an Asian order was delayed. The patient monitoring equipment supplier is expected to have cash of £1.5m by the end of January 2019.

TLA Worldwide (TLA) has agreed in principle to sell its Australian business to QMS Media and this would make TLA a cash shell.

Rasmala (RMA) left AIM on 19 December. A new holding company is based in the British Virgin Islands.

It gets worse at Paragon Entertainment (PEL) with another loss in the second half on lower than expected revenues. A 2018 loss of £2.4m is forecast. Overheads have been reduced so the loss could be smaller next year.

Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI) increased interim revenues by 23% to £8.05m through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth, while pre-tax profit was one-third higher at £1.5m. finnCap is cautious about the full year for the scientific instruments supplier and has maintained its full year pre-tax profit forecast at £2.6m, which suggests a lower second half profit.

Management has launched a 12p a share bid for former AIM-quoted PR firm Freshwater as a way of enabling existing shareholders to exit the business.

MAIN MARKET  

Trading in standard list shell Fandango Holdings (FHP) shares has been suspended ahead of the proposed reverse acquisition of Konnect Mobile Communications Inc, which owns PaySocial Inc, a mobile banking and payments eWallet.

Standard list shell Papilon Holdings (PPHP) has acquired 50% of Pace Cloud Ltd, which owns CarCloud, a fintech company involved in the used car sector. This represents a fundamental change in the business. Papilon is raising up to £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.25p a share.

Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) lost £1.4m in the year to September 2018, which was slightly more than the previous year. The gross profit of £203,624 was enough to cover the directors pay of £196,713. There was a cash outflow of nearly £1m in the period. There was £2.14m in the bank at the end of September 2018, but there is a loan from former shareholder David Breith with a cash value of nearly £607,000, which could become repayable from 3 May 2019.

Zegona Communications (ZEG) has decided not to tender €7.75 a share for up to 14.9% of Euskaltel, where it is trying to improve performance, because it has not been abe to secure funding. Zegona has secured a relationship with Talomon Capital, which will own up to 2.4% of Euskaltel on top of Zegona’s existing 15% stake, which will be increased via market purchases. That requires a share issue by Zegona.

Investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) is consulting with existing and potential shareholders, concerning a tender offer to existing shareholders at the same time as an issue of new shares.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 August 2018

NEX EXCHANGE        

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with IP Group, covering the commercialising of cybersecurity intellectual property from universities.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that investee company iCAN Israel-Cannabis Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding with Yom Chai. The deal involves the development and validation of a cannabis-based treatment for Crohn’s Disease, Autism and other neurological and gastrointestinal diseases. The agreement will generate revenues for iCAN, as well as obtaining a stake and potential future royalties.

Supported housing developer Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) ended March 2018 with a NAV of 92p a share. Full year revenues were 127% higher at £103,000 and the company moved into profit. The first supported housing property was completed during the period. The board wants shareholders to approve a new management incentive plan at the company’s AGM.

There was a £88,000 cash outflow for Lombard Capital (LCAP) in the year to March 2018, but the investment company has moved from net assets to net liabilities. There is £2,154 in the bank plus £112,500 in investments. Since the year end, £320,000 has been raised from subscriptions for 7.5% 2020 unsecured loan notes.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) and Gunsynd (GUN) are selling their direct interests in the Horse Hill prospect to UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) for cash and shares.  Primorus will receive £375,000 in cash and £1m in UK Oil and Gas shares at 1.75p each for its 5% stake in Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL), while Gunsynd will receive £50,000 in cash and £500,000 in shares for its 2% stake.

AIM     

Tracsis (TRCS) says that full year revenues were ahead of expectations at around £40m and profit will be better than expected. There was £22m in the bank at the end of July 2018. The margins of the traffic and data division are improving.

Audio visual equipment distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) is acquiring Nuremberg-based Bauer und Trummer, which has annual revenues of €21m.

A potential partner has ended its interest in the Bahamas-based oil and gas prospects of Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) and that knocked two-thirds off the share price. BPC received $1m in exclusivity payments from the international oil and company and it has started talks with other third parties.

KEFI Minerals (KEFI) has signed heads of agreement with Ethiopian investors which are setting up a vehicle to make a $35m investment to finance the Tulu Kapi gold project. The first investment of $9m should be made in the current quarter.

Caledonia Mining Corp (CMCL) has agreed to acquire a further 15% of the Blanket gold mine in return for the cancellation of a $11.5m loan and 730,000 shares. That takes the Caledonia stake in Blanket to 64%. The dividend will be kept at 27.5 cents/share.

Waste gasification to energy technology provider EQTEC (EQT) has finished a strategic review following the appointment of a new chief executive. The focus will change to the delivery of customer requirements. Additional technological expertise will come from an alliance with CT3 Ingenieria.

AdEPT Telecom (ADT) is a paying an initial £5m for Shift F7 and this should be earnings enhancing. The two companies have worked together for more than a decade. AdEPT chief executive Ian Fishwick has bought 10,196 shares at 373p each.

Thor Mining (THR) has completed the definitive feasibility study for the Molyhil open pit tungsten project. The post-tax NPV is A$101 and project payback would be less than 18 months. Molyhil has opex costs of tungsten of $90/mtu, compared to an average of $157/mtu for other tungsten projects.

Data and analytics services provider D4T4 (D4T4) says that it has received the £19.5m of trade debtors in the balance sheet at the end of March 2018.

Restaurants operator Fulham Shore (FUL) says revenues generated by The Real Greek and Franco Manca have increased. New openings will be financed out of cash flow. Chief executive Nabil Mankarious has acquired 127,000 shares at 12p each, taking his stake to 19.9%.

Versarien (VRS) has signed two collaborations. A deal with AXIA Materials will lead to the development of graphene enhanced composite materials and smart graphene devices. The first two projects will be for smart buildings and electric vehicles. An agreement with AECOM will be focused on developing large-scale polymer structures for civil engineering infrastructure projects.

Broadcast software provider Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) has moved back into profit at the adjusted level in the first half of 2018, but that is after adjusting for £400,000 of amortisation of capitalised development costs. If that amortisation charge is not excluded the company would have been around breakeven. Net cash generated from operating activities was £126,000, but there is an outflow of £254,000 after capitalised investment. Most importantly, net debt is £10.5m. Debt repayments have started with £850,000 due to be repaid in the second half.

Facilities management services provider Mortice Ltd (MORT) reported a 29% decline in pre-tax profit to $3.9m. Net debt was $18.4m at the end of March 2018. The minority interest in Singapore-based Frontline Security has been acquired for $3.5m.

Wey Education (WEY) says it is planning for significant growth next year, having exceeded market expectations of revenues of £4.1m in the year to August 2018. The first sales from the Chinese joint venture should be in September. A general meeting is being held to enable the issue of more shares and to create distributable reserves to allow a dividend to be paid.

Tekmar Group (TGP) intends to acquire Subsea Innovations for up to £4m. Subsea is focused on the oil and gas sector and it is involved in back deck equipment and subsea pipeline repair clamps. The deal includes £3m of fixed assets.

Veltyco (VLTY) has trade receivables of €8.9m, higher than in July, with €5.4m owed by Celestial, €1.5m of which relates to 2017. The current cash balance is €1.3m. Veltyco will launch its own regulated online trading brand. Betsson Services has renewed its contract until May 2021.

MAIN MARKET    

Packaging manufacturer and distributor Macfarlane Group (MACF) increased its interim pre-tax profit by 39% to £3.53m. The growth in profit came from the distribution division on the back of higher sales to internet retailers. Net debt was £11.1m at the end of June 2018. The interim dividend is increased by 8% to 0.65p a share.

London and Associated Properties (LAS) is broadening its investment remit to areas other than retail property. Diluted NAV was 54.5p a share at the end of June 2018.

Bisichi Mining (BISI) increased its pre-tax profit from £243,000 to £3.97m on the back of strong demand for coal.

Standard list shell daVictus (DVT) still has £431,000 in the bank. The board continues to look at food and beverage businesses.

Andrew Hore

Quoted Micro 18 June 2018

Small cap award winners 2018

Company of the year

ZOO Digital (ZOO)

The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.

NEX company of the year

Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.

Impact company of the year

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)

Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.

IPO of the year

K3 Capital (K3C)

Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m.  In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.

 

Fintech company of the year

FAIRFX Group (FFX)

Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.

Transaction of the year

Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce

Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.

Executive director of the year

Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)

Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.

Journalist of the year

Paul Scott – Stockopedia

Fund manager of the year

Nick Williamson – Old Mutual

Microcap fund manager of the year

Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity

Analyst of the year

Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald

Lifetime achievement award

Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management

Special services to small caps

John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)

================================================================

NEX EXCHANGE   

Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit.  The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.

Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.

IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.

South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.

AIM   

NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.

Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.

RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.

Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.

Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.

Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.

Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.

Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.

Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.

Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.

MAIN MARKET    

WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.

China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.

Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.

BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.

Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.

Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.

Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 June 2018

NEX EXCHANGE   

There are eight companies in the running for the NEX Exchange company of the year at the Small Cap Awards. The awards will be held at The Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.

Kent-based wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has built up a significant presence in the English wines market. The company has a winery in Tenterden and it is building a new brewery for its beer operations. Chapel Down reported a 15% increase in annual sales to £11.8m. Wine sales were one-fifth higher at £8.12m with cider and beer sales, via associate Curious Drinks, were 7% ahead at £3.68m. Operating profit improved from £346,000 to £470,000 but there was a much larger loss from the Curious Drinks associate so pre-tax profit was lower. The new brewery should be open in the first quarter of 2019.

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is still at a very early stage of its development but it more than doubled its revenues in 2017. The loss still increased from £950,000 to £1.24m despite the improvement in revenues from £345,000 to £737,000. The cash outflow was £1.06m, which left £490,000 in the bank. Since then, £2.16m was raised via a placing at 270p a share. Crossword has interests in a number of early stage businesses, including CyberOwl, a joint venture between Coventry University and Crossword, which has backing from Mercia Fund Management. CyberOwl is developing network security software for target-centric monitoring.

Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has one of the longest track records on NEX and it has its highest share price in more than one decade of trading. Field Systems designs, installs and supplies electrical, instrumentation and control systems, for the water, power and transport sectors. In the six months to November 2017, revenues jumped from £8.47m to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £114,000 to £211,000. There was £3.34m of cash in the bank and NAV was £3.31m, which is more than the market capitalisation.

KR1 (KR1) has had a successful year buying and trading various coins and tokens. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year. KR1 generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m.

Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) was originally part of the Milk Marketing Board and after it was spun off it joined the forerunner of NEX. National Milk Records generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices.

Energy saving electrical products supplier Sandal (SAND) reported flat interim revenues of £1.88m but it masks the growth in the sales of MiHome products. This growth will continue in the second half. The interim pre-tax profit edged up from £35,000 to £44,000. Sandal secured a term loan of up to £500,000 from major shareholder Greenbrook Industries Ltd and £250,000 was used to buy back 862,068 shares from Greenbrook. The shares were cancelled and this will enhance earnings per share.

Daniel Thwaites (THW) is a brewer, hotels and pubs operator that has been trading for more than two centuries. It has also been on NEX for more than two decades, since the London Stock Exchange closed rule 4.2, which was a matched bargains facility for unquoted companies. Some of these former rule 4.2 companies moved to AIM, while others, including a number of regional brewers, moved to Ofex/NEX. In the six months to September 2017, revenues improved from £44m to £48m and underlying pre-tax profit were flat at £5.9m. The shares are trading at a near-50% discount to NAV.

Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) is an ethical housing REIT and it is also on the shortlist for the impact company of the year. The company develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or needing extra care. Earlier this year, Walls and Futures raised £80,000 from an open offer at 94p a share. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%. Walls and Futures has joined the MSCI IPD UK Residential Property Index.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 June.

Cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) is widening its remit. It is asking shareholders to agree to investments outside of Canada.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has completed the acquisition of offices in Leicester for £4.385m. The Leicester Crown Prosecution Service pays an annual rent of £290,000.

St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying a maintained interim dividend of 5.5p a share and the ex-dividend date is 5 July. The dividend will cost £247,000. The carbon emissions trading business has also started electronic currency mining.

China CDM Exchange Centre Ltd (CCEP) reported a small dip in revenues from £898,000 to £888,000 but it managed to increase its profit from £2,000 to £35,000.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has secured Contax Partners as technical partner and project manager for the shale gas project in Botswana. Contax will accept £800,000 worth of shares in Karoo as payment for services. Karoo hopes to apply for admission to AIM by 1 July.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says full production at its Honduras processing plant has been delayed because permits have not been received for the processing of larger amounts of gold ore.

EPE Special Opportunities (EL.P) had an NAV of 228.16p a share at the end of May 2018.

AIM   

Property investment adviser First Property Group (FPO) reported flat pre-tax profit of £9.23m in the year to March 2018. The final dividend is 3% higher at 1.18p a share. The underlying NAV rose from 47.6p a share to 53.1p a share. Third party assets under management were 45% higher at £454m, which is mainly down to the new office fund. Progress this year will be held back by the departure of the tenant in a building in Poland. Some of the space has already been re-let and the rest should be during the year.

Pawnbroker Ramsdens (RFX) continues to grow on the back of strong foreign exchange revenues. Last year, they were 26% higher at £11.3m. Group revenues were 16% ahead at £39.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit rose 60% to £6.5m. Net cash was £12.7m, although that does include foreign currency stocks. The total dividend was 6.6p a share.

Gooch and Housego (GHH) increased interim revenues by 7% to £55.6m and underlying pre-tax profit was13% ahead at £7m. Aerospace was the main growth area as subsea telecoms demand was weak. The photonics and optical equipment company is on course for a full year profit of £18.5m.

Artilium (ARTA) is recommending a cash and shares bid from Pareteum. The offer is 0.1016 of a Pareteum share and 1.9p in cash for each Artilium share, which values the telecoms software supplier at £78m. The offer follows a strategic alliance between the two companies that was announced last year.

IT managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says that some public sector contracts have been cancelled and there will be upfront costs for a new contract with the NHS in Yorkshire. That means that 2018-19 EBITDA will be 10% lower than previously forecast.

Imaginatik (IMTK) has completed its strategic review and the chairman and chief executive are both leaving and they are waiving compensation. This will help to reduce annual costs by £750,000. The business is no longer up for sale because no suitable bid was received. Annualised revenues are £2.8m and the innovation software business could move into profit after a full year’s benefit of the cost savings. Former chairman Matt Cooper has sold £225,000 worth of shares at 0.5p each and reinvested the cash in a new £225,000 convertible, interest free loan note. Octopus has reduced its stake from 27.2% to 7.1%.

Mass spectrometry instruments supplier Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has raised £5.5m at 2p a share and an additional £102,000 via a PrimaryBid.com offer.

Trading in cash shell Monreal (MORE) has been suspended because the former Cogenpower has not completed a deal. The board is asking for shareholder approval to move to NEX after the AIM quotation is cancelled on 3 July. The investment strategy will focus on technology, media and telecoms.

Education-focused virtual reality content supplier VR Education (VRE) has delayed the full launch of the latest version of its Titanic VR product until August but it is not expected to affect full year expectations. Work has started with the BBC on 1943: Berlin Blitz.

Driver Group (DRV) continues to improve its margins and profit helped by the growth of the Diales expert witness business. Middle East revenues were lower but profit was higher, while high utilisation rates in Asia Pacific meant that was a sharp swing back to profit in the region. Underlying pre-tax interim profit doubled to £2.1m om the six months to March 2018 and Driver ended the period with net cash of £800,000. The sale and leaseback of the company’s head office was completed in April and net cash is forecast at £5.5m for the end of September 2018. A full year profit of £3.5m, up from £2.5m, is forecast. A return to dividend payments is a possibility in the next year or so.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has enough cash to push forward with the exploration of its Paradox basin acreage in the US. Rose is still earning its 75% working interest in the acreage and it has already received interest from potential farm-in partners that could help finance the first well, which could cost $7m-$8m. A competent person’s report will provide an updated resource in the next few weeks.

The smart machines division was behind the small improvement in profit at Vianet (VNET) in the year to March 2018. That was helped by a contribution from the Vendman acquisition. The smart zones drinks dispensing technology made a slightly lower contribution to profit as it lost more pub customers but the US side is making progress. Research and development spending on technology peaked at £1.5m last year and should fall this year. Net cash fell to £1.27m because of the extra spending but the dividend was maintained at 5.7p a share. The investment should start to pay off this year and pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £2.7m to £3m.

MAIN MARKET    

LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) is closing its loss-making US business at a cost of £2m. The US business lost £1.9m last year. Luceco announced an operating profit of £14.2m in 2017.

Quarto Group Inc (QRT) has appointed former finance director Mick Mousley as interim finance director following the departure of Carolyn Bresh. This follows the change of control at the AGM.

Lb-shell (LBP) is asking for shareholder approval for the creation of £435,000 of unsecured convertible loan notes with a conversion price of 0.025p a share. That requires the par value to be reduced to 0.025p a share. Full conversion could mean the issue of shares equivalent to 89.4%. Three directors will own a total of £290,000 of the loan notes. The former Intelligent Energy will offer shareholders the chance to sell their shares for 0.025p each.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore: Quoted Micro 4th June 2018

 NEX EXCHANGE

Stratmin Global Resources which was quoted AIM until August 2017, is expected to join NEX on 6 June.  Stratmin lost the AIM quotation because it failed to complete a reverse takeover, partly due to the fact that it was waiting for a promised investment. Stratmin is still in the process of completing the acquisition of Australian gold explorer Signature Gold, which would be paid for by the issue of 450 million shares at 2p each. After the deal, the company will change its name to Tectonic Gold.

Ananda Investments is the latest cannabis-focused investment vehicle to be joining NEX. The pre-money valuation is £500,000 and the minimum fundraising is £750,000. Ananda is willing to raise up to £4m. There are already potential investments being assessed. A reverse takeover valued at up to £10m appears most likely.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that 40%-owned AfriAg (Pty) Ltd increased its net profit from £104,000 to £179,000. This was equity accounted by AfriAg Global and the £72,000, up from £42,000, contribution helped offset the operating loss from the agricultural logistics group’s operations. The overall loss increased from £9,000 to £38,000. AfriAg (Pty) Ltd had the right to take a 60% stake in House of Hemp but this deal was terminated when the South African government delayed setting up the legal framework for medicinal cannabis. Focus has turned to other countries.

KR1 (KR1) generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m. That tax charge is included in trade creditors due within one year of £4.21m. There is cash in the bank, but total current assets were £3.5m. A creditor has subsequently been paid with £79,000 of shares, issued at 10p each. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year and there is regular daily trading in the shares.

Workspace provider and art collector V22 (V22) reported a 2017 pre-tax profit of £175,000, down from £1.01m the previous year. The profit included a gain on the sale of an option to acquire one of the company’s buildings. The NAV is £1.34m, equivalent to 4.26p a share. That increases to 8.68p a share if the company’s art collection is revalued. The shares are trading at 2.95p (2.7p/3.2p).

Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported a reduction in pre-tax profit from £652,000 to £384,000 in 2017. There was a reduction in revenues from £1.34m to £120,000 and the share of operating profit from a joint venture was more than halved. There was cash in the bank of £514,000 at the end of 2017. St Mark has raised £3.47m from a 6% bond. This cash will be invested in new projects. The NAV is 134p a share, compared with a share price of 95p (90p/100p).

Peru-based gold and silver producer VI Mining (VIM) reported a tripled loss of $6.33m for 2017. No revenues were generated and the NAV was $2.56m. That was before VIM acquired two projects for $51.3m and raised £5.35m at 500p a share.

Georgia-focused oil and gas company Block Energy withdrew from NEX on 23 March and it is set to join AIM on 11 June. It will be valued at £10.3m at 4p a share.

MetalNRG (MNRG) has identified an acquisition that could provide the opportunity to move to the standard list.

Iran-focused investment company Indigo Holdings (INGO) is reviewing its strategic options. Hamish Harris and Nicholas Harwood are stepping down from the board.

First Sentinel (FSBN) generated initial revenues of £156,000 but, even excluding admission expenses of £65,000, it lost £117,000 in the 15 months to December 2017. The NAV of the small company adviser and investor was £1.26m at the end of the year. Since then, a further £1.5m has been raised via a convertible bond.

Formation Group (FRM) fell back into loss in the six months to February 2018. Revenues fell by 15% to £17.2m and there was s wing from a pre-tax profit of £15,000 to a loss of £277,000. The loss was greater than the second half loss last year. The NAV is £9.95m, including £3.2m in cash.

Secured Property Developments (SPD) has received repayment of the loan it made to a developer of a retail scheme in York. This cash will be used to finance any property deals that management feel are good value, thanks to more realistic pricing.

Trading in the shares of DagangHalal (DGHL) and Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) have been suspended. DagangHal has failed to publish its 2017 accounts. Equatorial is in negotiations with South African mining company ARQ Minerals, which intends to invest £50,000 for 500 million shares. This has led to a delay in the publication of accounts.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has appointed Allenby to replace City and Merchant as its corporate adviser.

AIM   

Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned that its TriConnex utility connections business was suffering from delays and even so interim figures showed a 4% rise in revenues to £62.9m and a 15% increase in pre-tax profit to £3.4m. The interim dividend was raised by 5% to 2.2p a share. Delays to the commencement of projects continue but the group order book has increased to more than £234m.

RedstoneConnect (REDS) is selling its systems integration and managed services businesses for £21.6m, so that it can concentrate on its software for smart buildings. The cash raised will pay off existing debt. Last year, the software division had revenues of £5.3m and made an operating profit of £1.4m.

Maritime monitoring equipment supplier SRT Marine Systems (SRT) has raised £3m at 25p a share and it is swapping £1.15m of short term loan notes for new three year loan notes. The cash will finance systems projects and product development. SRT is working on projects worth £30.5m.

A positive AGM statement from Parity (PTY) confirms that the trading of the consultancy and staffing divisions is going well. Parity should be cash positive by the end of the year and there is a strong pipeline of potential business.

Fishing tackle retailer Fishing Republic (FISH) increased revenues by 58% to £9.15m, but it slumped into loss. Trading was weaker than expected, particularly in the fourth quarter, and gross margin fell sharply even before stock write-offs. Fishing Republic has relaunched its website and the review of operations is ongoing. Five stores have been closed, reducing the total number to 14.

Share (SHRE) increased its revenues by one-fifth in the first quarter as the services provided for Computershare make a contribution in the full quarter. Broker commissions increased by 27% on the back of a 5% increase in trading volumes. First quarter market share dipped from 3.66% to 3.54%. An upgrade to the website has been completed.

Itaconix (ITX) is restructuring its UK operations in order to focus on core products. The main focus will be the US polymer operations. The annual fixed cost base will fall to less than £3.5m in 2019.

IDOX (IDOX) has appointed David Meaden as chief executive. He has experience of the public sector and software development. The information management software and services provider has closed its loss-making digital division. Underlying EBITDA is likely to be in the range of £13m-£15m for the full year, compared with previous expectations of £22.8m. Excluding digital, the EBITDA will be between £18m and £20m.

Immupharma (IMM) has further analysed the results of the phase III lupus treatment trial for Lupuzor. There were different results in the European and US parts of the trial with antibody positive patients in Europe showed a statistically significant improvement.

MAIN MARKET    

Haynes Publishing (HYNS) expects to report a better than expected full year profit. Underlying pre-tax profit will be 10% ahead at around £2.9m. Earnings per share will be hit by US tax changes.

Falcon Media House (FAL) has decided to leave the standard list. The digital media group says that the share price fall has hampered its ability to raise more cash to develop its Q-Flow technology. Revenues have not come through as quickly as expected. If cash were raised, it could reduce the free float so the shares would be suspended.

Andrew Hore

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