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AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
SAPO (SAPO) has agreed to acquire Secure Web Services (SWS) and it will change its name to Rural Broadband Solutions. SAPO is paying £1.6m in cash and shares and £236,500 of the cash paid will be used to subscribe to a fundraising. SAPO wants to raise £2.5m. SWS is based in Shropshire and had revenues of £730,000. There are 2,300 customers and this could be doubled in three years. A buy and build strategy will expand the group across the UK.
Specialist social housing developer Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) swung from loss to profit in the year to March 2020. The pre-tax profit of £626,000 includes a gain on revaluation of £798,000. The underlying loss was similar to the year before. Net assets increased from £3.3m to £4m, equivalent to 107p a share. There are plans to dispose of the remaining London residential units and reinvest in specialist supported housing. The Wimbledon Park property was sold for £656,000 in June, which was a 3% discount to book value.
S-Ventures (SVEN) has made an investment in vitamin fortified, smoothies and juices provider Coldpress Foods. It has taken an initial 3.3% plus an investment in a convertible that could take the stake to 6.2%. The total investment is £60,000. Coldpress has revenues of more than £1.6m.
Oncology treatments developer Incanthera (INC) says that skin cancer technology Sol has exceeded expectations in a recent study. Sol has been shown to be effective in penetrating the skin barrier.
A requisition for a general meeting at Primorus Investments (PRIM) has been withdrawn following the proposed board appointments of Rupert Labrum, Hedley Clark and Matthew Beardmore. Donald Strang will leave the board.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) says Nicholas Nelson has resigned from the board but remains as chief executive. Shareholders had requisitioned a general meeting to remove him from the board, but there is no need for this to happen. Nouryon has agreed to manufacture SulNOx’s HFO emulsifier and a diesel conditioner, which will be sold under the brand SulNOxEco diesel conditioner.
Altona Energy (ANR) is seeking to raise up to £500,000 at 6.5p a share. Existing and new investors can subscribe for shares via www.nrprivatemarket.com. The offer is set to last until 15 October. The cash will go towards financing the two rare earth element projects in Malawi and Uganda.
Belvedere Leisure Resorts (BELV) has signed an agreement with Landal GreenParks UK for an exclusive partnership for the leisure park at the Barncosh site until the end of the year. Belvedere will deliver the first 50 units and then the 20-year arrangement will take effect. Belvedere has agreed to acquire the land for the 50 units at a cost of £500,000. Belvedere continues to seek new funds.
Gunsynd (GUN) has invested a further £75,000 in copper/gold explorer Eagle Mountain Mining. Gunsynd owns 1.54% of the ASX-listed company.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) believes that the FCA guidance has given it confidence that its deal with medicinal cannabis company Apollon Formularies will go ahead.
European Lithium (EUR) has raised A$2.1m at 4.5 cents a share and this will be spent on metallurgical test work at the Wolfsberg lithium project. Early Equity (EEQP) has raised £193,000 at 0.5p a share.
Sativa Wellness Group Inc expects to gain admission to the Aquis Stock Exchange on 30 September.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) non-executive director Dominic Burke has bought 20,000 shares at 700p each. He owns 127,365 shares.
Gold production in Azerbaijan fell in the first half but Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) is confident it can still hit its full year target of 75,000-80,000 ounces of gold equivalent, which would be slightly lower than the previous year. The higher gold price offset the decline in production from 39,905 ounces to 32,501 ounces. Even though the cost of production increased because of lower volumes and the reduction in grades at the Ugur open pit, pre-tax profit improved from $10.3m to $11.8m. There was $21.4m of cash generated from operations. There is plenty of cash to invest in Azerbaijan and the new venture in Ireland with Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR). The interim dividend was increased by 29% to 4.5 cents a share and the possibility of a special dividend next year. There was cash of $29.2m at the end of June 2020.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) has made an indicative all-share offer for personal injury claims generator NAHL (NAH). Frenkel Topping has already acquired 6.11% of NAHL. finnCap forecasts an improvement in Frenkel Topping pre-tax profit from £1.8m to £2.3m in 2020.
NWF (NWF) says that trading is in line with expectations. Fuel volumes are lower than the same time last year because of reduced economic activity, but they are as anticipated. The food distribution trading has been hit by volatility in demand and lower demand from the catering sector. The feeds division has benefited from a stable dairy market.
Spinger-Verlag has increased its stake in DeepMatter (DMTR) from 2.9% to 7.4% following the issue of deferred consideration.
Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) grew managed services and consultancy revenues in the first half, although there was lower utilisation in consulting during lockdown. Consultancy revenues are improving in the second half. There was cash of £1.6m in the middle of September.
Battery technology developer Ilika (IKA) has signed a framework agreement with the UK Battery industrialisation Centre for the production of Goliath solid state pouch cells. This will help with the scale up of production for the batteries aimed at domestic appliances and electric vehicles.
Critical Metals (CRTM) is raising £800,000 at 5p a share. That will more than double the number of shares in issue. Critical wants to buy or acquire stakes in natural resources assets in Africa. The focus will be near-term brownfield projects that can be brought into production. Chief executive Russell Fryer is a former investment adviser in the natural resources sector and founder of Western Uranium Corporation.
Gulf Marine Services (GMS) has received another general meeting requisition letter from Seafox. The removal from the board of Mike Turner, David Blewden, Mo Bississo and Dr Shona Grant is Seafox’s wish. It wants Rasid Al Jarwan, Mansour Al alami and Saeed Mer Abdulla Khoory to replace them.
Auctus Growth (AUCT) is in discussions to acquire HeiQ Materials AG, which is a materials innovation company focusing on the apparel, medical and home textile markets. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Hawkwing (HNG) is switching from AIM to the standard list on 30 September and raising £1.2m after expenses at 3p a share. That values the shell, which has failed to secure a technology acquisition in the time required by AIM, at £1.5m.
Digital Landscape Group (DLGI) is cancelling its standard listing on 2 October. Trading will begin on the Nasdaq Global Market on 5 October.
Challenger Acquisitions Ltd (CHAL) has received 73.94% acceptances from shareholders in Cindrigo Energy. When other conditions are satisfied the remaining shares will be mopped up and a prospectus prepared for a reintroduction to the standard list.
Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) has published results for the year to August 2019 and the subsequent interims. Following these announcements, trading in the shares has resumed. There was strong growth in the interim figures with revenues of £116,000 but there was still a loss of £75,000. The working capital facility has been increased to £500,000.
Cannabis products supplier World High Life (LIFE) says it intends to list on the Canadian Stock Exchange. Revenues were £1.05m in the nine months to March 2020. Write-offs meant that the loss was £11.3m. Subsidiary Love Hemp’s online sales in May were double the level in January. Sales have switched from high street to online. There will be a rebrand in September
Engineering businesses consolidator Vulcan Industries (VULC) has raised a further £179,000, including £65,000 raised by share issues to employees at 2p a share. There were also shares issued at 4.25p each. The placing price was 3p a share and creditors are taking shares at that price valued at £175,000 in lieu of flotation costs. The current share price is 4.5p (4p/5p).
Gunsynd (GUN) is raising £600,000 at 0.65p a share and this will be used for further investments.
KR1 (KR1) has participated in the Plasm token distribution. KR1 has 1,232 Ether (ETH) valued at $253,000 which it has agreed to be locked up. Access will be obtained in three intervals over 1,000 days. In return for the lockup KR1 receives 66.3 million Plasm tokens. Plasm is launching a platform on the Polkadot blockchain.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has raised £650,000 at 9p a share. The cash will be used to help develop the Amapa iron ore project and pay off loan notes. The stockpile of iron ore should be shipped during the summer. Cadence and the joint venture partners are in discussions with creditors. A scoping study will be commissioned.
The Australian government has approved the acquisition of the Beaconsfield gold mine in Tasmania by NQ Minerals (NQMI). This will enable the mine to be reopened. NQ Minerals has raised £119,000 at 7.5p a share.
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has sold a residential property in Wimbledon Park for £656,000, so that it can reinvest the cash in the core supported housing business. The sale was at a 3% discount to book value.
British Honey Company (BHC) has launched a Special Charity Edition Premium Vodka to raise money for COVID-19 research. One-quarter of sales revenues will go towards funding this research.
Lombard Capital (LCAP) has completed the purchase of a property in Preston. Barry Fromson has been appointed as chief executive and Barry Fitzpatrick as non-executive chairman. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) had an investment property and nearly £12,000 in the bank at the end of 2019. NAV is £206,000.
Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) and Columbus Energy (CERP) are merging. Columbus shareholders will receive 0.803 of a BPC share for each share they own. Columbus was valued at £25m when the deal was announced. Columbus will generate cash to help finance exploration by BPC.
Escape Hunt (ESC) is raising up to £4m via a placing and one-for-four open offer at 7.5p a share and a convertible loan note issue of £340,000. The escape rooms operator says all the directors are buying shares. The intention is to spend £2.5m on rolling out more sites and the rest will go on operational improvements and working capital. Five or six new sites are planned in the next 12 months. UK sites were growing revenues prior to lockdown.
Hummingbird Resources (HUM) intends to acquire the Kouroussa gold project from Cassidy Gold Corp. First gold production could be within two years. There is a gold resource of 1.18Moz at >3g/t.
Hawkwing (HNG) plans to move to a standard listing. Formerly TLA Worldwide, trading in the shares is suspended because the shell has not found a suitable acquisition. Hawkwing would lose its AIM quotation in September without an acquisition. There is no time limit on acquisitions for shells on the standard list.
Ilika (IKA) had cash of £14.9m at the end of April 2020. The battery technology developer is choosing a fabrication facility for the manufacture of its batteries. Four potential partners are in the running. A tool that will increase productivity has been ordered and should be delivered by the end of 2020.
Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) produced less crude palm oil during May because of a decline in fruit delivered to the mill. There were 3,316 tonnes of crude palm oil produced in May, down from 5,316 tonnes in May 2019. However, more was sold during the month because of the much higher production in April. The average price received per tonne increased.
Be Heard (BHRD) has received a bid approach of 0.5p a share from MSQ Partners.
Lower energy prices have led to a fall in the net asset value of JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN) but it continues to generate cash and pay dividends. NAV has fallen from 104.7p a share to 97.5p a share. Total dividends were 6.66p a share last year and the target for this year is 6.76p a share. JLEN is joining the FTSE 250 index on 22 June.
Air Partner (AIR) is raising £7.5m at 75p a share. Profit was ahead of budget in the four months to May 2020 with strong freight demand. There is also recovery in the private jets market. The cash will fund organic growth including the opening of offices in new locations.
Seafox International has attempted to requisition a general meeting at Gulf Marine Services (GMS) in order to appoint its representatives to the board. GMS says that the requisition is not valid in its current form. Hassan Heikal and Hesham Helbouny are the proposed directors.
Boston International Holdings (BIH) has secured a new £200,000 loan facility from a major shareholder. The plan is to acquire invoice factor Alexanders Discount.
Associated British Engineering (ASBE) is selling its interest in British Polar Engines and this will mean that it will no longer have any commitments to the pension fund. There will be no debt if the deal goes ahead.
Small Cap Awards 2020
The shortlist for the 2020 Small Cap Awards has been published. The awards are for quoted companies with a market capitalisation of less than £200m. This year the awards dinner has been cancelled. Instead, there will be a live virtual awards ceremony held via Zoom on 25 June. There are eleven awards for companies and individuals.
Company Of The Year
IPO Of The Year
Argentex Group PLC
Executive Director Of The Year
Matt Jones – CEO of Blancco Technology Group
Giulio Cerroni – CEO of Ixico
Lyn Rees – CEO of Yourgene Health
Jennifer Winter – CEO of Animalcare
Peter Harrison – CEO of Bioventix
David Cicurel – CEO of Judges Scientific
Transaction Of The Year
Centralnic Group – Team Internet
Rockrose Energy – Marathon Oil and Marathon West of Shetland Limited
Kape Technologies – Private Internet Access
Amryt Pharma – Aegerion
Totally – Greenbrook Healthcare
Inspiration Healthcare acquisition of Vio Holdings
Technology Company Of The Year
SRT Marine Systems
Blancco Technology Group
Innovative Financing Of The Year
Yu Group PLC
Simec Atlantis Energy
Impact Company Of The Year
Analyst Of The Year
Kartik Swaminathan, Arden Partners
Peter McNally, Panmure Gordon
Jens Lindqvist, Investec
Lorne Daniel, Finn Cap
Kai Korschelt, Canaccord Genuity
George O’Connor, Stifel London
Journalist Of The Year
Simon Thompson – Investors Chronicle
Michael Taylor – Investors Chronicle
Mark Shapland – Evening Standard
Joanne Hart – Mail on Sunday
Emma Agyemang – Financial Times
Hannah Godfrey – Professional Adviser
UK Smaller Companies Fund Manager Of The Year
ASI UK Smaller Companies – Harry Nimmo
JPM UK Smaller Companies – Georgina Brittain and Katen Patel
M&G Smaller Companies – Garfield Kiff and Rory Alexander
Invesco UK Smaller Companies Equity (UK) – Jonathan Brown
TM Cavendish AIM B – Paul Mumford
Kames UK Smaller Companies – Elaine Morgan
VCT Manager Of The Year
Amati AIM VCT PLC – Dr. Paul Jourdan, David Stevenson, Anna MacDonald
Unicorn AIM VCT PLC – Chris Hutchinson
Octopus AIM VCT 2 PLC – Kate Tidbury
Maven Income and Growth VCT 1 PLC – Bill Nixon
Seneca Growth Capital VCT PLC – John Davies
Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 1 – Oliver Bedford
AFH Financial Group (AFHP) has raised £15m from a placing of convertible unsecured loan stock in order to finance the acquisition of more IFAs. The loan stock offers a 4% annual interest rate and it matures in July 2024. The initial conversion price is 420p a share, which is a 17% premium to the market price. The annual interest cost is £600,000. Shore expects a pre-tax profit of £17m in the year to October 2019 and then a rise to £20m next year. That is before any acquisitions are made with the additional funds. There are already five potential acquisitions progressing towards completion.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) increased interim turnover by 3% to £1.55m. A decline in overheads in the six months to April 2019, due to a lack of repair work compared to the first half of the previous year. This meant that the interim loss fell from £200,000 to £101,000. There is £602,000 in the bank and NAV is £3.17m. Non-executive director CP Freeman has bought 600 shares at 750p each. He has a 1.2% stake.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) has invested in South Cerney Outdoor, a recently formed company that has acquired the outdoor experiences business from the Shaw Trust charity. Capital for Colleagues is lending up to £250,000 to the investee company, where the employee owned trust will become a major shareholder.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) says that its Gibraltar subsidiary has signed an agreement to support and promote RSK Smart Contract Network and RSK Infrastructure Framework blockchains in south east Asia. The 27.8%-owned start-up accelerator StartupToken is also involved in the deal.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had a NAV of 260.29p a share at the end of June 2019. Since then 280,000 shares have been bought back by the company at an average share price of 205p.
KR1 (KR1) wants to buy back six million deferred shares at 0.2p each.
In the year to March 2019, Begbies Traynor (BEG) increased revenues by 15% to £60.1m, while pre-tax profit was £7.1m. Net debt was reduced from £7.5m to £6m. Increasing numbers of insolvencies is good news for the business recovery services provider. Pre-tax profit of £8.6m is forecast for this year.
Ultrasound simulation equipment supplier Intelligent Ultrasound (MED) says first half turnover was 25% ahead at £3.1m. This is before the recent AI contract win. There was £3.5m in the bank at the end of June 2019.
Tekcapital (TEK) is raising £750,000 at 8p a share in order to provide further financial backing for its IP companies. Medical devices developer Belluscura could receive FDA clearance for its advanced portable oxygen concentrator before the end of the year. It could be launched in the first half of next year. Nano-particle sized salt developer Salarius has been winning orders.
Ariana Resources (AAU) has reported positive drilling results at the Salinbas gold project in Turkey and there are indications that there is further mineralisation in the vicinity.
Ilika (IKA) had £4m in the bank at the end of April 2019 and that should be enough for the next 12 months as the solid state battery technology developer makes progress with its Stereax battery technology. Projects that could yield deals in the coming months include, condition monitoring devices for wind turbines, track monitoring devices for Network Rail and batteries for miniature medical implants.
Mirada (MIRA) is on course to move into profit in the year to March 2021. The digital TV software provider reported a rise in revenues from $8.82m to $12.3m last year. Even so, the loss was $3.2m. There will be a loss this year, excluding the $1.75m gain on the disposal of the parking payment business. That will help net debt to reduce to $4.1m, despite the loss.
Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) has reassured investors that it remains on target to achieve previously downgraded forecasts for 2019. Revenues should be $87m and net cash should be $18m at the end of 2019. Interims will be published on 4 September.
Polarean Imaging (POLX) has received an order for the 9820 Xenon Polariser system from the University of Kansas Medical Center. This will be used as part of an imaging research programme. This is the 25th polariser installed or ordered.
Collagen Solutions (COS) has submitted its CE Mark application for the ChondroMimetic regenerative medical device and has received initial questions it has to address. The response is being prepared. Collagen generated revenues of £4.15m in the year to March 2019. The benefits of consolidating collagen manufacturing are coming through.
Woodford Investment Management has cut its stake in eve Sleep (EVE) from 46.8% to 31.2%. Jupiter Asset Management has taken a 15.6% stake.
Oil and gas company Wentworth Resources (WEN) intends to pay dividends based on free cash flow generation. An interim will be announced in September.
FIH Group (FIH) has taken out a £13.9m mortgage on its Leyton warehouse and the interest charge is fixed at 3% for ten years. A new commercial air link has been agreed between the Falkland Islands and Brazil.
Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL) has received a further £18,000 from the owner of Star Sanctum, which takes the total paid to £93,000. Challenger has agreed payments with the developer of the wheel project in Dallas of $26,375 at the end of July and $25,000 at the end of August.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has obtained a listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Trading started on 11 July and it expects to become a constituent of the TA-90 index.
Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) reported a 1% increase in underlying 2018 pre-tax profit of £5.9m. Pubs provided higher revenues and profit, while the brewery reported a reduction in profit contribution due to the ending of third party contracts and a small decline in volumes of its own beers and ciders. The brewing volumes have recovered in the early part of 2019.
Good Energy (GOOD) is making a strategic investment in Zap-Map owner Next Green Car Ltd. This is a business that provides electric vehicle market data and will help Good Energy move into the electric vehicle charging market. The initial investment is £1.08m for a 12.9% stake and £800,000 of convertible loan notes. If the loan notes are converted and payment of deferred consideration of £720,000 dependent on achieving financial targets, then the stake will increase to 50.1%.
Gunsynd (GUN) and Northbay Capital Partners have agreed with TSX-V-quoted Oyster Oil and Gas Ltd to settle debts of C$1.43m with the company in return for the outstanding share capital of Oyster’s subsidiary that owns production sharing contracts in Madagascar and Djibouti. Oyster shareholders have to agree to the deal for it to go ahead.
IMC Exploration Group (IMCP) has commenced drilling on PL2551 in County Wexford. The drilling should help to prove the presence of a major gold mineralisation trend.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) has increased its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) by two million shares, taking the stake to 1.15%. The average cost is 1.71p a share. Over the next 18 months Greatland will pursue targeted exploration campaigns in Australia and accelerate the development in the Paterson region.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says 15%-owned Liberty Herbal Technologies reports that the first 11 weeks of sales of the hapac medicinal cannabis products in Italy have grown strongly from a low base.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) is acquiring three prospective lithium assets in Australia. They are Picasso in Western Australia, Litchfield in Northern Territories and Alcoota in Northern Territories.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) lost £204,000 in the near-13 months since incorporation. There was £69,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. The reverse takeover of the 97.5% of CoalTech not owned by the company has still to be completed.
Barkby Group (BARK) has secured an eight-year operating agreement for the Queens Arms in East Garston, Berkshire. The pub and restaurant also operates a 120-capacity function room and 12 bedrooms.
Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has paid £3,500 for a 70% stake in financial adviser and investment firm Epsion Capital, which could provide advice to Eight Capital investee companies. Former ZAI corporate finance director and current Eight Capital non-executive director John Treacy is the sole director and other shareholder of Epsion, which is working on two corporate finance transactions.
Following the demise of Daniel Stewart, NQ Minerals (NQMI) has changed its corporate adviser to Arden, Gamfook Jewellery (GAMF) has switched to Peterhouse and VI Mining (VIM) has moved to VSA.
Telephony services and technology provider Netcall (NET) is increasing its cloud revenues and bookings. Interim revenues improved from £11.4m to £10.7m but pre-tax profit dipped from £1.9m to £1.2m because of increased investment. Annual contract value has risen by 11% to £15.1m.
Tracsis (TRCS) improved its interim revenues from £18.1m to £19m and pre-tax profit will be higher than the £3.9m reported last year. There was £18.7m in cash at the end of January 2019. Chris Barnes has joined the transport optimisation software and services provider ahead of becoming chief executive.
Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) is buying 18 Money Shop sites for £1.5m. They are in north west England and Scotland and will be rebranded as Ramsdens. The pawn books of the sites and five others that will be closed are being acquired by Ramsdens. City Financial Investment has sold its remaining 9.73% stake.
WH Ireland (WHI) has raised £4.95m at 45p a share, which was a 30% discount to the market price. The cash will make sure that the broker has enough regulatory capital. Trading is tough and the operating loss in the second half will be higher than previously expected.
SimplyBiz (SBIZ) grew 2018 revenues by 15% to £50.7m and earnings per share were 28% higher at 11.9p. The supplier of compliance and business services to financial advisers continues to add to member numbers and sell more services to them. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of 2018.
DX (Group) (DX.) is making progress with its turnaround but there is still a long way to go. The parcel delivery business has restructured its business and raised prices to clients. The cash outflow was significantly reduced in the first half. DX could move back into profit next year.
Swallowfield (SWL) was hit by weak trading in its cosmetics manufacturing operations. The brands business maintained its revenues and profit. The second half outlook for manufacturing is better and costs have been reduced. The interim dividend was raised by 7.5% to 2.15p a share. Fidelity has increased its stake to 5.73%.
Ilika (IKA) has secured an 18 month project with Network Rail for the use of its Stereax battery technology in a ultra-low power wireless sensor for the network’s condition monitoring platform.
Pelatro (PTRO) has won a contract with Ooredoo Maldives worth $1.6m over three years. There is a fixed monthly fee and a share of the incremental revenue generated. There are also opportunities to cross-sell to other Ooredoo telecoms operations.
Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) has traded ahead of the first five months of the previous financial year. Although new car sales were lower, Cambria made more profit because of the higher value franchises. It was a similar trend in used cars. The aftersales operations increased sales and profit.
FFI Holdings (FFI) says that the film competition contracts business has been slow because of a lack of films and smaller productions. There are also possible claims. Delayed productions have hit the insurance agency business. That has reduced operating profit by $6m. The expected range for this year is $7.5m-$11m.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) reported a 11% increase in interim revenues to £46.7m and underlying pre-tax profit was 70% higher at £11.4m. That was partly down to lower development and marketing spending. Cash more than doubled to £31.6m, helped by a £10.2m placing. Net cash was £28.5m. The data from the phase III PQ Birch allergy study is expected in the next few weeks.
Finance provider ThinkSmart (TSL) reported a lower interim loss and there is cash in the bank of £11.3m. A special dividend of around 2p a share will return £44m to shareholders.
Accounting regulation changes mean that Paragon Entertainment Ltd (PEL) will not be able to recognise as much revenue in 2018 as it thought it would. That could reduce the figure by £700,000. The new range is £8.8m to £9.2m. The loss will be more than £2.5m. Revenues are expected to be higher this year.
Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) increased its proved reserves to 11,222 Mbbl at the end of 2018. Proved plus probable reserves are 19,275 Mbbl. NPV of future net revenues of proved reserves has increased by 18% to $79.8m.
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has completed a number of contingency engagements in the third quarter and there should be more in the fourth quarter. Corporate insolvencies are rising.
GetBusy (GETB) has increased its revenues from its core software products by 17% to £10.9m and it is making progress with its GetBusy productivity software which is in use with beta users. Cash generated from operations is being ploughed back into development spending.
Gfinity (GFIN) more than doubled its interim revenues from £1.8m to £4.4m with the growth coming from the managed services division, which includes the F1 Esports series. The Esports business is targeting breakeven in 2021.
Independent Oil and Gas (IOG) has rejected a proposed 20p a share bid from RockRose Energy (RRE) which would value the company at £26.6m. Trading in the standard list company’s shares is suspended due to the proposed $140m acquisition of Marathan Oil West of Shetland.
Housebuilder Springfield Properties (SPR) is on track to increase full year pre-tax profit from £9.8m to £16.1m, following a strong first half. The housing market is stronger in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. The business has a mix of private housing and affordable housing developments. The Walker Group acquisition takes the company further upmarket in price terms and will make an initial contribution in the second half.
PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised a further £170,000 at 0.01p a share, while directors John Treacy and Jonathan Freeman intend to subscribe a £24,000 when the company has authority to issue more shares. A general meeting will be held where the company will become a shell and change its name to Bould Opportunities. The operating business is being wound down. Antos Glogowski has a 20.9% stake.
In the past ten months, the valuation of the property assets of Sutton Harbour (SUH) has increased by 7% to £45.7m.
Small company-focused investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) reported a 21% decline in NAV to 225.9p a share at the end of 2018, although that is not a surprise given the weak stockmarket at the end of the year. The final dividend was increased by 2% to 9.1p a share. The board is in the process of appointing a fund management team. The plan is to increase the size of the fund to between £50m and £150m.
Standard list shell Cobra Resources (COBR) has agreed to acquire the owner of a 100% right title and interest in the Prince Alfred licence in South Australia. Prince Alfred was a producing copper mine. There is also an entitlement to earn 75% of five tenements in South Australia. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has converted £140,000 of convertible bonds and penalty payments of £210,000 into 140 million shares in WideCells (WDC) and that has nearly doubled the number of shares in issue. The first 60 million shares have been sold.
Small cap award winners 2018
Company of the year
ZOO Digital (ZOO)
The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.
NEX company of the year
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)
Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.
Impact company of the year
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)
Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.
IPO of the year
K3 Capital (K3C)
Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m. In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.
Fintech company of the year
FAIRFX Group (FFX)
Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.
Transaction of the year
Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce
Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.
Executive director of the year
Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)
Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.
Journalist of the year
Paul Scott – Stockopedia
Fund manager of the year
Nick Williamson – Old Mutual
Microcap fund manager of the year
Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity
Analyst of the year
Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald
Lifetime achievement award
Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management
Special services to small caps
John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)
Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit. The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.
Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.
PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.
South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.
NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.
Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.
Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.
Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.
Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.
Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.
Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.
Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.
WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.
China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.
Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.
Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.
Wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) says that its open offer at 50p a share was oversubscribed. Excess applications will be scaled back. The additional £1.47m raised takes the total to £20m. BlackRock holds a 5.79% stake and Nigel Wray owns 16.2%.
Startup Giants (SUG) has made its first investment since floating. An undisclosed investment has been made in Go Show Ltd, which operates a brand marketplace designed to enable product placement deals (www.goshow.net), and it will be released when milestones have been achieved. Go Show initially applied for funding in 2015 and it has been mentored by Startup Giants. There is a target for revenue generation of up to £1m within 12 months. An accelerator round has also been launched by Startup Giants. It is aimed at early stage, UK-registered companies.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has increased its shareholding in Indorse from 3% to 6.5% at cost of S$175,000. There is an option to acquire a further 3.5%, at the same cost, to take the stake to 10%. Indorse completed a token sales last September and those tokens are currently valued at $34m. The Indorse platform is designed to enable users to generate income from sharing their skills and validating the claims of others.
African Potash Ltd (AFPO) has entered into an agreement with Gibraltar-based TokenCommunities Ltd. This deal will help the blockchain joint venture that has also already been announced with FinComEco Ltd, which is developing platforms for agricultural markets in sub-Saharan Africa. TokenCommunities will advise on the deployment of tokens. The chain will link smallholder farmers, traders, brokers, storage, transportation and commodity buyers. There are plans for microloans to farmers at an annual interest rate of 12%, which is lower than existing rates. African Potash has completed the raising of £400,000 at 0.025p a share.
Black Sea Property (BSP) has completed the €2.76m purchase of four plots of land with permission to develop a camping complex. It has also invested €3.37 to help finance the development of the site, which could be completed by the middle of the year. Black Sea Property raised €3.53m at €0.01 a share late last year.
Lake Acquisitions (U.P) says that the contingent value rights holders will not get a distribution for 2017. The cumulative relevant revenues from the eligible nuclear power output was £41.1m. The cumulative base revenues were £41.9m.
UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) has decided to drop its NEX Exchange quotation on 31 January. That is just over 27 months after it joined. The company says that there have been low levels of trading on NEX and it still has its primary quotation on AIM. Interestingly, oil and gas company UK Oil and Gas was formed many years ago out of the shell of a former technology equipment business, yet it is still classed under the technology hardware and equipment sub-sector of the technology sector in the AIM statistics.
Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) reported maiden full year results as a quoted company that were slightly better than expected. The housebuilding infrastructure provider reported a dip in pre-tax profit from £10.8m to £9.1m on flat revenues of £135m. The total dividend is 6.3p a share. A 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £10.8m is forecast.
Ilika (IKA) reported a significant cash outflow in the first half but the outflow should be reduced in the second half. Interim revenues trebled to £1m and full year revenues of £2.9m are forecast. The loss is reducing. There are licensing proposals with a handful of potential customers and any one of these could transform the fortunes of Ilika.
EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has confirmed that trading was strong in 2017 and EBITDA will be much better than the £8.8m forecast. EKF plans to spin-off its sTNFR biomarker technology into a separate company. This technology has no value in the balance sheet.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal Group (DNL) says that its Akindi treatment has performed well in a food matrix study in the US and it will be able to move onto the next stage in the process of gaining US approval. European approval for Akindi is expected in a matter of weeks. There was £14m in the bank at the end of 2017. The interims will be published on 12 March.
Lombard Risk Management (LRM) is recommending a 13p a share cash bid, which was nearly double the market price. The bid from rival financial services technology supplier is valued at £52.1m.
Somero Enterprises (SOM) has sparked another forecast upgrade with the 2017 pre-tax profit forecast rising 8% to $25.9m. Net cash should be at least $18.5m and that could rise by around $10m by the end of 2018. That leaves room for another special dividend as well as growth in the ongoing dividend. The tax changes in the US had already led to a one-fifth increase in the 2018 earnings per share forecast to 34.4 cents, which has been raised again to 36.8 cents.
Engineer Avingtrans (AVG) says that trading is on track and the integration of Hayward Tyler continues. A pre-tax profit of £2.2m is forecast for the year to May 2018 and this should generate nearly enough earnings to cover the forecast dividend of 3.6p a share.
Tough market conditions and adverse currency movements have not stopped motor dealer Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) trading ahead of expectations. Forecasts had already been upgraded and the 2017 pre-tax profit estimate has been raised a further 2% to £28.8m. However, a decline in pre-tax profit to £23.5m is forecast for 2018.
Smart meter communications technology provider CyanConnode (CYAN) continues to progress but the timing of orders has been delayed. The order book is worth $100m but 2017 revenues were £1.2m and the loss more than £10m. This year’s revenues are forecast to be £10m and the loss £7m. There should be enough cash to last the whole of 2018.
Strategic Minerals (SML) generated fourth quarter revenues of $2.14m from magnetite ore sales at Cobre. The 2017 total revenues of $5.64m were quadruple the previous year. Strategic had $3.8m in the bank at the end of 2017.
Online Blockchain (OBC) has taken advantage of its rising share price to raise £1m at 100p a share.
Fashion retailer Footasylum (FOOT) increased revenues by one-third to £89.8m in the 18 weeks to 30 December 2017. The fastest growth came from e-commerce. The revenues for the 44 weeks to 30 December 2017 also improved by one-third to £173m. These are not like-for-like increases and six stores were opened in the past 18 weeks.
There was a small decline in the full year revenues of Shoe Zone (SHOE) from £159.8m to £157.8m. The shoes retailer did improve its gross margin from 62% to 63.2% but higher admin and distribution costs offset this and pre-tax profit fell from £10.3m to £9.5m. The total dividend was edged up from 10.1p a share to 10.2p a share. Net cash was £11.8m at the end of September 2017. The pension fund liability has fallen from £13.1m to £7.1m. Consumer demand and currency movements remain the main challenges.
BNN Technology (BNN) directors Harry Keiley and Lord Mancroft are following the nominated adviser out of the door. Mark Hanson becomes non-executive chairman.
Film completion contracts provider FFI Holdings (FFI) has acquired the motorsports entertainment insurance book of business from All Risks for $1.825m. The acquisition has been made by Reel Media, which itself was acquired before Christmas for $7.25m in total.
Background checking services provider ClearStar (CLSU) traded in line with expectations in 2017. Revenues were 11% higher at $17.8m and the loss was reduced. There was net cash of $1m. The loss should be further reduced in 2018.
Masawara (MASA) and Kimberly Enterprises (KBE) both plan to leave AIM. Two shareholders own 90% of Masawara. Minority shareholders are being offered 25p a share or the chance to convert the shares into preference shares. Eastern European property investor Kimberly has net liabilities of €24.1m and sold most of its property assets. The lease agreement for the Marina Dorcol project has been terminated.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) has completed the enrolment of its 560 plus patient phase III trial for a treatment for patients with allergic rhino conjunctivitis due to birch pollen. The results of the trial should be available before the end of this year. The potential market is worth around £3bn.
Two large clinical trial contracts have been delayed and this means that Cambridge Cognition (COG) 2017 revenues will be 18% lower than expected. This means that there will be a loss for the year.
Telematics equipment and services provider Quartix (QTX) pleased the market by growing its 2017 revenues by 5% to £24.4m. This means that earnings per share forecasts have been raised from 11.8p to 12.3p.
Geospatial software company 1Spatial (SPA) has won a five-year contract from the state of Michigan in the US worth $766,000. Liontrust has sold all its 9.35% stake.
Xeros Technology Group (XSG) has launched its domestic washing machine that can cut the use of water, detergent and energy by up to 50%. A second development agreement has been signed with a commercial washing machines manufacturer.
Oracle Power (ORCP) is acquiring the minority stake in coal mining lease owner Sindh Carbon Energy for up to £3.6m in shares.
APC Technology Group (APC) has acquired electronic components distributor First Byte Micro for £1.2m. In 2016, First Byte made a pre-tax profit of £194,000 on revenues of £1.3m.
Reconstruction Capital II (RC2) has acquired stakes in two funds that own 60% of Romanian paints and coatings supplier Policolor. This will mean that Reconstruction Capital II has an effective stake of 55.36% in Policolor and make it easier to liquidate the investment.
BOS Global (BOS) wants to raise £1.2m at 1.25p a share to settle debts and provide working capital. The software company says the directors will not be paid until April and one of them, William Giles, will subscribe up to £300,000 in the placing and open offer.
Connemara Mining (CON) has announced drilling results from the Mine River gold project in Wicklow and Wexford. Most of the intersections contained gold at grades of less than 1g/t but two were more positive with 4.53g/t over eight metres and 16.1g/t over two metres.
Versarien (VRS) is collaborating with an Asia-based global textiles manufacturer on incorporating graphene into fabrics via yarns and finishes.
E-commerce-focused cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) soared as trading commenced on the standard list and trading in the shares had to be suspended after three days. There appear to have been nearly 1.4 million shares traded over three days, which is 2.8% of the shares in issue. Cayman Islands-based AIQ, raised £3.6m after expenses, at 8p a share. The suspension price is 125p. That means that the quotation and £3.6m in cash are valued at £62.5m. The plan is to seek an e-commerce acquisition, which has a strong management and is near to cash generation.
Bio-decontamination products supplier Bioquell (BQE) has completed the £122,000 disposal of the UK AirFlow parts and manufacturing business and received the final £70,000 for the sale of the service business. There was already net cash of £14.5m at the end of 2017. Full year revenues were better than expected at £29.3m, up from £26.8m and pre-exceptional profit will be much better, even before the £250,000 gain on the Airflow disposals. The 2017 figures will be published on 7 March.
Software supplier Gresham Technologies (GHT) says 2017 revenues were 24% ahead to £21.3m and more of these revenues are coming from Clareti enterprise data integrity software. There is £8.5m in the bank. Kestrel has trimmed its stake from 14.9% to 12.5%.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has won a cyber communication technology contract with a government worth $4m over 12 months. Delivery will start in the second quarter of 2018.
Thomas Charlton has further increased his stake in North Midland Construction (NMD) from 7.24% to 8.2%. This appears to have sparked a recovery in the share price.
Avocet Mining (AVM) has deferred the completion the sale of its Burkina Faso assets for $5m. The buyer, the Balaji group of companies, wants more time to settle a claim from International Royalty Corporation, a creditor of the holding company of the assets. Avocet has received a deposit of $500,000.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has announced the results of preliminary grab samples from the Gubong gold mine. The majority of samples had gold grades of more than 1g/t and silver grades of 10g/t or more.
Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN) has entered an exclusivity agreement for the acquisition of production and exploration licences in a Central Asian country. Azerbaijan-focused Zenith would be acquiring assets in a proven petroleum system and they produce 250 barrels of oil per day.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has started drilling at the Gakara project in Burundi. Gakara has an estimated in situ-grade of 47%-67% total rare earth oxide. The drilling is focused on the production area at Gasagwe and anomalies that have been identified. The first results will be in April. A second phase of drilling is planned later in the year and this could produce a JORC-compliant resource before the end of 2018. Production is building up and the run rate target for the end of 2018 is 5,000tpa. In December, Rainbow raised £2.8m at 14p a share in an oversubscribed placing. The cash will be used to acquire capital equipment.
Marks & Spencer MKS is giving little away in its first quarter results for the 13 weeks to the 1st July. The subdued tone certainly seems to indicate a surrender to Sainsbury at least for the time being. The quarter did at least see an end to discounting in Clothing & Home, whilst Simply Food openings produced strong growth and food revenue rose by 4.5%. Like for like UK sales however were miserable with Clothing & Home down 1.2% and food down 0.5%, In constant currency terms international revenue for the quarter fell by 4% whilst group revenue rose by 2.7%.
Galliford Try GFRD updates that the year to the end of June has been one of excellent progress and robust market conditions. Underlying results are expected to be strong and the final dividend is expected to be in line with previous guidance.
Page Group PAGE In constant currency terms gross profit for the first half grew by 7.7% to record levels. The UK was bottom of the pile with a fall of 4.5% compared to the Americas which showed a rise of 13.8%. The weakness of sterling was a major factor benefitting the group and adding £28m to gross profits for the half year. In the second quarter growth in France rose to 23% but even this was dwarfed by SE Asia with a rise of 35%
Grafton Group GFTU performed strongly and better than the company expected in the 6 months to the 30th June. Group revenue rose by 9% or 5.7% on a like for like basis and 6.2% on a constant currency basis. However, it is important to note that the company remains cautious in the short term because of uncertainties in the economy and fears that spending on housing may decline because of pressure on real incomes. Housebuilders beware !
Ilika IKA continued development of its new batteries during the year to the 30th April but revenue remained small despite nearly doubling to £1.1m. Losses remained level at £3.5m.
NEX / ISDX
Ecommerce technology provider Netalogue Technologies (NTLP) has secured three contracts in the drinks sector. Brewer Marston’s, pubs operator Enterprise Inns and drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark have bought ecommerce portals. They all used the iTradeNetwork online ordering system previously but this will no longer be available from August so this provides a significant opportunity for Netalogue.
Goldcrest Resources (GCRP) has raised £217,000 at 0.25p a share to provide working capital so that it can execute its plans. Further shares are being issued to Pelamis Investments Ltd for the conversion of a £70,000 convertible loan note at 0.25p a share and from issuing 48.52 million shares at the same price to settle £121,000 of liabilities. Goldcrest plans to seek further gold projects. Peterhouse has been appointed as corporate adviser and broker.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has secured funding of A$4m and raised £400,000 at 8p a share. The loan is secured on the assets of a subsidiary and has an annual interest charge of 12%, payable quarterly. There is a fee of A$35,000. Greg Lane, who has experience in mine development, has joined the board. He has four million options exercisable at 7p a share.
This year will be an important one for battery technology developer Ilika (IKA). There are discussions with potential licensees for solid state battery technology and there should be deals during 2017. Stereax M250 batteries are being assessed by a number of potential customers. In the six months to October 2016, revenues improved from £254,000 to £329,000 but the operating loss edged up to £2.2m. Full year revenues should grow from £600,000 to £2.5m, which is partly underpinned by recent grant wins. Losses are expected to continue for the time being. The balance sheet is strong and there should be £6.7m in cash at the end of April thanks to cash raised late in 2016.
Packaging supplier Robinson (RBN) says that trading is still tough but it has gained planning permission on part of its surplus property portfolio. The outline planning permission covers 23 acres on two sites. House broker finnCap believes that this could double the value of the land from £5m to £10m – equivalent to 60p a share. The disappointing trading and investment in sales and marketing has led to a 12.5% downgrade in the 2016 pre-tax profit forecast to £2m, and the 2017 forecast has been cut to £2.1m.
Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) has sparked another forecast upgrade with its latest trading statement. A strong finish to the year means that the earnings per share for 2016 have been upgraded from 22.7 cents to 24.4 cents. There was good demand for newer products and larger concrete levelling machines. Net cash is expected to be $18.7m and the dividend payout ration has been increased from 30% to 40% of net adjusted income. There is even potential for a special dividend.
Cloud-based telecom services provider Cloudcall (CALL) increased its full year revenues by 50% to £4.9m with a large chunk of this growth coming from existing customers. Around 400 customers were added each month last year. There is cash of £3.2m. The expected 2016 loss of £3.5m is similar to the year before but it is expected to be reduced in 2017. Around 85% of revenues are recurring or repeating.
Focusrite (TUNE) says trading continues to be strong and cash is building up. Foreign exchange movements have been favourable. Timothy Carroll has taken over as chief executive.
Tertiary Minerals (TYM) is evaluating acquisitions so that it can generate revenues and profit earlier than would be the case with its current fluorspar interests. Legal changes in Sweden and poor market conditions for fluorspar has delayed progress with the existing assets.
Caledonia Mining Corporation (CMCL) says that its Blanket mine beat production expectations for 2016. There was an 18% increase in fourth quarter gold production (year-on-year) and 2016 gold production was 18% higher at 50,351 ounces. Caledonia owns 49% of Blanket mine. In 2017, production of 60,000 ounces is expected and the mine cost is estimated to be lower than in 2016 at $600-$630/ounce. Investment in infrastructure are improving production but there is a lot more to come and annual production of 80,000 ounces of gold is anticipated in 2021.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has received a positive interim safety review from the Data Safety Monitoring Board for the use of SFX-01 to treat subarachnoid haemorrhage. This means that the phase II trial will proceed and results should be available in the first half of 2018. So far, 26 patients have enrolled out of a total of 90 people.
Pensions services provider Mattioli Woods (MTW) says that revenues are growing faster than expected. Profit growth has been held back by investment in the business but finnCap has raised its earnings per share estimate from 30.5p to 32.5p. The interim figures are due to be published on 7 February.
Edenville Energy (EDL) has started trial mining at its Rukwa coal project in Tanzania and commercial mining should begin by the end of the first quarter of 2017. The trail mining is generating revenues.
The old guard continues to depart from 1Spatial (SPA) with the latest being Marcus Yeoman.
Canadian oil and gas explorer and producer Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN) joined the standard list on 11 January. The company, which operates onshore oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan, Argentina and Italy, is already listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. Zenith also produces electricity in Italy. AIM-quoted and NEX-quoted Gunsynd (GUN) has invested £524,000 in Zenith.