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Health and community care properties developer Ashley House (ASH) reported a much-improved profit for the year to April 2018. There was a strong second half performance because of the completion of four schemes. Full year revenues were flat at £18.5m, while pre-tax profit jumped from less than £100,000 to £1.8m, although that includes a £500,000 write back of a previous impairment charge. Net debt was reduced from £2.5m to £1.5m. The housing and health property pipeline is valued at £206m, covering 22 schemes. The F1 Modular business lost money last year but trading appears likely to improve.
Ananda Developments (ANA) has acquired $200,000 of convertible loan notes in iCAN Israel-Cannabis Ltd, which focuses on medicinal cannabis. This is the first investment for Ananda and the convertibles have an annual interest rate of 6%. The interests of Ananda director Charles Morgan have assigned $100,000 of the convertibles to the company. iCan has subsidiaries involved in organising cannabis symposiums and cannabis-based research services, plus a 5% stake in CannRx Technology Inc, which has developed liquid soluble cannabinoids for use in treatments, and a 20% stake in CMTREX, which is developing a trading platform for cannabis.
Nigel Wray has reduced his stake in High Growth Capital (HASH) from 5.99% to 4.72%. Healthperm Resourcing Ltd (HPR) non-executive chairman David Sumner has bought 29,230 shares at 190p each, taking his stake to 84.7%.
Early Equity (EEQP) says trading in the company shares will resume on 28 August. Trading had been suspended on 16 May. The resumption follows an agreement with NEX Exchange that will change how shares are distributed to related parties. Early Infinity Holdings (EI) is the exclusive distributor for Yicom Global, where Early Equity is a 47. 1% shareholder. EI’s agents sell the products in Malaysia and elsewhere in south east Asia. EI incentivises its agents by gifting them shares in Early Equity. These were deemed to be a gift rather than a trade, so they were not reported. A new nominee company with two trustees that are not shareholders in Early Equity has been set up. This will hold shares for the benefit of agents of EI. Agents will receive a warrant certificate. These agents own 46.7% of Early Equity and shares equivalent to 6.29% of the company will be transferred to the nominee company. Early Equity previously announced that it wants to move to a standard listing. The company’s NAV was £1.54m, including £429,000, at the end of 2017.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) is investing $125,000 in Bundle Network Ltd, which is developing an online platform that enables the trading of cryptocurrencies. Coinsilium will also receive Bundle Network crypto tokens.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has paid a $50,000 option fee, which could lead to the company gaining a 51% stake in a new company that holds the rights to the Kamyshanovskoye uranium project in the Kyrgyz Republic. The project has an inferred uranium resource that could be worth $144m at $26/lb, plus exploration upside. International Mining Company owns 100% of the project and it would be put into a new vehicle, where MetalNRG would inject cash to gain its majority stake. MetalNRG has 90 days to undertake due diligence and review data. If the option is not taken up the option fee would be converted into a 2.5% stake in the new vehicle.
VI Mining (VIM) is starting its drilling campaigns at minas Pampa and Rosario de Belen, while the vendors are in discussions about changes in the terms of the deals. The timing of the due payment has been extended while the talks continue.
Panther Metals (PALM) has appointed Ariana Resources (AAU) boss Dr Kerim Sener as a non-executive director.
Ecovista (EVTP) is asking for shareholder approval for a resolution that will enable it to issue up to 3.486 billion shares so that management can continue with its strategy.
Gatemore Investments has increased its stake in TLA Worldwide (TLA), the company famous for issuing a profit warning after the market closed prior to Christmas 2016, from 7.4% to 12.2%. Bart Campbell has stepped down as executive chairman of TLA, but he will continue to receive his monthly salary until the end of the year.
Last year, revenues fell by nearly one-third to £24m at microwave electronic products supplier Filtronic (FTC) but it had already been flagged. The ending of a low margin contract meant that pre-tax profit fell from £2.16m to £1.23m, although that includes exceptional finance charges of £486,000 due to exchange rate movements. The broadband and wireless divisions are being merged because they have similar customer bases. There is net cash of £3.6m plus available bank facilities. Investment in new products continues and there is long-term demand from investment in 5G networks and security-related areas.
Marshall Motor (MMH) reported a decent set of figures given the tough new car market, which is exacerbated by the decline in diesel car sales. There was a small dip in continuing revenues but underlying pre-tax profit edged up to £16.4m. Used vehicle profit improved. The dividend is maintained at 2.15p a share. Trading will be even tougher in the second half, partly due to testing regulation changes, and full year profit is expected to decline from £29.1m to £24.2m. There is a strong balance sheet with a NAV of £201m.
Zamano (ZMNO) has ended discussions with its potential reverse takeover target. This means that cash is likely to be returned to shareholders.
Condor Gold (CNR) has been granted an environmental permit for developing a processing plant for the La India project by the Nicaragua authorities. Gold production could be 80,000 ounces a year from a single open pit. Accounts for the six months to June 2018, show cash of £1.57m.
Abzena (ABZA) is recommending a 16p a share cash bid from Astro Bidco, which values it at £34.4m. The life sciences company joined AIM four years ago when it raised £20m at 80p a share. It needs additional finance pumped into the business.
Oil and gas producer Empyrean Energy (EME) has received a $906,000 tax refund from the IRS from the 2016-17 tax year.
SalvaRx Group (SALV) is selling its business to a Toronto-quoted company in return for shares, most of which will be distributed to shareholders. The 94.2% stake in cancer drugs developer SalvaRx Ltd is being swapped for 757.9million shares in Portage Biotech Inc, which are deemed to have a value of $67.5m. SalvaRx shareholders will receive 18 Portage shares for each SalvaRx share they own if they approve the disposal. SalvaRx will retain around 100 million Portage shares and become a shell.
ClearStar (CLSU) has been named as preferred contract labour screening provider for Gulfstream Aerospace. This should contribute to a reduction in loss this year.
Premier African Minerals (PREM) has raised £750,000 at 0.18p a share. Premier plans a drilling programme of up to 2,750 metres to expand the resource base at the RHA Tungsten mine. The cash should last until the end of 2018.
Tex Holdings (TXH) reported a slump in interim pre-tax profit from £423,000 to £96,000 even though there was a small reduction in admin expenses. There was a much better contribution from the plastics division but that was more than offset by the slump in profit by the engineering division due to delays in orders. Metal fabrication and powder coating business Argento UK has recently been bought. The interim dividend is unchanged at 2.5p a share.
Nanoco (NANO) expects the first displays using its cadmium-free quantum dots to be launched before Christmas. Volume production is expected at the new Runcorn plant before the end of 2019. The 2017-18 revenues were lower than expected because it could not recognise a payment from a large customer. Net cash is estimated at £7.9m at the end of July 2018.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) reported an increase in full year loss from £177,000 to £286,000. The NAV was £379,000 at the end of April 2018. There is £148,000 in the bank. Dukemount is on the brink of moving forward with its first two supported living developments.
PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) has settled its claim with a customer. The customer will pay a total of €28.8m, of which the outstanding payment of €14.3m will be paid at the end of November. The customer has also waived the delivery of the solar wafers that were supposed to be supplied.
Small cap award winners 2018
Company of the year
ZOO Digital (ZOO)
The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.
NEX company of the year
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)
Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.
Impact company of the year
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)
Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.
IPO of the year
K3 Capital (K3C)
Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m. In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.
Fintech company of the year
FAIRFX Group (FFX)
Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.
Transaction of the year
Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce
Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.
Executive director of the year
Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)
Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.
Journalist of the year
Paul Scott – Stockopedia
Fund manager of the year
Nick Williamson – Old Mutual
Microcap fund manager of the year
Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity
Analyst of the year
Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald
Lifetime achievement award
Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management
Special services to small caps
John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)
Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit. The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.
Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.
PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.
South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.
NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.
Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.
Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.
Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.
Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.
Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.
Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.
Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.
WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.
China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.
Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.
Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.
Renewable electricity supplier Good Energy (GOOD) says rival Ecotricity, which owns 25.3% of Good Energy, has requisitioned a general meeting to get two directors, Dale Vince and Simon Crowfoot, on the board. Ecotricity founder Dale Vince believes that because of the significant stake he deserves representation on the board but Good Energy argues that it would not be in its interest to have a rival on the board with access to group information. Vince has been critical of contracts between Good Energy and chief executive Juliet Davenport’s husband. Ecotricity also owns Forest Green Rovers which was promoted to League Two at the end of last season. Annual revenues £126.5m, including £1m from football club. In the year to April 2016, revenues were £126.5m, including £1m from the football club. In 2016, Good Energy generated revenues of £90.4m. Both companies are profitable. Ecotricity had net debt of £97m at the end of April 2016, while Good Energy had net debt of £55m at the end of 2016. Gary Peagram (former Good Energy finance director between 2010 and 2014) was appointed as Ecotricity finance director on 6 April 2017 but he left on 6 July.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has acquired 18.18% of US Cobalt and an option to purchase the rest. The main interest is the Columbia Pass high grade cobalt exploration and development project in Nevada. The initial stake will cost $200,000 (£118,000) and the option cost $50,000 (£30,000) in shares at 1.5p each. If it takes up the option, MetalNRG will pay £724,000 in shares at 1.5p a share. The vendors will also receive 40 million warrants exercisable at prices up to 10p a share. MetalNRG has also set up an Australian cobalt subsidiary. MetalNRG chief executive Paul Johnson has bought 300,000 shares at 1.5p each, taking his family’s stake to 11%.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) is starting to benefit from its new general manager’s strategic programme. Interim revenues grew from £1.33m to £1.52m but the loss increased because of repair costs. The second half generates all the profit.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has launched the Milamber Education Technology Fund in partnership with Innvotec. This is a hybrid EIS and SEIS fund. Milamber will help to identify potential education technology investments and Innvotec will raise funds and manage the fund.
Global Halal verification e-marketplace operator DagangHalal (DGHL) says it is taking longer than expected to penetrate markets. Management is considering widening the scope of the business. This could mean the acquisition of producers of Halal products.
Bulgaria-focused property company Black Sea Property (BSP) has gained the official approvals to acquire the UniCredit building and the purchase should be completed by the end of September. A deposit of €1.04m has been paid out of the total purchase price of €10.5m and Black Sea Property is raising the rest of the cash. If the cash is not raised then the deposit will be forfeited. Phoenix Capital Management is taking over from AG Asset Management as investment adviser but the same team will be handling the task. Phoenix owns Mamferay Holdings, which owns 28.65% of Black Sea Property and has lent it £100,000 in the form of a convertible which has to be repaid by 31 July.
Nostra Terra Oil & Gas (NTOG) has withdrawn its general meeting requisition at Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) after it became clear that it had no chance of winning any of the votes.
Chisbridge Ltd has received acceptances totalling 49.6% for its 42p a share cash offer for InterQuest Group (ITQ) and the bid has been extended until 31 July. This means that independent shareholders owning 6.92% of the company have accepted the bid, which is up from just short of 3% previously.
First half trading at Pennant International (PEN) was strong and the order book was more than £42m at the end of June 2017. The order book stretches out into 2020 and there is a pipeline of other potential orders. Full year pre-tax profit is forecast to increase from £2.2m to £2.4m. There is a possibility of a return to paying dividends but that might have to wait until next year.
In the year to March 2017, AdEPT Telecom (ADT) reported a 19% increase in revenues to £34.4m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £5.5m to £6.9m. Net debt was £15.5m at the end of March 2017, following spending on acquisitions. The total dividend also rose by 19% to 7.75p a share. The growth in managed services is helping margins to improve. A profit of £7.4m is forecast for this year.
Premier Technical Services Group (PTSG) has increased its revolving credit facility from £10m to £12m and doubled the overdraft facility to £8m. This will provide additional working capital and funds for acquisitions following the recent purchase of Brooke Edge Industrial Chimneys Ltd for £14m.
Savannah Resources (SAV) has raised £1.3m at 5.25p a share and there is one warrant for every two shares issued exercisable at 6p. Two directors have subscribed for £500,000 worth of shares, including chief executive David Archer, and Al Marjan Ltd has subscribed £520,000 to take its stake to 29.3%. The money will be used on the lithium project in Portugal, the Mutamba heavy mineral sands project in Mozambique and the copper project in Oman.
The sale by Stanley Gibbons (SGI) of part of its interiors division to Millicent has been delayed. The buyer has not obtained the £2.25m initial payment because of a change in financial backers. Millicent has until the end of July to complete the acquisition.
Arian Silver Corp (AGQ) has raised £600,000 a 0.5p a unit, which is one share and one warrant exercisable at 0.6p. The cash will be spent on exploration of the three lithium projects where Arian has an option.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD) has discovered a group 2 kimberlite pipe on the Ontevreden licence held by Vutomi joint venture. A 1.5 hectares to 2.5 hectares area is thought to contain high levels of garnet. Drilling will help to better understand of the kimberlite and to find out if it is diamondiferous. A refined grade estimate has been published for the Frischgewaagt project in South Africa. This estimate has a range of 64cpht to 110cpht. The dyke system covers 7.5 kilometres.
Interim revenues will grow by two-fifths at cloud-based software provider Cloudcall Group (CALL) and recurring revenues will be 61% higher. The second quarter was the strongest quarter ever for new orders. Annualised revenues are £7m.
Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments Ltd (CNMI) is raising £3.3m via a one-for-four open offer at 8p a share, a premium of 33% over the market price. The NAV was €0.154 a share at the end of 2016.
DX (Group) (DX.) has announced that its chief executive and finance director are leaving. The business is being reorganised into two divisions. Revenues are expected to be £292m in the year to June 2017. Net debt was £19.1m.
Sphere Medical (SPHR) is in discussions with potential investors in a share issue. A shortage of sensors has hampered first half sales of blood monitor Proxima 4.
Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) admits that there has been unauthorised access to its IT system but there should be minimal disruption to the pawnbroking business. Trading continues to be strong.
House broker Northland has increased its profit forecasts for online gaming marketing services provider Veltyco Group (VLTY) following its interim trading update. The 2017 pre-tax profit forecast has been upgraded from €4.62m to €5.82m, up from €1.74m in 2016. The 2018 profit forecast is €7.63m.
Rich Pro Investments Ltd has launched a 2.1p a share cash bid for ASA Resource Group (ASA) but the mining company has yet to recommend the offer. The bid values ASA at £35.5m. Rich Pro argues that the high level of creditors and other uncertainties makes its bid attractive.
Angling Direct (ANG) raised £9m at 64p a share when it joined AIM. The group has 15 stores and the retailer wants to be a consolidator in the fishing tackle market.
Venture Life Group (VLG) says that interim revenues will be 28% higher at £7.8m and like-for-like growth was 18%. New product listings will help further growth in the second half.
An interim trading statement by ClearStar Inc (CLSU) suggests that it should be able to meet expectations this year. The employee background checks provider says that the improving employment levels in the US and international growth are helping growth, as is the demand for medical testing. Interim revenues are expected to increase by 12% to $8.9m. A full year loss is still expected.
Sunrise Resources (SRES) is starting drilling at its CS pozzolan-perlite project and it should take around one week to complete. Eleven trenches have been excavated and ten of them contain pozzolan and/or perlite. Sample results will be available in fewer than ten weeks.
Housebuilding infrastructure services provider Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) has joined AIM. Although £35m was raised by existing shareholders via a placing at 185p a share, the company, which was valued at £70.5m, is not raising any new money. There is already cash in the bank. The share price ended the first week at 188p. In the year to September 2016, revenues grew from £130.9m to £135.7m. That growth appears modest but a change in the mix of business helped underlying pre-tax profit improve from £9.4m to £11m. However, the latest interim profit was lower because of delays to contracts for earthworks business Tamdown. At the end of May 2017, the group order book was worth £187m.
Abzena (ABZA) has secured another licensing deal for its ThioBridge antibody drug conjugate linker technology with a Taiwan pharma company. The value of the deal could be up to £128m in development and commercial milestones.
House broker finnCap has upgraded its 2016-17 forecast for Mortice Ltd (MORT) after a positive trading statement by the security and facilities management services provider. The pre-tax profit forecast has been raised from $5m to $5.3m. Trading in the first quarter of the current financial year shows a 12% increase in revenues even though currencies have moved against Mortice and there were similar increases for each part of the group. Like-for-like growth was 5%.
Standard list shell Rockpool Acquisitions (ROC) floated on 12 July and the share price ended the week at 10.5p. Rockpool is raising £1.085m at 10p a share, having previously issued 1.875 million shares at 8p each.
Fandango Holdings (FHP) also joined the standard list on 12 July. The shell raised £840,000 at 1p a share and is seeking to acquire a company valued at between £1m and £20m. The share price ended the week at 1.25p (1p/1.5p).
PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) is closing its silicon ingot block manufacturing facility in the UK in the third quarter. The blocks will be sourced from an external supplier. The judgement relating to a customer which failed to buy the amount of wafers it was supposed to is expected by the end of September.
ISDX / NEX
Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) has offered to repurchase its bonds for 105p each or, if the bondholders are outside of the US, they can receive ordinary shares at a discount of 20% to the AIM placing price. The AIM flotation has been delayed until late January and Diversified Gas & Oil plans to raise $40m – it had previously been $40m. The closing date for the offers is 13 January. This means that bondholders will receive interest until the end of 2016. So far, holders of 74% of the bonds have opted for the cash alternative and 1% the share alternative.
Western Selection (WESP) has increased its stake in AIM-quoted Bilby, following a profit warning and accounting adjustment announcement by the gas and electrical installation services provider. Western Selection bought 62,192 shares at 51.18p each, taking the stake to 6.04%. There is still £451,000 in the bank
Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) slipped into loss in the six months to September 2016. Revenues slumped from £552,000 to £317,000 and the ecommerce technology developer swung from a profit of £38,000 to a loss of £232,000. There is still £451,000 in the bank despite a cash outflow. Andrew Robathan has been appointed as chief executive. Deal activity has picked up but markets’ are still uncertain and business may take longer to come through than in the past.
Chinese medicines supplier MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has extended its agreement with its skincare products distributor in Taiwan. The agreement will continue until the end of March 2017. The launch of a range of hair care products. Has been delayed until April. MiLOC has paid the first instalment of £320,513 as part of the endorsement agreement with BrandKing, while the same amount is payable by April.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has taken an option over a potential investment in Primus Care (www.primuscareplc.com), which manages residential care services for children and the elderly. Forbes has the right to acquire £500,000 of convertible loan notes with a conversion price of 0.3p a share, lasting 18 months. The option expires on 30 December 2016.
CyberOwl, a spin-off from Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS), has raised an additional £510,000. The cash will fund further development of an early warning system for network security for uses such as the internet of things.
The award for the latest pre-Christmas warning announcement goes to TLA Worldwide (TLA). The sports agent and marketing business sneakily put out its announcement at 6.26pm on 23 December, having sadly been denied the chance to put it out on Christmas Eve because that is a Saturday. Poor ticket sales for the Australian 2016 International Champions Cup football tournament in July means that the agreement to promote the tournament has been ended. There is talk of another football event to replace this. Second half trading in the US sports management business was not as good as expected. This means that EBITDA will be 15% below previous expectations. That appears to mean that it will be lower than last year. The fact that, in September, the bid from AAPC fell through because it found it difficult to raise money, is less surprising given the trading. That bid cost the company $1m.
Kuala Lumpur Kepong has allowed its bid for MP Evans (MPE) to lapse after it receives acceptances equivalent to 13.2% of the oil palm plantations operator.
Price volatility in the energy trading market has made the autumn a tough trading period for Good Energy (GOOD) and it means that 2016 figures will be at the bottom end of market expectations. Trading has been more favourable in the past couple of weeks. Good Energy is recycling the investment in its 5MW solar site in Dorset, which is being sold to Eneco UK for £5.78m, while retaining an option over the power generated. There will be a disposal gain of more than £340,000, which will be recognised in 2017. The cash will fund further solar sites prior to the end of March, after which the current renewable obligation certificate subsidy will no longer be available.
Facilities management and security services provider Mortice Ltd (MORT) is raising £2.3m at 75p a share to help it to reduce dependence on working capital facilities. Some of these facilities have an annual interest rate of more than 9%. Mortice intends to spend more on the marketing of its Soteria remote surveillance services. First half revenues of $80m have been generated, with more than doubled facilities management revenues thanks to the UK business.
Italy-based PR firm SEC Group (SECG) is acquiring 60% of Martis Consulting for around €1m. Poland-based Martis provides public and corporate affairs services and the latest annual revenues were €1.69m and a pre-tax profit of €286,000. SEC is only acquiring the relevant assets and management will own the other 40%, while having the option to exchange these shares for shares in SEC.
Biopharmaceutical products and services developer and provider Abzena (ABZA) has signed a licence agreement with start-up immunomodulatory oncolytic viruses treatments developer Trieza Therapeutics Inc. The exclusive worldwide licence is for an undisclosed antibody sequence that Trieza wants to use with its own viral vector technology to develop oncology treatments. If the development is successful then up to $35m of milestone payments could be generated on top of any royalties from commercial sales. Abzena made an interim loss of £4.27m. Net debt was £9.38m at the end of September 2016.
Share (SHRE) has sold a further 40,000 shares in the London Stock Exchange and raised £1.12m. This takes the money raised from disposals in recent weeks to £1.66m. Share retains 60,000 shares in London Stock Exchange. Share has taken on up to 8,700 customer with more than £200m under management from Invesco Perpetual – which had not previously been named when the deal was announced. These are mainly ISA accounts.
Simon Fry, Jean-Pascal Tranie and Felipe Simonsen have joined the board of investment company Mercom Capital (MCC) and John Zorbas, Patrick Cross and Kyle Appleby have sold their shares and stepped down from the board. The exiting directors sold their shares at 20p each and returned 2p a share to the company. There are plans for Mercom to raise £3m at 30p a share and issue a warrant with each share that is exercisable at 80p a share for 180 days after issue. Existing shareholders will be issued one warrant, on the same terms, for every four shares they own. The placing price is much higher than that suggested in the initial proposals. This depends on resolutions being passed at the AGM in early January. The new investing strategy is to invest in established technology and media businesses. The name will be changed to Monchhichi.
Learning management systems provider NetDimensions (Holdings) Ltd (NETD) says that 2016 revenues will be at least $26m, up from $25.4m, and EBITDA will be $2m, compared with a loss of $500,000 in 2015. Bid discussions are continuing.
Redcentric (RCN) has reported interim figures which should show a real picture of the company‘s position. Internal systems are being improved and this will continue well into 2017. In the six months to September 2016, revenues edged up 2% to £53m, while there was a turnaround from a loss of £2.5m to a profit of £300,000. There was £7.29m generated from operations during the period and £5m came from the disposal of network assets. Net debt was £34.4m at the end of September 2016. Richard Griffiths and Kestrel have been picking up shares in the market.
NWF (NWF) has warned that a weak first quarter means that the interim figures will be lower than the same time last year but the full year outcome is still expected to be in line with expectations. Demand for feed has weakened at a time when ingredient costs have increased, while the fuel division has been hit by warm weather. The food distribution activities The interim figures will be published on 31 January.
Vislink (VLK) will seek shareholder approval for the disposal of its hardware division on 9 January. The acquirer xG Technology Inc will then seek to finalise the funding of the $16m (£13m) acquisition. If the disposal is completed early in 2017, then the forecast earnings per share will reduce from 1.3p a share to 1.2p a share. Trading in the fourth quarter of 2016 has benefited from the normal seasonal uplift but a £1.2m full year underlying loss is still expected. An additional £5.3m write-down will be required to bring down the book valuation of the hardware division. This appears to indicate a group NAV of around £16m., while net debt will be more than £10m
Diversis has posted the offer document for ServicePower Technologies (SVR). Diversis is offering 6p a share, which values ServicePower at £13.7m.
Collagen Solutions (COS) grew its interim revenues by 30% to £1.89m, but the loss quintupled to £418,000. Additional staff have been taken on and more spent on marketing and R&D. There was still £1.66m in the bank at the end of September 2016. House broker Cenkos expects net cash of £230,000 at the end of March 2017, while net debt is forecast at £3m one year later.
Standard list shell Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has come to an agreement with main shareholders and directors to acquire Myclubbetting.com Ltd, where golfer Lee Westwood is a shareholder and ex-England manager Sam Allardyce was a shareholder – he said in August that he was giving up his shares (https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/1611113/sam-allardyce-drops-footie-betting-job-and-ditches-shares-after-sun-probe-finds-boss-lost-investors-4m/). The target is run by Neil Riches who used to run Worldlink, which was introduced to the standard list on 24 November 2011 at a notional valuation of £55m (at 250p a share), although it never got near that valuation when trading commenced. Worldlink was a mobile applications developer that had a similar business to Myclubbetting.com but fewer than two years later it was in liquidation. In August, The Sun said that Neil Riches claimed Myclubbetting.com would float on the Scandinavian First North market at a valuation of £75m. There is still due diligence and other matters to complete before the deal goes ahead. Papillon floated on 24 June and raised £824,000 at 1p a share.
World Trade Systems (WTS) is aiming to relist on the standard list in the first quarter of 2017 and additional funds will be raised at that time. This follows the establishment of Shimao (Suzhou) Biotechnology, which plans to sell healthcare products to consumers. Net liabilities were £1.12m at the end of June 2016. The loans from Kudrow totalling £800,000 are repayable by the end of July 2017 or when trading in the shares recommences and have a 5% interest charge. Trading in the shares has been suspended for more than eight years.
Aircraft leasing company Avation (AVAP) has acquired and delivered a new Airbus A321-200 to Vietjet, taking the number delivered to six. Avation has also sold its remaining five Fokker aircraft. WH Ireland forecasts a full year profit of $21.5m.
Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP), which develops locking nut devices for railway tracks, has been introduced to new potential customers in the US and Europe for its Tracksure products and it is undertaking a review of its resources and indentifying opportunities in other sectors. Tracksure already sells to the Norfolk Southern Railroad and potential US customers include major metro systems operators and a manufacturer of crossings. Tracksure is also in talks with a major European crossings manufacturer. At 0.9p (0.8p/1p) a share, Wheelsure is valued at £1.5m.
Diversified Oil & Gas (DOIL) has issued a further £3.6m of 8.5% unsecured bonds 2020, taking the total raised to £4.2m. Diversified has agreed to acquire around 1,000 oil and gas wells in the US for $4.8m, which is a 70% discount to estimated future cash flows. At current oil and gas prices, these wells should generate annual revenues of $6.5m and EBITDA of $1.5m. This will take the number of wells operated in the Appalachian Basin to more than 5,000.
Ecovista (EVTP) has raised £500,000 at 0.08p a share in order to finance further property investments. That is the market price of the shares. On 8 March, 1,274,998 shares were traded at 0.02p each and 15,000 at 0.075p each.
SQS Software Quality Systems (SQS) is growing strongly in the US but higher tax and minority interests charges held back earnings per share. That is why the dividend has been held steady at €0.13 a share. Revenues grew from €268.5m to €320.7m with organic growth on top of the additional contributions from acquisitions and pre-tax profit improved from €18.8m to €20.8m. Earnings per share were flat at €0.371 a share. Net debt was €6m at the end of 2015. Managed services continue to make a greater contribution and this should help profit to grow to €24.9m this year.
Outsourced point of service software developer Escher Group (ESCH) returned to profit in 2015 even though revenues were flat. This is because maintenance revenues grew by one-third and the figures are not dependent on one or two large licence agreements. Historically, international post offices have been the customer base but newer customers, such as central governments and banks are using the software. The shares are trading on around 20 times prospective earnings.
Private client broker Share (SHRE) has edged up its market share to 8% but 2015 revenues have slipped and it was only profitable because of the £1.7m gain on the disposal of part of its stake in the London Stock Exchange. The dividend has been increased from 0.62p a share to 0.74p a share, which is not covered by earnings and it may be difficult to cover even an unchanged dividend for this year. There may even be a reduction in the dividend this year, particularly as Share is investing in its systems – although the benefits will not show through until 2017. There was £11.7m in the bank at the end of 2015 and this provides some scope for maintaining the dividend.
Mercia Technologies (MERC) is paying up to £11m for Enterprise Ventures and the acquisition will be immediately earnings enhancing. Enterprise manages third party funds and will provide additional investment prospects in the technology sector and boost Mercia’s position in northern England. Enterprise also has an experienced investment team with a good track record of successful investment exits. One of Enterprise’s most successful investments is OptiBiotix (OPTI), which is developing treatments based on the human microbiome.
Abzena (ABZA) says that contract bookings for its expanded range of services have been strong. The Cambridge-based life sciences services provider says that last year’s acquisitions are being integrated and the manufacturing capacity in San Diego is about to be expanded. Abzena has signed a licence agreement for its ADC linker technology ThioBridge, which links antibodies and proteins to drugs. There is potential for licence fees and milestones of up to $150m as well as royalties on any products.
Avingtrans (AVG) has secured a £75m contract for the supply of rigid pipe assemblies, lasting ten years, with Rolls-Royce. The contract includes the engine programme for the Airbus A350, which should build up and reach maturity in 2019. Avingtrans recently completed the £3.5m acquisition of Rolls-Royce’s internal pipe manufacturing businesses. There have been no changes to forecasts with a profit recovery from £2.9m to £4.1m expected in the year to May 2016, and further improvement to £6m the following year.
Outplacement and recruitment services provider Penna Consulting (PNA) is recommending a 365p a share bid from Adecco. That values the company at £105.3m. This is the highest level the share price has been in the past decade and it is nearly treble the level it was one year ago. The shareholders will also receive a 4p a share interim dividend.
Outsourced customer leads and inquiries services provider Digital Globe Services Ltd (DGS) returned to profit in the first half and it is paying an interim dividend of 2.6 cents a share – the ex-dividend date is 17 March. There was no interim last year because of the reported loss but there was a final dividend of 4.1 cents a share. In the six months to December 2015, revenues were 29% ahead at $23.7m and an underlying loss of $405,000 became a profit of $1.41m. DGS did make a similar profit in the six months to June 2015. Net cash was $521,000 at the end of 2015, having paid dividends of $1.1m. To put this in perspective, DGS made a pre-tax profit of $2.9m in 2011-12, prior to joining AIM and it has a way to go to get back to the profit of $3.38m in 2013-14 even though revenues are much higher. That is why the share price has slumped from the placing price of 159p a share when the company joined AIM in February 2013. DGS is trying to diversify its client base.
Management is bidding 1.25p a share for quantity surveyor Baqus five years after it left AIM. That values the company at £1.25m, which is a small premium to the valuation of the business by Fairhurst Accountants. Seven directors are behind the management buyout. The share price slumped by 1.12p to 1.25p, when the AIM exit was announced in April 2011, which valued Baqus at £1.42m. Baqus argues that it has been difficult to attract and retain staff. Trading in the northern business is strong but London-based business has declined.
IP Group has sold its entire stake in Tracsis (TRCS). The disposal of shares in the transport optimisation software and services provider raised £13.1m for the IP-based businesses developer. The original investment was £400,000 and IP Group has received dividends of more than that figure.
China-focused healthcare sector investor Cathay International Holdings Ltd (CTI) owns 50.56% of Hong Kong-listed Lansen Pharmaceutical Holdings, which has admitted that its profit fell last year after a decline in sales of a rebranded product and launch costs of new products. That is before additional one-off losses, including losses related to the Chinese regulatory authorities found that a subsidiary had produced sub-standard ginkgo tablets. Overall, there will be a substantial decline in profit. There is a potential insurance claim relating to flooding but how this will be handled in the accounts is yet to be decided. Lansen associate company Zhejiang Starry Pharmaceutical is expected to join the Shanghai Stock Exchange during March. Lansen’s stake is likely to be diluted from 21.5% to 16.1%.