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Results from IFA group AFH Financial (AFHP) indicate the success of the acquisition policy. In the year to October 2019, underlying pre-tax profit improved from £10.3m to £17m and earnings per share rose by more than two-fifths. The dividend was one-third higher at 8p a share. Assets under management were £6.2bn. AFH plans to grow to annual revenues of £140m and assets under management of £10bn in five years. Cash generated from operations was held back by the protection division predominantly generating non-indemnity business, where the payment is spread over the term of the package. Non-indemnity business will reduce in order to have a higher proportion of revenues that gets paid upfront. Cash generation will improve, and this will mainly go on deferred consideration.
Corporate adviser First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £220,000 at 27p a share in order to provide working capital for the business. That was a small discount to the market price the day before the placing was announced, but the price fell to 19p/22p on the day. On the day, there were 25,000 shares traded at 20p each and 186,370 shares traded at 20.09p each.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has appointed New York-based Ortoli Rosenstadt as the law firm to help it with a potential ADR listing in the US.
Broadband-focused shell SAPO (SAPO) has announced the death of its executive chairman Michael Meyer, who was the founder of Emess Lighting. He and his wife own 43.4% of SAPO. Michael Langoulant is the only remaining director of SAPO.
Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has placed an additional €90,000 of 7% July 2022 bonds, which are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. A total of €3.64m of bonds have been issued, which is 73% of the total that can be issued.
BWA Group (BWAP) has issued 3.26 million shares at 0.5p each to settle directors’ fees for the fourth quarter of 2019. The current share price is 0.2p/0.4p. Richard Battersby’s stake is 16%, Alex Borelli holds 9.48% and James Butterfield owns 15.8%.
Juliet Adelstein will become chief executive of Ganapati (GANP) on 1 February. She previously worked at Japanese advertising agency Dentsu. Hiroki Hasegawa and Toshitaka Nakajima are stepping down as chief executive and finance director respectively.
Via Developments (VIA1) 7% debenture stock 2020 has been withdrawn from MEX. Trading was suspended on 21 October 2019 because of a delay in appointing an independent non-executive director.
Former NEX-quoted company MESH Holdings still plans to acquire AI business Sentiance and Mike Power has taken over as chairman. MESH has also appointed two new directors. Corporate finance professional Lindsay Mair and Ireland-based former broker Rory O’Sullivan.
Last year was a tough one for agriculture and feed products supplier Wynnstay (WYN) and pre-tax profit fell from £9.5m to £7.9m, but the dividend was still raised. Profit is expected to be flat this year. There was net cash of £3.8m at the end of the year, as lower commodity prices reduced working capital requirements, but there will be £7m of lease liabilities included as debt in the next balance sheet. Seasonality means that there will be a net debt figure at the interim stage and the leases mean it will be much higher than it would have been. Net cash could still be £6m by the end of next October.
Concrete levelling equipment Somero Enterprises (SOM) had a better than expected fourth quarter and this led to an upgraded 2019 earnings forecast from 33.7 cents a share to 36.5 cents a share. That is still lower than 2018 and a further dip is expected in 2020 due to higher marketing spend. The expected total dividend for 2019 is 24.6 cents a share.
United Oil and Gas (UOG) says that the ASH-2 well that is part of the interests being acquired in Egypt has been producing more than 3,000 barrels of oil per day since the beginning of the year. United’s share is 660 barrels of oil per day. The acquisition of the Egypt interest from Rockhopper Exploration (RKH) will not be completed until February.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) says a general meeting requisition is valid and it will announce a date for the meeting by next week. Eridge Capital wants to remove Matt Lofgran from the board and replace him with Andrew Morrison.
Regenerative medical products developer Tissue Regenix (TRX) says that revenues grew 12% last year, but the cash will not last much longer. There was £2.4m at the end of 2019 and this will last until the end of April. More funding will be required before then.
Peel Hunt has halved its dividend forecast for construction services provider Van Elle (VANL) to 1p a share, although it has maintained its 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast at £4m. The interim dividend was cut by four-fifths to 0.2p a share. A sharp drop in interim profit means that two-thirds of the forecast needs to be made in the second half. Net debt was £10.4m at the end of October 2019.
IPTV technology company Mirada (MIRA) has completed the cancelation of the share premium account.
Gear4Music (G4M) had strong Christmas trading and gross margins improved. Revenues grew by 7% to the end of 2019 and gross profit was 18% ahead. Earnings of 3.9p a share are forecast for the 2019-20 financial year.
Agronomics (ANIC) has raised a further £5.5m at 7p a share. That is a one-third discount to the market price. At the end of last year £7.7m was raised at 5.5p a share. Agronomics has invested some of the cash it previously raised in cultivated meat businesses developing meat and fish that is produced without animals, but It will have £9.9m in the bank after the cash raising.
Cyber security software provider Kape Technologies (KAPE) generated slightly better 2019 margins than anticipated. EBITDA grew by 40% to $14.5m in 2019 and it will more than double this year.
Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) believes that the best possible outcome was achieved from the initial production tests of the Cascadura well in Trinidad, which appears to have oil and associated gas. The Coho-1 well should be in production by June.
Trinidad-based oil and gas producer Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN) increased production by 5% in 2019 and exited the year with daily production of 3,400 barrels. The current forecast for 2020 is 3,260 barrels per day. There was cash of $13.8m at the end of 2019.
Fuel cells developer Proton Motor Power Systems (PPS) has received a €400,00 order from E-Trucks Europe for fuel cells for refuse collection trucks. They will be delivered by the end of 2020.
Standard list shell Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) still intends to acquire medicinal cannabis company Kanabo Research but there are still conditions to be satisfied. The deal was announced 11 months ago.
Contango Holdings (CGO) is another cash shell and it has been in the process of acquiring the Lubu coal project since April. A £1.4m placing at 5p a share puts Contango in a position to publish a circular for the acquisition.
Tex Holdings (TXH) says it has a record order book. It is responding to matters raised by the FCA and trading in the shares remains suspended. Trading was suspended nine months ago and it has reported its late annual figures, although there still appear to be doubts about the financial state of the company. The overdraft has been repaid.
Peel Hunt forecasts a dip in Shepherd Neame (SHEP) pre-tax profit from £11.8m to £11.2m in the year to June 2019. The broker still expects the total dividend to be increased from 29.2p a share to 30p a share.
Etaireia Investments (ETIP) has suspended Ian Fellman as a non-executive director pending investigation into certain matters. The mortgagee of two units at Whitehouse Business park in Peterlee has enforced security and sold the properties and these have been written off the Etaireia balance sheet. David Barnett, who owns 37.8% of the company, has requisitioned a general meeting in order to have himself appointed to the board.
European Lithium (EUR) expects to commence drilling in the second quarter in order to convert the resource in zone one of the Wolfsburg lithium project into measured and indicated categories. The company is part of a syndicate applying for grant funding for building up battery production in Germany. Lithium hydroxide is expected to continue to rise in price until 2022 and then fall back. European Lithium is in talks with lithium battery plant operators in Europe about an offtake agreement. The company had £3.3m of cash and financial assets at the end of 2018, as well as a convertible note of £2.56m, with more available to draw down. There was a cash outflow of £2.6m in the six month period. European Lithium is also ASX-listed and is considering a listing in Vienna.
Sandal (SAND) has decided to leave the NEX Exchange growth market after four years. Management says that share trading is limited, and the company has not been able to raise the cash it wanted to. They believe it would be easier to raise funds as an unquoted company. The company already has the backing of enough shareholders to make a general meeting pointless. The last day of trading is 10 April.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) has already made a significant gain on its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) after the miner announced a $65m farm-in agreement with Newcrest for the Havieron gold copper project in Western Australia. Newcrest, which will ear up to 70% of the project, also has first right of refusal over the rest of the Paterson project area. The Greatland stake cost 1.71p a share. Even after some profit-taking, the Greatland share price is 2p, which represents a gain of more than £100,000 on the Primorus investment. Primorus has invested £875,000 in WeShop Ltd and has a 3.5% stake worth more than £1m. WeShop has developed new branding for its platform, added to its product range and enhanced the management team. The number of WeShop retailers has trebled to more than 9,000. The technology provides access to more than 20,000 merchants around the world. Vela Technologies (VELA) has a 1.42% stake in WeShop, which cost £100,000 and is valued at £427,000. Two Shields Investments (TSI) invested at a later date and has a 1.2% stake valued at £350,000.
Barkby Group (BARK) made a small interim loss on revenues of £1.82m. The three gastropubs operated by the company were profitable before central overheads and exceptionals. There was £37,000 in the bank at the end of 2018 and a VAT refund is expected. This period is before the acquisition of Centurian Automotive, which was acquired for shares.
Gunsynd (GUN) has sold its stake in UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) at 1.405p a share. The 31.17 million shares raised £438,000. Gunsynd had net assets of £2.18m at the end of January 2019, including £543,000 in cash. The flotation of FastBase Inc has been delayed and Gunsynd is no longer advising the company. Human Brands International Inc, where Gunsynd has a £300,000 convertibles investment, is on course for a standard listing.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has incorporated a subsidiary in Gibraltar and it is applying for a business licence.
Ganapati (GANP) says that its subsidiary GanaEight Coin Ltd, which is developing and operating a blockchain-based online casino platform, has launched a virtual token private pre-sale of its initial virtual financial asset offering.
Gavin Burnell has bought 5.83 million shares in Hot Rocks Investments (HRIP) and that takes his stake to 22.3%. His fellow director Charles Vaughan bought 750,000 shares, taking his shareholding to 1.67%. Non-executive chairman Brian Rowbotham bought the same number of shares, taking his stake to 3.09%. The shares were all acquired at 0.136p each.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has commenced gold mining under the joint venture agreement with VAST Mineral Sands in Australia, where it has a 50% economic interest. Tectonic has provided the initial funding. Tectonic is considering moving to the standard list.
First Sentinel (FSEN) has taken a 3.48% stake in standard listed coal bed methane company Curzon Energy (CZN). Brian Kinane has resigned as a director of Curzon.
Driver Group (DRV) disappointed the market with a warning because of delayed expert witness contracts in the first half. The construction consultancy services provider has not made the expected progress in the Middle East and south east Asia and full year underlying pre-tax profit will be slightly lower than the £3.5m originally forecast. There is a strong pipeline of potential business, but this has to be secured in order to reassure investors about the full year outcome. There is still £5.1m in the bank. Driver will spend up to £500,000 buying back shares and it has already spent £124,000 at 55p a share. The directors have also been buying shares.
Bowmark Capital has increased its bid for Tax Systems (TAX) from 110p a share to 115p a share, valuing the company at £102.3m. The subsequent general meeting voted in favour of the scheme of arrangement.
Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) increased its revenues from £4.12m to £5.38m, while the loss was cut by two-thirds to £1m. The loss should be much lower in 2019 and cash should be generated so that net cash exceeds £1m. Demand for cyber security continues to grow and the consulting division is getting business from existing and new clients. This is also feeding through to additional managed services business.
Marshall Motor (MMH) managed to edge up its underlying pre-tax profit to £25.7m even though trading conditions remain tough for car dealers. There was a strong last quarter for the used cars division. A small dip in profit to £24.1m is expected for 2019.
Franchise Brands (FRAN) had a full 12-month contribution from the Metro Rod business acquired in 2017, although the full benefits of the restructuring of the business and IT investment are still to come through. These changes should help to generate organic growth this year. Allenby forecasts a rise in pre-tax profit from £2.9m to £3.5m in 2019. The group is in a position to seek more acquisitions, particularly ones that add to the services provided by Metro Rod.
Microsaic Systems (MSYS) grew its full year revenues by 69% to £578,000 and gross margin improved. The protein identification product ProteinID will be launched later this month. There was still £5.4m in the bank at the end of 2018. This is enough to cover the expected cash requirements.
Standard list shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) has appointed James Brotherton as finance director. He was previously finance director at Tyman, where he was involved in acquisitions, and he earned £568,000 in 2017. Fully listed Tyman, which was previously on AIM, made an underlying pre-tax profit of £72.7m in 2018. The acquisition Safe Harbour is seeking will be in distribution and business services. WSP founder Chris Cole was recently appointed as independent non-executive director. There was £28.1m in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Immupharma (IMM) is seeking partners for its lupus treatment Lupuzor and is also seeking to commence a managed access programme in Europe for the treatment. An extension study from the original phase III trial has commenced.
RedT Energy (RED) is raising up to £3.2m via a placing and open offer at 2p a share, ahead of a strategic review to decide how to finance the business. Last October, the energy storage equipment developer raised £5.03m at 7p a share. The company could generate $1m from the sale of its US business and costs are being cut. The plan is to cut the monthly cash costs to less than £500,000. Discussions continue with strategic partners.
SimplyBiz Group (SBIZ) has signed a five-year contract with insurer Aviva, which will use the company’s Zest employee benefits technology platform to deliver a new benefits product for smaller clients. This follows a three-year contract with Taylor Wimpey, which will use Zest to deliver employee benefits to its 5,000 plus employees.
Concepta (CPT) is supplying its myLotus fertility test to Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Proton Power Systems (PPS) has signed a letter of intent with Skoda for the development of fuel cell electric buses using Proton’s HyRange systems. The plan is to build 10 buses by the first quarter of 2020.
i3 Energy (I3E) has raised £16m via a placing at 16p a share, although it is partly dependent on shareholder approval for the issue of additional shares. Existing shareholders are being given the opportunity to subscribe up to £2m through an open offer. Along with a £24m loan, the cash will fund the drilling of three wells. Two will be on the Liberator oil field and the other will be on the Serenity prospect.
Paragon Entertainment Ltd (PEL) has raised £150,000 at 0.8p a share, which was a 23% discount to the market price. Management and an existing shareholder bought the shares.
Urals Energy (UEN) failed to replace Allenby as nominated adviser and the quotation has been cancelled.
Mereo BioPharma (MPH) expects its merger with OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc to close in the second quarter of 2019.
Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) achieved crude oil sales of 1,994 barrels per day in January and 2,179 barrels per day in February. The realised prices were $52/barrel and $56.84/barrel for each month respectively. Current estimated production is 2,358 barrels per day.
Quarto Group (QRT) reported a 51% recovery in underlying 2018 pre-tax profit to $5.9m, although the publisher’s revenues were slightly lower. The best performance was in children’s publishing. Net debt fell by 6% to $60.4m.
Local Shopping REIT (LSR) has responded to the bid by Thalassa (THAL) and it continues to find it opportunistic. The company is committed to returning cash to shareholders and it argues that they will get more cash than the £9m on offer as part of the cash and shares bid. The offer is 14.64p in cash and 0.26 of a Thalassa share for each Local Shopping REIT share.
Path Investments (PATH) has withdrawn from the proposed transaction with ARC Marlborough after due diligence. The plan was to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland.
European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has converted more of its bonds into shares in WideCells Group (WDC) having sold most of the recently converted shares. A further 115 million shares have been issued in return for £115,000 of bonds and a penalty payment of £172,500.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) has submitted an application for a permit to develop the Kochang Mine in South Korea. The application for the Gubong mine should get a response by 23 March.
Bruce Pubs (PUB) has raised £100,000 from an issue of 7.2% bonds and trading has commenced on NEX. The pubs operator wants to raise up to £20m. The cash will be used to acquire pubs in Scotland. Bruce owns 18 licenced premises with another licence pending. Bruce Pubs is a subsidiary of the holding company Bruce Group, which had net assets of £3.8m at the end of June 2018.
Sativa Investments (SATI) is investigating ways of raising cash to finance the company’s glasshouse and working capital for the first cannabis crop. There are also talks with vets about using medicinal cannabis in animal health. Sativa is pleased with the platform that NEX has given the business. Imperial X (IMPP) is the latest NEX company to change its investing strategy to cannabis investments.
Trading in the shares of Clean Invest Africa (CIA) following news that it has negotiated an agreement to acquire the 97.5% of CoalTech LLC it does not own. The company has technology that can convert waste coal into coal pellets for industrial and commercial use. A circular will be sent to shareholders in the first quarter of 2019.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) has increased its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) to 35 million shares, which is equivalent to 1.09%. The average cost is 1.71p a share. The investment has been made ahead of further drilling results at the Havieron gold/copper project in Australia.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) reported a NAV of 189.95p a share for the end of 2018.
President Energy (PPC) beat its production target for the end of 2018. The Argentina-focused oil and gas company was producing 3,300 boepd by the year end, which is 10% above the target. The latest drilling programme of three wells has been a 100% success. President intends to build on this base during 2019. The next reserves audit should be published in March. There should be a significant jump in profit in 2019. Panmure Gordon forecasts a 2019 pre-tax profit of $18.6m. The cash generated will help to finance forecast capital investment of around $40m during the year. The target price is 15p a share.
Gateley (GTLY) continues to trade strongly with organic growth supplemented by contributions from acquisitions. The legal services provider increased interim revenues by one-fifth to £46.4m, while pre-tax profit rose from £4.2m to £5m. Net debt increased from £7.1m to £8.2m after acquisitions spending and dividend payments. The second half tends to be more cash generative. More business is coming from litigation work but management is confident that its revenue recognition policies mean that the strong cash generation will not be hit.
Castleton Technology (CTP) is paying £1.8m for Deeplake Digital, which provides digital communications services between landlords and tenants. Thirty of its 90 customers are new to Castleton.
ATTRAQT (ATQT) is expecting to make a small EBITDA figure for 2018. The online shopping performance enhancement services provider will report its 2018 results on 14 February.
More woe for Footasylum (FOOT) as gross margins come under pressure. Revenues were in line with expectations over Christmas but less money was made from them as old stock was discounted. The 2018-19 loss forecast has been edged up to more than £5m.
Higher input costs mean that Accrol Group (ACRL) will not do as well as expected and it will make a significant 2018-19 loss after exceptional charges.
Packaging machinery supplier Mpac Group (MPAC) says 2018 trading was in line with expectations and the year has started with a strong order book. The company is assessing the potential additional cost of pension equalisation for its defined benefit scheme.
Bowleven (BLVN) is paying a 15p a share special dividend on 8 February. This will leave the oil and gas explorer with the cash it requires for its exploration programme.
Wealth manager Mattioli Woods (MTW) says that its interim EBITDA margin was substantially ahead of the 20% target. Gross discretionary assets under management were £2.4bn at the end of November 2018.
Churchill China (CHH) had a strong finish to the financial year with a better second half performance in the UK. The 2018 profit will be higher than expected. The figures will be published on 27 March.
Shoe Zone (SHOE) stands out amongst its peers because it has had strong 2017-18 figures and a good Christmas. Last year’s pre-tax profit improved from £9.5m to £11.3m. Forecasts have been upgraded with 2018-19 earnings per share increased from 16.4p a share to 17.6p a share based on flat profit and a higher tax charge.
Quiz (QUIZ) sales continue to decline, albeit at a slightly lower rate of 5% like-for-like. The fashion retailer had to discount and gross margins were two percentage points lower. Overheads are also too high because of the lack of growth. The full year profit forecast has been cut from £6m to £4.4m.
A North African order for the Helios product supplied by Starcom (STAR) has been delayed until 2019 so 2018 revenues will be lower than expected. The total order value is $1.1m and the majority was expected to be recognised in 2018. Even so, revenues were better than expected, but the loss will be higher.
A general meeting has been requisitioned at Angus Energy (ANGS) by shareholders owning 6.2% of the company. It is believed that former chairman Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius is behind this requisition, which involves the proposed removal of Paul Vonk from the board and the appointment of the Earl of Lucan and George Bingham. Non-exec Rob Shepherd has resigned. Angus has entered into a 24 month, £3m loan facility with YA II PN Ltd and Riverfort Global Capital in order to finance the development of the Balcombe field in the Weald basin. A £1.5m drawdown is planned immediately.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has acquired additional acreage in the Paradox Basin in Utah at a cost of $35,000. Rose believes that the new acreage could have an NPV10 of around $12m. The deal follows the results of the Schlumberger study which suggests that the site of a proposed well in the area should be in an optimal position.
Diurnal Group (DNL) has been granted a second patent for hydrocortisone treatment Chronocourt, which already has orphan drug designation. The patent lasts until 2033.
A £2m subscription and $5m investment into an internal finance note by 1795 Volantis Fund will provide Obtala Ltd (OBT) with additional funds. 1795 Volantis Fund will own 12.9% of Obtala, as well as 40 million warrants exercisable at 10p each. The disposal of a Tanzanian agricultural business will bring in a further $2.5m. Obtala intends to acquire the 25% it does not own in Montara Continental for $5m, which will be reinvested in the internal finance note.
Fuel cell developer Proton Power Systems (PPS) will own 33.33% of Hamburg-based Clean Logistics, which is being set up to build heavy trucks powered by fuel cell hybrid systems in the range of 75kw-150kw. The other two equal shareholders are Hopen, which has interests in battery and electric vehicle developers, and modular transport service provider Hary.
Sopheon (SPE) had a strong end to 2018. The software provider will provide more details in its trading statement later this month, when finnCap says it will reassess its forecasts.
Dekeloil (DKL) says that fourth quarter volumes were in line with expectations with a 2% increase in crude palm oil production on the third quarter. The annual production was 15% lower because of the weak first half. Selling prices have been at a premium to the market price. The purchase of a 43.8% stake in the Tiebissou cashew processing project has been completed.
Imaginatik (IMTK) has decided to sell its software business and assets to Planbox. The initial cash payment is $1.7m and up to $800,000 more could become payable. If it is all paid then the selling price would be higher than the book value of the assets. Imaginatik will become a shell with around £1m in cash left from the initial payment. If the disposal is approved by sharehodlers the company will change its name to Abal Group.
Telematics firm Quartix (QTX) continues to grow fleet sales but lower insurance sales are partly offsetting that growth. A supplementary dividend will be announced with the final dividend when the 2018 figures are published on 25 February.
Brighton Pier Group (PIER) says problems with the railways are hampering the income generation of Brighton Pier and earning shave been lower. The trading of the bars division was flat last year. Pre-tax profit will be around £3.2m, which is 18% lower than previous expectations.
Frontier IP (FIPP) says that its investee company Exscientia has raised $26m and is collaborating with Roche in a deal worth up to CHF67m. Frontier IP owns 3.32% of artificial intelligence-driven drug developer Exscientia.
InnovaDerma (IDP) has revealed a 6% dip in first half revenues to £3.9m, even though retail sales grew strongly. Direct sales fell, although there are indications that they are recovering. The cosmetic products supplier will have to do well in the second half to achieve full year forecast revenues of £14.4m.
Trident Resources (TRR) has £1.85m in the bank at the end of October. The shell raised £4m when it floated in October. The balance sheet includes trade receivables of £2.1m, although management says that it started the year with just under £4m in cash. Potential acquisitions are being assessed.