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The ecommerce technology and brands retailer Samarkand Group (SMK) reported lower interim revenues because of a one-off PPE contract in the previous period. There was a small underlying dip in revenues to £7.17m as the wholesaling business is being run down to a less important level of operations. The two core parts of the business grew revenues. The company’s brands generated £2.25m and the NOMAD ecommerce technology business generated just over £3m. Samarkand remains loss-making. Net cash was £8.8m at the end of September 2021, but Samarkand subsequently acquired Napiers the Herbalists for an initial consideration of £1.7m in cash. Revenues continue to grow at an accelerating rate. The current focus is organic growth through adding new clients.
Rural Broadband Solutions (RBBS) is acquiring Cadence Networks for £80,000 in cash and the issue of two million shares at a notional price of 7p each. Cadence is an internet service provider with revenues of £145,000. It has three data centres in London that Rural Broadband Solutions can use to build its national data network to replace third party providers. This will help to improve gross margins. There are 2,733 premises connected to the fixed wireless network of Rural Broadband Solutions. A placing is raising £1.675m at 3p a share. Directors are subscribing for 18.3 million shares. Investec Bank will advise on infrastructure funding.
VSA Capital (VSA) reported interim revenues of £1.16m and a loss of £235,000. This reflects the delay in the flotation of Tungsten West, which subsequently generated revenues of more than £1m.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has sold its residential property in Southfields for £662,500, which is a 2% premium to its valuation. This is the final private rental property in the portfolio.
Love Hemp Group (LIFE) generated revenues of £4.33m in the year to June 2021 and revenues from major retailers are increasing. Plans to move to the Main Market are progressing.
Apollon Formularies (APOL) has completed its high-volume processing laboratory. Processing capacity has increased to 20 litres of medicinal cannabis oil a day.
BWA Group (BWAP) says that the independent expert review of the two 90%-owned mineral sands projects in Cameroon supports the potential for significant mineralisation. BWA intends to drill 2,500 metres at Nkoteng and 1,500 metres in Dehane in the first quarter of 2022. An initial mineral resource estimate is expected by next summer.
Igraine (KING) says 2%-owned investee company Excalibur Medicines has completed the ARCADIA phase II clinical trial to assess a potential treatment for diabetics with Covid-19. The trial shows that AZD1656 reduced mortality in patients in combination with other medication. There are no safety concerns
S-Ventures (SVEN) has raised £3m at 70p a share and it will spend the cash on growing its food and wellness businesses. Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has raised £102,000 at 0.5p a share. IamFire (IAF) has raised £4.75m at 3p a share. EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has raised £20m from a zero dividend preference share offer. EPE has spent £1.1m and £175,000 buying back ordinary shares at 330p each and 350p each respectively.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has arranged an £8m loan at an annual interest rate of 15%. Schroder UK Public Private Trust and other shareholders will provide the loan in two tranches of £4m. There is also a convertible loan of £2m from LF Equity Income Fund – the conversion price is 176p. This will provide the working capital needed and a longer-term financing will be arranged next year. The cash is required because the cash for the £12.35m placing with SDI Holding has not been received. The acquisition of Proton Partners International has also not been completed.
Western Selection (WESP) has reduced its stake in AIM-quoted Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI) from 11.35% to 9.65%. The sale, at 159.7p a share, raised £791,000. That is a gain on the balance sheet value of £216,000. Harwood Capital has increased its stake from 15.1% to 16.9%, including an unchanged 13.4% held by Gresham House Strategic (GHS).
New chief executive Andrew Carter has bought 66,079 shares in Chapel Down Group (CDGP) at 45.4p each. He owns 99,699 shares. Voyager Life (VOY) chief executive Nick Tulloch bought 537,776 shares at 18p each and chairman Eric Boyle acquired 519,112 shares at the same price. They own 14.3% and 9.1% respectively. Burns Singh-Tennent has bought one million shares in Oscillate (MUSH) at 2p each. He owns 5.22%.
NWF (NWF) had a successful first half even though feed volumes were disappointing and group figures will be much better than the previous year. Actions taken to retain drivers have helped the fuels and food distribution divisions. Fuels has done better than expected with a short-term boost from fuel shortages, which NWF did not suffer from, in the autumn. The food distribution business is benefiting from increased capacity. Net debt has fallen providing further scope for fuels acquisitions.
Totally (TLY) is acquiring Energy Fitness Professionals (Energy Fit-Pro), which provides workplace fitness services. The total cost will be up to £1.3m and Totally still has plenty of cash to finance further acquisitions. In the year to March 2021, Energy Fit-Pro made a pre-tax profit of £445,000 on revenues of £984,000. There will be cross-selling opportunities.
Digital transformation services provider Made Tech Group (MTEC) grew interim revenues by 131% to £11.7m thanks to the focus on the public sector. Hiring continues ahead of anticipated growth. Short-term gross margin was reduced due to the increased use of contractors.
Multi-utility connections and electric vehicle charging installer Fulcrum Utility Services Ltd (FCRM) is raising £19.5m at 12p a share and it could raise up to £6m more via an open offer. The placing and open offer price is below the underlying NAV of 15.4p a share, although more than 50% of that figure relates to intangible assets. The order book was £80.9m at the end of September 2021.The cash will be used to invest in the smart energy infrastructure sector as meter asset provider (MAP).
Acquisitions and tax adviser K3 Capital (K3C) expects to report a 30% increase in interim revenues to £30m through a combination of like-for-like growth and acquisitions. The diversification into additional services provides a stronger base for the group.
Hurricane Energy (HUR) could make a $54m write-off on its activities in the Greater Warwick area (GWA) of the North Sea because it does not want to fund the drilling obligations under the licence.
Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) founder Edmund Truell and his associates are backing a possible bid of 40p a share by Kofax Inc. California-based Kofax is an automated software provider that simplifies the handling of data. The board says that the bid significantly undervalues the digital invoicing business. Cloud-based automation technology provider Jaggaer LLC has decided not to make a rival bid but venture capital firms Accel-KKR, could still make an offer.
Deepmatter Group (DMTR) is seeking more cash, but it will take until early next year to secure additional investment for the digital chemistry data company. At the end of June 2021, Deepmatter had £1.8m in cash and that has fallen to £400,000. Deepmatter is loss-making.
Printed circuit technology developer Trackwise Designs (TWD) is raising £6m at 80p a share, which is a significant discount to the market price at the time of the announcement. An open offer could raise up to £1m. Capital equipment deliveries were delayed, although the EV contract will start next year.
Sovereign Metals Ltd (SVML) was listed on the ASX and obtained a secondary quotation on AIM. A scoping study for the Kasiya rutile project confirms that it is a significant deposit. The NPV8 after tax is $861m with a mine life of 25 years. The capital cost is estimated at $332m.
Youth-focused digital media company LBG Media (LBG) joined AIM in order to build a cash pile on the balance sheet so that organic and acquisitive growth can be achieved. It raised £30m at 175p each, leaving pro forma net cash of £27.1m. The share price ended the first day at 200p and the week at 193.45p.
DSW Capital (DSW) licences its brand to professionals involved in corporate finance and accounting services and provides them with back office support. Many individuals become licensees after working with major accountancy firms. Warrington-based DSW believes that the flotation will boost the profile of the business and enable it to grow geographically and broaden the services provided. DSW raised £5m at 100p a share and the price ended the week at 123.5p.
In the six months to October 2021, Begbies Traynor (BEG) revenues were 39% ahead at £52.3m. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped 60% to £8m thanks to an improvement in operating margin from 14.4% to 16%. Net cash was £1.2 million at the end of April 2021.
Public Policy Holding Company Inc (PPHC) provides public affairs, crisis management and lobbying services in the US. It has three subsidiaries in the top 20 US lobbying firms. A placing raised £11.1m at 135p a share. Although the company has reported losses, a change in bonus arrangements will make it profitable.
Problems at the CHESS naval systems subsidiary led to a slump in interim profit at defence firm Cohort (CHRT), but it still increased the interim dividend by 10% to 3.85p a share. The group order book remains strong and includes some large orders. A new managing director has been appointed at CHESS.
Jade Road Investments Ltd (JADE) says that the structure of restaurants group Fook Lam Moon has changed, and it may no longer own 71%. This could lead to a partial or full provision of the $29.1m valuation in the balance sheet.
Anemoi International (AMOI) has completed the acquisition of id4 AG for £5.33m, with an initial payment in shares with 50% deferred and dependent on achieving targets over the next five years. The SaaS-based business provides anti-money laundering and know your client software products. A placing raised £2.175m at 4p a share.
Spinnaker Acquisitions (SPAQ) is planning to acquire leak detection technology developer HomeServe Labs, from fully listed HomeServe (HSV) for a mixture of cash and shares. The business trades under the name LeakBot and it helps insurers to reduce claims costs. Insurers can provide LeakBot to homeowners free of charge. The company would be renamed Ondo InsureTech.
Marine technology products developer OTAQ (OTAQ) is raising £1.38m at 22p a share. Interim revenues fell from £2m to £1.8m. Net debt was £800,000 at the end of September 2021. The regulatory review in Scotland has held back progress and it continues to do so. There are plans for new product launches.
Publisher National World (NWOR) says full year revenues will be around 85%, following the purchase of JPI Media, with growth in digital income and a slowing in the rate of decline of print revenues. There should be cash of £23m at the end of 2021.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) continues to progress its development plans and some of the benefits are shown by the near-doubling of conference and events revenues in the first half. The remodelling of the main parade ring has been completed and a contractor appointed for work on the Royal Box, which will cost £2.5m. In the six months to June 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £7.57m, even though one race day was lost, and there was a slightly lower pre-exceptional loss of £317,000. There is a danger that legislation relating to fixed odds betting terminals could have a knock-on effect on Newbury’s revenues from bookies in the second half.
Shepherd Neame (SHEP) will be releasing its annual results on Wednesday. Peel Hunt expects pre-tax profit to be 5% lower at £11.2m, because there was no contribution from the Asahi brewing contract that ended in 2018. Excluding that contract, profit could have risen. Pubs have grown their like-for-like income and brewing volumes have recovered, but second half profit could be minimal. NAV of 1664p a share is forecast.
Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) has been hit by a short-term lack of sales activity in the NHS. In the year to April 2019, DXS reported an increased loss of £200,000, up from £46,000. Revenues dipped from £3.41m to £3.35m. More than £1m was spent on developing products during the year.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says that dry herb medical inhalation system Hapac has been refined and sales of the device and Hapac sachets are growing. However, legal uncertainty in Italy means that Hapac has been removed from sale while a court case over labelling and cannabis content is heard in Parma. There are plans to launch Hapac in other markets. Ananda has a 15% stake in Hapac’s owner. Edward Nealon has increased his stake in Ananda from 5.31% to 6.91%.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that Apollon Formularies, a Jamaican cannabis company where it owns 2.325% and it intends to acquire the rest of the shares, has completed a six week pilot opening of a medicinal cannabis therapy centre to treat patients.
Karoo Energy (KEP) is in discussions with investors so that the company can be recapitalised and settle outstanding creditors. NEX has agreed to defer the withdrawal of Karoo shares from trading ahead of the publication of a circular.
AFH Financial (AFHP) has bought another IFA. It is paying up to £3.2m for Wirral-based Broadleaf Financial Services.
LF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital Trust own 50.6% of Rutherford Health (RUTH) following the latest cash injection of £12.5m at 176p a share.
StatPro (SOG) is recommending a 230p a share cash bid from Confluence Technologies. That is a 55% premium to the market price and the share price has never been anywhere near that level. It is equivalent to more than 32 times last year’s earnings. Nearly two-thirds of the shares have agreed to accept the offer, which values the asset management software supplier at £161m.
Fulcrum Utility Services (LSE: FCRM) has managed to avoid publicity of its full year figures. On the plus side, they were released before the end of September so there is no danger of trading in the shares being suspended. They were in line with previous indications after multi-utility construction services provider Fulcrum and its auditors finally agreed on the way to interpret IFRS16, which relates to recognising revenues. Fulcrum is no longer allowed to take the revenues and profit from constructing its own utility assets through the income statement. Revenues were one-fifth higher at £48.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £7.9m to £8.6m. NAV is 20.5p a share.
Background and medical screening checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) grew its interim revenues by 17% to $11.6m and it is getting nearer to profitability. The underlying pre-tax loss was $500,000. This has prompted a small upgrade in the revenues forecast to $23.5m, but additional marketing costs mean that pre-tax loss is still likely to be $600,000. Net debt could be $700,000 at the end of 2019. Demand from the US labour market remains strong and ClearStar is building its presence in newer sectors.
Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) is in talks to buy Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT consultancy and e-commerce app developer, for £2.3m in shares. Trading in the shares has been suspended. Due diligence is ongoing, and the shares will remain suspended until a readmission document relating to the reverse takeover is published.
Advanced materials supplier Low and Bonar (LWB) is recommending a 15.5p a share cash bid from Germany-based FVB that values the company at £107m. The bidder says that its geographic reach will widen, and it will be able to enter the coated technical textiles market. Recent trading at Low and Bonar has been poor.
National Word (NWOR) is a standard list shell that has been launched by former Mirror boss David Montgomery so that he can acquire UK local newspapers.
Toiletries manufacturer Creightons (CRL) has agreed to acquire its premises in Peterborough for £3.8m. This needs to be agreed to be shareholders at a general meeting.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has installed a further 1,000 cryptomining machines, taking the total to 6,000. That figure could double by next spring. In the six months to June 2019, Argo generated revenues of £2.93m and made a pre-tax profit of £947,000.