Newbury Racecourse (NYR) grew 2017 revenues from the nursery, hotel and media operations. There was a 11% increase in raceday attendances, which totalled 196,000 last year, leading to a 1% like-for-like rise in revenues. Overall revenues were 5% higher at £17.8m, while underlying pre-tax profit edged up from £178,000 to £188,000. There was a small cash outflow from operations. Capital investment meant that cash was reduced from £12.9m to £5.2m with more payments to come from the David Wilson Homes deal. A further £5.17m will be spent on upgrading the Pall Mall stand. There are concerns that the cutting of maximum stakes for gaming machines following the recent government announcement could hit bookmaker sponsorship and media rights revenues.
Block Commodities Ltd (BLCC) has a secured a strategic investment from Swarm Fund, which is a decentralised marketplace platform using blockchain. Investors will be able to participate in the FarmCoin asset-backed investment coin via the Swarm platform. FarmCoin is a joint venture between FinComEco and Block Commodities focused on the agriculture sector. There will be up to $45m of FarmCoin tokens issued.
National Milk Records (NMR) is holding a general meeting on 4 June in order to propose a reduction in capital that should put it in a position to have distributable reserves if it wants to pay a dividend.
Pre-IPO investor Primorus Investments (PRIM) had cash of £561,000 at the end of 2017. The NAV was £4.95m. This was after a £3.26m inflow from share issues.
Watkin Jones (WJG) has found a new chief executive but he will not be able to start until the beginning of 2018. Richard Simpson is joining from student accommodation developer Unite Group. The build to rent operations of Watkin Jones has secured a development arrangement for a site in Reading, which will have 315 apartments.
GAN (GAN) and Webis (WEB) are two companies that could benefit from the legalisation of online sports betting in the US. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to overturn the Federal prohibition of sports betting. US sports betting could be worth $6bn by 2023. That covers online and onsite gambling. GAN can launch a sports betting service in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the second half of this year – in time for the NFL season. GAN already has a deal with Betfair in New Jersey and adding sports betting will increase revenues. Webis has a US subsidiary called WatchandWager, which is based in California, a strong potential market for sports betting.
Genedrive (GDR) has agreed to sell its research and pharmacogenomics divisions to a director for up to £1.9m so that it can concentrate on its core Genedrive diagnostics platform. The initial payment is £1.15m with the rest deferred and subject to claims for R and D tax credits.
Lakehouse (LAKE) is acquiring heating and renewables services provider Just Energy Solutions, which fits with the company’s gas compliance businesses in the public sector and expands coverage in the industrial and commercial sectors. There is no upfront cost and payments will be dependent on profitability over two years. Lakehouse has also won a £55m, three year, Warm Homes contract with the Wales government.
Oil and gas demand is recovering at advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) but it is still well below previous levels. Other customers are enhancing growth and aerospace business is on the horizon. Interim revenues were 43% higher at £2.16m but the company is still loss-making. That will continue for a couple of years.
Angling Direct (ANG) increased revenues by 44% to £30.2m in the year to January 2018 and this led to an upgrade in forecast revenues for the current year. The fishing tackle retailer grew online sales by 54% but these tend to be lower margin. Pre-tax profit was £900,000 and it is expected to rise to £1.1m this year.
Online women’s fashion retailer Sosander (SOS) says that its full year revenues will be at least £1.34m. Like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter nearly quadrupled and gross margins are improving.
Portmeirion (PMP) has increased revenues by one-fifth in the first four months to 2018, although the second half of the year is always the more significant. Full year profit is still forecast to rise from £8.8m to £9.4m.
Churchill China (CHH) says that trading is ahead of the same period last year. The ceramic products manufacturer continues to have success in Europe and other export markets.
A new patent application has been filed for SkinBiotix by SkinBiotherapeutics (SBTX) and this covers the increasing of filaggrin levels in skin. Filaggrin is required for the formation of the outer layer of skin. Eczema sufferers have a low level of filaggrin.
The People’s Operator (TPOP) is increasing its UK subscribers but US numbers have declined so the performance was down in the first quarter of 2018. Churn is declining. Margins are better than expected. Even so, progress is too slow and an alternative strategy is required by the virtual mobile network business and it is considering divesting the US subscribers. That should cut cash burn by one-third.
A bathing water test by Molendotech, which is one of the investee companies of Frontier IP Group (FIPP), is being launched by Halma. This follows the agreement earlier this year.
Altona Energy (ANR) will begin a drilling programme on the Westfield tenement of the Arckaringa coal project during August. There could be 100mt of coal in the tenement. It will take three weeks to drill 15 holes to a depth of 120 metres.
Active Energy Group (AEG) intends to acquire a controlling interest in PowerWood Canada. Which owns forestry assets in Canada. This will secure feedstock for the roll-out of CoalSwitch, the biomass replacement for coal. There are plans to construct a 25 tonne per hour CoalSwitch plant in Alberta.
Servoca (SVCA) wants shareholders to agree to the cancellation of the AIM quotation. Management says that this will save £150,000 a year.
Volex (VLX) is buying Silcotec Europe for €18.1m and raising £36m at 75p a share. Silcotec supplies harnesses and electronic sub-assemblies to the medical, telecoms and computer industries and generated an operating profit of €3.1m.
Audioboom (BOOM) is not going ahead with the reverse takeover of Triton Digital Canada Inc because it could not raise the cash from a placing. A £700,000 break fee in cash (£90,000) and shares is payable. The audio business still requires more cash and that is why trading in the shares is still suspended.
Sportech (SPO) has a strong presence in the US so it is in a good position to benefit from the legalisation of sports betting. It already has 90 licenced operator clients and its own network of off-track betting facilities in Connecticut.
The reasons behind founder Laurence Orbach increasing his stake in books publisher Quarto Group Inc (QRT) to 20.1% have become clear. Orbach was removed from the board in November 2012 but he has joined with 27% shareholder Lion Rock to unseat four non-executive directors at the AGM. Orbach and former finance director Mick Mousley have returned to the board, along with two nominees from Lion Rock. Orbach becomes executive chairman.
Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has completed bulk sampling in zone 1 and this should enable a resource estimate to be calculated.
Standard list shell Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has signed heads of terms for a 50% stake in CarCloud, a car sales-based fintech company. The deal to acquire energy storage systems developer Phestor is off. That follows the abortive takeover of Myclubbetting.
S&U (SUS) says non-prime car finance applications are 10% higher this year, although approval rates have fallen. Net receivables have increased by £48m to £258m.
North Midland Construction (NMD) has made a strong start to the year. There is a secured workload of £310m for this year and this should enable an improved financial performance this year.
World Trade Systems (WTS) wants to diversify its business outside of China. A new Taiwan-based health and fitness subsidiary is being incorporated. Kun Xin International will provide a loan facility of up to £3m to finance the new business. European opportunities are being sought.
Blood diseases treatments developer Hemogenyx Pharma (HEMO) has signed a development agreement with a global pharma company, which will provide Hemogenyx with free technical support and some intellectual property. The pharma company will be granted a research licence for anything jointly developed.