New Apex segment entry Samarkand (SMK) has got off to a strong start. At one point, shares were changing hands at 142p, against the placing price of 115p, but they ended the week at 123.5p (120p/127p). There was £15.4m raised after expenses. The company has developed e-commerce software technology known as Nomad. There are a number of modules and these can be used by clients to sell their products in China. There are 105 special cross-border e-commerce zones in China. This market is expected to reach £138bn in 2021. Samarkand also sells its own brands in China and some of the money raised will be used to buy other brands.
Incanthera (INC) has raised £1.14m at 12p a share. This will provide enough cash until the middle of 2022. There are discussions ongoing with two potential partners for the Sol skin cancer prevention product.
Imperial X (IMPP) has announced its intention to gain a standard listing and raise up to £1.5m. The company will change its name to Cloudbreak Discovery.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has secured a £40m investment from Equitix Investment Management. In return the freehold of the South Wales centre will be transferred and there will be other security. There will be an initial investment of £25m with the rest paid in three equal instalments. The cash will be used for investing in infrastructure. The current debt of £18.6m will be repaid.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) generated flat operating income of £72.5m, while there was a £1.1m loss. Management is optimistic about a strong rebound if the government continues with its current roadmap out of lockdown. There is a growing demand for lending.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) had NAV of 57.97p a share at the end of February 2021. That is before the sale of the investment in Anthesis for £1.15m. That leaves the company with £2.64m in cash.
In the first 18 days of March Bin 1301, a bar in Washington DC where Rogue Baron (SHNJ) has a stake, generated sales of $35,330, nearly double the same time the previous year. That is despite Covid restrictions.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) has appointed A and S International as a distributor of lubrication and bioremediation products.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) had an NAV of 437.63p a share at the end of January 2021, which was a 38% increase on the year before thanks to the strong performance of the Luceco (LUCE) share price. EPE is considering raising more cash through a loan note issue. That would provide further cash for investment.
Altona Rare Earths (ANR) has secured a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of a rare earths mining project in Mozambique. The plaln is to buy 70% of the Monte Muambe rare earths project, via an earn-in.
First Sentinel has resigned as corporate adviser to Block Commodities (BLCC) after less than one month in the position. Block has entered into an option in partnership with Century Cobalt Corporation to acquire two million seeds, which can be used to produce medicinal grade cannabis. Block would have to issue more than 142.8 million shares at 0.07p each if the option is taken up.
Chris Akers has increased his stake in Quetzal Capital (WENP) from 15.2% to 17.2%.
Upper Thames Holdings has changed its name to Valereum Blockchain (VLRM).
S-Ventures (SVEN) has applied for an OTCQB quotation in the US.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) says that Chronocourt, also known as Efmody could gain approval in the EU by the summer and that could enable a commercial launch in some European markets in the third quarter. Chronocourt/Efmody is a modified release hydrocortisone used to treat adult and adolescent patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which is caused by a block in cortisol production. Potential sales are greater than for Alkindi, which is aimed at children.
A potential management buyout for Cambria Automobiles (LON: CAMB) at 80p a share would value the motor dealer at £80m. This is a premium of more than one-fifth to the previous market price.
Digital healthcare company Cambridge Cognition (COG) substantially reduced its loss in 2020 and is on course to move into profit this year. Revenues increased and expenses were reduced. There is a strong order book. There was £3m in the bank at the end of 2020. Voice-based service NeuroVocalix is set to be launched this year.
Cyber security firm ECSC (ECSC) grew recurring revenues by 22% to £2.4m last year. Even so, total revenues fell 4% to £5.7m due to a tough second quarter. The loss fell from £639,000 to £153,000. Net cash is £1.1m. There has been a good start to the new year with a clutch of contract wins.
STM Group (STM) has sold its trust and company services business for £2.45m plus net assets at completion of around £570,000. This has been non-core for some time. This will reduce short-term earnings – although there could be some cost savings – but the company can focus on pension administration and life assurance.
Judges Scientific (JDG) continued its record of increasing the ongoing dividend with a 10% increase to 55p a share. Pre-tax profit fell from £17m to £13.7m in 2020 and it could recover to £16m this year.
MJ Hudson (MJH) managed organic revenue growth of 3.6% in the first half, even though there was a lack of new fund launches. Cross-selling is paying off. The North American operations are more significant following recent acquisitions. Further acquisitions will help to increase the scale of the business.
Chariot Oil and Gas (CHAR) is acquiring AEMP, an African renewable energy developer, for up to $2m. There are discussions with mine operators that require 500MW of electricity.
Foams manufacturer Zotefoams (ZTF) almost maintained its pre-tax profit last year thanks to strong sales to the footwear sector. Revenues were 2% ahead at £82.7m, but pre-tax profit was 5% lower at £8.3m. The final dividend is 4.27p a share. The new factory in Poland has started production and capital investment should be lower this year. Net debt was £35.6m at the end of 2020 and this figure should fall this year. This year pre-tax profit should improve to £9.3m.
LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LSE: LUCE) more than doubled 2020 pre-tax profit from £15.8m to £34m, even though revenues barely increased. Margins improved significantly, but there is still potential to improve LED operating margins. A strong second half offset the more difficult first half. The dividend is 6.2p a share. Net debt has fallen to £18.3m.
Oxilio has decided to exercise its option with drug developer Nuformix (NFX) to licence NXP001 for oncology indications. A licence agreement is being worked on. Once completed it will trigger a second upfront payment. Future royalties for any commercial treatments are capped at £2m a year.
Books publisher Quarto Group Inc (QRT) reported a dip in revenues from $135.8m to $126.9m, while adjusted pre-tax profit improved from $5.1m to $7.9m. Capitalised development costs were reduced from $23.8m to $20.3m, although the amortisation charge was higher at $28.6m. Strong cash flow combined with a share issue helped reduce net debt from $50.5m to $19.7m.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) is moving into the flexible power sector. A 50%-owned joint venture called HKSB will develop two 11KV gas peaking facilities that will produce 10MW for a total cost of £6.25m. The plan is to secure 15-year, CPI-linked contracts for each site.
Residential property developer One Heritage Group (OHG) had net assets of 9.25p a share at the end of 2020. There was an interim loss.