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Positive Healthcare (DOC) has made its initial acquisitions since floating its 7% secured bonds on the ISDX Growth Market. Positive bought 75% of each of two healthcare recruitment businesses, Capital Care and Fine Locums, for a total of £1.57m. Positive Healthcare chairman Gary Ashworth has loaned the company £570,000 to help fund the acquisitions. The two companies made total profits of £360,000 on revenues of £6.19m in the past financial year.
All Star Minerals (ASMO) is broadening its investing policy to include financial services, engineering, construction, renewable energy and technology, as well as natural resources. At the end of 2015, All Star’s main asset was a stake of 5.52 million shares in NQ Minerals (NQMI) valued at £704,000. All Star’s NAV was £385,000 at the end of 2015,compared with net liabilities of £199,000 at the end of 2014. All Star has extended the maturity date of its various convertible loan notes into 2017. All these convertibles have an interest charge of 20% a year and the conversion price is 0.14p a share. Additional shares have been issued at the conversion price o cover the recent interest payments for these convertibles.
Diversified Oil & Gas (DOIL) has completed the acquisition of 2,400 oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania from Seneca Resources and further acquisitions are likely in the rest of this year. This means that Diversified has more than 7,500 oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. They produce 23,000 mcf of gas and more than 500 barrels of oil each day. Diversified has raised a further £16,200, which takes the number of bonds in issue to 9.47 million.
TSX Venture Exchange-quoted Knowlton Capital’s shareholders have voted in favour of the reverse takeover of Leni Gas Cuba (CUBA). The British Virgin Islands High Court still has to approve the deal. The combined business will be called LGC Capital Ltd. (QBA) and its investments include a 15.8% stake in MEO Australia Ltd. Oil and gas explorer MEO has an interest in the onshore Block 9 production sharing contract in north Cuba and the first of three identified oil plays has an estimated prospective recoverable resource of 395 million barrels of light oil.
The Inland Homes (INL) share price has been hit by the leave vote in the EU referendum because of concerns about property prices. This appears overdone because management says that fundamentals are still strong. Inland has announced the purchase of the former Tesco head office in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Inland is buying the 13 acres with a 50/50 joint venture partner. Inland will inject £5m into the joint venture.
LXB Retail Properties (LXB) has decided not to sell the properties it had previously announced would provide a £4m gain on book value. It did not appear that the negotiations could be concluded satisfactorily. Shareholders voted in February to sell off properties and return cash to shareholders. The post-Brexit vote has hit the commercial property market so it may be more difficult to realise the valuations that management had hoped they could achieve.
Specialist services provider Premier Technical Services Group (PTSG) is acquiring UK Dry Risers and UK Dry Risers Maintenance, which install and maintain dry and wet riser systems, for a maximum of £5.1m. The total initial payment is £3m. The two businesses made a pre-tax profit of £1.1m last year.
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) says that its European like-for-like sales increased by 191% in the week after the EU referendum compared with a 120% increase in the week starting 13 June. Exchange rates have become more favourable and management has responded by adjusting Its prices to make them more attractive.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) has started the financial year strongly and the new joint ventures are helping the B2C business perform much better this year. There was $3.9m in the bank at the end of June and this should increase to $4.5m by the end of the year. House broker Northland expects revenues to hit $20m this year and it is expected to move back into profit ($800,000). The dividend is likely to be reinstated.
Newmark Security (NWT) has warned that this year’s profit will be lower than for 2015-16 because trading conditions have become more difficult. The full 2015-16 figures will be published in August. New sales offices for the access control division are yet to generate meaningful revenues. Revenues for the workforce management software have been delayed. The asset protection business will have to replace revenues from the Post Office contract, which will not generate as much this year.
Arria NLG (NLG) is moving ahead with plans to float on the New Zealand, where the primary listing will be, and Australian Stock Exchanges and as part of this move the natural language generation company will switch from AIM to the standard list in London, where depositary interests will be traded. Cash will be raised as part of the flotations on the additional markets. Existing shareholders will receive one new Arria NLG Group share for each existing share and one warrant, with an exercise price of approximately 53p a share, for every ten existing shares.
Maxit Capital is subscribing / or procuring subscribers for $20m worth of shares in SolGold (SOLG), which will equate to up to 19.99% of the miner. The issue price has yet to be decided but SolGold says that it expects the price to be at a premium to the market price, which at the time was just over 3p – although it has risen to 4.28p. The subscription is expected to close in early October after due diligence and approvals are received. Maxit will also receive a success fee of 6% of the funds raised plus warrant equivalent to 6% of the shares placed – 50% exercisable at 14p a share and 50% at 28p a share. The cash will be invested in the Cascabel copper gold project in Ecuador.
Tanzania-focused oil and gas explorer Aminex (AEX) is raising up to £19.5m at 1.3p a share – £16.9m from a placing and the rest via a one-for-ten open offer. Zubair Corporation will subscribe £12.8m in this fundraising. The cash will enable Aminex to finance further development of its oil and gas licences while seeking partners for these licences.
Demand for the latest share issue from Good Energy (GOOD) was better than expected and the maximum size of the offer as raised from £3.1m to £3.8m. The company can only raise up to €5m without a prospectus and the movement in the exchange rate has helped Good Energy to raise more. Around 2,000 investors applied for shares at 208p each via the offer. The cash will be invested in the operational platform and to increase the portfolio of generating capacity. At the company’s AGM on 23 June, shareholders failed to pass the special resolutions on the directors’ authority to issue more shares and for the dis-application of pre-emption rights. Good Energy says that it will consult with shareholders if there is the need to issue more shares.
Leni Gas Cuba Ltd (CUBA) has taken a 10% stake in UK-based The Cuba Mountain Coffee Company for £27,300. The focus of the business is the promotion of coffee from the Guantanamo region of Cuba and it is in talks with the Cuban government about additional investment in capital to improve processing efficiency. This will enable Cuba Mountain Coffee to obtain the rights to a greater proportion of production so that it can be marketed internationally. The company’s own coffee brand is Alma de Cuba and the ecommerce platform is www.almacuba.com.
Nordic Energy (NORP) plans to appoint Turpin Baker Armstrong as liquidator and it has called a general meeting for the 30 June.
Professional services firm Sweett Group (CSG) is recommending a rival cash offer to the existing WSP bid. The 42p a share bid by asset management and construction consultancy services provider Currie & Brown is 20% higher than the previously recommended WSP offer and values Sweett at £29m. However, the Sweett directors cannot withdraw their acceptances for the WSP bid and the same is true for the Cyril Sweett Trustee Company. The meeting to vote on the WSP bid will be adjourned. Currie & Brown is part of The Dar Group international network of professional services and it has previously acquired parts of Sweett in Asia. The new bidder has offered a £9.45m debt facility to cover Sweett’s debt requirements when the existing borrowing facilities expire on 8 July.
Verona Pharma (VRP) has raised enough cash to fund up to phase III trials for its RPL554 COPD treatment for patients with chronic respiratory diseases and announced plans to obtain a Nasdaq listing. Verona raised £44.7m at 2.87p a share and £36m should be left in the bank by the end of 2016 and that is expected to fall to £14.5m by the end of 2017. In fact, further cash is likely to be raised from a Nasdaq listing, which could happen before the end of the year. Vivo Capital, OrbiMed and Abingworth have taken shares in the placing and they will each have a director on the board. The phase IIb study is due to start in the first half of 2017 and a partner could be signed up during 2018 if things go to plan.
Hornby (HRN) is raising up to £8m via a placing and one-for-6.77524 open offer at 27p a share in order to finance its turnaround plan. Banking facilities have also been renegotiated. One year ago, the toys and hobbies supplier raised £15m at 95p a share. Hornby plans to focus on its existing profitable and cash generative products and geographies and reduce its cost base. In the year to March 2016, Hornby lost £13.5m and net debt was £7.2m.
Malaysia-based cloud services provider RapidCloud International (RCI) says that it is adopting a more conservative accounting policy and it means that 2015 profit, due to be reported this week, will be lower than expected. House broker WH Ireland had forecast a 2015 profit equivalent to £320,000 according to Morningstar.co.uk, and it was expecting £570,000 in 2016. There will be changes to depreciation and amortisation charges, recognition of deferred revenues and deferred tax.
BDO has been appointed to liquidate shell company NBNK Investments (NBNK) following its inability to find a suitable bank or financial business acquisition. The AIM quotation was cancelled on 22 June. An initial distribution to shareholders is expected early in August. There was £19.7m in the bank at the end of 2015 – equivalent to just over 36p a share – but there will be liquidation costs.
Patent attorney Murgitroyd (MUR) is paying $2.43m for trade and assets of a Dallas-based IP software and services business with operations in the US and Nicaragua. This business had gross revenues of $860,000 in the 12 months to May 2016. Murgitroyd expects to report full year revenues of more than £42m, while pre-tax profit should be in line with expectations at around £4.3m.
NWF (NWF) says that its feeds division improved its profitability in the year to May 2016 even though the dairy market remains tough. Market share has increased, helped by acquisitions. The food distribution division continues to work at capacity and operating efficiency has improved. Fuels increased volumes even though the warm winter reduced demand. Overall trading is in line with expectations and the pre-tax profit should be around £8.25m. Net debt is lower than expected. The full year results will be published on 3 August.
Savannah Resources (SAV) has been granted reservation permits over the Somero and Erajarvi lithium projects in Finland. Savannah will start to compile data, map and undertake surface sampling in order to identify drill targets by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, rebel shareholders will attempt to unseat Jason Drummond, Nilesh Jagatia and Oliver Fattal from the board of former AIM company Teathers Financial. Matthew Turney, David Kipling and Stuart Langelaan have put themselves up for election to the board. Teathers, which was originally known as CA Sperati, left AIM on 6 June having failed to implement its investing policy. It says that there is an investor willing to invest £1m in the company so that it can finance further development of the Teathers app.
Papillon Holdings (PPHP) is the latest standard list shell. Papillon, which was incorporated on 19 October 2015 and re-registered as a public company on 25 April, has raised £824,000 at 1p a share. Previously 50 million shares were issued at 0.1p a share. The share price ended the first day of trading on 24 June at 1.25p but the bid/offer spread is 1p/1.5p. Papillon directors Charles Tatnall and James Longley are also directors of Plutus PowerGen. Papillon is seeking to acquire an industrial or services business focused on the UK.
Engineer and plastic products supplier Tex Holdings (TXH) says that parts of the business have found it increasingly difficult to turn enquiries into orders but there are other businesses that are doing well this year. The plastics business is coming under pressure although the Derby site has improved its previously poor performance. Tex has secured a £2m loan repayable over five years and £2.5m of short-term facilities.
In the tender offer at 200p a share, Bioquell (BQE) shareholders tendered 20.4 million shares, which is 47% of the life sciences company’s share capital. Bioquell will acquire these shares for a total of £40.8m. It was willing to return up to £44m to shareholders.
Majestic Wine WINE claims a 74.5 % fall in profits made 2015 a good year with encouraging progress. If you prefer your profits on an adjusted basis to make them look better, the fall of 30% to £15m is still fairly serious. Basic earnings per share for the year to 28th March fell from 20.5p to 3.5p and cash of £10.9m was turned into debt of £25.5m. There are however some signs of an improvement on the way. Like for like sales rose by 4.8%, the first rise in four years and Naked Wines enjoyed record sales with a rise of 27.3%, helped by strong growth in the US. On the home front though, trading conditions in the UK are expected to remain tough.
Leni Gas Cuba Ltd CUBA is teaching BP and all the other big oilies, a lesson in how to invest wisely for the future and escape from the myriad problems of the oil and gas industries. The solution for Leni Gas is simple. Invest in premium coffee. It has just acquired for £27,300, a 10% share in The Cuban Mountain Coffee Company Ltd. based in the notorious but beautiful Guantanamo region of Cuba and will help CMC to promote its gourmet coffee on a worldwide basis. So who will be next. Can you expect Shell cocoa, BP premium Darjeeling tea and Esso Horlicks to be appearing soon at a supermarket near you.
The Italians have now joined the Europe wide rebellion against the establishment, which is terrifying the Brussels bureaucracy. Yesterdays second round of voting in mayoral elections saw a lawyer who was unknown only a few months ago and is the leader of the Five Star Movement, on course to become Mayor of Rome.
Five Star, the movement founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo had other successes yesterday with another of its leading ladies, elected mayor of Turin.
The Democratic Party, which was struggling in many areas yesterday and the Mafia are not happy at the success of Italy’s new breed of politicians.
If more member states carry on like this, it may soon be well worth while being in the EU.
Carduus Housing (CHPB/CHP2) has discovered that £1.43m of its cash has been paid to Carduus Finance Ltd and £875,000 to a third party. It is estimated that £1.675m of this cash did not conform to budgeted spending or the company’s investment strategy. Carduus Finance has subsequently sold its stake in Carduus Housing for £1. Pankaj Rajani owns 75% and Beaufort Securities 25%. Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser and Brian Gilmour, Drew Oswald and Luke Cairns have resigned as directors. Pankaj Rajani and Darren Edmonston have joined the Carduus board. Gilmour is one of the main shareholders in Carduus Ltd, the holding company for Carduus Finance. On 2 February 2016, in his capacity as sole director, he made a solvency statement for Carduus Ltd. Stuart Black who was a director of ISDX-quoted Etaireia Investments is a former director of Carduus Ltd and Carduus Finance. When Black was on the Etaireia board it claimed it had planning permission for a site in Scotland but this proved to be untrue. Carduus Housing 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. Trading in the bonds remains suspended pending clarification of its financial position. The strategy is to invest in affordable housing, with 37 properties currently owned, but this may be changed. There is still £1.9m in the bank. The company will try to recover the cash that has been paid out for reasons outside the remit of the corporate strategy. Carduus Housing may need to raise additional cash by 2020 in order to redeem the bonds.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) continues to seek a suitable residential development project and it has widened the scope of its search to outside of the M25. A property in Scarborough has been sold for £327,500 – it was in the books for £300,000 – and no other investment properties are owned. The NAV was £758,000 at the end of 2015. There should be more than £700,000 in cash after the disposal. At 19.5p (18p/21p) a share, Secured Property is valued at £400,000.
Leni Gas Cuba (CUBA) is linking up with Commercial Funded Solar Ltd (CFS) in order to install and operate renewable energy assets in Cuba. CFS was established as a limited company in February 2015. The directors include Dmitry Gavrilov, who joined the board in March 2016 and is a 10% shareholder, and Timothy Dobson, who owns 80% of the company. Cuba wants to produce 24% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The funding for any projects will come from external investors. The income related to developing and installing the plant will be shared 50/50 while Leni Gas Cuba will receive 25% of the revenues from operational contracts. At 1.35p (1.2p/1.5p) a share, Leni Gas Cuba is valued at £6.7m.
Brett Miller has resigned as a director of Gledhow Investments (GDH), although he remains company secretary, and has sold his 2.2 million shares at 2.2472p each – a large premium to the market price. At 1p (0.75p/1.25p) a share, Gledhow is valued at £490,000. On 11 May, 170,000 shares were traded at 1.15p each. Peterhouse employee Guy Miller has joined the board. He owns 264,700 shares.
Online retailer of musical instruments Gear4music (G4M) more than doubled its underlying operating profit in the year to February 2016. Revenues increased from £24.2m to £35.5m, while underlying operating profit excluding flotation cots jumped from £376,000 to £895,000. There was a small pre-tax profit after interest charges. The cash raised in the flotation means that these interest charges will be significantly reduced this year. Net cash was £2.6m even after investing in higher inventories. The product range is being expanded by 20% each year. Instead of a London showroom, the company is planning to open up European distribution hubs. There is a chance of a dividend for this financial year.
AdEPT Telecom (ADT) is acquiring managed IT and telephony services provider Comms Group UK for £3.5m plus surplus cash. The management is remaining with the business which has long-term relationships with small business customers. The business made an operating profit of £500,000 in the year to March 2015 and that is estimated to have risen to £800,000 in 2015-16, so the deal should be immediately earnings enhancing. Further information on AdEPT can be found at http://www.hubinvest.com/AIMPDFMay2016_80.pdf.
Digital performance marketing services provider XLMedia (XLM) says current trading remains strong and it still has organic growth opportunities on top of the potential for consolidation. The strategic review has been completed and XLMedia still believes that it should remain on AIM. The company will continue to seek opportunities in new territories and sectors as well as further developing its technology.
Marble quarry business Fox Marble (FOX) has raised £2m at 10p a share and the directors have agreed to take their salaries in shares at the market price. The cash will help to finish the Kosovo factory where cut and polished marble slabs should be produced by the summer.
MediaZest (MDZ) has raised £250,000 through a share issue at 0.1p each and it has capitalised a loan of £50,000 at 0.15p a share. The audio visual company says that it made its best ever performance in the year to March 2016. The cash will help to finance working capital for projects with HMV, Adidas and Diesel. MediaZest is trying to build a recurring revenue base.
Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) made strong start to trading on the standard list despite the limited nature of its current business. One man who will be pleased to see the shares go to a premium is chief executive Andrew Hollingworth, who acquired his 26% stake for less than £20,000 when the company was formed on 2 March 2016and it is currently worth more than £2m. His shares were issued at 0.0667p each compared with the placing price of 8p a share and the current share price of 8.88p. Hollingworth has an annual salary of £120,000 –Toople will have to grow to generate revenues that high – and seven weeks holiday entitlement each year. Former Coms boss David Brieth sold the main operating businesses to the group for 39 million shares and he is paid £120,000 a year, which is effectively for a three day week.
In the six months to March 2016, trickle ventilator and window components manufacturer Titon (TON) reported a dip in profit from £792,000 to £735,000 on flat revenues of £10.9m. That was due to weak Korean trading as competition increased. Net cash was £2.46m at the end of March 2016.
Engineering and environmental consultancy Waterman Group (WTM) says that revenues were 10% ahead in the first nine months of this financial year and is on course for a full year profit of £3.3m in the year to June 2016. Net cash will be better than expected. Waterman wants to improve its operating margin from 3.3% in 2014-15 to around 6% in 2018-19.
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Markets operator WMC Retail Partners (WMC) reported a sharp fall in revenues and profit in 2015. That was due to the loss of the Old Spitalfields Market contract in January 2015. Revenues were reduced from £6.08m to £4.31m, while pre-tax profit dived from £369,000 to £13,000. That profit was after fair value movements in asset values of £165,000, compared with £190,000 the year before. There was £196,000 in the bank at the end of 2015, although there are also borrowings. At 19.5p a share, WMC is valued at £1.2m, whereas the NAV was £3.58m at the end of 2015.
Brewer and pubs operator Adnams (ADP) says that first quarter operating profit was slightly ahead of expectations thanks to strong sales of own-brand beer and gin. Distillery capacity has been trebled and £7m is being invested to increase brewing capacity. A six year sponsorship of the University Boat Races has begun and increased marketing spending will hold back profit. At £99.50 a share, Adnams is valued at £28.4m. There have been deals at above this price in recent days.
Leni Gas Cuba (CUBA) is in talks to reverse into a TSX Venture market shell that until recently was going to buy Mongolian mining assets. Knowlton Capital Inc (TSX-V:KWC H) will provide access to North American investors but the enlarged group wants to retain the ISDX quotation. An all share bid by Knowlton, whose shares are currently suspended, for Leni Gas Cuba is anticipated but prior to this the Knowlton share capital will be consolidated which will give shareholders 0.7825 of a share for each share currently owned. One Knowlton share will be issued for every 2.5 Leni Gas Cuba shares. Leni Gas Cuba shareholders will own 84.4% of the enlarged group although they will be contributing a higher percentage of the group cash and assets. The Leni Gas Cuba share price is 1.15p, which is double the low in March but a fraction of the 5p a share flotation price, valuing the company at £5.7m, which is above pro forma NAV.
Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) has announced an interim dividend of 0.033p a share – an increase of 10% on the previous year. The ex-dividend date is 12 May. An additional 13.3 million shares have been issued at 3p each to pay for a property acquired from non-executive director Dr Anthony Ghorayeb. At 4p a share, which is the highest the share price has been, Ace is valued at £39.3m.
Investment company Gledhow Investments (GDH) reported a decline in NAV from £546,000 to £414,000 in the 12 months to March 2016 as the value of resources investments fell. During the period, a €40,000 investment was made in Dutch electric scooter developer Bolt Mobility BV. There was still £190,000 left in the bank at the end of March 2016. At 0.75p a share, Gledhow is valued at £368,000.
Valiant Investments (VALP) has set up a mobile app development business called Flamethrower and it retains an 83.33% interest. Valiant also has a portfolio of resources and green energy investments but it currently has a small net deficit.
Cyber security technology commercialisation Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) reported initial revenues of £21,000 in 2015. The loss increased from £239,000 to £755,000. There was £1.23m in the bank at the end of 2015.
House broker Stockdale expects a slump in profit reported by smoke alarms supplier Sprue Aegis (SPRP) from £12.8m – before £5.5m battery warranty provision – to £2.1m in the year to December 2016. This is due to the revelation about unreliable batteries and poor trading in France and Germany. These are important potential markets. In Germany, 10 million homes will have to have a smoke alarm by the end of 2017. Despite being uncovered, the dividend is expected to be maintained at 8p a share. Net cash was £22.4m at the end of 2015.
Arian Silver Corp (AGQ) has raised £700,000 at 1p a unit – one share and 0.5 of a warrant to subscribe for a share at 1.5p (expiring on 28 April 2019). The current share price is 1.13p. The cash will be used to push ahead with the exploration of mining concessions in Mexico, particularly those relating to the Tierra Neuva Mineria option assets. Other projects are also being assessed.
Tekcapital (TEK) has acquired assets from Vortechs Group Inc, an executive search firm specialising in technology transfer professionals. This will add to the range of services that Tekcapital can offer. Tekcapital has paid $100,000 and 577,868 shares at 47.5p each. The current employees will be retained. The business made a small loss on revenues of $351,000 last year. In the year to November 2015, Tekcapital lost $1.46m.
Highland Natural Resources (HNR) has raised £519,000 at 18p a share. This cash will be used to invest in oil and gas assets and technology and it should cover overheads until the end of 2017. Research into the company’s US oil and gas assets suggests that there could be uranium assets. The first commercial test of the DT Ultravert oilfield technology are set for June in Colorado.
Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) continues to trade at a substantial discount to NAV. The share price is 6.5p a share, whereas the NAV was 25.7p a share at the end of April. That figure is after writing down the value of a number of unquoted resources shares. GRIT recently sold its stake in NuLegacy Gold for £2.2m – more than double book value. The main concern is that the largest holder of the company’s cumulative unsecured loan stock has requested repayment because a covenant has been breached. The other two holders are supporting the company but GRIT does not have the cash to redeem the loan stock of the largest holder. Further disposals should enable this largest chunk of the loan stock to be repaid by the autumn.
Microbiological technologies supplier Bioquell (BQE) is returning £42.7m to shareholders via a tender offer for 50% of the share capital that is likely to be at 200p a share. The formal sale process for the business continues. There was £47.6m in the bank at the end of 2015, following the disposal of TRaC Global. Continuing operations reported flat revenues of £26.9m, while Bioquell swung from loss to profit.
North Midland Construction (NMD) has appointed SPARK as its financial adviser and Si Capital as its broker. This could mark a review of strategy or even a potential move to AIM.
Small Cap Awards 2016 nominations
IPO of the Year Bilby ; Curtis Banks; Gear4music; Premier Technical Services Group; Stride Gaming
Company of the Year Bioventix; Crawshaw; James Cropper; Trakm8
Impact Company of the Year Ashley House; Capital for Colleagues; Good Energy Group; Menhaden Capital; V22
Executive Director of the Year Nick Taylor – Waterman Group; John McArthur – Tracsis; David Cicurel – Judges Scientific; Stephen O’Hara – OptiBiotix Health
Transaction of the Year 1pm acquisition of Academy Leasing; AdEPT Telecom acquisition of Centrix; Scientific Digital Imaging acquisition of Sentek; Venn Life Sciences acquisition of Kinesis Pharma
Analyst of the Year Mike Allen – Zeus Capital; Charles Hall – Peel Hunt; Matt Butlin – Allenby Capital; Eric Burns – WH Ireland
Journalist of the Year Paul Scott – Stockopedia; Simon Thompson – Investors Chronicle; Smit Berry – The Small Company Sharewatch
Advisor of the Year FinnCap; Hybridan; Peterhouse; Zeus Capital
Fund Manager of the Year Conor McCarthy – MFM Techinvest Special Situations; Gervais Williams – Miton UK Smaller Companies; Ken Wotton – Wood Street Microcap Investment; Paul Spencer – Franklin UK Smaller Companies
Alternative Financing Deal of the Year Funding Circle SM Income Fund – IPO; Seedrs for Chapel Down – Curious Drinks; Capital For Colleagues – institutional and crowd placing; TRC Contracts by ArchOver – record working capital loan
Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) reported a lower brewing profit but this was made up for by a higher contribution from managed pubs in the six months to December 2015. However, the National Living Wage and other costs will increase by £1.1m in the next financial year and management is cautious about the prospects for consumer spending. Revenues were flat at £73.7m but underlying pre-tax profit improved from £4.73m to £5.07m, helped by lower interest costs. There was also a property disposal profit of £3.6m. Net debt was reduced to £61.4m thanks to disposal proceeds.
Electrical and control systems supplier Field Systems Design Holdings (FSD) had a much stronger six months to November 2015 thanks to additional work from the energy from waste incineration sector. Longer-term, demand from the water sector should build up. There was a jump in revenues from £5.51m to £8.31m, while pre-tax profit improved from £11,000 to £91,000. There was £1.1m in the bank at the end of November 2015. At 15.5p (14p/17p) a share, Field is valued at £900,000.
Energy efficiency products supplier Sandal (SAND) moved back into profit in the six months to November 2015. Overall revenues were flat at £1.66m, although there were much higher sales of Energenie products, while a loss of £129,000 was turned into a profit of £7,000 thanks to lower overheads. Sandal has completed its investment in the Energie MiHome range with ongoing investment focused on linking up with Hive and other smart devices for the home. There was £398,000 in the bank at the end of November 2015.
Leni Gas Cuba Ltd (CUBA) has made two new investments in Cuban businesses. The first is a 49% stake in entertainment consultancy Cuba Professionals Inc for an investment of €180,000 over nine months. A short-term working capital facility of €200,000 will also be prfinance ovided. This cash will go towards a larger office in Havana and recruiting additional staff. The other investment is a 15.8% stake in Australian company MEO Australia Ltd, which is focused on Cuban oil exploration. The £730,000 investment will be used to finance exploration in onshore block 9 in Cuba, where another one of the company’s investments, Petro Australis has and interest. Non-executive director Darren Smith has bought 250,000 shares at 0.8p each. That takes his stake to 4 million shares. Smith did not buy any shares in the subscription at 5p a share when the company joined ISDX. The share price has fallen back to 0.9p (0.8p/1p).
Via Developments (VIA1) has raised a total of £2.5m from ten placings of 7% debenture stock since joining ISDX. Two residential property acquisitions have been made in Manchester and Luton.
Ganapati (GANP) is still attempting to obtain a licence from the Gaming Commission and there have been further delays so the company will require additional cash. Ganapati also needs to further develop its BUZZPOP app and this means that there will be no revenues from the app until 2017. There will be a write-down of intangible assets as a consequence. The share price was unchanged at 60p (50p/70p).
Doriemus (DOR) plans to leave AIM and move to ISDX. This follows the decision to buy a further 60.56% of Greenland Oil & Gas. This means that a reverse takeover will not be completed by 14 March and the AIM quotation will be cancelled. The oil and gas-focused investment company should start trading on ISDX on 15 March.
Cyber security technology commercialisation company Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is linking up with the University of Surrey in order to explore opportunities for commercially exploiting technology for advanced information hiding. The university has developed a way of encoding information into the normal ebb and flow of computer systems. A patent has been filed for this research and the plan is to develop a platform that can use the technology.
Shell company 3Legs Resources (3LEG) has announced details of the reverse takeover of SalvaRx and plans to raise £1.95m at 35.5p a share – post a 100:1 share consolidation. SalvaRx is an immunotherapy business and it owns 60.5% of iOx, which is developing under lice compounds for cancer immunotherapy. The cash raised will help to finance the first human clinical trials, which are being sponsored by Oxford University, for iOx’s lead compound based on invariant natural killer T cells. SalvaRx has invested £510,000 in iOx and is committed to put in a further £1.33m. 3Legs had already acquired 11.1% of SalvaRx, at a cost of £215,000, last September. The rest of the shares will be swapped for 3Legs shares valuing them at £8.8m. New chairman Jim Mellon and his associates will end up with 73% of 3Legs, whose name will be changed to SalvaRx Group.
Property investor Palace Capital (PLA) has bought an office block in Milton Keynes, near to the railway station, for £7.2m. The near-fully let building generates net income of £550,000 a year. This deal will immediately enhance earnings per share and there is potential to increase rents in the short-term.
Sutton Harbour (SUH) has renewed and extended its bank facilities. A new £25m, three year facility with RNS will replace the £22.5m facility due to expire in October. Finance costs are not expected to change significantly. The enlarged facility plus the rolling £550,000 asset lease financing facility will provide more headroom for Sutton Harbour to push ahead with property developments and invest in the harbour infrastructure.
NWF (NWF) has boosted its agricultural business through the acquisition of ruminant feed manufacturer Jim Peet, which supplies 500,000 tonnes a year to cattle and sheep farmers in northern England and south west Scotland, where NWF wants to grow its exposure. There are two factories near Carlisle and Wigton and they fit well geographically with NWF’s existing facilities.
Advanced ultrasound training simulators developer Medaphor (MED) says that its US subsidiary has signed a long-term agreement with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) for the use of its ScanTrainer as the simulator for its obstetrics and gynecology certification exams. ABOG undertakes 2,000 examinations each year. This provides additional confirmation of the usefulness of the technology.
Investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) increased its net asset value by 7.5% to 245p a share last year. The final dividend is being increased by 18% to 7.9p a share on the back of this growth. During the year, Athelney acquired new stakes in two REITs, Safestyle UK, Samuel Heath and Low & Bonar amongst others, while also adding to existing holdings including Begbies Traynor, Juridica Investments and Quarto Group. The disposal of stakes in GLI Finance and Plus500 appears to have been well timed, while Catlin and Nationwide Accident Repair were taken over. There was a dip in the NAV to 235.8p a share by the end of January but that is not surprising given the weak stockmarket. Athelney says that it would not be surprised to see small caps outperforming larger companies again. The original investors in Athelney back in 1994 have enjoyed an annual return of 15.8% net of basic rate tax on their original investment.
Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) is changing its strategy to become a more direct investor in resources businesses. This is because it is in default for its 9% convertible loan notes. Prime Star Energy FZE is subscribing £3.9m at 2p a share and RDP Fund Management £1.5m at the same price. There is also an open offer raising up to £300,000 at 2p a share. However, the final proposals are still not agreed and the board is in discussions with the main parties. The company name will be changed to Global Resources International.
Education software and services provider Tribal Group (TRB) is selling its Synergy children;s services management information systems business to Servelec for £20.25m in cash. The business generated EBITDA of £2.3m in 2015. The disposal cash will be used to reduce the requirement for funds in the previously announced rights issue. The plan is to raise up to £21m and the terms will be announced later this month when the 2015 figures are announced. Ian Bowles took over as chief executive on 1 March. There had been plans to move back to AIM but no mention was made of this.
Netalogue Technologies (NTLP), which is an ecommerce platform developer, has announced its first dividend since 2012 when it paid 0.123p a share. The latest dividend of 0.246p a share and the shares go ex-dividend on 17 December. Netalogue had cash of £807,000 at the end of September 2015 and the dividend will cost around £120,000. Interim revenues fell from £689,000 to £552,000 and profit dipped from £165,000 to £38,000. Netalogue has withdrawn from the hosting business. At 3.95p (3.7p/4.2p) a share, Netalogue is valued at £1.9m.
Hydro Hotel Eastbourne (HYDP) is maintaining its annual dividend at 18p a share. A dividend of 6p a share will be paid on 14 January (ex-dividend 17 December) and the 12p dividend on 5 May (ex-dividend 21 April). A slight increase in profit is expected this year. At 750p (725p/775p) a share, the yield is 2.4%.
Titania Internet Ventures (TITP) is considering changing its investment strategy so that it can become involved in the renewable energy sector. The proposal involves entering into a relationship with a British wind turbine manufacturer. Titania had been involved in online penny auctions, but this business ceased more than two years ago, and before that it investigated a nursing home acquisition in Finland. The company was originally called Uranium Prospects. At 2.5p (2p/3p) a share, Titania is valued at £44,000.
Leni Gas Cuba (CUBA) had net assets of £4.1m at the end of September 2015. Since then, £200,000 was raised at 5p a share but that went towards paying the £326,000 cost of joining ISDX. The pro forma NAV is around 0.8p a share. David Lenigas has bought one million shares at 1.437p a share, taking his stake to 142 million shares (28.7%).
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has raised a further £122,500 at 3.5p a share via a share issue to one of its directors, Mark Jackson. His stake is 28.2%. At 4.5p (4p/5p) a share, Lombard is valued at £102,000.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) services provider Strat Aero (AERO) is acquiring communications, flight control and hardware technology developer Aero Kinetics for $1.2m plus the taking on of working capital commitments. This will be financed by the issue of a $775,000 convertible promissory note with a 7.5% interest rate and a 6p a share conversion price, with the rest in cash. There will also be $80,000 0f legal fees and $150,000 will be required to finance an application for FAA Certification, which could be achieved in the middle of next year. There is potential contingent consideration, including warrants depending on certification and achievement of sales targets. This deal is part of the strategy to develop a vertically integrated business, which can offer a full solution to global clients. It also brings Aero Kinetics founder W Hulsey Smith to the group and he will take charge of the group’s technology operations. The acquired operations made a loss of $269,000 on revenues of $246,000 but this is under US accounting rules and all R&D is written off – more than $5m has been invested so far. Strat Aero is also raising £1.6m at 6.25p a share.
Moving into software has helped to offset the volatility of the hardware division but it will not prevent Vislink (VLK) reporting disappointing 2015 figures. The broadcast and surveillance technology supplier has found market conditions for the hardware business tough and new product launches have yet to generate the hoped-for sales. Expected full year revenues will be in the range of £54m-£58m. The company’s debt facility has been increased from £10m to £15m because late hardware sales will increase debtors. Net debt is expected to be £5.8m at the end of 2015. The 2015 profit could be as low as £4.2m, down from £7.1m. There could be a partial profit recovery to £6.3m in 2016 – helped by cost savings. Standard Life trimmed its stake to 4.6%.
Begbies Traynor (BEG) is expanding its property services business in order to offset the weakness of its core corporate insolvency business. In the six months to October 2015, revenues improved from £20.8m to £25.5m, while pre-tax profit rose from £2m to £2.5m. That is after a contribution from property of £6.11m in revenues and £1.16m in EBITDA, compared with nothing in the corresponding period. Corporate insolvency revenues and profit were lower. The interim dividend was unchanged at 0.6p a share. Net debt was £11.9m at the end of October 2015. A full year profit of £4.6m is forecast.
Surface coatings developer Hardide (HDD) had a tougher second half as oil and gas demand declined. In the year to September 2015, revenues were flat at £3m and Hardide fell from profit to loss. The majority of revenues were in the first half. This year it is likely to be the other way round. The new facility in Virginia should be open soon. An £800,000 loss is forecast for this year and a much smaller loss expected next year. There was £2.33m in the bank at the end of September 2015, which provides enough headroom on current expectations.
Snoozebox (ZZZ) is raising £5m at a hefty discount to the market price. The placing price is 6p – a 28.2% discount. The cash is required for the 2016 events season plus the evaluation of other opportunities. Snoozebox has already said that it has established a partnership with Dutco in the Gulf region. An EBITDA loss of £5m is forecast for 2015. Further cash will be required to take advantage of growth opportunities.
Investment group Cathexis has taken advantage of the recent weak trading statement by construction and fit-out company ISG (ISG) and bid 143p a share. ISG believes that this unsolicited offer is too low. The bid values ISG at £70.8m. US=owned Cathexis has been an investor since 2012, when the share price was below the bid level, and it made a bid approach in June. It currently owns 29.6%. The current year profit forecast for ISG had been slashed from £17m to £11m. The bid is at two-fifths of the share price 12 months ago.
Educational services provider Wey Education (WEY) made its move from ISDX to AIM on Friday and it raised £1.75m at 3.5p a share. Wey is capitalised at £3.29m.
Retail stockbroker Share (SHRE) is taking on up to 3,000 nominee share dealing accounts from Barclays, which is exiting the services. The accounts will be transferred by the end of February 2016. Share previously took on nearly 8,000 certificated dealing customers from Barclays.
Property services provider Waterman (WTM) has set a 6% target for its operating margin by 2019. Waterman’s business is predominantly in the UK and both the property and infrastructure sectors are strong. Sanlam forecasts a rise in profit from £2.7m to £3.7m in 2015-16. If Waterman can achieve its margin target then pre-tax profit could be around £6m in 2018-19. A dividend of 2.8p a share is forecast for this year.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd, which plans to join the standard list,has a copper concentrate trading business combined with a stake in a potential gold mining project. The former can generate cash for investment in the mining project and other projects in the Philippines. Bluebird’s management lives in the Philippines so it has local knowledge. Bluebird’s trading operation is taking advantage of the difference between the price of copper concentrate in the Philippines and the international price. So far, 18MT has been shipped and once Bluebird is shipping 100MT /month then it should be generating enough cash to cover its corporate overheads. The plan is to increase monthly shipments to 500MT/month, which would provide a sizeable surplus of cash to invest in other ventures. This includes other commodity trading opportunities as well as mining projects that are near to production or have been in production in the past and can be reopened. The potential gold mine will cost $15m to bring into production. It will take around 18 months to construct the mine once the necessary permissions are obtained from the authorities. At a gold price of $1,160/ounce, the NPV of the project would be around $13m. That is based on production of 100,000 ounces over five years.
Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL) has finally completed its deal to acquire the businesses of Starneth, which develops observation wheels, and been readmitted to the standard list. AIM-quoted Teathers has sold its stake for an average price of 50.3p a share, raising nearly £72,000 – a gain of £21,000. The Challenger share price ended the week at 41p.
Latest edition of AIM Journal, including why AIM volumes are likely to decline and Purplebricks flotation, available here.
Leni Gas Cuba Ltd (CUBA) joined ISDX on 2 November and its shares went to a sharp discount to the 5p a share offer price. The share price ended the week at 1.875p (1.5p/2/25p), which values Leni Gas Cuba at £9.3m, which is still more than double the pro forma net asset value of the company. There have been 2.3 million shares traded at prices ranging from 1.25p to 2.5p. Most of the cash that has been raised by the company was at 2p a share but the majority of shares in issue at the end of July 2015 were issued at 0.01p a share. Leni Gas Cuba has set up a joint venture trading company with Cuba-focused Groombridge Trading Corporation, which is a Canadian company with approvals to trade in Cuba.
Chapel Down (CDGP) brewing subsidiary Curious Brew has raised £790.500 in its crowdfunding offer via Seedrs.com. This is more than double the level a fortnight ago. The minimum investment is £1m and the maximum is £3.65m and the offer closes in 112 days. Meanwhile, the wine maker has reported its second largest harvest, following last year’s record harvest. Chapel Down is holding a general meeting to get permission to issue a new type of share. The growth shares will be issued to management and will only have value if the Chapel Down share price exceeds 33.6p. The management will each receive £2,000 of ordinary shares in returning for giving up redundancy and other employment rights. There will be a total of just over 18.1 million growth shares. If the share price reaches 60p then the board says that the growth shares would have a value equivalent to 14% of the market capitalisation of Chapel Down, which is £32.8m at 32.5p (31p/34p) a share.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) is investing £200,000 in Cotswold Valves Ltd, a Stroud-based supplier of specialist valves for the process industries. This will give the employee owned businesses investor a 49% stake in Cotswold Valves, while the cash has been used to provide the company’s employee ownership trust with the funds to acquire the other 51% from the retiring owner. Capital for Colleagues has also made a further loan of £75,000 to The Homebuilding Centre.
Via Developments (VIA1) joined ISDX on 5 November having issued £530,000 7% debenture stock 2020. The Manchester-based residential property development funder is raising up to £3.5m.
Western Selection (WSE) has acquired 600,000 shares in AIM-quoted Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI), taking its stake to 13.6%. Western Selection director David Marshall is a non- executive director of the electrical testing and oil equipment rental business and along with chief executive Eric Hook and chairman Peter Harris a total of 4.6% of the share capital was acquired. Investec halved its stake to 3.74%. Although the share price has recovered since these purchases, it is still well below the peak of just over 600p less than 15 months ago. The share price was more than 300p six months ago. Northbridge depends on demand from the oil and gas sector and it has slumped into loss this year. Reduced need for capital investment and working capital means that net debt could be halved to £9m in the two years to the end of 2016 despite reported losses and the expected final dividend of 1p a share. Banking covenants are being renegotiated. At 91p a share, Northbridge is trading at a discount to its net tangible assets of around one-quarter.
Transportation software and services supplier Tracsis (TRCS) has reported another set of better than expected full year results. The underlying profit for the year to July 2015 improved from £5m to £5.8m. The total dividend was increased from 0.8p a share to 1p a share. As expected, the revenues from remote condition monitoring equipment fell sharply due to ordering patterns. This was made up for by a full year contribution from software company Datasys and organic growth. There was net cash of £13.3m at the end of July 2015, with just over £2m of this spent on two subsequent acquisitions. SEP provides event parking and management services and fits into the traffic and data division. Mobile analytics provider Citi Logik, where Tracsis acquired a 29% stake, analyses the interaction of people and transport via the Vodafone network. WH Ireland forecasts a 2015-16 profit of £6.2m but history shows that the final outcome should be better than that, particularly if the remote condition monitoring orders pick up faster than forecast. The shares are trading on 24 times prospective earnings.
Document storage services provider Restore (RST) is paying £55.7m for Wincanton’s records management business and this will consolidate the AIM company’s number two position in the sector. The purchase will be financed by a £34m placing at 260p a share and new debt facilities, which total £80m. Wincanton Records Management has operations in the UK and Ireland and the occupancy level of its premises is 71%. In the year to March 2015, the business made a pre-central charges operating profit of £4.9m on revenues of £22.4m. Last year, Restore’s document management division made an operating profit of £11.5m on revenues of £37.4m.
Alliance Pharma (APH) has agreed compensation of £6.7m in settlement of its claims against Sanofi following the suspension of manufacturing of bladder cancer treatment ImmuCyst in the middle of 2012. Alliance hopes to recommence selling ImmuCyst in the UK before the end of this year but there could be supply constraints. Net debt was £26.5m at the end of June 2015.
Premature ejaculation treatment developer Plethora Solutions (PLE) has agreed in principal to an all share bid from Hong Kong listed Regent Pacific. Regent is offering 15.7076 shares for each Plethora share, which on 3 November valued Plethora at £102.9m or 12.5p a share. Regent already owns 29.9% of Plethora and it will be able to provide the finance to help commercialise the PSD502 premature ejaculation treatment.
NWF (NWF) has boosted its fuels division through the acquisition of Staffordshire Fuels, which will increase its annual fuels volume by 8%. The business was established in 1996 and sells 32 million litres a year under the Jet brand.
EKF Diagnostics (EKF), which recently ended talks with potential bidders, says that it will not have to pay any earn out for molecular diagnostics business Selah Genomics. EKF paid an initial $32m (£19.2m) when the return of the shares in escrow is taken into account. The total cost was going to be up to $70.6m (£42.3m).
Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) says that Continental Resources is drilling 10 wells on the Woodford formation in Oklahoma. Magnolia has a 0.525% working interest in each of these wells. Five will be drilled in November and the rest next March. Gas is being targeted. Magnolia has proven reserves independently valued at $21m and these reserves are still profitable at the current oil price. Magnolia’s share of the production of the wells it is interested in is running at 309 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
CIC Gold Group Ltd (CICG) has announced the potential acquisition of Gobi Minerals Ltd for £5.6m in shares at 2p each but it depends on a share issue raising sufficient cash for the deal to go ahead. Trading in the shares was suspended at 1.4p a share. Due diligence still needs to be completed on the acquisition. Gobi owns 100% of the mineral title to the Tsagaan Suvarga gold and copper prospect in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. There is no proven resource in this mineral interest so the valuation appears high but it is hard to judge without further information. HE Barsbold Ulambayar will be appointed as chief operating officer.
Commercial aircraft leasing company Avation (AVAP) is acquiring an eight year old Boeing 737 operated by a major Chinese airline. The remaining leases term is 5.5 years. This is the first Boeing aircraft acquired by Avation and it takes the number of aircraft owned to 34. .
Electronics designer and distributor Acal (ACL) has acquired magnetic components Flux AS for £3.7m. Flux will broaden the product range and provide an additional customer base. Next year’s profit forecast has been edged up slightly to 18.6p a share.