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Small cap award winners 2018
Company of the year
ZOO Digital (ZOO)
The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.
NEX company of the year
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)
Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.
Impact company of the year
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)
Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.
IPO of the year
K3 Capital (K3C)
Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m. In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.
Fintech company of the year
FAIRFX Group (FFX)
Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.
Transaction of the year
Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce
Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.
Executive director of the year
Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)
Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.
Journalist of the year
Paul Scott – Stockopedia
Fund manager of the year
Nick Williamson – Old Mutual
Microcap fund manager of the year
Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity
Analyst of the year
Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald
Lifetime achievement award
Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management
Special services to small caps
John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)
Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit. The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.
Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.
PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.
South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.
NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.
Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.
Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.
Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.
Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.
Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.
Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.
Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.
WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.
China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.
Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.
Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.
Stratmin Global Resources which was quoted AIM until August 2017, is expected to join NEX on 6 June. Stratmin lost the AIM quotation because it failed to complete a reverse takeover, partly due to the fact that it was waiting for a promised investment. Stratmin is still in the process of completing the acquisition of Australian gold explorer Signature Gold, which would be paid for by the issue of 450 million shares at 2p each. After the deal, the company will change its name to Tectonic Gold.
Ananda Investments is the latest cannabis-focused investment vehicle to be joining NEX. The pre-money valuation is £500,000 and the minimum fundraising is £750,000. Ananda is willing to raise up to £4m. There are already potential investments being assessed. A reverse takeover valued at up to £10m appears most likely.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that 40%-owned AfriAg (Pty) Ltd increased its net profit from £104,000 to £179,000. This was equity accounted by AfriAg Global and the £72,000, up from £42,000, contribution helped offset the operating loss from the agricultural logistics group’s operations. The overall loss increased from £9,000 to £38,000. AfriAg (Pty) Ltd had the right to take a 60% stake in House of Hemp but this deal was terminated when the South African government delayed setting up the legal framework for medicinal cannabis. Focus has turned to other countries.
KR1 (KR1) generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m. That tax charge is included in trade creditors due within one year of £4.21m. There is cash in the bank, but total current assets were £3.5m. A creditor has subsequently been paid with £79,000 of shares, issued at 10p each. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year and there is regular daily trading in the shares.
Workspace provider and art collector V22 (V22) reported a 2017 pre-tax profit of £175,000, down from £1.01m the previous year. The profit included a gain on the sale of an option to acquire one of the company’s buildings. The NAV is £1.34m, equivalent to 4.26p a share. That increases to 8.68p a share if the company’s art collection is revalued. The shares are trading at 2.95p (2.7p/3.2p).
Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported a reduction in pre-tax profit from £652,000 to £384,000 in 2017. There was a reduction in revenues from £1.34m to £120,000 and the share of operating profit from a joint venture was more than halved. There was cash in the bank of £514,000 at the end of 2017. St Mark has raised £3.47m from a 6% bond. This cash will be invested in new projects. The NAV is 134p a share, compared with a share price of 95p (90p/100p).
Peru-based gold and silver producer VI Mining (VIM) reported a tripled loss of $6.33m for 2017. No revenues were generated and the NAV was $2.56m. That was before VIM acquired two projects for $51.3m and raised £5.35m at 500p a share.
Georgia-focused oil and gas company Block Energy withdrew from NEX on 23 March and it is set to join AIM on 11 June. It will be valued at £10.3m at 4p a share.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has identified an acquisition that could provide the opportunity to move to the standard list.
Iran-focused investment company Indigo Holdings (INGO) is reviewing its strategic options. Hamish Harris and Nicholas Harwood are stepping down from the board.
First Sentinel (FSBN) generated initial revenues of £156,000 but, even excluding admission expenses of £65,000, it lost £117,000 in the 15 months to December 2017. The NAV of the small company adviser and investor was £1.26m at the end of the year. Since then, a further £1.5m has been raised via a convertible bond.
Formation Group (FRM) fell back into loss in the six months to February 2018. Revenues fell by 15% to £17.2m and there was s wing from a pre-tax profit of £15,000 to a loss of £277,000. The loss was greater than the second half loss last year. The NAV is £9.95m, including £3.2m in cash.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) has received repayment of the loan it made to a developer of a retail scheme in York. This cash will be used to finance any property deals that management feel are good value, thanks to more realistic pricing.
Trading in the shares of DagangHalal (DGHL) and Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) have been suspended. DagangHal has failed to publish its 2017 accounts. Equatorial is in negotiations with South African mining company ARQ Minerals, which intends to invest £50,000 for 500 million shares. This has led to a delay in the publication of accounts.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has appointed Allenby to replace City and Merchant as its corporate adviser.
Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) had already warned that its TriConnex utility connections business was suffering from delays and even so interim figures showed a 4% rise in revenues to £62.9m and a 15% increase in pre-tax profit to £3.4m. The interim dividend was raised by 5% to 2.2p a share. Delays to the commencement of projects continue but the group order book has increased to more than £234m.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) is selling its systems integration and managed services businesses for £21.6m, so that it can concentrate on its software for smart buildings. The cash raised will pay off existing debt. Last year, the software division had revenues of £5.3m and made an operating profit of £1.4m.
Maritime monitoring equipment supplier SRT Marine Systems (SRT) has raised £3m at 25p a share and it is swapping £1.15m of short term loan notes for new three year loan notes. The cash will finance systems projects and product development. SRT is working on projects worth £30.5m.
A positive AGM statement from Parity (PTY) confirms that the trading of the consultancy and staffing divisions is going well. Parity should be cash positive by the end of the year and there is a strong pipeline of potential business.
Fishing tackle retailer Fishing Republic (FISH) increased revenues by 58% to £9.15m, but it slumped into loss. Trading was weaker than expected, particularly in the fourth quarter, and gross margin fell sharply even before stock write-offs. Fishing Republic has relaunched its website and the review of operations is ongoing. Five stores have been closed, reducing the total number to 14.
Share (SHRE) increased its revenues by one-fifth in the first quarter as the services provided for Computershare make a contribution in the full quarter. Broker commissions increased by 27% on the back of a 5% increase in trading volumes. First quarter market share dipped from 3.66% to 3.54%. An upgrade to the website has been completed.
Itaconix (ITX) is restructuring its UK operations in order to focus on core products. The main focus will be the US polymer operations. The annual fixed cost base will fall to less than £3.5m in 2019.
IDOX (IDOX) has appointed David Meaden as chief executive. He has experience of the public sector and software development. The information management software and services provider has closed its loss-making digital division. Underlying EBITDA is likely to be in the range of £13m-£15m for the full year, compared with previous expectations of £22.8m. Excluding digital, the EBITDA will be between £18m and £20m.
Immupharma (IMM) has further analysed the results of the phase III lupus treatment trial for Lupuzor. There were different results in the European and US parts of the trial with antibody positive patients in Europe showed a statistically significant improvement.
Haynes Publishing (HYNS) expects to report a better than expected full year profit. Underlying pre-tax profit will be 10% ahead at around £2.9m. Earnings per share will be hit by US tax changes.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has decided to leave the standard list. The digital media group says that the share price fall has hampered its ability to raise more cash to develop its Q-Flow technology. Revenues have not come through as quickly as expected. If cash were raised, it could reduce the free float so the shares would be suspended.
Ashley House (ASH) is expected to achieve its full year profit target of £1.8m, although that includes a non-cash write back. The health and community care property developer had year-end net debt of £1.5m. The Morgan Sindall joint venture has reached financial close on its first extra care apartments and bungalows scheme in the Isle of Wight with a further scheme expected to reach financial close in the next few weeks. Modular building business F1 Modular lost money last year. There is work manufacturing classrooms for schools and projects in the retail sector so it is not dependent on residential and health development. Maureen Moy has taken her stake to 10% after buying 1.9 million shares at 13.23p a share.
Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices. There will be a one-off benefit in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of next year from a contract to supply 10,000 genomic tests that should help to provide information to improve resistance to bovine TB. NMR is one of the nominees for NEX Exchange company of the year at the 2018 Small Cap Awards.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) says that the majority shareholder in challenger bank Civilised Investments Ltd has exercised warrants that increased its shareholding to 95.7. Warwick Capital Partners is also underwriting a £12m subscription, although £4.65m of this can be subscribed by minority shareholders. This would increase the overall valuation of the bank to £20m. Forbes owns 0.05% of Civilised Investments prior to the subscription and it has not said if it will be investing any more cash.
Gledhow Investments (GDH) had £172,000 in cash at the end of March 2018 but £20,000 is trapped in a Beaufort Securities account. NAV has increased from £510,000 to £869,000.
Gunsynd (GUN) says that Brazil Tungsten Holdings, the company it owns a 6.18% stake in, has restarted mining operations after a government suspension was lifted.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) will advise FANTOM Foundation on the $39.8m token generation event due to start on 15 June. FANTOM is using Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) as a smart contract platform. This is an alternative to blockchain, which should be faster and have lower fees.
IMC Exploration Group (IMCP) is focusing on the completion of works programmes in its three principal projects. The joint venture with Trove Rehabilitation only requires ministerial approval to complete. Eamon O’Brien has been appointed as a director and he will become chairman. Kathrine Byrne is also joining the board. Nial Ring and Liam McGrattan will step down from the board.
A strong performance in the used vehicles market and continued growth in aftersales helped to offset the downturn in the new vehicles contribution at Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) in the six months to February 2018. Underlying operating profit still fell from £5.8m to £5.3m. Interim pre-tax profit was £4.8m. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to decline from £11.3m to £9.5m. The significant capital investment programme continues but net debt is minimal.
Vertu Motors (VTU) also performed well despite the tough background in the motor dealer sector. In the year to February 2018, adjusted pre-tax profit fell from £31.5m to £28.6m on flat revenues. The full year dividend was increased by 7% to 1.5p a share. It appears that trading may be starting to improve and the benefits of the current investment programme are yet to show through. Net cash is £19.3m. A further dip in profit to £25m is expected this year.
CEPS (CEPS) reported flat 2017 revenues but the underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £146,000 to £902,000. The biggest improvement in profit came from Friedman’s and Aford Awards, while CEM Press made a larger loss.
TyraTech Inc (TYR) says sales of the PureScience poultry mite treatment are building in the US and a launch is planned in Europe. Trials of a treatment for intestinal worms in pigs have shown a 70% reduction in the worms. TyraTech has shown that it can develop effective products and the remaining cash from the sale of Vamousse will finance further product development and trials.
Deltex Medical (DMG) had a tough 2017 but lower cost meant that the loss was reduced. The medical monitoring equipment and consumables supplier has won significant contracts in the US and France. Revenues dipped from £6.3m to £5.9m, while the loss was down from £2.4m to £2m. Annualised cost reductions of £1m will partly show through in 2018. The UK remains tough with potential recovery later in the year. International business should grow. A £2m fundraising should provide enough cash to invest in the technology and cover a reduced loss.
HaloSource Inc (HALO) has disappointed the market again. This time the auditors have not allowed some of the sales shipped at the end of 2017 to be included in revenues. Cantor Fitzgerald has maintained its 2018 loss forecast at $3.4m, down from $5.7m. The cash outflow should be lower.
Sprue Aegis (SPRP) has come to an agreement with BRK over the termination of their distribution and manufacturing agreements. Sprue Aegis will have to pay £11m in instalments up until December. There will be a £3.8m exceptional charge in the 2017 accounts. The full year results will be published on 15 March.
Wey Education (WEY) reported interim revenues 44% ahead at £1.74m and an improvement in underlying pre-tax profit from £75,000 to £145,000. An initial contribution from Academy 21 accounted for part of the improvement. A 2017-18 profit of £500,000 is forecast, rising to £2.5m the following year.
Trading in the shares of Lionsgold Ltd (LION) has been suspended following the completion of the acquisition of Goldbloc, which has developed a digital gold currency. This is deemed as a change of business. The suspension could last up to four months.
Fox Marble (FOX) increased revenues by 50% to €1.2m in 2017 and lost €3.4m. This year will be more significant with the processing factory up and running and capital investment made in machinery. There was €440,000 in the bank at the end of April 2018.
Out-of-hospital care services provider Totally (TLY) has secured the renewal of an urgent care services contract worth €1.2m with the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Westminster Group (WSG) has admitted that a previously announced Middle East contract is in Iran and it has still to become effective. The current political situation could scupper the deal or at least delay it.
Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has signed a distribution agreement with Rightek, which will distribute the Microsaic 4500 MiD mass spectrometry detector in Taiwan.
Stem cell services provider WideCells Group (WDC) has commitments to invest £1.47m at 3p a share and is offering the chance of additional investment of up to £450,000, via a bookbuild using the Teathers app and that closes on 21 May. WideCells has still not been able to publish its 2017 accounts so trading in the shares remains suspended. Directors have loaned the company £215,000. At the end of June 2017, there was cash of £869,000 and debt of £634,000, before any of the director loans. WideCells intends to repay £120,000 of debt, spend £150,000 on product development, £110,000 on the CellPlan platform and £33,000 on WideAcademy. The other £1m plus will pay expenses and provide working capital.
Nanoco (NANO) will receive a £1.8m milestone payment from its unnamed US-listed partner. This is the second of three milestone payments.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised a further £200,000 from a convertible loan note issue, taking the total to £3.14m. The conversion price is 2.5p a share.
Treatt (TET) has sold pressed vegetable seed oils supplier Earthoil Plantations for £11m. That takes pro forma net cash to £17.5m. In the six months to March 2018, Treatt increased revenues by 14% to £53.6m and underlying pre-tax profit improved from £4.79m to £5.77m.
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.
Good Energy (GOOD) received applications for £16.7m of the corporate bonds on offer. The maximum application level was £20m. The energy supplier will issue the bonds on 30 June. At the company’s AGM, Martin Edwards was not re-elected as a non-executive director and four special resolutions, three relating to pre-emption rights and one about calling a general meeting at 14 days notice, were not passed. Edwards has been a director of Good Energy since its formation and has expertise in renewable energy generation. It is unclear whether the length of his time on the board was held against him by institutions or whether there was another reason for him being removed from the board. He was chairman of the remuneration committee.
South Africa-based social impact investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) says that occupancy rates of its core investment Kazuko Lodge are improving and it moved into profit last year. The weakness of the Rand has helped to boost tourist demand and room rates. In the year to February 2017, Inqo revenues increased from R10.7m to R17m and a loss of R4.72m was turned into a pre-tax profit of R10.3m, thanks to a rise in other income from R867,000 to R14m. Net cash was R2.3m at the end of February 2017. This year, the first revenues from Bee Sweet Honey and retirement savings scheme provider Four One Financial Services are anticipated.
Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying an interim dividend of 5.5p a share. The shares go ex-dividend on 6 July.
Phoenix UK has bought out a rival shareholder in Hornby (HRN) and this has triggered a mandatory bid at the purchase price of 32.375p a share. This purchase took Phoenix’s stake in Hornby to 55.2%. The bid values Hornby at £27.4m. Neither Hornby’s management nor Phoenix wants to lose the AIM quotation. The bid closes on 14 July.
Wynnstay (WYN) reported flat interim pre-tax profit of £4.07m prior to the goodwill write-down on the Just for Pets retail business. Pet retailing is a competitive market and it is consolidation. Just for Pets is relatively small and it loss has masked an improvement in the core agricultural division and the Wynnstay Sores retail business. A recovery in the milk price means that farmers are back in profit and are spending more money on feed. Net debt was £8.28m at the end of April 2017, which is higher than last time because of the rise in commodity prices. The interim dividend was increased by 5% to 4.2p a share. The full year profit is forecast to decline from £7.4m to £7.1m.
NWF (NWF) also benefited from a recovery in feed demand in the second half of the year to May 2017, although there was a decline in the year as a whole. The food and fuel distribution businesses both made improved contribution. The full year figures will be published on 1 August.
South America-focused gold miner Orosur Mining Inc (OMI) says that operating costs were between $800 and $900/ounce last year. In the year to May 2017, Orosur produced 35,371 ounces of gold, which is at the lower end of the expected range. There was net cash of $2.9m at the end of May 2017 even though a new underground mine has been developed. Orosur plans to commence a drilling programme in Colombia, while the deadline for a decision by Asset Chile on whether to back phase II of the Anillo project has been extended to the end of 2017, although Orosur can talk to other potential backers.
Timber importer James Latham (LTHM) reported better than expected full year figures. In the year to March 2017, revenues were 7% ahead at £199m and gross margins improved. Earnings per share were 4% higher at 55.8p and the total dividend is 15.35p a share, up from 14.3p a share. Net cash was more than £16m. Revenues were 3% higher in the first two months of the current financial year.
InterQuest Group (ITQ) continues to advise against acceptance of the bid from Chisbridge, which is a management backed takeover vehicle. Acceptances of the 42p a share cash bid have been received from shareholders owning 2.85% of InterQuest, which is added to the 40.5% of the share capital that already backed the bid. The offer has been extended to 13 July.
European Wealth Group (EWG) is raising £6.14m at 12.8p a share and could raise up to £3.07m more via an open offer to existing shareholders. The cash will be used to pay off debt and deferred consideration.
Tracking and security equipment developer Starcom (STAR) has raised £650,000 at 1.5p a share, with each share coming with one-fifth of a warrant exercisable at 2.5p a share for up to 12 months. Some of the cash will be used to pay $246,000 to YA II, which will reduce the drawn down convertible loan facility from $330,000 to $110,000. YA II has agreed to a conversion price for the rest of the facility of 2.5p a share up until the end of 2017.
Redx Pharma (REDX) has a chance of securing the funds it requires in order to come out of administration. Discussions are still at an early stage. It is unclear whether this will involve changes to management, given that the current management believed that it could string along Liverpool City Council and put off repayment of its loan. Redx has gained UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approval for oral cancer treatment RXC004. This provides permission for a phase Ib/IIa study for gastric, biliary and pancreatic cancer patients.
Clontarf Energy (CLON) is in talks to secure further projects and additional finance. Clontarf was recently awarded block 18, offshore Equatorial Guinea.
Myanmar International Ltd (MIL) raised a total of $7.3m via PrimaryBid.com and institutions, having initially wanted to raise between $3m and $5m. The Myanmar-focused investment company offered shares at $1.18 each – a 9.2% discount to the market price. Myanmar has achieved a broadening of its shareholder base. The enhanced proceeds are still expected to be invested within six months.
Digital media content business Brave Bison Group (BBSN) has appointed Claire Hungate, a former chief operating officer of ex-AIM TV production company Shed Media, as chief executive but she does not join the company until September. Brave Bison says that it does not believe a merger with fellow AIM company Zinc Media is in its interests.
Water treatment company HaloSource (HAL) has finally completed a £1.8m fundraising at 1.5p a share. The cash will provide working capital to help expand the drinking water business and develop the lead removal technology. The cash will fund the group into 2018. The new shares are more than one-third of the enlarged share capital. The completion of the conditional fundraising was announced on 21 April. There is no mention in the latest announcement of the investor that had tried to gain Chinese government approval to invest.
Gold producer and explorer Shanta Gold (SHG) raised £11m at 6p a share as part of a refinancing that also includes a new $50m debt facility to replace the existing $40m facility. Shanta is acquiring TSX Venture Exchange-quoted Helio Gold, which has gold exploration assets near to Shanta’s own licences, for $5.6m in shares. Shanta will be able to finance the commercial underground production phase at its New Luika gold mine.
Thor Mining (THR) has raised£460,000 at 0.9p a share and there is one warrant with each new share which is exercisable at 1.8p a share. Thor has agreed to acquire 25% of US Lithium, which has interests in Arizona and New Mexico, from Pembridge Resources for £59,000 and £30,000 will be provided to cover operating costs. There is an option to acquire the other 75% for 52.8 million shares at a deemed price of 0.9p each. Thor has completed a 50 hole drilling programme on the Dundas gold project in Western Australia. The results should come through in a few weeks.
First, the good news from TLA Worldwide (TLA). Management is obviously trying to suggest that it does not have contempt for investors by releasing a profit warning at 7am – its advisers must be doing something right. This is certainly a big improvement on publishing a profit warning at 6.26pm on 23 December 2016. TLA still thinks that it will be able to report its 2016 figures and post its accounts on 30 June. However, the trade receivables write-off is going to be higher than the previous guesstimate of $1.5m-$2.5m. The write-off is expected to be $3.2m and on top of that the negative effect of the accounting corrections on EBITDA is likely to be $3.6m, up from $2m previously. That will leave 2016 EBITDA at $4.8m. The interest charge will take up the majority of that figure. It is not just that, though. The original 2015 profit will be reduced by $1.9m. Net debt was $21.8m at the end of 2016 but a large chunk of the receivables that should have helped to reduce that figure are not going to come in. There is no dividend – unsurprisingly. The finance director has left, although he will be providing assistance for three months.
Superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) is raising £6.9m at 100p a share prior to joining AIM on 5 July. GYG is valued at £46.6m at the placing price and the plan is to pay an annual dividend equivalent to 6.4% of the placing price, although it will be 3.2% for 2017. Last year, GYG generated revenues of €54.6m and made EBITDA of €6.7m.
China-focused healthcare investor Cathay International Holdings (CTI) says that it will receive just over $4m in dividends from 50.56%-owned subsidiary Lansens Pharmaceutical. The dividend will be paid on 4 August. Lansens’ subsidiaries have received insurance payments totalling $2.58m. Two directors were not re-elected at Cathay’s AGM because, although they received the majority of votes, they did not receive the majority of independent votes. Further re-election resolutions will be proposed in the next four months and they will only need a majority to be passed.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Communications to collaborate on an over the top service for brands and content rights holders, using Falcon’s Q-Flow technology.
SMALL CAP AWARDS 2017 WINNERS
Company of the Year
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music has gone from strength to strength since joining AIM in June 2015. The share price has risen by 600% in the past year. In May, £4.2m was raised at 690p a share.
The musical instruments market remains fragmented but Gear4Music is becoming one of the main players in Europe and it is opening distribution facilities in Europe as well as expanding its UK base. The investment required is holding back short-term profit growth and, in fact, pre-tax profit is expected to dip this year from £2.7m to £2.4m before rising to £3.3m in 2018-19.
IPO of the Year
Accrol Group Holdings (ACRL)
Tissue manufacturer Accrol had just celebrated its first anniversary on AIM when it was given this award. Accrol floated at 100p a share on 10 June 2016 and the share price has risen to 159.5p. Full year figures will be announced on 10 July.
Accrol is a leading supplier of tissue products to the discount sector and it has opened a new factory in Leyland, Lancashire. This investment takes annual production capacity to 143,000 tonnes. A ten-year lease has been secured on a 368,000 square foot warehouse in west Lancashire and this will become the central distribution facility. The warehouse management and logistics have been outsourced.
NEX Exchange Company of the Year
Chapel Down Group (CDGP)
English wines producer Chapel Down has been quoted on NEX and it forerunners for more than 14 years. Revenues have grown from £1.47m in the year to September 2002 to £10.2m in 2016. The Tenterden-based business made a small loss when it floated. Continuing operations moved from an underlying pre-tax profit of £156,000 in 2015 to £340,000 in 2016. Frosts have hit production this year but the outcome for wine production is still uncertain.
The company has developed brewing business Curious Drinks, which has separately raised money to build a new brewery but Chapel Down still effectively controls the business. The new Ashford brewery will be open in mid-2018 and this will free up space for further wine making at Tenterden.
Impact Company of the Year
African agricultural and forestry business Obtala is set to start to commercialise its operations this year. Up until now revenues have been modest but they are set to jump to £11.9m in 2017, trebling to £36.9m in 2018, which should be high enough to allow Obtala to make a profit in 2018. Hardman estimates that the Mozambique forestry assets could generate EBITDA of more than £25m in 2021. There are also plans to build up the orchard and horticultural business in Tanzania.
In May, Obtala acquired profitable sawn timber trader WoodBois International for $14.8m (£11.4m). The Copenhagen-based business sources timber from across Africa and sells it around the world. WoodBois has been short of capital to finance growth and it fits well with Obtala’s existing timber and forestry operations.
Executive Director of the Year
Nick Jarmany, Quixant (QTX)
Telematics technology provider Quartix is highly cash generative enabling it to finance growth in the UK, France and the US and pay increasing dividends. Chief executive Nick Jarmany founded Quixant in 2005 having spent more than two decades at Densitron Technologies. He guided the business to an AIM quotation in 2013.
The UK remains the dominant region for revenues but France and the US are growing strongly from low bases. Last year, US revenues more than doubled, from £256,000 to £677,000, but the loss was even higher than that because of the investment in sales and marketing and support services to enable growth over the next five years.
Transaction of the Year
Keywords Studios (KWS)
Outsourced video games services provider Keywords Studios has made numerous earnings enhancing acquisitions since it joined AIM but this award is for the purchase of Synthesis for up to €18m, which is one of eight purchases in 2016. This deal meant that Keywords became the global leader in localisation and voice-over recording for video games and added additional studios in Germany, France and Taiwan.
Keywords is expected to maintain a net cash position at the end of 2017 but this will depend on the level of acquisitions activity. There is a €35m bank facility that is not fully utilised and that could be used for further acquisitions.
Analyst of the Year
Andrew Blain, Cenkos Securities
Journalist of the Year
Jamie Nimmo, Evening Standard
Adviser of the Year
Fund Manager of the Year
Paul Mumford, Cavendish Asset Management
Malcolm Diamond (Trifast/Flowtech Fluidpower)
Brewer Adnams (ADB), which sponsored last year’s Tour of Britain cycling event, continues to invest in its brewery with beer sales moving above 100,000 barrels in 2016. More of that beer is being sold in kegs. The decline in sterling increased the price of hops and wine, which hit the retail operations. In 2016, revenues improved from £65.7m to £70.3m, while pre-tax profit increased from £4.07m to £5.02m, predominantly down to a rise in asset disposal gains from £625,000 to £1.43m. Adnams sold the UK distribution rights to Lagunitas beer. The NAV has fallen to £27.5m because of an increase in the pension liability. There is a dividend of 150p per B share and 37.5p per A share. This year there will be the first beer duty tax increase in four years.
Investment company First Sentinel (FSEN) joined the NEX Exchange growth market on 24 March and pre-IPO £633,000 was raised at 10p a share. That is before costs of £130,000. The founding shareholders own 99.2% of the company with 50,000 shares issued to the market maker. The company’s strategy is to provide investments to small companies with an opportunity covering more than 1,000 quoted companies identified in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. First Sentinel is run by former Rangers International Football Club director Brian Stockbridge and the main shareholders are two other former directors of Rangers or its subsidiaries, James Easdale and Sandy Easdale. The company is employing Stockbridge’s corporate finance business First Sentinel Corporate Finance, which will receive an annual fee of 1% of First Sentinel’s assets under management (payable at 0.25% each quarter) plus performance fees based on 20% of pre-tax profit each year when the gross return on capital is less than 20% or 40% of pre-tax profit if the gross return is more than 20%. First Sentinel will be paid 50% of deal fees generated by First Sentinel Corporate Finance from any investment transactions involving the NEX-quoted company. Stockbridge and his partner Aimee Freeding each receive £2,000 a month from First Sentinal. The whole board will be paid £72,000 a year in fees. There are currently 6.36 million shares in issue, with nearly as many shareholder warrants, but the company intends to issue up to 100 million more shares. Stockridge and Freeding have director warrants that enables each of them to receive 10% of the enlarged share capital at the time they are exercised – they each currently own 8.1%. Fellow director Tom Dignall has directors warrants over 5% of the enlarged capital at the time of exercise. The warrants are exercisable over five years. Matthew Rice is the independent director and he has no interest in the present or future share capital. First Sentinel is an investment for fans of Stockbridge.
Angus Energy (ANGS) expects to issue a first tranche of bonds on or around 27 April. Angus plans to issue up to £3.5m secured bonds maturing on 30 June 2022 and these will be quoted on NEX.
A rise in the zinc price has provided further impetus for IMC Exploration (IMCP). A comprehensive zinc works programme on its licences that are between the existing Tynagh and Silvermines deposits in Ireland.
Imperial Minerals (IMPP) is more optimistic about the prospects of the resources sector than one year ago. There was £66,000 in the bank at the end of 2016 and since then Imperial has sold its remaining shares in North River Resources for £30,000.
MetalNRG (MNRG) has raised £295,000 at 0.5p a share – every two shares have a warrant to subscribe for one share at 1p – and directors have exercised options at the same price that provide a further £47,500 – every option exercised sparks the issue of a bonus option exercisable at 0.75p a share. This takes the cash in the bank to £480,000, which will be used as working capital as the company seeks suitable investments. Gervaise Heddle has become a non-executive director. Heddle already owns 9.51 million shares in MetalNRG and he will not receive any pay until the company’s NAV is more than £1.5m but he has been issued 3 million options at 0.5p each.
Ecommerce technology provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) has signed an agreement with Sage. Netalogue’s ecommerce platform complements Sage’s X3 ERP technology and the deal could help Netalogue to access new customers.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £32,000 at 8p a share.
Gatemore Capital Management has requisitioned a general meeting at DX (Group) in order to remove Bob Holt and Paul Murray from the board. The plan is to replace them with Ron Series (as chairman), Paul Goodson, Russell Black and Lloyd Dunn. Gatemore is an activist investor that has been involved with French Connection and Gym Group in recent months. Gatemore’s stake in the parcel deiivery company rose above 3% six months ago and the stake has been built up to 11.3%.Furious 7 live streaming film
Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) formerly Vislink, has taken a reduced payment for its broadcast technology division. Former AIM company xG Technology Inc, which has spent more than a decade failing to develop its own business into a profitable operation, is paying $2m of the $4.9m it still owed in the agreement. Net debt has been reduced from £17m to £12m via the disposal and there is potential to obtain $2m from a creditor. The problem is that the remaining software business is too small to prosper with that level of debt.
SalvaRx Group (SALV) is investing in Rift Biotherapeutics Inc, which is developing antibodies for use in oncology. An initial investment of $1m will give SalvaRx a 30% stake in Rift. If the company achieves milestones then SalvaRx could invest a further $1.5m at the same valuation and swap its shares for the shares in Rift held by the other shareholders.
Tracsis (TRCS) had already warned that its interims would be weak. In the end, revenues were one-fifth higher at £15.6m and underlying profit was 11% higher at £3.1m.The cash balance improved to £12.7m. The interim dividend was raised by one-fifth to 0.6p a share. Management is still confident that the second half will be significantly stronger.
Caledonia Mining (CMCL) increased its production, cut costs and received a higher gold price in 2016. The Blanket mine increased gold production from 42,804 ounces to 50,351 ounces and all in sustaining costs fell from $1,037/ounce to $912/ounce. The gold price achieved rose from $1,139/ounce to $1,232/ounce. Production and costs are set to continue to improve. There was $23m generated from operations last year, more than enough to cover capital expenditure and dividends. The annualised dividend is running at 5.5 cents.
Starcom (STAR) continues to be accident prone. Last year, it could not satisfy demand for Watchlock Pro because parts were not delivered. This meant that full year revenues were flat at $5.13m although the post-tax loss fell from $1.76m to $1.36m. There was $35,000 in the bank at the end of 2016.
Falcon Acquisitions Ltd (FAL) is acquiring two businesses involved in technology, distribution and content operations in the Over The Top television sector. Falcon has raised £4m at 25p a share to provide finance for the enlarged business. The plan is to offer a platform to customers as well as its own content via its own channels. The shares should be readmitted on 27 March. The company will be renamed Falcon Media House Ltd.
Telecoms company Toople (TOOP) is finding it difficult to win business. Apparently, Toople’s main offering to small businesses is not as competitive as it thought so it is focusing on its cloud-based telephony service, which is building up its revenues. The share price has slumped from 8p to 3.25p in less than one year. According to last year’s prospectus, chief executive Andrew Hollingworth gets £120,000 per year (as well as 35 days holiday plus bank holidays) while he acquired his 26 million shares in Toople at 0.0667p each. Finance director Neil Taylor gets £60,000 a year for a two day week. In 2015-16, gross profit was £78,000 while the cash outflow from operations was £1.42m. It appears that the outflow should slow in the first half of this financial year but it will still be significant. There was £744,000 in the bank at the end of September 2016 but there was also debt of £469,000. Given the vast overheads for a company of this size it is no surprise that Toople needs to raise working capital. The trading statement also says that the board “continues to focus on tight cost control” and hopefully they will be able to think of some excess costs that could be reduced.
Books publisher Quarto Group (QRT) has sold its 75% stake in Hong Kong-based Regent Publishing Services for $7m – a gain of $3.3m on book value.
Dairy services provider National Milk Records (NMRP) reported flat revenues, including joint ventures, of £10.3m in the six months to September 2016 but profit declined as the core milk recording business fell into loss. This was due to a reduction in clients. There are signs of the milk price improving but that will take time to feed through to increased demand for services as dairy farmers rebuild their cash position. The laboratories and livestock surveillance businesses generated higher revenues but made lower profits. Inimex Genetics reported a reduced loss. Underlying pre-tax profit fell from £809,000 to £619,000 as the milk records contribution moved from a profit of £71,000 to a loss of £119,000. Even so, the inflow from operating activities doubled from £300,000 to £599,000. This was down to an increase in creditors, compared with a reduction in the corresponding period. The pension deficit has increased from £3.5m to £6.25m.
Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) plans to raise $60m (£48m) via an issue of ordinary share and join AIM. The bonds that are traded on ISDX can either be converted into shares or be repaid. A maiden dividend is promised by June 2017. The US-focused gas and oil producer and daily production is running at 4,400 barrels of oil equivalent with an average operating cost of $9.53/barrel. Total production was 428,522 barrels of oil equivalent in the first half of 2016, while revenues were $7.6m. Funding from the bonds trading on ISDX has helped Diversified Gas & Oil to grow by acquiring and investing in wells. Other oil companies are focused on shale prospects so the conventional projects that the company focuses on are reasonably priced and the fundraising will provide plenty of cash for acquisitions. Bradley Gray has been appointed finance director and chief operating officer. He has been granted an interest in 5% of the Diversified Gas & Oil ordinary shares and this will vest over a three year period.
Goldcrest Resources (GCRP) continues to review ways of pushing ahead with its Asheba project in Ghana and it is also assessing other projects in west Africa. Ryan Long has resigned as a non-executive director.
Kryptonite 1 (KR1) has raised a further £127,000 at 0.05p a share. Back in June, £10,000 was raised at 0.04p a share and in July £100,000 was raised at 0.03p a share. Kryptonite 1 was formerly known as Guild Acquisitions.
ServicePower Technologies (SVR) says that a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc, which is generating funds from the winding up of Bond International Software (BDI), may make a cash bid for the work scheduling software company. Constellation has previously acquired gym and leisure membership software provider Gladstone in 2010, following a lapsed bid at the end of 2008.
Asset manager Miton Group (MGR) has managed to weather the problems caused by investment manager departures and assets under management are being rebuilt. Peel Hunt forecasts an improvement in full year profit from £3m to £4.7m. The broker expects assets under management to be £2.8bn at the end of 2016 and it believes that Miton has funds that should be able to attract investment inflows over the coming years. The share price has barely recovered from its low.
Oil and gas exploration information provider Getech (GTC) reported a strong second half and this meant that management appear to have been too cautious when they issued their profit warning prior to the year end. The weak oil sector still meant that pre-tax profit fell from £1.99m to £671,000 as revenues declined from £8.64m to £7.03m. Net cash is £1.89m but there is no dividend. Dr Jonathan Copus became chief executive during the summer so did not have time to affect the full year figures. He represents a move towards a more commercially focused management, away from the previous academic management that developed the business and its products. Getech is well-placed to take advantage of an upturn in the oil sector but this may take some time to come through.
Thalassa Holdings (THAL) has requisitioned a general meeting at The Local Shopping REIT. Thalassa would like a faster liquidation of the REIT’s assets and it is also critical of the management agreement with and bonus scheme for INTERNOS Global Investors. Thalassa wants to remove the two directors and appoint three of its nominees.
Starcom (STAR) says Amerijet Airlines has approved its Kylos Air GPS tracking device for air cargo. Kylos Air can be used to track high value air cargo because they are in flight mode when the plane is in the air and then they start transmitting when the cargo is unloaded. Starcom is no longer expected to make a profit in 2016, but a pre-tax profit of $500,000 is forecast for 2017. This type of news helps to give greater confidence that the forecast could be achieved. There is more than $1m in the bank.
Savannah Resources (SAV) has completed its initial mineral resource estimates for two out of the four deposits at the Mutamba project in Mozambique. The indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate is 3.5 billion tonnes at a grade of 3.8% of total heavy minerals, containing 81 million tonnes of ilmenite, 2.2 million tonnes of rutile and 3.8 million tonnes of zircon. This is part of the deal for Savannah to build its stake in its joint venture with Rio Tinto from 10% to 51%. A scoping study will be completed in three-four months.
Trifast (TRI) interims were better than expected and this led to an earnings upgrade for the full year. Revenues were 15% higher at £89.7m and underlying pre-tax profit was one-fifth higher at £9.9m. The main growth came in the EU. A full year profit of £18.2m is forecast. Malcolm Diamond is becoming non-executive chairman.
Standard list shell Falcon Acquisitions (FAL) intends to pay £500,000 for direct-to-consumer media technology company Teevee Networks. A general meeting will be held on 24 November to gain shareholder agreement for the acquisition of Quiptel, which operates in the over the top (OTT) broadcast services market.
Asia Wealth Group Holdings Ltd (AWLP) made a further loss in the year to February 2016, although subsidiary Meyer Asset Management did make a profit – albeit slightly lower than previously. Revenues fell from $1.73m to $1.2m, while the loss increased from $79,000 to $150,000. Directors fees increased from $209,000 to $216,000. Asia Wealth is still seeking further acquisitions. There was $1.28m in cash at the end of February 2016.
South Africa-based Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) fell into loss in the year to February 2016 following a number of one-off costs. The social impact company has renegotiated loans and that will save R30m of interest charges. The DBSA loan was settled after the period end and this will improve the financial position of the business.
Ganapati (GANP), the developer of apps for social media and games, is still hoping that its application to the UK Gambling Commission will be successful but there are still issues being discussed. In the year to January 2016, revenues increased from £216,000 to £2.3m but intangible write-offs totalling £4.56m meant that there was a reported loss of £7.47m. There was £1.28m in the bank.
Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) has taken the amount of 8.5% unsecured bonds 2020 in issue to £9.93m following the issue of an additional £460,000 of bonds.
Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has raised a further £150,000 from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025. This takes the bonds in issue to £1.665m.
Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SAT) has made two more acquisitions that will be earnings enhancing this year. This more than doubles the customer base to more than 75,000. The satellite broadband services consolidator is paying £11.7m for Breiband and SkyMesh and it has raised £12.1m at 6p a share. Breiband offers broadband services in Norway so it fits in with the company’s strategy of consolidating the European market but SkyMesh is based in Australia so it is outside of the core strategy. The deals also move the group into the top five global satellite broadband suppliers. At the beginning of July, Satellite Solutions acquired UK-based Avonline for £10m and secured £12m of funding from the Business Growth Fund.
Bricks manufacturer Michelmersh Brick (MBH) reported flat revenues of £15.3m in the first half of 2016. Pre-tax profit edged up from £2.5m to £2.6m, while strong cash generation in the past 12 months has helped Michelmersh move into a net cash position. A kiln replacement project will be completed in the second half. First half brick sales dipped from 35.7 million to 35.1 million. Michelmersh has forward orders for 47 million bricks.
Learning management systems provider NetDimensions (NETD) says that interim revenues are lower than expected because of delays to customer roll outs. These delays could continue so the full year revenues forecast have been cut by $1.2m to $27m but, thanks to lower than anticipated costs, NetDimensions could break even this year.
Mineral sands miner Sierra Rutile (SRX) has received a bid of 36p a share in cash from Iluka Resources Ltd.
Information management software and services provider IDOX (IDOX) is acquiring Open Objects Software for up to £5.2m in cash and shares. Open Objects provides digital services to social and health care and it has a similar public sector customer base to IDOX. In the year to March 2016, the acquisition made an operating profit of £630,000 on revenues of £2.9m.
Publishing software and services provider Ingenta (ING) is acquiring advertising software company 5 fifteen Ltd for up to £990,000. This will widen the portfolio of products that Ingenta can offer and also broadens the customer base to newspaper and magazine publishers. The business loses money but costs can be reduced and sales can be made in new geographies. A subscription is raising £780,000 at 130p a share.
Mariana Resources (MARL) says that the mineral resource for its HotMaden project has been increased by 31% to 4 million ounces of gold at a gold equivalent grade of 10.2g/t. Northland has nearly doubled its target price from 54p a share to 104p a share.
Stem cell services WideCells Group (WDC) has raised £2m at 11p a share in its flotation on the standard list. The share price ended the week at 12p. The cash will be used to build an integrated stem cell services company but it is still early days. WideCells is launching the CellPlan healthcare insurance product, which will help people gain access to stem cell treatments.
Macfarlane Group (MACF) is acquiring Nelsons for Cartons and Packaging for up to £6.75m in cash and shares. There will be two deferred payments depending on the performance of the packaging distribution business in the next two years. Leicester-based Nelsons will widen Macfarlane’s range of shelf ready packaging and there is little customer overlap. In the year to December 2015, Nelsons made an operating profit of £800,000 on revenues of £7.9m. The acquisition should be earnings enhancing in the first full year of ownership. A placing at 58p a share has raised £5.8m and this will fund the initial cash payment of £4.25m. Macfarlane says that its packaging distribution operations are growing but sales of the manufacturing division are 3% lower so far this financial year. Interim figures will be published on 25 August.
Healthcare properties investor MedicX Fund (MXF) has contracted to acquire a new medical centre in Rialto, Dublin. The total cost will be €8.6m and it will he let to the health authority on a 25 year lease with five-yearly rent reviews, plus separate leases for a pharmacy and other medical services providers. This part of a strategy to invest more in the Republic of Ireland. The annualised rent roll for the company’s portfolio is £37.1m.
Standard list shell Falcon Acquisitions (FAL) has agreed terms for the acquisition of Orbital Multi Media Holdings Corporation, which operates in the over the top (OTT) broadcast services market. There are still a number of conditions that have to be met for the deal to go ahead. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Anglo African Agriculture (AAAP) has announced a strategic review which could lead to the sale of the business or the securing of a partner for the business. The chairman argues that the existing business is not large enough to justify a quotation and it has been difficult to secure additional acquisitions.
Wine and beer maker Chapel Down (CDGP) reported a one-third increase in 2015 revenues but a smaller increase in profit. The investment in an additional 90 acres of vineyards should provide further impetus in the coming years. Wine sales were 27% higher last year. Revenues increased from £6.11m to £8.18m and underlying profit improved from £133,000 to £141,000. Brewing subsidiary Curious Drinks has raised £1.71m to invest in a new brewery and last year its sales rose by 50%. At 33.5p (32p/35p) a share, Chapel Down is valued at £33.8m.
Electronics and engineering group Mechan Controls (MECP) failed to find a bidder that was willing to meet its board’s valuation for the business. Bids for parts of the group were also too low but there is still potential to sell individual subsidiaries. This means that the formal sales process has ended. At 248p (243p/253p) a share, Mechan is valued at £5m.
Diversified Gas & Oil Corp (DOIL) has completed the purchase of assets in Ohio for $4.8m. These assets are producing 250 barrels of oil per day and 3,000 mcf of gas a day. Diversified operates more than 5,000 producing wells in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania producing 450 barrels of per day and 13,000 mcf gas a day. So far £6.9m has been raised from bond issues. There are further acquisition opportunities.
Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has issued a further £390,000 of 8% unsecured bonds. The company’s focus is investment in social housing portfolios and property asset-backed lending in the UK and Europe. Queros originally raised £500,000 last July and the latest issue takes the bonds in issue to £972,000.
Electrical testing and oil and gas equipment rental and sales company Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI) is raising £5.5m through a placing and open offer at 75p a share and management will contribute around one-fifth of this cash. Northbridge fell into loss last year as demand from the oil sector weakened. Costs have been reduced but Northbridge is not expected to return to profit until 2017. Debt covenants have been a concern and the additional cash will help net debt to fall from £14.3m, while capex should be lower than depreciation this year.
SalvaRx Group (SALV) has made its first investment since it reversed into 3Legs Resources. A $2m investment will give SavaRx a 9.2% interest in Intensity Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment for solid tumours. Intensity has a platform called DfuseRx that can identify formulations based on existing treatments that could be injected into solid tumours. The lead treatment is INT230-6, which could enter human trials by the end of this year. SalvaRx chief executive Dr Ian Walters has been working with Intensity for nearly two years so he knows about the technology. Jim Mellon and a fellow SalvaRx non-exec are subscribing for $1m of convertible loan notes in SalvaRx. The conversion price is 35.5p a share.
Healthcare services provider Totally (TLY) has been adding new clients to its services, including new prison contracts. The nine new contracts cover 21 locations and are worth £300,000 a year over the five years of the contracts. The services provided include physiotherapy. Totally is also integrating health education services and products provided by US business Healthwise into its self-care services. Totally has a three year agreement with Healthwise.
Investment company BP Marsh (BPM) has sold its 49% stake in small business sales adviser Broucour Group to its founder for up to £341,000. A £330,000 loan will also be repaid. BP Marsh has also invested S$2.4m for a 20% stake in Asia Reinsurance Brokers. An additional investment of S$500,000 could increase the stake to 25%. The Singapore-based reinsurance and insurance risk services provider is well-established and profitable.
CEII Roma is investing £10.45m in copper and gold miner Rambler Metals & Mining (RMM) at 4p a share – a small discount to the market price. Canada-based Rambler has also issued 200 million warrants with an exercise price of 5p a share. The initial cash should enable production at the Ming copper-gold mine to increase to 1,250 metric tonnes per day over the next few years. Rambler will assess the potential for further investment in the mine. Last month, Rambler said that it is exploring the potential for toll mining gold concentrate from the Cap Ray deposit at its Nugget Pond mill.
Standard list cash shell Vertu Capital Ltd (VCBC) has identified a potential acquisition. The financial services-focused investment company intends to acquire corporate finance consultancy VCB Malaysia for £350,000. VCB is profitable and offers capital market, investor relations, fundraising and wealth management services. Vertu believes that VCB can be used as a base to grow a consultancy and wealth management business. Due diligence is still being undertaken. The deal will require a document for the readmission of the company to the standard list because it is a reverse takeover but it does not require shareholder approval because the company is on the standard list.
Standard list cash shell Falcon Acquisitions (FAL) has raised £2m at 20p a share to add to its cash pile. Falcon, which is seeking online television and broadcasting businesses to acquire, previously raised £1.73m, mainly at 10p a share when Falcon floated in January. At the time of flotation, Falcon said that it wanted to raise additional funds of up to £2m at a share price to be set between 10p and 30p.
Investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) has raised £390,000 after expenses at 233.2p a share, the NAV at the end of March, and the shares were admitted to the market on 21 April. The placing price was at a premium to the market price. Managing director Robin Boyle believes that there are a number of mis-priced shares that the cash can be used to buy.
Goldcrest Resources (GCRP) has secured the acquisition of Taoudeni Resources, which owns the Asheba gold project that is situated at the southern end of the Ashanti gold belt in Ghana. Goldcrest’s non-executive chairman Gavin Burnell is also a shareholder in Taoudeni, which has a non-JORC compliant resource of 176,000 ounces at 1.8g/t. Goldcrest has already conditionally acquired the nearby Akoko gold project, which has a JORC resource of 92,800 ounces at 1.9g/t. The company will seek to generate a JORC-based resource for the combined project. Goldcrest will issue 599.2 million shares for the initial consideration with deferred consideration of 617.7 million and 102.3 million warrants exercisable at 0.05p a share and lasting ten years. ISDX-quoted Hot Rocks Investments will receive 193.5 million of the initial consideration shares, taking its stake to 14.6%, plus 43.2 million of the warrants and is due to receive 320.8 million of the deferred consideration shares. AIM-quoted Sunrise Resources receives 116.6 million shares and 9.8 million warrants. Niall Tomlinson and Dr Ryan Long will join the Goldcrest board. At 0.06p (0.05p/0.07p) a share, Goldcrest is currently valued at £900,000.
A newly formed subsidiary of FT8 (GFT) has taken a 40% stake in BIPS Technologies in exchange for rights to use technology developed by FT8 to make payments and disbursements of employee benefits for healthcare providers and insurers and in this case specifically for the voluntary benefits market in the US. FT8 has also agreed to cover banking fees associated with the administration of a Supplemental Insurance Funds Transfer Program. BIPS will hold the contractual rights to this fund which will service the clients of Homeland HealthCare Inc. A minimum employee enrolment of 75,000 is projected by the end of 2016 and it is projected that it could reach a minimum of 350,000 by the end of 2018. Gross revenue per employee signed up should be just over $1/month. FT8 will not have to provide any additional finance for BIPS. At 0.65p (0.6p/0.7p) a share, FT8 is valued at £4.8m.
Blockchain technology companies investor Coinsilium Group (COIN) has invested an additional $50,000 in data management blockchain company Factom Inc. This takes the total invested to $200,000, which equates to 2% of the diluted share capital of Factom. The Coinsilium share price has recovered to 8p (6.5p/9.5p).
Ecovista (EVTP) is raising a further £252,000 at 0.06p a share. The current share price is 0.075p (0.07p/0.08p). Ecovista is also seeking shareholder approval at its AGM so that any breach of the directors duties caused by previously issuing more shares than they were allowed to will be waived.
Trading in the bonds of recruitment company Positive Healthcare (DOC) has been suspended because £1.75m of the £2m that the company claimed it had raised has not been received. The bond register needs to be rectified and then Positive Healthcare can try to issue more bonds.
Via Developments (VIA1) has raised an additional £206,000 (£204,000 after expenses) from a further issue of 7% debenture stock 2020. This takes the debentures in issue to £1.76m. Via joined ISDX on 5 November having issued £530,000 7% debenture stock 2020. The Manchester-based residential property development funder wants to raise up to £3.5m.
Empyrean Energy (EME) is selling its 3% interest in the Sugarloaf AMI development in Texas to Carrier Energy Partners II for $61.5m and this should enable a cash distribution to shareholders. If oil prices average more than $55/barrel this year then more could be payable – up to a maximum of $10m. Empyrean expects to pay $3.6m in tax plus $5.2m for outstanding bills owed to the Sugarloaf operator Marathon Oil and it will repay its debt facility of $21.6m. This will leave Empyrean with a 58.1% working interest in the Eagle Pool development project in California, a 7.5% working interest in two producing wells in Sugarloaf block A and a 10% working interest in Riverbend project in Texas. New opportunities will be sought.
Colin Porter is stepping down as chief executive of STM Group (STM) in order to take up a position in the US. He has a 12 month notice period so there is plenty of time to find a replacement. This led to a sharp drop in the share price even though it was confirmed that trading is in line with expectations for a 2015 profit of £2.7m. Alan Kentish will become interim chief executive.
Energy storage technology developer RedT Energy (RED) is raising £3.5m at 6.75p a share – a huge discount to the market price. The share price was just over 10.5p a share a few days before the placing was announced but it fell to 8.38p a share after the announcement – although that is still relatively high compared to the share price in the past three years. House broker finnCap has edged down its target price from 14.5p to 14p. RedT has received an initial $2m from the sale of its US biogas interests so it will have a cash pile to finance the commercialisation of its battery technology.
Big data services provider Fusionex International (FXI) reported revenue growth of 33% to RM70m last year. In the year to September 2015, pre-tax profit rose from RM19.5 to RM24.9m, while earnings per share were 28% higher at RM0.58 (9.4p). There has been criticism of cash generation levels and this led to a slump in the share price. Fusionex says that since September RM23.4m (£3.8m) of the year-end receivables of RM28.5m (£4.6m) has been collected.
Nasstar (NASA) says trading is in line with expectations following a strong second half, helped by the acquisition of VESK. The cloud-based services supplier has renewed the contract with its largest client – there had been some client losses earlier in the year. Net debt of £5.3m at the end of 2015 is slightly lower than expected.
Worldview Capital Management says that it is considering a cash offer for Petroceltic International (PCI). Worldview already owns 29.6% of the Irish oil and gas company, which launched a strategic review before Christmas. Advances have been received for some of Petroceltic’s remaining assets. Petroceltic has received a further waiver of repayments under its senior debt facility until 29 January so that it can continue with its strategic review. The debt facility amounted to $217.8m before Christmas.
Portfolio analytics software supplier StatPro (SOG) has paid an initial $10m for Investor Analytics, a US business that provides cloud-based risk analytics for hedge funds and asset managers. Up to $6m more could be payable depending on winning new contracts. The business has annualised recurring revenues of $4.85m (£3.3m) – out of total revenues of $5m – and should be earnings enhancing in 2016 following integration and annual cost savings of £700,000 – at a cost of up to £1m.
Tissue Regenix (TRX) says that DermaPure, which is used to treat wounds due to diabetes, has generated more than $1m in sales and it is available for reimbursement in 31 states of the US. Tissue Regenix has recruited 20 people for the OrthoPure XM clinical trial designed to gain a CE mark in Europe. OrthoPure XM is designed to repair damaged menisci, which is a condition that could lead to the onset of osteo-arthritis. The patients will be monitored for six months as part of the final information required for the CE mark submission later this year. Consort Medical boss Jonathan Glenn has been appointed a non-executive and Tissue Regenix will benefit from his medical devices expertise.
Condor Gold (CNR) has ended the strategic review it announced last September and it is no longer deemed to be in an offer period. The share price slumped by two-thirds over the period which meant that Condor was valued at $5/resource ounce so a realistic bid is unlikely at the moment. The average NPV of the La India project in Nicaragua is $196m. There are 1,544,000 ounces of inferred and indicated contained gold resources in total. Average annual gold production of 165,000 ounces is anticipated for the first five years and cash costs of production should be less than $700/ounce.
Investment company Highway Capital (HWC) has appointed the chief executive of the Bucharest Stock Exchange as its new chairman. Ludwik Sobolewski was previously the boss of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. This follows the appointment of Dariusz Zych and Jacek Ślotała as directors in November. This suggests an eastern European focus to investments. Dominic Wheatley has stepped down as chairman but remains on the board. The other director, Maciej Szytko, has loaned £120,000 to Highway on top of a previous £30,000 loan. The loan lasts five years, from July 2015, and is convertible at 10p a share. Szytko already has a 29.99% shareholding. At the time of the loan the share price was 16p, while the current share price is 14.5p. Highway moved from a premium listing to the more lightly regulated standard listing in 2013.
Cash shell Falcon Acquisitions Ltd (FAL) has gone to a 70% premium following its flotation on the standard list on 18 January. An initial placing raised £1.6m at 10p, which capitalised the company at £2.04m, and the shares ended the week at 17p. This is based on just over one million shares traded during the week. There is a secondary fundraising that may raise up to £2m at a share price to be set between 10p and 30p. There was already £265,000 in the bank before the flotation so there is cash of £1.65m after costs of £220,000, compared with a market value of £3.47m. The focus is acquiring businesses involved in online, mobile and video broadcasting. Any target is likely to be worth up to £30m.