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Mechan Controls (MECP) is selling its main subsidiary to its technical director and intends to sell its other business and return cash to shareholders. The core business is being sold for up to £2m, with a minimum of £1.64m, including £1.24m initially, payable. The final £360,000 is dependent on the buyers selling the 142,300 shares they own in Mechan Controls. This leaves the group with Nirvana Engineering, which made a pre-tax profit of £352,000 last year. The company is changing its name to Mandicon.
Wine maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) is putting a brave face on the frosts at the end of April. These were the worst frosts in April for two decades. There was a patchy impact with some vineyards impacted and some not. The company says that it mitigates risk by sourcing fruit from a wider area. The potential crop will become clearer in June. A further 129 acres of vineyard will be planted in the rest of this year.
Bulgaria property investment company Black Sea Property (BSP) is still negotiating a loan from UniCredit Bulbank to finance the acquisition of the UniCredit Building. Black Sea Property is paying €10.52m for the building – a deposit of €1.04m has been paid – and €7.6m of this will come from a loan. Once this loan is secured then a share issue can be undertaken. It appears that the deal may not be completed in May as originally envisaged. Unicredit can remain in the building for six months after completion and does not have to pay rent. The deposit will be forfeited if the deal does not go ahead. Black Sea Property has extended the repayment date of £100,000 of the unsecured loan facility from Phoenix Capital to the end of July. Discussions continue about the assignment to Phoenix of the investment advisory agreement from AG Asset Management. Anthony Gardner-Hillman is stepping down from the board and a replacement should be appointed in the near future.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has acquired the Grosvenor Casino site in George Street, Manchester for £4m. The annual rental is £300,000. Ace has also bought the company that owns Willow House in Aldershot for £1.05m.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) says that the loan of £497,500 has been repaid with interest by 4 Navitas. The talks about a joint venture have ended and Angelfish is trying to recover professional fees and expenses. This means that Angelfish has £1.1m in the bank and a loan to One Media Enterprises of $425,500 and it is seeking pre-IPO investments. It should be remembered that Angelfish has £2.3m of preference shares in issue.
Early stage investor Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that cloud-based food service business Fresho has announced that annualised revenues through its platform is nearly A$100m. The platform connects wholesalers and suppliers to restaurants, hotels, independent supermarkets, hospitals, pubs and other retailers. Additional automation will help to boost margins. Primorus, which is also quoted on AIM, invested £175,000 in Fresho in September 2016. Another round of funding is expected early next year. That will provide an opportunity to revalue the existing investment.
Etaireia Investments (ETIP) is buying two office buildings at Whitehouse Office Park in Peterlee, County Durham, with 113 out of the 125 year lease left unexpired. The purchase price of £1.125m will be paid through a combination of 600 million shares at 0.1p a share, giving Taxspecialefx (Peterlee) LLP a 24.3% stake, and cash payment of £525,000 deferred for 12 months. Completion is expected within three months. The annual rental income is £99,500. The seller is entitled to 75% of rental income until the deferred payment is made.
Adnams (ADB) non-executive director Guy Heald has sold 310 B shares at £114 each, raising £35,340. He retains 15.9% of the B shares.
All Star Minerals (ASMO) has raised £40,500 at 0.075p a share. Equatorial Mining & Exploration (EM.P) has raised £14,000 via the exercising of warrants at 0.01p each and it has also issued 110 million irredeemable 0.01p convertible loan notes.
The new management team has spent 2016 restructuring Quantum Pharma (QP.). One part of the business has been closed and another may be divested. The focus is niche pharmaceuticals and specials. In the year to January 2017, pre-tax profit dropped from £10.1m £6.2m. There will be a recovery in profit this year but it will take another year for profit to get back to £10m.
Podcasts supplier Audioboom (BOOM) has increased its revenues from £192,000 to £1.31m although it continues to lose money. There is already more than £3m of recognised or pre-booked advertising for 2017. Audioboom has built up its user base and it has started to generate revenues on the back of that. The acquisition of advertising technology firm SONR should help to further target advertising. Audioboom will make a further loss this year and, even after raising around £5m, the net cash is expected to be less than £1m at the end of 2017.
Management spent a significant amount of time last year sorting out the operations that Inspiration Healthcare (IHC) inherited when it reversed into the AIM-quoted business. This meant that underlying profit was flat at £1.1m. Demand for pre-natal care equipment and services is rising. There is scope for further organic growth and for acquisitions.
Pennant International Group (PEN) says that Lockheed Martin has increased the size of a contract from £200,000 to £2.2m, with potential for me. The total order book is worth more than £35m.
A concept study for the CS pozzolan-perlite project has persuaded Sunrise Resources (SRES) to focus on the project. It is thought that the 100%-owned project should have low caped and operating expenses thanks to surface mining and simple production processes. The pozzolan mined can be used as a greener alternative to Portland cement. There are no defined resources yet.
Onshore oil and gas explorer Egdon Resources (EDR) has submitted a new planning application for the Wressle field development. This follows the rejection of the previous planning application by North Lincolnshire Council. Egdon is also appealing the original decision.
Verona Pharma (VRP) raised $80m at the time of its flotation on Nasdaq. The shares were issued at 132p each and the ADSs issued in the US at $13.50 each – one ADS represents eight shares. The ADSs are trading on the Nasdaq Global Market. Last month, respiratory disease treatment developer has received authorisation from the FDA to proceed with a clinical trial for RPL554.
Manufacturer of professional audio equipment Focusrite (TUNE) produced good interim figures thanks to strong sales in North America. Interim revenues were 24% higher at £32m with pre-tax profit 89% ahead at £4.6m. Net cash is £9.4m and the interim dividend was raised by 15% to 0.75p a share. . Edison has upgraded its 2016-17 pre-tax profit forecast from £8m to £8.5m.
The Article 6 Marital Trust has become the largest shareholder in FIH Group (FIH), with 28.9%, following the sale of shares by Blackfish Capital Alpha Fund and former bidder Staunton Holdings at 300p each. Edmund Rowland has stepped down as chairman.
PowerHouse Energy (PHE) has moved its ultra high temperature gasification waste to energy G3-UHt unit to the Thornton Science Park, operated by the University of Cheshire. This will enable further development and opportunities for demonstrating the technology.
LED lighting products developer Photonstar LED (PSL) has taken advantage of a sharp share price recovery to raise £465,000 at 1.25p. The cash will be used to roll-out new product ranges.
Sanderson Group (SND) says that interim figures are in line with expectations. The retail and manufacturing software provider increased interim revenues from £9.86m to £10.9m – just under 50% is recurring revenues. Digital retail revenues were one-fifth higher. Net cash was £4.51m at the end of March 2017. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £3.44m to £3.72m. The interims will be published on 24 May.
Strategic Minerals (SML) is acquiring its joint venture partner’s stake in Central Australia Rare Earths for £522,500. Larger amounts of funding will be required to explore the resource than originally thought. Cash generated from Cobre in New Mexico will be used to finance this investment.
Digital audio technology developer Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) says that its first half revenues is significantly ahead of last year and full year EBITDA is set to be well ahead of expectations with margins higher than anticipated. Analogue radio has been switched off in Norway and there is strong demand for digital radio across Europe. Smart audio contracts have been won and there will be a better indication of progress in the second half.
Gas producer Ascent Resources (AST) has re-entered the second well at the Petisovci gas field in Slovenia. The well is being prepared for production, which should take four weeks. There has been a further objection to the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control permit, which it requires to build a gas processing plant so more gas can be produced.
DP Poland (DPP) says that system sales grew by 21% in the first quarter of 2017. There have been eight stores added this year and a new commissary is under construction.
Accident prone Redcentric (RCN) appears to be sorting itself out but it is not out of the woods yet. Net debt is estimated at £39.5m at the end of March 2017 and the bank appears to support the company. Waivers have been received for covenant breaches and there were large exceptional charges. The underlying pre-tax profit is forecast to rise from £6.3m to £9.1m.
Personal care products supplier InnovaDerma (IDP) has acquired the owner of the IP for Prolong, the only FDA-approved medical device for the treatment of premature ejaculation, a market valued at more than $1bn a year. This is part of a strategy to build up a life sciences division. Prolong is a non-prescription, vibrating medical device that is used in training in order to increase time between arousal and ejaculation. The device could cost between £250 and £300. InnovaDerma is paying £1m in shares, issued at a 25% discount to the market price minus the settlement of current liabilities at the current share price – estimated at £323,600. On top of this, a royalty of £11 per unit sold will be paid until the patent runs out in 2031 and if Prolong generates an operating margin of 20% in any year a bonus of £150,000 is payable. Prolong will be launched in North America in the second half of 2017 and Europe and Australia next year. InnovaDerma also announced that its self-tanning Skinny Tan products will be available on the ASOS website.
Opera Investments (OPRA) is going ahead with its acquisition of Kibo Gold from AIM-quoted Kibo Mining (KIBO) for £3.66m in shares at 6p each and moving from the standard list to AIM. The acquisition has the Imweru and Lubando gold projects in Tanzania. Opera is also raising £1.5m at 6p a share – it already had £486,000 in the bank. The Imweru project could be producing 50,000 ounces of gold a year within two years. Opera is changing its name to Katoro Gold.
Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has acquired Village Green Restaurants, the operator of five freehold pub restaurants in the Maidstone and Ashford area, for £11.85m. The business made an operating profit of £900,000 on revenues of £6.6m in the year to October 2016. The cash for the acquisition has come from an extended credit facility.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) says that it is evaluating approaches from mining companies concerning IMC’s ten base metal licences in Ireland. IMC has already secured Koza as partner for its gold licences. IMC’s full year loss was slightly lower at £418,000. There was less than £4,000 in the bank at the end of June 2016.
Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) floated on 29 November at 100p a share and ended the week at 100.5p (98p/103p). The residential property investor raised just over £1m in an offer for subscription and is capitalised at £3.3m. The REIT has acquired the assets of the Walls & Futures London Growth Fund and the additional cash will be used to invest in development and redevelopment assets in cities and towns around the UK. The focus is the private renting and social housing sectors.
Hearing and mobility products retailer DHAIS (DHAP) has been hit by a further decline in its mobility business. Three mobility stores have been sold and two others closed, leaving ten stores. The hearing aid division is the main focus. In the year to June 2016, revenues fell from £10.6m to £9.86m, while the loss increased from £186,000 to £295,000. There is £216,000 in the bank and cash was generated in the period but it went towards the regular repayment of an interest free loan from a hearing aid manufacturer. A notional interest charge is recognised on this loan, which is why there is positive cash flow despite the loss.
Welney (WENP) is still seeking a new direction and talking to potential funders and recipients of investment. There was £52 in the bank at the end of June 2016. Management admits it will need more cash this year and that is why the accounts are prepared on a going concern basis. The directors are not taking fees for the time being and loan note holders have agreed not to ask for them to be redeemed for at least the next 12 months. The investment in Nasdaq-listed Green Automotive Co has performed poorly and is illiquid.
Exploration company NQ Minerals (NQMI) has appointed Daniel Stewart as its broker as part of a proposed move to the standard list.
A strong second half meant that enterprise software provider Sanderson (SND) grew its full year revenues by 11% to £21.3m and ended the year with a strong order book. New customer orders were 18% of revenues – a higher level than normal. There was additional investment in development and support but underlying pre-tax profit still improved from £2.91m to £3.44m. There is £4.34m in the bank. The retail, manufacturing and logistics operations all have stronger order books than normal. A 2016-17 profit of £3.7m is forecast.
Park Group (PKG) made a relatively small interim loss. The consumer and corporate gift voucher and prepaid card business is still highly seasonal with the Christmas savings business maintaining its importance. New product launches will continue to reduce the importance, though, as will the acquisition of Fisher Moy International, which brings with it some large corporate clients. An increase in full year profit from £11.9m to £12.7m is forecast.
A strong performance in the industrials division of Gooch & Housego (GHH) offset flatter performances elsewhere. Acquisitions masked an underlying decline in defence and electronics and revenues also fell in the he much smaller life sciences division, which requires acquisitions itself in order to build its scale. Pre-tax profit was slightly better than expected at £14.2m. Despite spending on acquisitions, there is still net cash of £11.7m and the total dividend has been raised by 10% to 9p a share. The order book is worth £52.8m but it covers more than one year. A full year profit of £15.5m is forecast.
Active Energy (AEG) has received a $6m, five year unsecured loan facility to finance the construction of a reference plant for its CoalSwitch technology. The North American plant will have an annual capacity o 35,000 tonnes. This plant could generate revenues of $6.3m a year. CoalSwitch technology can use low value wood, pulp and saw-mill by-products to produce a biomass fuel that can be mixed with coal, or replace coal, in coal-fired power stations. The interest rate on the loan is 8%.
Billing and customer relationship software provider Cerillion (CER) reported annualised revenues 6% ahead at £14.8m but the mix of revenues changed with software revenues one-fifth higher. Underlying pre-tax profit edged ahead to £2.3m. The total dividend is 3.9p a share. A $2.8m (£2.4m) contract has been won in the Americas, which is the second phase of an existing contract. Cerillion should be able to achieve a pre-tax profit of £2.7m this year with scope to expand the customer base outside of the mobile sector in the next few years.
TechFinancials (TECH) will receive a $1.02m dividend from its 51%-owned joint venture DragonFinancials. The dividend relates to the nine months to September 2016. This cash inflow should make it more likely that TechFinancials will restart paying its won dividends. TechFinancials had already said that its 2016 profit will be ahead of market expectations. House broker Northland forecasts a 0.42 cents a share dividend for the 2016 financial year and a decision will be made in early 2017. That level of dividend would be more than two times covered by forecast earnings.
Premier African Minerals (PREM) has increased the open pit mineral resource estimate at the RHA tungsten mine in Zimbabwe to 20.9 million tonnes at a grade of 2.34kg/t. The maiden mineral resource estimate for the underground mine is 1.3 million tonnes at a grade of 4.25kg/t. The mine could last 40 years. Premier owns 49% of RHA.
There was an organic sales decline of 7% in the first half at electronic components manufacturer distributor Acal (ACL) but better margins and acquisitions helped earnings per share grow by 10%. Order levels were stronger in the second quarter and this augurs well for the second half.
Bluebird Merchant (BMV) is acquiring 100% of the Batangas gold project, where it previously held a 25% stake. Bluebird is issuing 1.25 million shares and it will pay a 1% royalty in return for taking full control of the project in the Philippines, which has a JORC resource of 445,000 ounces of gold and gold equivalent. The deal also means that Bluebird will have access to $20m of tax losses.
Opera Investments (OPRA)has reassured investors that the plan to acquire the Omweru and Lubando gold projects from Kibo Mining (KIBO) continues to make progress and a fundraising should happen in the New Year. The deal was first announced in September.
Trading in the bonds of Carduus Housing (CHPB/CHP2) has been suspended pending clarification of its financial position. It is noticeable that the suspension announcement is the first not to include managing director Brian Gilmour as the contact name. Instead fellow director Drew Oswald is named at the end of the release. Carduus joined ISDX on 30 September 2015 when £3.5m of 6.5% unsecured bonds were admitted to trading. It has subsequently raised £3.5m from the issue of 6.25% unsecured bonds. The strategy is to invest in affordable housing, with initial investments in Scotland.
Other bond issuers continue to raise cash. Diversified Gas & Oil (DOIL) has raised a further £630,000 from 8.5% unsecured bonds, taking the total to £5.8m. Via Developments (VIA1) has raised an additional £80,000, making a total of £2.64m from eleven placings of 7% debenture stock since joining ISDX. Residential property acquisitions have been made in Manchester and Luton.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) has appointed Jonathan Owen as its new general manager. He starts on 16 May. The shares owned by the estate of Richard Cecil James have been equally distributed to Elizabeth Foster and Patricia Gray, who own 10.1% and 9.3% of the company respectively. There were also 200 shares traded at 800p each on 15 March. At 775p (750p/800p) a share, which values Hydro at £4.7m.
Titiana Internet Ventures (TITP) has failed to secure a renewable energy sector deal and it does not have the cash to maintain its ISDX quotation so shareholders are being asked to vote to terminate this quotation. At 2.5p (2p/3p) a share, Titania is valued at £44,000.
Robotic process software supplier Blue Prism (PRSM) has joined AIM. The business is loss-making but it is profitable in Europe and the costs of building up a base in the US have pushed the group into loss. The software enables automation of manual, rules-based admin processes and it has been available since 2008 and subsequently developed further with customers. Blue Prism raised £10m at 78p a share, while £11.1m was raised by existing shareholders. The share price ended the first day of trading at 110.5p.
Specialist IFA Frenkel Topping (FEN) has gained FCA approval to deal with retail clients and this is the final requirement for the new strategy. This involves taking on the fund management role for assets under management – £666m at the end of 2015. Frenkel has been opening additional offices in order to broaden its coverage of the country and this held back profit last year. Pre-tax profit dipped from £1.57m to £1.42m in 2015. There should be some recovery this year but the real benefits of the strategy should be more obvious in 2017 when profit is expected to be £3.28m. Meanwhile, the dividend has been increased by 25% to 0.8875p a share and there should be further growth in dividends in the coming years.
SIPPs administrator Curtis Banks (CBP) reported an improvement in pre-tax profit from £3.1m to £4m in 2015 as it won new business and got the full benefit from recent acquisitions. Curtis Banks will become the second largest SIPP provider following the acquisition of Suffolk Life from Legal & General for £45m. The enlarged group will have 65,000 SIPPs with assets of £18bn under administration. The deal is still waiting for regulatory approval. There are opportunities for further bolt-on deals.
Standard list shell Opera Investments (OPRA) is still trying to secure the reverse takeover of SoloPower Systems Inc (http://solopower.com/company/) that was originally announced last July. Financing the acquisition of the thin film solar technology developer has proved difficult and the structure of the deal is being changed. SoloPower will raise finance prior to a reversal into Opera, which is required to happen by 15 May or it will not go ahead. There was £1.08m in the bank at the end of June 2015. Opera has already incurred £400,000 of costs relating to the deal but Hudson, the backer of SoloPower, will reimburse £200,000 of these costs by the end of the month.
Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) has paid $32,000 to acquire 100% of 26 unpatented mining claims in Grand County, Utah. Highlands had been assessing oil and gas well logs and thinks there might be a potential uranium discovery in the area. Permits will have to be obtained and then exploration can start a few months later. The seller is Ticaboo Minerals which will have the right to a production royalty of 2% of the gross value of minerals produced from the mining claims. The principal focus of Highlands is still the oil and gas sector.
Asia-focused investment company DKG Capital (DKGP) is acquiring a 30% stake in Hong Kong-based Ronix Resource Co, which provides concierge VIP services for the travel and leisure sector, for £600,000 in cash and shares. Ronix is completing the acquisition of online betting and gaming business Global Media Ltd, which has an agreement with a Malaysian firm for the referral of VIP customers as well as jointly developing an online gaming services. DKG plans to raise £200,000 from a placing early in 2016. At 1.75p (1.5p/2p) a share, DKG is valued at £900,000.
Carduus Housing (CHP2) is acquiring 15 properties for £1.19m and £2.5m of 6.25% bonds 2020 have been admitted to ISDX. The freehold properties being acquired are two/three bedroom homes in southern Glasgow. The first seven properties have been bought and the others will be acquired in January. The homes will be rented out and managed by a housing association.
Investment company Gledhow Investments (GDH) has been hit by the decline in the value of its investments in resources companies. No new investments were made last year. The NAV fell from £626,000 to £497,000, including cash of £247,000, at the end of September 2015. At 0.75p (0.5p/1p) a share, Gledhow is valued at £370,000.
Investment company Lombard Capital (LCAP) has a new major shareholder. Mark Jackson has sold his 28.8% stake in Lombard at 10p a share to David Grierson. That is a large premium to the market price of 6p (5p/7p) a share.
Molecular diagnostics company Premaitha Health (NIPT) has secured a £5m loans and warrants investment from Thermo Fisher. Premaitha’s man product is the IONA test, which is used to screen the foetus to assess if there are any genetic disorders. Thermo Fisher supplies the DNA sequencing instruments used to assess the IONA pre-natal test. European countries are starting to offer reimbursement for the use of the test. The first country is Switzerland. The additional cash will be used to further develop the test. Premaitha had £6.6m in the bank at the end of September 2015. The Thermo Fisher deal provides backing for Premaitha’s IP litigation with Illumina, which could drag on for some time.
Tungsten Corp (TUNG) is selling its bank to concentrate on its trade finance operations. Tungsten will receive £30m for the bank, which is in the books for £25.4m. It could take up to 12 months to complete the disposal. Tungsten remains heavily loss-making and there was £15.9m in the bank at the end of October 2015 – excluding the bank. Even with cost savings, cash could be running low by the time the money comes in for the bank.
Fit-out and projects contractor Styles & Wood (STY) has been retained by TSB as contractor for branch refurbishment after the bank reduced the number of contractors in the framework agreement from five to two. This should generate at least £10m a year for Styles & Wood over the next five years. Group revenues were £97m in 2014. Even though the first half profit was small, house broker Shore forecasts 2015 earnings per share of 29.5p, rising to 37.2p a share in 2016. The balance sheet has been strengthened following a refinancing of Styles’ preference shares earlier this year. Net debt, including preference shares, was £6.42m at the end of June 2015 and cash flow should be strong from now on.
Business information provider Progressive Digital Media Group (PRO) intends to acquire healthcare business information provider GlobalData Holding and sell its non-core print assets to the owners of the GlobalData. An all-share deal is likely to leave the sellers with just over one-third of the enlarged group. Progressive will have three legs: healthcare, consumer and technology. In July, Progressive bought information assets from Informa for £25m.
NWF Group (NWF) says that trading is in line with expectations and net debt continues to be reduced. Lower milk prices continue to hamper the feeds division, while the food distribution division used overflow capacity and the fuels distribution division did better than expected in the summer months – although the warm winter could hold back second half progress. The interims will be published on 2 February.
Online video content revenues generator Rightster (RSTR) is raising £10m at 5p a share – a premium to the market price. The cash will help to finance the restructuring of the business and cover continuing losses. Rightster wants to focus on enterprise customers and create targeted channels to attract certain consumer groupings. Investment in production teams and other specialists will be required. The placing is being backed by Woodford and Invesco. The number of shares in issue will be increased by nearly 60%. Ashley Mackenzie, a founder of one of the companies acquired by the group, took on the role of chief executive in November.
Thor Mining (THR) has agreed to sell its gold assets in Australia to PC Gold for A$3.5m. The deal includes the Spring Hill and Dundas gold projects. There is an initial deposit of A$150,000 with the rest of the first tranche of A$2m to acquire a 60% stake in the projects due early next year, followed by a further A$1.5m within 12 months to acquire the rest. There are also royalty payments of A$6/ounce unless the gold selling price goes above A$1,500/ounce when the payment goes up to A$14/ounce. The initial cash will pay off A$1.2m loan taken out to acquire the rest of Spring Hill. The rest of the cash will be invested in the company’s tungsten projects in Australia and the US.
Sunrise Resources (SRES) has signed a 25 year lease agreement with EP Minerals for its County Line diatomite project in Nevada. Sunrise will not have to spend any more of its own money developing the project. This project could be up and running and generating a royalty stream for Sunrise within 18 months. There is an initial payment of $450,000 in 18 months and then minimum royalty payments each year. Sunrise has acquired a second industrial minerals project in Nevada. The Pozz Ash project could be a source of natural pozzolan, which is an alternative additive to cement.
Standard list company General Industries (GNI) is paying £1.2m for Murja from founders Richard Murphy and Christopher Jack. Murja is a treasury management consultancy and the deal has been passed by the FCA. When the acquisition is completed Richard Murphy will become an executive director. General Industries has already acquired affordable housing adviser Altair Consultancy & Advisory Services and this should provide additional client for Murja. An interim dividend of 0.22p a share is being paid on 21 December.
Standard list shell Opera Investments (OPRA) continues to try and raise cash to enable it to complete the acquisition of SoloPower Systems but it is taking longer than expected. The original announcement of heads of terms was on 20 July and trading in the shares was suspended. US-based SoloPower manufactures solar photovoltaic cells and modules from thin-film copper, indium, gallium and selenium materials and its current owner is Hudson Clean Energy Partners. SoloPower believes that its thin film solar products are cheaper to produce and install than those of its competitors. The deal is valued at $220m based on an all share acquisition at 28p a share. The plan is to raise at least $40m. An initial £1.06m net was raised at 10p a share last April. Because Opera is not on AIM there is no limit on the time that the shares can be suspended.