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Ecommerce software provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) moved into profit in the first half and had £648,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. Revenues increased by £168,000 to £647,000, even though subscription-based pricing is reducing the initial revenues from B2B clients. A loss of £60,000 became a pre-tax profit of £142,000, helped by lower operating expenses.
Veni Vidi Vici Ltd (VVV) is acquiring a 51% stake in a licence in the Shangri La gold, silver and copper project in Western Australia for A$220,000, which is payable to Goldfields Consolidated in the form of 190,000 shares and A$20,000 in cash. The shares cannot be sold for three months. VVV will spend an initial A$300,000 over three years and Goldfields will receive a 10% management fee.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has raised £367,000 at 4p a share and each new share comes with a two-year warrant exercisable at 7.5p a share. If the share price averages more than 15p for five consecutive days, then the company can require the warrants to be exercised.
Gastropubs operator Barkby Group (BARK) has signed heads of terms to acquire Northamptonshire-based upmarket car dealer Centurian Automotive Ltd. The most recent accounts were for a dormant company and shows £200 in the bank.
Quetzal Securities Ltd sold 6.75 million shares in Pelican House Mining (PHM) for 0.5p each and Eight Capital Partners (ECP) acquired 8.25 million shares at 0.491p each. Quetzal subsequently sold a further 6.75 million shares in Pelican shares, leaving a 13.2% stake, to Eight Capital at 0.5p a share, taking its stake to 15.3%.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2018. An interim of 7p a share will be paid in January (ex-dividend 20 December) and a final dividend of 14p a share paid in May (ex-dividend 18 April).
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has appointed Northland as broker.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (EL.P) had a NAV of 200.95p a share at the end of November 2018. The shares are trading at 160p.
Construction consultancy Driver Group (DRV) reported a 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £3.8m, up from £2.5m, and it is returning to paying dividends with a 0.5p a share payment. Net cash is £6.9m, helped by a property disposal, and this could reach more than £10m by September 2019 even after dividend payments. The Diales expert witness business is becoming an increasingly important revenue generator and overall utilisation levels have improved. There has also been a focus on better margin work in the Middle East.
SigmaRoc (SRC) is in the process of acquiring precast concrete products supplier CPP Building Products for £15.2m, although the deal requires shareholder approval for share issues, so it will not happen until early January. CPP is based in north west England and fits well with the existing precast concrete business. In the year to August 2018, revenues were £20.9m and EBITDA was £2.6m. This year’s trading is in line with expectations. There are plans to refinance the convertible loan notes.
Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned about delays to its utility connection contracts with housebuilders and the 2017-18 figures were slightly better than expected with flat pre-tax profit of £9.2m. Nexus has a strong order book and could increase its 2018-19 pre-tax profit to £10.4m. The new electric vehicle charging points division will take time to build up.
Advanced coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has benefited from an upturn in demand from the oil and gas sector. It is also getting nearer to obtaining its first aerospace orders. Hardide remains loss-making and this will still be the case next year as it continues to invest in increasing capacity in the UK and US as demand grows.
Curtis Banks (CBP) has purchased around 600 SIPPS with assets of £180m from Hargreaves Hale, which will continue to manage the assets. Curtis Banks will launch a new SIPP product in January.
Clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences (VENN) is collaborating with Open Orphan DAC. The two firms will share resources in the orphan drugs market. Venn is raising £1m from a two-year loan note issue.
WH Ireland has upgraded its forecast for banknote authentication and brand protection technology business Spectra Systems (SPSY) for the second time. The underlying pre-tax profit forecast has been raised by 10% to $4.5m. The 2019 forecast, which had previously been upgrade by 16%, is maintained for the time being.
Kibo Energy (KIBO) says that its 60%-owned subsidiary MAST Energy Developments has an exclusive option to undertake due diligence and acquire three peaking power sites totalling 31.3MW. This would provide initial revenues for Kibo later next year. Kibo has renewed its memorandum of understanding with Mozambique-based electric utility Electricidade de Mocambique for the financing and operation of the Benga independent power project.
eServGlobal Ltd (ESG) says that 2018 revenues will be lower than expected due to weak trading at the PayMobile business and the failure to close orders. The PayMobile business may be sold and the focus will be the HomeSend remittances business.
NWF (NWF) says feeds demand was strong in the summer because of a lack of natural grazing. In contrast, the hot weather held back demand for fuels. A Solihull-based fuel distributor has been acquired. The food distribution business continues to trade at around capacity because of contract wins. The interims will be published on 29 January.
ReNeuron (RENE) has important clinical trial results coming up in the next 18 months. A retinitis pigmentosa treatment is in phase I/II trials and there should be data in mid-2019. A phase IIb trial for a CTX cell therapy-based treatment for chronic stroke is due to report by early 2020. There was £30.7m in the bank at the end of September 2018. Management is seeking partners to help it to make the most of its technology.
PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised £100,000 at 0.02p a share and this will enable the board to assess new business opportunities.
Property adviser Fletcher King (FLK) is maintaining its interim dividend at 1p a share even though pre-tax profit has dipped from £148,000 to £132,000. Ratings appeals revenues were lower. There is £2.28m of cash in the balance sheet.
Kromek (KMK) has secured an initial contract with the US Department of Defense worth $2m over 12 months. The plan is to develop a proof-of-concept device for a vehicle-mounted biological threat identifier.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) started trading on AIM on Friday and the share price ended the day at 272.5p. Crossword raised £2m at 290p a share.
Volex (VLX) is buying cable assemblies and connectors manufacturer GTK for £14.3m in cash and shares. in the year to July 2018, GTK generated a pre-exceptional operating profit of £1.7m. There was £1.3m in the bank. The deal is earnings enhancing.
African Battery Metals (ABM) has found it difficult to raise the cash it requires and trading in the shares has been suspended. The company wants to come to a settlement with creditors so that it could continue to trade.
Smaller company mergers and acquisitions business K3 Capital Group (K3C) is cautiously optimistic but the full year outcome will depend on the timing of deals. There could be a small dip in pre-tax profit to £7m this year and there could be a corresponding dip in dividend from 11.2p a share to 10.8p a share.
Telit Communications (TCM) says that it will not complete the sale of its automotive business until next year. Telit is expected to make a 2018 loss. Further cost savings are being made in the Internet of Things operations.
More bad news from Filtronic (FTC) with sales of Massive MIMO antennas lower than expected. The main customer has reduced its forecast demand. The capitalised development costs of £500,000 will be written off and options are being reviewed. The rest of the business is trading in line with expectations. Filtronic will be loss-making this year. Net cash was £2.3m at the end of November 2018.
Science Group (SAG) has ended its formal sale process because of stockmarket and exchange rate uncertainty. The strategic review continues. Trading is in line with expectations and the company will recommence the share buy back programme. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of November 2018.
Like-for-like sales growth has been slowing at DP Poland (DPP) and this means that progress in 2019 is unlikely to be as good as expected. This means that it will take longer to reach profitability. Rivals have been spending money on marketing and warm weather has also held DP Poland back. A full year trading update will be published on 29 January.
Taptica International Ltd (TAP) plans to spend up to $10m on buying back shares and it has already spent nearly £110,000. There was net cash of $42.1m at the end of June 2018.
Tristel (TSTL) says that the US regulatory process for its disinfection products is on track and interim pre-tax profit should be £2.2m.
TomCo Energy (TOM) has managed to secure £550,000 at 2p a share. The previous £532,000 placing at 8.5p a share was pulled. Laurence Read has become a non-executive director.
RA International (RAI) has won a five year contract worth up to $5.6m from a US corporate client in Central Africa.
Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR) is moving to AIM and it has decided to exercise its option to acquire US rights to COPD treatment Tudorza from AstraZeneca. This deal should complete by the end of the year and it will trigger a payment of $5m. A further $20m is payable upon approval of Duaklir and then there is further deferred consideration of $100m.
Tex Holdings (TXH) has warned that second half earnings will be lower than anticipated due to delayed deliveries and reorganisation costs.
Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) is on course to complete the expansion of its Runcorn facility by the end of 2018 with commercial volume manufacturing by the middle of 2019.
Lb-shell (LBP) is being wound-up because of potential litigation relating to before it became a shell. There is unlikely to be anything left for shareholders.
Giant Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) is installing a $1m data centre in Singapore.
Buy Curtis Banks Group (CBP.L) says VectorVest. High calibre business model with further earnings growth to come.
Bristol-based Curtis Banks Group (CBP.L) provides pension administration services principally for Self Invested Personal Pension schemes (SIPPs) and Small Self-Administered Pension Schemes (SSASs). The service offered to clients includes setting up SIPPs, accepting contributions and transfers of permissible assets to clients’ SIPPs, carrying out banking transactions, making investments on behalf of SIPPs and processing benefit payments from SIPPs. The Company also acts as a trustee of each SIPP, and this service is provided in each case by one of eight subsidiary trustee companies, which act as bare trustees.
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On September 4 2017, CBP published interim results to June 30, which revealed a strong first year contribution from recently-acquired Suffolk Life. Half-year operating revenues rose 98% to £21.4m, while PBT, amortisation and non-recurring costs increased by 85% to £5m. Diluted EPS rose 65% to 5.84p, and the interim dividend increased to 1.5p (2016: 1.0p). CEO Rupert Curtis said the first half of 2017 “has been extremely active for Curtis Banks and we have made substantial progress against our strategic objectives. Our SIPP numbers continue to grow through high levels of organic growth and we now administer over 75,000 SIPPs with over £23bn of assets.“ ”As in previous years, we expect performance will be weighted towards the second half of the year and we remain confident about delivering further profitable growth in the future.”
The VectorVest GRT (Earnings Growth Rate) metric flagged up the potential at CBP nearly a year ago, when the shares were trading around 176p. Now at trading at 299p, CBP still retains a forecasted GRT of 32%, which VectorVest considers to be excellent, a factor fully supported by the CEO’s confidence in delivering further profitable growth and the fact that results are likely to be weighted towards the second half of the year. Traders should note that the RS (Relative Safety) metric records a fair rating of 0.94 on a scale of 0.00 to 2.00, meaning the stock is not without risk, but with a current value of 366p per share recorded by VectorVest, CBP remains undervalued at the current 299p per share.
The chart of CBP.L is shown below in my normal format. The green line study above the price is the VectorVest valuation while the blue line study in the window below the price shows earnings per share (EPS). The share is undervalued, growing earnings strongly, on the verge of breaking through a 52 week high and is on a Buy recommendation.
Summary: Over the past year CBP has amply illustrated the calibre of its business model and growth strategies. Historically CBP has always delivered a stronger second half, and despite the stellar half year results, VectorVest views the excellent GRT rating as a strong indicator of further growth to come, notwithstanding the element of risk flagged by the RS metric. Buy.
Dr David Paul
Sept 26th 2017
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Trading in the bonds of Carduus Housing (CHPB/CHP2) has been suspended pending clarification of its financial position. It is noticeable that the suspension announcement is the first not to include managing director Brian Gilmour as the contact name. Instead fellow director Drew Oswald is named at the end of the release. Carduus joined ISDX on 30 September 2015 when £3.5m of 6.5% unsecured bonds were admitted to trading. It has subsequently raised £3.5m from the issue of 6.25% unsecured bonds. The strategy is to invest in affordable housing, with initial investments in Scotland.
Other bond issuers continue to raise cash. Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) has raised a further £630,000 from 8.5% unsecured bonds, taking the total to £5.8m. Via Developments (VIA1) has raised an additional £80,000, making a total of £2.64m from eleven placings of 7% debenture stock since joining ISDX. Residential property acquisitions have been made in Manchester and Luton.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has appointed Jonathan Owen as its new general manager. He starts on 16 May. The shares owned by the estate of Richard Cecil James have been equally distributed to Elizabeth Foster and Patricia Gray, who own 10.1% and 9.3% of the company respectively. There were also 200 shares traded at 800p each on 15 March. At 775p (750p/800p) a share, which values Hydro at £4.7m.
Titiana Internet Ventures (TITP) has failed to secure a renewable energy sector deal and it does not have the cash to maintain its ISDX quotation so shareholders are being asked to vote to terminate this quotation. At 2.5p (2p/3p) a share, Titania is valued at £44,000.
Robotic process software supplier Blue Prism (PRSM) has joined AIM. The business is loss-making but it is profitable in Europe and the costs of building up a base in the US have pushed the group into loss. The software enables automation of manual, rules-based admin processes and it has been available since 2008 and subsequently developed further with customers. Blue Prism raised £10m at 78p a share, while £11.1m was raised by existing shareholders. The share price ended the first day of trading at 110.5p.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) has gained FCA approval to deal with retail clients and this is the final requirement for the new strategy. This involves taking on the fund management role for assets under management – £666m at the end of 2015. Frenkel has been opening additional offices in order to broaden its coverage of the country and this held back profit last year. Pre-tax profit dipped from £1.57m to £1.42m in 2015. There should be some recovery this year but the real benefits of the strategy should be more obvious in 2017 when profit is expected to be £3.28m. Meanwhile, the dividend has been increased by 25% to 0.8875p a share and there should be further growth in dividends in the coming years.
SIPPs administrator Curtis Banks (CBP) reported an improvement in pre-tax profit from £3.1m to £4m in 2015 as it won new business and got the full benefit from recent acquisitions. Curtis Banks will become the second largest SIPP provider following the acquisition of Suffolk Life from Legal & General for £45m. The enlarged group will have 65,000 SIPPs with assets of £18bn under administration. The deal is still waiting for regulatory approval. There are opportunities for further bolt-on deals.
Standard list shell Opera Investments (OPRA) is still trying to secure the reverse takeover of SoloPower Systems Inc (http://solopower.com/company/) that was originally announced last July. Financing the acquisition of the thin film solar technology developer has proved difficult and the structure of the deal is being changed. SoloPower will raise finance prior to a reversal into Opera, which is required to happen by 15 May or it will not go ahead. There was £1.08m in the bank at the end of June 2015. Opera has already incurred £400,000 of costs relating to the deal but Hudson, the backer of SoloPower, will reimburse £200,000 of these costs by the end of the month.
Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has paid $32,000 to acquire 100% of 26 unpatented mining claims in Grand County, Utah. Highlands had been assessing oil and gas well logs and thinks there might be a potential uranium discovery in the area. Permits will have to be obtained and then exploration can start a few months later. The seller is Ticaboo Minerals which will have the right to a production royalty of 2% of the gross value of minerals produced from the mining claims. The principal focus of Highlands is still the oil and gas sector.
Blockchain technology companies investor Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has made two investments since it joined ISDX. Coinsilium has invested $50,000 (paid in Bitcoin) for the equivalent of a 1% stake in RSK Labs Ltd, and co-investment partners have invested the same amount. RKS developed Rootstock, a platform that is a sidechain of the Bitcoin blockchain. This technology enables transactions that can be set up to complete autonomously when pre-set conditions are met. Rootstock should be launched in the middle of 2016. RSK raised a total of $350,000 and the company’s valuation is $5m. Coinsilium has also increased its stake in Fuzo Ltd, which has developed a SIM card technology focused on adults that do not have a bank account. A $29,000 investment has taken Coinsilium’s stake in Fuzo to 13.6% – the total investment is $300,000. The valuation after the latest investment is $3m, which values the stake at $408,000. The Coinsilium share price has fallen back from the 10p flotation price. At 8p (6.5p/9.5p) a share, Coinsilium is valued at £5.7m. There were 15 trades during last week, which makes Coinsilium one of the more regularly traded ISDX companies.
Cyber security products developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has joined up with MHA MacIntyre Hudson to co-market Crossword’s Rizikon cyber risk analysis tool to the accountant’s small and medium-sized clients. Rizikon was developed at City University and it is Crossword’s first product. At 175p (150p/200p) a share, Crossword is valued at £4.2m.
Business incubator Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has acquired a 10% stake in White Cobalt, which develops technology platforms to help businesses to be more efficient and cope with growth. Milamber issued 166,667 of its own shares at 18p each in payment for the stake. This makes Steve Stovold, who founded White Cobalt in 2011, the fifth largest shareholder in Milamber with 4.7%. Powwownow founders Paul Lees and Andrew Pearce have each bought 50,000 shares in Milamber at 18p each. This cash will be used in a joint venture between their new business Thortful and Milamber. At 13p (12p/14p) a share, Milamber is valued at £455,000.
David Grierson has joined the board of investment company Lombard Capital (LCAP). He has been working in the timber and contracting sectors for four decades. Mark Jackson and Graham Jones have both left the board. At 6p (5p/7p) a share, Lombard is valued at £136,000.
Human microbiome-based products developer OptiBiotix Health (OPTI) has signed an agreement with KSF Acquisition UK, which will finance the assessment of the benefits of OptiBiotix’s SlimBiome weight management products when it used alongside SlimFast products. SlimBiome affects appetite, metabolism and energy harvest which fits with the SlimFast meal replacement products. Kainos Capital acquired SlimFast from Unilever in July 2014 and KSF is its UK offshoot with rights to the SlimFast brand in UK, Ireland and Germany.
Curtis Banks (CBP) will become the second largest SIPP provider following the acquisition of Suffolk Life from Legal & General for £45m. The enlarged group will have 65,000 SIPPs with assets of £18bn under administration. Suffolk Life made a profit of £1.3m in 2014 and there should be synergy benefits from the combination. A placing at 320p a share has raised £27m. The deal enhances 2016 earnings from 14.9p to 15.8p.
Management Resources Solutions (MRS) plans to acquire civil construction equipment and services provider Bachmann Plant Hire Pty for up to A$13.4m and the acquisition will more than double group revenues. There is an initial payment of A$8.2m in cash and the taking on of finance debt, while the rest is dependent on performance in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Bachmann provides earthworks equipment and operators in Queensland, Australia. There is a fleet of more than 200 vehicles and revenues were A$21.7m and pre-tax profit A$2m in the year to June 2015. MRS already supplies technical and strategic services to the oil and gas, construction and resources sectors. Project management activity has offset a decline in consulting work. This deal is a reverse takeover and the shareholder meeting is on 28 January.
Financial software and consulting services provider First Derivatives (FDP) has acquired Kx consultancy QuntumKDB for up to £2.2m, with £500,000 of this depending on the achievement of targets in the first 12 months. This deal will be earnings enhancing in the first full year. Quantum made a profit of £300,000 in the year to September 2015. First Derivatives has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Utilismart, which is expected to use Kx software for smart grid applications.
Interactive gaming operator Netplay TV (NPT) has extended its agreement with ITV for three years until 2019. Jackpot 247 has been on ITV since 2010 and Netplay will combine this TV exposure with its developing mobile platforms. Talks about the purchase of Sportech’s pools business have ended and NetPlay is not involved in the bidding process.
The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) is recommending that the IONA non-invasive test developed by Premaitha Health (NIPT) should be offered by the NHS to high risk pregnant women as part of the foetal anomaly screening programme. This will reduce the need for invasive testing.
Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) is paying £10.8m for a Land Rover franchise in Welwyn Garden City – Cambria has Jaguar and Aston Martin franchises nearby. In 2015, the franchise generated a pre-tax profit of £2.5m on revenues of £54m and it will be immediately earnings enhancing. A Jaguar franchise in Exeter is being sold for £1.3m and the Aston Martin franchise on the site will be closed. These businesses generated £500,000 profit in 2015. This leaves Cambria with 44 franchises and 17 brands. Cambria says that its first half trading is well ahead of the same period last year.
Ramblers Metals & Minerals (RMM) has completed the all share acquisition of Thundermin Resources. This means that Rambler owns 100% of the Little Deer and Whales Back copper projects. These have previously been mined and still include copper mineralisation. The infrastructure at the Ming mine could be used if the mines are brought back into production.
Standard list shell RockRose Energy (RRE), which is headed by former Igas boss Andrew Austin, floated on 13 January and the shares ended the first week at 51.5p. RockRose raised £4.4m at 50p a share, having previously raised £600,000, but the costs of the flotation were £833,000. The company is capitalised at £5m at the placing price – so the net cash covers 83% of the valuation. The focus is UK onshore and offshore oil and gas assets which are in production and have significant reserves. The cash will help to finance the costs of due diligence and acquiring suitable assets.
Cash shell Falcon Acquisitions Ltd (FAL) will join the standard list on 18 January. A placing raised £1.6m at 10p, which capitalises the company at £2.04m, and there is a secondary fundraising may raise up to £2m at a share price to be set between 10p and 30p. There was already £265,000 in the bank before the flotation so there is cash of £1.65m after costs of £220,000. The focus is acquiring businesses involved in online, mobile and video broadcasting. Any target is likely to be worth up to £30m. The board includes directors from previous standard list shell Challenger Acquisitions.
Africa-focused oil and gas company Aminex (AEX) has secured a gas sales agreement with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation for the Kilwani North gas field, where Aminex has a 55.575% interest. Solo Oil has until the end of January to take up an option to buy an additional 6.5% stake in the field from Aminex, which would take its stake to 12.675%. A pre-determined level of production will be purchased each year and an invoice will be issued each month. The initial gas price is $3.07/mcf and there will be an annual indexation of the gas price.