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AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
Daniel Thwaites (THW) had net debt of £65.4m at the end of March 2020 and this increased to £71.8m at the end of June following the closure of the company’s pubs and hotels. There is £12m of headroom in the current facilities but management is considering increasing the borrowing facilities. The sites were reopened on 4 July or shortly after. There has been steady growth in sales.
Altona Energy (ANR) has signed heads of agreement to acquire up to 75% of the Chambre rare earth project in southern Malawi. There is a backlog of exploration licence applications following recent elections. The trading suspension will end when new funds are raised. A funding will be launched via investment platform www.NRPrivateMarket.com once an exploration licence is granted in Malawi or heads of agreements are signed for another deal.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) has received a requisition from two shareholders (James Redman Jr and Sungold Escrow Nominees Ltd) for a general meeting. They own more than 5% of the company. A date for the general meeting has to be announced within three weeks.
European Lithium (EUR) has appointed Kimon Gkomozias to the board as part of its strategic agreement with EV technology metals project developer Talaxis. He will help European Lithium obtain funding. A placing is planned to raise $2m at 4.5 cents a share.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has obtained agreement in principle for the bank creditor settlement relating to the Amapa iron ore project.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has made a £1.9m investment in Atlantic Credit Opportunities Fund (ACOF), a distressed credit fund. EPE’s investment advisor Epic Private Equity intends to acquire a controlling stake in Atlantic Capital Management, which manages ACOF.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has set up Forbes Ventures Cell 1 Ltd to acquire UK-issued litigation funding loans. The rights to these loans will be assigned to and securitised by Malta-based Forbes Ventures CC1, which is planning to raise money via a bond issue. A Forbes subsidiary will receive a fee of 2% of the funds raised.
World High Life (LIFE) is assessing investment targets in the medicinal cannabis sector. This includes areas such as synthetic cannabinoids.
Trading in the shares of Sativa Group (SATI) has been suspended while Stillcanna awaits the approval of the Canadian Stock Exchange for the takeover of Sativa. The enlarged group plans to gain readmission to the Acquis Stock Exchange as Sativa Wellness Group Inc.
Alfred Henry Corporate Finance has been appointed as Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) corporate adviser.
Sumner Group Health Ltd (SGRL) has confirmed its withdrawal from the market on 8 September.
Capital equipment supplier Mpac (MPAC) has continued to secure orders even with the disruption caused by COVID-19. Interim revenues fell by one-fifth to £36.6m, but services revenues continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit fell from £4.5m to £2.5m. The order book is worth £45.4m. Net cash was £22.5m at the end of June 2020. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to fall from £7.5m to £5.2m.
CyanConnode (CYAN) was hit by delays to contracts in the 15 months to March 2020, but it appears to have a strong base for the current financial year. The smart meter technology developer is still losing money, but it has shown that it can manage its cash effectively by gaining advance payments on orders. Net cash was £1.2m at the end of March 2020.
Mattress supplier eve Sleep (EVE) says current trading is ahead of expectations and the full year loss is expected to be slightly lower than previously. Net cash of £5m is forecast for the end of 2020.
Cake Box (CBOX) has made a strong start to the new financial year. The franchised retailer of egg-free cakes is even offering a special dividend of 3.2p a share. Equity Development forecasts a rise in earnings per share from 7.8p a share to 9p a share in the year to March 2021.
7Digital (7DIG) has raised £6m at 2.25p a share, having sought a minimum of £5m. The streaming technology developer will be able to take advantage of opportunities in areas such as home fitness and social media.
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) has continued its sales momentum in the new financial year. There will be an interim trading statement on 22 October.
Driver monitoring systems developer Seeing Machines (SEE) has unveiled a new product strategy. This involves a focus on a chip whose performance is optimised by a neural processing unit called Occula. It will be made easier for automotive clients to integrate this technology. There are also plans to licence the Occula technology.
Nostra Tera Oil and Gas (NTOG) is acquiring a 100% working interest in the Caballos Creek oil field in Texas, which has an economic life of between 16 and 32 years. The cost is $425,000 and there should be a two-year payback. There are proved reserves of 92,100 (69,300 net) barrels of oil equivalent. Current production is 30 (22 net of royalties) barrels of oil per day, which increases Nostra Terra’s production by 25%.
Matthew Freud increased his stake in Reach4Entertainment (R4E) to 19.99% before trading on AIM ended.
Omega Diagnostics (ODX) has CE-marked Mologic’s lateral flow antibody test for COVID-19, which picks up infection at an earlier stage than most tests.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) has in-licensed the virus-like particle vaccine technology from Saiba and DeepVax for use in solid tumours, atopic dermatitis, asthma and psoriasis. This broadens the scope of the group, but it continues to focus on allergy treatments.
Consumer products supplier Creightons (CRL) increased full year revenues by 9% to £47.8m, while an improved profit margin meant that pre-tax profit increased from £2.87m to £3.55m. A final dividend of 0.5p a share is proposed.
Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has signed heads of agreement to acquire gold assets in Africa. It plans to acquire 100% of Kilmapesa in Kenya and 70% of the Kakamoeka gold project in Congo Brazzaville. They could provide near-term gold production.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) increased its NAV by 54.6% to 317.18p a share in the year to January 2020. The main gains are from fully listed Luceco (LUCE), although the share price has fallen back since then, and Whittard of Chelsea. Whittard closed its 49 stores during March. The focus is conserving cash to find existing investments rather than new investments.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that DEV Mineraco, the owner of the Amapa iron ore project, has been given permission to ship iron ore from the company’s port in Brazil. The stockpile has 1.39Mt of iron ore and the cash generated will help to bring the mine back into production. Cadence owns 30% of Yangibana rare earth deposit, which has received environmental approval for mining.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) says it is taking longer than expected to conclude a deal to sell its diesel conditioner through a major UK fuel distributor. The plan is to undertake engine trials with major engine manufacturers. COVID-19 has led to delays in getting trials underway.
First Sentinel (FSEN) is raising £151,000 at 20p a share. This will provide additional working capital.
Gunsynd (GUN) is consolidating 85 existing shares into one new share.
Ganapati (GANP) has gained shareholder approval to leave AQSE by 15 May.
In changing times there is one thing that can be relied on and that is Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) putting out its trading statement after 4.30pm on a Friday. Never one to disappoint, Immunodiagnostic Holdings has done it again. Full year revenues were 2% ahead at £39.3m. Cash was maintained at £27.6m.
Nu-Oil and Gas (NUOG) is planning to acquire a Europe-based plastic recycling and processing business. The group would then become a consolidator under the current management. The deal has not been finalised and trading in the shares will be suspended until an acquisition document is published or the deal is called off.
Aquis Exchange (AQX) increased revenues by 73% to £6.9m and the loss was reduced to £800,000. There was £11m in the bank at the end of 2019. The market share of pan European trading increased from 3.8% to 4.62%. Market volumes have increased following the COVID-19 stockmarket concerns.
Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) is raising £500,000 at 55p a share. This will make sure there is enough cash to keep the business going even if there is an extended disruption to trading.
Parcel and freight delivery company DX (DX.) says activity has been reduced by one-third. Net debt was £8.9m at the end of March. Profitability has been delayed until 2020-21.
A circular has been posted by Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) for a general meeting on 13 May. The first resolution is for the removal of Matt Lofgran from the board and the other two resolutions provide the company with the ability to issue shares.
Bluejay Mining (BJAY) has signed a memo of understanding with a company that will take 50% of the production of the Dundas Ilmenite project.
Construction consultancy services provider Driver (DRV) was not impacted by COVID-19 in the first half and the recovery in pre-tax profit should be as expected. Business in April and May remains encouraging. Net cash is £3.3m. There will be no interim dividend.
Oil and gas producer Empyrean Energy (EME) has raised £411,000 at 3.5p a share and plans to launch an open offer to existing shareholders. It is not going ahead with a previously announced placing. The additional cash is required to pay Empyrean’s share of the costs of two wells drilled at the end of 2019. The 1C contingent resource estimate for the Mako gas field, where Empyrean has a 8.5% stake, has been increased by 76% to 323bcf. A production rate of 150 MMscf/day could be achieved.
Beeks Financial Cloud (BKS) has acquired network monitoring and trade analytics software provider Velocimetrics for an initial £1.3m. The maximum earnout payment is £4.55m. This adds real-time transaction tracking technology to Beeks’ software.
Cake Box (CBOX) was growing strongly before COVID-19 hit the cake retail chain. Store closures in the second half of March reduced annual like-for-like sales growth to 2%. Pre-tax profit will be in the range of £4.1m to £4.3m. There will not be a final dividend.
Circle Property (CRC) says its NAV has increased by 4.7% to 290p a share at the end of March 2020. The focus on office properties has helped. Loan to value is 40%. A maintained dividend has been indicated by the board.
Kodal Minerals (KOD) has been granted a further three-year term for two of the gold concessions in the Ivory Coast.
Intelligent Ultrasound (MED) has raised £5.2m at 10.5p a share to bolster its balance sheet ahead of the commencement of royalties from its AI software. The cash will finance further development. There was already net cash of £7.3m at the end of 2019, although some of this cash will already have been used.
Jubilee Metals (JML) has recommenced mining at the Inyoni Surface PGM and chrome project and the Windsor JV PGM project.
Sure Ventures (SURE) says that 25.9%-owned investee fund Sure Valley Ventures has made a follow-on investment in Admix, which provides advertising services in video games. Sure has a 7.02% stake in Admix.
Engineering and construction services provider NMCN (NMCN) says that it continues to work on around two-thirds of its current projects. There will be no final dividend for 2019. Net cash was £25.8m at the end of 2019. A further trading update is planned for 23 April.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) says that production at the Gakara mine is increasing and 100 tonnes of concentrate has been exported since February.
NEX Exchange company of the year
National Milk Records (NMRP)
Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records has been on NEX for more than a decade. The share price has increased by more than 500% over the past decade. In the latest quarter to March 2019, revenues improved from £5.32m to £5.56m, even though the number of cows on the database had declined from 743,054 to 713,379 over a 12-month period which hit milk recording revenues. Income from specialist testing has increased. Overall, growth was not as strong as in the first six months, which benefitted from one-off income. An oversupply of milk in recent weeks has hit the milk price and this has held back spending by farmers.
Wealth management group AFH Financial Group (AFHP) is raising up to £20m via a convertible unsecured loan stock issue. The conversion price is 420p a share, up from 360p before the issue was announced, and the interest rate is 4%. This cash will fund further acquisitions. There are five that are already in due diligence.
Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) is not likely to achieve financial close on three projects, so it will lose money in the 14 months to June 2019. The second half will be profitable. The company should return to profit in 2019-20.
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has increased the valuation of its portfolio by 22% to £86.9m at the end of April 2019. Annualised rental income is £6.5m.
Investment company Angelfish Investments (ANGP) had cash of £1.48m, but debt was £3.35m and net liabilities of £543,000 at the end of 2018. This means that the preference dividend cannot be paid because there are no distributable reserves. The decline into net liabilities was mainly due to a £942,000 write-down on loans made to OME. Pre-revenue investments are included at cost.
PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has appointed First Sentinel as its corporate adviser. PCG has not replaced its nominated adviser so it will lose its AIM quotation. Acquisition talks continue.
First Sentinel (FSEN) has invested £75,000 in fintech company Capable Finance in return for a 50.01% stake and a £25,000 loan with an annual coupon of 15%. First Sentinel directors have participated in a £110,000 placing and they own most of the rest of the shares. First Sentinel has gained a Euronext Dublin listing for its 7.5% bonds, May 2024. Some of this cash will be invested in the activities of Capable Finance.
Shareholders in Valiant Investments have approved the change of name to Eurocann International (BUD) and the focus on medicinal cannabis. It has disposed of its investment in Flamethrower one of its own directors and raised £263,000 at 1.5p a share. Valiant had £1,289 in the bank at the end of 2018. There is still a £200,000 convertible investment in All Star Minerals (ASMO). The company has a stake in North Bud Farms Inc, which has a cannabis production facility in Quebec.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £250,000 at 0.1p a share. This ash will contribute to the £700,000 investment in Apollon Formularies. Executive chairman David Lenigas has bought 17 million shares at 0.11941p each.
Ananda Developments (ANA) has formalised the joint venture with Anglia Salads and JE Piccaver to create DJT Group. Ananda and Anglia which each own 50% of DJT, which will apply for a licence to cultivate and supply cannabis. Ananda had £141,000 in the bank at the end of January 2019.
Sativa Investments (SATI) subsidiary PhytoVista Laboratories has completed an independent blind test consumer cannabidiol products for The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis. Many proved to have too low or too high a content of relevant ingredients.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has terminated its heads of terms with Mkango Resources relating to earning up to 75% of the Thumbani licence because it could not come up with the finance required.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) increased its revenues from $8.2m to $10.9m, although the loss doubled to $1.89m. That is mainly down to a $797,000 loss on an equity sharing agreement. The cash outflow from operations fell from $904,000 to $813,000.
Via Developments (VIA1) reported an increase in interim loss from £10,000 to £259,000, because of higher finance costs.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) is raising £1.6m at 0.11p a share and this will fund the investment in the Amapa iron ore project.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) is leaving NEX on 26 July. The minerals explorer has been on NEX for less than nine months. It does not believe it is large enough to benefit from a quotation on NEX as well as the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Small Cap Awards 2019 winners
Company of the year
Beeks Financial Cloud (BKS)
Beeks Financial Cloud provides cloud-based connectivity and infrastructure services provider for automated trading of financial assets. It also provides cyber security services to prevent distributed denial of service attacks. Beeks was formed in 2010 and has consistently grown its revenues. Beeks joined AIM in November 2017 and in May it acquired the trading assets of US-based Commercial Network Services and this adds 1,000 customers. Progressive Research forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £1.2m to £1.4m in the year to June 2019.
IPO of the year
Cake Box Holdings (CBOX)
Egg-free cakes supplier Cake Box won this award the day before its first anniversary on AIM. Cake Box raised £16.5m at 108p a share and at one point the share price was nearly double this level. There is still a premium of more than 60% to the flotation price. In the year to March 2019, revenues increased from £12.8m to £16.9m and underlying pre-tax profit improved from £3.3m to £4m. Two new distribution centre sites have been acquired. There is scope to more than double the business, which currently has 113 stores.
Impact company of the year
Kromek has developed a range of radiation detection and imaging products based on cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) technology. The company focuses on three sectors – medical imaging, nuclear detection and security. Kromek has been winning multi-million pound international contracts and it has a strong balance sheet following a recent fundraising. Revenues increased by 23% to £14.5m in the year to April 2019. Kromek is losing money, but it is on course to reach breakeven in a couple of years. The orders that are already won underpin the revenue forecasts for the coming years.
Executive director of the year
Mike Creedon, chief executive of Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI)
Mike Creedon has been on the SDI board since 2010, having previously been a finance director of two former AIM companies, Ideal Shopping Direct and Ninth Floor. SDI is an acquisitive digital imaging and sensor control technology company. The acquisition record is good. A trading update has led to a small pre-tax profit upgrade to £2.9m. The 2019-20 pre-tax profit is maintained at £4.1m.
Analyst of the year
George O’Connor, Stifel Nicolaus
Journalist of the year
Simon Thompson, Investors Chronicle
Fund manager of the year
Marlborough Nano Cap Growth
Zoo Digital (ZOO) slipped back into loss in the year to March 2019, but it should return to profit this year. Demand for film and TV localisation services continues to grow but momentum has not been as expected.
Wynnstay (WYN) had already warned about tough second quarter trading, but underlying pre-tax profit held up reasonably well, falling 15% to £4.3m, even though revenues were 19% higher at £218.5m. The increase in revenues was mainly down to commodity inflation. The warmer winter weather hit demand for animal feed, although fertiliser demand has been strong. The agricultural merchanting depots acquired in the past year are moving towards profit. There has been some rationalisation of the depot network. The interim dividend has been raised 4% to 4.6p a share.
China New Energy Ltd (CNEL) has applied for a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and it will ask shareholders for permission to cancel the AIM quotation, subject to a successful Hong Kong listing.
Harwood Wealth Management (HW.) has increased its assets under influence to £5.3bn, helped by recent acquisitions. There is a strong pipeline of additional acquisitions. Interim pre-tax profit improved from £930,000 to £1.63m.
BATM (BVC) is raising $18m, 20% more than initially sought, at 42.5p a share. Most of the cash is earmarked for the cyber and networking activities. The rest will go towards medical activities. The cash will help in securing partnerships with larger technology companies.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has varied and extended its contract with Canadian data centre provider GPU.one. This will provide access to 14MW of power at lower prices. This increases capacity by 47%, utilising the equipment that has already been ordered, and cuts power cost by 39%. The deal starts on 25 June and lasts three years. Argo can give four months’ notice. A previous deposit of £1.44m has been turned into an investment in GPU.one.
Tex Holdings (TXH) says the engineering operations have started the year slowly, but trading should return to previous levels. The plastics division is trading in line with expectations and there is investment in new machinery. The shares remain suspended.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum Ltd (COPL) has joined the standard list. The oil and gas company is focused on Nigeria and sub-Saharan African.
Avocet Mining (AVM) is holding a general meeting on 18 July to gain shareholder approval for a voluntary liquidation. Avocet has sold its interest in the Tri-K gold project in Guinea for $21m. This leaves a small residual cash sum. There is unlikely to be anything substantial left to distribute to shareholders.
Oil and gas company Aminex (AEX) shareholders have approved the switch from a premium listing to a standard listing. It is also cancelling its Dublin listing. It may have been difficult to get the full benefits of the lighter regulation of a standard listing if the company were still listed in Dublin.
Sanderson Group plc SND Preliminary trading results for the year ended 30 September 2018 are significantly ahead of the prior year and also ahead of market expectations. Revenue has increased by 49% to £32.05 million and operating profit by 33%. The recommended Final Dividend and Full Year Dividend are both to be increased by 13% to 1.75 pence per share and 3.00 pence per share respectively. The company has a good level of confidence that further progress will be made in 2019 and results will be at least in line with expectations..
Cake Box Holdings CBOX Announces a strong performance since its admission to Aim in June. Revenue for the six months to the end of September rose by 44% but profit before tax fell by 7% and earnings per share by 11% after allowing for Aim listing costs of £599,000. Adjusting for these left the respective figures showing rises of 34% and 36% respectively. The interim dividend is increased by 17%. The Cake Box brand is described as continuing to go from strength to strength and the Board is expecting another successful year of growth.
Fusion Antibodies FAB admits that the first six months of the current financial year have been challenging due to increasing competition and consequential pricing pressures. Revenue fell by well over 50% and the loss for the period increased to £742k from £166k in the first half of last year. However a strong recovery in order levels has been seen in October and November and a resumption in growth is expected.
SysGroup plc SYS claims to have made steady progress during the first half year to the end of September. Revenue rose by 47.3% and adjusted EBITDA by by 300%. The company moved from a small loss into a slightly larger profit and adjust basic earnings per share rose from 0.2p to 1.1p per share.Investment in the business has continued and this has led to an increase in the proportion of recurring revenue.