National Milk Records (NMRP) increased interim revenues by 5% to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £750,000 to £790,000. A tax credit meant that earnings increased by a higher percentage. Net debt is £900,000. The main growth was in the core milk testing services, although genomics revenues rose from £173,000 to £336,000. Price increases will help margins in the second half. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to decline from £2.4m to £1.9m. Managing director Andy Warne is taking leave due to illness and the finance director is assuming operational control.
There are problems with the acquisition of a 19.8% stake in skincare products supplier Lush by Silverwood Brands (SLWD) because Lush is refusing to register the change of ownership of the shares. Silverwood Brands is paying £216.8m for the stake and no reason was given for the refusal to record the transfer of the shares.
Samarkand (SMK) has benefitted from the easing of Covid restrictions in China. Although there was a short-term rise in infections, consumer confidence is improving since Chinese New Year. The Chinese government is keen to boost consumption. Partner brands using the company’s Nomad software platform are planning for growth this year and more premium beauty brands have been added to the platform. Samarkand could be profitable in the next financial year.
Invinity Energy Systems (IES) raised £21.5m at 32p a share with up for £4m more to come from a two-for-19 open offer. Taiwan-based Everbrite Technology is investing £2.5m in the placing. The cash will be used for working capital, which is expected to last until the middle of 2024. At that time the next generation Mistral grid scale vanadium battery will be ready for launch. The company will not need to draw down the $10m convertible loan facility.
In the year to October 2022, Hydro Hotel Eastbourne (HYDP) turnover improved from £2.79m to £4.4m, but pre-tax profit dipped from £457,000 to £445,000 because of the lack of government assistance. Trading remains tough. Cash improved to £1.59m.
Shore has upgraded its forecasts for Arbuthnot Banking Group (ARBB) with 2022 earnings increased by 11%. This reflects the benefits of higher interest rates with deposit rates lagging base rates. The 2022 pre-tax profit forecast is £29.5m and the 2023 forecast has been increased £28.5m to £40m. Estimated tangible NAV is 1194p a share.
Shareholders in Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) have voted in favour of the resolutions enabling strategic investor Vengrove to raise cash for the company through a share issue. The number of shares in issue will be ten times as many as currently in issue. This will help Walls and Futures REIT scale up. Investments will be made in affordable rental housing, education property, service stations and car parks and community buildings. Pax Homes will be sold to Joseph McTaggart, so the group will no longer be a developer. The company’s name will be changed to Social Infrastructure REIT.
In the six months to November 2022, installation and engineering group Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) increased revenues from £2.6m to £6.7m and returned to profit in the period. Cash declined from £3.71m to £3.15m. Water companies are accelerating their spending under the current five-year programme and this provides a positive outlook for the business.
Marula Mining (MARU) has increased its stake in the Kinusi copper project in Tanzania from 49% to 75% for up to $550.000. The initial payment is $150,000 in cash and shares. There is high-grade copper mineralisation at the project.
Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd (GSVR) announced drilling results from the San Ignacio mine. There are some high-grade silver intersections plus gold. A new area of thick mineralisation may have been found. This should lead to a significant increase in resources.
Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser to Hot Rocks Investments (HRIP) and terms are being agreed with a replacement.
Harry Hyman increased his stake in Oberon Investments (OBE) from 3.75% to 4.23%.
Pharma C Investments (PCIL) has appointed broker Jeremy Woodgate to its board.
Cancer treatments developer Redx Pharma (REDX) is merging with Jounce Therapeutics and the AIM company’s shareholders will own 63% of the enlarged group. They will receive 0.2105 of a Jounce share for each Redx share. Jounce will be renamed Redx Inc and retain its Nasdaq listing.
Cleantech Lithium (CTL) plans a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Canaccord Genuity (Australia) and Fox Davies are joint lead managers to the listing, which is expected to happen in the third quarter of 2023. The Chile-focused lithium projects developer has 31% of its shareholders linked to Australia while other potential shareholders are not able to invest in other markets. The AIM quotation will be retained.
Medical disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) is back to past growth rates, helped by price increases. The UK was the fastest growing market. In the six months to December 2022, revenues were 15% ahead at £17.5m and the growth rate was greater if discontinued products are excluded. Pre-tax profit improved from £2.13m to £3.08m. The tax charge is higher, so earnings growth was slower. The interim dividend is maintained at 2.62p a share. Net cash is £8.42m. Progress is being made with the FDA approval for medical device decontamination product DUO ULT. Tristel is spending £3m on FDA approval. To reflect that it has renegotiated the US distribution agreement with Parker Labs.
Engineering business Avingtrans (AVG) increased revenues from £44.5m to £50m in the six months to November 2022 and profit improved. The engineering operations have been hit by supply problems, but there is growth in nuclear and North Sea demand. There is 90% cover for the full year revenues forecast. The medical division is progressing towards the launch of a new imaging product by the end of 2023.
ZOO Digital (ZOO) has signed up a second major Hollywood studio to its cloud-based ZOOstudio ERP service offering subtitling, dubbing and other video services. ZOOstudio will be embedded in the client’s own internal technology platform. Tougher markets in the US mean that film studios and streaming platforms are seeking to grow in international markets, thereby increasing demand for the services offered by ZOO Digital.
Digital services provider Made Tech Group (MTEC) increased interim revenues by 76% to £20.6m, but pre-tax profit fell from £1m to £300,000. Singer still expects full year pre-tax profit to improve from £2.3m to £3.4m. Fewer contractors are being used and margins should rise in the second half. More than £60m of additional bookings have been gained so far in 2022-23.
Circle Property (CRC) has conditionally disposed of Concorde Park in Maidenhead for £12.3m. Somerset House in Birmingham is being sold for £15.2m and Victory House in Northampton is being sold for £2.75m That leaves one property to sell. There is already £32.6m in the bank prior to these disposals. B share issues are planned March and April to return cash to shareholders. The AIM quotation is likely to be cancelled in May.
ECR Minerals (ECR) has published drilling data from the Blue Moon prospect at Bailieston, Victoria with one of the holes at 84.9 metres depth reporting a composite grade of 6.35 metres at 4.56g/t. The rig is moving to the Brewery Lane property at Creswick.
Conroy Gold & Natural Resources (CGNR) made a high-grade gold discovery in a new area of the Longford-Down Massif. Visible gold is present. The grades are between 12.8g/t and 123g/t at the Mines Royal option area in Northern Ireland. Exploration is being carried out with joint venture partner Demir Export.
Snowfall has hit production at the Pakrut gold mine operated by China Nonferrous Gold (CNG). The Tajikistan mine has been hit by avalanches and landslides that have damaged power supply. Operations will be suspended for at least one month.
Roquefort Therapeutics (ROQ) has signed an exclusive licence and royalty agreement with Randox Laboratories for its Midkine antibody portfolio. The ten-year licence excludes Japan and enables Randox to use the Midkine portfolio for medical diagnostics. The two firms will collaborate on potential cancer uses. Roquefort could generate more than £5m over the length of the agreement.
Trifast (TRI) chief executive Mark Belton has resigned after a disappointing trading statement. The fasteners supplier has been hit by Asian destocking. The forecast earnings for 2022-23 have been reduced by 38% to 5.1p a share.
Providence Equity is interested in making a 105p a share offer for Hyve Group (HYVE), which is a small fraction of the flotation share price.