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The government proposal to drop plans to cap housing benefit in the supported living sector to Local Housing Allowance rates is good news for Ashley House (ASH) because the rates would not have been viable. Ashley House has development schemes that could go-ahead following the change of government plans. There could still be other proposals that hamper development in the government paper on funding supported housing that is due to be published on Tuesday but if there are not then Ashley House is in a good position.
Belvedere Capital has subscribed for £31,500 of convertible loan notes in Forbes Ventures (FOR) and the investment is expected to increase to up to £100,000. The initial cash will pay creditors and enable Forbes to issue its interim figures. That is required for trading in the shares to recommence. The interest rate is 1% per month and the conversion price is 0.1p a share. A representative of Belvedere, which is focused on technology investments in northern England, will join the Forbes board as an executive director.
First Sentinel (FSEN) has made a £625,000 investment in standard-listed Curzon Energy (CZN). The shares in the oil and gas company were acquired at the flotation price of 10p each but the share price has fallen back to 8.38p. Curzon has a coal bed methane asset in Oregon.
Middle East-focused investment company Indigo Holdings (INGO) has made four investments, although one of these was earlier this month so it is not included in the balance sheet to the end of June 2017. There was still nearly £241,000 in the bank, prior to investing £10,000 in 3sootjobs, a job search platform in Iran.
Supported housing developer Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has been granted membership of the Social Stock Exchange. Management hopes that this will help the company attract investors seeking investments with a positive social impact.
Black Sea Property (BSP) has completed the €10.5m purchase of the UniCredit Bulbank office building in Sofia.
A management review at Real Good Food (RGD) has uncovered further disappointment and there will be a loss this year. All three divisions are growing their sales with overall like-for-like sales 13% ahead but this is not translating into higher profit. A combination of higher commodity prices and disruption from capital investment. Overheads are being reviewed and Real Good Food is also racking up costs relating to its corporate governance problems. The head office is being moved from London to Liverpool. New banking covenants have been agreed but the further downgrades could mean they come under pressure but the food company has the backing of its three main shareholders.
Investment in European distribution centres and a new UK head office held back the first half progress of musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) but the benefits will start to show through in the second half. There was a small loss in the first half but a full year pre-tax profit of £2.4m is forecast as European sales build up and margins start to recover.
Stratex International (STI) is holding a general meeting requisitioned by shareholders, including AnglGold Ashanti and Teck Resources, on 1 November. The requistioners, which own 24% of Stratex, want to remove the current chairman and chief executive and block the proposed reverse takeover of Brazil-focused Crusader Resources, which was announced in May. They want former Stratex directors David Hall and Paul Foord to return to the board. The two men run Thani Stratex Resources Ltd, which is 30%-owned by Stratex. Institutional Shareholder Services Inc advises voting against the resolutions. Stratex has the backing of shareholders owning 12.1% of the share capital. Earlier this month, Stratex sold its 13.7% stake in Goldstone Resources for £550,000 (1.6p a share).This was valued in the latest accounts at £950,000.
Datatec (DTC) is dropping its AIM quotation and concentrating on the JSE listing. There has been a lack of interest in the shares in London with non-South African investors trading through the JSE. The cancellation becomes effective on 8 December.
It appears easier to push a piano up a steep flight of stairs than for TLA Worldwide (TLA) to bring out its 2016 accounts. The latest management estimate for publication is before the end of November. Former CFO Don Malter is said to have misappropriated $800,000 of funds over three years. It is unclear if any of this is included in the $6.8m EBITDA adjustment for 2016 that was revealed in June. TLA remains best known for publishing a profit warning at 6.26pm on 23 December 2016. It will be interesting to see whether the accounts are published before this date and time in 2017.
Lombard Risk Management (LRM) had a tough first half but it expects to do much better in the second half and move back into profit. Interim revenues fell by 16% as risk management software sales fell. Regulatory reporting software sales improved. A full year profit of £1.8m is forecast.
Zinc Media (ZIN) has acquired Tern Television Productions for up to £5.45m, with up to £2.35m deferred. Tern made a pre-tax profit of £300,000 on revenues of £5.3m in the year to March 2017. Tern specialises in factual programming. A placing at 0.9p a share raised £3.5m.
Systems1 Group (SYS1) had a poor first half with revenues falling and costs increasing. The market research firm reported a 10% decline in interim revenues to £13.8m and a 70% slump in pre-tax profit to £540,000. There was still £3.5m in the bank at the end of September 2017. Rebranding and reorganisation hampered the business at a time when clients were also holding back spending.
Fox Marble (FOX) has sold the first polished marble slabs from its factory in Kosovo. This sale was part of the agreement to supply Marble Dino. Fox recently signed a three year agreement to supply OM Enterprises in India. An advance payment of $500,000 has been received.
Third quarter trading at broking business Share (SHRE) continued to be strong and revenues were 29% higher compared with the third quarter of 2016. Market share jumped to 13.9%.
A new finance director has reviewed the forecasts for Attraqt Group (ATQT) and problems in timing of contracts have been identified. This means that revenues will be 10% lower than expected in 2017, although there will be organic growth. There was £2.3m in the bank at the end of September.
Hardide (HDD) has raised £2.54m at 1.7p a share in order to fund an increase in reactor capacity. Two additional reactors will be installed in the US and other equipment will be installed in the UK and US. The surface coatings business has signed a framework agreement with a North American oil and gas business. Full year figures will be published on 11 December.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD) expects major developments over the coming months. There is enough cash to last into 2018. An inferred resource is expected to be reported for the Thorny River project before the end of the year. Eight kimberlites have been discovered at the Free State project.
Ascent Resources (AST) is raising a further £1.5m via PrimaryBid.com. Ascent is a regular user of the crowdfunding site. The shares will be issued at 1.66p each. Ascent is awaiting a signature on a government document that will enable it to export gas from Croatia.
Internet gaming software-as-a-service provider GAN (GAN) will benefit from the final approval of a bill in Pennsylvania that legalises real money online gaming. The regulated gaming is expected to start early in 2018.
Cenkos has lowered its revenue expectations for Collagen Solutions (COS) following a trading statement. It has knocked £400,000 off its 2017-18 revenues forecast and trimmed forecasts for later years. A profit is not anticipated until 2019-20. First half revenues of the collagen products supplier were flat.
K&C REIT (KCR) is raising £150m at 100p a share, following a ten-for-one share consolidation. The name is being changed to KCR Residential REIT and a move to a premium listing is planned.
The Ottoman Fund Ltd (OTM) has repatriated cash from Turkey and shut three Turkish subsidiaries. This is an important step in winding up the company returning cash to shareholders. The final distribution will be in the range of 1.36p a share to 1.53p a share.
Stellar Diamonds (STEL) has been granted an environmental licence for the Tongo project in Sierra Leone.
Fuel cell technology developer Intelligent Energy Holdings (IEH) is selling its business and being wound up. Convertible loan note holders are likely to get 65% of the principal of the loan notes prior to their cancellation but ordinary shareholders will get nothing. Cash is likely to run out in November. Meditor Energy is paying £19.5m for the remaining business and this will be used to pay the 65% of principal of the loan notes. A Meditor fund owns 85.5% of these loan notes.
Orient Telecoms (ORNT) is a new standard list company that wants to start a telecoms business in Singapore from scratch. The share price ended the first day at 11p (10p/12p) and it remains unchanged since then. The shares are tightly held so any trading activity could push up the share price, so beware of this lack of liquidity. There does not appear to have been any trading activity, as yet.
Aquila Services Group (AQSG) is acquiring development consultancy and financial modelling services business pod. The business made an operating profit of £162,000 on annual revenues of £1.09m. This fits with the group’s affordable housing services operations.
Shepherd Neame (SHEP) improved both beer volumes and like-for-like sales in its managed pubs last year. The first phase of investment in the brewery has been completed and new beer brands have been launched to replace the contract brewing of Asahi lager, which comes to an end next February. In the year to June 2017, revenues were 12% ahead at £156.2m, while underlying pre-tax profit was 8% higher at £11.2m. The total dividend has been raised by 3% to 28.35p a share, which is more than twice covered by earnings. Net debt was £60.1m because of investment in the brewery and pub acquisitions. In the first ten week of this financial year, like-for-like managed pub sales were up by 1.5% and beer volumes were ahead by 4.4%. Graeme Craig has resigned as brewing and brands director. Peel Hunt has become corporate broker.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) had £5,000 left in the bank at the end of June 2017 but since then £40,000 has been raised via loan securities. Equatorial has signed a three year exploitation rights agreement covering an open cast coal mine in central Nigeria, which will be called the St Leonard mine. The mining will be outsourced and production should build up over a six month period.
Kryptonite1 (KR1) is investing £200,000 in Vo1t Ltd, a digital custodian of bitcoin assets, for a 5% stake. Kryptonite1 is the first beta client.
Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) says the refurbishment of the first supported housing investment in Stroud is complete and the first residents will move in during October. There is a pipeline of other supported housing projects.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has identified an investment product around which it intends to build a business. This involves the provision of reinsurance to reduce the risks relating to investments secured on Senior Life Settlement (SLS) policies. The details of the product are still to be finalised. Lombard has issued a total of £150,000 of 7.5% convertible unsecured loan notes 2020, out of a potential £3m note issue. The conversion price is 10p a share and there are ten warrants for each £1 loan note exercisable at the same share price.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) is investing $200,000 in Stream TV Networks Inc, which has developed a glasses-free 3D technology. The strategy is to licence this technology for TVs and smartphones, followed by PCs and other uses. Stream is valued at $336m and plans to join Nasdaq in 2018. Primorus still has £350,000 in the bank.
Electronic coupon and loyalty technology developer Eagle Eye (EYE) reported faster than expected growth in revenues in the year to June 2017 and they are likely to grow by around one-third in the first quarter of this financial year thanks to the new John Lewis contract. Full year revenues improved from £6.5m to £11.1m, while the underlying loss was slightly lower at £3.8m. Recurring revenues were 68% of the total and this percentage is likely to increase. There was £3.7m left in the bank and there is likely to be net debt by the end of June 2018.
Safestyle UK (SFE) is not immune to the tough consumer climate but it still performed well in the first half of 2017. There was a small increase in interim revenues to £82.1m but there was a 15% fall in underlying pre-tax profit to £9m. The full year profit forecast is £16m, down from £20.4m. This means that the forecast dividend is flat at 11.3p a share. Safestyle is taking share in the replacement windows market and new manufacturing facilities will make it more efficient.
Bango (BGO) says that end user spend via its mobile billing platform doubled to £92.3m in the first half of 2017. This prompted Cenkos to lower its forecast loss for 2017 from £800,000 to £600,000 and raise its 2018 profit forecast from £1.1m to £1.5m. There is room for improvement if there is further roll outs around the world by Amazon.
Electricity supplier Flowgroup (FLOW) continued to make significant losses in the first half of 2017 but it has raised £25m to improve the strength of its balance sheet. The rate of customer acquisition will be lower but Flowgroup should make more money from the customers it does obtain. Breakeven is possible by the end of 2018 and there could be positive cash flow in 2018.
Macfarlane Group (MACF) has acquired Nottinghamshire-based packaging distributor and manufacturer Greenwoods for up to £16.75m, which was partly funded via an oversubscribed £8m placing at 66p a share. The deal helps Macfarlane move into the clothing and apparel sector. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing in its first full year.
Sportech (SPO) is undergoing a strategic review and it expects to update shareholders on 9 November. Chief executive Ian Penrose, who is leaving at the end of 2017, and his wife have sold 300,000 shares at an average price of 95.2916p each, which takes their stake to 561,800 shares.
Last Thursday, telecoms-focused cash shell Stapleton Capital (STC) joined the standard list. Stapleton raised £1.5m, £1.4m net, at 5p a share. The potential acquisition would be valued at between £2m and £3m. Cash shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) started trading on the standard list last Friday, having raised £1.8m, £1.65m net, at 5p a share. The focus of the Chris Akers-backed shell is on companies in the technology sector that have strong management and the potential for scaling up their business. Rodger Sargent is a director of Stapleton and Baskerville, and he was previously a founder of the shell that became Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SAT).
Standard list shell Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP), which is focused on the energy and industrial sectors, still has £1.1m in the bank. Management is pressing ahead with discussions for the acquisition of the most attractive of its potential acquisitions.
Intelligent Energy Holdings (IEH) expects its current year revenues to decline from £91.8m to around £21m but the loss after tax should fall from £82.7m to around £24m. If the large Indian contract is excluded then the decline in revenues is from £6.7m to £4.3m. There is still £2.7m in the bank but this will not last long if the loss is not stemmed. The cash burn is currently £1.6m per month, although an R&D tax credit is anticipated in the next couple of months. Management has put the fuel cell technology developer’s assets up for sale. The fact that some of these assets are part of the security of the company’s £30m of convertible loan notes could prove a constraint. There is likely to be little, if anything, left for ordinary shareholders. That led to the share price more than halving to 2.45p.