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In the first half of 2018, Newbury Racecourse (NYR) increased media revenues by one-fifth and, along with growth in nursery and lodge revenues, this helped the racecourse operator to raise revenues by 5% to £7.33m even though two race days were lost to bad weather. Enough cash was generated to more than cover capital spending.
Block Commodities (BLCC) has signed a non-binding letter of intent with the Eelleet Network Corp, which intends to buy Block. There would be an all share recommended offer and the enlarged business would list on the Canadian Stock Exchange. Trading in Block shares has been suspended.
Ananda Developments (ANA) has obtained a £300,000 convertible loan facility with two directors, Charles Morgan and Melissa Sturgess. The annual interest rate is 10% and the conversion price is 0.75p a share. The manufacture of 15%-owned Liberty Herbal Technologies’ vaporisers and consumable packs containing four hapac sachets of 0.25g medicinal cannabis has commenced in China. AfriAg Global (AFRI) has applied for a medicinal cannabis licence in the UK. Fellow cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) has set up a German wholesaling subsidiary and it will invest €80,000 for a 60% stake.
In the six months to June 2018, St Mark Homes (SMAP) increased revenues from £71,000 to £139,000 and it made a small loss excluding negative goodwill release. The interim dividend was unchanged at 5.5p a share. The NAV is £5.9m, including £754,000 in cash, which is equivalent to 134p a share. St Mark is trying to gain planning permission for the commercial development in Sutton High Street. Two other properties in London are being redeveloped and sales have commenced. A development in Wembley should start in 2019.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) reported a profit in the first half of 2018, but that was due to a change in the fair value of the option to acquire 90% of Cedex. Revenues fell 48% to $3.78m and the underlying loss of the fintech software provider increased from $282,000 to $971,000. The blockchain operations made an initial contribution of $1.23m to revenues. The B2C operations have ceased in Europe and the company wants to sell its subsidiary with a FSA licence. Higher regulations have hampered the B2B technology customers.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) reported an increased interim loss of $9.43m due to higher finance costs. Admin costs were flat. The development of the Hellyer gold project in Tasmania is progressing well and the first sales of concentrate should happen before the end of this year. Work continues towards a move to a standard listing.
Less than one month after asking for trading in the company’s 7% bonds 2021 to be suspended Positive Healthcare (DOC) has appointed Eric Walls and Wayne Harrison of KSA to advise on a liquidation process. Irregularities were identified at the principal operating subsidiary and Positive is unable to pay the next instalment of interest on the bonds.
Eight Capital Partners (MORE) had cash of £773,000 at the end of June 2018. That was before the former Cogenpower acquired €111,100 worth of 8% corporate bonds 2020 in Italian financial services company Finance Partners Group. Other financial services and technology investments are being considered.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has been readmitted to NEX and AIM on 21 September, after it completed its migration from the Isle of Man to Bermuda.
IT recruitment and consultancy Parity (PTY) remains on track for an improvement in pre-tax profit from £1.7m to £1.9m but cash generation is not as good as expected. Net debt is still expected to reduce from £1.6m to £900,000. The previously announced Primark managed services contract has started well, although another contract has been delayed. The consultancy business continues to contribute a growing proportion of profit.
Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU) has agreed locations for pilot production at the Lesedi coal bed methane project in Botswana and the first well should be spudded in October.
N+1 Singer has upgraded its forecast for EKF Diagnostics (EKF) following the interim figures. There was a 5% decline in revenues to £20.4m, while underlying profit improved from £2.3m to £2.7m. Around £250,000 has been added to the profit, taking pre-tax profit to £7.7m. The launch of haemoglobin analyser DiaSpect following FDA approval will boost next year’s figures. The spin out of RenalytixAI continues and it will require a general meeting.
Audio products supplier Focusrite (TUNE) says full year revenues were in line with expectations of £75.4m, while cash of £22.8m is better than forecast. A pre-tax profit of £10.8m is forecast. There are concerns about US tariffs.
Tanfield (TAN) has warned that it may not get anything for its stake in Snorkel if the call option is exercised. Management has already said that it will write down the value of the investment to £19.1m ($25.3m), which already knocks 12p a share off NAV, but there is a disagreement about the interpretation of the original agreement.
Disappointing results from the Atopic Dermatitis study has led Realm Therapeutics (RLM) to appoint MTS Health Partners to advise on strategy alternatives. Realm is considered to be in an offer period. There was $21.3m in the bank at the end of August.
Short-term weakness in the oil palm price has held back the progress of plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) in the first half, but crude palm oil production is increasing in line with expectations (91,900 tons in the first half). That means that full year revenues are likely to be flat and pre-tax profit will be lower. Longer-term growth will come from increased production from more recently planted areas.
Online women’s fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) is coming up to its first year on AIM and the growth momentum continues.
Huadong Medicine Aesthetics has launched its recommended 32p a share cash bid for Sinclair Pharma (SPH) and that values the company at £166.6m.
There has been a lot of activity at Frontier IP (FIPP) in the past week. The AB Sugar head of innovation Matthew White is joining the company as head of commercialisation. Recycled building materials developer Alusid has raised £1.34m, including the conversion of a £348,000 loan from Frontier IP, which has a 35.6% stake. The Alusid investment had been valued at £700,000 and the latest fundraising values it at £1.73m. The cash will be used by Alusid to invest in its manufacturing facility, which should start production in 2020. The total cost will be £10m. A new company has been set up to develop new antibiotics. Frontier IP has a 10% stake in Amprologix, which has been spun out of the University of Plymouth. The first product is likely to be a cream that contains epidermicin, which can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.
There was a switch in the mix of revenues at job screening services provider ClearStar Inc (CLSU) in the first half as revenues increased by 11% to $9.9m. The growth has come from Medical Information Systems, which has lower margins and this means that the overall loss is reducing more slowly than expected. The cash outflow is small. Net cash is $1.2m.
Diurnal Group (DNL) is going along as expected with the launch of its Alkindi paediatric adrenal insufficiency treatment in Germany but the market has been unnerved by a negative comment from a German government research organisation. It pointed out that the performance of Alkindi was not compared with another treatment which has not been given regulatory approval. This does not appear likely to affect the relationship with the German regulatory authorities. There will be news from the European phase III trial for Chronocort before the end of the year.
Stockdale has initiated research on professional services group Christie Group (CTG) and expects a full year profit of £3.5m. It has already achieved an interim profit of £1.75m.
VR Education (VRE) still had £4.9m in the bank at the end of June 2018. Since then there have been improvements to the ENGAGE platform ahead of the full commercial launch before the end of the year. The full version of Titanic VR was launched in August and it is set to be launched on Playstation.
Energy supplier Yu Group (YU.) continues to grow rapidly and it is moving into the water sector. Interim revenues jumped from £20.8m to £35.8m, while underlying pre-tax profit moved ahead from £1.15m to £1.8m. Growth is coming from the larger corporate sector which has held back margins because they are via brokers. The interim dividend is one-fifth higher at 1.2p a share. There was £18.2m in the bank at the end of June 2018.
N4 Pharma (N4P) has undertaken a strategic review following the failure of the reformulation of sildenafil to achieve its key targets in its clinical trial. It would cost a lot and increase risk if the company undertook further reformulation of this generic. The generics division has been closed and the focus will be the Nuvec delivery system. Initial results from research should be available before the end of the year. There was £1.6m in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Books publisher Quarto Group (QRT) increased interim revenues from $50.2m to $56.2m and the underlying loss fell from $8.7m to $6.6m. Net debt was $73.2m at the end of June 2018. Management is talking to banks to extend the bank facility until August 2020. Costs are being reduced.
Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) intends to broaden its investment remit to include cannabis processing, as well as the energy and industrial sectors. Finance professional Alan Hume has joined the board of the standard list shell. He was previously an adviser to the company and until last year finance director of Zenith Energy (ZEN). Between 2010 and 2012 he was finance director of Xtract Energy (XTR).
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has completed its feasibility report into the reopening of the Gubong gold mine and the joint venture with Southern Gold has started. Production of 10,000 ounces of gold is initially targeted.
London Nusantara Plantations has become Panther Metals (PALM) and it has sent out notice of a general meeting on 1 May to enable directors to issue up to one billion shares. This power will expire after 15 months. The company is issuing 17 million shares at 0.1p a share to pay a £17,000 bill from an adviser.
Early Equity (EEQP) had £429,000 in the bank at the end of February 2018. The company raised £705,000 during the year and this has helped to increase the value of the investment portfolio from £594,000 to £1.01m. The NAV has increased from £639,000 to £1.54m. There are plans to raise more cash if its is required for additional investments.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) says that investee company Civilised Bank Ltd has released the banking licence it was granted by the Bank of England because it will not meet the mobilisation deadline. There have been delays in developing the IT needed by the bank so the intention is to reapply when the IT development is further advanced.
Oil palm plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) is starting to enjoy the benefits of its investment in planting oil palm but there is plenty more to come. The 2017 profit was boosted by a gain on discontinued operations of $68m. The underlying dividend improved from 15p a share to 17.75p a share and there should be continued growth as the plantations mature. The value of the business is estimated at £11 a share.
The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) increased revenues by 23% to £10.2m and this led to a one-third improvement in pre-tax profit to £4.3m. This was despite the loss by online estate agency EweMove, where new management has been put in place. The total dividend is 7.5p a share and there was a modest year-end net cash position. The tenant fee ban could hit the business in 2019 but there is time to mitigate the impact.
Parity (PTY) has completed its turnaround and from now on profit growth will come from growing the revenues. The IT recruitment side was hit by changes in tax treatment for freelancers working for government departments but underlying pre-tax profit was still improved from £1.4m to £1.7m. The recently announced Primark contract will help this year. The higher margin consultancy business continues to grow. Cash generation was better than expected with net debt falling from £4.4m to £1.6m. There should be net cash at the end of 2018. There is also the prospect of a dividend in the medium-term.
D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) had a strong fourth quarter and this strength is set to continue into the first few months of this financial year.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) boss Matthew Idiens has nearly doubled his stake in the oil and gas company through the acquisition of 800,000 shares at an average price of 2.5p each. Finance director Christopher Eadie has bought 424,715 shares at an average of 2.35p each. Rose recently added to its land position in the Paradox Basin in Utah. Rose acquired a 75% working interest in 3,320 gross acres for $120,000. There has already been a 3D seismic survey of the acreage.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has increased its stake in Fieldwork Robotics by offering additional engineering and development support. That will help to develop a prototype for harvesting vegetables. The stake will rise from 21% to 27.5%.
Boku Inc (BOKU) is growing its revenues and the relatively stable cost base means that it could be on course for a profit in 2018. The direct mobile carrier billing company is expected to grow revenues from $24.4m to $32.7m in 2018 and that would be enough to make a profit. Additional services could further boost long-term revenues.
Starcom (STAR) published a positive AGM statement. First quarter revenues were much higher than expected at $1.5m, which is nearly double the first quarter of 2017. This should help to reduce the loss this year.
RedT Energy (RED) is raising £3.85m at 5.9p a share and this will be invested in growing its energy storage technology business.
Cadmium-free quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO) had £8.7m in the bank at the end of January 2018, thanks to the £8m raised in November. The reported interim loss declined from £6.4m to £4.8m. There could be additional revenues in the second half from initial payments by the US partner funding the development of nano-particles for electronic devices. There should also be product revenues from the launch of gaming-focused computer displays in the second half. There should be £5.7m in the bank at the end of July 2018.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) says that it intends to increase the number of rooms and add office space in its second development. This will increase the rental income. These changes have been sparked by the potential housing association buyer of the assisted housing development. The architect will have to make changes to the plans and a two-month extension to the option period for the purchase from the current owner of the building.
China-focused health food products supplier World Trade Systems (WTS) increased its revenues from £8.7m to £19.6m in 2017. There reported profit more than doubled from £906,000 to £1.98m. There is £2.17m in the bank offset by £1.26m of borrowings.
Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £115,000 at 20p a share. This should help to improve the limited liquidity of the shares. A one-for-40 open offer at the same share price could raise up to £253,000 more. The suspension of trading in the shares should be lifted on 19 April. The suspension price was 125p a share. In January, £4m was raised at 8p a share and the limited liquidity led to a ridiculous rise in the share price.
Finsbury Food Group FIF claims it produced a strongly resilient performance in the year to 1st July, as it faced the challenges of a deflationary market which saw group like for like revenue remain flat. A final dividend of 2p per share is to be paid making a total of 3p for the year, a rise of 7.1%.. Sales and profit margins both increased and on a like for like basis adjusted profit before tax rose by 5.6%. The competitive success of the company is illustrated by a 15% rise in sales to continental Europe.