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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.
Commercial property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has launched an open offer of convertible notes and warrants to raise up to £4.85m. The conversion price is 25p a share, while the warrants are exercisable at 80p a share. The closing date is 22 January.There are already commitments for £3.01m. Additional cash is required to make more property purchases.
Good Energy (GOOD) chairman John Maltby has invested £100,000 in the renewable energy supplier. He acquired 58,000 shares at 173p a share.
In the six months to September 2017, Via Developments (VIA1) increased its operating income from £309,000 to £557,000 but still made a small loss. There were net liabilities at the end of the period.
Positive Healthcare (DOC) made a maiden profit of £64,000 on revenues of £4.67m in the six months to September 2017. The year end is being changed to March. The healthcare staffing business continues to control costs.
Technology company incubator Milamber Ventures (MLVP) reported an increase in interim loss from £196,000 to £263,000. Milamber has launched the Milamber Education Technology Fund and has completed the acquisition of healthcare training company Essential Learning. The education sector will be increasingly important to Milamber.
Hot Rocks Investments (HRIP) reported a decline in NAV from £901,000 to £853,000 in the year to September 2017. Hot Rocks has 14 investments in oil and gas, mining and pharma companies.
Stanley Gibbons (SGI) put out its interim results just before the end of the year, thereby avoiding suspension. In the six months to September 2017, revenues fell from £17.3m to £16.6m, while the loss fell from £6.36m to £3.09m. The stamps business continues to lose money and the profit from coins was lower.
Avanti Communications (AVN) was another company bringing out results just days before trading in shares would have been suspended. The satellite communications operator’s revenues fell from $82.8m to $56.6m. There was net debt of $562m at the end of September 2017, which was before the refinancing plans. David Williams will step down as chief executive after March.
Telit Communications (TCM) says that its main bank has granted a waiver for breach of covenants at the end of 2017.
Parallel Media has completed the acquisitions of Brick Live and Parallel Live for £10m and changed its name to Live Company Group (LVCG). The previous businesses have been sold. There was £1.26m raised at 30p a share and £2.03m of debt was capitalised.
A net gain on its investment portfolio enabled Legendary Investments (LEG) to report an interim pre-tax profit of £248,000. The gain was on the stake in business services software supplier Virtual Stock Holdings. There was a net cash outflow from operations of £28,000. The NAV was £5.22m at the end of September 2017.
Clear Leisure (CLP) is injecting its 4.53% stake in 3D mapping company Geosim Systems Ltd into a new subsidiary company that will also be launching a joint venture called Miner One to develop bitcoin mining blockchain data centre. Clear Leisure will invest €200,000, lent by Eufingest, a 10% plus shareholder in Clear Leisure, for 50% of the joint venture. The new subsidiary will be used to acquire other IT business and could eventually be spun-off in order to gain its own quotation.
Thor Mining (THR) has appointed exploration manager Richard Bradley to the board. The definitive feasibility study for the Molyhil tungsten/molybdenum project should be finalised in the first quarter of 2018. A mineral resource estimate is expected for the Kapunda copper project is due early in the year.
Clean water technology company HaloSource (HAL) says that the Chinese government has halted production facilities in the region that supplies its glass pitchers so fulfilment of orders for JiuBan will be delayed. This means that 2017 revenues will be up to $3m and the loss will be up to $5.5m. There should be revenues of at least $840,000 from JiuBan in 2018.
Alliance Pharma (APH) has completed the purchase of Vamousse from TyraTech Inc (TYR) for an initial $13m plus additional payments of up to $4.5m. The human head lice treatment has been developed by TyraTech and it has built up Vamousse as an international brand. The deal is earnings enhancing for Alliance and provides TyraTech with the cash to develop animal health products. TyraTech launched a tender offer of up to $8.5m. The tender offer price is 3p a share. Alliance will be able to distribute Vamousse through its existing European and international partners.
Kestrel Partners is building up a shareholding in STM Group (STM) and just before Christmas it took its stake to 3.72%.
Oil re-refiner HydroDec Group (HYR) has extended the repayment date of three facilities to the end of 2018 and one of them has been increased by £500,000. The facilities are provided by director Andrew Black.
Oracle Power (ORCP) has raised £621,000 at 2.3p a share and broker Brandon Hill has exercised warrants at 0.65p each, which raised £150,000.
Silence Therapeutics (SLN) has sold further shares in Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, taking the total sale proceeds to £17.2m ($23m). The total cost of the Arrowhead stake was £9.2m ($11.3m) and Silence still owns 472,509 shares.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) will invest $200,000 for a fully diluted 2% stake in Cedex Holdings, a Blockchain-based diamonds exchange. There is also an option to acquire a further 90%, fully diluted, stake at an exercise price of $40,000. These stakes could be diluted by other share issues.
Copper and gold producer Rambler Metals and Minerals (RMM) has amended its offtake agreement with Transamine Trading, which is making a $4m advanced payment in return for a right of first refusal on any offtake agreement for five years from January 2022. The advance payment plus interest is repayable over 18 months. The phase II expansion is nearly complete and this will extend the mine life by 20 years.
EQTEC (EQT) has completed the acquisition of Eqtec Iberia for £14m in shares just over five months after it was announced. The acquisition owns the EGT gasification technology. EQTEC also raised £1.6m at 0.65p a share.
China New Energy Ltd (CNEL) is holding general meeting on 17 January In order to gain permission to buy back up to 20% of the shares in issue. This could benefit the share price, which currently has a modest rating given the profitability of the business.
New Trend Lifestyle Group (NTLG) is selling its remaining China-focused business for £100 and concentrating on Singapore. The Feng Shui business continues to trade poorly and is seeking acquisitions in Asia.
Xeros Technology (XSG) has completed its £25m placing at 225p a share. The polymer technologies developer will use the cash to further develop cleaning, tanning and textile technologies.
Gresham House (GHE) is selling its Newton-le-Willows property for £2.1m. The completion of the sale of legacy assets will have raised more than £18m. Gresham House should qualify for IHT exemption.
Summit Therapeutics (SUMM) is acquiring Discuva, which is a developer of antibiotics using a bacterial genetics based platform. Summit is paying £5m in cash and £5m in shares for Discuva but no employees will be taken on. Summit will still have enough cash to last it until the end of 2018.
Aquatic Foods Group (AFG) has been unable to publish its accounts and it has lost its AIM quotation.
URU Metals Ltd (URU) had £1.84m in cash at the end of September 2017. The first drill results for the Zebediela nickel and copper project in South Africa have been published and the drill results for the most recent three holes are due in January. URU also has a 9.7% stake in AIM-quoted Management Resource Solutions (MRS).
Draper Esprit (GROW) has made a gain of £7.2m on its stake in Clavis Insights, having originally invested £8.1m in December 2016. This gain will add 3p a share to NAV. Clavis, which is an e-commerce data analyser, was acquired by Ascential for $119m.
Windar Photonics (WPHO) has received a new order from its Chinese distribution partner for five WindVision LiDAR systems. Windar has already delivered 50 systems.
World Trade Systems (WTS) has reached agreement with Germany-based Naturemed and related companies about the commercialisation of its personal hygiene and healthcare products and it will also help to obtain Chinese registration for them. WTS has signed a five year lease on a London office. Shares in WTS are still suspended.
Over the top video streaming business Falcon Media House (FAL) made initial revenues of £232,000 in the six months to September 2017. The interim loss was £2.71m. Since then, £3.4m has been raised from a convertible loan note issue.
Rockpool Acquisitions (ROC) still has nearly £385,000 in the bank. Negotiations are continuing concerning the possible acquisition of Greenview Gas Ltd.
Wine and beer maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has raised £18.53m at 50p a share and could raise up to £1.47m more via a one-for-35 open offer at the same share price. The latest acceptance date is 5 January. Chapel Down will invest in an additional 500 acres of vineyard land and more money will be put into marketing. The family interests of Michael Spencer have invested in the fundraising. Nigel Wray has invested a further £500,000 but his stake has fallen to 16.5%, prior to the open offer. This year’s turnover is expected to be at least £11.6m and management expects growth to accelerate after the additional investment. New gin and vodka brands have been launched and the Ashford brewery should be up and running by the end of 2018.
Ashley House (ASH) has signed a joint venture with Morgan Sindall to develop extra care and supported living housing. This deal sparked a 55% increase in the share price to 14.75p. Morgan Sindall is paying £4m in total for the 50% stake in the joint venture, with £1.5m of this dependent on certain completion factors. It should all be paid by the end of 2018. The Ashley House housing division will complete two existing schemes and then own 50% of the joint venture, which will develop any further schemes. This additional cash will help to accelerate the growth of this part of the business. There is already a pipeline of potential developments. Ashley House will make an interim loss but expects to profitable for the full year.
e-commerce technology provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) reduced its interim loss as revenues grew from £317,000 to £479,000. There has been a lower number of larger projects, particularly in the food and drink sector, and Netalogue would have been profitable without the investment in the company’s technical team. A move towards a SaaS-based model could hold back short-term revenues.
AIM-quoted, spread betting business London Capital Group (LCG) has joined the NEX Exchange Growth Market on 15 December. Glio Holdings Ltd owns 78.1% of London Capital.
Early Equity (EEQP) has made two more investments. It has invested £60,000 in TruSpine Technologies Ltd, which plans to join AIM next year. TruSpine has developed the Faci-LOK and Cervi-FAS minimally invasive spine stabilisation devices and the VOSC catheter atherosclerosis treatment product. The plan is to gain FDA authorisation for Faci-LOK next year and then float. TruSpine is valued at £15m. A £35,000 investment in the profitable corporate finance and asset management business Farina Investments (UK) Ltd has been made ahead of a flotation. Early Equity raised £115,000 at 0.6p a share.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has declared an unchanged total dividend of 21p a share for the year to October 2017.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) says that it is progressing towards the issue of an investment bond that will be quoted on a recognised bond market. There was nearly £60,000 in the bank at the end of September 2017.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) raised £720,000 at 9p a share and this will be used to invest in blockchain companies and expand the company’s own advisory business. Last June, £250,000 was raised at 2.2p a share. Coinsilium has been appointed as an adviser to token generation event of Hdac Technology AG, which is developing payment platforms for connected devices.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has raised £5,000 at 0.01p a share and issued further shares for convertible loan notes and warrants at the same price. Valiant Investments (VALP) has raised £34,000 at 0.1p a share. Via Developments (VIA1) has issued a further £50,000 of debenture stock.
Satellites owner Avanti Communications Group (AVN) has revealed a financial restructuring that could put it on a firm footing. Certainly, without this restructuring the outlook would be bleak. The $557m of 2023 loan notes will be converted into two billion shares, while investors in the 2021 loan notes are being asked to accept and extension of the term and lower income. Annual interest charges would still be $36.6m
Best of the Best (BOTB) says that it expects to pay remote gaming duty and this will knock £300,000 from profit this year and £600,000 next year. This year’s pre-tax profit is forecast to decline from £1.5m to £1.4m, with a further fall to £1.2m in 2018-19. Net cash is expected to be £2.6m at the end of April 2018. The company is still claiming £4.5m of VAT so this could provide a cash boost in the future.
Plant Impact (PIM) is suffering continued delays in demand for its Veritas product in Brazil. A new partnership with Albaugh Brazil will commercialise other Plant Impact products in Brazil. This has sparked the decision to consider putting the company up for sale. Cash is running out and a further £7m would need to be raised to keep the company going well into 2019.
Van Elle Holdings (VANL) has defeated the five resolutions proposed by former chairman Michael Ellis at last week’s general meeting.
Recruitment and outsourcing services provider Servoca (SVCA) reported better than expected full year figures. Pre-tax profit improved from £3.5m to £3.9m. Education and healthcare will be the main growth areas.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) is collaborating with King’s College London to examine the use of SFX-01 as a therapy against ischaemic stroke. Multiple doses will be assessed and this will take nine months. This could lead to a clinical trial that might be funded by a charity organisation associated with King’s College.
Range Resources Ltd (RRL) returned to AIM following the reverse takeover of producing oil and gas assets in Trinidad from Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN).
Defence equipment and services supplier Cohort (CHRT) had a weak first half but it expects to more than make up for that in the second half. There was a mixed performance with some parts of the business finding trading conditions difficult. The order book is worth £132m. Full year pre-tax profit is forecast to improve from £14.5m to £15.4m.
Savannah Resources (SAV) says that it has discovered high-grades and large intercepts in the latest drilling at the Mina do Barroso lithium project. A maiden mineral resource estimated could be announced before the year end with potential for upgrades from further drilling.
Daniel Stewart expects China New Energy (CNEL) to report a jump in pre-tax profit from £400,000 to £2.6m in 2017. The shares are trading on less than four times fully-taxed 2017 prospective earnings. The company constructs bioenergy plants that convert feedstock into ethanol. The most recently reported order book was worth £28.7m with the orders due to be fulfilled in 2017 and 2018. Demand from China is strong and there is also international business.
Coal bed methane projects developer Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU) has secured a listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and trading commenced on 13 December. Tlou raised £2.4m at 11p a share.
Synairgen (SNG) has secured a £5m cash injection from a deal with Pharmaxis, which will take over the development of LOXL2 in fibrotic diseases. Synairgen will also receive 17% of any partnering revenues. This compares with £3m invested by Synairgen in LOXL2. The cash will enable Synairgen to fund the phase IIa study for SNG001 for COPD. The trial should be complete by the end of 2018.
New management has turned around the performance of contract disputes and expert witness services provider Driver (DRV) and it moved back into profit last year. Cost savings have been made and the focus is on profitable business rather than just growing revenues. Cash collection is improving with net debt down to £200,000 and there is likely to be net cash of £2m in one year’s time. This year’s revenues are likely to be flat at around £60m but pre-tax profit should improve from £2.5m to £2.7m.
One month after its previous trading statement IDOX (IDOX) says that an internal audit has found that it should not recognise all the revenues that it originally intended to. This will knock £3m off profit for 2016-17. The software company reported its full year figures in December but the attest full year figures have been delayed until February. Chief executive Andrew Riley is away ill and former boss Richard Kellett-Clarke has taken over on a temporary basis.
Abzena (ABZ) reported interims in line with expectations. Growth came from the chemistry and manufacturing businesses. This is a period of capital investment as various parts of the company move to new facilities. The ADC master services agreement with a US biotech will yield at least $5m in services revenues over the next 12 months. This deal is shared between chemistry and manufacturing divisions.
Surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) is starting to improve its gross margin as demand improves. There is even some signs of improved demand from the oil and gas sector. Even so, Hardide remains loss-making but it still has not gained any orders from Airbus. It raised £2.5m for capital investment earlier this year. A new reactor will be installed in the US in this financial year and another next year.
Titon Holdings (TON) continues to benefit from strong demand for its window ventilation components in South Korea. The majority of profit comes from South Korea and that is where all the growth came from last year as the contributions from the UK and North America fell. In the year to September 2017, revenues were one-fifth ahead at £28m, while pre-tax profit improved from £2.14m to £2.49m. The dividend growth of 20% to 4.2p a share is ahead of earnings per share growth. A pre-tax profit of £2.81m is forecast for this year.
Avation (AVAP) has secured an initial $100m revolving facility to finance the acquisition of aircraft.
Sealand Capital Galaxy Ltd (SCGL) has secured an agreement with AIM-quoted MySQUAR (MYSQ) for the distribution of its games on MySQUAR’s platform and MySQUAR’s games on the Huawei InTouch platform. This is initially a two year deal.
Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) says that it expects to complete the acquisition of biogas and renewable energy business Alchemy Utilities. A five-year £20m bond is being raised.