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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 August 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a slump in revenues from £34.7m to £21m in the six months to June 2020 and there was a loss. That is no surprise given the problems of the hospitality sector. Online sales grew but could not offset the loss of on-trade sales. Net debt was £14m at the end of June 2020.

Medical device developer TruSpine Technologies (TSP) is on course to join the Aquis Stock Exchange on 20 August. TruSpine wants to raise £1.5m, which would give it a valuation of £31.5m. The investment is eligible for EIS-relief. TruSpine expects to make a FDA submission for Cervi-Lok, which is one of the three spinal stabilisation devices being developed, in the fourth quarter of 2020. Existing Aquis-quoted company Primorus Investments (PRIM) is an investor in TruSpine. In 2017, it invested £500,000 at a pre-money valuation of £15m. Another Primorus investment, Greatland Gold (GGP), has performed strongly in the second quarter and the share price is more than 155% ahead over the period.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £695,000 at 7p a share. NQ has also secured a $55m loan facility to refinance the project debt of the Hellyer gold mine. Interest savings should be $3.4m a year. Chairman David Lenigas has acquired 20,000 shares at $0.12 each.

Sativa Group (SATI) had a record July. The CBD products supplier has benefitted from sanitiser demand.

TechFinancials (TECH) reported a loss of $492,000 in the first half of 2020. There is $716,000 in the bank. The closure of the trading software operations will be completed in the second half. The Footies ticketing business still has not progressed in terms of signing up clients.

Recruitment company Sumner Group Health (SGRL) intends to withdraw from Aquis in order to save money. A general meeting will be held on 3 September.

IamFire (FIRE) has completed the purchase of a 10% stake in Bio2pure, in a deal that values the company at £8m. The investee company’s CoviPure disinfectant has been launched

AIM

Energy supplier Yu Group (YU.) has been criticised for its financial controls and systems back in 2018. A £300,000 fine has been waived because remedial action has been undertaken. Yu has acquired Bristol City Council-owned Bristol Energy’s B2B business for an initial £1.24m.

Appreciate (APP) was going to have a tough year even before COVID-19. In the year to March 2020, underlying pre-tax profit fell from £12.5m to £11.4m and there is likely to be a much larger profit decline this year. Trading has improved after a tough first quarter. If Appreciate had not been investing in its digital products it would have found recent months even more difficult. A property has been sold for £3.2m, which further enhances the cash pile of £29.6m at the end of March. The hamper business will be closed this year, but the overall Christmas savings business is holding up. Corporate demand is recovering.

Investment in VW emissions case work will hold back profit in the second half at credit hire firm Anexo (ANX). Lockdown led to a sharp fall in interim profit, but business is building up again. Profit could return to the 2019 level of £23m in 2021, even if there are no VW case revenues. A 0.5p a share interim dividend is being paid.

The geographic and sector spread of recruitment firm Empresaria (EMR) has helped it cope with difficult trading, particularly in its airline-related business. The business was profitable in the first and second quarters. The underlying interim pre-tax profit fell from £3.7m to £2.4m. There is no full year forecast.

Touchstone Exploration (TXP) has commenced drilling at Chinook on the Ortoire block in Trinidad. Chinook is valued at 2p a share by finnCap, but it could be significant like previous find Cascadura, which is valued at 78p a share. Cost cutting has helped to reduce year-on-year per barrel operating costs by 28% in the second quarter. There was still a second quarter loss. Production has declined to 1,396 barrels/day in the second quarter, but this will rise substantially when Cascadura comes into production.

STM (STM) has acquired pensions administrator Berkeley Burke for up to £2.9m. this will add to the UK operations. The business will be rebranded.

Pennant International (PEN) has an order book worth £36m and net cash of £2m. Annualised cost savings of £1m will help the second half performance and a profit is expected. That may not be enough to cover the first half loss.

Pires Investments (PIRI) investee company Getvisibility has signed a US distribution agreement. The data security business will gain access to US government work.

Matthew Freud has taken his stake in Reach4Entertainment (R4E) to 18.7%. The company’s chief executive has increased his stake to 18.7%. The general meeting to vote on the proposal to leave AIM is on 21 August.

MAIN MARKET

Tex Holdings (TXH) says interim revenues fell from £21.8m to £18.5m and the loss has increased from £351,000 to £1.36m. There is £2.54m in the bank, but net debt is £10.7m. The board still wants to raise more cash. The plastics business is still profitable, although it made a lower contribution. The engineering loss was slightly lower, but boards and panels fell from profit to loss.

MATCHED BARGAINS

Fastjet (FJET) is moving from AIM to Asset Match and the airline is reregistering as a private limited company. Trading is expected to start on 24 August. The first auction will be on 30 September.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 26 August 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) grew revenues by one-third to £136,000 but the ethical housing provider moved from profit to loss. In the year to March 2019, revenues improved from £103,000 to £136,000. The main reason behind the reported loss was a reduction in the gain on revaluation of assets from £198,000 to £145,000. The NAV still increased from £3.25m to £3.31m. These figures were prior to the acquisition of a property in Didcot. There is a pipeline of other potential transactions.

Barkby Group (BARK) has appointed finnCap as its corporate adviser.

Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser to Gamfook Jewellery (GAMF) and that follows the resignation of its auditor Crowe and the continued delays to the publication of the accounts for 2018. Peterhouse took over as corporate adviser from Daniel Stewart in March. Gamfook floated in December 2018.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has opened its latest centre in Reading. The company was previously known as Proton Partners International Ltd.

Henry Lees-Buckley is taking on the chief executive role at Sativa Group (SATI) and Geremy Thomas has moved to deputy chairman.

AIM  

Injection moulded plastic products Coral Products (CRU) returned to profit in the year to April 2019, although the underlying pre-tax profit only edged up from £568,000 to £580,000 because of a decline in exceptional costs. The second half was not as good as the first half, but cost cutting enabled a recovery at the end of the year. Net debt was £8.2m at the end of April 2019. There is no final dividend following the interim of 0.25p a share. Continuing problems at a major customer could continue to hamper progress. Equipment enabling recycling of plastic products is up and running. New products will be launched later this year, including roof tiles and road highway sound barriers.

International staffing provider Empresaria (EMR) had a tough first half, but despite this the company still expects to maintain its full year profit at £11.4m. Interim net fee income was 7% ahead but underlying pre-tax profit was one-fifth lower at £3.7m. That suggests a much stronger second half even though the German and Japanese businesses remain subdued, although they could start to recover. The diversification of the business in terms of sectors and geographies helps to offset the weakness in parts of the group. New chief executive Rhona Driggs is putting in place a new strategy, which should help next year’s figures.

Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) has maintained its NAV at $1.10 a share (88p a share). Investee company Hong Kong Mining Holdings is still on course to restart mining operations and it is acquiring additional land for mining activities. Fook Lam Moon is assessing opportunities to expand its catering operations. The internal fit out for Infinity Capital’s Tellus Niseko project should be completed before the end of September.

MySale Group (MYSL) has raised £11.2m at 2p a share, which is a 58% discount to the market price. There will be £5.5m used to pay down bank facilities. The number of shares in issue is trebled. This follows a strategic review by the retailer, which is refocusing on Australasian operations and the selling down of stock. The cost base will be reduced.

Transport optimisation software and equipment supplier Tracsis (TRCS) grew its cash pile to £24m at the end of July 2019, even after paying around £9m on acquisitions. Pre-tax profit is in line with expectations at £9.4m, up from £8.5m.

Breedon Group (BREE) intends to change its tax domicile from Jersey to the UK. The company will still be incorporated in Jersey. The general meeting to gain approval to change the article of association will be held on 9 September.

Packaging supplier Robinson (RBN) improved gross margins by 12 percentage points to 19.7% in the first half, but that was partly offset by higher overheads. Pre-tax profit improved from £478,000 to £684,000. Net debt was £9.1m. The interim dividend is unchanged at 2.5p a share.

IT services provider Adept4 (AD4) is in talks to acquire CloudCoCo, which was set up by former sales directors of Redcentric. The deal would involve the issue of new shares that would nearly double the number in issue. The Business Growth Fund has agreed to sell £5m of unsecured loan notes to MXC Capital for £3.5m.

Data software and services provider D4T4 (D4T4) says that the figures will be second half weighted this year but not as much as last year.

Science Group (SAG) has increased its stake in Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) by subscribing £1m at 25p a share. This takes the stake to 52.3% (costing £6.9m) and this means that Frontier’s results will be consolidated. A standby facility is also being provided. Frontier’s cost base is being reduced.

Commodity trading and risk management software provider Brady (BRY) expects 2019 revenues to be around one-fifth lower than previous forecasts. That means that revenues are expected to decline from £23.2m in 2018 to £19m and this will lead to a loss of more than £4m.

Three directors have been removed from the board of Management Resource Solutions (MRS) and they have been replaced by John Copley and Robert Wall following a requisitioned general meeting.

Cancer therapies developer Scancell (SCLP) has initiated the UK SCIB1 phase 2 clinical trial for advanced melanoma, where SCIB1 is used in conjunction with the checkpoint inhibitor Pembrolizumab.  

The financial director of Maestrano (MNO) has resigned to take up a role in Australia. The software company continues to undertake due diligence on a potential acquisition. An Australian bank client has decided not to go ahead with a new banking platform. There should be enough cash to last into next year.

Cyber security company Osirium Technologies (OSI) has signed up the first customer for its Opus privileged process automation software, plus two customers for the PxM platform. The Opus client is an asset manager that is already a user of PxM.

Cellcast (CLTV) has called a general meeting on 6 September in order to approve the sale of its operations. The company will change its name to Vintana.

MAIN MARKET 

BATM (BVC) reported an improved interim profit, but that was due to a one-off unrealised gain after an investment in the Ador diagnostics joint venture. Revenues dipped from $58.2m to $56.2m. The second half performance will be more important. Revenues are expected to grow from $119.6m to $128.5m, with pre-tax profit jumping form $2m to $6.7m. There is further longer-term growth to come from both the biomedical and networking divisions. The recent fundraising means that there is plenty of cash to finance growth.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) is further increasing its capacity and this could make it the largest quoted cryptocurrency miner by next year.

Injection moulding and engineering company Tex Holdings (TXH) says net assets per share have fallen from 168p to 140p after it swung into loss last year. There is no final dividend. The plastics division is trading profitably and orders have improved at the engineering division.

Path Investments (PATH) plans to acquire FineGems Extraction Corporation, which has a 75% stake in a company that holds the Jagoda licence in Zambia. The assets are near to production. They are manganese ore and tourmaline deposits. The acquisition would leave existing shareholders with 50% of the enlarged share capital.

Gold explorer IMC Exploration (IMC) has raised £150,000 at 1p a share and has paid £27,000 of professional fees in shares. The cash will be spent on exploration and geological work on a tailings project in Avoca, County Wicklow.

Dev Clever (DEV) has appointed Novum Securities as joint broker and raised £436,000 at 3.4p a share. The consumer engagement systems company has secured a three-year agreement with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, which will offer Dev Clever’s Engage gamification platform and its learning and development platform to retail customers.

 Andrew Hore 

Ian Pollard: Grafton Group #GFTU Increases Interim Dividend By 14%

Grafton Group plc GFTU has produced a strong performance for the half year to the 30th June   with all segments reporting double digit growth in profitability and excellent organic growth in key markets. Statutory profit before tax and basic earnings per share both rose by 18% after a 9% rise in revenue and the interim dividend is to be increased by 14% to 6p. per share.

Empresaria Group EMR saw profit before tax rise by 12% on a constant currency basis in the half year to the 30th June as it continued to deliver on its diversification strategy which produced first half organic profit growth. Revenue grew by 5% on a constant currency basis. After regulatory change in two of its main markets, Germany and Japan, both are expected to return to profitability.

Cloudbuy plc CBUY claims to be making progress in reducing losses and cash burn despite a further 21% fall in revenue in the six months to the 30th June. The operating loss for the half year fell by 39%.

Robinson plc RBN First half revenue rose by 15% and underlying volume was up by 9% for the half year to the  30th June. The volume increase came from improved trading with existing customers and new business obtained in Poland and the UK following investment in strengthened commercial teams. With revenue showing some signs of momentum, further growth is expected in the second half and the interim dividend is to be maintained at 2.5p per share.

Paragon Entertainment Ltd. PEL had already warned it had suffered a very poor half year to the 30th June but the order book has started to recover and management claims it is committed to making a substantial recovery in the second half of the year. First half revenue collapsed by 50% and basic earnings per share fell from a positive 0.18p to a negative 1.07p per share.Last years underlying first half profit of £448,000 was turned into a loss of over £2m.

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BHP – 2017 Dividends Increased by 177%

BHP Billiton BHP benefited in 2017 from a substantial reduction in exceptional losses which fell from $6.4b in 2016  to $842m. as the Samarco dam failure in Brazil weighed less heavily on the company. The year to the 30th June turned out to be a very strong financial year with free cash flow at $12.b., the second highest on record and net debt down by 37%. On an underlying basis, EBITDA rise by 64%, basic earnings per share by 455% and attributable profit multiplied from $1.2b to $6.7b. Having laid the foundations over the past five years to improve return on capital and grow shareholder value, the momentum will continue into 2018 with volume growth of 7% expected, as well as further productivity gains.

Accordingly shareholders receive their reward with dividends for the year increased by 177% to a total of 83 cents per share.

Wood Group (John) plc WG had a mix of both robust and weaker performances across its businesses in the 6 months to the 30th June. Total revenue declined by 11% but profit was down by 86% and basic earnings per share by 89.0%. The interim dividend is increased cautiously by 3%.

Empresario Group EMR produced a record first half performance with revenue rising by 50% at constant exchange rates and adjusted profit before tax up by 24% or 12% at constant exchange rates. The company has successfully integrated its two acquisitions into the business and see them both offering further opportunities for growth.

Sareum Holdings SAR expects that profit for the year to 30th June and cash at the bank will be ahead of market expectation.

Proactis Holdings plc PHD expects to see a 31% rise in revenue for the year to 31st July, with EBITDA up 43% and profit before tax rising from 3.1m to 5.3m

 

Quantum Pharma plc QP Revenue for the half year to the 31st July rose by 13% following a strong performance from Niche Pharmaceuticals. Adjusted EBITDA rose by 23% and statutory operating prfit by 74% whilst net debt halved to 11.9m.

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Vodafone – Sees Robust Momentum As Revenue Drops 3.3%

Vodafone VOD is yet another company which  seems to think it can describe a fall in revenue as “good” and a sign of “robust momentum” It even goes to the extent of producing better looking statistics which it calls ” alternative performance measures”,  regularly reviewed by management to give readers additional information. Presumably management does not like having to review the real highlights, which include a 3.3% fall in group revenue for the quarter to the 30th June, led by Europe with a reported fall of 4.8% Real momentum there but most people would regard it as going in the wrong direction.

Learning Technologies Group LTG expects revenue in the half year to 30th June to show a 62% rise in revenue to a record £20.8m. After making excellent progress as market leader in the high growth e learning sector, the  order book stood at record levels at the end of the half year and the integration of Net Dimensions which was acquired in March, has been completed on time. The benefits from this will start to be seen at the beginning of 1918, as planned.

Beazley BEZ Profit before tax for the half year to the 30th June rose by 6% and earnings per share by 17% after a strong performance in the US. The interim dividend is also being increased by 6% to 3.7p per share.

Homeserve plc HSV has seen the continuation of strong growth in the period from the 1st April to the 20th July, with particularly strong momentum coming from North America where it has signed up 24 new partners providing it with access to 53m homes.

Empresaria Group EMR has delivered a record first half performance with strong growth leading to a 26% rise in net fee income. The company”s investment strategy has proved to be a success and the acquisition of Rishworth Aviation  is expected to provide further growth in terms of pilot recruitment, in the coming years.

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More Strong Performances & Growth from British Industry

Costain COST Produced a strong performance in the year to the end of December and is raising the years total dividends by 15%, with a final payment of 8.4%. Annual revenue rose from £1.3b to £1.7b and reported profit before tax was up from £26m to £30.9m. The forward order book stands at record levels.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Fisher (James) FSJ enjoyed strong growth in 2016 with rises of 11% in underlying profit before tax and earnings per share and the final dividend is being increased by 10%. The company entered 2017 with a strong order book. Currency gains played only a limited part in the growth.  With its wide spread of businesses across multiple sectors of the marine services market Fisher was also able to offset the downturn in the oil and gas sector.

BBA Aviation BBA produced a strong performance in 2016 with revenue rising by 25%, EBITDA up by 59%, operating profit by 60% and profit before tax  by 60%.  Exceptional items such as the previously reported accounting impairment meant that on a statutory basis, the outcome for the year was a loss of over $82m but as a sign of confidence in the future the final dividend is being increased by 5%.

Empresario Group EMR Produced record profit before tax, up by 11% and adjusted earnings per share up by 14% in the year to 31st December. Revenue rose by 33% and the final dividend is being increased by 15%.   Further exciting opportunities are seen to deliver increased profits in 2017

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PZ Cussons Beaten By An Expected Backdrop of Challenges

PZ Cussons PZC produces one of the strangest apologias for a bad performance, seen in recent months. It faced, they claim, a backdrop full of challenges across most of the markets where they operate and as these were expected, the bad results present a solid performance.

What is the logic or thinking behind that, one must ask. If they knew about the forthcoming challenges, the Board had time to prepare for them. That is what directors are supposed to be there for. The results indicate that they failed  so instead they blame macro economic conditions, especially in Nigeria for their bad performance. Tough unspecified trading conditions in Australia also get some of the blame but the board seems lost for an explanation as to why they failed there, so does not even attempt to give one.

The Washing and Bathing division in the UK did put in a robust performance but the Beauty Division had a poor summer. Presumably as Brexit  began to loom UK ladies decided that they would leave the EU clean but ugly.

The results for the half year to the 30th November speak for themselves with profit before tax down by 37.8% and basic earnings per share down by 32%.  In the opinion of the Board this merits an increase in the interim dividend of 2.3% which also speaks for itself and for the attitude of the Board.

EasyJet EZJ claims a solid performance in the quarter to 31st December but clearly appears to be losing out to Ryanair. Firstly it has abandoned the pretence of being a budget airline which means its performance does not need to be measured against that of Ryanair. Secondly it appears to be definately ex growth, except so far as capacity is concerned. Passngers carried rose by 8.2% but capacity increased by 8.6%. Load factor fell by 0.3% to 90% in stark contrast to Ryanairs performance and whilst revenue rose by 7.2%, revenue per seat fell by an unhealthy 8.2%. Non seat revenue saved the day with a rise of 19%. Two of the 3 months in the quarter saw a rise in late arrivals, a decline which was also mirrored in the two previous quarters.

Empresario Group EMR expects its results for the year to 31st December will be strong and slightly ahead of expectations, Adjusted profit before tax should  have grown by 23%, to stand at record levels. Earlier uncertainty in the UK has stabilised and 2017 should see exciting growth opportunities for the company

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Record year for Costain vs Stagecoach slowdown

Costain (COST) is raising its final dividend by 16% after  strong trading in 2015  saw underlying operating  profit also up by 16%.  The year ended with a record order book, 11 % up on 2014 and over 90 of which are repeat orders. The share price fell back from its September peak of 395p to 320p but has already climbed back to 357p with the RSI still under 60.

Empresaria Group (EMR) is raising its final dividend by 43% after  producing record profit before tax, up 30%, for the year to 30th December.  Earnings per share were up by 24% and net debt was down by 26% The company sees exciting opportunities ahead which it is confident will produce profitable growth. The shares which peaked at 106p had fallen back to 78p but have risen  over the past 3 weeks to to 86p and have have been marked up a further 10% this morning which looks like it may have been a bit optimistic.

Stagecoach Group (SGC) confirms that lower second half  growth in its UK rail and  bus businesses has continued whilst business in North America has benefited from new contracts.

James Fisher (FSJ) – Diversity has helped James Fisher offset the sharp decline in offshore oil activity and as a sign of confidence in the future the final dividend is being increased by 8%.  Swift action was taken  to reduce costs in offshore oil which helped to limit the fall in group profit before tax to 6% despite overall revenue being down by 16%. The strength of the specialist marine and other divisions saw them increase their operating profit by 25%

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