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Alan Green talks inflation, BP #BP, Blue Prism #PRSM & Karelian Diamonds #KDR on UK Investor Magazine podcast
We once more welcome Alan Green back to the UK Investor Magazine Podcast for our weekly exploration of UK equities and global markets.
UK inflation was today’s topic of discussion before we drilled down into BP (LON:BP), Blue Prism (LON:PRSM) and Karelian Diamonds (LON:KDR).
UK inflation rose to 2.1% in May as fuel, recreational goods and clothing helped prices higher as the economy reopened. A reading of 2.1% is marginally above the Bank of England’s target rate of 2% but with signs prices could elevated, there may be concerns in some corners of the market that it will force the BoE to hike rates in an economy not fully recovered from the pandemic.
As a gauge of the market’s feeling around potentially higher rates in the future, GBP/USD spiked higher by 40 points to GBP/USD 1.4120 in immediate reaction, before falling back.
Fuel prices rose 17% year-on-year, the biggest jump since 2017 as oil prices continued their march higher.
Clarify Pharma (PSYC) joined the Access segment on 11 June and raised £1.96m at 2.5p a share. Prior to flotation, Clarify Pharma raised £100,000 at 0.1p a share and £1.19m at 1p a share. Pro forma NAV, after flotation expenses, is £2.97m. That is equivalent to 1p a share. Management includes Michael Edwards and Jonathan Bixby from NFT Investments (NFT) and other recent Aquis new admissions. Clarify Pharma will focus on investing in psychedelic medicine businesses and products in the UK and Canada. The share price ended the day at 2.875p (2.75p/3p).
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) is changing its Igraine (KING) and DiscovOre (ORE) is subscribing £2m at 2.5807p a share (post consolidation) for a 24.6% stake. Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi is a director of both companies. Angelfish will become a biotech and medtech investor and it will have co-investment rights with Excalibur Healthcare Services, which is run by Professor Sir Chris Evans. He will also become an Angelfish director. Angelfish will take a 2% stake in Excalibur Medicines Ltd, which has the rights to a potential drug for diabetics suffering from Covid-19. Angelfish will pay £600,000 in cash plus issue £500,000 of deferred shares at 5p each, which could be converted into ordinary shares is the trial of the potential Covid-19 treatment is successful. Every 1,000 existing shares will be consolidated into one new share.
Ananda Developments (ANA) plans to acquire 100% of cannabis grower DJT Plants Ltd. Ananda already owns 50% and it will issue 790.5 million shares, equivalent to £7.3m, to Anglia Salads for the other 50%. Stuart Piccaver will become joint chief executive of Ananda.
KR1 (KR1) has invested the equivalent of $4.45m in KSM tokens in Shiden Network, a smart contract platform on Kusama. Once the parachain auction is completed the KSM will be returned and KR1 will receive Shiden tokens. KR1 made a similar investment in the Karura crowdloan.
Rural Broadband (RBBS) has 2,571 monthly fee-paying clients for its broadband services. Annual run rate revenues are £820,000.
Veni Vidi Vici (VVV) had £272,000 in cash and NAV of £359,000 at the end of 2020. The company has since raised £220,000 at 50p a share. This will help finance the A$300,000 that the company has to spend over the next three years on the 51% owned Shangri La gold, copper and silver project.
Vulcan Industries (VULC) raised £100,000 at 1.675p a share.
Virgata Services has extended its bid for Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) until 21 June. Acceptances currently total 9.3% of the share capital.
UK SPAC (SPC) has withdrawn its application for a move from AIM to Aquis.
NWF (NWF) is trading ahead of expectations and net debt will be lower than anticipated at the end of May 2021. The fuels division has a strong year thanks to the cold winter. The food distribution business improved its trading, but the unstable patterns of demand are hampering profit. Feed margins were under pressure.
AB Traction has increased its stake in construction dispute and property services provider Driver Group (DRV) from 17.32% to 18.27%. That was after Driver reported a 11% decline in revenues to £25m, while underlying pre-tax profit fell from £1.3m to £1m. The comparatives were tough, but gross margins were maintained at 25.6%. Europe and the Americas performed strongly, but the other regions lost money. Net cash was £7.2m at the end of March 2021. A full year pre-tax profit of £2m, down from £2.5m, is forecast.
Cambria Automotive (CAMB) is recommending an 80p a share cash bid, which values the motor dealer at £80m.
Mind Gym (MIND) is increasing its development spending on digital assets, but the benefits are yet to show through. Even so, the learning and development services company returned to profit in the second half. Revenues began growing again in the fourth quarter. In the year to March 2021, revenues were 18% lower at £39.4m, while underlying pre-tax profit slumped from £6.6m to £300,000. Even so, there was £5.9m of cash generated from operations. This level of cash generation will not be repeated, but advance payments mean that cash generation is impressive. There is £16.8m in the bank, after spending £2.8m on new digital products. Two of these products will launch later this year. The first quarter is well ahead of the same period last year.
Drug discovery company Redx Pharma (REDX) plans to move its main cancer treatment, RXC004, into phase 2 studies later this year after the phase 1 safety study is completed. This treatment is designed to prevent tumour growth. The main focus is colorectal, pancreatic and biliary cancer. Lung fibrosis treatment RXC007, the ROCK2 selective inhibitor, has started clinical trials. Redx still had £39.9m at the end of March 2021 and this cash should last until the end of 2022.
JLEN Environmental Assets Group Ltd (JLEN) started investing in battery storage projects in the year to March 2021. JLEN generated £39.5m in cash from operations, up from £36.2m the year before. The proposed increase in UK corporation tax from 19% to 25% has reduced the NAV by around £20m due to its effect on deferred tax provisions. NAV was cut from 97.5p a share to 92.2p a share. The total dividend was 6.76p a share in 2020-21.
Associated British Engineering (ASBE) lost £49,000 in the six months to March 2021. NAV is £1.06m, including £383,000 in cash.
Sure Ventures (SURE) has raised £662,500 at 100p a share. The NAV was 92.06p a share at the end of March 2021.
Cellular Goods (CBX) has secured a supply agreement with Willow Biosciences, which will supply ultra-pure, biosynthetically-produced cannabigerol for use in the company’s cannabinoid-based skin care products.
Aircraft leasing firm Avation (AVAP) generated revenues of $91m in the nine months to March 2021. Key customers are starting to run more flights.
Chapel Down Group (CDGP) is raising up to £6.88m at 59.5p a share via a placing and crowdfunding offer. The directors and Michael Spencer have invested £1.43m in the placing. The rest of the cash will come via the crowdfunding with Seedrs. The financing will only go ahead if a minimum of £3m is raised. The wine maker wants to increase the scale of its winery so it can process more fruit and complete the planting of new acreage. Management also wants to improve the e-commerce capabilities. A new asset-based financing facility of up to £15m has been secured and it will refinance the HSBC debt. Chapel Down increased its revenues from continuing operations from £10.1m to £13.3m in 2020. The underlying pre-tax profit was trebled from £308,000 to £955,000.
TECC Capital (TEC) is a new shell that is seeking to buy technology or cannabis businesses. There is a wide list of potential sub-sectors that will be considered, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, telematics, life sciences, including cannabis products, cyber security and e-commerce, which includes the Internet of Things. TECC raised £1.1m, after expenses at 5p a share. There is pro forma cash of £1.15m, which is equivalent to just over 3.8p a share. Even so, the share price ended the week at 10p. Chris Akers owns 9.9%.
Pioneer Media Holdings Inc (PNER) is a Canada-based investment company with investments in eSports and mobile gaming businesses. It already has a portfolio of ten companies and a Canadian Stock Exchange listing. The shares floated at 45p each and they closed the week at 48p each.
Gledhow Investments (GDH) is raising £850,000 at 1.75p a share. That is at a 12.5% discount to the market price. Gledhow had net assets of £2.35m at the end of March 2021, including £374,000 in cash. That means it is a significant discount to net assets of nearly 4.8p a share. That figure will be significantly diluted by the new share issue. Gledhow does need to become bigger to warrant the quotation, though. Although it has a portfolio of investments, Gledhow would make a good shell for a business. Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi has taken a 3.26% stake in Gledhow.
Non-executive director Dominic Burke has bought 10,000 shares in Newbury Racecourse (NYR) at 582.5p each. The racecourse will be able to have spectators at its 10 June meeting and if there is further easing of lockdown then the hotel and events businesses can reopen. Newbury Racecourse will continue to be loss making in the first half of this year. A joint venture has been set up with a subsidiary of Compass to provide catering for the racecourse and other businesses.
KR1 (KR1) has invested a further $200,000 in Automata, as part of a $2.4m financing. KR1 will receive five million ATA tokens and it already owned ten million tokens.
Startup Giants (SUG) increased revenues from £45,000 to £87,000 in 2020. Higher costs meant that the loss increased. However, there was a £9,000 cash inflow from operating activities. There was net cash of £651,000 at the end of 2020.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says that initial drilling of the Cottesloe silver project, which is close to the Red Setter project.
MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised nearly £80,000 at 28.5p a share.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) directors Alistair Currie and Ed Jenkins have each bought 18,400 shares at 43.25p each. Currie owns 3.67% and Jenkins holds 0.75%. Chairman Jonathan Bixby has bought 1,000 shares in NFT Investments (NFT) at 2.9p each. Iain Livingston, the father of S-Ventures (SVEN) chief executive Scott Livingston, has sold 150,000 shares at an average price of 23p a share. Scott Livingston owns 49.1% and his family a further 3.5%.
Arecor Therapeutics (AREC) takes existing pharma products and reformulates them for new uses or to make them more effective. A placing raised £18.3m, after expenses, at 226p a share. The main focus is diabetes. Arecor’s insulin program AT247 is an ultra-rapid acting meal-time insulin product, while AT278 is an ultra-concentrated rapid acting insulin development, which could be used with miniaturised insulin pump delivery devices. AT299 is a co-formulation of pramlintide and insulin. These fast-acting insulins have an addressable market worth $6.4bn. There have been positive clinical studies for AT247. A phase II study should provide results in 24 months and that would be the point when a partner would be secured.
Artisanal Spirits Company (ART) owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SWMS) and it raised £13.2m after expenses at 112p a share, which was at the bottom of the 112p a share to 121p a share price range. First quarter sales in 2021 improved from £2.9m to £3.4m, even though venues and events revenues continued to be well down during the period. There was cask whisky and bottled stock of £21.7m at the end of 2020. That is the main asset in the balance sheet and an independent valuation believes that this stock is worth £9m more than book value – based on an orderly liquidation.
Franchised lettings agency Belvoir (BLV) has acquired The Nottingham Building Society’s mortgage and protection services business for £600,000. This year’s operating profit is expected to be £175,000. The deal could add 1% to earnings in a full year.
Coral Products (CRU) had £3.8m in the bank at the end of April 2021. That should be boosted by the Haydock freehold sale, which should be completed in the second half. In the year to April 2021, revenues from continuing operations increased from £8.7m to £10.7m. Even excluding the profit on disposals of £2.3m, the pre-tax profit was £700,000. There will be a final dividend of 0.5p a share.
CyanConnode (CYAN) has raised £3.15m at 9.5p, taking advantage of the strength of its share price. This was a small premium to the market price. CyanConnode could have made progress in the smart meter market without the additional cash, but this will help to accelerate its growth.
Cleantech company Verditek (VDTK) is raising up to £500,000 through a bond offering 7% interest, secured against the assets of the company. The offer is via Crowd for Angels, which is underwriting the first £225,000 of the two-year bond. Verditek wants to expand its Italian facility so that it can satisfy international contracts for its lightweight, flexible solar panels. The focus is the solar operations, but there are also minority stakes in BBR Filtration and Industrial Climate Solutions Inc.
Housebuilder Springfield Properties (SPR) says that its 2020-21 revenues and profit will be better than pre-Covid-19 levels. This was helped by two land sales. N+1 Singer forecasts an improvement in pre-tax profit from £10.2m to £18m.
Internet domain name registry and services provider CentralNic (CNIC) generated organic growth of 16% in the first quarter of 2021. Total revenues jumped from $56.9m to $84.4m, helped by acquisitions. Net debt is $79m.
Sportech (SPO) and CML Microsystems (CML) both intend to switch to AIM. Sportech believes that the junior market is more suitable for its size and it will make it easier to complete transactions. CML also believes that AIM is more suitable following the sale of one of its divisions and it also expects its shareholders to benefit from the tax breaks.
Tarek Taksch has reduced its stake in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCTP) from 7.75% to 5.43%. The company has entered a consultancy agreement with Voisin Consulting, which will help with regulation and development plans for OCT461201, a treatment for ailments associated with IBS.
Shefa Gems (SEFA) is demerging its gems business, because it will take longer than expected to exploit the assets, and turning itself into a shell. Existing shareholders will receive shares in the gems business. There will be a 100-for-one share consolidation and then the company will raise $1.05m (£756,000) at 3.53p a share. The name will be changed to Alef Bet Advanced Technologies and seek an acquisition in web technology and software.
Imperial X (CDL) has raised £2m at 3p a share as part of its move from Aquis to the standard list. The resources company is changing its name to Cloudbreak Discoveries.
Motor dealer Caffyns (CFYN) manged to improve its underlying profit from £251,000 to £1.88m last year, even though revenues fell from £195.8m to £165.1m. Net debt was £10.3m at the end of March 2021. There has been a property valuation that shows the portfolio is worth £12.3m more than book value. Excluding that surplus, NAV is £27.6m.
National Word (NWOR) has already secured annualised savings of £4m from the JPI Media acquisition and is on course to secure savings of at least £5m. The online audience is increasing, and monthly content revenues are being generated from Google and Facebook. Overall revenues increased by 18% in April and May. The fastest growth is from digital.
Alan Green talks Royal Mail Group #RMG, Destiny Pharma #DEST & ECR Minerals #ECR on the UK Investor Magazine podcast
Alan Green joins the Podcast with Jonathan Roy for the weekly instalment of UK equities and market themes.
With the FTSE 100 remaining stubbornly within a tight range, we look back at the appreciation we’ve seen in cyclical shares and whether investors should expect a greater proportion of their returns to be achieved from income in the form of dividends in the future.
Financials, tobacco and some commodity shares are now yielding significantly above 5% and present an attractive allocation possibility for investors.
Having secured promotion to the FTSE 100 we look at Royal Mail and the drivers behind the tremendous run in shares from below 150p to 600p. This was largely down to success inn parcel growth that could waver as the economy reopens so we question their growth strategy going forward.
We discuss Royal Mail (LON:RMG), ECR Minerals (LON:ECR) and Destiny Pharma (LON:DEST).
Pharma C Investments (PCIL) is a shell seeking to invest in medicinal cannabis sector-focused companies, particularly those that provide ancillary products and services to the sector, and it joined the Access segment on 26 May. The indication is that plant genetics, product testing, marketing, procurement services and cannabis consumption devices are areas that might be considered. There was £920,000, after expenses, raised at 0.7p a share. Cash is equivalent to less than 0.4p a share. The shares ended the first day of trading at 0.825p (0.75p/0.9p/) and maintained that price until the end of the week.
Dispersion Holdings (DEFI) has made its first investment. An equity investment of €250,000 has been made in SportsX SAS, which is a technology platform for amateur sports clubs, for a 25% stake. SportsX SAS helps clubs to create club-branded Ethereum-based tokens. SportsX SAS takes 18% of gross merchandising revenues and charges an annual membership fee. It also retains a 10%-20% interest in club tokens. These tokens may eventually be listed on an Ethereum-based exchange, such as Uniswap.
Valereum Blockchain (VLRM) expects to launch the first listed company non-fungible token (NFT) live on a crypto exchange in the next few weeks. This will be via Valereum’s Bridge financial platform and use the Mattereum Asset Passport.
GP IT systems supplier DXS International (DXSP) maintained its profit on slightly higher turnover last year. Pilots of new systems have been continuing but the pace is slower than originally expected. Progress should speed up when there is less pressure on GPs due to Covid. Formal NHS GPIT Futures accreditation should be awarded soon for the ExpertCare hypertension product.
Virgata Services has extended its bid for Walls & Future REIT (WAFR) until 10 June. Virgata argues that the 50p a share bid provides cash immediately rather than some time in the future, even though it is a big discount to NAV.
St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported a fall in full year revenues from £324,000 to £216,000 and there was a loss of £170,000, compared with a profit of £114,000. Management is planning to refocus on developing family housing. Net assets were £5.45m (123p a share) at the end of December 2020. The share price is 87.5p (85p/90p), which values St Mark Homes at £3.86m.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) has originated new loans of £247m so far this year. That means that customers owe £1.8bn. In the four months to April 2021, customer deposits increased by 10% to £2.6bn. There were £1.2bn of assets under management at the end of April.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) increased its NAV from 50.17p a share to 61.05p a share in the 12 months to February 2021. That includes a revaluation that reflects the March disposal proceeds for Anthesis Consulting. Interim revenues fell from £271,000 to £198,000, while pre-tax profit fell from £1.28m to £1m, due to a lower level of unrealised gains. There was £1m in the bank at the end of February and this increased to £2.64m after the latest disposal.
Oberon Investments (OBE) has acquired financial planning services provider Smythe House for £300,000 in cash and shares. Up to £233,000 more could become payable dependent on performance. That increases assets under administration by £40m. At the end of March 2021, Oberon had assets under administration of £550m and it reached more than £600m by May 2021. In the year to March 2021, revenues were 240% higher at £3.75m and momentum continues. Broking subsidiary Oberon Capital has been adding clients, including finnCap and MyHealthChecked.
TruSpine Technologies (TSP) has completed its second round of testing for the screwless, spinal stabilisation system Cervi-LOK. It took two surgeons in New York an average of 15 minutes to implant Cervi-LOK on cadavers. That is one-third of the time for other technology. The feedback was positive. There is another round of testing and clearance could be obtained as early as September. An additional £78,000 has been raised at 10p a share.
CBD products supplier Sativa Wellness Group Inc (SWEL) increased first quarter revenues by 377% to £1.37m and gross profit by 234% to £707,000. The loss has been reduced to 0.3p a share.
Ben Richardson has been appointed chief executive of SulNOX Group (SNOX) and Tony Granger becomes full-time chief administration officer. Nigel Armit is no longer finance director. Radu Forescu becomes chairman.
Good Energy (GOOD) has repaid £11.5m of Good Energy Bonds II and that will save annual interest charges of £600,000. The remaining loans total £4.9m and these should be repaid by the end of 2022.
Love Hemp Group (LIFE) raised £2.35m at 3.5p a share. The cash will fund marketing for CBD and hemp products. Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) raised £1.16m at 7.5p a share (with a warrant exercisable at 15p attached). The cash will be invested in non-fungible token and open finance sectors.
Mayflower Capital Investments has increased its stake in Altona Real Earths (ANR) from 14.1% to 29.5%. Ashok Patel has taken a 5.03% stake in Quetzal Capital (QTZ).
Watchstone Group (WTG) is seeking shareholder approval to cancel its AIM quotation at its AGM on 29 June.
Trellus Health (TRLS) intends to provide personalised care for people with chronic conditions with the initial focus being inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It has an exclusive licence for the commercialisation of the GRITT (Gaining Resilience Through Transition) methodology developed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The company raised £28.5m at 40p a share. The share price jumped to 65p on the first day of trading, which values Trellus Health at £105m.
Medical devices developer Belluscura (BELL) has gained FDA clearance for its portable oxygen concentrator (POC) and it raised £17.5m – the company was originally seeking £15m of new money at 45p a share, which was in the middle of the expected range of 42p-48p. The shares ended the first day of trading at 53p.
Trading continues to be ahead of expectations at franchised lettings agency Belvoir (BLV). Management service fees 22% higher in the first four months of this year, while financial services income is 24% ahead.
Iodine producer Iofina (IOF) reported an increase in 2020 pre-tax profit from $1m to $1.3m on barely changed revenues of $29.7m. Lower interest charges and higher iodine prices will help Iofina to improve profit to $4.4m this year.
Eqtec (EQT) has raised £16m at 1.5p a share. This will finance repowering of plants in Italy and Croatia using the company’s gasification technology, plus investment in UK projects. This has led to a 26% upgrade in 2022 earnings to 0.1 eurocents a share.
Zegona Communications (ZEG) will return £335m in cash to shareholders following the takeover of Euskaltel. The stake Zegona owns in Euskatel is equivalent to 170p a share and the cash distribution will be 153p a share. The rest of the cash is likely to fund another investment.
Kanabo Group (KNB) is raising £1m at 22p a share, which was a 10% premium to the market price. Kanabo is investing £750,000 in a pre-IPO placing by Hellenic Dynamics, a medical cannabis cultivator. A reverse takeover of an AIM shell is envisaged. There is also an agreement with Northern Greece-based Hellenic that could lead to a deal to purchase up to 1,000kg a year of cannabis flowers with pre-defined THC or CBD levels.