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Shepherd Neame (SHEP) improved both beer volumes and like-for-like sales in its managed pubs last year. The first phase of investment in the brewery has been completed and new beer brands have been launched to replace the contract brewing of Asahi lager, which comes to an end next February. In the year to June 2017, revenues were 12% ahead at £156.2m, while underlying pre-tax profit was 8% higher at £11.2m. The total dividend has been raised by 3% to 28.35p a share, which is more than twice covered by earnings. Net debt was £60.1m because of investment in the brewery and pub acquisitions. In the first ten week of this financial year, like-for-like managed pub sales were up by 1.5% and beer volumes were ahead by 4.4%. Graeme Craig has resigned as brewing and brands director. Peel Hunt has become corporate broker.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) had £5,000 left in the bank at the end of June 2017 but since then £40,000 has been raised via loan securities. Equatorial has signed a three year exploitation rights agreement covering an open cast coal mine in central Nigeria, which will be called the St Leonard mine. The mining will be outsourced and production should build up over a six month period.
Kryptonite1 (KR1) is investing £200,000 in Vo1t Ltd, a digital custodian of bitcoin assets, for a 5% stake. Kryptonite1 is the first beta client.
Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) says the refurbishment of the first supported housing investment in Stroud is complete and the first residents will move in during October. There is a pipeline of other supported housing projects.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has identified an investment product around which it intends to build a business. This involves the provision of reinsurance to reduce the risks relating to investments secured on Senior Life Settlement (SLS) policies. The details of the product are still to be finalised. Lombard has issued a total of £150,000 of 7.5% convertible unsecured loan notes 2020, out of a potential £3m note issue. The conversion price is 10p a share and there are ten warrants for each £1 loan note exercisable at the same share price.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) is investing $200,000 in Stream TV Networks Inc, which has developed a glasses-free 3D technology. The strategy is to licence this technology for TVs and smartphones, followed by PCs and other uses. Stream is valued at $336m and plans to join Nasdaq in 2018. Primorus still has £350,000 in the bank.
Electronic coupon and loyalty technology developer Eagle Eye (EYE) reported faster than expected growth in revenues in the year to June 2017 and they are likely to grow by around one-third in the first quarter of this financial year thanks to the new John Lewis contract. Full year revenues improved from £6.5m to £11.1m, while the underlying loss was slightly lower at £3.8m. Recurring revenues were 68% of the total and this percentage is likely to increase. There was £3.7m left in the bank and there is likely to be net debt by the end of June 2018.
Safestyle UK (SFE) is not immune to the tough consumer climate but it still performed well in the first half of 2017. There was a small increase in interim revenues to £82.1m but there was a 15% fall in underlying pre-tax profit to £9m. The full year profit forecast is £16m, down from £20.4m. This means that the forecast dividend is flat at 11.3p a share. Safestyle is taking share in the replacement windows market and new manufacturing facilities will make it more efficient.
Bango (BGO) says that end user spend via its mobile billing platform doubled to £92.3m in the first half of 2017. This prompted Cenkos to lower its forecast loss for 2017 from £800,000 to £600,000 and raise its 2018 profit forecast from £1.1m to £1.5m. There is room for improvement if there is further roll outs around the world by Amazon.
Electricity supplier Flowgroup (FLOW) continued to make significant losses in the first half of 2017 but it has raised £25m to improve the strength of its balance sheet. The rate of customer acquisition will be lower but Flowgroup should make more money from the customers it does obtain. Breakeven is possible by the end of 2018 and there could be positive cash flow in 2018.
Macfarlane Group (MACF) has acquired Nottinghamshire-based packaging distributor and manufacturer Greenwoods for up to £16.75m, which was partly funded via an oversubscribed £8m placing at 66p a share. The deal helps Macfarlane move into the clothing and apparel sector. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing in its first full year.
Sportech (SPO) is undergoing a strategic review and it expects to update shareholders on 9 November. Chief executive Ian Penrose, who is leaving at the end of 2017, and his wife have sold 300,000 shares at an average price of 95.2916p each, which takes their stake to 561,800 shares.
Last Thursday, telecoms-focused cash shell Stapleton Capital (STC) joined the standard list. Stapleton raised £1.5m, £1.4m net, at 5p a share. The potential acquisition would be valued at between £2m and £3m. Cash shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) started trading on the standard list last Friday, having raised £1.8m, £1.65m net, at 5p a share. The focus of the Chris Akers-backed shell is on companies in the technology sector that have strong management and the potential for scaling up their business. Rodger Sargent is a director of Stapleton and Baskerville, and he was previously a founder of the shell that became Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SAT).
Standard list shell Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP), which is focused on the energy and industrial sectors, still has £1.1m in the bank. Management is pressing ahead with discussions for the acquisition of the most attractive of its potential acquisitions.
Intelligent Energy Holdings (IEH) expects its current year revenues to decline from £91.8m to around £21m but the loss after tax should fall from £82.7m to around £24m. If the large Indian contract is excluded then the decline in revenues is from £6.7m to £4.3m. There is still £2.7m in the bank but this will not last long if the loss is not stemmed. The cash burn is currently £1.6m per month, although an R&D tax credit is anticipated in the next couple of months. Management has put the fuel cell technology developer’s assets up for sale. The fact that some of these assets are part of the security of the company’s £30m of convertible loan notes could prove a constraint. There is likely to be little, if anything, left for ordinary shareholders. That led to the share price more than halving to 2.45p.