Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that raceday attendances are 29% so far this year and no meetings were lost to the weather. Conference and events revenues have been maintained despite the refurbishment of the racecourse. Occupancy levels are building up at on-site hotel The Lodge. The Rocking Horse nursery has increased revenues by 29%. The pre-parade ring and saddling boxes are completed and the Owners’ Club conference and wedding venue will be finished in the late summer. Further improvements will begin later this year. The first home owners have moved into the residential development, which will take until 2021 to complete. Newbury is involved in the new racecourse controlled betting pool from July 2018.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has signed a memorandum of understanding with hedge fund HyperChain Capital. This will lead to co-investment opportunities in blockchain companies. Singapore-based HyperChain predominantly invests in tokens, which has proved more profitable than direct investment in companies in recent times – see Kryptonite 1. The two investors are each invested in social trading crypto platform CoinDash, which is about to launch a token offering.
Kryptonite 1 (KR1) has made a profitable turn on tokens in blockchain-related investments, some of which were acquired four months ago. The company sold 6,407 Melonport tokens for £33.17 each, raising £212,520, compared with the buying price of £3.87 each providing a profit of just over £187,000. The 2,105,254 tokens acquired in the Golem project were sold for an average price of 27p each – 27 times the original investment – raising £569,418 and representing a gain of just over £548,000. Kryptonite 1 has tax losses, which it should be able to use to offset against the total gains of £735,000. A small amount of the cash raised has been reinvested in 126,796.5 tokens in the initial coin offering of the Mysterium project – a peer-to-peer, server-less virtual private network.
Property investment company Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) is paying an interim dividend of 1p a share. The shares go ex-dividend on 22 June.
Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser to African Potash Ltd (AFPO), which has also completed the acquisition of a 21% stake in Advanced Agricultural Holdings in return for 221.6 million African Potash shares (11.8% of the enlarged share capital).
NEX Exchange Company of the Year
Here are the companies on the shortlist for NEX Exchange Company of the Year which will be awarded at the 2017 Small Cap Awards on 22 June.
£33.6m @11750p (11500p/12000p)
Brewer and distributor Adnams has been around the longest of the five nominees for this award and it is also much larger than any of the others. Adnams, which sponsored last year’s Tour of Britain cycling event, continues to invest in its brewery with beer sales moving above 100,000 barrels in 2016. More of that beer is being sold in kegs. The £7m investment in the brewery is almost complete.
In 2016, revenues improved from £65.7m to £70.3m, while pre-tax profit increased from £4.07m to £5.02m, predominantly down to a rise in asset disposal gains from £625,000 to £1.43m. The NAV has fallen to £27.5m because of an increase in the pension liability. There is a dividend of 150p per B share and 37.5p per A share.
So far this year, sales of beers and spirits continue to grow and Adnam’s pubs are trading well, although the sale of smaller pubs will reduce the profitability of this part of the group. Currency movements, the sale of the UK distribution rights for Lagunitas beers and the renovation of the Swan Hotel will hamper overall progress in the first half. This year there will be the first beer duty tax increase in four years.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP)
£6.9m @45p (40p/50p)
Employee ownership-focused investment company Capital for Colleagues has not had a smooth ride in the past year with a major investee company going bust but it is still able to attract more cash from investors. Capital for Colleagues raised £1.44m at 42p a share from its recent open offer and a further £980,000 in a placing at the same price.
One of the group’s employee-owned investee companies FJ Holdings sold its businesses and was placed in administration. Capital for Colleagues was not kept up to date with these moves. The figures for the six months to February 2017 show the aftermath of this loss. The profit from ongoing activities improved from £40,000 to £159,000 but the write-off for FJ of £1.32m, more than one-fifth of the previous asset value, meant that there was a loss of £1.16m. The NAV fell to 43.5p a share at the end of February and this will be slightly diluted by the subsequent fundraising.
There remains strong demand from companies wanting to encourage employee ownership and the Capital for Colleagues management has, excluding FJ, a good record.
Chapel Down Group (CDGP)
£94.9m @94p (90p/98p)
English wines producer Chapel Down has been one of the most high-profile companies on NEX. Revenues grew by one-quarter to £10.2m in 2016. The Tenterden-based wine business grew revenues by 22% and the brewing operations increased revenues by one-third.
Brewer Curious Drinks separately raised money to build a new brewery but Chapel Down still effectively controls the business – although it is now classified as an associate in accounting terms. The Ashford brewery will be open in mid-2018 and this will free up space for wine making at Tenterden.
Continuing operations moved from an underlying pre-tax profit of £156,000 in 2015 to £340,000 in 2016. Gross margins on the wine business improved from 40% to 43%. More premium wines are being launched this year.
Some of the Chapel Down vineyards were hit by frosts in late April but there will be firmer evidence of any effect this month. However, management says they were the worst April frosts in two decades.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)
Crossword Cybersecurity is developing cyber security products with six UK universities. A blockchain-related Ministry of Defence smart documents contract was won with the University of Warwick and cyber risk product, Rizikon, which uses expertise from City University, has started to generate revenues.
Crossword is also involved with CyberOwl, a spin-out from Coventry University that is commercialising research into the early warning of cyber attacks. CyberOwl has been selected to join GCHQ’s Cyber Accelerator.
In May, Crossword Cybersecurity took advantage of the high profile of cyber security problems to raise cash at a large premium to the market price. Crossword raised £145,000 at 230p a share. Brenlen Jinkens took up 50% of the new shares and he has 5.13% of the company.
In 2016, revenues jumped from £21,000 to £345,000 but the loss increased from £755,000 to £950,000 – even after £78,000 of R&D tax credits. There was £1.55m in the bank at the end of 2016. AIM-quoted Iomart is cooperating with Crossword on launching the Nixer machine learning Denial of Service (DDoS) platform on the market.
£4.9m @ 29.5p (28p/31p)
Sandal is a developer and manufacturer of energy efficiency and other electronic products. It has signed a number of agreements with retailers and distributors for its Energenie MiHome range, which is also being integrated with a number of home automation systems, including those of Google and Amazon. Retailers selling the company’s products include Argos, Sainsbury, Robert Dyas, Shop Direct Group and Ocado.
Recently, Sandal signed an agreement with Spanish smart home technology business Momit, which will redesign its smart thermostat so that it is compatible with the Energenie MiHome platform. This is part of Momit’s strategy to enter the UK market. The redesigned product should be launched in September and, along with related radiator valve sales, could add £500,000 to Sandal’s annual revenues.
In the six months to November 2016, revenues were 13% ahead at £1.88m, with Energenie MiHome products growing revenues by 74%, and the pre-tax profit has improved from £7,000 to £35,000. Further growth is expected in the second half as home automation becomes a more mainstream product area.
PrimaryBid.com is helping Myanmar International Ltd (MIL) to raise between $3m and $5m. The Myanmar-focused investment company is offering shares at $1.18 each – a 9.2% discount to the market price. Myanmar wants to widen its shareholder base. The proceeds are expected to be invested within six months. This is the 23rd offer by PrimaryBid and it closed at 5pm on 18 June.
Disruptive Capital says that it is not going to make on offer for Stanley Gibbons (SGI) because it was not given the information it required, although the stamps and coins dealer has effectively put itself up for sale. A strategic review has commenced and the formal sale process is part of this.
Wynnstay Properties (WSP) has kept up its record of increasing its dividend. The 19% rise took the total dividend to 15.75p a share. The NAV was 15% ahead to 674p a share at the end of March 2017.
Home improvements company entu (UK) is taking longer to turn around than was hoped. There were problems with installation capacity, which is not enough to meet demand but there are also problems with the supply chain. The underlying interim loss is likely to be similar to the restated loss in the first half of 2016. There will also be a full year loss. Net debt was £6.5m at the end of April 2017. The boilers and energy switching businesses have been closed and the LED business scaled back.
FIH Group (FIH) reported a 4% increase in 2016-17 revenues to £40.5m, while underlying pre-tax profit fell from £3.1m to £2.4m. The profit decline was not as great as originally expected.
Egdon Resources (EDR) is acquiring a 50% interest in PEDL278 in the East Midlands, with the other 50% being acquired by the proposed operator IGas (IGAS). The licence area includes a tight gas discovery from 1985.
Keras Resources (KRS) says drilling at the Warrawoona gold project in Australia, which is now part of Calidus Resources, has commenced. Calidus Resources is about to join ASX.
Savannah Resources (SAV) has received approval in principle for a tailings storage facility at the abandoned Lasail West pit in Oman. There is still potential for further copper mineralisation at the Lasail copper mine. It is taking longer than expected to gain licensing approval for the copper mine development at Mahab 4 and Maqail South. Mining should still start in the first half of 2018.
Italian PR firm SEC (SECG) reported a decline in revenues in 2016 as markets are growing slowly and competition is fierce. There was also a lack of large one-off events. Revenues fell from €21.2m to €18.5m, while pre-tax profit has slumped from €3.25m to €734,000.
Starcom (STAR) has secured a three-year, $1.5m equipment and tracking order. Shiptek Solutions is paying $1.2m for Tetis R container tracking units and there should be at least $250,000 of income from online tracking services over three years.
IT consultancy and resourcing firm Triad Group (TRD) believes that the appointment of Arden as broker in February “is a significant step in returning the group to its former glory”. In the year to March 2017, revenues improved from £28.3m to £30.9m and pre-tax profit increased from £863,000 to £1.52m. Net cash was £2.24m. Triad intends to build up business outside of the public sector and increase exposure to new technologies, such as blockchain. Triad is returning to paying a dividend with the latest pay out of 0.5p a share. The ex-dividend date is 10 August. The trustee in the bankruptcy of former boss Mira Makar has been selling down her shareholding, which was over 21% but it has been reduced to 17.4%. The share price has held up over the past couple of months despite this.
Storage and communications semiconductors developer CML Microsystems (CML) increased full year revenues by one-fifth to £27.7m and organic growth was 14%. Underlying pre-tax profit improved from £3.5m to £4.3m. The dividend was increased to 7.4p a share. R&D investment continues to increase but there is plenty of cash to fund this. Net cash was £12.5m at the end of March 2017.
Industrial fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) increased its pre-tax profit by more than one-quarter to £20.5m, which was better than expected. Growth is coming from the top 25 key accounts and new product launches.
Flying Brands Ltd (FBDU) has completed the acquisition of kidney stone analysis company Stone Checker Software in return for the issue of eight million shares at 3p each and been readmitted to the standard list on 16 June. A placing raised £550,000 at 3p a share. Stone Checker was previously 50%-owned by AIM-quoted Feedback (FDBK), which licenced its TexRAD software to the company for use with kidney stones.
North Midland Construction (NMD) has been awarded a joint venture infrastructure contract for Severn Trent Water on the Birmingham Resilience project worth more than £100m. This contract will be split between North Midland and its joint venture partner. The scheme starts in the third quarter of 2017 and this means that the 2017 figures will be ahead of expectations.
Jacek Slotala has stepped down as a director of fully listed shell Highway Capital (HWC). He joined the board in December 2015. Trading in the shares has been suspended since 22 September 2016. Highway has been seeking a significant acquisition for approaching two decades.