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Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that the 36.2%-owned joint venture that owns the Amapa iron ore project in Brazil has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sinoma Tianjin Cement Industry Design, which will provide a final proposal to complete a definitive feasibility study for the project and then submit a fixed price contract to construct the project. It will also attempt to obtain the financing required. Chief executive Kiran Morzaria bought 100,806 shares at 7.4p each.
Adsure Services (LON: ADS) joined the Access segment on 30 October. It did not raise any additional money and was valued at £4.76m at the introduction price of 45p. Fareham-based Adsure Services acquired TIAA in September. It is a specialist business assurance provider that has been operating for two decades. In the year to March 2023, TIAA revenues improved from £8.82m to £9m, while pre-tax profit dipped from £580,000 to £274,000. That is due to higher overheads. TIAA had £1.86m in the bank and net cash of £1.15m. Dividends have been paid by TIAA and the equivalent last year was 1.35p/share.
Substrate Artificial Intelligence (SAI.B) has agreed the acquisition of 70% of BINIT and DELTANOVA for €5.4m and €600,000 respectively, which is payable in shares. They are software development consultancy businesses, and the share issue has to be approved by shareholders.
CBD products supplier Voyager Life (VOY) expects interim revenues to be more than £165,000 and a gross margin of 43%. The manufacturing division is receiving more enquiries. The government has accepted recommendations for standardised cannabinoid testing and there could be a relaxation of the maximum cannabinoid content of products.
Helium Ventures (HEV) had nearly £65,000 in cash at the end of April 2023, plus interests in Blue Star Helium and Trackimo.
Semper Fortis Esports (SEMP) had cash of £160,000 at the end of July 2023. Management is still assessing a potential reverse takeover of GL Membership.
ChallengerX (CXS) generated cash from operations in the quarter to September 2023, although there was an overall outflow of £47,000, leaving £1,000 in the bank. More cash will be required to develop the FlashBet Wheel App.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has confirmed the mineralised base metal system at Cottesloe in the Paterson Range, Western Australia. There is copper, zinc, silver, lead and cobalt. This is before the drilling has hit the target mineralisation zone.
KR1 (KR1) holds an allocation of 7.5 million TIA – the digital asset of Celestia – KR1 plans to start staking activities on the Celestia network. At the end of September 2023, NAV was 45.11p/share.
TruSpine Technologies (TSP) says that the FDA 510(k) application for Cervi-LOK has oved to the substantive review stage.
Fuel additives developer SulNOx Group (SNOX) generated second quarter revenues of nearly £54,000, which was lower than the previous year. There was £562,000 in the bank and a further £700,000 has been raised since then.
Ananda Developments (ANA) has signed a MOU with Nottingham Trent University to pursue grant funding for the medicinal cannabis breeding programme. The intention is to develop a formal strategic partnership.
IamFire (FIRE) had cash of £149,000 at the end of April 2023, following a £768,000 cash outflow from operations. Investee company WeShop is making good progress. However, there is material uncertainty as a going concern and more cash is required or bond terms will need to be renegotiated.
NFT technology company Looking Glass Labs (LON: NFTX) had net assets of C$837,000 at the end of July 2023.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) non-exec directors Jayne Almond bought 3,000 shares at an average price of 912.5p each. Shepherd Neame (SHEP) director George Barnes bought 1,000 shares at 735p each. Marula Mining (MARU) chief executive Jason Brewer has exercised 400,000 warrants at 4p each.
BWA Group (BWAP) is raising up to £900,000 at 0.5p/share with one warrant for every two shares exercisable at 0.6p each up until October 2024 and 0.75p after that up until October 2026. The cash will be used for exploration at two heavy mineral sands claim areas.
Mental health treatments developer Mydecine Innovations Group (MYIG) says that it is filing a prospectus supplement so that it can issue 7.36 million shares at 15 cents/share to raise $1.1m.
Product management software supplier Sopheon (SPE) has received a bid approach from IOps Buyer Inc, which is a subsidiary of Wellspring Worldwide Inc. The two companies have agreed in principle to a 1000p/share bid. Due diligence has been completed and discussions are advanced. Chicago-based Wellspring Worldwide provides software and data systems for managing technology transfer and intellectual property.
Velocys (VLS) is the worst performer today because the conditions for the $15m strategic investment from Carbon Direct have not been met. To receive this cash the sustainable fuel developer needs to raise $40m, including $8m already raised, and management is still trying to secure investors. The $15m cash injection is no longer binding. Velocys needs more cash before the end of the year. There is a significant market opportunity in sustainable aircraft fuel, but Velocys is in a weak position when discussing additional funding.
Carbon ceramic disc brakes developer Surface Transforms (SCE) has reduced revenue guidance for 2023 to £8.6m, having generated £6.3m up until October. The previous forecast for 2023 revenues was £13m. There have been problems ramping up production in the second half and it will not be completed until early next year. A new debt facility is being negotiated to enable an increase in annual capacity to £150m.
MC Mining (MCM) has received a bid approach. Two companies that own a 64.5% stake in the South African coal miner say they intend to acquire the shares they do not own, and the indicative offer is A$0.2 to A$0.23 for each share. Independent directors are assessing the indicative offer.
Cerillion (CER) has secured a five-year software deal with a European telecoms company. The deal is worth €12.4m and there is potential for selling other software modules. This deal helps to underpin forecasts.
OptiBiotix Health (OPTI) says that restructuring the management has improved account management and the focus of commercial discussions. The microbiome company has improved its online operation. There are ongoing discussions over potential large contracts.
Roebuck Food Group (RFG) is acquiring Motherwell-based food ingredients supplier Moorhead & McGavin for £2.225m in cash and shares. A placing will raise up to £2.5m at 13.5p/share. Moorhead & McGavin supplies cereals, pasta and rise to the catering sector and generated revenues of £7.26m and EBITDA of £377,000 in 2022. Roebuck Food Group sold its cold storage division, and it has been seeking an acquisition to scale up the business.
In October, podcast company Audioboom (BOOM) generated more than one billion advertising impressions in a month for the first time. The removal of old adverts after 90 days and replacing them with a new focused advert is helping advertising impressions to continue to grow. Fourth quarter revenues are still expected to be at least $19m.
Thor Energy (THR) has completed the stage 2 earn-in spending required to acquire a further 29% of the Alford East copper-gold-real earths project in South Australia. This takes the stake to 80%. Thor Energy has issued 9.26 million shares at A$0.027 each, plus 18.5 million warrants exercisable at A$0.03 each, to Spencer Metals as consideration for the stake.
Seaweed-based animal feed producer Ocean Harvest Technology (OHT) has conducted a successful trial in Georgia for its poultry feed. Mortality rates for the poultry with necrotic enteritis with the company’s feed in their diet fell from 49% to 33%. It also enhances weight gain. Necrotic enteritis costs the poultry sector up to $6bn/year.
Technology businesses developer Frontier IP (FIPP) moved into loss last year because of realised and unrealised losses on its portfolio against a large gain in the previous year. The value of the portfolio fell 17% to £33m, although there were net disposals of nearly £5m. There was a £3.25m cash outflow from operations offset by disposals, leaving £4.6m in cash at the end of June 2023.
Neometals (NMT) has decided not to progress with vanadium tailings retreatment project in Finland because of difficulty in financing. The price of vanadium has been falling in recent months. Neometals will concentrate on licensing its vanadium recovery process. There was cash of A$14.2m at the end of the first quarter.
Real Good Food (RGD) says first half revenues were 2% ahead at £16.1m, although volumes fell by 10%. October revenues appear set to be 6% higher. The cake decorations supplier has significantly reduced its loss due to higher margins. A shortage of cash has held back growth, but the company could be profitable for the full year. Talks continue concerning the extension of the loan agreement with Hilco Private Capital. Interim results will be published in December.
Reconstruction Capital II Ltd (RC2) plans to ask shareholder approval for leaving AIM so that costs can be reduced. It is taking longer than expected to sell investments, so the investment company also intends to extend its life. A matched bargain facility will be arranged.
Esken (ESKN) is selling Esken Renewables to Pioneer Balmoral for £77.6m, plus loan reimbursement of £6.9m. The portfolio of renewable assets has been built up by investing small amounts in equity in businesses. The deal requires shareholder approval. Net proceeds will be £78.5m and £70.6m will be used to repay the committed funding. There are plans to sell Southend Airport. Esken will move from the premium list to the standard list.
Mike Whitlow has requisitioned a general meeting at standard list cash shell More Acquisitions (LON: TMOR) to get Nicholas Tulloch and Jeremy Woodgate to the board and remove the existing directors Charles Goodfellow and Roderick McIllree. The board believes it has enough backing to defeat the resolutions.
Frontier IP Group #FIPP
Parkmead Group #PMG
CVS Group #CVSG
In our December investment review, Ken discusses the macro picture in the US, Europe, China and Japan before looking at the effects of inflation. We then look at moves over the past 2 months before moving to the UK economy and issues such as consumer confidence, the trade deficit and Govt deficit, insolvencies and recession expectations. Ken highlights the good job that PM Rishi Sunak has done in steadying the ship, before we look at how previous stock picks in October and November have performed. These include Legal & General #LGEN, Smith & Nephew #SN, Begbies Traynor #BEG, Greencoat UK Wind #UKW, Whitbread #WTB, Frontier IP #FIPP, Enquest Bond #ENQ2 and Georgia Capital #CGEO. Ken then picks out four more stocks for growth, These are:
Lloyds Preference Share #LLPC
Asia Dragon Trust #DGN
Legal & General Cyber Security ETF #ISPY
DECEMBER 2022 Market Report
During the one-month period to 30th November 2022, major equity markets, as measured by the
aggregate FTSE All – World Index, rose by over 5%, reducing the year-to-date loss to 18%, in $ terms.
Chinese equities, were very strong gaining over 30% and taking the broad emerging market indices
and Asia with them. The VIX index fell, finishing the period at a level of 22.22.
Government Fixed Interest stocks also rose over the month. The UK 10-year gilt ended the month on
a yield of 3.16% with corresponding yields of 3.77%, 1.94% and 0.25% in USA, Germany, and Japan
respectively. Speculative and lower quality bonds, however,fell in price terms. Currency moves
featured a weaker US dollar. Commodities were mixed.
Over the recent month, the OECD has made further downgrades to world economic growth and
anecdotal evidence from several third quarter reporting companies suggests that the slowdown is
accelerating. e.g. Maersk (“freight rates peaked….decreasing demand”).
At the same time, key data indicators (factory gate and commodity prices, shipping rates, inflation
expectations) suggest that headline price growth is set to slow in coming months, although labour
compensation developments must be watched carefully .
More volatility expected in oil prices as western countries prepare to impose a price cap on Russian
FTX,a leading crypto exchange,and a sprawling network of affiliated firms filed for bankruptcy
protection dealing another blow to the crypto sector.
Recent US Federal Reserve meetings and informal comments by Jerome Powell and other Fed
governors remain hawkish and further increases are expected though calls for 50bp rather than
75bp are increasing. The latest rise took the benchmark rate to the 3.75%/4% range.At a speech at
the Brookings Institute yesterday,the Fed Chairman sent mixed signals that the fight against
inflation “had a long way to go” while also sending a strong hint that the next rate rise,mid
December, would be 50bp rather than 75bp
would be Downward projections to economic growth, and upward moves to inflation forecasts
were also released.
Recently announced inflation indicators showed October headline CPI of 7.7%, lower than estimates,
while the core inflation rate rose by 6.3%. First quarter negative GDP growth followed by second
quarter of -0.9% signals a “technical recession”, although labour/employment trends still seem
reasonably robust. Third quarter preliminary GDP growth of 2.6%, annualised, while higher than
estimates concealed a weaker consumer component offset by a strong trade balance. Recent
consumer sentiment indicators (November composite PMI for example), retail sales, housing
activity, construction figures and the Empire States Survey back this up, showing declining trends
into recent weeks. . The Fed’s own forecasts expect GDP growth of 0.2% and 1.2%, and core PCE
growth of 4.5% and 3.1% respectively for 2022 and 2023
US midterm election results showed the Republicans narrowly taking control of the House of
Representatives while the Democrats retained the Senate, a situation which could minimise more
extreme policies, but also thwart some of Biden’s ambitions. Donald Trump has vowed to return in
2024, although the Republican Party is far from united at the current time
The European Central Bank raised interest rates by half a percentage point on July 22nd, and a further
75bp in September also pledging to support surging borrowing costs from sparking a eurozone debt
crisis. The ECB raised interest rates by another 75bp, to their highest level since 2009, on 27th
October, pledging to continue increasing borrowing costs in the coming months to tackle record
inflation, despite a looming recession. On 29th November, Christine Lagarde, the ECB president,
warned that the bank was “not done” raising interest rates, saying that inflation “still has a way to
First quarter 2022 GDP for the Eurozone showed a weaker than expected trend especially in
Sweden, Italy and Germany and more recent indicators show a continuation of this trend,
exacerbated by the Russia/Ukraine conflict, supply chain issues, and rapidly increasing costs. The
“flash” PMI figure for October, released on the24th October, fell to 47.1 the lowest since November
2020, although German quarterly GDP growth figures, just released, were marginally ahead of
Current ECB staff projections foresee economic growth of 2.8% for 2022, a sharp reduction on the
previous forecast, and further downgrades could be likely in the wake of the ongoing Ukrainian
conflict and related gas shortages.
November Eurozone inflation, just released, of 10.0% was lower than expected.with slower gains in
energy and services ,and faster growth in food prices.
ASIA excl JAPAN
The GDP figures, shown below (source: CLSA, CEIC) show that 2022 and 2023 growth
projections for the Asia excl Japan region compare favourably with those of other developed
regions. The reasons include a “better” Covid experience, selective commodity exposure,
tourism, continued FDI Investment (especially China related) and better initial fiscal
situations (compared with late 90’s for example) and limited direct connections with the
Russia/Ukraine situation. The forecasts do not assume a total easing of Chinese covid rules.
Headline inflation of around 5% (core 3%) also compares favourably.
Geo-political concerns must be taken into account, especially In Taiwan.
The 5.5% official GDP growth target for 2022 looks clearly unachievable, with some investment
banks now forecasting below 3%. Official data shows weakening trends in consumer spending, fixed
asset investment and construction activity while more recent “live” tracking data e.g., mobility,
cement production and electricity use also showed subdued economic activity. Official data for the
third quarter, just released shows growth of 3.9%. The major historic negative issues of a very
restrictive anti-Covid policy and major disruption within the property market have now been
supplemented by increasing US restrictions on the production/export of certain key electronic
At the time of writing a property “rescue” package has been implemented, while on the Covid front,
tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets protesting strict coronavirus controls and
suppression of freedom of speech, triggering clashes with police and security forces.While nothing is
certain in Xi’s approach to the Covid Pandemic, there is a growing feeling that certain measures will
be relaxed/increase in vaccination.
The Japanese economy contracted 1.2% on an annualized basis during the third quarter of 2022,
missing forecasts of 1.1% growth, and considerably weaker than the 4.6% expansion recorded during
the second quarter. This was the first down quarter of the year reflecting weak domestic
consumption, a slowdown in business investment and an acceleration in imports. Estimates for the
full year seem to fall mainly within the 1.5%-2.0% band. Inflation, while still well below international
peers, rose by 3.6% in October, the highest since 1982, driven by currency weakness.
Recently the Japanese government unveiled a $197 billion stimulus package to ease the impact on
consumers of soaring commodity prices and a falling yen, while the BoJ stuck by its ultra-loose
policy, maintaining very low interest rates and re-affirming it yield control policy.
Within the UK, live activity data (e.g November Gfk data) continues to show a weaker overall trend,
especially within the services sector. According to this survey, released late November, covering the
mid November period, consumer confidence remains very low, amid the cost-of-living crisis.The
retail sales figure for October did however show a slightly better than expected reading but this may
have been distorted by the Queen’s mourning period . Unemployment, however, is still at a very
low level, although recent official figures did show a tentative slowing in hiring intentions.
Inflation continues to rise, the October CPI and RPI readings registering hikes of 11.1% and 14.2%
respectively. Kantar and the ONS both reported food/grocery prices rising about 15% year on year as
well as turkey/egg shortages.Happy Christmas!
The PSBR was starting to deteriorate again, largely as a results of rapidly rising interest (index linked)
payments and expectations of higher public sector pay and state pensions. The most recent “official”
figure showed September PSNB at £20 billion, much larger than forecast and the second largest
since monthly records began in 1993, according to the ONS.
Despite some relief with the recent energy price package, until April at least, (but not other utilitiessee below), shop price inflation, greater Council Tax “freedom”, upward interest/mortgage rate
pressure, stalling house prices, accelerating rents, insolvencies/evictions, legacy Brexit issues and ,
strike activity, will continue to be headwinds and the outlook for economic growth over coming
quarters is highly uncertain. Both the Bank of England as well as the OBR and now the OECD are
expecting recessionary conditions for one to two years.
Experts at consultancy EY-Parthenon reported that company profit warnings had jumped from 51 to
over 86 over the third quarter of 2022 citing increasing costs and overheads as the main reason,
especially in consumer facing businesses. Another report from Begbies Traynor, Latest Red Flag Alert
Report for Q3 2022 – 07:00:07 19 Oct 2022 – BEG News article | London Stock Exchange quoted that
over 600,000 business were already in severe financial distress.
Monetary policy has tightened from a 0.1% interest rate in December last year to the 1.25% rate set
in June and a further 50bp at the August, meeting, followed by 50bp in September, taking the
benchmark rate to 2.25%. Markets are expecting rates to be above 4.0% by mid-2023.
On 17th November, Chancellor Hunt told a sombre House of Commons that a massive fiscal
consolidation including £30 billion of spending cuts and £25 billion of tax rises was needed to restore
Britain’s credibility and tame inflation. The OBR said they expected the economy to shrink 1.4% and
not regain pre -pandemic levels until 2024.Inflation was expected to remain over 7% next year.
While many of the proposals had been leaked, and the market reaction was muted (first objective
achieved!), there were a few positive surprises (e.g help for NHS and education) and several
From an investor point of view the reduction in tax free allowances for investment income and
capital gains, was higher than expected. Make full use of ISA etc while can!
Monthly Review of Markets
Global Equities rose over November (+5.02%) extending the quarterly recovery and reducing the
year to date decline to 18.04% in dollar terms. All major indices climbed with especially large gains
registered in China, which also benefited Emerging Market and FT Asia-excl Japan bourses.
Continental European indices were also relatively strong, while the NASDAQ and Nikkei lagged in
relative terms. The VIX index fell over the month to end November at a level of 22.22. The ten –
month gain of 29.04% reflects the degree of risk aversion compared with the” relative calm” of last
December (medical, geo-political and economic!)
Sector moves were again very mixed over the month although most ended in positive territory. The
few losers included telco’s and tobacco On the other hand, miners, utilities, life companies,
financials,retailers and food were relatively strong. The FTSE100 outperformed the All-Share Index
and is about 3% ahead of the broader index since the beginning of the year. By IA sectors, UK active
unit trusts are underperforming benchmark indices, trackers etc, so far this year, with small
company funds even more so. Income based funds, by contrast, are significantly outperforming the
averages. “Balanced” funds, by IA definitions, are falling by about 8%-10% so far this year (Source:
Trustnet November 30th).
Major global government bonds rose in price terms over November, the UK 10-year yield for
instance finishing the month at a yield of 3.16%. Other ten-year government bond yields showed
closing month yields of 3.77%,1.93% and 0.25% for US, German and Japanese debt respectively. UK
corporate bonds also bounced strongly, up approximately 4% on the month in price terms.
Speculative bonds, however, bucked the trend falling in price terms.
Year to date, the composite gilt index has fallen approximately 22% underperforming UK higher
quality corporate bonds in price terms and more so in total return.
Check my recommendations in preference shares, selected corporate bonds,fixed interest ETF’s ,
zero-coupons, speculative high yield etc. A list of my top ideas from over 10 different asset classes
is also available to subscribers.
Currency moves featured a sharp fall in the US dollar, largely following the better-than-expected
inflation rate. Sterling rose against the US dollar but fell against the Japanese Yen and Euro. Currency
developments during November also included modest strength in the Chinese Yuan.
A mixed performance by commodities during November with weakness in Oil and many agricultural
commodities and strength in copper, Iron ore and the precious metals. Year to date, uranium and
the energy complex are strongly up in price terms while industrial metals copper, aluminium and
iron have all shown price declines of over 13%. Gold has also dropped in dollar terms by about 3% so
far this year.
Major central banks have remained hawkish with reducing QE/commencing QT and accelerating the
timing and extents of rate increases as the main objectives, especially where inflation control is the
sole mandate. In a growing number of smaller economies where US contagion, politics, commodity
exposure inflation/fx are also issues, several official increase rate increases have already taken
effect. Japan, however, has continued to adopt stimulative measures, up to now.
Global Government Bonds have stabilised somewhat although differing inflationary outlooks and
supply concerns could lead to continued volatility in the sector.
For equities, the two medium term key questions will be when rising interest rates eventually cause
equity derating/fund flow switches, government, corporate and household problems, and how the
rate of corporate earnings growth develops after the initial snapback. Going forward, withdrawal of
certain pandemic supports, uncertain consumer and corporate behaviour and cost pressures are
likely to lead to great variations by sector and individual company. The third quarter reporting
season produced several negative surprises e.g large American technology companies and UK
building and property companies.
As well as maintaining an overweight position in UK equities, it may be worth initiating or adding to
Japanese positions within an international portfolio. The US market has fallen about 19% so far this
year (NASDAQ -30%) but remains a relative underweight in my view. Margin pressure headwinds,
political uncertainty, prospective dollar weakness and technology sector volatility must be balanced
against the current stock market ratings. Continental European equities appear cheaply rated in
aggregate, but great selectivity is required. Within the Emerging market space I currently favour
exposure to the Far East.
Another major asset allocation decision would be to keep part of the conventional “fixed interest”
portion in alternative income plays in the infrastructure, renewables, and specialist property
areas. Many instruments in this area provide superior capital growth, income, and lower volatility
than gilts for example. Recent stock market volatility has brought several renewable stocks back to
I am also adding selected preference shares to the “fixed interest” allocation, where annual yields
of approximately 6% are currently available.
UK Equities continue to remain a relative overweight in my view, based on several
conventional investment metrics (see above), longer term underperformance since the
Brexit vote, style preference (value overgrowth) and international resource exposure
although be aware of the numerous domestic headwinds I have highlighted above.
Value should be favoured over growth, and the FTSE 100 favoured over the FT All-Share.
Apart from the style drift, remember that the non sterling element of leading FTSE 100
companies and sectors is relatively high
By sector, Oil and Mining equities continue to benefit from above average yields, strong
balance sheets, dollar exposure and secular demand e.g copper, cobalt for electronics,
construction, electric vehicles etc. Any moves regarding Chinese re-opening the economy
would be another positive for this sector.
Remain overweight in pharmaceuticals and underweight in non-renewable utility stocks
which may suffer from consumer and government pressures, and no longer trade on yield
premia, especially against the backdrop of higher gilt yields.
Construction materials, especially cement will benefit from growing
infrastructure/renewable initiatives., although rising cost pressures and falling housing
activity must also be considered.
Banks, may enjoy some relative strength from rising interest rates, but continue to
monitor the recession/loan growth and default risks.These mixed trends were very
evident in the recent third quarter figures. Preference Shares as well as ordinary shares
have attractions in this area
Housebuilders and real estate-expect depressed activity and remember that the rising
interest rates have not yet been fully factored into bricks and mortar property yields.
Industry data and anecdotal news from both housebuilders and REIT’s suggest further
weakness to come.
Retailers are in general suffering from a combination of falling sales and rising costs and
clear trends in consumers “trading down” are apparent. Certain on-line operations e.g
Asos additionally are suffering from an element of post-Covid comparison.
Domestic Breweries/pubs etc are having a hard time with stalling consumer’s
expenditure, supermarket competition and rapidly rising costs.
Airlines may suffer as a result of large dollar costs, uncertain foreign travel outlook and
often high debt levels
Extra due diligence at stock level more generally will be required as I expect a growing
number of profit warnings and downbeat forward looking statements. See the EY and
Begbies statements on page 7 above.
However,takeover activity is also clearly increasing with, for example, private equity
snapping up UK-listed companies at the fastest pace for more than twenty years. Foreign
takeover, stake building is also increasing, current weak sterling being a factor, with
Vodafone under scrutiny by a French (who already have BT interest!) investor. Biffa (waste
management),MicroFocus(technology),Aveva(software) and RPS(professional services)
have all succumbed to foreign takeovers in recent months, much by “strong dollar”
American or Canadian organizations.
JAPANESE EQUITIES also remain an overweight in my view, although my recent
comment re hedging may “nuanced “now following the extreme currency weakness and
surprise intervention. Unlike most other major economies, Japan is expected to continue
its easy money policy. Exporters have benefitted from the plunging Yen although higher
input costs and more “off-shoring” also must be considered. The prospective price/book
ratio of 1.19 is attracting interest of corporate and private equity buyers, while the
prospective yield of 2.6% is above the world average and compares very favourably with
USA (1.7%). Corporate governance is rapidly improving with diverse boards, reduction of
cross holding, higher dividends etc. There are clear signs that inward investment attracted
by the pro-growth, pro-deregulation agenda and relatively low costs (average Japanese
annual wage $30000 compared with $75000 USA) is increasing. Private equity stake
building interest in Toshiba and growing activity in the property sector (discount on a
discount in a cheap currency) demonstrate the search for value in Japan. Investors may
wish to adopt a partially rather than fully hedged FX position following recent
On a valuation basis (see table above) the forward PE multiple of 12.9 is at a considerable
discount to the world, and especially US average (18.0)
EMERGING MARKETS-Very difficult to adopt a “blanket” approach to the region even in
“normal times”, but especially difficult now, with so many different COVID, commodity,
sectoral mix, debt, geo-political and increasingly natural disaster variables. The IMF recently
warned that several emerging nations could disproportionately suffer from a combination of
COVID and adverse reaction to “tapering” by developed counties e.g., FX/Interest rate
pressures. Six countries have already defaulted during the pandemic, and the IMF is currently
in various stages of bail-out discussions with Pakistan,Argentina,Zambia,Sri
Lanka,Ghana,Tunisia and Egypt.
Within the emerging/frontier universe I continue to have a relatively positive view on Asia.
The economic fundamentals were discussed on page 16 above, and the forward-looking
multiples and dividend growth metrics appear relatively attractive in a global context. Any
move by China to open more fully after their severe Covid lockdown, would of course
additionally help. Exposure to the entire area can be achieved through a number of ETF’s and
also investment trusts currently on discounts
If a country-by-country approach is adopted, I have a longer term positive view on Vietnam
where, the nation is supported by positive demographics, with a population of near 100
million, an emerging middle class, and a recipient of strong foreign direct investment.
Qualconn,an Apple supplier, Intel(semi-conductors),Lego and Samsung(mobile phone plant)
have all recently invested in new capacity in the country. Other big names moving chunks of
production from China to Vietnam include Dell and HP (laptops), Google(phones)and
Microsoft (Games Consoles) The economy is expected to grow at around 6.5% this year (7.7%
Q2 2022) and current inflation is running at about 3.5%. On a relatively low prospective PE
based on forecast earnings growth over 20%, Vietnamese equities appear good value. India,
although quite highly rated and a major oil importer, warrants inclusion in a diversified
portfolio, and is currently receiving some fund flows from “overweight” Chinese portfolios.
Indonesia, the last of my current Asian ideas benefits from a commodity boom, strong
domestic market, low debt, relatively stable currency, forecast 5% GDP growth and 5%
Caution is required in many South American markets with poor COVID-19 situations,
deteriorating fiscal balances, weak investment, low productivity (see below) and
governments in a state of transitioning e.g Brazil. However, some stock market
valuations currently appear interesting in the region, which, so far, has been relatively
unaffected by events in Ukraine. Commodity exposure, deglobalization beneficiary,
valuation and recovery from a very low-level account for some year-to-date stock
market relative out- performance. Many of these countries also raised interest rates
at an earlier stage, allowing relative currency strength, compared with say the Euro,Yen or Sterling.
Certain areas within Central Europe are starting to receive more attention, mainly on
valuation grounds, but the lingering Covid effects and indir
ect effects of the Russia/Ukraine invasion should be borne into account. Regarding the
latter, a reduction/termination of Russian gas supply could have a serious recessionary
impact in certain countries. Large refugee influxes e.g Poland are also starting to
create budgetary/social issues.
Comments re great selectivity above also apply to emerging market debt. For the
more adventurous fixed interest investor combinations of well above average yields
(sometimes caused by pre-emptive moves last year), stable fiscal and FX situations
and, diversified economic models could provide outperformance from carefully
• COMMODITIES– Gold spiked to over $2000 in March, a recent high, when Russia invaded
Ukraine, but has since fallen about 12%, although of course, remaining reasonably stable in
many local currency terms . The longer-term prospects for more cyclical plays continue to
look brighter. Increased renewable initiatives, greater infrastructure spending as well as
general growth, especially from Asia, are likely to keep selected commodities in demand at
the same time as certain supply constraints (weather, labour and equipment shortages,
Covid, transport) are biting. Anecdotal evidence from reporting companies RTZ, BHP and
Anglo American appear to suggest that the industry is enjoying a bumper time, and with
disciplined capex programmes, extra dividends and share buy-backs are commonplace!
Current rumours of a cautious relaxation of the Chinese Covid policy, may provide a boost to
• Wheat and other grain prices have fallen from the levels reached following the Russian
invasion of Ukraine, but the current grain shipment complications, planting/harvesting
schedules within the region and extreme global meteorological conditions are expected to
lead to further price volatility. If the conflict is prolonged it will affect millions of people
living in such places as Egypt, Libya, Lebanon Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia that
could have political consequences. There has been renewed interest in agricultural funds as
well as the soft commodities themselves.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE remains a longer-term theme, and will be built into
the many infrastructure initiatives, being pursued by Europe, USA, and Asia. The
Russia/Ukraine conflict is accelerating the debate, and hopefully the action. There are
several infrastructure/renewable investment vehicles which still appear attractive, in
my view, combining well above average yields and low market correlation with low
premium to asset value. The recent volatility in natural gas prices has highlighted both
risks and opportunities in the production and storage of energy from alternative
sources. However, increasing levels of due diligence are required, in committing new
money to the area overall. Financial watchdogs across the world are sharpening their
scrutiny of potential “greenwashing” in the investment industry on rising concerns that
capital is being deployed on misleading claims.
• However, in the shorter term, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has precipitated a global
energy crisis, that has forced countries, especially in Europe to look for ways to quickly
wean themselves off Russian oil and gas, and reconsider timelines of commitments to
cut the use of fossil fuels. At the time of writing, it seems highly likely that USA will
increase oil and gas output, UK North Sea may see further investment and EU coal
consumption could increase.
• Another area currently in the ESG purist cross hairs is “nuclear”. Ignoring the fact that
nuclear weapons have not been used in anger since 1945, and the fact that some deterrent is
needed, (now?), where should the confused investor stand when it comes to nuclear power
substituting coal power? Japan, UK and Germany are all studying proposals to revive their
nuclear power capacities. I have some interesting “uranium play” ideas for those interested.
• ALTERNATIVE ASSETS-this group, encompassing private equity, private debt, hedge
funds, real estate, infrastructure, and natural resources is expected to continue growing both
in actual and relative terms over coming years.
Traditional asset management groups are racing to expand offerings in alternative
investments as they seek to boost profitability and head off competition from private
equity groups (see graph below).
I have, for a while, recommended some exposure to this area maybe as part of the
former “gilt allocation”. With strong caveats re liquidity, transparency, dealing
process, I still adopt this stance, continuing to use the investment trust route. So far
this year, gilts have declined approximately 24% while my favoured UK renewable
closed-end funds have appreciated by around 6% in capital terms and delivered about
6% in annual income. Please contact me directly for specific ideas
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY The MSCI/IPD Property Index showed a sharp fall in the total return across all
properties in October, the decline of 6.4% (-6.8% capital values, +0.4% income),taking
the year to date return to -1.6% (capital -5.2%,Income +3.8%).The monthly decline
accelerated the downward trend started in July this year, especially in Industrial
Properties. Rental growth however was positive at +2.4% in October..or 4.4%
annualised for the ten month period
Several analysts are down grading their estimates for the sector following the rapid move
in UK longer and shorter-term interest rates. Property asset valuations take time to
materialise where there is a lag between balance sheet date and results publication in
the listed area. Live traded property corporate bonds, however, have already moved
Quoted property giants British Land and Land Securities both reported deteriorating
conditions witing their third quarter statements, expecting further valuation declines
following rising yields.
Full asset allocation and stock selection ideas if needed for ISA/dealing accounts, pensions.
Ideas for a ten stock FTSE portfolio. Stock/pooled fund lists for income, cautious or growth
portfolios are available. Hedging ideas, and a list of shorter-term low risk/ high risk ideas
can also be purchased.
I also undertake bespoke portfolio construction/restructuring and analysis of legacy
Independence from any product provider and transparent charging structure
Feel free to contact regarding any investment project.
Good luck with performance!
Ken Baksh Bsc,Fellow (UK Society of Investment Professionals)
1st December ,2022
Important Note: This article is not an investment recommendation and should
not be relied upon when making investment decisions – investors should conduct
their own comprehensive research. Please read the disclaimer.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment
recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment decisions.
The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal or any other advisory
capacity. This is not an investment research report. The author’s opinions
expressed herein address only select aspects of potential investment in
securities of the companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for
comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative
in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has
limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that potential and existing
investors conduct thorough investment research of their own, including detailed
review of the companies’ regulatory filings, and consult a qualified investment
advisor. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from
sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified.
Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates
constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication and are
subject to change without notice.The author may hold positions in any of the
The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this
New VOX markets podcast now out with our CEO Alan Green, covering Warpaint #W7L, Cizzle Biotechnology #CIZ & Frontier IP Group #FIPP
New VOX markets #podcast now out with our CEO Alan Green discussing:
– Warpaint #W7L
– Cizzle Biotechnology #CIZ
– Frontier IP Group #FIPP
AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
Invinity Energy Systems (IES) has signed a memorandum of understanding with US Vanadium to create a US-based 50/50 joint venture to build and sell vanadium flow batteries. Arkansas-based US Vanadium produces high-purity vanadium pentoxide and electrolyte for vanadium flow batteries. Invinity Energy Systems has also delivered and installed a 1.8MWh VS3 flow battery system at the European Marine Energy Centre hydrogen R&D facility in the Orkney Islands.
Valereum (VLRM) is swapping its 20 bitcoin miners in the US for a 24% stake in new company Vinanz, which is conditional on the company listing on a recognised stock exchange. The final stake will depend on the money raised at the time of the listing. This will enable Valereum to concentrate on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange when the deal gets regulatory approval.
CBD and hemp products supplier Voyager Life (VOY) generated revenues of £178,000 in the period to March 2022. There is £1.43m in the bank.
DXS International (DXSP) has entered a licence and services agreement with Deontics, which is a clinical AI company. The technology will be integrated into the DXS clinical software.
Shares in TECC Capital (TEC) remain suspended ahead of a readmission document for the proposed EDX Medical acquisition. There was £1.03m in the bank at the end of March 2022.
Goodbody Healthcare (GDBY) increased revenues by £2.55m to £7.4m in the first half of 2022. This was driven by revenues from the testing clinics. The loss grew from £1.27m to £1.41m. There is cash in the bank of £3.74m.
Psych Capital (PSY) investee company Awakn Life Sciences, where Psych Capital owns 426,000 shares, has entered the US addiction treatment and relapse prevention market through a licensing partnership with Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness Ltd, a ketamine wellness clinic chain. Awakn has a treatment that was validated in a phase II a/b trial, which delivered 86% abstinence for six months after treatment versus 2% before the trial. Revitalist will pay an annual fee and a revenue share per treatment.
Ingraine (KING) says AZD1656, which is being developed as a treatment for people with diabetes suffering from Covid-19, has shown evidence that it activates T-regs that might suppress the inflammation that is the prime cause of tissue damage in autoimmune disease. LANCET eClinicalMedicine is publishing the results of the phase II clinical trial. Ingraine owns 2% of Excalibur Medicines Ltd, which has exclusive rights to AZD1656.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has a second drill rig is on site at the Red Setter gold copper project in the Patersons Range area in Western Australia. The drilling has shown the intersection of multiple zones of quartz veining, carbonate and chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite.
Premium Nickel Resources Ltd, where Evrima (EVA) owns 1.11 million shares, has been readmitted to TSX-V after the reverse takeover of North American Nickel Inc. The first assay results from the Selebi nickel copper cobalt sulphide mine in Botswana have been published. There was a positive update for the Molopo Farms complex project in Botswana, where Evrima has an 8.93% project-level interest.
Hydrogen Utopia International (HUI) is starting a US roadshow from 22 August, following the start of trading of the shares on OTCQB Venture Market. Recent US legislation could increase investor interest in the clean energy market.
Altona Rare Earths (ANR) is raising £1.1m at 8p a share ahead of the planned move to the Main Market at the end of September.
Chris Akers has increased his stake in Oscillate (MUSH) from 13.1% to 14.25%. The share price fell 11%.
Fashion brand Joules (LON: JOUL) was the worst performer of the week, falling by more than one-third. Trading has deteriorated in recent weeks, although wholesale sales are higher. This means that it will not make a profit this year, even if second half trading improves. Peel Hunt has downgraded its forecast for 20222-23 from a profit of £4m to a loss of £4.2m. Jonathan Brown becomes Joules chief executive at the end of September. Talks with NEXT about a cash injection continue.
Agricultural products supplier and retailer Wynnstay Group (WYN) raised £10.5m in a placing at 560p a share, which was above the minimum price indicated of 550p a share. The plan is to redevelop the Calne feeds site that came with an acquisition earlier this year. This can be developed into a feed mill with a 185,000 metric tonne capacity that produces poultry and ruminant feed. There are also opportunities for further acquisitions.
Online fashion retailer boohoo (BOO) has made a strategic investment in cosmetics supplier Revolution Beauty (REVB), which recently announced a profit warning. boohoo has bought a 7.13% shareholding. Revolution Beauty products are sold through several of boohoo’s websites.
Frasers Group (FRAS) has bid 2p a share for MySale Group (MYSL), which values the retailer at £13.6m. The bid is not recommended.
Newcrest Mining is not taking up the option to acquire a further 5% stake in the Havieron asset, so Greatland Gold (GGP) will retain a 30% stake. The price for the 5% stake had been set at $60m and much of that cash was earmarked to pay off loans from Newcrest. Greatland Gold management says that it is happy to retain the larger stake. The latest mineral resource for the Havieron deposit announced by Newcrest is 5.5 million ounces of gold and 223,000 tonnes of copper.
AI product revenues at Intelligent Ultrasound (IUG) reached £300,000 in the first half. There were royalties from the GE deal and direct product sales. Full year revenues are expected to be £600,000. In the six months to June 2022, group revenues grew 62% to £5.9m, although that includes £1.4m of one-off ultrasound simulation orders from an NHS training initiative. There was a 13% decline in US revenues to £1.1m, but they should recover in the second half. The group remains loss-making and there is cash of £3.5m, which is expected to decline to £1.8m by the end of 2022.
MTI Wireless Edge (MWE) has been winning contracts that should benefit the second half. In the six months to June 2022, revenues improved from $21.3m to $22.7m, while pre-tax profit barely changed from $2.05m to $2.04m, due to a higher interest charge and amortisation related to the recent acquisition of communication and monitoring systems developer PSK WIND Technologies. Russia accounted for 6% of revenues and 5% of profit in 2021.
Full year revenues of digital services provider Made Tech Group (MTEC) were 120% higher at £29.3m and it moved into profit. There was cash of £12.3m at the end of May 2022. The contracted order book is worth £38.2m.
Flexible electrical connectors manufacturer Strip Tinning (STG) shocked the market when it revealed that a Croatian customer wants to terminate a contract from 1 October. This contract for cell management systems for electric vehicles was supposed to be worth €2m a year once peak volumes were hit in a couple of years.
Fishing equipment retailer Angling Direct (ANG) increased interim revenues by 1% to £38.9m, but they weakened in the second quarter and management says that full year revenues will be lower than previous guidance of £82m. That will lead to a sharp reduction in expected EBITDA to between £3m and £3.4m.
In-game advertising services provider Bidstack Group (BIDS) has extended its contract with Sports Interactive, which created the Football Manager game. This is a multi-year renewal of a contract that initially began in 2017.
Specialist recruitment firm Gattaca (GATC) says net fee income grew by 4% to £44m in the year to July 2022. There was an increase in permanent recruitment income offsetting a decline in contract income. There is good demand but a shortage of candidates for the roles.
Frontier IP Group (FIPP) has sold 391,200 ADSs in Exscientia at an average price of $11.97 each. This raised £3.88m. That is £1.85m below book value. Frontier IP still holds 782,400 shares in Exscientia. So far, sales have raised £9.96m compared with a cash cost of less than £2,000.
Property services provider Kinovo (KINO) nearly doubled its operating profit in the year to March 2022. Net debt was reduced to £340,000. First quarter revenues have risen by 28% to £14m and Kinovo has moved into a net cash position. The latest estimate for the liability for DCB, which has gone into administration, is that it will cost £4m plus expenses to complete work, which is lower than previous estimates.
Sustainable energy projects developer SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) finance boss Andrew Dagley was voted off the board at the AGM on Thursday. There were 53.5% of the votes against his re-election. There were also 45% of votes against the audited financial statements for 2021 and 27% against the directors’ remuneration report.
Private equity firm Thoma Bravo LP has made a preliminary approach to artificial intelligence (AI)-based cybersecurity services provider Darktrace (DARK) concerning a possible cash bid. Discussions are at an early stage.
Plant hire company Vp (VP.) has ended its formal sales process after the board unanimously decided to conclude the process.
Flavouring ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) says that profit will be below expectations in the year to September 2022. Restrictions in China have hampered progress, while costs have increased, and sales of iced and leaf tea in the US have been lower than expected. Currency movements have made things worse. The order book is ahead of this time last year.
Mears (MER) has acquired IRT Surveys, which provides data-led services focused on addressing fuel poverty and energy efficiency, for up to £4.1m. The initial payment is £3m, with the rest payable depending on performance over a two-year period. There should be a £200,000 profit contribution this year.
AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
National Milk Records (NMRP) improved interim revenues by 6% to £11.4m, while pre-tax profit increased by 53% to £750,000. There was a £1m cash inflow from operations. Net debt was £1.1m at the end of December 2021. Genomics testing revenues were 17% higher. The interim dividend has been raised from 1.25p a share to 1.5p a share. Milk prices are strong, but costs are increasing.
Grid storage technology developer Invinity Energy Systems (IES) plans to gain a quotation on Aquis, while retaining its AIM quotation. This is so that it can also obtain an Aquis Access quotation for its warrants, which were issued in a fundraising at the end of last year. The short-term warrants are exercisable at 150p a share up until 15 September. The long-term warrants are exercisable at 225p a share up until 16 December 2024. The current share price is 77p.
Natural foods company S-Ventures (SVEN) has acquired the business of Livia’s Health Foods, which makes plant-based food treats. This includes Million Squares, Nugglets and Dunx. S-Ventures is paying £350,000 in cash and shares. The business has been loss making and generated revenues of £1.3m in the 12 months to January 2022. If revenues exceed £600,000 in the 10 months after acquisition than a further £100,000 is payable. VSA forecasts S-Ventures 2022 EBITDA of £1.8m.
Goodbody Health inc (GDBY) is launching blood testing through itkino, nbi, fire, shnj, coin, s network of clinics. More pharmacies are being added to the network. Covid tests are running at more than 500 a day even though UK testing requirements have been eased. The first clinic has been opened in Vancouver, Canada. Arden is forecasting a 2022 pre-tax profit of £5.1m, but this could depend on whether the level of Covid testing continues at these levels.
ChallengerX (CXS) has appointed John May as non-exec chairman and Brian Connell will take over as chief executive. Management is trying to unfreeze cash held in the accounts of its French subsidiary and says that they were mistakenly frozen after the former chief executive was arrested. There is still £550,000 of cash available for use by the company.
Western Selection (WESP) increased net assets to 68p a share at the end of 2021 thanks to gains on disposals and an uplift in the remaining stakes in Kinovo (KINO) and Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI). Net debt was £674,000 at the end of December 2021. There is no dividend.
IamFire (FIRE) has subscribed for a further £2m of convertible loan notes in WeShop. The conversion price is 75p a share. The beta version of the WeShop platform is on course.
Rogue Baron (SHNJ) is launching its Shinju whisky in the UK. This will be the first market with an 8-year old version of the whisky.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) is advising fashion brand Blvck Paris for the launch of the Blvck Genesis NFT collection.
Hydrogen Utopia International (HUI) says that talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries concerning the potential development of plastic waste to hydrogen facilities in Japan have ended.
SuperSeed Capital (WWW) managing director Mads Jensen has bought shares, while related party Capex Ventures sold 50,000 shares at 100p each, taking his interest to 81.9%. The shareholding of Anne Mette Horneman increased from 4.25% to 6.75%.
Franchise Brands (FRAN) has launched a recommended all share bid for kitchen services provider Filta Holdings (FLTA). The offer is 1.157 shares for each Filta share. Management and related parties own the majority of Filta. Shareholders owning more than 81% of Filta are backing the bid. Filta boss Jason Sayers will continue to run Filta, which provides cooking oil filtration and drain management services to restaurants and other venues in the UK and North America. Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps are already owned by Franchise Brands and these services can be offered to Filta’s customer base in the UK.
Shield Therapeutics (STX) got off to a slow start with its Ferracu iron deficiency treatment launch in the US. Total 2021 revenues, including European income, were £1.5m. Forecasts are all over the place. The statement was in line with Peel Hunt’s forecast but well below the finnCap estimate. The 2022 revenues forecasts are the other way around with Peel Hunt (£27.9m) being much more optimistic than finnCap (£9.9m). They agree Shield will continue to lose money, though. This shows that management does not have any real idea what is going to happen, or it could have provided better guidance. Hopefully, there shall be better information when the full year results are published.
Circle Property (CRC) is selling one of its main properties and plans to return cash to shareholders. Circle Property is selling Kents Hill Park Conference Centre to LXI REIT for £34.5m – 1.5% ahead of book value. There are plans to sell other properties.
Domain name and online marketing services provider CentralNic (CNIC) is doing much better than initial expectations in 2022. Online marketing services is where the growth is coming from. Broker Zeus has upgraded its 2022 pre-tax profit forecast from $37.2m to $39m. CentralNic is acquiring Fireball Search and the .ruhr top level domain, which has around 10,000 domain registrations, for €600,000 in cash. A maiden dividend is likely to be announced with the 2021 figures.
Cloud-based conferencing services provider LoopUp (LOOP) says the 2021 trading outcome was in line with previously downgraded expectations, but lack of cash could become a problem. Last year’s revenues were £19.5m, down from £50.2m in 2020, which was a bumper year. It is also well below the £42.5m generated in 2019. The loss is expected to be more than £10m in 2021 and 2022. Net debt was £2.5m at the end of 2021 and it is forecast to rise to £5.7m at the end of 2022.
SkinBioTerapeutics (SBTX) is still optimistic about the prospects for the AxisBiotix-Ps food supplement treatment for psoriasis, but the second phase of the launch, which has just commenced, will be an important indicator of success. The first significant revenues will be in the second half of the year to June 2022. The SkinBiotix cosmetic ingredient is ready to be mass produced by Croda, which is talking to potential cosmetics customers.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has raised a further £3.2m from the sale of ADSs in AI-based drug discovery company Exscientia compared with a book value of £1.75m. Froniter IP has raised £6.1m in total and retains 1.17 million ADSs.
Ariana Resources (AAU) will pay a special dividend of 0.175p a share on 25 March with another payment of the same amount due later this year. Ariana says that drilling at the Kilrou deposit in Cyprus has confirmed the existence of gold at the site, as well as copper and zinc.
Antimicrobial and textile odour control materials developer HeiQ (HEIQ) has secured a development partnership with Hugo Boss for HeiQ AeoniQ, a high-performance yarn. Hugo Boss is investing $5m in a subsidiary that holds the technology, which values that company at $200m. AeoniQ is designed as a sustainable alternative to oil-based nylon and polyester, which take up to 1,000 years to degrade and generate $135bn a year in fibre sales. HeiQ AeoniQ yarns are made from cellulosic biopolymers. The LYCRA Company will become the exclusive distributor of HeiQ AeoniQ yarns, and it will also make a financial contribution. The first product should be available in the second half of 2022.
Standard listed shell CYBA (CYBA) has agreed the acquisition of Narf Industries, which is a cyber security business, for $26.5m in cash and shares issued at 2p each. A placing will raise £6m at 2p a share. In 2020, Narf revenues were $2.78m and in the first half of 2021 they were $1.05m. SaaS subscriptions are generating an increasing proportion of revenues. Further acquisitions are planned.
BATM Advanced (BVC) says that its 2021 pre-tax profit figures will be slightly higher than expectations of $23m. The figures will be announced on 28 February.
Cizzle Biotechnology (CIZ) has agreed to acquire a 5% economic interest in AZD1656, a potential treatment for patients with Covid-19. This agreement was made with Conduit Pharmaceuticals and St George Street Capital and is in addition to previous agreements. Conduit has taken a 8.98% stake in Cizzle as part of the deal.
Studio Retail (STU) intends to appoint administrators.
Cash shell MAC Alpha Ltd (MACA) had £700,000 in cash at the end of 2021. Net assets are £369,000.
AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
Failed bidder Ecotricity has requisitioned a general meeting at Good Energy (GOOD) in order to remove Will Whitehorn as a director and to stop the company selling generating assets without shareholder approval. The meeting will be held on 11 February. Ecotricity owns 25% of Good Energy. The sale of the generating assets is an important part of the company’s strategy. The cash would be used to reduce borrowings and invest in newer businesses, such as Zap-Map and other digital businesses.
Samarkand Group (SMK) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with AIM-quoted Venture Life (VLG). The e-commerce technology platform will be the exclusive distributor of mouthwash Dentyl Dual Action and halitosis mouthwash Ultradex in China for an initial term of five years.
Hydrogen Utopia International (HUI) has signed a letter of intent with RZZO, which is a regional municipal waste management company in Ostrow Wielkopolski in Poland. RZZO will provide a plot of land where a HUI waste plastic to hydrogen plant can be sited and also source the plastic waste. They will seek funding from the EU as well as Polish grants. The heat would be fed into a district heating system.
Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has identified 11 new pegmatite zones at its HCK joint venture in Rwanda. These are potential tantalum-niobium bearing zones. The sampling should be completed in February.
Apollon Formularies (APOL) has signed agreements with more than a dozen cannabis cultivators. They all have the appropriate licences. It has also set up the Apollon Kannabiz Cooperative to work with local Jamaican farmers. Rod McIllree has been appointed as a non-exec director. He owns 29.1% of Apollon.
Western Selection (WESP) cut its stake in Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI) from 9.65% to 6.21%, while Harwood Capital has raised its stake to 16.9% to 20.4%. Western Selection raised £1.7m from the disposal.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had net assets of 510.95p a share at the end of 2021.
Sativa Wellness Group Inc is changing its name to Goodbody Health Inc (GBDY).
Dispersion Holdings has changed its name to AQRU (AQRU), which is aligned with the brand of its retail online platform for lending cryptocurrencies.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) will leave Aquis on 25 January.
Frontier IP (FIPP) says the increase in the value of tis stake in the Nasdaq-listed Exscientia will be an important component of the rise in NAV at the end of 2021. NAV was 69.8p a share at the end of June 2021. A small portion of the shareholding has been sold and further sales are likely. This cash can be ploughed back into Frontier IP and help with new investments.
Legal services provider Gateley (GTLY) reported organic growth of 23% in the six months to October 2021. That partly reflects the weak comparative figures as well as underlying growth. All four divisions grew revenues with only the property division having a small contribution from an acquisition. Utilisation levels improved from 79% to 84%. Underlying pre-tax profit increased from £7.5m to £8.5m. The interim dividend was one-fifth higher at 3p a share. Management is seeking acquisitions to add to organic growth. There is normally a second half weighting to the figures.
Strong trading at Metro Rod and Metro Plumb is the major factor behind the growth at Franchise Brands (FRAN) and the B2C franchise brands are recruiting more franchisees. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to increase from £4.8m to £6.4m. Net cash was £8.6m at the end of 2021.
Corporation Financeiere Europeenne acquired shares in CIP Merchant Capital (CIP) taking its stake to 31.8%. This has sparked a mandatory bid at 55p a share. This is a substantial discount to net assets of 87.6p a share. The plan is to save the costs of being a quoted company.
Cornerstone FS (CSFS) has come to an agreement with Robert Lee concerning the £100,000 convertible loan facility he had promised. Instead of being convertible at a fixed price of 61p a share the convertible could be converted at the average mid-market price of the shares for the five dealing days prior to the drawdown of the loan if this is lower. This will mean that it is much more dilutive unless there is a sharp rise in the share price. The international payments company says 2021 revenues should be £2.3m with more generated by direct sales.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) is paying up to £10m for Cardinal Management, which provides patient support at hospitals following traumatic events. This provides access to potential clients at an early stage.
Heart disease risk assessment technology developer GENinCode (GENI) has filed a pre-submission for its Cardio inCode-SCORE test with the FDA in the US. This will provide information ahead of a future marketing application. The test combines genetic risk with clinical risk to assess an overall risk of heart problems for a patient.
Oil palm plantations operator Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) generated record figures in 2021. December crude palm oil production more than doubled and the total production for the year was 39,953 tonnes, up 17.5% on the previous year. Extraction rates are starting to improve. The average crude palm oil price was $868/tonne, which is 44% higher than in 2021. The crude palm oil price is currently more than $1,000/ tonne
Minds + Machines (MMX) decided to return the remaining cash to shareholders and cancel the AIM quotation. There will be 10.4p a share tender offer.
Vector Capital (VCAP) has increased its debt facilities by £5m to £35m. In 2021, the total loan book rose by 27% to £46.3m. This is ahead of expectations.
Capital equipment supplier Mpac Group (MPAC) says it traded in line with expectations in 2021. A pre-tax profit of £8.2m is forecast. The closing order book was £77m. The 2021 results will be published on 14 March.
Holders Technology (HDT) is paying a special dividend of 2p a share on 28 January in addition to a final dividend which will be announced with the 2021 figures. The interim dividend was 0.5p a share. This follows the disposal of some of the company’s PCB assets for around £1.7m.
Mosman Oil and Gas (MSMN) has dropped its plans for a 100-for-one share consolidation after negative feedback from shareholders.
MJ Hudson (MJH) has gained a multimillion contract to advise the ACCESS local government pension scheme over a seven-year period. This covers eleven local authority pension schemes. They have £35bn in pooled assets.
Cash shell Electric Guitar (ELEG) joined the standard list on 11 January. It raised £1.2m at 3p a share and the share price has risen to 3.7p. The current NAV is 1.78p a share, which is effectively all cash. Electric Guitar is a shell seeking acquisitions in the digital advertising sector. There could be opportunities to consolidate smaller agencies. A suitable target will be run by management with a good record, be involved in growth areas, have good quality clients, an existing IT platform and be scalable. It should be near to cash generation. The company acquired would have an enterprise value of at least £5m.
East Star Resources (EST) has gained readmission to the standard list following the acquisition of Discovery Ventures Kazakhstan. A placing raised £3.1m at 5p a share.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL) has made a significant oil discovery in Wyoming. The discovery has between 1.5 billion and 1.9 billion barrels of oil in place.
PYX Resources Ltd (PYX) has begun sales of rutile from its Mandiri deposit in Indonesia with production of ilmenite and leucoxene starting later in the year.
One Heritage Group (OHG) is acquiring Seaton House in Stockport for £675,000. This is an office building, and the plan would be to convert it into up to 30 apartments. The gross development value is £5.6m.
AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
Wine maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) increased interim revenues by 35% to £8.11m, which included £287,000 from the brewing business, which has been sold. Chapel Down moved from loss to profit in the first half. Underlying pre-tax profit was £459,000, helped by £73,000 of government grant income. Wine volumes increased by 66%. Pro forma net cash is £6m, following the recent fundraising.
Digital assets investor KR1 (KR1) reported an NAV of 80.3p a share at the end of June 2021, up from 29p a share at the end of 2020. There was a £69.5m gain on intangible and financial assets.
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) returned to profit in the year to April 2021. The value of the portfolio was 3% higher at £89.9m. A loss of £742,000 was turned into a pre-tax profit of £1.39m. Contracts have been exchanged for the purchase of a property in Stafford for £1.26m, where the annual rent is £95,000. The sale of properties in Leeds and Dudley are due to complete.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has sold a 60% stake in Whale Head Minerals to AIM-quoted Kazera Global Investments (KZG) in return for 13.5 million shares, which have been assigned to Consolidated Minerals to settle a A$279,732 loan. Tectonic retains a non-diluting 10% interest in Whale Head Minerals.
Coinsilium (COIN) made a pre-tax profit of £333,000 in the first half of 2021. A net fair value gain on unlisted investments of £793,000 was offset by a £148,000 investment write-down. There was a £136,000 cash outflow from operating activities.
NFT Investments (NFT) had net cash of £29.3m at the end of June 2021. So far, two investments have been made, including one after June. Management admits that the digital asset investment sector has been volatile and NFT is being highly selective.
Cancer treatment company Rutherford Health (RUTH) has increased its full year revenues from £5.6m to £7.3m. The operating loss increased from £25.7m to £31.1m. Additional investment has been obtained since the end of February 2021.
Incanthera (INC) has frilled two trademark names for its Sol skin cancer formulation. They are ACTINOMOD AND ACTINODERM.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) has sold a further 220,000 shares in Secure Trust, raising £2.5m. Arbuthnot retains 399,538 shares in Secure Trust.
Adnams (ADB) director Guy Heald has acquired 3,000 B shares from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge at £92.86 each. His B shares stake has increased to 17.15%.
S-Ventures (SVEN) has appointed VSA Capital as corporate adviser.
Block Commodities has been withdrawn from Aquis after a six-month trading suspension.
Frontier IP (FIPP) investee company Exscientia has joined the Nasdaq Global Select Market after a $304.7m offer at $22 per ADS, which values the pharmatech company at $2.6bn. The ADSs ended at $27.10 each on the first day of trading on 1 October. The closing price values the Frontier IP stake at £31.3m. Oxford-based Exscientia is a spin-out from the University of Dundee and uses artificial intelligence to help drug discovery.
Broker Peel Hunt (PEEL) has returned to AIM two decades after its original flotation, which ended with a takeover by Belgian bank KBC. A placing at 228p a share raised £40m for the company and valued it at £280m. Existing shareholders also raised £72m The share price ended the week at 231.3p. In the year to March 2021, Peel Hunt Ltd revenues more than doubled from £95.5m to £196.9m, while pre-tax profit jumped from £34.2m to £120.1m. That reflects another bumper trading period. Because of the reorganisation of the group, the illustrative, adjusted pre-tax profit is £73.6m, up from £19.4m. Revenues for the five months to August 2021 fell from £82.5m to £63.3m.
GreenRoc Mining (GROC) has acquired the Greenland mining assets of Alba Mineral Resources (ALBA) in return for shares equivalent to 54% of the newly floated company. The Amitsoq graphite project has graphite suitable for using in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries and the Thule Black Sands project in north west Greenland appears to be a continuation of the Dundas mineral sands project being developed by AIM-quoted Bluejay Mining (JAY). GreenRoc raised £4.25m after expenses at 10p a share. The share price has slipped back to 9.35p.
Made Tech Group (MTEC) is a rapidly growing provider of digital transformation services to the UK public sector, including healthcare and defence. It raised £15m at 122p a share when it joined AIM at the end of September. Over the past three years annual revenues have grown at a compound rate of 89% and this growth has been financed without seeking shareholder investment. In the year to May 2021, revenues were £13.3m.
Delivered ready meals company Parsley Box (MEAL) has been hit by supply problems. The available stock is 50% of planned levels, due to staffing and logistics problems at food producers, and Parsley Box has built up its cost base in anticipation of growth. It is set to continue to make losses until the supply problems ease, even though marketing spend will be cut.
Antimicrobial technology developer Byotrol (BYOT) has sold the American rights to the Byotrol24 surface spray to its Americas licensee Integrated Resources Inc for $1.4m (£1m). Byotrol retains the rights outside of the Americas.
Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI) is growing the core loadbanks manufacturer Crestchic and the disposal of the Tasman oil and gas tools business, assuming it happens, will end the associated loss and pay off debt. Group revenues were 22% higher at £19.6m, while operating profit quadrupled to £1.6m. Net debt has fallen from £6.8m to £4.5m. A pre-tax profit of £2.83m is forecast for 2021. The construction of a new Crestchic factory has commenced.
Acquisitions and strong organic growth enabled pharma services software supplier Instem (INS) to increase interim revenues by 41% to £19.8m. Demand for the company’s software is being driven by increased life sciences investment. Instem is on course to increase full year pre-tax profit from £4m to £5.2m.
Cyber security firm Osirium Technologies (OSI) signed up 31 new customers in the first half. It was particularly successful in winning NHS Trusts. Average contract values were lower, but sales bookings were 19% higher. Interim revenues increase by 5% to £740,000, while deferred income was 17% ahead. Partners are being signed up to help with international growth. Full year revenues are expected to be 12% higher at £1.6m, but Osirium will continue to lose money due to continued investment.
Digital TV software technology developer Mirada (MIRA) has changed its strategy and employing resellers. The local presence should enable Mirada to build up its international revenues. Covid-19 hampered deployments and slowed investment decisions. Interim revenues declined by 15% to $11.1m. This is despite the growth in deployments of Mirada’s android TV technology for izzi Telecom, which is the company’s largest customer.
1Spatial (SPA) continues to win new contracts and annualised recurring revenues have increased by 12%. The latest contract for a UK government department is worth £8m.
Data erasure and mobile diagnostics services provider Blancco Technology (BLTG) reported operating 2020-21 profit slightly ahead of expectations. Investec is maintaining its 2021-22 pre-tax profit forecast of £5.4m, up from £5m.
Polymers developer Itaconix (ITX) is still loss making, but interim revenues improved 26% to $1.37m. It has a pipeline of potential deals that could generate revenues that are many times higher than that.
S and U (SUS) reported better than expected interims. Revenues were flat at £42.8m, but the core car finance business is recovering. The loan loss provision was cut from £21.4m to £4.9m. Car finance receivables were slightly higher at the end of the six-month period at £248.8m, even though credit criteria has been toughened. Pre-tax profit more than trebled to £19.9m. This includes an improvement in the profit of the Aspen bridging loan business from £100,000 to £1.5m. The interim dividend is 50% higher at 33p a share. Edison has upgraded the 2021-22 S and U pre-tax profit forecast to £38.7m.
Anglo African Agriculture (AAAP) says that the proposed reverse takeover of Kenya-based Comarco. The loan to the company plus interest, totalling $1.5m, should be repaid by the end of October. The original loan was made in November 2018 and is secured on a company with 4.74 acres of land at Mombassa.
Aircraft lessor Avation (AVAP) reported a $70.1m loss for the year to June 2021 and it is expected to make a much smaller loss this year. Avation has a fleet of 44 aircraft. The company’s cash pile should build up when underutilised aircraft are sold.
Bay Capital (BAY) is a newly floated shell set up by two highly experienced small company directors, Peter Tom and David Williams. It raised £4m at 10p a share and has pro forma cash of £6.64m, which is equivalent to 9.5p a share. The share price ended the week at 18.4p. Acceler8 Investments (AC8) is another recently floated shell where David Williams is a director.
Roquefort Investments (ROQ) is paying £1m in cash and shares for Lyramid, which has a worldwide licence to commercialise patents related to Midkine-based therapies for cancer, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and Covid-19. Roquefort plans to raise up to £3m. Trading in the shares has been suspended until a reverse takeover prospectus has been published.
Hygiene and protection technologies developer HeiQ (HEIQ) published lower interim revenues because the comparative figures were boosted by Covid-19 demand. Full year revenues are likely to be flat at around $50m, while pre-tax profit would decline from $7m to $3.7m due to a lower gross margin and higher overheads.
Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) moved from loss to profit in the year to April 2020. Revenues were slightly lower at £3.28m, while a loss of £200,000 was turned into a pre-tax profit of £239,000. There was £1m in the bank at the end of April 2020, following the recent fundraising. There has only been a marginal drop in revenues due to COVID-19 and growth should return later in the year. Chairman Bob Sutcliffe has bought 46,153 shares at 6.5p each.
KR1 (KR1) has raised $493,000 from the sale of Nexus Mutual tokens. They cost $79,000. KR1 still owns three-quarters of the tokens it originally acquired in the blockchain-based mutual insurance company.
Gunsynd (GUN) has bought a stake in Eagle Mountain Mining at A$0.13 a share. The £110,000 investment in the ASX-listed company provides exposure to copper exploration. The cash will finance exploration at the Oracle Ridge copper mine project.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has raised £150,000 at 1p a share. The new shares come with warrants exercisable at 2.75p each.
The Tasmanian government has transferred the mining lease to the Beaconsfield gold mine to NQ Minerals (NQMI).
AfriAg Global (AFRI) had £76,000 in cash at the end of June 2020. There are also £1.16m of investments available for sale.
Eurocann International (BUD) has yet to identify a medicinal cannabis business that fits its acquisition criteria and price expectations, although it has made some short-term investments.
Trading in the shares of Lombard Capital (LCAP) has been suspended following a sharp rise in the share price.
Tungsten Corporation (TUNG) is benefiting from its focus on building up recurring revenues from its e-invoicing platform. Additional products and services are being added to help accelerate growth. As revenues grow they will cover overheads and profit could increase rapidly after this point has been reached.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has raised £2.33m at 55p a share. This will enable the IP investment company to provide bridge finance and invest directly in funding rounds. Frontier also wants to take on more people to help advise and develop investee companies.
In the year to March 2020, Mercia Asset Management (MERC) generated enough income to cover its overheads for the first time. That was with a part-year contribution from Northern Ventures. However, there were fair value write downs of assets of £15.8m. The NAV is 32.1p a share. Funds under management are £658m. Since the year end there was a gain on the disposal of the stake in Native Antigen.
Oil and gas producer Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) has confirmed the major potential of the Cascadura discovery in Trinidad. The estimate for 2P reserves is 45 mmboe of gas/condensate. Touchstone’s production could be multiplied by ten. finnCap has set a risked-NAV of 91p a share.
Scientific instruments manufacturer Judges Scientific (JDG) says that first half order intake was 17% lower. North American orders were one-third lower. Like-for-like interim sales were 12% lower. Cash was generated from operations.
Disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) says that full year revenues were one-fifth ahead helped by an additional £1.5m due to COVID-19. Net cash was £6.2m at the end of June 2020.
Synairgen (SNG) says that its phase II trial of SNG001 in hospitalised COVID-19 patient shows a 79% reduction in the development of severe disease and death. Discussions have started with regulators.
Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR) has secured a joint venture with Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) to develop a gold mine in Ireland. Anglo Asian is committing to spend €2m for an initial 17.5% stake with an option to spend the same amount to take the stake to 25%. The maximum stake that can be earned is 55%, which would take the Clontibret gold deposit to the point where the mine is ready for construction. Anglo Asian has been issued with 325,000 Conroy warrants exercisable at 16p a share. Sanderson Capital Partners has cut its stake to below 3%.
Bidstack (BIDS) generated revenues of £275,000 in the first half, but the second half is more important. The in-game advertising company is winning business around the world.
Mattress retailer eve Sleep (EVE) generated slightly lower revenues of £12.2m in the first half of 2020, but the loss will be much lower due to cost savings. Cash was generated in the first half and there is net cash of £9.1m. Some competitors are withdrawing from the European market.
Retailer French Connection (FCCN) has reduced costs during a tough trading period. Websites sales were 24% higher in the past 15 weeks. Stores started to reopen on 15 June, but the recovery is gradual.
Standard list shell Auctus Growth (AUCT) had £780,000 in the bank at the end of June 2020.
Bermele (BERM) intends to acquire Singapore-based East Imperial, which sells premium mixers and New Zealand spring water. There is a nine month exclusivity agreement. Trading in Bermele shares is suspended.
Ecommerce technology developer Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) is recommending a 11.2p a share cash offer from TrueCommerce, which values the company at £5.73m. That is nearly double the share price of the most recent share deal. Netalogue clients include Transport for London, Greene King and Bunzl. The deal will bring together ecommerce and supply chain software in one platform and provide cross-selling opportunities. US-based TrueCommerce is a global connectivity business, which also has a B2B client base. The UK part of the business has revenues of £13.8m, but it is losing money. The group as a whole has revenues of $95.2m and made a net loss of $157,000. In the year to March 2019, Netalogue made a pre-tax profit of £300,000 on revenues of £1.35m. There should be potential cos savings from duplication of development spending and overlapping roles.
AFH Financial (AFHP) is acquiring the client portfolios of Warwickshire-based Groom Associates from the two retiring advisers. The initial cost is £321,000 and a further £294,000 could be payable depending on the performance of the acquired assets over 26 months.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) is selling its African operations and consolidating 100 shares into one new share. It can then concentrate on cannabis business Apollon Formularies.
Proton beam therapy firm Rutherford Health (RUTH) grew interim revenues from £197,000 to £2.5m, but the loss increased from £9.17m to £14.9m as the initial proton beam therapy centres get up and running. Since August, a further £12.5m has been raised and a £20m debt facility agreed. The focus is building up patient numbers for the three fully operational cancer centres. At the end of October, 412 shares were traded at 245p each. There is still the Woodford share overhang.
Two months after floating World High Life intends to consolidate every ten shares into one new share. The investment company plans to acquire businesses involved in medicinal cannabis and related products, including nutraceuticals and cosmetics. World High Life has announced plans to acquire Love Hemp in return for £4m in cash and the issue of 30 million (existing) shares. A further £2m could become payable in the next three years depending on the achievement of turnover targets.
Trading in Black Sea Property (BSP) shares has recommenced following its interim results announcement. Interim revenues improved from €272,000 to €312,000, but there was a €1.9m write-down on investment properties. The overall loss was €2.58m. NAV has fallen from 0.95 cents a share to 0.75 cents a share over a six months period.
Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has converted the €2m it is owed by Finance Partners Group into shares that take its stake in the investment company, which has an investment in Italy-based Avantgarde Group, to 40%. Avantgarde owns inventory finance fintech company Supply Me (www.supplyme.tech), which may list on the London market. Eight Capital Partners has paid £1,500 to John Treacy, one of its directors, for a further 30% of Epsion Capital, giving it 100% ownership. It has also invested a further £95,000 in the company, which is applying to the FCA for full regulatory status.
VI Mining (VIM) says that talks with the vendors of the Minaspampa and Rosario de Belen projects are likely to end with them taking back the projects because there is still $42.4m of the payment outstanding. VI will focus on generating cash from tolling operations. David Sumner is waiving the $1.61m of salary owed to him. Sumner, who already provides loans to the company, is raising money via a security token offering and cash raised will be used to finance VI.
Former NEX-quoted company MESH Holdings (MESH) is proposing to gain admission to the standard list. There is a timing extension to the acquisition of AI business Sentiance and the acquisition of additional shares and the exercising of an option has taken the Sentiance stake to 16.8%. The acquisition of a majority stake is dependent on ZASAi and related interests not having to make a bid for MESH after they receive shares in return for the Sentiance stake. MESH will then own 80.1% of Sentiance and be able to issue a prospectus for the listing.
In the year to June2019, Frontier IP (FIPP) made an unrealised profit of £3.85m on its investee company portfolio, up from £2.06m last year. NAV was £17.6m at the end of the year. A placing has raised £3.8m at 50p a share. This will help to develop and commercialise investee companies.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) is acquiring a 10% of Captiva Energy Holdings II (CEH) Inc’s 89.5% net working interest in the 317-acre McCoy lease in Colorado. It will also have an option to acquire up to a further 80% of that net working interest. CEH is owned by the chairman and chief executive of Rose. Drilling should happen within one year and there are discussions about a funding partner. Rosehas raised£1.25m at 1.1p a share to provide finance to develop assets. This is expected to be the first in a series of deals. The Morton family trust has taken a 3.84% stake in Rose.
Zoo Digital (ZOO) was hit by a faster than expected decline in Blu Ray and DVD business, but the core localisation and dubbing business did grow its revenues. A stronger second half is expected, and Zoo should return to profit this year. New streaming services from Apple and Disney provide a strong back drop for demand.
Shares (SHRE) subsidiary The Share Centre won two awards at the Shares Awards 2019. They were best stocks and shares ISA provider and best customer service.
Competitions organiser Best of the Best (BOTB) is trading ahead of market expectations. This has sparked a 2019-20 profit forecast upgrade of 16% to £2.2m. The interims will be published on 30 January.
Faron Pharma (FARN) has raised £7.48m at 190p a share. This will finance the clinical programme for potential cancer treatment Clevegen.
Defenx (DFX) is seeking to cancel its AIM quotation. Strand Hanson will continue as nominated adviser until the cancellation. BV Tech, which owns 67.1% of Defenx, will vote for the cancellation.
LIDAR wine sensor technology developer Windar Photonics (WPHO) has been hit by the slow conversion of interest into orders. Revenues in the ten months to October 2019 were €1.2m. Full year revenues will be below expectations. There is limited working capital available. BDO resigned as auditor during October. A share swap has left the interests of Windar director Jorgen Jensen with a 11.2% stake and O-Net Communications with 4.5%.
Nanoco (NANO) has entered into early discussions with potential buyers of the company. This has sparked a review of strategic options for the business. That includes potential additional funding. There are also talks with potential customers in the displays and infra-red sensing markets.
InnovaDerma (IDP) executive chairman Haris Chaudry has stepped down the day after the beauty products supplier’s AGM. He has reduced his stake from 28.6% to 0.2%. The shares were sold at 52.4p each. Edale Capital has taken a 9.11% stake. Revenues have grown by 38% in the first four months of the financial year. A new skincare product will be launched in 2020.
Robbie Rayne does not want Gresham House Asset Management to be reappointed as external manager of LMS Capital (LMS) and he and his family intend to vote their 42% shareholding against the reappointment at a general meeting. He wants a return to internal management of the portfolio of assets and a £7.5m distribution to shareholders.
Standard list shell Contango Holdings (CGO) intends to try to raise £1m at 5p a share in order to help finance the acquisition of the Lubu coalfield project in Zimbabwe. Contango has advanced $310,000 to the project. If the acquisition does not go ahead by Christmas Eve, then the money should be returned.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) is planning an all share offer for Nordic Petroleum. One Zenith shares will be offered for every 100 Nordic shares. This will require the issue of up to 9.1 million shares. Nordic is involved in heavy oils in Canada. It has tax credits in Norway and a legal claim against a UK party, the rights to which will be retained by Nordic shareholders. A prospectus has been approved for an issue of up to €25m of Euro Medium Term notes at par.