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Forbes Ventures (FOR) has taken a 0.84% stake in potential challenger bank Civilised Investments in return for £200,000 in cash. The cash investment was raised through a placing of shares at 0.5p each with Gravity Investments, which owns 62.1% of Forbes. A further six million shares were issued at the same price to settle fees. Civilised is applying for a UK banking licence in June 2016. The strategy is not to have branches but local bankers will provide loans and business banking products by attracting personal savings.
Kryptonite1 (KR1) has invested £99,905 for 25,811 tokens in Melonport AG, which is building its own blockchain protocol for digital asset management built on the Ethereum platform. Melonport raised $2.5m in 14 minutes.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £128,750 at 0.8p a share. For working capital. Daniel Stewart has been appointed as corporate adviser.
FT8 (GFT) has failed to secure the agreed monthly payments from Billyst Holdings and this means that trading in the shares of FT8 has been suspended because of the company’s uncertain financial position.
Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) has moved into Continental Europe through the acquisition of Avalon and GrassInc for an initial £9.7m in cash with deferred and contingent payments of up to £12m over four years. This is an important part of the overall strategy for the group and it also takes Victoria into the artificial grass market. The deal should be immediately earnings-enhancing with the two businesses making a 2016 operating profit of £3.6m.
Construction dispute resolution services provider Driver Group (DRV) has raised £8m at 40p a share – a 15% discount to the market price – in order to reduce borrowings and grow the business. There is also a one-for-26p open offer at 40p a share that could raise up to £500,000 – closing on 8 March. Driver has negotiated new banking facilities of £8m, down from £12m, and this expires in 2020. Net debt was £9.9m at the end of September 2016. Driver made a loss in the year to September 2016 but it moved back into profit in the second half. In the past year, Driver has reduced annualised overheads by £1.3m, cut underperforming fee earners, improved cash collection and implemented more rigorous bidding controls. Driver plans to scale down the project management operations and the main businesses should be sold by the end of this financial year. South America and eastern Europe have been identified as growth areas. New non-executive director John Horgan has been appointed as a replacement for David Webster.
Fuel cell technology developer AFC Energy (AFC) has raised £6m, £5.5m net of expenses, at 10p a share – a 40% discount to the market price. Up to £2m more could be raised from a one-for-15 open offer at the same share price – closing on 2 March. The cash will be used to deliver commitments on the joint development agreement with De Nora, additional testing and a scoping study with Peel Environmental for potential projects. Jim Gibson has been appointed as chief operating officer.
Middlesbrough-based pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) joined AIM on 15 February. The placing will raise £15.6m at 86p a share, valuing the company at £26.5m. The share price ended the week at 95.5p.
Tracsis (TRCS) disappointed the market with a warning that delays in contracts means that this year will be even more second-half weighted and there is still uncertainty whether certain software contracts will complete in this financial year. The transportation optimisation software and services provider still believes it can achieve this year’s forecast profit but the market was not as sure. The share price fell by nearly one-third following the trading statement and Downing is one investor that has added to its stake having previously taken profits. Interim revenues will grow from £13.1m to £15.5m but pre-tax profit will only be slightly higher than last year’s figure of £2.9m. The full year outcome could depend on the rail franchise bid timetable.
Higher LED sales helped Holders Technology (HDT) to increase overall revenues by 2% to £11.4m but the LED business is still losing money and a German business has been closed. The underlying loss increased from £141,000 to £195,000, prior to restructuring costs of £183,000. An increases in trade creditors meant that cash improved to £781,000. A final dividend of 0.25p a share is proposed. There are signs of an improvement in demand for printed circuit board materials and new smart lighting products should boost the LED business.
Vela Technologies (VELA) has raised £550,000 from a bond issue via the UK Bond Network. This should enable Vela to complete the additional investment of £150,000 in Portr, the airline passenger facilitation and baggage transport service, taking its stake to 4.27%.
Collagen Solutions (COS) is raising up to £8m from a placing and one-for-five open offer at 5p a share and this will be topped up with a £4m bond issue to Norgine Ventures, which has a coupon of 10% and 6.77 million warrants exercisable at 5.911p each. The cash will finance the expansion of the medical collagen business, commercial medical device products and launch ChondroMimetic, which is a collagen-based implant to treat small cartilage and bone defects, later this year.
Online gaming business generator Veltyco Group (VLTY) says that its 2016 figures will be significantly better than expected. An EBITDA of more than €2m, up from the initial forecast of €1.4m, on revenues of more than €5.7m, ahead of a forecast of €4.9m, is anticipated.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has signed a services agreement with APTrans, a Cheshire-based consortium of drug developers that can provide technical expertise, for the development of SFX-01. A US patent has been granted covering the manufacturing process for SFX-01. The patent lasts until 2033. Further patents are expected to be awarded around the world.
Ascent Resources (AST) raised £3m at 1.85p a share in its latest fundraising via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will be spent on developing the Petisovci gas project in Slovenia.
Self-storage operator Lok’nStore (LOK) says that self-storage sales were 3.9% higher, thanks to higher occupancy, and document storage sales 8.8% ahead in the first half. There is a pipeline of two owned and two managed stores, which will add 14% to capacity. NAV is expected to be 404p a share at the end of July 2017.
PowerHouse Energy Group (PHE) has raised £2.5m at 0.8p a share on the back of last week’s deal with Peel. Hillgrove will receive £2m as part-payment for its loan with £1.4m converted into shares at 0.5p each. A G3-UHt waste to energy unit is being shipped from Australia and should reach the UK in March.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) is starting a phase I clinical study for safety and tolerability of Acarovac MPL as a house dust mite allergy vaccine. The trial will be in Spain, covering 32 patients and lasting one year. The global market could be worth $1.5bn a year.
Patient monitoring equipment developer LiDCO Group (LID) says that its 2016-17 revenues will be slightly lower than forecast but it will make a small profit. The loss of a US customer held back growth with revenues 8% ahead at £8.2m, although revenues from group products were 14% higher this was partly offset by lower sales of third party products.
EP Minerals has terminated its lease over the County Line Diatomite project, so Sunrise Resources (SRES) will need to find an alternative method of commercialising the potential project.
Keras Resources (KRS) says that there is a JORC-based inferred mineral resource of 36,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 6.1g/t for the Copenhagen deposit. This means that the Warrawoona gold project has a JORC mineral resource of 410,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 2.2g/t. The focus will be the higher grade Copenhagen deposit, which has more potential.
Mariana Resources (MARL) has completed three of seven planned drill holes at the Ergama project in Turkey and two of these have found large but low grade deposits.
Executive chairman John Hawkins has been given the push by Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) as part of the closure of the group’s head office following the disposal of the Vislink broadcast equipment business. Hawkins received £260,000 a year as chief executive and £100,000 a year as chairman and his contract stipulates 12 months notice. John Varney becomes non-executive chairman. The bank apparently remains supportive and the 2016 figures will be published on 31 March.
Cloud-based telecoms software supplier CloudCall Group (CALL) says that customer relationship management software provider and corporate partner Bullhorn is deploying CloudCall’s software with its US staff. This will provide a reference for potential US customers of a combined software package. Full year figures will be published on 28 March and these will be in line with expectations.
Simian Global (SMG) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy BVI-incorporated media and advertising business GVC Holdings Ltd. Standard list shell Simian Global floated on 10 January when it raised £769,500 at 15p a share. This valued the company, which was seeking a technology, media and telecoms sector acquisition, at £935,000. Trading in the shares was suspended at 17.5p.
Avation (AVAP) is trading at a discount of around one-fifth to its NAV of 249p a share at the end of 2016. In the six months to December 2016, the aircraft leasing company’s revenues were 43% ahead at $45.1m and pre-tax profit 50% higher at $8.4m. Bid discussions for 22 ATR 72 aircraft continue but management wants a significant premium to the NAV.
PRE-IPO / OTHER TRADING FACILITIES
Former AIM-quoted Clinical Computing, which is currently traded on Britdaq,has initiated a strategic review and this could lead to the sale of the healthcare IT company. In the year to March 2016, revenues fell from £1.67m to £1.5m but a loss of £204,000 was turned into a profit of £23,000. There is £825,000 in the bank and net assets of £654,000, which is more than its market capitalisation on Britdaq.
Investment vehicle Indigo Holdings (INGO) is seeking acquisitions in the consumer, financial and technology sectors in the Middle East and it joined NEX on 10 February. An initial 15 million shares were issued at 1p each and in January a further 26.5 million shares were placed at 3p each. The market capitalisation is £1.24m at 3p a share. There was net cash of £818,000 at the time of flotation. Indigo can issue a further 218.5 million shares. There has been one trade of 4,000 shares at 5p each but the bid/offer spread is 3p/5p.
Equatorial Mining & Exploration (EM.P) has signed a conditional option agreement to acquire a Mexican mining and exploration project. The option lasts 90 days and the acquisition will be funded by the issue of £10.4m worth of shares. Equatorial will need to raise at least £2m to finance the Tango project which includes copper, gold and molybdenum interests. This is an area with historic workings. An initial fundraising of £250,000 at 0.00125p a share will finance the current interests in Nigeria. There are plans to consolidate the Equatorial shares on the basis of 0ne new share for 650 shares and then switch to a standard listing.
A new investment in blockchain technology company Factom Inc means that the stake owned by investment company Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has increased by 236.5% since the initial investment. The 1.5678% stake in the developer of audit and accountability tools using blockchain technology is valued at $473,000.
Western Selection (WESP) says that its NAV has increased by 6% to 84p a share in the six months to December 2016 but this had increased to 91p a share by the end of January. Gains have been made on the disposal of shares in Swallowfield (SWL) with some of the cash used to buy shares in Bilby (BILB), which has been hit by a profit warning. The interim dividend has been increased from 1.05p a share to 1.1p a share.
Milamber Ventures (MLVP) has removed Barney Battles from the board but he wants to convene a general meeting to get himself reappointed to the board. Milamber says that there are concerns about the League of Angels business that he sold to the company.
African Potash Ltd (AFPO) has raised £126,000 at 0.045p a share and issued 55.2 million shares to pay liabilities. The new shares account for 22.7% of the enlarged share capital.
FT8 (GFT) is still trying to secure payments from Billyst Holdings, which has defaulted on its agreement to provide monthly payments. This means that FT8 is short of cash.
Staunton Holdings Ltd has launched a recommended offer of 300p a share for FIH Group (FIH). The deal values the Falkland Islands trader and transportation company at £37.1m. The bidder is controlled by The Rowland Purpose Trust 2001he bid is at a significant premium to the market price prior to the announcement but it is below the level of the share price two years ago. FIH has net cash of nearly £10m. The bid values FIH at 15 times 2015-16 earnings but profit is likely to fall this year making the prospective rating 26 times. When the interim figures were published in November, house broker WH Ireland estimated a sum of the parts valuation of 320p a share but this was subsequently reduced to 300p a share.
Ascent Resources (AST) launched a £3m fundraising via PrimaryBid.com, which closed at 5pm on Sunday 12 January. The offer at 1.85p a share is underwritten. The cash will be spent on the Petisovci project in Slovenia, where there has been positive news on flow rates at Pg-10. Ascent has risen money via PrimaryBid.com a number of times in the past.
Strategic Minerals (SML) has exercised the option to take a 50% stake in the Redmoor tin/tungsten project in Cornwall. The £844,000 payment to take the stake to 50% will provide the joint venture with funds for the 2017 drilling programme. The rights to sell the stockpile of magnetite from the Cobre mine in New Mexico have been renewed for a further 12 months to the end of February 2018 and there is still a possibility to come to agreement over a contract lasting a number of years, which would provide more certainty about future revenues. Strategic Minerals moved into profit in 2016 thanks to strong sales of magnetite and it has enough cash to push ahead with the development of its other interests. Strategic Minerals is also interested in the CARE nickel project in Australia.
Billington (BILN) has confirmed that its 2016 figures will be in line with expectations, which ended had been increased by 26% over the past year. A pre-tax profit of £3.5m is forecast. The structural steel supplier will publish the figures on 21 March.
Thor Mining (THR) says that it should receive the final payment for the disposal of its Spring Hill gold project before the end of February. Heavy snow has delayed the commencement of drilling at Pilot Mountain. The cash received will help to finance the drilling.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) says that its 2016 figures will be better than expected but the loss of a client (24Option.com) will hit the 2017 figures. The client will end the agreement on 1 April. The 2016 EBITDA of $2.8m is well above the forecast of $1.6m. However, any dividend will be put off until there is more clarity about future trading.
Spend management platform developer blur Group (BLUR) has signed up the first large customer for its 12 month group buyer plan. The subscription is paid upfront which is good for blur’s cash flow. The attraction is the potential cost savings by the customer, which is a law firm, and it could be followed by other large customers signing up for the package which provides access to 65,000 suppliers and covers up to $2m of purchases in a year. There is a higher subscription rate for annual purchases of more than $2m. By focusing on larger customers blur has been able to reduce costs and it has been jettisoning unprofitable small customers. Cash burn has been reduced in each of the past five quarters and 2017 will see the full benefits of the cost cutting. The costs in the fourth quarter of 2016 were 43% down on the fourth quarter of 2016. There was £2m in the bank at the end of 2016. This will not last long if the cash burn is not reduced further.
Monchhichi (MCC), formerly Mercom Capital, is raising £2.1m at 35p a share in order to finance the company’s new investing policy focused on technology, media and internet sectors. Each of the new shares comes with a warrant that is exercisable at 80p a share. Shares have been issued at 40p each to cover £200,000 of professional fees.
Crystal Amber Fund Ltd (CRS) has increased its stake in medical devices developer GI Dyamics Inc from 22.65% to 38.73%. Other shareholders in the developer of the EndoBarrier minimally invasive device for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity, include Johnson & Johnson. EndoBarrier is in use in Europe and other countries outside of the EU but an FDA trial was terminated. More than 3,500 patients have been treated through the placing of a temporary bypass sleeve in the intestine – equivalent to a gastric bypass–type treatment. Although GI is based in Boston, Massachusetts but it is quoted on the ASX. The share price has slumped since GI joined the ASX in 2011 and Crystal Amber believes that this is an opportunity to invest in a treatment for significant clinical need at a depressed valuation.
Pebble Beach Systems (PEB), or Vislink as it was known up until the beginning of February, has warned that its 2016 figures will be even worse than expected. The poor performance of the former Vislink hardware activities is not great surprise and the additional write-offs were obviously required given the price it was sold for. However, the remaining software business has also disappointed, although order levels have been good. That suggests a better 2017. Debt remains high and the £8m deferred payment due in mid-March is important if Pebble Beach is to have anything like a stable financial position. Kestrel still believes in the business and it has taken its stake to 14.4%.
React Energy has changed its name to EQTEC (EQT) following the issue of shares to EBIOSS Energy taking its stake to 51%. The share issue covers the €5.15m debt that was due from 50.02%-owned subsidiary Newry Biomass. The 5.53p issue price was a premium to the market price at the time the deal was announced but it subsequently rose above the issue price. Newry should be on course to produce electricity by March 2018. The main revenue generating asset is a wind turbine in County Cork.
Mattioli Woods (MTW) has acquired a 49% stake in profitable small company-focused fund manager Amati Global Investors for £3.33m in cash and shares and has an option, lasting two years from February 2019, to buy the other 51% for cash and shares. The wealth management and employee benefits business reported interim earnings per share nearly one-quarter higher at 11.7p and an interim dividend per share 22% higher at 4.7p. Net cash was £22.6m at the end of November 2016.
PowerHouse Energy Group (PHE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Peel Environmental to develop and operate an energy from waste plant at Peel subsidiary Protos’ Chester facility. This would be PowerHouse’s first commercial project and Peel has a number of other potential sites if this is successful. The deal is a positive result of the previously announced joint development agreement with Waste2Tricity.
Former Hydro International boss Michael Jennings has taken over as interim chief executive of Autins Group (AUTG). Jennings has been appointed for six months following the departure of the previous chief executive of the acoustic and thermal insulation supplier. The strategy is to take Autins products into new sectors so that it is not so dependent on a limited number of automotive customers. Earlier in the month, a major customer reduced orders leading to a profit warning.
A slow build-up of occupancy levels at the new Holland Park site meant that hostels operator Safestay (SSTY) performed disappointingly last year. Even so, EBITDA increased from £600,000 to £2.2m.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD) has entered into an option to acquire kimberlite projects in South Africa. Botswana Diamonds has the option to acquire a 72% interest in the projects in return for £942,000 in cash and 100 million shares. This is payable in stages. An exclusivity and option fee of £122,000 is payable equally in cash and shares at 1.9p each. Then £215,000 has to be spent on exploration in 12 months to earn a 15% stake and then a further £215,000 in the next 12 months to take the stake to 40%. There is then nine days in which to issue 96.8 million shares and pay £300,000 of shareholder loans in order to reach 72%. The main asset is the Frishgewaagt project in Limpopo province and there are nine other prospecting rights.
Connemara Mining Company (CON) has confirmed the presence of lead, zinc and silver within a 2 metre wide bed at the former silver mine at Glentogher in Donegal but there are no signs of gold. Connemara Mining had previously found gold 8km away and the structural model will have to be revised. Teck has spent enough on exploration to take its stake in the Oldcastle block on the Cavan/Meath border to 65%. The latest drill hole has found trace mineralisation (zinc and lead).
Savannah Resources (SAV) says that initial metallurgical results suggest that there should by 90% plus recoveries at the Oman copper gold project.
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd (BVC) is paying £580,000 to buy Zer Laboratories, the largest private diagnostics laboratory in Israel. Zer’s expertise fits well with BATM’s move into non-invasive pre-natal tests. In 2015, Zer made a profit of $27,000 on revenues of $2.4m. There are potential deferred payments dependent on sales increases.
PRE-IPO / OTHER TRADING FACILITIES
Integumen, which bought the Innovenn healthcare product development business of Venn Life Sciences (VENN), is raising £2.16m ahead of a flotation. EIS relief is available for this investment. The offer equates to 23.6% of the enlarged share capital. Integumen has made three other acquisitions and its interests include skincare, wound care and oral care. It also includes the Labskin product developed by AIM-quoted Evocutis before it was sold to Venn. The offer is available via the Crowd for Angels crowdfunding site (www.crowdforangels.com/integumen)
Former GXG-quoted company US Oil & Gas is trying to raise up to £2.18m via a ten-for-63 open offer at 27p a share. A placing has already raised £470,000 at the same price. Revised resource estimates in the area of the Eblana#1 well in Nevada show a 20% recovery factor suggesting a low case of 57 million recoverable barrels of oil and a best case of 207 million recoverable barrels of oil.
Property investment company Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) says that one of its shareholders, Daniel Waylett, agreed to acquire a subsidiary that owns Colebrook Court in 2016. There was no specific date given, although the property was bought for £1.5m in shares during April. The payment for the disposal was £1.553m. Ace has drawn down a secured loan of £13.75m from Lloyds Bank and this has been used to purchase the property acquired last month in Hanley, as well as other existing property investments.
FT8 (GFT) is acquiring 49% of Australian fintech company Billyst Holdings. FT8 is issuing 142.4 million shares at 1p each to Billyst for the 49% stake. This will give Billyst, which is developing debt collection systems, 16.2% of FT8. So far, Billyst, which has not been around long enough to produce figures, has invested £267,000 in its technology. Billyst has agreed to loan FT8 A$500,000 (£297,000), interest free, for 18 months, but it will need to raise more cash to do this. FT8 had less than £3,000 in the bank at the end of June 2016 so it needs more cash.
Wine maker Chapel Down (CDGP) says that it has had its highest quality harvest ever, although yields were slightly lower than expected. The 2016 harvest was the third largest in the company’s history. A good summer made up for some of the shortfall earlier in the year.
Energy efficiency and electronics products supplier Sandal (SAND) says that trading is in line with forecast. Sainsbury’s will be selling MiHome products in 100 stores prior to Christmas, while Argos will be including them in its catalogue from February. House broker Daniel Stewart expects Sandal to move into profit this year.
Imperial Minerals (IMPP) had £96,000 of cash and financial assets – including a stake in AIM-quoted North River Resources (NRR) – at the end of June 2016, following a £53,000 cash outflow in the previous year. Imperial tried to acquire a Welsh hydro-electric project but there was a problem with the complex ownership of the project. However, management believes that recovering commodity prices could provide potential resources investment opportunities.
South Africa-based social impact investor Inqo Investments (INQO) has been improving room rates and occupancy at the South Africa-based leisure resort Kuzuko Lodge and the second half should be much stronger as tourists benefit from the weak Rand. In the six months to August 2016, group revenues grew from R3.23m to R5.32m, which made an increased loss before an increase in other income from R2.06m to R14m is taken into account. The other income in the recent period was due to the negotiation of loan settlements leading to interest write-backs. Kuzuko Lodge made a reduced loss, while the first revenues from the Bee Sweet Honey investment will not show through until 2017-18.
The closure of GB Energy Supply could provide opportunities for AIM-quoted energy suppliers Flow (FLOW) and Good Energy (GOOD), which is also quoted on ISDX. GB Energy had revenues of £22.2m in 2015 and it is estimated to have around 160,000 customers. Regulator OFGEM is overseeing a transfer of customers to new suppliers but customers could then choose to change from the suppliers they have been allocated. In 2015, Good had energy supply revenues of £56.6m, while Flow’s were £40.1m.
Belvoir Lettings (BLV) says it is difficult to predict what impact the announcement that letting agents in England will not be allowed to charge fees to tenants. There will be consultation before this change is brought in. Belvoir says that less than 10% of the income of its franchisees is from fees paid by tenants but in terms of Belvoir it is less than 8%. There may be more pressure on smaller, independent letting agents and this may provide acquisition opportunities for franchisees or a chance to grow organically in their existing markets if independents leave the market.
Cough treatments developer Verona Pharma (VRP) plans to gain a US listing in the first half of 2017. The flotation is subject to regulatory approval and market conditions.
Music hardware and software developer Focusrite (TUNE) beat expectations in the year to August 2016. Revenues improved from £48m to £54.3m thanks to a strong fourth quarter with growth being enhanced by the launch of the second generation Scarlett product range (focused on the sub-$500 market). Underlying pre-tax profit rose from £7.2m to £7.7m. The US remains a major market but the company had to improve credit terms to its distributor which hampered cash generation. Even so, there was still £5.6m in the bank. Focusrite wants to grow in Asia where its market share lags the levels in North America and Europe. There are potential acquisitions that Focusrite is keeping its eye on but there is no certainty that there will be any deals in the short-term. A new chief executive has been identified but his appointment is still being finalised. A full year profit of £8m is forecast.
Alternative Networks (AN.) is recommending a bid from former AIM company and rival telecoms and managed services provider Daisy, which is a consolidator in the sector. The bid of 335p a share values Alternative Networks at £165.3m. The company’s directors mention the uncertainty in the telecoms market as part of their reason for recommending the bid.
BP Marsh (BPM) has invested £75,000 in The Fiducia MGA Company, in the form of a 25% stake in the company’s cumulative preferred ordinary shares. On top of this, BP Marsh is lending up to £1.725m to the UK marine cargo underwriting agency. An initial £350,000 will be drawn down and further draw downs are dependent on Fiducia meeting conditions outlined in an agreed business plan. Fiducia founder Gerry Sheehy has more than three decades of experience in the insurance industry. BP Marsh is also keen to expand in the managing general agency business in North America
Jonas Computing (UK) has decided not to make an offer for ServicePower Technologies (SVR) but Diversis Capital may be willing to offer 6p a share.
Standard list cash shell Senterra Energy (SEN) is no longer acquiring sim-card technology business Oasis Smart Sim PTE. The deal was first announced six months ago. The seller has withdrawn from negotiations. The Singapore-based company had 2015 revenues of $13m. Senterra was going to provide a £500,000 loan to the acquisition target but it never lent any money. Senterra continues to seek a technology acquisition rather than the oil and gas acquisition it originally focused on. The share price slumped to 2.5p when it returned from suspension. The flotation price was 5p. There was £1m in the bank at the end of June 2016 – equivalent to 3.7p a share – but that is likely to be lower now.
A winding up order has been issued against Worthington (WRN) following the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) rejection of a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA). Worthington is seeking a Judicial Review of the PPF decision.
Upland Resources Ltd (UPL) is buying a 10% stake in UK onshore licences, in which the Wressle field is sited, from AIM-quoted Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) for £1.6m in cash and shares plus a further £250,000 in contingent consideration based on the level of production from the Wressle field. Initial commercial oil flows of 500 barrels a day are expected from the North Lincolnshire field early next year. Europa retains a 20% stake. A £2.2m placing at 1.3p a share by Upland will finance the cash consideration and fund some exploration spending. When Upland joined the standard list one year ago it raised £1.3m at 1p a share. There was just over £1m in the balance sheet at the end of June 2016.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has raised £1.4m via a placing and subscription at 190p a share – the same as the current bid price – and the cash will be invested in sales and marketing and further cyber security product development. There was £668,000 in the bank at the end of June 2016. Chief executive Thomas Ilube subscribed for 132,103 shares but his holding has been diluted from 52.6% to 44.4%.
Brewer Daniel Thwaites (THW) made a small loss in the six months to September 2016 due to the impact of a loss on interest rate swaps of £5.7m due to the fall in sterling but the underlying business is still highly profitable. A 5% increase in revenues to £44m led to an improvement in operating profit from continuing operations from £7m to £7.4m. Investment in hotels and bars has offset the effect of the national living wage. However, the loss on interest rate swaps meant that a previous interim profit of £5.7m was turned into a loss of £300,000. An unchanged interim dividend of 1.1p a share was announced. Net debt was £34.9m at the end of September 2016 and more capital investment is planned. There are ongoing plans to relocate the brewery and offices and this should be completed in 2018. Thwaites has been named as preferred partner to redevelop Dee House, a grade II listed Georgian building, in Chester.
AIM cash shell Tengri Resources (TEN) has joined the ISDX Growth Market. The AIM quotation will be retained and it is seeking a technology acquisition. Tengri has paid Robust Resources $200,000 in cash, 4.3 million shares and sold Robust its shareholding in gold explorer Prospech in return for the relinquishment of a loan of $1.02m. Tengri has raised £650,000 from an issue of convertible loan stock – which would be equivalent to 65.5% of Tengri if converted – having previously raised £100,000 from a share issue at 5p a share. A general meeting is planned to reorganise the company’s capital and change the name of the company to Forbes Ventures – the ticker will be changed to FOR. The share price was 1p prior to joining ISDX and it ended the week at 2p (1.5p/2.5p).
Ganapati (GANP), the developer of apps for social media and games, has clarified the bonds it has issued to Japanese investors. They are three-year bonds, not two-year bonds as previously stated, with an option to renew for a further year. EveryMatrix Ltd is in talks with Ganapati’s Malta business to obtain an online casino licence but this will be dependent on Ganapati being granted a licence from the British Gambling Commission and a class 4 licence from the Malta Gaming Authority.
The Italian agent of Tracksure has subscribed for up to 4.55 million shares in Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) in lieu of its commission on sales up until the end of August 2017. There will be an initial issue of 562,400 shares in lieu of commission of £5,624. Daniel Stewart has taken its fee for the previous fundraising by the company in the form of 500,000 shares at 1p each and 3.52 million warrants to subscribe for shares at 1p each.
FT8 (GFT) continues to assess potential fintech investments and decisions will be made on specific investments before the end of the year. A lack of financial resources remains a constraint. There was less than £3,000 in the bank at the end of June 2016. Opportunities have also been sought in the US that are in a similar sector to Homeland Health Care, where an FT8 investment provides technology for the employee benefits operations.
Hellenic Capital (HECP) has adopted a new pronged investment policy – UK property and African natural resources investments – but it is not changing its name to City and Commercial Investments. Hellenic will wait until it has made investments before deciding on a new name.
Investors have subscribed for just over 50% of the shares in the one-for-three open offer by St Mark Homes (SMAP). This has raised £694,000 at 105p a share.
Greenbrook Industries has increases its stake in Sandal (SAND) to 29.6%. The shares were transferred to Greenbrook as part of loan agreements with Robin Fuller and Kingswood Asset Management.
Kuala Lumpur Kepong has increased its bid for MP Evans (MPE) from 640p a share to 740p a share, which values the oil palm plantations operator at £415.4m. The bid will be declared unconditional if acceptances reach 50%. The bid has been rejected by MP Evans. This offer cannot be increased unless there is a rival bidder or the target recommends an increased offer. There is scope for a rival bidder.
Transport-related software and services provider Tracsis (TRCS) promised that the second half of its financial year would produce the vast majority of profit and it has delivered. In the year to July 2016, the underlying pre-tax profit improved from £5.6m to £6.7m. There is net cash of £10.7m with potential deferred consideration of £6.15m. The rail technology and services division grew organically and thanks to a contribution from software company Ontrac. The remote control monitoring equipment business generated lower revenues but this year it will benefit from a US contract. Traffic & data services benefited from a contribution from traffic planning services provider SEP in a stronger part of its financial year – the first half included a partial contribution during the off-season. Earnings per share were slightly flattered by a lower tax rate. This holds back potential earnings growth this year to around 9% even though pre-tax profit is forecast to improve to £8m helped by a full contribution from SEP.
Student accommodation developer and manager Watkin Jones (WJG) says that 2015-16 trading was in line with expectations. At the end of September 2016, there was a development pipeline of 21 developments with 6,814 beds. These should be delivered in 2017 and 2018. Management business Fresh Student Living has 12,337 beds under management. The full year figures will be published on 18 January.
Totally (TLY) has acquired sports physiotherapy provider Optimum Sports Performance Centre for an initial £400,000. This is an earnings enhancing deal. There are additional deferred payments of 100% of 2016 EBITDA and 75% of 2017 EBITDA. The total maximum payment is £650,000.
Immobile (IMO) reported a 22% increase in pre-tax profit to £3.3m in the six months to 2016 and the cash pile has reached £17.9m. Immobile provides services to enable mobile and digital commerce. Organic growth was 14% with particularly strong growth in India. Recurring revenues were 94% of the total revenues. The launch of IMIchat provides a further service that can be sold to the customer base. Immobile has won its first US mobile operator client and has yet to see the benefits of this. Kestrel Partners has taken its stake above 5%.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) has paid £2.4m for Commensus, which provides managed IT support services, and this should be earnings enhancing. The deal enables RedstoneConnect to offer cloud-hosting services and provides opportunities for cross-selling.
Sula Iron & Gold (SULA) has launched a placing and open offer to raise up to £1.47m at 0.21p a share. This will help to finance the development of the Ferensola gold project in Sierra Leone. Early next year there will be additional drilling in order to demonstrate the scale of the project.
FIH Group (FIH), formerly Falkland Island Holdings, has achieved 60% of this year’s forecast profit in the first half of the financial year. Normally there is a fairly even split. WH Ireland has maintained its full year profit forecast at £1.85m because the outcome will be dependent on how quickly art logistics services provider Momart fills its additional capacity. Net cash was £4.3m at the end of September 2016. The current share price of 218.5p is similar to NAV, excluding intangibles.
Fire and emergency services resource manager AssetCo (ASTO) has still to renew its main contract in Abu Dhabi. The renewal for the contract was due on 17 November and it is still being renegotiated so the contract will continue on existing terms until the new one is finalised. That should be before the end of the year. Trading is in line with expectations and it appears that the contract will be renewed. The £42m claim against former auditor Grant Thornton is still being pursued.
Tanzania-focused Edenville Energy (EDL) says that results of bulk sampling at the Mkomolo and Namwele deposits indicate that the coal is suitable to feed a power plant and requires little or no washing.
Avation (AVAP) says that its dividends will be based in US dollars from now on. Management believes that it will receive proposals for the disposal of 22 ATR turboprop aircraft before the end of 2016. Avation is seeking a price that is well in excess of NAV and the deal will require shareholder approval. That could lead to a special dividend with part of the proceeds invested in further aircraft.
Marketing services firm Creston (CRE) has recommended a 125p a share bid from value investor DBAY Advisors Ltd, which values the target at £75.8m. Shareholders will also keep the 1.42p a share interim dividend. DBAY has been a Creston shareholder for more than two years.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) has published its prospectus for the proposed switch to the standard list. The prospectus has been approved by the Central Bank of Ireland. The switch should happen by the end of May. At 1.5p (1p/2p) a share, IMC is valued at £1.6m.
St Mark Homes (SMAP) is trading at a discount of one-fifth to its NAV at the end of 2015. At 105p (90p/120p) a share, St Marks is valued at £3.1m, compared with the latest NAV of £3.95m. In 2015, pre-tax profit dipped from £579,000 to £549,000. The regional house builder has three projects in Surrey which will contribute to profit in 2016 and 2017, while the final two sales at Cheltenham were made earlier this year and there have been initial sales in Richmond. St Mark has already paid a dividend of 4.5p a share. Obtaining sufficient capital is difficult and it is holding back progress.
FT8 (GFT) has raised £173,000 at 0.7p a share in order to provide working capital following the news that a $1.5m finance package that was revealed last year has not become available. At 0.65p (0.6p/0.7p) a share, FT8, which was formerly Ezybonds, is valued at £4.8m. Last week, 65,000 shares were traded at 0.6p each – the first deal since March.
Seeing Machines (SEE) has signed a term sheet with a US investment fund which should mark the start of the process of spinning off the automotive technology operations of the company into a separate company, which will focus on the development of this technology. Seeing Machines will retain a significant stake. A product has already been provided to a customer and it will be in cars launched in 2018 – slightly later than hoped.
Greka Engineering & Technology Ltd (GEL), one of the spin offs from China-focused coal mine methane producer Golden Dragon Gas, plans to leave AIM. Trading in the shares of the s-making gas engineering and technology business has been limited since the spin off in September 2013. The board already has the backing of the owners of more than 75% of the shares so this will go ahead. Charles Stanley has been given the job of acquiring shares in the market at 0.8p each up until the quotation is cancelled.
Storm and waste water treatment equipment manufacturer Hydro International (HYD) has received a bid approach from major shareholder Hanover Investors. Hanover took a 17.5% stake in the middle of January and the share price has risen by one-third since then. The order book continued to grow in the first quarter, with orders in the North American wastewater market recovering. However, the orders will not contribute significantly until the second half of 2016.
HML Holdings (HML) has acquired Essex-based residential property lettings firm Homes & Watson Partnership for £360,000. The deal adds 1,400 units taking the group total to around 60,000. Trading is in line with expectations so pre-tax profit for the year to March 2016 should be £1.6m.
Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) has raised £250,000 at 0.8p a share and this will help to fund development of the Lahtojoki diamond project. Each new share has a warrant attached that provides the opportunity to subscribe for another share at 1.6p each. They have to be exercised if the share price is at or above 5p for at least ten days.
TV and digital publishing company Ten Alps (TAL) has warned that recovery is taking much longer than expected. The television programme production business is doing well despite commissioning delays but publishing remains a problem area and it continues to lose money. The group loss for the year to June 2016 is likely to be lower than last year. Parts of the publishing division will be sold and the rest restructured.
Residential property developer Formation Group (FRM) fell into loss at the interim stage but there should be significant profits in the second half. There is £3.9m of profit share to come from the Norwich House development and there will be profit from the Iverson Road development. An interim profit was reported due to the writing back of a loan previously provided for but higher admin expenses meant that there was an operating loss. NAV rose from £7.6m to nearly £10m.
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North Midland Construction (NMD) continued to be profitable in the first quarter of this year having returned to profit in 2015. The order book for 2016 is around £200m with more to come from framework contracts. Only one costly legacy contract remains to be sorted out. The utilities division remains loss-making and existing contracts being reviewed. Civil engineering made a small first quarter profit. The main improvement came in the water-infrastructure business even though the latest AMP6 capital spending regulatory cycle is still building up. The main focus of the group is improving margins plus better cash collection.
Goldcrest Resources (GCRP) has secured the acquisition of Taoudeni Resources, which owns the Asheba gold project that is situated at the southern end of the Ashanti gold belt in Ghana. Goldcrest’s non-executive chairman Gavin Burnell is also a shareholder in Taoudeni, which has a non-JORC compliant resource of 176,000 ounces at 1.8g/t. Goldcrest has already conditionally acquired the nearby Akoko gold project, which has a JORC resource of 92,800 ounces at 1.9g/t. The company will seek to generate a JORC-based resource for the combined project. Goldcrest will issue 599.2 million shares for the initial consideration with deferred consideration of 617.7 million and 102.3 million warrants exercisable at 0.05p a share and lasting ten years. ISDX-quoted Hot Rocks Investments will receive 193.5 million of the initial consideration shares, taking its stake to 14.6%, plus 43.2 million of the warrants and is due to receive 320.8 million of the deferred consideration shares. AIM-quoted Sunrise Resources receives 116.6 million shares and 9.8 million warrants. Niall Tomlinson and Dr Ryan Long will join the Goldcrest board. At 0.06p (0.05p/0.07p) a share, Goldcrest is currently valued at £900,000.
A newly formed subsidiary of FT8 (GFT) has taken a 40% stake in BIPS Technologies in exchange for rights to use technology developed by FT8 to make payments and disbursements of employee benefits for healthcare providers and insurers and in this case specifically for the voluntary benefits market in the US. FT8 has also agreed to cover banking fees associated with the administration of a Supplemental Insurance Funds Transfer Program. BIPS will hold the contractual rights to this fund which will service the clients of Homeland HealthCare Inc. A minimum employee enrolment of 75,000 is projected by the end of 2016 and it is projected that it could reach a minimum of 350,000 by the end of 2018. Gross revenue per employee signed up should be just over $1/month. FT8 will not have to provide any additional finance for BIPS. At 0.65p (0.6p/0.7p) a share, FT8 is valued at £4.8m.
Blockchain technology companies investor Coinsilium Group (COIN) has invested an additional $50,000 in data management blockchain company Factom Inc. This takes the total invested to $200,000, which equates to 2% of the diluted share capital of Factom. The Coinsilium share price has recovered to 8p (6.5p/9.5p).
Ecovista (EVTP) is raising a further £252,000 at 0.06p a share. The current share price is 0.075p (0.07p/0.08p). Ecovista is also seeking shareholder approval at its AGM so that any breach of the directors duties caused by previously issuing more shares than they were allowed to will be waived.
Trading in the bonds of recruitment company Positive Healthcare (DOC) has been suspended because £1.75m of the £2m that the company claimed it had raised has not been received. The bond register needs to be rectified and then Positive Healthcare can try to issue more bonds.
Via Developments (VIA1) has raised an additional £206,000 (£204,000 after expenses) from a further issue of 7% debenture stock 2020. This takes the debentures in issue to £1.76m. Via joined ISDX on 5 November having issued £530,000 7% debenture stock 2020. The Manchester-based residential property development funder wants to raise up to £3.5m.
Empyrean Energy (EME) is selling its 3% interest in the Sugarloaf AMI development in Texas to Carrier Energy Partners II for $61.5m and this should enable a cash distribution to shareholders. If oil prices average more than $55/barrel this year then more could be payable – up to a maximum of $10m. Empyrean expects to pay $3.6m in tax plus $5.2m for outstanding bills owed to the Sugarloaf operator Marathon Oil and it will repay its debt facility of $21.6m. This will leave Empyrean with a 58.1% working interest in the Eagle Pool development project in California, a 7.5% working interest in two producing wells in Sugarloaf block A and a 10% working interest in Riverbend project in Texas. New opportunities will be sought.
Colin Porter is stepping down as chief executive of STM Group (STM) in order to take up a position in the US. He has a 12 month notice period so there is plenty of time to find a replacement. This led to a sharp drop in the share price even though it was confirmed that trading is in line with expectations for a 2015 profit of £2.7m. Alan Kentish will become interim chief executive.
Energy storage technology developer RedT Energy (RED) is raising £3.5m at 6.75p a share – a huge discount to the market price. The share price was just over 10.5p a share a few days before the placing was announced but it fell to 8.38p a share after the announcement – although that is still relatively high compared to the share price in the past three years. House broker finnCap has edged down its target price from 14.5p to 14p. RedT has received an initial $2m from the sale of its US biogas interests so it will have a cash pile to finance the commercialisation of its battery technology.
Big data services provider Fusionex International (FXI) reported revenue growth of 33% to RM70m last year. In the year to September 2015, pre-tax profit rose from RM19.5 to RM24.9m, while earnings per share were 28% higher at RM0.58 (9.4p). There has been criticism of cash generation levels and this led to a slump in the share price. Fusionex says that since September RM23.4m (£3.8m) of the year-end receivables of RM28.5m (£4.6m) has been collected.
Nasstar (NASA) says trading is in line with expectations following a strong second half, helped by the acquisition of VESK. The cloud-based services supplier has renewed the contract with its largest client – there had been some client losses earlier in the year. Net debt of £5.3m at the end of 2015 is slightly lower than expected.
Worldview Capital Management says that it is considering a cash offer for Petroceltic International (PCI). Worldview already owns 29.6% of the Irish oil and gas company, which launched a strategic review before Christmas. Advances have been received for some of Petroceltic’s remaining assets. Petroceltic has received a further waiver of repayments under its senior debt facility until 29 January so that it can continue with its strategic review. The debt facility amounted to $217.8m before Christmas.
Portfolio analytics software supplier StatPro (SOG) has paid an initial $10m for Investor Analytics, a US business that provides cloud-based risk analytics for hedge funds and asset managers. Up to $6m more could be payable depending on winning new contracts. The business has annualised recurring revenues of $4.85m (£3.3m) – out of total revenues of $5m – and should be earnings enhancing in 2016 following integration and annual cost savings of £700,000 – at a cost of up to £1m.
Tissue Regenix (TRX) says that DermaPure, which is used to treat wounds due to diabetes, has generated more than $1m in sales and it is available for reimbursement in 31 states of the US. Tissue Regenix has recruited 20 people for the OrthoPure XM clinical trial designed to gain a CE mark in Europe. OrthoPure XM is designed to repair damaged menisci, which is a condition that could lead to the onset of osteo-arthritis. The patients will be monitored for six months as part of the final information required for the CE mark submission later this year. Consort Medical boss Jonathan Glenn has been appointed a non-executive and Tissue Regenix will benefit from his medical devices expertise.
Condor Gold (CNR) has ended the strategic review it announced last September and it is no longer deemed to be in an offer period. The share price slumped by two-thirds over the period which meant that Condor was valued at $5/resource ounce so a realistic bid is unlikely at the moment. The average NPV of the La India project in Nicaragua is $196m. There are 1,544,000 ounces of inferred and indicated contained gold resources in total. Average annual gold production of 165,000 ounces is anticipated for the first five years and cash costs of production should be less than $700/ounce.
Investment company Highway Capital (HWC) has appointed the chief executive of the Bucharest Stock Exchange as its new chairman. Ludwik Sobolewski was previously the boss of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. This follows the appointment of Dariusz Zych and Jacek Ślotała as directors in November. This suggests an eastern European focus to investments. Dominic Wheatley has stepped down as chairman but remains on the board. The other director, Maciej Szytko, has loaned £120,000 to Highway on top of a previous £30,000 loan. The loan lasts five years, from July 2015, and is convertible at 10p a share. Szytko already has a 29.99% shareholding. At the time of the loan the share price was 16p, while the current share price is 14.5p. Highway moved from a premium listing to the more lightly regulated standard listing in 2013.
Cash shell Falcon Acquisitions Ltd (FAL) has gone to a 70% premium following its flotation on the standard list on 18 January. An initial placing raised £1.6m at 10p, which capitalised the company at £2.04m, and the shares ended the week at 17p. This is based on just over one million shares traded during the week. There is a secondary fundraising that may raise up to £2m at a share price to be set between 10p and 30p. There was already £265,000 in the bank before the flotation so there is cash of £1.65m after costs of £220,000, compared with a market value of £3.47m. The focus is acquiring businesses involved in online, mobile and video broadcasting. Any target is likely to be worth up to £30m.