Even though Daniel Thwaites (THW) has sold most of its brewing and related assets to Marstons it still managed to increase its profit in the six months to September 2015. Pre-tax profit before interest swap movements rose from £4.8m to £4.9m with the contribution from discontinued brewing activities down from £1.3m to £100,000. Revenues from continuing activities improved from £40.1m to £41.8m. Net debt was £29.1m at the end of September 2015, while the NAV is £177.6m. At 117p a share, Daniel Thwaites is valued at £70.5m. The interim dividend is unchanged at 1.1p a share. The hotels, pubs and inns businesses have grown revenues with inns growing the fastest. Central costs have been reduced.
A contribution from the bull semen business bought last year helped National Milk Records (NMRP) to grow revenues by 4% to £10.1m in the six months to September 2015. However, overall trading has been tough due to the reluctance of dairy farmers to invest in the company’s newer services when the milk price is low. The traditional milk recording and payment testing services are trading ahead of the same time last year. Pre-tax profit fell from £850,000 to £599,000 as the new genetics operations made a loss and there was a goodwill amortisation charge. At 71.5p (70p/73p) a share, NMR is valued at £5.4m. There is a pension liability of £8.4m.
IP Group is providing a loan facility of up to £1.5m to Green Chemicals (GNCP), which is developing cleaner and safer consumer and cleaning products. This could be converted into shares. IP Group already owns 8.1% of Green Chemicals and along with two other associates IP Group has a total interest of 29.5%.
Ecovista (EVTP) has raised £269,000 at 0.05p a share, which is the mid price, and the cash will be used to make further property investments. The new shares equate to 35% of the enlarged share capital. Ecovista has completed the acquisition of the remaining 49% of Willow Cottages, which owns a cottage and 2.25 acres near to Stanstead. There is also an option to acquire a nearby cottage for £300,000 – the option cost £10,000.
UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) started trading on the ISDX Growth market on 12 November.
Panmure Gordon has upgraded its forecasts for AB Dynamics (ABDP) on the back of the better than expected full year figures from the automotive testing business. In the year to August 2015, revenues grew from £13.8m to £16.5m, while pre-tax profit jumped from £2.68m to £3.82m. The interim dividend was raised to 2.75p a share. AB benefits from a strong international spread of revenues and growth is coming from track testing services. Cash flow is strong and net cash was £7.97m. This means that AB has plenty of cash to finance the construction of its new facility in Bradford-on-Avon. The facility should be completed by early 2017 and AB will still have a cash pile after this additional investment. The 2015-16 earnings per share forecast has been raised from 18.8p to 20.8p and for 2016-17 from 21.3p to 23.6p.
Blackstone Funds have set up a vehicle to acquire Japan Residential Investment Company Ltd (JRIC) for £152.6m. The offer is 72p a share in cash and is recommended by the board although it says there is a potential rival offer at the same share price. At the end of May 2015, the JRIC NAV was 56.3p a share. JRIC floated on AIM at 100p a share back in October 2006 – during a period when a number of property investment companies joined the junior market. In July 2013, the life of the investment company was extended to 2018. Blackstone has been building up its Japanese residential property interests since 2013.
Fully listed-Volution (FAN) is making a recommended 345p a share bid for Energy Technique (ETQ), which values the manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning components at £9.25m. Energy Technique has complementary technology and a customer base that are potential customers for Volution products. The deal should be earnings enhancing in the first full year.
Security and facilities management services provider Mortice Ltd (MORT) has acquired 51% of Singapore-based security services and products supplier Frontline for up to £1.89m (S$4.03m). The initial payment was £600,000 (S$1.28m) and the rest is dependent on the level of EBITDA for 2015. If the performance is poor then the vendor may have to pay back some of the initial payment. There is an option to acquire a further 25% of Frontline within three years. This is the first operational business acquired in Singapore even though Mortice has its corporate base there. Frontline provides services to 73 sites in Singapore and takes Mortice into selling surveillance equipment. In 2014, Frontline made a pre-tax profit of S$590,000 on revenues of S$4.25m.
Mariana Resources (MARL) has reported further positive drilling news from Hot Maden in Turkey and it expects to more news flow over the coming year. Two more drilling holes have been completed on the Turkish gold project and one of them shows 39 metres @ 5.8 grams of gold/tonne and 0.7% copper. This is from 88 metres downhole. There is further potential to extend the resource. Mariana is assessing drill prospects for the Dona Ines gold-silver project in Chile so that drilling can commence in the first quarter of 2016. Asset Chile can earn-in to a 50% stake in the project in return for $1.65m of funding.
Xeros Technology (XSG) has raised £40m at 225p a share in order to boost marketing to commercial laundries of its polymer bead-based cleaning technology that reduces the use of water. The cash will also be used to finance a move into new markets. Xeros will have pro forma cash of £55m and this should last for more than two years. By the end of July, there were 106 machines installed in commercial laundries and growth has been helped by subsidies in North America but last year’s revenues were a modest £466,000. Cash burn is £1.25m/month and this could rise with additional R&D. Xeros is developing a domestic product and a leather processing version. The year end is being changed to December.
Rurelec (RUR) has launched an open offer to raise up to £3.54m at 1p a share. If the cash is not raised then the South America-focused electricity generator will not be able to pay its creditors. The offer price is lower than the 2p a share par value so there will have to be a capital reorganisation, which requires shareholder approval. Rurelec intends to sell its Peru hydro electricity assets. The one-for-1.58800245 open offer closes on 7 December.
Silver Falcon (SILF) is the latest small shell to float on the standard list. The board includes Peter Redmond and Geoffrey Dart who have been involved in a number of shells, predominantly on AIM. The focus is on fintech and financial services businesses. Silver Falcon raised £1.3m at 3p a share. Initial share issues were at 1p a share. After expenses, there is about £1.4m in the bank. By the end of the week the share price had risen to 3.25p, which values the shell at £1.95m. The cash in the bank may covers less than three-quarters of that market value.