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AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
There are three companies on the shortlist of the AQSE company of the year award at the Small Cap Awards 2021. They are medical IT provider DXS International (DXSP), oncology and dermatology treatments developer Incanthera (INC) and Kent-based wine maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP).
Brewer Daniel Thwaites (THW) was hampered by lockdowns in the six months to September 2021, but they were not as bad as in the first half of the previous year. Revenues increased from £221.8m to £47.8m, while the business returned to profit with £7.5m before tax. Net debt was £61.4m at the end of September 2021. Government support has come to an end and there are inflationary pressures, only partly offset by beer duty changes.
Quantum Exponential (QBIT) is a shell focused on quantum technology and predominantly companies in NATO countries. There are no other quoted companies offering a potential investment in this sector. The plan is to put together a portfolio of quantum technology company investments, which are most likely to be at the seed or early stage. Quantum computing uses the laws of quantum physics to increase the speed of computation. Nearly £2.5m was raised after expenses at 5p and the share price ended the week at 6.625p (6.25p/7p). The NAV is 1.65p a share, so the current share price is more than four times that level. Helium Special Situations has taken a 4.57% stake.
Kashei Holdings (KASH) intends to build up a portfolio of investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The portfolio will include digital assets, listed investments, venture capital opportunities and staking digital assets into liquidity smart contracts and perform staking services. There should be around £3.7m available for investment, although 10% of that will be required for working capital, following the placing at 16p a share. The current mid-price is 20.25p (19.5p/21p). Pro forma NAV is 13.1p a share.
Samarkand Group (SMK) is acquiring Napiers the Herbalists, which it has been trading with for three years. The initial consideration is £1.7m in cash with deferred consideration of £100,000. There is also contingent consideration of up to $700,000. In the year to March 2021, revenues were £1m and EBITDA was £240,000.
All Star Minerals (ASMO) signed exclusive heads of terms with a company with gemstone assets and another company with diamond assets. It has terminated the gemstone deal and extended the potential diamond deal. The potential acquisition has white and coloured diamonds and an off-take and financing agreement. Ian Harebottle, the interim chief executive of All Star Minerals, owns 25% of the diamond company.
Vulcan Industries (VULC) has signed heads of terms to acquire Aftech, which is a sheet metal fabrication company that fits in with existing subsidiaries. Aftech has net assets of £780,000 and net debt of £90,000. Full year revenues are estimated to be £1m with EBITDA of £175,000. Vulcan will pay £1.55m in shares and this may represent 21.5% of the enlarged share capital.
TruSpine Technologies (TSP) has submitted a request to the FDA to consider the Cervi-LOK system as a breakthrough device technology. That would enable the device to generate higher margins.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) had crypto assets of $4.22m at the beginning of November 2021. That is more than double the value at the end of June.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) increased interim revenues by 36% to £4.85m in the six months to August 2021. September revenues were more than £1m. More oncologists have been trained to use the company’s technology. Rutherford Health will continue to lose money.
Pioneer Media Inc (PNER) has acquired CryptoPunk 8869 for $433,700.
Asia Wealth Group Holdings (AWLP) increased interim revenues from $894,000 to $940,000, while pre-tax profit improved from $117,000 to $123,000. There was $1.36m in the bank at the end of August 2021.
Online electrical retailer Marks Electrical (MRK) specialises in kitchen appliance, audio visual products and small electrical appliances and has been growing its share of the market. Since 2014, Marks Electrical has increased its market share from 0.41% to 1.22%. A placing raised £2.63m after expenses at 110p each and shareholders sold shares worth £25m. The company’s warehouse has enough capacity to cope with revenues of £180m, more than treble last year’s level. The shares ended the first day at 110.5p.
Devolver Digital Inc (DEVO) is the latest video games publisher to join AIM. The Delaware-based company’s original focus has been indie games produced by third parties, but more recently it has been acquiring companies with their own IP. The cash raised by the company in the placing will be used to acquire strategic partners and finance the development of third party and in-house games. Nearly £30m was raised after expenses and the price has risen from the placing price of 157p to 187.5p. The overall video games market is forecast to grow from $177.8bn to $218.7bn in 2024.
Escape rooms operator Escape Hunt (ESC) is acquiring Boom Battle Bars, which offers competitive socialising activities along with drinks and food. The total cost is £17.38m, with £9.88m in cash and deferred consideration of up to 25 million shares. The shares are subject to an earn-out based on revenues number of sites open. Escape Hunt raised £15m at 30p a share and could raise up to £2.2m from a one-for-12 open offer at the same share price. The acceptance date is 19 November. The enlarged group will be renamed XP Factory.
Self-storage sites operator Lok’nStore (LOK) had a much more significant than forecast uplift in its NAV at the end of July 2021. It increased from 555.5p a share to 731.1p a share. This year the dividend has been raised by 2p a share to 15p a share. The additional sites in progress will add 38% to space over the next few years.
Bleepa communications technology developer Feedback (FDBK) is raising £10m in a placing at 0.7p a share to take advantage of opportunities and finally build up revenues. There is also a one-for-15 open offer to existing shareholders that can raise up to £500,000 more. The CareLocker technology that is being piloted in Sussex could be a game changer. Combined with Bleepa it can store patient records individually in the cloud instead of in one place where it is easier to hack.
Gensource Potash (GSP) was already quoted on the Toronto Venture Exchange before joining AIM, and its focus is the Tugaske potash project in Canada. Gensource owns 67% of the vehicle that owns the project and has arranged finance to cover the C$352m cost of building the mine. The Tugaske project’s proven and probable mineral reserve is 14.1 million tonnes and there is a likely minimum expected mine life of more than 56 years, based on annual production of 250,000 tonnes of saleable muriate of potash. The share price ended the first day at 27.5p.
Remote tracking and monitoring technology provider Starcom (STAR) is changing its name to t42 IoT Tracking Solutions and rebranding its products. There will also be an eight-for-one share consolidation.
In the six months to August 2021, Braemar Shipping Services (BMS) revenues grew by 11% to £47.4m, while pre-tax profit improved from £4.47m to £4.92m. The order book is 28% ahead at $55.5m. Net debt has fallen to £14.7m. There is a 2p a share interim dividend.
IT services provider Triad Group (TRD) reported a decline in interim revenues, but pre-tax profit jumped from £1,000 to £670,000. There is a 2p a share interim dividend. There is cash of £5.34m. high utilisation levels are continuing.
Yooma Wellness Inc (YOOM) has a dual quotation on the Canadian Securities Exchange and obtaining the Aquis quotation is part of the stated strategy to become the largest CBD business in the world. Acquisitions have been made this year and at least three more are lined up. Prior to joining Aquis, Yooma raised £7.46m at 52.32p a share. As well as the cash raised in the placing, there is an option granted to a strategic investor to subscribe £5m for 9.56 million shares. Administrative delays relating to the investor mean that the share issue has not been completed yet. Yooma Wellness says that annualised 2021 sales could be $32m if it makes the expected acquisitions.
Ecotricity has posted its offer document for Good Energy (GOOD), which continues to reject the approach.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) is in discussions with a potential investor. A fundraising could be secured within weeks. There are also discussions concerning a joint venture. CIA has been hit by Covid-19 measures in South Africa.
Pioneer Media Holdings Inc (PNER) has made an additional investment in connected gaming platform developer Paidia eSports Inc and a new £200,000 investment in Streaks Gaming. Pioneer will own 40% of Paidia. London-based Streaks operates a conversational gaming platform. Users are matched with a personalised digital conversational partner generated by AI. Pioneer will own 16.1% of Streaks.
Sativa Wellness Group Inc (SWEL) increased revenues by 828% in the second quarter of 2021. Revenues in the six months to June 2021, revenues jumped from £733,000 to £4.86m, while the loss reduced from £2.37m to £1.27m. The business is being restructured into three divisions: Goodbody Botanicals, Phytovista and Goodbody Wellness.
Construction of the DJT Plants medical cannabis growing facility started on 4 July. Ananda Investments (ANA) continues to make progress with the purchase of the 50% of DJT it does not own.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) is partnering with genomic and theranostic company OncoDNA, which will enable its patients to obtain genomic testing that can help to secure the most appropriate cancer treatment.
Administrators have been appointed to NQ Minerals (NQMI).
Chris Akers has increased his stake in Oscillate (MUSH) from 3.1% to 9%. Thomas Grant Nominees owns 9.95%. Robert Johnson has a 3% stake in TECC Capital (TEC).
Drug developer BiVictriX Therapeutics (BVX) has a low capital cost model which outsources the main operations. It has a lead asset called BVX001, which is targeting adult leukaemia. BVX001 has already indicated an anti-tumour effect in animal models. No adverse effects were observed. The £7.5m raised at 20p a share will accelerate the optimisation of BVX001, so it reaches pre-clinical milestones. The share price ended the week at 23.5p.
Marlowe (MRL) has decided not to bid for Restore (RST), which has acquired PRM Green Technologies, which is an IT recycling business. This acquisition will be immediately earnings enhancing.
Crestchic revenues increased by 44% in the first half of 2021 and Northbridge Industrial Services (NBI) group revenues are 22% ahead at £19.6m. The 2021 pre-tax profit forecast was increased from £2.1m to £2.5m.
Self-storage sites operator Lok’nStore (LOK) is increasing occupancy rates and adding new sites. Self-storage revenues increased by 21% over the year to July 2021, which is well ahead of forecasts. The first half growth rate was 11%. Over the 12-month period, occupancy rates have increased from 69.6% to 85.8%.
Oil and gas producer Southern Energy Corp (SOUC) concentrates on areas with proven low-cost producing assets, with the current focus in Mississippi. The strategy is to grow production through acquisitions. Alberta-based Southern Energy plans to increase production to 25,000 barrels of oil per day over the next two year. This will require larger acquisitions than in the past. No cash was raised, and the shares will continue to be traded on the TSX Venture Exchange. The share price opened at 6.5p on the first day and stayed at that level until the end of the second day when it fell to 5p (4p/6p) and that price was maintained.
Science Group (SAG) has made a bid approach for TP Group (TPG). Science group has acquired a 10.2% stake in TPG, with the shares being acquired for 5p each.
Best of the Best (BOTB) says that there has been a 15% decline average weekly sales of competition entries. finnCap has cut its earnings forecast from 142.4p a share to 53.3p a share. There should still be £12m in cash at the end of April 2022.
Venture Life Group (VLG) says interim revenues were lower this year because of the lack of hand sanitiser sales and lower sales of Dentyl in China. Sales of other products grew. Forecasts have been updated for recent acquisitions. Share issues mean that earnings are expected to be flat at 2.5p a share. The full benefits of the acquisitions will come through in 2022 when earnings are expected to be 4.6p a share.
Verditek (VDTK) has raised £353,000 from its Crowd for Angels bond offering.
Foams manufacturer Zotefoams (ZTF) improved its interim pre-tax profit by 49% to £4m even though it was reduced by currency movements. Footwear generates one-third of revenues. The new manufacturing site in Poland has opened.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) generated revenues of £31.1m from mining 883 bitcoin in the first half of 2021. Although revenues are improving, there will be higher than expected tax and finance charges this year. finnCap has reduced its 2021 earnings estimate from 7.6p a share to 5.6p a share.
Plaza Centers NV (PLAZ) has received a revised proposal from GC Hevron Capital. The company’s assets would be transferred to a trustee of managed for the benefit of bondholders. Hevron would be issued shares equivalent to 74.99% of the enlarged share capital. There will be a NIS 2 million payment to cover creditors. Hevron will then inject a new business, which is part of its investment portfolio, into the shell. The target is a nutritional food technology company.
Danakali (DNK) is cancelling its standard listing on 24 September and retaining its ASX listing.
Mast Energy Developments (MAST) has acquired Pyebridge Power, which owns a 9MW gas-powered standby generation facility, for £2.5m in cash. The site could generate EBITDA of £488,000 a year.
Hawkwing (HNG) is raising £16.5m through the issue of 8% convertible loan notes. They are convertible at 6p a share. The cash will be loaned to ecommerce aggregator Internet Fusion Group to finance two acquisitions – an outdoor lifestyle brand and an online fashion accessories retailer. Hawkwing plans to acquire Internet Fusion for an enterprise value of £115m through an issue of shares at 6p each. Trading in Hawkwing shares remains suspended.
Path Investments (PATH) has agreed to acquire DG Innovate for £32m in shares at 0.6p each. DG is developing electric motor technologies and energy storage systems. There is enhanced drive technology, which is being used to develop lightweight and cost-effective electric motors, and enhanced battery technology, which is developing fully-recyclable, sodium-ion batteries offering greater energy density than current technologies.
Clinical IT developer DXS International (DXSP) is encouraged by the initial results from pilots of the ExpertCare system designed to analyse the electronic records of people with hypertension. DXS is awaiting NHS accreditation.
World High Life (LIFE) has appointed Tony Calamita as chief executive. He is a founder of Love Hemp, whose vendors will receive deferred consideration of £2m in shares at 1.5p each. Calamita will hold a 13.5% stake. The company has raised £467,000 at 1p a share.
Juliet Davenport is stepping down as chief executive of Good Energy (GOOD) but will continue as a non-executive. Good Energy company Zap-Map has signed up ESB Energy to its Zap-Pay electric vehicle charging payment service.
Capital For Colleagues (CFCP) has sold its investment in civil engineering materials distributor Civils Store for £1m, which represents a profit of 150% on a £400,000 investment. The initial £500,000 will be received on 15 February and the rest by the end of July.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) increased its NAV by 38% to 437.63p a share during the year to January 2021. EPE raised £10m from the sale of LED lighting company Luceco (LUCE) shares and retains a 24.9% stake.
Belvedere Leisure (BELV) reported a loss of £499,000 for the year to June 2020. There were the costs of the flotation of the corporate bonds.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has approval to treat patients at its North West cancer centre. The first patients should be treated in 2022.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has been promoted to the Apex segment of the AQSE Growth Market.
Eastinco Mining (EM.P) has appointed Novum Securities as its corporate adviser.
A higher interim profit contribution from fuels partly offset lower contributions from the rest of the NWF (NWF) businesses. Group revenues fell from £348.9m to £309.4m, while underlying pre-tax profit declined from £3m to £2.5m. The main decline was in food distribution where volatile demand hampered profitability. The cold weather will boost demand for heating oil in the second half.
Document management services provider IDOX (IDOX) improved revenues from £65.5m to £68m and pre-tax profit from £7.7m to £10.5m. There is further potential to improve margins. The order book at the end of October was £15.9m. Having sorted out the business, management is considering returning to the acquisition trail.
Mattioli Woods (MTW) is paying up to £2.34m for wealth management adviser Montagu. There are £80m of assets under advice.
STM Group (STM) expects to report a £2m pre-tax profit on revenues of £24m in 2020. There was net cash of £15.5m. Therese Neish is stepping down as finance director.
BlueRock Diamonds (LON: BRD) has revealed a significantly increased resource at the Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa. There was a 49% increase in resource to 10.4 million net tonnes and a 53% increase in net carats to 516,200. The overall grade has edged up to 5 carats per tonne. There was 19% of the resource upgraded to indicated resources. BlueRock plans to mine one million tonnes per annum.
Strong first half trading at parcel and freight delivery company DX (DX.) has prompted finnCap to increase its forecast pre-tax profit for the year to June 2021 by £2m to £8.7m. The business continues to recover with profitability building up in the freight division.
Open Orphan (ORPH) has opened a new challenge study quarantine facility across the road from its existing centre in east London, which is already booked up for this year. This adds a further 19 beds.
Compliance and energy saving services provider Sureserve (SUR) has doubled its dividend to 1p a share. Less traffic on the road during the original lockdown helped to improve efficiency and margins. Shore has increased its 2020-21 pre-tax profit forecast by 16% from £9.4m to £11.9m.
Lexington Gold (LEX) has received environmental approvals for drilling at the JKL project in the US. Drilling should commence later in February. Pure Ice Ltd has increased its stake from 14.3% to 15.1%.
Advanced surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has raised £790,000 at 30.9p a share and secured a CBILS loan of £250,000. This will boost the cash position while the company waits for delayed work to come through.
Seeing Machines (SEE) says interim revenues will improve by 15% to A$18.1m. The driver safety systems developer’s annualised recurring revenues are A$15.5m.
Real-time software provider Checkit (CKT) has acquired its US distributor Tutela Monitoring Systems for £850,000.
Lok’nStore (LOK) acquired its Chichester self-storage site has been acquired for £4.2m, with the cash outflow offset by the £1.5m disposal of the Wolverhampton freehold and £1.7m sale of the vacant Southampton site – around £300,000 lower than book value. Contracts have been exchanged for a new site in Staines. Self-storage has proved to be resilient during Covid-19 lockdowns. Occupancy rates are rising, and prices have been stable at Lok’nStore.
Filtronic (FTC) made a small first half loss but the outlook for the full year is better. New defence contracts and increasing 5G-related demand will help the second half and the defence orders are at higher margins. Full year revenues are set to fall but pre-tax profit could treble to £300,000. Capex requirements are low so the business should be cash generative.
Bacanora Lithium (BCN) has raised £48.1m from a placing and retail offer at 45p a share. Ganfeng has also subscribed for £24m worth of shares. This will finance the development of the Sonora lithium project. It will pay for the 50% share of the cost of bringing stage one into production.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has launched a placing and open offer to raise up to £11m at 8p a share. This will fund preclinical work on metastatic breast cancer and two other potential treatments, including glioma where there could be a clinical trial. The cash should last until the middle of 2023.
Thalassa Holdings (THAL) is making a £2.5m investment in London Medical Laboratory. Thalassa will lend the company £2.5m to finance the opening of a phlebotomy clinic and increase capacity at existing facilities. The loan would be converted into shares if London Medical Laboratory floats on AIM. Thalassa also has warrants to subscribe for an 8% stake in the fully diluted share capital.
French Connection (FCCN) says Spotlight Brands and Go Global Retail are potential bidders for the clothing retailer.
Personal products supplier InnovaDerma (IDP) has rebuffed an all-share offer from Creighton (CRL) although the potential bidder is still interested in making an offer and has sent a letter to InnovaDerma. This suggests an offer of two share for every three InnovaDerma shares, which is equivalent to around 44p a share.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) says full year revenues were at least $180m, which is 45% ahead of the previous year. The diagnostics business is the main impetus behind the growth.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has taken a 25% stake in Pluto Digital Assets. This cost £1m at 3p a share and there are also warrants exercisable at 6p a share. Pluto is a crypto venture capital and technology company.
Lok’nStore Group plc LOK enjoyed robust sales growth in the half year to 31st January with total revenue rising by 7.7% At the end of the first half occupancy was up by 8.8% and the let price per ft. had risen by 1.4%. The document storage business was sold at a profit and the proceeds will be used to fund ongoing investment into its highly accretive development pipeline of new landmark self-storage centres, which will be high growth assets. In the core self storage business growth was particularly strong at 9.2%
Windar Photonics plc WPHO Despite total revenue for the year to 31st December increasing by 59% the company did not fully achieve its 2018 targets.and was especially hit in the second half by component shortages.Operating costs for the year were unchanged, gross profit rose by 86% and EBITDA loss fell by 71%. Component shortages resulted in orders, received in 2017 not being fully delivered during the year and consequently having to be rolled into 2019. The issue was compounded by new orders from Asian markets then having to be deferred so that they will now not be delivered until this year. These were unexpected challenges which the company was not expecting. None the less growth is expected to be maintained in line with previous years.
DCD Media plc DCD is optimistic about the current years trading because sales which should have fallen into last years failed to do so with the result that the first quarter of the current year has got off to a good start. No explanation is given as to why last years expected sales failed to live up to expectations.or as why 2019s performance should be any better.
Clarkson CKN expects both first half and full year profits to be materially below those of last year after the first quarters financial performance fell below the boards expectations. Blame is put on a challenging environment in shipping and offshore capital markets, which caused transactions to be put back, lower freight rates hit the tanker market, and the impact of the lower dollar which is the main currency used by the groups banking and and broking businesses.
It seems unbelievable that only six weeks agree, the company was so full of confidence for the future that it increased its final dividend by 12% after a strong performance in the year to 31st December and following early signs of recovery in shipping markets. On that very same day, the 12th March the chairman proclaimed that it was well positioned for the future and there were early signs of recovery in the shipping market. Does the Board really expect shareholders to believe that two thirds of the way through the first quarter there was not the slightest sign that the company had been hit by serious problems, the disclosure of which which are more than likely to send the share price into a nose dive when markets open this morning.
It actually opens today’s update with the startling confession that during the first quarter it faced ‘certain headwinds’ .Explanations are called for as to why shareholders and markets have been kept in such ignorance.
Rotork ROR Order intake rose by 27% on an organic constant currency basis during the quarter to the 1st April and the order book ended the quarter, 18.6% higher than it started it. The increase was experienced across all divisions and revenues for the full year are now expected to show mid to high singe digit growth.
Morgan Advanced Materials MGAM anticipates that full year headline profit margins will be slightly ahead of last year and also announces its departure from the Composite and Defence Systems business.
Lok’n Store Group LOK Group like for like revenue rose by 8.3% in the half year to the 31st January leading to a rise of 21.3% in adjusted profit before tax. The interim dividend is to be increased by 11% to 3p per share. The company is expected to continue to grow strongly and positive momentum has continued into the second half.
Barclays BARC has now been charged by the Serious Fraud Office with an additional charge to that which was brought against it in June 2017 but this time relating to the loan itself rather than simply an allegation of providing unlawful financial assistance in 2008. It will be interesting to see who comes out of it worst, Barclays or the SFO whose reputation for competent and skilful prosecuting is hardly of the highest.
Lok’ n Store Group LOK enjoyed strong trading during the first half year to the 31st January. January produced the highest ever levelof new monthly storage sales. First half like for like revenue rose by 6.9%, self storage occupancy as at 31st January was up by 6% and price per sq. foot let was up by 0.4% compared to year ago. Trading at the new stores which have been opened is claimed to have been excellent.
Sosander SOS delivered a strong performance in December and January with net revenue having exceeded management expectations. Over Xmas and the New Year there were multiple sell outs on a number of products, generating large waiting lists which have been satisfied by repeat orders.
Proteome Sciences PRM Unaudited revenues for the year to the 31st December rose by 18%, whilst at the same time, costs fell by 5% and the order book strengthened. Re organisation in the first half led to a stronger performance in the fourth quarter with robust and increasing demand. Despite that progress has been lower than management would have wished for and the company is still loss making although the loss is expected to hve been reduced from £ 2.9m to £ 2.1m.
Proxama PROX delivered a 75% rise in revenue during the year to the 31st December, accompanied by a significant reduction in costs led by a large fall from 60 to 23 in the number of employees. The directors expect to see a fall of at least 50% in costs for the full year. A new management team was appointed during the year giving the company a lean expert team with the right skills and the lowest ever cost base.
Proactis Holdings PHD expects to report a 123% rise in revenue for the six months to the 31st Januay and a rise of 183% in adjusted EBITDA. This surge follows the acquisition at the beginning of August of Perfect Commerce LLC which contributed 50% of the total revenue for the half year. The company is also on target to produce the £5m. of synergies expected for the full year.
Computacenter CCC has enjoyed buoyant market conditions in quarter one and believes that its 2017 performance will exceed current market expectations. Revenue in Germany was particularly strong with a rise of 32% in the quarter to the 24th April and France managing 6%. As seems to be happening so frequently this year, the UK lagged way behind with a fall of 1%. The company points out that these comparatives are made against a weak first half in 2016 and will return to a more normal state in the second half.
Petra Diamonds PDL. Production was flat during the third quarter, held back by unseasonable heavy rainfall in South Africa. Over the nine months to the 31st March however, the picture was brighter with production rising by 15% and Revenue by 27%. The volume of diamonds sold was up by 33%. Prices for rough diamonds rose by 2%, compared to the first half.
Fishing Republic FISH claims strong progress was made in 2016 as it sought to take advantage of the highly fragmented state of the fishing tackle market. Revenue rose by 41% and profit before tax by 32% in the year to 31st December. Website sales were up by 132% and in store sales by 82% or 16% on a like for like basis. Five new stores were opened during the year and there are more to come in 2017.
Lok’n store Group LOK is increasing its interim dividend by 12.4% after the first half year to 31st March produced strong trading and cash flow. Revenue rose by 4.5%, adjusted pre tax profit by 13.5% and net debt fell by 35% to £16.7m. Expansion continues with 4 more new stores set to open in 2017 and sites for a further four, already been identified.
FAIRFX Group FFX beat expectations in the year to 31st December. with turnover up by 27% and gross profit rising by 31.2%. The trading loss fell by 58%, ahead of expectations and a net profit was achieved in the 4th quarter. 2017 has got off to a strong start with first quarter turnover rising by 32.9%
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has taken a 0.84% stake in potential challenger bank Civilised Investments in return for £200,000 in cash. The cash investment was raised through a placing of shares at 0.5p each with Gravity Investments, which owns 62.1% of Forbes. A further six million shares were issued at the same price to settle fees. Civilised is applying for a UK banking licence in June 2016. The strategy is not to have branches but local bankers will provide loans and business banking products by attracting personal savings.
Kryptonite1 (KR1) has invested £99,905 for 25,811 tokens in Melonport AG, which is building its own blockchain protocol for digital asset management built on the Ethereum platform. Melonport raised $2.5m in 14 minutes.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £128,750 at 0.8p a share. For working capital. Daniel Stewart has been appointed as corporate adviser.
FT8 (GFT) has failed to secure the agreed monthly payments from Billyst Holdings and this means that trading in the shares of FT8 has been suspended because of the company’s uncertain financial position.
Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) has moved into Continental Europe through the acquisition of Avalon and GrassInc for an initial £9.7m in cash with deferred and contingent payments of up to £12m over four years. This is an important part of the overall strategy for the group and it also takes Victoria into the artificial grass market. The deal should be immediately earnings-enhancing with the two businesses making a 2016 operating profit of £3.6m.
Construction dispute resolution services provider Driver Group (DRV) has raised £8m at 40p a share – a 15% discount to the market price – in order to reduce borrowings and grow the business. There is also a one-for-26p open offer at 40p a share that could raise up to £500,000 – closing on 8 March. Driver has negotiated new banking facilities of £8m, down from £12m, and this expires in 2020. Net debt was £9.9m at the end of September 2016. Driver made a loss in the year to September 2016 but it moved back into profit in the second half. In the past year, Driver has reduced annualised overheads by £1.3m, cut underperforming fee earners, improved cash collection and implemented more rigorous bidding controls. Driver plans to scale down the project management operations and the main businesses should be sold by the end of this financial year. South America and eastern Europe have been identified as growth areas. New non-executive director John Horgan has been appointed as a replacement for David Webster.
Fuel cell technology developer AFC Energy (AFC) has raised £6m, £5.5m net of expenses, at 10p a share – a 40% discount to the market price. Up to £2m more could be raised from a one-for-15 open offer at the same share price – closing on 2 March. The cash will be used to deliver commitments on the joint development agreement with De Nora, additional testing and a scoping study with Peel Environmental for potential projects. Jim Gibson has been appointed as chief operating officer.
Middlesbrough-based pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) joined AIM on 15 February. The placing will raise £15.6m at 86p a share, valuing the company at £26.5m. The share price ended the week at 95.5p.
Tracsis (TRCS) disappointed the market with a warning that delays in contracts means that this year will be even more second-half weighted and there is still uncertainty whether certain software contracts will complete in this financial year. The transportation optimisation software and services provider still believes it can achieve this year’s forecast profit but the market was not as sure. The share price fell by nearly one-third following the trading statement and Downing is one investor that has added to its stake having previously taken profits. Interim revenues will grow from £13.1m to £15.5m but pre-tax profit will only be slightly higher than last year’s figure of £2.9m. The full year outcome could depend on the rail franchise bid timetable.
Higher LED sales helped Holders Technology (HDT) to increase overall revenues by 2% to £11.4m but the LED business is still losing money and a German business has been closed. The underlying loss increased from £141,000 to £195,000, prior to restructuring costs of £183,000. An increases in trade creditors meant that cash improved to £781,000. A final dividend of 0.25p a share is proposed. There are signs of an improvement in demand for printed circuit board materials and new smart lighting products should boost the LED business.
Vela Technologies (VELA) has raised £550,000 from a bond issue via the UK Bond Network. This should enable Vela to complete the additional investment of £150,000 in Portr, the airline passenger facilitation and baggage transport service, taking its stake to 4.27%.
Collagen Solutions (COS) is raising up to £8m from a placing and one-for-five open offer at 5p a share and this will be topped up with a £4m bond issue to Norgine Ventures, which has a coupon of 10% and 6.77 million warrants exercisable at 5.911p each. The cash will finance the expansion of the medical collagen business, commercial medical device products and launch ChondroMimetic, which is a collagen-based implant to treat small cartilage and bone defects, later this year.
Online gaming business generator Veltyco Group (VLTY) says that its 2016 figures will be significantly better than expected. An EBITDA of more than €2m, up from the initial forecast of €1.4m, on revenues of more than €5.7m, ahead of a forecast of €4.9m, is anticipated.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has signed a services agreement with APTrans, a Cheshire-based consortium of drug developers that can provide technical expertise, for the development of SFX-01. A US patent has been granted covering the manufacturing process for SFX-01. The patent lasts until 2033. Further patents are expected to be awarded around the world.
Ascent Resources (AST) raised £3m at 1.85p a share in its latest fundraising via PrimaryBid.com. The cash will be spent on developing the Petisovci gas project in Slovenia.
Self-storage operator Lok’nStore (LOK) says that self-storage sales were 3.9% higher, thanks to higher occupancy, and document storage sales 8.8% ahead in the first half. There is a pipeline of two owned and two managed stores, which will add 14% to capacity. NAV is expected to be 404p a share at the end of July 2017.
PowerHouse Energy Group (PHE) has raised £2.5m at 0.8p a share on the back of last week’s deal with Peel. Hillgrove will receive £2m as part-payment for its loan with £1.4m converted into shares at 0.5p each. A G3-UHt waste to energy unit is being shipped from Australia and should reach the UK in March.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) is starting a phase I clinical study for safety and tolerability of Acarovac MPL as a house dust mite allergy vaccine. The trial will be in Spain, covering 32 patients and lasting one year. The global market could be worth $1.5bn a year.
Patient monitoring equipment developer LiDCO Group (LID) says that its 2016-17 revenues will be slightly lower than forecast but it will make a small profit. The loss of a US customer held back growth with revenues 8% ahead at £8.2m, although revenues from group products were 14% higher this was partly offset by lower sales of third party products.
EP Minerals has terminated its lease over the County Line Diatomite project, so Sunrise Resources (SRES) will need to find an alternative method of commercialising the potential project.
Keras Resources (KRS) says that there is a JORC-based inferred mineral resource of 36,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 6.1g/t for the Copenhagen deposit. This means that the Warrawoona gold project has a JORC mineral resource of 410,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 2.2g/t. The focus will be the higher grade Copenhagen deposit, which has more potential.
Mariana Resources (MARL) has completed three of seven planned drill holes at the Ergama project in Turkey and two of these have found large but low grade deposits.
Executive chairman John Hawkins has been given the push by Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) as part of the closure of the group’s head office following the disposal of the Vislink broadcast equipment business. Hawkins received £260,000 a year as chief executive and £100,000 a year as chairman and his contract stipulates 12 months notice. John Varney becomes non-executive chairman. The bank apparently remains supportive and the 2016 figures will be published on 31 March.
Cloud-based telecoms software supplier CloudCall Group (CALL) says that customer relationship management software provider and corporate partner Bullhorn is deploying CloudCall’s software with its US staff. This will provide a reference for potential US customers of a combined software package. Full year figures will be published on 28 March and these will be in line with expectations.
Simian Global (SMG) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy BVI-incorporated media and advertising business GVC Holdings Ltd. Standard list shell Simian Global floated on 10 January when it raised £769,500 at 15p a share. This valued the company, which was seeking a technology, media and telecoms sector acquisition, at £935,000. Trading in the shares was suspended at 17.5p.
Avation (AVAP) is trading at a discount of around one-fifth to its NAV of 249p a share at the end of 2016. In the six months to December 2016, the aircraft leasing company’s revenues were 43% ahead at $45.1m and pre-tax profit 50% higher at $8.4m. Bid discussions for 22 ATR 72 aircraft continue but management wants a significant premium to the NAV.
PRE-IPO / OTHER TRADING FACILITIES
Former AIM-quoted Clinical Computing, which is currently traded on Britdaq,has initiated a strategic review and this could lead to the sale of the healthcare IT company. In the year to March 2016, revenues fell from £1.67m to £1.5m but a loss of £204,000 was turned into a profit of £23,000. There is £825,000 in the bank and net assets of £654,000, which is more than its market capitalisation on Britdaq.
Fidessa Group FDSA claims solid growth for the year as a whole but then admits that most of it was due to the weakness of sterling rather than the success of the company and its management. At constant exchange rates revenue rose by 3% and profit before tax by a lowly 1% compared to the actual exchange rate figures of 12% and 25% respectively. The reality however is used to give shareholders a big present with an 11% rise in both the final and special dividends.
Firestone Diamonds FDI held its first diamond sale last week in Antwerp. All carats on offer, a total of 75,936, were sold at an average price of US$107 per carat, producing a total of US$8.14m. The highest price achieved for a single stone exceeded US$1m. The company describes the total as pleasing as the diamonds were recovered from lower quality ore areas. Over 90 companies viewed the diamonds and 38 were successful. A second auction is expected before the end of March.
Plastics Capital PLA Third quarter revenues were ahead of expectations following stronger than expected demand and trading condition remain generally good. Full year results however, are expected to be in line.
EG Solutions EGS Strong second half trading produced record revenues up by over 50% to £5.69m., compared to the first half total of £2.5m. The first half loss of £0.89m. was turned into positive EBITDA of over £2.m Several new contracts have been signed with major global companies in America, Asia and Europe.
Lok’nStore Group LOK First half trading in the self storage business remained solid with revenue up by 3.9% and self storage occupancy rose by 4.6%. Document storage revenue was up by 8%
House broker Daniel Stewart expects energy efficiency and home automation products supplier Sandal (SAND) to move into profit this year. In the year to May 2016, Sandal made a loss of £268,000 on revenues of £3.3m and this year the profit is forecast to be £105,000. The Energenie energy efficiency and home control products are expected to nearly double their sales to £1.4m this year and then double them again next year. The revenues of connectors business PowerConnections are expected to be flat.
Rail safety products developer Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) plans to raise £106,000 at 1p a share and chief executive Gerhard Dodl says he will acquire some of the shares. The cash will be used for working capital.
Mechan Controls (MECP) says that it is still investigating the possible disposal of some of its business and it has received further approaches from potential buyers, including approaches from management teams of some of the subsidiaries. The offers do not appear to be high enough to provide the exit price wanted by the Mechan board. Mechan has gained shareholder approval to buy back up to 10% of its share capital.
Wealth management adviser Asia Wealth Group Holdings (AWLP) is talking to a number of potential acquisitions. In the six months to August 2016, revenues improved from $578,000 to $601,000 and the loss was halved to $11,000, helped by lower expenses. There was a $91,000 cash inflow in the six month period. There is nearly $1.4m in the bank.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO/EO.P) will be left with a 24.3% stake in LED lighting products and wiring accessories supplier Luceco following its flotation on the Main Market. EPE sold shares worth £38m and had £10m of loans repaid. The cash will be The share price has risen from 130p to 148p. The stake is valued at £57.8m and this is still more than two-fifths of EPE‘s gross asset value.
Vislink (VLK) is selling its original core business to a former AIM-quoted company with an even worse track record. Vislink hopes to complete the $16m sale of the loss-making broadcast and surveillance hardware business to xG Technology Inc by the end of the year. It appears that xG Technology will have to raise cash in order to fund the acquisition. xG Technology left AIM at the end of 2013 after seven years on the junior market when it failed to build up significant revenues from the technology it had developed. The buyer has recently bought another business, which is much smaller than the Vislink business but the acquisition will undoubtedly form the core of the enlarged business. The Vislink hardware business was in the books at £22.7m, before central net liabilities, at the end of June 2016 – nearly £30m lower than six months before thanks to losses and write-downs. That is still well below the stated disposal price. Vislink had net assets of £22.9m at the end of June 2016. Executive chairman John Hawkins was appointed to the board on 1 April 2011 and net assets were £47m at the end of June 2011. There have been further share issues since then. If the disposal does go ahead then Vislink will be left with its profitable broadcast software business and have minimal debt.
Lok’nStore (LOK) has grown its underlying NAV by 28% to 386p a share thanks to the continued investment in the portfolio of self storage sites and strong trading. This year the valuer was changed to Jones Lang LaSalle. Supply is limited compared with the demand for self storage. Occupancy rates increased by 2% last year and prices also increased. There are plans for a further four sites – two managed stores and two owned in Gillingham and Wellingborough – over the next year or so, at a cost of £10m, while the recently opened Chichester, Bristol and Southampton sites are still building up their occupancy. There was also a much better contribution from document storage after a few years of flat performances.
Trading continues to improve at security and facilities management services provider Mortice (MORT). Interim revenues are expected to be 57% ahead at around $80m through a combination of acquisitive and organic growth. The fastest growth has been in facilities management where revenues have more than doubled thanks to the UK business with more to come due to recent contract wins. The Indian operations also continue to grow. This means that Mortice is on course to grow full year revenues from $133.5m to $170m, which should enable pre-tax profit to rise from $2.4m to $4.2m.
Core infection control products have grown fast enough to more than offset a continued decline in older product sales by Tristel (TSTL). In the year to June 2016, revenues grew 12% to £17.1m. Overseas revenues grew by more than one-fifth and they account for nearly two-fifths of group revenues. North America remains a major potential market and the first FDA approvals for products should be next year. There will be additional regulatory costs this year. House broker finnCap forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £3.3m to £3.6m.
BP Marsh & Partners (BPM) increased its NAV from 243p a share to 253p a share in the six months to July 2016. There is £7.9m of cash available for new investments after taking account of commitments to existing investee companies. The investment company has plenty of opportunities in the insurance broking and related markets but it is very careful when making a new investment.
Gold producer Orosur Mining Inc (OMI) has reduced its cash operating costs to $693/ounce in the three months to August 2016, which is well below expectations and the figure of $954/ounce in the corresponding period in the previous financial year. This cost reduction was helped by the mining of higher grades and costs will rise in the second quarter. The price received for gold sold was also higher but year-on-year production fell from 12,471 ounces to 9,950 ounces so revenues fell from $14.5m to $12.7m. Even so, Orosur moved from a loss to a profit of $2.76m and there was a $4.8m cash inflow from operations. Net cash was $4.7m at the end of August 2016. Orosur expects to produce between 35,000 and 40,000 ounces of gold and cash operating costs are expected to be between $800/ounce and $900/ounce. Orosur is capitalised at less than £19m.
Kyrgyz Republic-focused Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (CGH) has rejected a bid approach, which was at a 30% premium to the then market price. That suggests a bid of 11p a share or more. The bankable feasibility study for the Tulkubash heap leach project.
Prospex Oil and Gas (PXOG) has received government approval to drill the Boleslaw-1 well in the Kolo licence area in Poland and this should happen before the end of the year. The final application for the drilling permit has to be submitted. Well pad construction should begin early in November. The intial target has been identified as having potential for near-term production. Prospex owns 49% of the company that owns the Kolo licence.
Premier African Minerals (PREM) has bought a 4.5% stake in Casa Mining, which in turn owns 71.25% of the Misisi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For $250,000. This was funded by a £300,000 placing at 0.32p a share. Premier could add a further 30% stake. Premier also owns 2% of Circum Minerals, which expects to be awarded a mining licence for its Danakil potash project in Ethiopia by the end of this year. Morgan Stanley is assessing ways of moving the project forward, including a strategic partner or flotation.
More good news for Thor Mining (THOR) about the Molyhil project. The assay results have confirmed elevated levels of tungsten. More drilling is planned on the three targets that have been identified.
Starcom (STAR) has raised £300,000 for working capital after a $100,000 loan facility failed to be secured. The share placing was at 2.5p a share. The previous placing in March raised £450,000 at 1.5p a share. The cash is needed because some payments will not be received until early next year. There was recently a judgement against a subsidiary and two of the Starcom directors in the ongoing litigation brought by Top-Alpha Capital, although Starcom believes this could be overturned by a higher court. Starcom should at least meet the expectation of improved revenues in 2016.
Investment company Mercom Capital (MCC) is pending £600,000 on a 16% stake in Mexican fintech company Mobile Wireless and Satellite SAPI (MOWISAT). The strategy is to offer lending, payments and e-commerce services to unbanked people as a mobile virtual network operator. There are 109 million mobile users in Mexico and the vast majority are on prepay packages. Meanwhile, Mercom’s 10.2% shareholder Calvet International plans to requisition a general meeting at Mercom to propose board changes and a change in strategy.
Standard list shell Mila Resources (MILA) is seeking to acquire an interest in a resources project, most likely in emerging markets. The ideal target would involve a project that is already well down the line and would benefit from a cash injection to move it towards production. Mila has around £1m in the bank after the costs of the flotation. The share price has risen from 5p to 8.25p in the fortnight since it floated.