Investment company Western Selection (WESP) reinvested part of the proceeds of its disposal of shares in marketing services firm Creston in gas maintenance services provider Bilby last July and it is already showing a significant gain. This helped offset a further decline in the value of the stake in Northbridge Investment Services. Net cash was £1.09m at the end of 2015. An unchanged interim dividend of 1.05p a share was declared. The NAV was 80p a share at the end of 2015, up from 75p a share six months earlier. The current share price is 47.5p (45p/50p) a share.
National Milk Records (NMRP) says that the move from the retail price index to the consumer price index for the calculation of inflation-related adjustments for the Milk Pension Fund should significantly reduce the overall deficit of the fund. More details will be announced with the results for the year to March 2016. The share price rose 5p to 78.5p (77p/80p). The pension liability was £8.4m at the end of September 2015.
Sutherland Health Group (SHGP) has decided to withdraw from ISDX, pending shareholder approval. Sutherland has been quoted on ISDX for eleven years and in recent years it has been hit by declining turnover. Leaving ISDX will help to reduce costs. Sutherland may seek to obtain a matched bargains quotation. The share price has already fallen significantly but it was unmoved following the withdrawal announcement. The market capitalisation is £700,000.
LED lighting supplier Gowin New Energy Group Ltd (GWIN) claims to have raised £400,000 at 0.2p a share but this is below the nominal value of 1p a share so it appears strange. The new shares equate to more than one-quarter of the enlarged share capital. The market price is 0.45p (0.35p/0.55p).
Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) raised the full amount of £3.5m from its open offer at 1p a share. This offer was at a significant discount to the market price. Shareholders applied for 439.6 million shares when there were 350 million offered. The share price rose to 4p (3p/5p) a share after the announcement. The cash will help to build up the property portfolio.
Solid State (SOLI) has lost its high profile Ministry of Justice tagging contract and the share price has fallen by one-third. Technical problems delayed the launch of the new tags and little was expected from the contract in the short-term but this is an embarrassment for the company. Solid State is in discussions on the terms of the termination of the contract. The underlying business and attractive yield should underpin the current share price level.
Disinfection and infection control products supplier Tristel (TSTL) reported slightly better than expected interim figures. The £4.3m cash pile and cash generative nature of the business provides scope for further special dividends in the future. The interim dividend was raised by 95% to 1.14p a share. In the six months to December 2015, underlying pre-tax profit rose from £1.1m to £1.5m as revenues edged up even though sales of lower margin products declined. International growth offset weakness in the UK. Four directors including the chief executive and finance director bought shares after the results announcement. Higher R&D spending will hold back profit growth with flat earnings per share of 5.2p expected this year rising to 5.6p next year.
Nostra Terra Oil & Gas (NTOG) has acquired a 60% working interest in producing assets in the Permian Basin, which straddles Texas and New Mexico, for $3m plus $300,000 in 12 months. Average production was 122 bopd gross – 92 bopd net – during last November and there are plenty of opportunities to increase this. Net proven reserves are 2.7 million boe. In the year to July 2015, the assets made a pre-tax profit of $250,000 on revenues of $1.8m.
CCTV and security systems supplier Synectics (SNX) returned to profit last year. In the year to November 2015, revenues were 6% higher at £68.5m and an underlying loss of £2.38m was turned into a profit of £1.55m. That was before further restructuring costs. The main reason behind the improvement was a swing from loss to profit of the integration and managed services division. The systems division increased its profit contribution despite exposure to the oil and gas sector. Costs have been reduced and the company has moved into a net cash position. The outlook is positive with new orders won in recent months, particularly in gaming. An operating margin of 8%-10% is an achievable longer-term target according to management.
Sunny Hill Ltd has launched a 3p a share cash bid for oil and gas explorer Petroceltic International (PCI). This values the Irish company at £6.42m. The bidder is owned by the Worldview Economic Recovery Fund and it is offering a significant discount to the previous market price because it believes that Petroceltic is in a precarious financial position. Net debt was $184m at the end of June 2015 and payments on the senior bank facility have been waived up until 4 March. This waiver may be extended. Worldview already owns 29.6% of Petroceltic and it has been in dispute with the board for some time.
Immunotherapy technology developer Oxford BioMedica (OXB) has raised £8.1m at 6.3p a share. There was £9.4m in the bank at the end of 2015 although net debt was £17.9m. The cash is required for working capital for the development of treatments and the lentiviral vector manufacturing-related technology, where there are already out-licensing talks. The OXB-102 Parkinson’s disease treatment and corneal graft rejection treatment OXB-202 are set to start phase I/II clinical studies in the next 12 months.
Packaging and labels supplier Macfarlane Group (MACF) increased its pre-tax profit by one-fifth to £6.8m in 2015, helped by recent acquisitions. Revenues were 10% ahead at £169.1m and the dividend was also increased by 10% to 1.82p a share. Glasgow-based Macfarlane generated all of its revenue growth from its core packaging distribution division but profit growth came from both parts of the business. The manufacturing division improved its gross margin because there were higher sales of products with better margins. The market remains stable.