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Good Energy (GOOD) increased full year revenues from continuing operations from £104.5m to £116.9m, helped by last winter’s cold weather and a price increase, and pre-tax profit recovered from £700,000 to £1.7m. The renewable electricity supplier and generator has increased its dividend from 3.3p a share to 3.5p a share. Net debt was £40.1m at the end of 2018. Energy supply volumes increased by 3%, but domestic volumes were 1.2% lower in an increasingly competitive market. The growth came in the business side, which increased volumes by 23%. Good Energy generates energy from six solar sites and two wind farms. The company expects to continue to grow business volumes and invest in digital technology. Non-executive director Nemone Wynn-Evans has bought 9,500 shares at 105p each.
Trading in PCG Entertainment (PCGE) shares has been suspended because it is in talks to acquire VOX Markets and Align Research.
Karoo Energy (KEP) has been told by its potential nominated adviser does not believe its is suitable for an AIM quotation. This also means that the planned fundraising cannot go ahead. A refinancing is required. There are trade creditors of around £300,000. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) has maintained its 3.4% stake in Fresho by participating in its latest fundraising, which was at a 76% premium to the price paid for the initial investment. The investment is worth A$673,000.
Dana Group International Investments Ltd (DANA) reported swing from loss of $129,000 to a profit of $95,000 in the six months to December 2018, due to other income of $276,000.
Tectonic Gold (TAU) says that roc chip samples from the Clermont project in Queensland show up to 8.01g/t gold, 140g/t silver and 6.32% copper.
Panther Metals (PALM) has completed the acquisition of Parthian Resources and its former shareholders own 16.1% of Panther.
Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has raised a further £225,000 at 90p a share.
Imperial X (IMPP) has changed its focus to medicinal cannabis. There was a small cash outflow in the six months to the end of December 2018. There was nearly £70,000 in the bank with net cash of £19,000. There are net liabilities and more cash will be required later this year.
Steve Howson is stepping down as chief executive of SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) and he will become a non-executive director. Majority shareholder David Sumner will be interim chief executive.
Footasylum (FOOT) has recommended a 82.5p a share bid from JD Sports Fashion (SPD) which values the footwear retailer at £90.1m. JD Sports was buying shares between 50p and 75p and built up a 18.7% stake. The bidder promises to maintain the separate commercial identity. Footasylum floated in November 2017 at 164p a share.
Diaceutics (DXRX) ended the week at 97.5p, having floated at 72p. The company provides data analysis and advisory services to pharma companies seeking to develop and commercialise diagnostic tests. There were £15.2m of placing proceeds net of expenses and £5.5m will be spent on the acquisition of data, while the rest will be used to pay off debt and develop AI analysis technology. There is limited liquidity in the shares because they are tightly held.
Wynnstay Group (WYN) warns that trading in the second quarter is weak because of the warmer winter weather. There has also been a weakening in farmgate prices. Interim figures will be well below the first half of last year and the full year will be below forecast. Peel Hunt argues that it has already factored these elements into its forecast for rival feed supplier NWF (NWF) and it is not changing its forecasts.
Pelatro (PTRO) has launched a data monetisation platform with a revenue share contract with an existing client, which is worth $500,000 in the first year. This is a product that can be sold to other customers.
Financial trading platform Aquis Exchange (AQX) reported 2018 revenues ahead of expectations and it doubled its market share during the year. The subscription-based model means that higher trading levels by a trader lead to subscription income levels going up. Aquis will continue to be loss-making this year, but the relatively fixed cost base means that once this is covered the profit should grow significantly as revenues grow.
Scientific instruments supplier Judges Scientific (JDG) increased is cash generation from operations from £10.9m to £15.7m in 2018. There was 5.5% organic growth in revenues and underlying operating profit rose by just over one-third to £14.7m. The cash balance has increased to £15.7m, which provides firepower for acquisitions. Shore Capital has edged up its earnings per share forecast from 188.8p to 190p.
Volvere (VLE) says full year revenues from continuing operations will rise from £16.2m to £18.6m. There was a £23.1m gain on the sale of Impetus Automotive. There was an underlying loss on continuing activities, but the frozen pie maker Shire Foods improved its profit contribution. There is £34.1m of cash in the Volvere balance sheet.
Frontier IP (FIPP) says that the outcome for the year to June 2019 is likely to be ahead of management expectations. A deal by investee company Exscientia, which is involved in AI-based drug discovery, with Celgene Corporation should result in a substantial uplift in its valuation.
Science in Sport (SIS) had a 25-day contribution from the profitable PhD Nutrition business in 2018. The group’s underlying loss increased last year, but PhD will help to reduce the loss and the cash outflow from operations, which was £6.42m last year. There is £8m in the bank and even with capital investment requirements that should be enough to cover requirements this year.
Ceramic products supplier Portmeirion Group (PMP) increased its 2018 pre-tax profit by 10% to £9.7m and a further rise to £10.3m is forecast for this year. Online sales are growing rapidly from a relatively low base. The home fragrance business is doing well, and capacity is being added. The total dividend is 8% higher at 35.7p a share.
Share (SHRE) improved its significantly improved its profitability in the second half of 2018, although trading levels weakened towards the end of the year. That weakness has continued into the early months of this year. Evan so, Cenkos forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £700,000 to £1.3m, upgraded from £1.1m, in 2019.
Clear Leisure (CLP) has placed its 50%-owned data mining operation in Serbia on a care and maintenance basis. This is due to the fall in the price of cryptocurrency. Legal actions and negotiations continue concerning a number of past investments. Clear has paid £76,000 for a 10% stake in PBV, which provides data services for the Italian legal sector. At the end of 2018, there were €2.1m of bonds converted into shares.
Andrew Perloff has increased his stake in 600 Group (SIXH) from 6.19% to 8.85%.
Midatech Pharma (MTPH) has changed the ratio of its ADRs from two shares for each ADR to 20 shares for each ADR. This is a way of getting the trading price of the ADRs on NASDAQ back above $1.
EQTEC (EQT) could be a beneficiary of the deal done by its largest shareholder EBIOSS with Urbaser for the collection, treatment and possible conversion of waste to energy. Urbaser is conducting due diligence on EQTEC’s gasification technology and this could be used for any waste to energy plant if all three parties come to an agreement on a specific opportunity. Projects could be in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Romania.
A local authority report has placed a five year reserve status on the Plymouth Airport site where Sutton Harbour (SUH) has a 135 year lease. The local authorities are keen that the site should be used for general aviation, but a viable business plan needs to be put together. Sutton Harbour would like to develop the site.
Tau Capital (TAU) has sent a circular to shareholders concerning a capital return of $1.19m or 2.42 cents a share, raise $150,000 via a placing at 0.1 cents a share and change its name to UK Onshore. Reverse takeover candidates are being assessed. Gerwyn Williams and Nigel Burton will join the board.
Synectics (SNX) has won a £1m order from the oil and gas sector. This is the largest order for its surveillance systems from this sector for a number of years. Synectics reported a rise in full year revenues from £70.1m to £71.2m and pre-tax profit slipped from £3.02m to £2.86m. The full year dividend is increased from 4p a share to 4.7p a share.
Athelney Trust (ATY) has responded to the letter from former director Dr Pohl, who wants to regain his place on the board along with Simon Moore and remove David Lawman. Dr Pohl has acquired more than 100,000 shares in the past month, and this means that five shareholders own more than 50% of the investment company putting its investment trust status at risk. As long as there is more than 35% of the company held by the public this is not a problem, but it would be if Dr Pohl joined the board. There have been £90,000 of extra costs because of disputes between the two major shareholders. The plan remains to bring Gresham House on board as fund manager
WideCells Group (WDC) is changing its name to Iconic Labs and moving into digital marketing and technology. The management of this business previously built up social publisher Unilad. In the first 12 months, an agency consulting division will be launched to assists clients to develop brands. There are plans to build up a distribution and publishing division through acquisitions and launch content licensing and e-commerce divisions. There is little indication of what will happen to the stem cell operations, although management appears to believe that the insurance business could be worth pursuing. Historic liabilities are being resolved. The convertible loan note holder continues to convert a proportion of the loan note that is below 30% and then sell the shares. There are 785.6 million shares in issue with more to come.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has raised £436,500 at 2.25p a share. The cash will be used for the pre-construction phase of the South Korean gold projects. An agreement has been made with a local landowner for the use of land outside the main entrance of the Kochang mine.
Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has raised £1.56m at 8.5p a share via an offer through PrimaryBid.com. This cash will fund a move by the natural resources company into the organic cannabidiol market. It has established Zoetic Organics in the US and it believes that hydrogen produced by Highland in Kansas can be used as a fertiliser with potential to increase the size of the plant. First revenues could be achieved in the summer.
Standard list shell Stranger Holdings (STHP) claims that Alchemy Utilities Ltd has sabotaged the proposed reverse takeover by refusing to provide audited accounts. Stranger is trying to get back the £300,000 it lent to Alchemy as well as its reverse takeover costs of £450,000. Stranger believes that the Alchemy management team may have misrepresented its financial status. An alternative acquisition is being lined up, but Stranger had negative net assets at the end of September 2018 and there are additional costs since then.
Standard list shell Hertsford Capital (HERT) still had £2.88m in cash at the end of 2018.
Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) is growing its gross profit but EBITDA is similar to the same period last year, which was around £650,000.
PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) has ended its wafer production activities in Germany and it intends to apply its wire sawing expertise to cutting non-silicon materials. There are plans to return £38.5m to shareholders, which is equivalent to 24p a share and that is not far short of the current market price. That could still leave more than €10m of cash. Management is considering whether to maintain a listing.
Sure Ventures (SURE) says 23%-owned Suir Valley Ventures has maintained its 10% stake in WarDucks, which is developing an AR game, by participating in a €3.3m fundraising.
Medicinal cannabis business investor Sativa Investments (SATI) has raised £500,000 from Miton Investment Management at 4p a share. Demand for the shares remains strong. Executive director Mark Blower has sold one million shares at 4p a share, having exercised options for the same number at 0.5p each, and Non-executive Noel Lyons has sold 500,000 at 4.25p each, having exercised 500,000 options at 0.5p each. Sativa joined NEX on 29 March after raising £1.1m at 1p a share. The share price had already reached 3.125p by the end of the first week. Sativa has founded the Sativa Foundation to fund academic research into medicinal cannabis.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) intends to change its investing policy so that it includes medicinal cannabis opportunities. A medical advisory board will be appointed and they will carry out due diligence on the opportunities. AfriAg (Pty) Ltd previously had the right to take a 60% stake in House of Hemp but this deal was terminated when the South African government delayed setting up the legal framework for medicinal cannabis.
High Growth Capital (HASH) joined NEX on 25 June and it plans to become a UK, Canada and Australia-focused medicinal cannabis products index tracker and investor. This will be achieved by giving direct exposure to medicinal cannabis-related companies. The strategy is to acquire up to 10% of an individual company or £150,000 in value, depending on which is the lower amount.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU), which was quoted on AIM as Stratmin until August 2017, also joined NEX on 25 June. Tectonic has gold exploration interests in Queensland, Australia. Tectonic raised £530,000 at 2p a share and then issued another 30.8 million shares to the one of the shareholders in the exploration assets that have been acquired and to advisers.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) had a NAV of 41.73p a share at the end of May 2018. There are 18 investments in unquoted employee-owned businesses valued at £5.82m. The most recent was a £600,000 loan to Poole-based aerospace components manufacturer TG Engineering.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) still had £501,000 in cash at the end of March 2018, following its maiden £372,000 investment in CoalTech, which is involved in cleaning up the waste from coal mining. The technology that has been developed enables coal fines that have little or no worth to be converted into pellets, using a binding technique, to make them a commercial product.
There was a £93,000 cash outflow from the operating activities of investment company Startup Giants (SUG) in the year to January 2018. There was £686,000 in cash and £40,000 worth of investments on the balance sheet. There are plans to add up to 25 more investments.
VI Mining (VIM) says that the seller of the Ximenita de Casma project has cancelled the option over the three mining concessions and it has also exercised its charge over the company that owns the processing plant. VI Mining had held back payment of consideration because of claims for breach of warranty. Legal proceedings will be initiated.
Legal firms consolidator Gordon Dadds (GOR) grew revenues by one-quarter to £31.2m last year even though there were minimal contributions from some of the legal firms it acquired. Pre-tax profit was 23% higher at £2.96m. This is a highly cash generative business. The dividend of 4p a share reflects that the company was not quoted for a full 12 months.
IMImobile (IMO) continues to grow organically as well as by acquisition. Full year revenues were 46% higher at £111.4m and that includes organic growth of 7%. Pre-tax profit improved from £9m to £10.1m. The communications connections technology provider has 85% recurring revenues. The main markets are growing well but progress was held back in South Africa by the political situation and since this has been sorted out that market has returned to growth.
Following a cautious AGM statement by Dillistone (DSG), WH Ireland has trimmed its forecasts and that means that the recruitment software provider is expected to breakeven this year, while the 2019 pre-tax profit has been cut from £540,000 to £200,000. Software revenues have been hit by the loss of a major client and the GatedTalent product is taking longer to build up revenues.
SaaS-based app distribution platform developer appScatter (APPS) has revised the terms for its acquisition of Priori Data. The company is still paying £13.5m in cash and shares for data analysis business but more will be funded by shares. This means that only £1.6m has to be raised in a placing at 70p a share.
Transport group Eddie Stobart (ESL) is acquiring The Pallet Network Group for £52.8m, which will be partly financed by a £30m placing at 140p a share. The network comprises 106 regional transport companies and three central hubs.
Action Hotels (AHCG) has agreed a possible cash offer of 24p a share from its major shareholder. Due diligence is being undertaken. After the company was floated by Sanlam Securities at 64p a share in December 2013, there have been four changes of nominated adviser and broker.
EQTEC (EQT) is on course to raise £2m in cash to pay off the unpopular financing package it previously secured. That deal has hit the share price but EQTEC is making progress with potential projects for its gasification technology. At least one project should reach the construction stage before the end of year to June 2019. That could either be a project in the UK or a 12MWe power plant in Vietnam, which could utilise equipment that was going to be used on the project in Newry, which is no longer going ahead. This will mean that milestone payments will be received throughout the construction.
Omega Diagnostics (ODX) has sold its infectious diseases assets to Novacyt (NCYT) although it is retaining the Visitect CD4 test. The disposal will raise up to £2.175m and these assets generated a profit before overheads of £300,000 in the past financial year. The book value was £600,000. Omega will provide manufacturing and storage services for 12 months. The cash will be invested in the Visitect CD4 test, Allersys and realising the value of the food intolerance business.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) reported a 37% reduction in revenues in 2017 to $13.4m with software licensing revenues more than halving. Overheads were reduced but pre-tax profit still slumped from $4.05m to $116,000, although that was partly due to a $1.5m asset impairment charge. There was $3.5m in the bank.
Windar Photonics (WPHO) has signed a global distribution agreement with Vestas Wind Systems, which will sell the two beam light detection and ranging LiDAR system as a retro-fit product. The deal could provide access to around 14% of global installed capacity. This should help Windar to move into profit this year and make a significant profit in 2019.
CEPS (CEPS) has raised £1.33m at 35p a share and this will finance the repayment of a £1m loan plus interest. Sunline Direct Mail, which is 80%-owned, has been placed in administration and CEPS is unlikely to receive anything. Group trading is also slightly below expectations.
Standard list shell Chesterfield Resources (CHF) has agreed to acquire Cyprus-registered HKP Exploration Ltd, which has seven prospecting permits covering three project areas on the island. The focus is copper and gold. At least £1.1m will be spent on exploration and drilling. A placing and subscription at 7.5p a share will raise £2m and each share comes with a warrant exercisable at 15p each. HKP is being acquired for 6.67 million shares at the same price. The original placing price last August was 5p a share.
Highland Natural Resources (HNR) has applied to acquire leases over 46,000 acres in Arizona, which management believes could produce commercial volumes of carbon dioxide.
Property investor Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) has had a busy week of acquisitions and disposals. Shildon House in Gateshead has been acquired for £1.825m, while Hume House in Leeds is being sold for £3.55m – a profit of £1.88m – although the deal is not expected to complete until the end of this year. Ace has bought out the 62% shareholder in Radcliff Property, the company that owned Telephone House which was sold in October, for £1.235m. Ace has already received £2.8m from the Telephone House sale but there is a dilapidations claim on a former tenant and Ace will now get 100% of any settlement. In the six months to October 2015, revenues jumped from £404,000 to £990,000, while pre-tax profit increased from £282,000 to £514,000. There was a £252,000 cash inflow from operations and net debt was £2.64m at the end of October. Of course, this is before the latest deals and some others that have been announced since October. NAV was £13.8m and the property portfolio, valued at £20.1m, generates more than £2.26m of annual rental income. Hybridan has been appointed as broker. At 3.75p (3.5p/4p) a share, Ace is valued at £21.9m.
Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP), which develops locking nut devices for railway tracks, reported a sharply reduced loss in the year to August 2015. Revenues improved from £144,000 to £240,000 and combined with lower admin expenses this helped the loss decline from £406,000 to £228,000. House broker Daniel Stewart forecasts more than doubled revenues and near break even this year.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYPD) reported a higher profit in the year to October 2015. Revenues edged up from £3.07m to £3.13m, while pre-tax profit moved from £124,000 to £134,000. There was £1.15m in the bank. Hydro has already announced an unchanged total dividend of 18p a share, although it is not fully covered by earnings. At 750p (725p/775p) a share, Hydro is valued at £4.5m. Second half trading improved after a weak first half. Staff costs are rising this year.
Investing company Globe Capital Ltd (GCAP) raised £100,000 at 0.105p a share and there is a warrant exercisable at 0.0025p each attached to each placing share. Globe had £11,000 left in the bank at the end of June 2015 and there had been a cash outflow of £188,000. The chief executive has resigned and this could mark a change in focus. Globe had been focused on investing in debt and equity of businesses but failed to find a suitable investment. New director and 3.3% shareholder David Barnett has a background in the fashion industry. Globe was previously known as Ford Eagle Ltd and when it changed its name in June 2013 it raised £207,000 via an open offer at 1p a share and it was capitalised at nearly £250,000 at the open offer price. Later that year, £199,000 was raised at 0.4p a share. At 0.625p a share, Globe is valued at £1.2m, although the bid offer spread is 0.25p/1p and there are no reported trades on the ISDX website suggesting that this is not necessarily fully reflective of the business particularly as the placing is at such a discount to the bid price.
AfriAg (AFRI) has decided to leave AIM and concentrate on its ISDX quotation and it says this could save up to £40,000 a year. Trading via ISDX has been increasing since this quotation was obtained. If shareholders agree AfriAg will leave AIM on 24 February. Although the strategy will stay the same AfriAg has hinted that it is assessing strategic options.
Vertu Motors (VTU) has bought three Honda dealerships from fully listed rival Lookers for £2m. Vertu has 12 Honda dealerships and this makes it the largest Honda car retailer in Europe and it also operates two motorcycle dealerships. All three sites adjoin existing dealership areas and they broke even last year. Vertu says that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing in its first full year.
Cathexis has increased its offer for Interior Services Group (ISG) from 143p a share to 171p a share. This bid is open until 17 February and will not be extended unless there is a rival bid. There were acceptances for the previous bid equal to 1.7% of the ISG share capital. Cathexis has taken its own stake above 30% so this is a mandatory bid.
Online business and marketing platform operator blur (BLUR) reported a decreased cash burn in the fourth quarter partly due to lower development spending. The quarterly cash burn more than halved to $1.5m. More of the projects put on the site are being taken up and completed, while the move towards larger customers is paying off. Revenues are estimated to have been $2.7m in 2015, while the underlying loss is around $10m. That loss is expected halve next year and the rate of cash burn will slow further and net cash is forecast to fall from £6.3m to £2.2m.
Learning Technologies Group (LTG) has expanded its US e-learning interests through the $26m acquisition of Nashville-based Rustici Software. The business is international and it is involved in a wide number of sectors. In 2015, revenues were $6.6m, mainly recurring, and EBITDA was $2.7m. Up to $11m more may become payable depending on performance. Watershed Systems Inc has been split from the rest of the business with LTG taking a 30% stake and the former Rustici owners will own the rest. Watershed is developing a new learning analytics platform that will gather and analyse learning data and LTG is injecting $3m for its stake.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) says that 2015 figures are broadly in line with expectations with assets under management of £666m at the end of the year. House broker Shore has been updating its forecasts and it has reduced the 2016 figures but increased the 2017 ones. This is because 2016 is a transitional year as assets under management are moved to come under its own management. This still requires final FCA approval. A profit of £1.74m is forecast for 2016, rising to £3.28m in 2017.
IP-focused investment company FastForward Innovations Ltd (FFWD) has raised £5.6m from a placing at 15p a share – a premium to the then market price although it was as high as 18.25p earlier in the month. The share price ended the week at 15.25p. The shares issued are just under one-quarter of the enlarged share capital. The previous placing raised £3.17m at 8p a share. The latest placing follows the appointment of board director Lorne Abony as chief executive and he invested more than £800,000 taking his stake to 19.7%. He stood down from the boards of two investee companies – Vested Finance Inc and Vemo Education Inc – and he will not be involved in future investment decisions relating to them. There are seven investments in the portfolio. Abony has been the boss of two other AIM-quoted (and TSX-listed) companies that were based in Canada – Fun Technologies and Mood Media Corporation.
Tissue Regenix (TRX) has signed a joint venture with GTM-V to form a tissue bank in Rostock, Germany and management believes that this model can be used to expand internationally. Tissue Regenix has invested €250,000 in cash in the joint venture, which has been granted licences for human dCELL . Regulatory submissions for EU approval are being prepared and the first human tissue treatment products based on the dCELL decellularisation technology could be launched in Germany next year.
Call centre and outsourced customer services provider IBEX Global Solutions (IBEX) says that it has won two new clients in financial services and consumer electronics and it has opened a new operation in Nicaragua. There are plans for an additional site in the next few months. Focusing on higher margin business means that the interim figures will be in line with expectations and the second half will benefit from the new customers. The interims will be published on 24 February. House broker Cenkos forecasts 2015-16 earnings equivalent to 14.3p a share, which puts the shares on eight times prospective earnings.
A strong final quarter meant that publisher Quarto Group (QRT) beat 2015 expectations. A better than expected contribution from the Ivy Press acquisition and the strong performance of adult colouring books were behind the improved trading. A profit of around $13.5m is anticipated. Net debt was $59.7m at the end of 2015 – Northland had forecast $60.7m. A profit of around $15m is expected for 2016. At 217.5p a share, Quarto is trading on little more than six times prospective earnings.
Interim figures from automotive manuals and information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) show an improvement in profit in what is the weaker half of the year. In the six months to November 2015, revenues were 3% ahead at £12.2m, while pre-tax profit increased from £55,000 to £295,000. However, capitalised development spending, net of amortisation, increased from £48,000 to £464,000. Net debt was ££475,000 at the end of November 2015. Haynes continues to review its structure and costs. US and Australian revenues were much lower and this was made up for by higher European revenues. There was growth in UK manual sales but against a weak comparative period but the focus is developing the digital platform. Digital revenues were more than one-quarter of the interim total. An unchanged interim dividend of 3.5p a share was announced. A full year profit of £2.47m is forecast. James Bunkum has joined the board as chief financial officer designate and he takes over the role in May.
Standard list investment company Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has published its prospectus for the acquisition of 75% of patents and know how rights for DT Ultravert and it has raised £765,000 at 12p a share. The cash will cover the costs of field trials for the technology that are part of a potential licence agreement with Schlumberger.
Residential property developer St Mark Homes (SMAP) is bidding for related company St Marks Contracts Ltd. The recommended offer is a one-for-one share swap. That looks fair as the adjusted NAV of each of the companies is around 128.5p a share. That is after St Mark Homes pays its interim dividend of 5p a share. The directors that the two companies have in common were not involved in the negotiations. The idea behind the deal is that the enlarged group should be able to participate in larger projects.
Equatorial Mining & Exploration (EM.P) says that it has engaged a contract mining company to open up an access road into a planned mining lease in Nigeria in anticipation of its imminent grant, which is subject to a final fee of £15,000. Equatorial needs additional funding for exploration and working capital and it is talking to investors. The company’s activity has been limited in order for it to be able to keep going until finance can be obtained. A half year trading update will be published at the end of this month
Hellenic Capital (HECP) director Gavin Burnell has more than doubled his stake in the investment company, taking it to 29.9%. The recent purchase of 9.5 million shares was at 0.137p each. That is below the current bid price of 0.2p.
African Pioneer (APPP) is asking its shareholders to approve its withdrawal from ISDX. The vote will be held at the AGM on 30 June. If the resolution is passed then trading will end on 1 July.
Wireless control technology developer Cyan Holdings (CYAN) is acquiring Connode, which supplies wireless-based technology for smart meters and the internet of things, for £6.8m – £4.3m in cash and £2.5m in shares. This deal provides a European customer base and an opportunity to generate revenues from the smart meter roll out in the UK. Cyan is raising £10.1m at 0.18p a share and this includes a £2m subscription by JS Technical Services, a Thailand-based distributor of Cyan products. The share capital will be doubled following these share issues. Directors and some of the senior management will take their income and bonuses in shares at the same price – expected to be equivalent to £730,000.
Seeing Machines (SEE) has supplied an initial 1,000 Guardian on-road driver fatigue units to a distributor set up by VSI Berhad, the Malaysian business that recently took a 12% stake in the company at 5.2p a share – a significant premium to the current market price. The units will be sold in Malaysia and Singapore. According to finnCap, Seeing Machines should have net cash of A$5m by the end of June 2017 and there are $10m worth of further payments to come from the Caterpillar deal.
Risk management and compliance software developer Lombard Risk Management (LRM) is raising up to £8.76m through a placing and one-for-35 open offer at 8.75p a share. The cash will be invested in developing existing and future software products. A trebled loss of £6.6m is forecast for this year but Lombard is expected to move into profit next year – after capitalised development spending.
Hydro International (HYD) has recommended a £28m bid from Ely Acquisitions. The Hanover Active Equity Fund-backed acquisition vehicle is offering 194p a share in cash for the stormwater and wastewater equipment supplier.
Dekeloil (DKL) is buying out most of the minority interests in the Ayenouan palm oil mill in the Ivory Coast. This will take the Dekeloil stake to 86% and it will be financed by a £12.75m placing at 1.325p a share. The purchase price effectively values the mill at €42.9m and the deal should be earnings enhancing. The rest of the minority interest will eventually be acquired. Cantor Fitzgerald forecasts a 2016 profit of €4.9m, rising to €7.5m next year.
CML Microsystems (CML) is showing signs of benefiting from a recovery in demand thanks to new contracts. In the year to March 2016, revenues improved from £21.8m to £22.8m, while underlying pre-tax profit moved ahead from £3.17m to £3.44m. The dividend was increased from 6.9p a share to 7p a share. The recently announced Chinese acquisition will not be completed for around three months.
A pre-feasibility study for the Batangas gold project, where Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has an option to increase its 25% stake to 50.1%, shows that it could generate $34m of free cash during its first seven years of production (assuming a gold price of $1,250/ounce). The upfront capital costs are $16m. Estimated operating costs are $735/ounce of recovered gold. Recovered gold production is forecast at 116,000 ounces and there are an additional 320,000 ounces of inferred gold resources. A definitive feasibility study should be completed by the end of the year.
Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) is reversing its recently acquired helium prospects in Montana into fellow standard list shell Opera Investments (OPRA), which previously had a reversal deal that fell through. The purchase price is £4m in Opera shares valued at 15p each. Opera plans to raise at least $750,000 to finance investment in the assets. Highlands will be the majority shareholder in the company.
Markets operator WMC Retail Partners (WMC) reported a sharp fall in revenues and profit in 2015. That was due to the loss of the Old Spitalfields Market contract in January 2015. Revenues were reduced from £6.08m to £4.31m, while pre-tax profit dived from £369,000 to £13,000. That profit was after fair value movements in asset values of £165,000, compared with £190,000 the year before. There was £196,000 in the bank at the end of 2015, although there are also borrowings. At 19.5p a share, WMC is valued at £1.2m, whereas the NAV was £3.58m at the end of 2015.
Brewer and pubs operator Adnams (ADP) says that first quarter operating profit was slightly ahead of expectations thanks to strong sales of own-brand beer and gin. Distillery capacity has been trebled and £7m is being invested to increase brewing capacity. A six year sponsorship of the University Boat Races has begun and increased marketing spending will hold back profit. At £99.50 a share, Adnams is valued at £28.4m. There have been deals at above this price in recent days.
Leni Gas Cuba (CUBA) is in talks to reverse into a TSX Venture market shell that until recently was going to buy Mongolian mining assets. Knowlton Capital Inc (TSX-V:KWC H) will provide access to North American investors but the enlarged group wants to retain the ISDX quotation. An all share bid by Knowlton, whose shares are currently suspended, for Leni Gas Cuba is anticipated but prior to this the Knowlton share capital will be consolidated which will give shareholders 0.7825 of a share for each share currently owned. One Knowlton share will be issued for every 2.5 Leni Gas Cuba shares. Leni Gas Cuba shareholders will own 84.4% of the enlarged group although they will be contributing a higher percentage of the group cash and assets. The Leni Gas Cuba share price is 1.15p, which is double the low in March but a fraction of the 5p a share flotation price, valuing the company at £5.7m, which is above pro forma NAV.
Ace Liberty & Stone (ALSP) has announced an interim dividend of 0.033p a share – an increase of 10% on the previous year. The ex-dividend date is 12 May. An additional 13.3 million shares have been issued at 3p each to pay for a property acquired from non-executive director Dr Anthony Ghorayeb. At 4p a share, which is the highest the share price has been, Ace is valued at £39.3m.
Investment company Gledhow Investments (GDH) reported a decline in NAV from £546,000 to £414,000 in the 12 months to March 2016 as the value of resources investments fell. During the period, a €40,000 investment was made in Dutch electric scooter developer Bolt Mobility BV. There was still £190,000 left in the bank at the end of March 2016. At 0.75p a share, Gledhow is valued at £368,000.
Valiant Investments (VALP) has set up a mobile app development business called Flamethrower and it retains an 83.33% interest. Valiant also has a portfolio of resources and green energy investments but it currently has a small net deficit.
Cyber security technology commercialisation Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) reported initial revenues of £21,000 in 2015. The loss increased from £239,000 to £755,000. There was £1.23m in the bank at the end of 2015.
House broker Stockdale expects a slump in profit reported by smoke alarms supplier Sprue Aegis (SPRP) from £12.8m – before £5.5m battery warranty provision – to £2.1m in the year to December 2016. This is due to the revelation about unreliable batteries and poor trading in France and Germany. These are important potential markets. In Germany, 10 million homes will have to have a smoke alarm by the end of 2017. Despite being uncovered, the dividend is expected to be maintained at 8p a share. Net cash was £22.4m at the end of 2015.
Arian Silver Corp (AGQ) has raised £700,000 at 1p a unit – one share and 0.5 of a warrant to subscribe for a share at 1.5p (expiring on 28 April 2019). The current share price is 1.13p. The cash will be used to push ahead with the exploration of mining concessions in Mexico, particularly those relating to the Tierra Neuva Mineria option assets. Other projects are also being assessed.
Tekcapital (TEK) has acquired assets from Vortechs Group Inc, an executive search firm specialising in technology transfer professionals. This will add to the range of services that Tekcapital can offer. Tekcapital has paid $100,000 and 577,868 shares at 47.5p each. The current employees will be retained. The business made a small loss on revenues of $351,000 last year. In the year to November 2015, Tekcapital lost $1.46m.
Highland Natural Resources (HNR) has raised £519,000 at 18p a share. This cash will be used to invest in oil and gas assets and technology and it should cover overheads until the end of 2017. Research into the company’s US oil and gas assets suggests that there could be uranium assets. The first commercial test of the DT Ultravert oilfield technology are set for June in Colorado.
Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) continues to trade at a substantial discount to NAV. The share price is 6.5p a share, whereas the NAV was 25.7p a share at the end of April. That figure is after writing down the value of a number of unquoted resources shares. GRIT recently sold its stake in NuLegacy Gold for £2.2m – more than double book value. The main concern is that the largest holder of the company’s cumulative unsecured loan stock has requested repayment because a covenant has been breached. The other two holders are supporting the company but GRIT does not have the cash to redeem the loan stock of the largest holder. Further disposals should enable this largest chunk of the loan stock to be repaid by the autumn.
Microbiological technologies supplier Bioquell (BQE) is returning £42.7m to shareholders via a tender offer for 50% of the share capital that is likely to be at 200p a share. The formal sale process for the business continues. There was £47.6m in the bank at the end of 2015, following the disposal of TRaC Global. Continuing operations reported flat revenues of £26.9m, while Bioquell swung from loss to profit.
North Midland Construction (NMD) has appointed SPARK as its financial adviser and Si Capital as its broker. This could mark a review of strategy or even a potential move to AIM.
Small Cap Awards 2016 nominations
IPO of the Year Bilby ; Curtis Banks; Gear4music; Premier Technical Services Group; Stride Gaming
Company of the Year Bioventix; Crawshaw; James Cropper; Trakm8
Impact Company of the Year Ashley House; Capital for Colleagues; Good Energy Group; Menhaden Capital; V22
Executive Director of the Year Nick Taylor – Waterman Group; John McArthur – Tracsis; David Cicurel – Judges Scientific; Stephen O’Hara – OptiBiotix Health
Transaction of the Year 1pm acquisition of Academy Leasing; AdEPT Telecom acquisition of Centrix; Scientific Digital Imaging acquisition of Sentek; Venn Life Sciences acquisition of Kinesis Pharma
Analyst of the Year Mike Allen – Zeus Capital; Charles Hall – Peel Hunt; Matt Butlin – Allenby Capital; Eric Burns – WH Ireland
Journalist of the Year Paul Scott – Stockopedia; Simon Thompson – Investors Chronicle; Smit Berry – The Small Company Sharewatch
Advisor of the Year FinnCap; Hybridan; Peterhouse; Zeus Capital
Fund Manager of the Year Conor McCarthy – MFM Techinvest Special Situations; Gervais Williams – Miton UK Smaller Companies; Ken Wotton – Wood Street Microcap Investment; Paul Spencer – Franklin UK Smaller Companies
Alternative Financing Deal of the Year Funding Circle SM Income Fund – IPO; Seedrs for Chapel Down – Curious Drinks; Capital For Colleagues – institutional and crowd placing; TRC Contracts by ArchOver – record working capital loan
Trading in the bonds of Carduus Housing (CHPB/CHP2) has been suspended pending clarification of its financial position. It is noticeable that the suspension announcement is the first not to include managing director Brian Gilmour as the contact name. Instead fellow director Drew Oswald is named at the end of the release. Carduus joined ISDX on 30 September 2015 when £3.5m of 6.5% unsecured bonds were admitted to trading. It has subsequently raised £3.5m from the issue of 6.25% unsecured bonds. The strategy is to invest in affordable housing, with initial investments in Scotland.
Other bond issuers continue to raise cash. Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) has raised a further £630,000 from 8.5% unsecured bonds, taking the total to £5.8m. Via Developments (VIA1) has raised an additional £80,000, making a total of £2.64m from eleven placings of 7% debenture stock since joining ISDX. Residential property acquisitions have been made in Manchester and Luton.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has appointed Jonathan Owen as its new general manager. He starts on 16 May. The shares owned by the estate of Richard Cecil James have been equally distributed to Elizabeth Foster and Patricia Gray, who own 10.1% and 9.3% of the company respectively. There were also 200 shares traded at 800p each on 15 March. At 775p (750p/800p) a share, which values Hydro at £4.7m.
Titiana Internet Ventures (TITP) has failed to secure a renewable energy sector deal and it does not have the cash to maintain its ISDX quotation so shareholders are being asked to vote to terminate this quotation. At 2.5p (2p/3p) a share, Titania is valued at £44,000.
Robotic process software supplier Blue Prism (PRSM) has joined AIM. The business is loss-making but it is profitable in Europe and the costs of building up a base in the US have pushed the group into loss. The software enables automation of manual, rules-based admin processes and it has been available since 2008 and subsequently developed further with customers. Blue Prism raised £10m at 78p a share, while £11.1m was raised by existing shareholders. The share price ended the first day of trading at 110.5p.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) has gained FCA approval to deal with retail clients and this is the final requirement for the new strategy. This involves taking on the fund management role for assets under management – £666m at the end of 2015. Frenkel has been opening additional offices in order to broaden its coverage of the country and this held back profit last year. Pre-tax profit dipped from £1.57m to £1.42m in 2015. There should be some recovery this year but the real benefits of the strategy should be more obvious in 2017 when profit is expected to be £3.28m. Meanwhile, the dividend has been increased by 25% to 0.8875p a share and there should be further growth in dividends in the coming years.
SIPPs administrator Curtis Banks (CBP) reported an improvement in pre-tax profit from £3.1m to £4m in 2015 as it won new business and got the full benefit from recent acquisitions. Curtis Banks will become the second largest SIPP provider following the acquisition of Suffolk Life from Legal & General for £45m. The enlarged group will have 65,000 SIPPs with assets of £18bn under administration. The deal is still waiting for regulatory approval. There are opportunities for further bolt-on deals.
Standard list shell Opera Investments (OPRA) is still trying to secure the reverse takeover of SoloPower Systems Inc (http://solopower.com/company/) that was originally announced last July. Financing the acquisition of the thin film solar technology developer has proved difficult and the structure of the deal is being changed. SoloPower will raise finance prior to a reversal into Opera, which is required to happen by 15 May or it will not go ahead. There was £1.08m in the bank at the end of June 2015. Opera has already incurred £400,000 of costs relating to the deal but Hudson, the backer of SoloPower, will reimburse £200,000 of these costs by the end of the month.
Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has paid $32,000 to acquire 100% of 26 unpatented mining claims in Grand County, Utah. Highlands had been assessing oil and gas well logs and thinks there might be a potential uranium discovery in the area. Permits will have to be obtained and then exploration can start a few months later. The seller is Ticaboo Minerals which will have the right to a production royalty of 2% of the gross value of minerals produced from the mining claims. The principal focus of Highlands is still the oil and gas sector.