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Cathal Friel talks to Zak Mir about ‘sleeping giant’ hVIVO, and his plans for the new enlarged Open Orphan #ORPH

Open Orphan #ORPH announced the completion of its acquisition of UK-based hVivo Plc on Monday, 20th January 2020. Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan commented, “I am hugely excited by the combination of Open Orphan and hVIVO. We have a fantastic team, substantial revenue potential and the opportunity to grow quickly in the year ahead. I am personally participating in the placing as I believe in the strategy of the business and its ability to deliver substantial returns to shareholders in the next 12 months.”

Here Cathal talks to Zak Mir about ‘sleeping giant’ hVIVO, the plans he has for the new enlarged group going forward, and why he personally participated in the placing. “We picked up £50-£60m of assets for c£10m…”

BigDish #DISH – Appointment of Tom Sumner as New CEO and Operational Update

BigDish Plc (LON: DISH), a food technology company that operates a yield management platform for restaurants, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new CEO and to provide an operational update.

The Company has appointed Tom Sumner as the new Chief Executive Officer commencing 2 December 2019.  Tom has worked in the restaurant discount industry for the past six years.  From 2013 to 2016 he was National Partnership Manager, managing a 10 person telesales team at Gourmet Society and Tastecard which are the largest diner membership clubs in the United Kingdom.  These brands are operated by The Dining Club Group and each has over 6,000 restaurant partners.

Highlights:

·    New CEO with a proven track record of restaurant acquisition in the industry

·    Company to open a telesales operation in Manchester to accelerate restaurant acquisition

·    Financial position update

·    Q1 2020 launch of BigDish Premium

New CEO

It is the view of BigDish that the appointment of Tom Sumner is a major coup for the company, as he is a proven person in terms of his performance and ability. His relative youth and dynamism sits well with the ethos of a tech company such as BigDish, and as “player/manager” is likely to be inspirational for the team he leads.

Tom joined TableNow in 2016 initially as Product Development Manager and subsequently became Head of Operations and in May 2018 he was appointed as Managing Director.  TableNow is a dining discount app that enables diners to book discounted restaurant seats in the UK.  In April 2019 the Company rebranded with a new app and embarked upon a nationwide rollout. Following the rebrand, Tom grew the platform, with a 10 person telesales team, from 250 to 3,000 restaurants across the United Kingdom over a six month period.  TableNow monetizes by charging consumers either a membership fee or a booking fee. Given that BigDish is free to consumers if scale can be achieved it is likely to have greater appeal.

Sanj Naha, will remain with the Company but in a new role where he will focus on the acquisition of restaurant groups and technology integrations with Electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) companies and other third party restaurant technology platforms with whom he has developed relationships with.

Restaurant Acquisition

The Company has used a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to restaurant acquisition through Territory Managers.  While there has been some success in certain aspects of the business, achieving scale is the goal both in terms of the consumer experience, but also to ensure that BigDish achieves the critical mass to disrupt and erode existing players.

As has been evident throughout the technology space, once companies achieve critical mass, their strategic value alone can rise by significant multiples.  Therefore prompt and significant action has already been taken in the run up to this update to ensure an accelerated rollout of restaurants via management and strategy enhancements.

At 11 November 2019 there are a total of 177 restaurants which are live on the BigDish platform. The primary focus for the next 12 months is restaurant acquisition and accelerating the growth of restaurant numbers.  A shift to consumer traction and further product development is then envisaged.

The Company has chosen not to retain 7 of its 9 Territory Managers.  The best performing Territory Managers are focused on Birmingham and Brighton and will remain with the Company and progress will be monitored.

Rather than “boots on the ground”, the Company, led by Tom Sumner, will launch a telesales operation in Manchester on 2 December 2019 as its prime strategic initiative for restaurant acquisition.  The Company notes that Tastecard, Gourmet Society and TableNow all have proven the effectiveness of telesales within their operations and have all favoured this to a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to restaurant acquisition.

In addition to Tom Sumner, two other persons will join the team who have experience working with Tom in restaurant acquisition and collectively have 12 years industry experience.  The objective is to rapidly build up a telesales team of approximately 10 persons.

The cost of the telesales operation will be considerably less than the ‘boots on the ground’ strategy.  This will result in very substantial cost savings.

Financial Position Update

At 30 September 2019 (interims reporting period date) the Company had total cash of £ 1,288,666 and immaterial cash liabilities.  The new strategy will result in substantial cost savings well in excess of £ 250,000 per annum.  A new budget has been worked based on the most conservative basis possible.  The Company has sufficient funding until the period of the third quarter of 2020.  This has been estimated using purely a cash burn assumption – the most pessimistic scenario.

The Company’s auditors, Mazars LLP, noted in their Independent Auditors Report that they had “reviewed future forecasts for at least twelve months from the date of approval of the financial statements and reviewed the underlying assumptions for reasonableness and reliability”. Furthermore they concluded that “Based on our work, we found the Going Concern basis to be appropriate.”  The Financial Statements were approved on 31 July 2019.

The Company’s technology and business support operations in Manila remain lean and cost a total of approximately £ 19,300 per month.  The Company currently employs 13 persons in its Manila office.  This is considerably less than the cost of having these functions based in the UK.  The Company also operates a Salary Sacrifice Scheme to ensure that management cash costs are kept as lean as possible.

Other Updates

The Company announced its Brand Ambassador Program on 2 July 2019.  This will now be launched at a later date once there are a critical mass of restaurants that will ensure that any marketing initiatives relating to Brand Ambassadors will have the maximum impact.  Brand Ambassadors will be paid in shares as previously announced.

The BigDish App will be made more attractive to both consumers and restaurants.  There will be more flexible discount options available and consumers will be able to book up to 7 days in advance rather than just 48 hours in advance.

The technology team is also developing a BigDish Premium product that will be a different revenue model.  This is expected to be ready for launch in the first quarter of 2020 and more details will be provided in due course.

Outlook

With early stage technology companies it is often difficult to forecast accurately and the Company will be mindful of this with all future public statements.  The Company’s business model is a proven one in the restaurant sector, and Bigdish now feels it has made the dramatic changes required in order to achieve its ambitions.  Going forward, improvements will continue, as necessary.

The United Kingdom is currently dominated by consumer paid dining membership products.  The BigDish Yield Management app is a free consumer product and empowers the restaurants to select the discount options and the availability in order to fill empty tables.   We are therefore presenting the marketplace both with a compelling consumer proposition as well as offering more flexibility to restaurants.  This ‘win-win’ scenario continues to present an exciting opportunity for BigDish and the Company believes that the new and improved strategy will create value for shareholders.

Tom Sumner, incoming CEO commented:

“I am really excited to be joining BigDish on 2 December, especially to add to my track record of restaurant acquisition.  It is a great looking App and I am confident that the free consumer model will be a big hit in the United Kingdom.  The technology is sector leading and with the launch of the Manchester operation I hope to achieve the same results for BigDish that I have at TableNow, Tastecard and Gourmet Society.”

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF ARTICLE 7 OF THE MARKET ABUSE REGULATION EU 596/2014 (“MAR”)

 

Enquiries:

Zak Mir, Digital Communications Officer, BigDish

+44 (0) 7867 527658

zak@bigdish.com

Jonathan Morley-Kirk, Non-Executive Chairman

+44 (0) 7797 859986

jmk@bigdish.com

Notes to Editors

BigDish Plc is a London Stock Exchange listed food technology company that operates a yield management platform for the restaurant industry.

Yield Management is a dynamic pricing strategy based on understanding and influencing human behaviour in order to maximise revenue from a fixed, time limited resource.  Yield Management has been very effective for selling airline seats and hotel rooms.  BigDish believes that Yield Management can benefit restaurants to optimize revenue by bringing diners to empty tables.

BigDish is a free consumer product.  Consumers can book a table with a discount via the BigDish App or website.  Restaurants pay BigDish a fixed fee per diner seated.

Hayden Locke, CEO of Emmerson Plc #EML – Core Finance Interview with Zak Mir

Core Finance TV Channel – Hayden Locke, CEO of Emmerson Plc #EML and Zak Mir discuss the most recent corporate update on the company’s flagship Khemisset Potash Project, including a recent scoping study, financing and project de-risking.

Dr David Paul of VectorVest discusses markets and stocks with Zak Mir on Core Finance

Dr David Paul from VectorVest discusses current market movements in what he refers to as a Late Cycle Bull Market with Zak Mir on Core Finance. Stocks covered include US listed Centene Group (CNC), Molina Healthcare (MOH) & United Health Group (UNH).

Predator Oil & Gas #PRD CEO Paul Griffiths interviewed by Zak Mir

Predator Oil & Gas #PRD CEO Paul Griffiths discusses the company’s projects in Trinidad and Ireland with Zak Mir on Core Finance TV.

Zak Mir: Small Cap Highlight ECR Minerals #ECR – Gold back in the spotlight as slowing global economic growth spikes renewed appetite


By Zak Mir, Financial Journalist

  • Positive forecast for gold prices
  • Australia Gold production ramp-up
  • MicroCap Australian Gold explorer focus

Positive forecast for gold prices

Sharp declines in global stock markets over the past few weeks saw Gold hit a three month high as political uncertainty continues to grow across the world.

In August prices for the precious metal fell below $1,200 per troy ounce mark for the first time in more than two and a half years’, down 12% since April. The turn largely caused by the US Dollars unexpected performance and aggressive monetary policy marked it’s worst losing streak since 2013.

However, October has seen a marked turnaround in the Gold price: the yellow metal grew by 3.3% in October, and continuing into November saw $1,233 per ounce as investors and hedge funds continue selling off global equities in search of reduced risk amidst geopolitical and economic uncertainty. Safe haven demand for gold has been driven by ongoing fears of a trade war between the US and China, growth concerns in China and the ongoing Brexit saga amongst a number of other issues.

Observers have been universal in their support. Mark O’Byrne, research director at Dublin-based GoldCore said: “Safe-haven gold is again acting as a hedge and safe-haven asset, exactly when investors need one.” “Throughout its history, Gold has served as a stable, safe haven investment during times of economic slowdown and following the International Monetary Fund (IMF) downward revision of the global economic growth for next year we might see more investors buying up the commodity.”

Others have noted how the nature of intra-year seasonal cycles may are likely to lead to increase in the price of gold. The Street says “massive washouts like the one we’re experiencing in gold right now are the fathers of subsequent rallies”.

Speaking on the Bloomberg Markets podcast Ruth Crowell CEO of the London Bullion Market Association discussed how the groups Annual Gathering this year predicted the most bullish forecast since 2012 with a forecast of $1,585 per ounce for next October. Ruth explains that this years price is reflected by ‘the macroeconomic outlook, ultimately talking about a lot of concerns’. Meanwhile a poll conducted by Reuters this month they found that of the 39 analysts and traders polled they expected gold prices to average $1,300 an ounce in 2019.

Australia Production Ramp Up

On the supply front, according to Bloomberg the world’s largest miners look set to increase spending for the first time since 2013 while the value of sector M&A activity has hit the highest levels in six years.

As a result, Gold production looks to set for further ramp ups through the end of 2018 and into 2019.

In particular production in Australia, the world’s second-largest Gold producer, may rise to a record this year and next as a stream of new projects come on line. Comments from Australian mining consultancy Surbiton Associates in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted how Australian gold miners, among the lowest cost globally, have enjoyed high margins in recent years, with output boosted by the strengthening US dollar, which has in turn ‘supercharged’ Australian dollar prices.

MicroCap Australian Gold explorer focus – ECR Minerals

While the giants such as Newcrest Mining, AngloGold, Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold Corp tend to dominate the headlines, this upturn in sector activity has seen a marked increase in funding for small and microcap Gold exploration companies. Following a strategic financing round in July 2018, microcap Gold exploration company ECR Minerals has delivered a steady stream of exploration news updates, which has resonated among institutional and retail investors during Q3. ECR are conducting exploration activities across their numerous projects in Victoria, which is by far the most accessible and productive area of gold in Australia. In the 70 or so years from the 1850’s until the 1920’s, approximately 2,100 tons of officially recorded gold was recovered from Victoria and today it continues to be a favourite area for metal detector prospecting.

Listed on London’s AIM market, ECR’s exploration projects underway include Avoca, Bailieston, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Central Victoria.

In mid September, ECR announced that it had ‘identified eight principle targets within the Company’s five exploration licence areas’ and had developed an exploration programme ‘designed to test surface gold mineralisation across the licence areas.’

At the end of September the Company confirmed gold mineralisation, with 22 samples from 76 containing gold grades ranging from 0.5 g/t to 67.4 g/t (2.17 ounces per ton). Their second assay results proved positive too, with 29 samples delivering gold mineralisation ranging from 0.56 g/t Au to 22.9 g/t Au;

ECR’s next rock chip sampling results will come from the Creswick area, where prior mapping has revealed a large gold system. Sounds promising.

So whether you’re buying bullion, investing into Gold majors as a proxy for the yellow metal or speculating on Microcap Gold explorers, the shiny near term outlook for Gold, and in particular Gold explorers operating in Australia looks unlikely to be tarnished

 

 

 

Catenae Innovation #CTEA: The Universal Blockchain Application – Zak Mir, Financial Journalist

Of late, the technology space has been characterised by the rise and rise of the so-called FAANGS (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google). Even taking into account the recent Facebook blip, which has seen the stock fall back to March 18 levels, the overall trend remains higher. These stocks epitomise how the development of a technological breakthrough, whether large (Google Search) or small (Twitter’s 280 characters) can create companies worth billions.

Sadly, very few technology giants to date have originated in the UK, but even so the search for the UK Unicorn continues.

Catenae’s Investment Proposition:  World Beating Blockchain Technology In A £2M AIM Listed Company

The relentless growth of Blockchain technology is well documented, but among the companies developing the technology, several of the global leaders are based here in the UK. Catenae Innovation is one such company: in the space of just a few months following a change in name from Milestone Group, it has developed a unique Blockchain application which can be used across multiple sectors from music to image licensing and governance. Following exhaustive back testing procedures, Catenae’s “super-fast” Blockchain technology has been independently validated at 300k transactions/second, creating a unique and highly valuable IP. This stands wholly at odds with Catenae’s current market capitalisation of just £2m.

Post Hype?

From an investment standpoint, a tried and tested strategy for generating investor interest and rallying share prices is to put money into and around the latest tech and market buzzwords. The past 15- 20 years has seen anything with “China” and “Dotcom” generate arguably disproportionate levels of interest, while today “blockchain” and “cloud” are the buzzwords of the moment. By definition only a few of companies incorporating “blockchain” into the offering will go on and deliver a product that is both disruptive and works as it should. Catenae Innovation has already proved to be one such company.

A Long Standing Data Need

For years, business and finance has striven to create immutable records of data, identity and activity. In the digital age, accurate and secure data is everything, and although Blockchain, otherwise known as distributed ledger technology has been around for over 20 years, its time, relevance and application has finally arrived.

In the space of music and image licensing, Catenae’s proprietary technology is already at the forefront and providing solutions via with its “super-fast” blockchain offering.

Catenae’s Commercial Solutions Portfolio:

Positioning itself as a B2B solutions integrator with sector specific subsidiaries, Catenae also has both the product set and technical resource to deliver this Blockchain platform as a universal utility.

In addition to providing the technology to 3rdparty organisations either as a licensable product or as a consultative-based solution, Catenae’s offering is also being championed within its own media business Trust in Media, a joint venture with music mogul Martin Heath, who better than anyone understands the challenges presented by the industry. With a focus on royalties and copyright, the solution will also form part of a portfolio of Fintech products for KYC and AML applications, along with payment systems and pre-paid cards.

Zak Mir, Financial Journalist

Zak Mir interviews Paul Vonk of Angus Energy #ANGS

Paul Vonk, Managing Director at Angus Energy PLC #ANGS discusses the latest developments at Horse Hill with Zak Mir.

Guy Meyer, Head of Business Development at Catenae Innovation #CTEA talks to Zak Mir at Share Talk

In this interview Guy Meyer, Head of Business Development Catenae (AIM:CTEA) speaks with Zak Mir @ZaksTradersCafe about the two new proof of concept deals announced on Thursday 5th July 2018.

Zak Mir interviews Zafir Karim, Exec Chairman at Legendary Investments #LEG

Zafar Karim, Executive Chairman Legendary Investments, discusses the company’s sub NAV stock market valuation in the wake of the NZ banking license win, and ongoing positive momentum for multi-bagger holding, VirtualStock.

 

Find the podcast below:

Legendary’s NZ Banking Investment: A License To Print Money?

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