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New Apex segment entry Samarkand (SMK) has got off to a strong start. At one point, shares were changing hands at 142p, against the placing price of 115p, but they ended the week at 123.5p (120p/127p). There was £15.4m raised after expenses. The company has developed e-commerce software technology known as Nomad. There are a number of modules and these can be used by clients to sell their products in China. There are 105 special cross-border e-commerce zones in China. This market is expected to reach £138bn in 2021. Samarkand also sells its own brands in China and some of the money raised will be used to buy other brands.
Incanthera (INC) has raised £1.14m at 12p a share. This will provide enough cash until the middle of 2022. There are discussions ongoing with two potential partners for the Sol skin cancer prevention product.
Imperial X (IMPP) has announced its intention to gain a standard listing and raise up to £1.5m. The company will change its name to Cloudbreak Discovery.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has secured a £40m investment from Equitix Investment Management. In return the freehold of the South Wales centre will be transferred and there will be other security. There will be an initial investment of £25m with the rest paid in three equal instalments. The cash will be used for investing in infrastructure. The current debt of £18.6m will be repaid.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) generated flat operating income of £72.5m, while there was a £1.1m loss. Management is optimistic about a strong rebound if the government continues with its current roadmap out of lockdown. There is a growing demand for lending.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) had NAV of 57.97p a share at the end of February 2021. That is before the sale of the investment in Anthesis for £1.15m. That leaves the company with £2.64m in cash.
In the first 18 days of March Bin 1301, a bar in Washington DC where Rogue Baron (SHNJ) has a stake, generated sales of $35,330, nearly double the same time the previous year. That is despite Covid restrictions.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) has appointed A and S International as a distributor of lubrication and bioremediation products.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) had an NAV of 437.63p a share at the end of January 2021, which was a 38% increase on the year before thanks to the strong performance of the Luceco (LUCE) share price. EPE is considering raising more cash through a loan note issue. That would provide further cash for investment.
Altona Rare Earths (ANR) has secured a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of a rare earths mining project in Mozambique. The plaln is to buy 70% of the Monte Muambe rare earths project, via an earn-in.
First Sentinel has resigned as corporate adviser to Block Commodities (BLCC) after less than one month in the position. Block has entered into an option in partnership with Century Cobalt Corporation to acquire two million seeds, which can be used to produce medicinal grade cannabis. Block would have to issue more than 142.8 million shares at 0.07p each if the option is taken up.
Chris Akers has increased his stake in Quetzal Capital (WENP) from 15.2% to 17.2%.
Upper Thames Holdings has changed its name to Valereum Blockchain (VLRM).
S-Ventures (SVEN) has applied for an OTCQB quotation in the US.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) says that Chronocourt, also known as Efmody could gain approval in the EU by the summer and that could enable a commercial launch in some European markets in the third quarter. Chronocourt/Efmody is a modified release hydrocortisone used to treat adult and adolescent patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which is caused by a block in cortisol production. Potential sales are greater than for Alkindi, which is aimed at children.
A potential management buyout for Cambria Automobiles (LON: CAMB) at 80p a share would value the motor dealer at £80m. This is a premium of more than one-fifth to the previous market price.
Digital healthcare company Cambridge Cognition (COG) substantially reduced its loss in 2020 and is on course to move into profit this year. Revenues increased and expenses were reduced. There is a strong order book. There was £3m in the bank at the end of 2020. Voice-based service NeuroVocalix is set to be launched this year.
Cyber security firm ECSC (ECSC) grew recurring revenues by 22% to £2.4m last year. Even so, total revenues fell 4% to £5.7m due to a tough second quarter. The loss fell from £639,000 to £153,000. Net cash is £1.1m. There has been a good start to the new year with a clutch of contract wins.
STM Group (STM) has sold its trust and company services business for £2.45m plus net assets at completion of around £570,000. This has been non-core for some time. This will reduce short-term earnings – although there could be some cost savings – but the company can focus on pension administration and life assurance.
Judges Scientific (JDG) continued its record of increasing the ongoing dividend with a 10% increase to 55p a share. Pre-tax profit fell from £17m to £13.7m in 2020 and it could recover to £16m this year.
MJ Hudson (MJH) managed organic revenue growth of 3.6% in the first half, even though there was a lack of new fund launches. Cross-selling is paying off. The North American operations are more significant following recent acquisitions. Further acquisitions will help to increase the scale of the business.
Chariot Oil and Gas (CHAR) is acquiring AEMP, an African renewable energy developer, for up to $2m. There are discussions with mine operators that require 500MW of electricity.
Foams manufacturer Zotefoams (ZTF) almost maintained its pre-tax profit last year thanks to strong sales to the footwear sector. Revenues were 2% ahead at £82.7m, but pre-tax profit was 5% lower at £8.3m. The final dividend is 4.27p a share. The new factory in Poland has started production and capital investment should be lower this year. Net debt was £35.6m at the end of 2020 and this figure should fall this year. This year pre-tax profit should improve to £9.3m.
LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LSE: LUCE) more than doubled 2020 pre-tax profit from £15.8m to £34m, even though revenues barely increased. Margins improved significantly, but there is still potential to improve LED operating margins. A strong second half offset the more difficult first half. The dividend is 6.2p a share. Net debt has fallen to £18.3m.
Oxilio has decided to exercise its option with drug developer Nuformix (NFX) to licence NXP001 for oncology indications. A licence agreement is being worked on. Once completed it will trigger a second upfront payment. Future royalties for any commercial treatments are capped at £2m a year.
Books publisher Quarto Group Inc (QRT) reported a dip in revenues from $135.8m to $126.9m, while adjusted pre-tax profit improved from $5.1m to $7.9m. Capitalised development costs were reduced from $23.8m to $20.3m, although the amortisation charge was higher at $28.6m. Strong cash flow combined with a share issue helped reduce net debt from $50.5m to $19.7m.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) is moving into the flexible power sector. A 50%-owned joint venture called HKSB will develop two 11KV gas peaking facilities that will produce 10MW for a total cost of £6.25m. The plan is to secure 15-year, CPI-linked contracts for each site.
Residential property developer One Heritage Group (OHG) had net assets of 9.25p a share at the end of 2020. There was an interim loss.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that it is confident that it has the resources to trade through the current economic difficulties. Significant losses are expected this year and into next year. There was £1.27m in the bank at the end of 2019. Net assets were £50.9m. Newbury increased revenues by 3% to £19.8m in 2019, while underlying pre-tax profit fell by two-thirds to £490,000.
Blockchain technology and tokens investor KR1 (KR1) reported realised gains of £694,000 in 2019, while staking yields and advisory fees generated £422.000 in income. There was also a net unrealised gain on all investments of nearly £1m. Reported pre-tax profit was £1.36m, compared with a large loss the previous year because of a significant unrealised loss. NAV was £7.47m at the end of 2019.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) is raising a further £447,500 at 7p a share. This also helps to extend the shareholder register. The cash will finance the reopening of the Beaconsfield gold mine.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that the capex on the Yangibana rare earths project, where Cadence has a 30% interest, will be reduced by A$68m (13% of the total) due to the relocation of the processing plant.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has secured a contract to produce 10,000 tonnes of ilmenite pellets from tailings sludge. This will increase the effectiveness of the ilmenite and get rid of the sludge. This indicates that there is a broader market for the pelleting technology than just coal.
Eight Capital Partners (ECP) is restructuring its investment in Financial Innovations Team because of a disappointing performance. The investment will be unwound, and the funds invested should be recovered. The stake has been returned to the vendors and a vendor loan has been cancelled and Eight Capital bonds returned. That totals €750,000 out of the aggregate consideration of €1.2m, with a further €100,000 to come. A £1 payment has secured an option to take a 60% stake Innovative Finance.
Incanthera (INC) has filed a new patent for its Sol skin cancer technology. This should extend the life of the Sol patents to 2041.
European Lithium Ltd (EUR) has received the A$1m balance of the $10m finance facility with Winance Investment.
Floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) traded strongly in June following a tough three months. There was limited impact on the figures for the year to March 2020 with revenues of £621.5m and like-for-like growth of 0.4%. Higher interest charges held back pre-tax profit to £50.7m. Net debt was £365.9m, with most debt in the form of quoted bonds. There is £174.7m of cash in the balance sheet. This could be used to finance further acquisitions. Pre-tax profit is forecast to decline to £27m this year before improving to £54m next year. The outcomes will depend on the strength and consistency of the recovery.
Peter Gyllenhammar continues to build up his stake in Brand Architekts (BAR) and it has reached 6.1%. He owned less than 3% just over a fortnight ago. This follows the reduction in the stake held by Gresham House Strategic (GHS) to below 3%.
Fortiana Holdings has launched a recommended 300p a share bid for Highland Gold Mining (HGM) and that values the gold miner at £1.09bn. The Highland share price has not hit 300p since 2006.
At the end of March 2020, the NAV of Wynnstay Properties (WSP) was 792p a share. In the first quarter, 100% of rents were received.
Harwood Capital is offering 37.5p a share for property manager HML Holdings (HMLH) and this valued it at £19m.
Goldplat (GDP) says its gold recovery processing operations in South Africa and Ghana have increased profitability in the year to June 2020. South Africa more than doubled its profit contribution and Ghana moved from loss to profit. The higher gold price has offset shutdown periods. here was £3.2m in the bank at the end of June 2020. The loss-making Kilmapesa mine is being sold for an initial payment of $1.5m plus up to $1.5m via a 1% net smelter royalty. An unnamed UK listed company plans to make the acquisition if it raises at least $4m and gains shareholder approval.
Gemfields (GEM) reduced cash operating spending to below $5m in June and that left net cash of $9.3m. There is uncertainty about whether gemstone auctions will be held. If not, more cash is likely to be needed
Coro Energy (CORO) is not going ahead with the disposal of its Italian oil and gas assets Zenith Energy (ZEN) because regulatory approval has not been received.
Shareholders of cash shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) have voted to wind up the company, although one-fifth of the votes were against the resolution. A 74p a share distribution will be made by the end of September and a final distribution is planned by next July.
Tex Holdings (TXH) says it needs additional working capital and is talking to its major shareholder. The plastics division is trading at 70% of expected levels, while engineering is having a difficult year, although orders improved in June. Other parts of the business are suffering delays in orders.
Books publisher Quarto (QRT) reported a slump in revenues from $56.4m to $46.9m, although the underlying loss dipped from $3.7m to $3.3m due to lower interest charges. Cash generated from operating activities was $8.38m. Pre-publication costs fell from $11.9m to $10.3m. Net debt was $36.6m at the end of June 2020.
Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) says that it believes that the UK review of regulatory requirements for cannabis-related companies is near completion. When this happens Spinnaker should be able to complete the acquisition of Kanabo Research.
A gain on a disposal of an investment by Sure Valley Ventures has helped Sure Ventures (SURE) to increase its NAV to 92.6p a share.
AQSE and AIM-quoted Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) improved its underlying pre-tax profit from £4.4m to £5.8m in 2019, while the second interim dividend is 5% higher at 21p a share. This does not have to be agreed at an AGM. NAV rose from 1283p a share to 1364p a share. The total capital ratio has edged up from 17.2% to 17.3%.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its insurers stipulated that COVID-19 was excluded from the insurance for the abandonment of race meetings. There will be a significant loss of revenues even if horse racing remains suspended until the end of April. Events, the hotel and the nursery will also be hit. There are bank facilities that should be enough to cover needs for the foreseeable future and the company is talking with its lenders. Management still expects David Wilson Homes to make a further payment of £10.9m for the development sites it has acquired.
Employee-owned businesses investor Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) believes that the value of its investments has declined by up to 15% since the end of February. NAV will have fallen from 50.17p a share to a range of 42.6p a share to 45.1p a share. That offsets the increase in the previous six months.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) is cancelling its interim dividend of 14p a share. The hotel has been temporarily closed.
KR1 (KR1) has invested $65,000 in the Acala Network project and will receive 866,666.67 tokens at 7.5 cents each. Acala will offer a stablecoin that can be transferred across different blockchains and collateralised with digital assets.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that its 4.1%-owned investee company Macarthur Minerals is seeking a partner for its Lake Giles iron ore project in Western Australia. Another investee company, 16.7%-owned AIM-quoted European Metals Holdings (EMH), has secured a strategic investment by CEZ in the Cinovec project. CEZ will subscribe for a 51% stake in the company that owns the project, subject to EMH shareholder approval. The price payable has been reduced from €34.1m to €29.1m.
AFH Financial (AFHP) non-executive director has invested nearly £25,000 in the IFA at 198p a share.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that subsidiary Coal Agglomeration South Africa has stopped activities until 16 April, which is in line with the government lockdown.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) has cash of £26.4m and it could defer the July repayment of £2m of its £3.9m convertible loans, so it is in a strong position to cope with the effects of COVID-19.
Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has suspended mining in Rwanda because of COVID-19. This will be for an initial two weeks. Planning for continues exploration will continue.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has employed consultants to prepare a mine reopening due diligence study on the Beaconsfield gold mine.
TechFinancials (TECH) is exercising its option to acquire shares in Cedex Holdings and the resulting stake will be 97.3% or 90.8% fully diluted. The company will consider disposing of the stake.
World High Life (LIFE) is holding a general meeting on 14 April in order to gain shareholder approval for each existing share to be sub-divided into ten new shares.
First Sentinel (FSEN) has issued a further £245,000 of bonds. This takes the total value of bonds in issue to £1.23m. Trading in First Sentinel 7% bonds, February 2023, First Sentinel preference shares and EPE Special Opportunities 7.5% unsecured loan stock, 2022 has started again after the market maker resumed activities.
Novacyt (NCYT) has signed a contract manufacturing deal with Yourgene Health (YGEN) for its COVID-19 test. The initial plan is for Yourgene to manufacture critical components. A global distribution agreement for the COVID-19 test has been secured with Bruker-Hain Diagnostics for use on its instruments. The Philippines has approved the test for commercial use.
Graphene materials supplier Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) has successfully reduced its cost base and it had £4.3m in the bank at the end of January 2020. This should last until the second half of 2021. Revenues remain small but a number of coatings products using the company’s graphene have been launched in the past year. There is a pipeline of additional products.
Cyber security services provider ECSC (ECSC) is still losing money, but it is generating cash. In 2019, ECSC revenues grew by 10% to £5.91m. Managed services revenues increased by 48% to £2.61m. Managed services has additional capacity and as more work is won margins could continue to improve. Consulting revenues dipped slightly to £2.9m, although they did grow in the second half. The other revenues come from third party products and other services.
Secure payments systems provider PCI-Pal (PCIP) is raising £5m at 30p a share. The cash will finance sales and marketing in North America and further product development. There will also be additional flexibility for any medium-term effects of COVID-19.
Georgia-focused oil and gas company Block Energy (BLOE) is acquiring two blocks adjacent to its own from Schlumberger. They include Block XIB, which is Georgia’s most productive block, although the peak production was in the 1980s. This will boost Block’s production by 245 barrels of oil per day. There is also another exploration block and a central production facility being acquired. There are 14 years remaining on the permits for the two blocks. Block is paying for the assets with 120 million options exercisable at nil cost. They are deemed to have a value of 5 cents each. The options can be exercised between 12 and 24 months from completion.
Replacement windows and doors supplier Safestyle UK (SFE) has temporarily ceased installations. Safestyle believes with cost reductions and government assistance it will be able to cope with the closure of activities until after the end of June.
Wynnstay Group (WYN) is still paying its 9.4p a share final dividend. Trading in the four months to February 2020 was subdued but in line with expectations. The company’s agricultural stores have been allowed to stay open. There may be some additional costs relating to COVID-19.
Geospatial software provider IQGeo (IQG) has secured an expansion to its contract with Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is worth £1.8m over three years.
Trident Resources (TRR) is becoming a mining royalty company and moving to AIM. The first acquisition is a 1.5% free on board revenue royalty over part of the Koolyanobbing iron ore operation in Western Australia for a staged cash consideration of A$7m. There are plans to increase production from an annualised rate of 11Mtpa to 15Mtpa by the end of 2020. The initial payment is A$4m and the other A$3m is payable one year after completion. The most recent quarterly royalty was A$731,000. Further royalty interests are set to be acquired. A fundraising is planned and the company will change its name to Trident Royalties.
Dev Clever (DEV) says that COVID-19 restrictions have increased demand for its SaaS-based career guidance platforms. The US launch was in April.
Nanoco (NANO) says Merck has issued three-month notice of termination of its cadmium-free quantum dots licence agreement so that the licence can be renegotiated. The existing licence had minimum annual royalties. Merck continues to buy materials.
Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) says that an investor commitment to provide £1.4m for the company when it acquires Kanabo Research has been terminated. This arrangement was made in July 2019 and the acquisition of the medicinal cannabis company has still not been completed.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) is amending the terms of the purchase of 80% of the Anglo American Oil and Gas (AAOG) subsidiary that owns 56% stake in the Tilapia oilfield in the Republic of Congo. The purchase price has been reduced by one-fifth to £800,000 and it will be paid in ten monthly instalments. Zenith will no longer issue any shares and it will not be providing a £250,000 secured loan facility.
Books publisher Quarto (QRT) says revenues fell from $149.3m to $135.8m in 2019 but it did return to profit. Banking facilities have been extended to July 2021.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) says the Wavertree project is at the final fit out stage, but work has been suspended due to COVID-19. There are 16 apartments and offices on the site in north west England.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) generated gross revenues of A$15.5m and gross profit of A$7.4m from Hellyer gold mine in the fourth quarter. Full year revenues were A$53.9m and operating profit was A$12.2m. The profit grew steadily quarter by quarter. NQ has raised £311,000 at 7p a share. In December, £300,000 was raised at 6.5p a share.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that is subsidiary Coaltech has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uzbekistan ministry of innovation and development and Uzbekistan Railway. The coal fines project could have an initial value of $16m. A plant would be built to process coal fines into coal pellets. Coal mining is an important industry in Uzbekistan. There will be feasibility studies and the development of a business plan. This deal comes via the joint venture with Creon Investments, which is focused on Russia and former Soviet Union countries.
Ganapati (GANP) says that its Malta-based subsidiary has signed a two-year endorsement agreement with Welljam, which owns the rights to Usain Bolt’s services and image rights. Ganapati has is launching the first official Usain Bolt online slot game when the Tokyo Olympics are held during the summer. Usain Bolt will be attending the ICE London iGaming event in February. There are initial licence payments for image rights during the development of the slot game and a share of future revenues.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says that its investee company iCAN Israel-Cannabis has raised money via a convertible that places a pre-money valuation of $20m on the company. Ananda invested $200,000 in a convertible loan in August 2018 and $100,000 of the loan has been converted into 120 shares worth $200,000 at the latest valuation. DJT Plants, which is 50%-owned by Ananda, has received planning permission for the construction of a facility for cannabis plant breeding and propagation.
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) reported a dip in pre-tax profit from £334,000 to £306,000 in the six months to October 2019. The NAV improved from £21.2m to £21.9m over the six month period, even though £349,000 was paid in dividends.
Imperial X (IMPP) has switched its investing strategy back from medicinal cannabis to energy-related businesses. The focus is building a royalty stream from oil and gas interests.
Mark Leigh is taking over from Claire Spencer as finance director of Newbury Racecourse (NYR).
Broadband-focused shell SAPO (SAPO) has raised £27,500 at 2.75p a share.
Diverse Income Trust has reduced its stake in TechFinancials (TECH) to below 3%.
Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) generated organic growth of 10.5% in the first half and it is on course to meet analyst expectations for the full year. The main first half growth was in the corporate and pensions businesses. The most recent acquisition will take annualised non-legal revenues to 12% of the group total. A full year pre-tax profit of £21.3m is forecast.
Regional legal business Knights Group (KGH) increased interim revenues by one-third to £32m through a combination of acquired and organic growth. Underlying earnings were 9% ahead at 5.95p a share. Net debt was £17.1m at the end of October 2019. The interim dividend was raised by 83% to 1.1p a share, although Knights was not quoted for all the comparative period. Two Birmingham-based firms have been acquired since the period end.
Legal firm Ince Group (INCE) raised £12m at 45p a share. The share price has more than halved since the beginning of the year. The January 2019 placing was at 140p a share. There are plans to raise £2m by a one-for-8.398 open offer and £2m via an offer to staff. The cash will enable the working capital facility to be reduced and finance investment in building up staff numbers. Net debt was £10.4m at the end of September 2019.
Pharmaceutical services provider Ergomed (ERGO) has acquired Ashfield Pharmacovigilance Inc for $10m and this will be earnings enhancing in 2020. The deal boosts Ergomed’s position in pharmacovigilance services and gives it a stronger position in the US. Ashfield has annual revenues of $11.6m and contracted future revenues of $9.8m.
Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) has established a 50/50 renewable energy joint venture with Green Enesys that will operate a 36MW hybrid power (solar and biomass) project in Ivory Coast. This should reduce costs at the palm oil project in Ayenouan. There could be other potential power projects in the region. Dekel is benefiting from the recovery in the crude palm oil price. It produced 37,649 tonnes of crude palm oil in 2019, even though poor weather led to disappointing fourth quarter production. Later this year processing of cashew nuts should commence.
Biopesticides developer Eden Research (EDEN) generated revenues of £2m in 2019, down from £2.8m, and an operating loss of £1.4m. Product revenues grew even though the summer weather restricted usage of Botrytis.
Lettings agency The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) is setting up a financial services division. Acquisitions are planned and the first is a 72.25% stake in Auxilium Partnership, which is the business of newly appointed financial services director Mark Graves. This has been a source of growth for rival Belvoir (BLV).
D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) has confirmed that its second half trading is much stronger than the first half thanks to the contracts won by the Celebrus data analysis software business. The financials sector has been a productive customer base for Celebrus. D4T4 is increasingly winning SaaS business and this could hold back short-term growth, which could lead to the trimming of 2019-20 forecasts.
Instem (INS) continues to increase its recurring revenues. The pharma software company generated organic revenues growth of 12% in 2019. Pre-tax profit is expected to be £3.3m. Net cash was £5.9m. A jump in profit to £4.7m is forecast for 2020.
Estate agency Winkworth (WINK) says 2019 profit was modestly ahead of expectations and a total dividend of 7.8p a share is proposed, which is higher than forecast.
Telit Communications (TCM) did better than expected in 2019 and excluding the former automotive activities revenues grew by 8%. The internet of things technology developer is forecast to make a 2020 pre-tax profit of £20.1m.
Pharma data analytics firm Diaceutics (DXRX) generated more cash tan expected last year and made a small profit. Thee was cash of £11.7m at the end of 2019. The 2020 pre-tax profit could be £800,000.
Barkby Group (BARK) has exchanged contracts on a development site in Huntingdon, which has a gross development value of £10.7m.
Risk management software developer KRM22 (KRM) says 2019 revenues were slightly lower than expected at £4m. Delayed contracts are expected to be signed soon.
Telematics firm Quartix (QTX) managed to maintain revenues at £25.6m in 2019 and a small increase is expected in 2020. The mix of revenues has changed with fleet generating 80%, up from 73%, thanks to growth in the US and France. Insurance revenues fell as expected as low margin business was shed. Pre-tax profit is still expected to decline from £8.2m to £6.6m in 2019, with a further fall to £6.3m forecast for 2020. The dividend is expected to be reduced from 12.4p a share to 12.1p a share, although it will not be fully covered by earnings.
Base Resources (BSE) has increased production guidance for the Kwale mine with midpoints of 78,000t for rutile, 345,000t for ilmenite and 30,500t for zircon. There is a lack of supply of rutile and ilmenite, so this is good news. This should provide a strong boost to profit.
Pressure Technologies (PRES) has been fined £700,000 and will have to pay prosecution costs of £169,000 following the guilty verdict relating to a fatal accident at one of its sites in 2015. The first instalment of £215,000 is due in April with a further six equal instalments payable every six months between July 2020 and January 2023.
Oil and gas explorer and producer Empyrean Energy (EME) is raising £420,000 at 9p a share and chief executive Tom Kelly has contributed £200,000 of that cash. The placing was at a 9% premium to the market price. The cash will be spent on drilling offshore of Indonesia. There is a potential resource upgrade for the Mako gas discovery in Indonesia.
Mereo BioPharma (MPH) says that there have been positive results from the phase 2b study of Setrusumab in adults with osteogenesis imperfecta. They show that it is helping to build bone. A study with children is planned. A meeting with the FDA is due in the coming weeks. Earlier this year, Mereo signed a licence agreement for the use of Navicixizumab in ovarian cancer with Oncologie Inc. An upfront payment of $4m is due.
Nutrition provider Science in Sport (SIS) expects to report 2019 sales of £50.5m with underlying growth of nearly one-quarter. The fastest growth is outside of the UK. River and Mercantile has taken a 5.5% stake.
Shareholders in AIM-quoted Anglo African Oil and Gas (AAOG) have agreed to the sale of 80% of its Congo subsidiary to Zenith Energy (ZEN) and it is waiting for government approval. There is a put and call option over the other 20%. If the call option is exercised Zenith will pay £1m in shares. If the production at the Tilapia oilfield averages at least 4,000 barrels of oil per day for 30 consecutive days, the put option can be exercised and Zenith would pay £2.5m in shares.
Endeavour Mining Corporation has ended its merger discussions with gold miner Centamin (CEY) blaming a lack of information. Endeavour still believes that a combination would be positive. Centamin is raising its final dividend to 6 cents a share, taking the 2019 total to 10 cents a share, up from 5.5 cents a share. Net cash was $348m at the end of 2019. The higher gold price will further boost cash generation. A new chief executive still has to be appointed.
Standard list cash shell Trident Resources (TRR) has £3.29m in cash at the end of October 2019, which is similar to NAV. Management is assessing a few mining project acquisition opportunities.
Stevia sweeteners producer PureCircle Ltd (PURE) says that shareholders owning more than 10% of the share capital have put forward three proposed directors to be voted on at the AGM on 10 February. The company is happy for Sridhar Krishnan, Lai Hock Meng, a former PureCircle director, and Oliver Maes, who was previously a PureCircle director, to be appointed to the board.
Books publisher Quarto (QRT) is raising £13.9m at 68p each. The open offer is underwritten and it will help to reduce the debt burden.
Menswear retailer and hirer Moss Bros (MOSB) Total sales were 3% lower in the 24 weeks to 11 January, but gross margin improved. Hire revenues fell by 17.7%. Cash is £12m.
Pallets manufacturer RM2 International (RM2) intends to move from AIM to matched bargains market Asset Match (www.assetmatch.com).
Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a decline in first half revenues from £35.5m to £34.7m, while the loss increased from £840,000 to £1.15m. Beer volumes were 2% ahead, compared with a 1% decline in the market. Low alcohol beer sales grew. Gin sales fell because of greater competition. A fire at the Ship at Levington hampered the performance of the pubs business. Adnams made an underlying profit in 2018, thanks to a better second half performance. The new IT system went live in March and the implementation has been a distraction to management. The dividends are unchanged at 78p a share for each B share and 19.5p per A share.
Bruce Pubs (PUB) has decided to cancel trading in its 7.2% secured bonds, 31 March 2022. There are £20,000 worth of bonds admitted to the market and there have been no trades. Bruce Pubs had wanted to raise up to £20m from the bond issue. It is therefore not a surprise that Bruce Pubs believes it is not worth having a trading facility. The bonds can be redeemed early by the company.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 10,164 tonnes of lead concentrate, 7,431 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 46,863 tonnes of pyrite concentrate in the first half of 2019. An operating profit of A$3.6m was made on sales of A$23m.
TechFinancials (TECH) had $1.23m in the bank at the end of June 2019. A reduction in trade receivables meant that there was a small cash inflow from operating activities, but there was $402,000 capitalised developed on the blockchain ticketing system.
China-focused healthcare company MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised £755,000 at 30p a share.
Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has gained a quotation for its bonds on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
ICAMAP has acquired 7.94 million shares in easyHotel (EZH) at its offer price of 95p a share, taking its stake to 44.1%. This means that it is a mandatory cash offer.
Iofina (IOF) has launched IofinaEX Global to deal in hemp derived products in Central America and the Caribbean. Iofina will potentially link up with a government in the region that wants to develop its country as a hub for hemp derived products. There are no details of this potential partnership. The company believes that its regulatory expertise in the iodine market will be helpful in the CBD market. The US is likely to be a major market.
LightwaveRF (LWRF) has raised £1.3m at 7p a share. The smart homes equipment supplier wants the cash to finance further growth. There are also plans to secure a facility for stock.
Altitude (ALT) is considering the disposal of its Manchester-based promotion products supplier AdProducts.com. This would enable Altitude to concentrate on its AIM platform for promotional products suppliers.
Greatland Gold (GGP) has raised £4.2m at 1.85p a share and that will be used to finance exploration in the Paterson region of Australia. There has been positive exploration news from the Scallywag prospect in the Paterson region. A ground gravity survey starts this month and an induced polarisation survey next month. Then 3D modelling using the data will come up with drill targets.
Cyber security software and services provider Corero Network Security (CNS) says interim revenues are lower, but operating costs are unchanged. That means that the interim loss has increased. However, full year revenues are expected to be one-fifth higher, but higher investment in sales means that the loss will still be higher. Net cash was $3.6m at the end of June 2019.
Equals Group (EQLS) is raising up to £16m via a placing and open offer. The international payments company has raised £14m at 110p a share and up to £2m will come from the one-for-90 open offer. The cash will be used for acquisitions and working capital.
Tanfield (TAN) says that 49%-owned Snorkel International has moved back into profit in the second quarter of 2019, although the first half was still loss-making. Last year, the value of this investment in the access equipment supplier was cut from £36.3m to £19.1m.
Oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) says that there should not be a material effect on its operations from a change in Argentinian president. Revenues are US dollar based and cash is held in the same currency, so the decline of the Argentinian peso should not be too much of a problem.
Anthony Laiker has subscribed £25,000 in Vela Technologies (VELA) at 0.1p a share. A general meeting has to approve the share issue to the executive director, as well as an issue of 6.25 million warrants exercisable at 0.15p. Approval of the conversion of £200,000 of loan notes plus interest into nearly 241 million shares will also require the company to be given the ability to issue more shares. Laiker would than own more than 301 million shares.
Gfinity (GFIN) is pulling out of its Australian joint venture because the esports company wants to focus its cash on the US and other important markets.
Workspace software provider Essensys (ESYS) says that its revenues were one-quarter higher at £20.5m in the year to July 2019. That was better than expected. Annual recurring revenues run rate is £17.3m.
Associated British Engineering (ASBE) made an increased loss of £1.81m, up from £582,000 the previous year. The company’s main pension fund remains a worry and there are ongoing discussions with the Pensions Regulator. There are net liabilities of £3.71m after the pension deficit of £4.98m.
Nanoco (NANO) generated revenues of £7.3m in the year to July 2019, more than double the previous year. The cadmium-free quantum dots developer had £7m in cash at the end of July and expects to have £6m at the end of 2019.
Highway Capital (HWC) has issued €30,000 of new convertible loan notes. These are convertible to a value in excess of 50% of the net asset value of the company at the time of conversion. The terms of an existing convertible loan note of £100,000 have been changed and the conversion price is 5p a share.
Shareholders in Avocet Mining (AVM) have voted against the resolution to wind up the company. This means that it is likely to go into administration unless there is a viable transaction that the board can assess.
Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) wanted shareholders to approve the voluntary liquidation of the company, but there is not enough support for the proposal. GRIT has sold 430 million shares in Kalia for £225,000 in order to provide working capital. A new board is being appointed to undertake a strategic review. James Normand will become chairman and Martin Lampshire as an executive director. Stephen Roberts will become a non-executive director.
IMC Exploration (IMC) has been awarded two additional licences in County Wexford. They adjoin an existing licence where there are indications of gold.
Book publisher Quarto (QRT) reduced its interim loss from $6.6m to $4m on flat revenues of $56.4m. There was a change in the mix of revenues with children’s books increasing revenues by14% and in geographic terms more of the revenues were in the US, which moved into profit. Net debt has fallen by 11% to $65m.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) says that drilling has commenced at well C-37 in the Jafarli oilfield.
Pendragon (PDG) is selling its Chevrolet dealership in California for £17.2m. GM can alternatively nominate another purchaser if it wants. The rest of the US business will be sold.
Adnams (ADB) says that beer volumes grew year-on-year in the first quarter, helped by low alcohol Ghost Ship and pubs are also doing well. Margins are coming under pressure and gin sales have been hit by increasing competition. A new IT system has gone live.
KR1 (KR1) has cashed inn some of its tokens. It has sold the remaining OmiseGo tokens for $206,000. They were bought for 27.38 cents each and sold for 205.4 cents each. KR1 has sold 50% of its tokens in the Nash Exchange product for nearly $51,000, at a more than doubled price per token, which means that the cost of the remaining 25,000 tokens have been covered.
High Growth Capital (HASH) has appointed Mark De Smedt as chief executive. He is a Belgian who previously worked for recruitment firm Adecco and already owns a 0.6% stake in High Growth Capital. He has been awarded options over 125 million shares at 1.75p each and further options over 150 million shares, which are exercisable at 3p a share, but only if the share price reaches at least 7.5p and stays there for a consecutive period of six months. Girod Equities has taken a 3.81% stake in the company, which is proposing a name change to MESH Holdings.
SG Recruitment (SGRL) has been appointed to recruit international nurses for more than 20 hospitals in England. This is under the Health Education England Global Learners Programme, which offers three year packages. Also, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has appointed SG to recruit 140 nurses. A contract has been gained with Thumbay Hospital in UAE to recruit at least 150 healthcare professionals each year.
Metal Tiger (MNRG) is holding a general meeting on 15 May in order to gain shareholder approval for the directors to issue new ordinary shares without the requirement to offer them to existing shareholders.
Franchise Brands (FRAN) says that Micro Rod had a record quarter in the first three months of 2019. System sales were 12.9% higher. The business to consumer franchises have also had a good start to the year.
International payments services provider FAIRFX (FFX) increased revenues by 69% to £26.1m, while pre-tax profit jumped from £900,000 to £6.79m. City Forex was acquired in February 2018 but there was like-for-like growth. In the first quarter of 2019, revenues are 43% ahead at £7m.
Tekcapital (TEK) says that investee company Salarius has secured the first commercial order for its low sodium MicroSalt from a snack food manufacturer. Investee company Belluscura has raised just over £500,000 from a crowdfunding offer, including further investment from Tekcapital. The cash will be used to market and further develop a portable oxygen concentrator called X-PLOR.
More good news from Eden Research (EDEN) as partner Eastman has received a 120 day emergency use authorisation for Cedroz, which is used to combat plant-parasitic nematodes, in Italy. This will enable sales while the Italian authorities process the application for authorisation.
Aviation services provider Gama Aviation (GMAA) has reported 2018 figures with the comparatives for 2017 restated. Pre-tax profit slumped from $16.6m to $11m. That is before more than $40m of exceptional charges, including a $27.7m impairment charge. A final dividend of 2p a share is being paid. Hutchison Capital Holdings has bought more shares to take its stake to 25.45% after a shareholding limitation was ended.
Software company WANdisco (WAND) reported a fall in revenues from $19.6m to $17m in 2018, but this was down to a change in the revenue model to subscription-based business. The loss increased from $14m to $19.4m, but this will fall sharply over the next two years as revenues grow rapidly.
ReNeuron (RENE) has positive news from the first three retinitis pigmentosa patients given its human retinal progenitor cell product. Vision has improved after 60 days and 120 days. Longer-term evidence is required, but this is a good start and three more patients are being provided with the treatment.
Kestrel has increased its stake in Pebble Beach Systems (PEB) from 23.1% to 24.2%.
Satellite communications equipment provider Global Invacom (GINV) has terminated the proposed acquisition of Tactilis and related fund raisings. The two companies will provide equal funding of the costs of the terminated deal. Group revenues were $122.3m in 2018. Electronic component shortages have eased, and pricing is normalising. Trading in Global Invacom shares resumed and the share price jumped from 4.5p to 7p.
Angling Direct (ANG) has opened its 27th store on a former Majestic Wine site in Nottingham. The fishing equipment retailer has started the new financial year strongly. Overall sales were 50.7% higher in February and March. Full year figures for the year to January 2019 will be reported on 13 May.
Piling company Van Elle (VANL) reported that its full year profit will be slightly worse than expected but the share price still bounced back from recent lows. Volumes have recovered in the fourth quarter, but full year sales are 3% below expectations. A new director of the piling division will join in June.
The microCHP boilers developer Inspirit Energy (INSP) is still developing its product and it still has to commercialise its boilers.
Standard list shell Fandango Holdings (FHP) has ended discussions with Konnect Mobile Communications Inc because it could not raise the finance for the acquisition. Fandango has been making loans to another standard list shell, Stranger Holdings, where Charles Tatnall is also a director. There was £141,000 outstanding at the end of August 2018, plus accrued interest of £38,721, and this has been reduced to £108,000, excluding interest. There was cash of £53,000 in the balance sheet at the end of August 2018.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) chief executive Andrea Cattaneo has acquired 593,289 shares at 3.3p each, taking his stake in the Azerbaijan-focused oil and gas company to 8.46%.
Former finance director Michael Mousley has been appointed as a non-executive director of Quarto (QRT). A new finance director will join the company in July.
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.
Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has secured long-term facilities of £50m, which expires in 2023, and a £35m private placement of loan notes with BAE Systems Pensions Fund which lasts for 20 years. These replace existing loans. A revaluation of pub assets has delivered a £24m gain on book value.
Mechanical and electrical services provider Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has benefitted from strong spending in the water sector as Asset Management Plan 6 reaches its mid-point, as well as demand from the energy from waste sector. However, the energy from waste customer’s tough stance has held back group gross margin. In the year to May 2018, revenues improved from £17.2m to £25.9m, but pre-tax profit fell from £839,000 to £625,000. If the defined benefit scheme settlement gain is stripped out, then there is an improvement in profit from £463,000 to £558,000. There is £3.97m in the bank. The current order book is worth £12m.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) is pushing ahead with Flowstone Capital Ltd, which is a private crypto fund and it has set up Flowstone Management Ltd to manage the fund. Coinsilium has also secured a strategic advisory partnership with LC LITE, which is planning a token generation event to finance the development of a digital letter of credit system for importers and exporters.
Startup Giants (SUG) still had £665,000 in the ban at the end of July 2018. Thee are plans to raise more cash via the event management services provider Exponential Events’ platform.
TechFinancials Inc (TECH) is in talks with blockchain-based sports ticketing platform Footies Tech to establish a new subsidiary to develop a blockchain-based venue management system. The idea is that TechFinancials will own 75% of the company and it would provide finance of up to $500,000 to develop a proof of concept. TechFinancials will licence its technology to the new company for free.
Formerly AIM-quoted Metminco (MNC) has withdrawn from the proposed acquisition of Gunsynd (GUN) investee company Sunshine Minerals after it failed to complete due diligence. Gunsynd says that there are other interested buyers even though the nickel price has fallen since the original announcement about the proposed acquisition.
The chairman and chief executive of DXS International (DXSP) have bought further shares last week. Chairman Bob Sutcliffe bought 18,857 shares at 10.5p each, while chief executive Bob Immelman acquired 19,802 shares at 10p a share which took his stake to 10.4%.
Ananda Investments (ANA) executive director Melissa Sturgess has bought another 500,000 shares at 0.4501p each.
Gordon Dadds (GOR) is acquiring Ince and Co International LLP and its associates, which will make it the largest quoted law firm. Annual revenues will be more than £110m. The estimated consideration will be £34m, depending on revenues generated in the three years after acquisition. The merged company will be called Ince Gordon Dadds. Share trading remains suspended until the full details of the deal are published.
Watkin Jones (WJG) says that its full year figures will be slightly better than expected. Good progress is being made with the build to rent operations, but the benefits will come in the future. The sale of a client portfolio of the student accommodation management division has led to a termination fee and a share in the profit of the disposal, which totals £4m.
Concepta (CPT) has obtained a CE Mark for its myLotus fertility testing technology. This enables women to test for their optimal level of fertility. The self-test platform has been launched at the Fertility Show in London. Initial sales will be via the company’s own website. It will take time to build up sales and it is likely to be next year when they become more significant. Concepta raised £2m in August so it is well-funded for its current requirements.
Goldplat (GDP) says that first quarter production fell to 6,100 ounces of gold because of problems sourcing raw materials in Ghana and South Africa, but there has been a recovery in the second quarter and it should be able to achieve full year production estimates of 39,5000 ounces of gold. The Kilpesa mine is being put on care and maintenance if a partner cannot be found and that could knock 3,700 ounces off the production figure.
Next Fifteen Communications (NFC) has raised £20m at 475p a share. The PR firm will use some of the cash to finance the acquisition of Activate Marketing Services for an initial $9m in cash. This technology-focused business is data-led and will continue to be operated separately. This is the latest example of Next Fifteen’s strategy of growing its digital marketing operations.
Gama Aviation (GMAA) says that growth has been slower than anticipated in the second half. The main culprits are the US air associate and slower than expected growth at the new Bournemouth ground services facility. This equates to a $3m cut in forecast operating profit for 2018 and the earnings per share forecast has been reduced by 19% to 21.3 cents.
The share price of floorcoverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) slumped on the back of a warning that margins were coming under pressure. Like-for-like revenue growth was more than 3% in the six months to September 2019, but less profit is being made. Victoria is attempting to refinance its two-year bank facility through the issue of a five-year €450m bond, which has been given a BB minus credit rating by Standard & Poors.
Safestay (SSTY) has acquired a 20-year lease on a site in Vienna. This is currently a hotel and it will be converted into a 234 bed hostel at a cost of less than €300,000. Safestay will have 13 hostels.
Pires Investments (PIRI) had a NAV of £950,000 at its year end. The £200,000 increase was mainly due to investments in SalvaRx and Eco (Atlantic) Oil and Gas.
Imaginatik (IMTK) has launched its six-for-nine open offer to shareholders. This could raise up to £253,000 at 1.1p a share. The closing date is 26 November.
Market research firm System1 Group (SYS1) has declared a maintained interim dividend of 1.1p a share, but the final dividend may be reduced. Interim revenues declined by 5% and pre-tax profit was lower without the £250,000 exceptional credit. That is due to investment in the Ad Ratings business. There was £3.55m in the bank at the end of September 2018.
Mporium (MPM) has signed a deal with BPC Land and Sales Marketing, a services provider to property developers. BPC will use Mporium’s IMPACT technology for digital advertising campaigns. This is a new sector for Mporium.
Biome Technologies (BIOM) has increased nine months revenues by 59% to £7m, which is more than for the whole of 2017. Biome is profitable and it had £2.5m in the bank at the end of September 2018. The main growth has come in the RF Technologies division. The bioplastics business increased its third quarter revenues, but nine months revenues are still lower.
Parity (PTY) has warned that there will be a significant shortfall in profit in 2018 because of the continuing delay of a major contract. WH Ireland has slashed its pre-tax profit forecast from £1.9m to £850,000, suggesting limited profit in the second half.
Meat and delicatessen products retailer Crawshaw (CRAW) is appointing an administrator because it was unable to raise the cash it required.
Elektron Technology (EKT) has increased its nine months revenues from £22.1m to £25.8m and the full year outcome is set to be ahead of expectations. Sight screening technology developer Elektron Eye Technology is expected to move into profit. Net cash was £8.5m at the end of October 2018.
Transportation software and services provider Tracsis (TRCS) has received a renewal and extension of data hosting services and software with a rail client. The contract is worth more than £2m over two years.
More bad news from superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) as 2018 figures are set to be well below expectations that have already been revised downwards. There will be a full year loss on revenues of €44m. There will be no dividend. Refit projects have been delayed and one shipyard undergoing maintenance. New build contracts have been won for 2019. The order book is worth €31.3m, of which €18.2m relates to 2019.
BlueRock Diamonds (BRD) has raised £626,000 at 0.3p a share with every two new shares coming with a warrant to subscribe for a share at 0.4p. The directors have invested £170,000. The cash will be used to open two of the five kimberlite pipes at the Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa.
Tern (TERN) has invested a further £1.1m in in virtual reality training and data analysis technology platform developer FRVS.
PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has appointed Menzies as administrator of its subsidiary PhotonStar LED Ltd. That business generated £1.15m of first half revenues of £1.33m. It also made most of the loss. More cash will be required for the remaining subsidiary.
TomCo Energy (TOM) has raised £100,000 at 8.5p and disposed of its stake in Red Leaf Resources for $133,333, which had no value in the balance sheet. This will take cash resources to £335,000. The field test on the Holliday block has been delayed due to a failure of couplings.
Ascent Resources (AST) is still finding it difficult to obtain the permits it is waiting for from the Slovenian authorities so that it can generate revenues from gas. Ascent is considering taking action in the European Court.
N4 Pharma (N4P) says clinical data suggests that its Nuvec technology is suitable for use with multiple antigens. It has delivered mRNA and pDNA in sufficient levels to generate the required immune response. The results of the next study should be available in the first half of 2019.
Wey Education (WEY) reported good results but WH Ireland has downgraded its forecasts for this year and next year. The broker is being more cautious about international growth prospects and cut the 2018-19 pre-tax profit forecast from £1.95m to £1.31m and the following year’s from £5.2m to £3.3m.
Frontier IP (FIPP) has made its second Portuguese investment. Des Solutio is developing greener versions of chemicals used to make beauty, pharma and personal care products. Frontier IP has taken a 25% stake.
Myanmar-focused social media platform operator MySQUAR Ltd (MYSQ) is raising £600,000 at 0.35p a share. Management is focusing on active users and in the first quarter of this financial year there were 412,338 active users of the mobile games offer and 426,750 media and mobile apps users. Last year’s revenues were $1.84m but they need to be much higher than that.
Property investor Safeland (SAF) has acquired North Downs golf club in Surrey for £1.07m and it will invest in the facilities.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) says that the US Bureau of Land Management has approved the application for a permit to drill the GV 22-1 well on the Paradox acreage in Utah.
Zotefoams (ZTF) has improved revenues by 16% in the nine months to September 2018. Full year profit is expected to be slightly better than anticipated. HPP sales have nearly doubled due to demand from the footwear and aviation sectors. Capacity is being increased.
Books publisher Quarto Group (QRT) has extended its facilities to the end of August 2020. The bank facility has been reduced. Large shareholders have agreed to provide unsecured and subordinated loans of $13m, repayable on 31 August 2020.
Stem cell services provider WideCells Group (WDC) is restructuring its Wideacademy educational subsidiary and closed its London office. Annualised savings are worth £400,000. Alan Greenberg has stepped down from the board.
Social media investment company Sealand Capital (SCGL) has published its full year figures and subsequent interim results. Trading in the shares has recommenced. The SecureCom business has been sold. Sealand has subscribed for a 55% interest in Guangzhou Ruiyou Information Technologies Co, which is a mobile game distributor. It is also party to a licenced operator agreement of the WeChat advertisement product in the UK and UAE. There was £758,000 in the bank at the end of June 2018.
Gems explorer Shefa Yamim (SEFA) has raised £250,000 at 80p a share. The shares each come with one warrant exercisable at 100p a share.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has gained planning permission for a minor extension on its second property in north west England.
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.