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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 January 2021

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Standard list shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) plans to switch its quotation to the Access segment of the Aquis Stock Exchange. This move will happen at the time of the reverse takeover of Oberon Investments, the owner of fund manager MD Barnard. The transfer to the Access segment is expected to happen on 5 February, although this depends on completion of the deal.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) increased its NAV to £3.96m at the end of September 2020. The Southfields property has been sold for £660,000, which was a small discount to the previous book value. The remaining residential property will be sold in the next few months. The company will then concentrate on specialist supported housing.

KR1 (KR1) has sold its remaining holding of FunFair tokens for an average price of 2.0207 cents each. That raised $1.28m, which is more than treble the cost.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) expects the analysis of the aerial magnetic survey of the Red Setter project in Western Australia will be available before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

All Star Minerals (ASMO) continues to review opportunities in the mining sector in Africa. The deal is likely to be funded by a share issue, but more cash will be required.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) non-executive director Nigel boardman has increased his shareholding from 5,020 shares to 11,348 shares. Shepherd Neame (SHEP) director JB Neame has sold 4,000 shares at 690p each and bought back 2,000 shares at 691.5p for an ISA.

Vulcan Industries (VULC) has raised £150,000 in share issues at 5p a share and 5.5p a share. TruSpine Technologies (TSP) is still waiting to receive £250,000 from Evrensel Capital Partners.

Peel Hunt has been approved as an AQSE corporate adviser.

AIM

Capital equipment manufacturer Mpac (MPAC) did better than expected last year although pre-tax profit is still likely to decline from £7.5m to £6.2m. net cash is £5m following the payment of £10m for Switchback last autumn. The order book is worth more than £55m, compared to 2020 revenues of £83m. The focus on healthcare and pharma has helped Mpac.

Judges Scientific (JDG) had a strong second half in 2020 and this has led WH Ireland to increase its 2020 pre-tax profit forecast from £12.1m to £13.5m. The 2021 figure has been maintained at £15.1m. Full year results will be announced on 23 March.

Fashion retailer Joules (JOUL) offset weak high street sales prior to Christmas with strong growth in online sales. Even so, continued uncertainty means that Peel Hunt has reduced its 2020-21 pre-tax profit forecast from £5.4m to £3.5m. Net cash is £13m.

Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) says trading the three months to November 2020 was ahead of the same period last year even though the market remains uncertain.

Wealth management firm Mattioli Woods (MTW) had more than £10bn of client assets by the end of November 2020. Gross discretionary assets under management are £2.9bn. Management is still seeking acquisition opportunities and there is £18m of cash in the bank.

Creo Medical (CREO) has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for its MicroBlate soft tissue ablation devices. This broadens the range of products with approvals.

AssetCo (ASTO) has acquired a 2.9% stake in investment manager River and Mercantile at 186p a share. This cost £4.7m. There is still around £26m in cash available since the payment from Grant Thornton and after the tender offer to shareholders.

Avingtrans (AVG) is merging its two medical equipment businesses with Australia-based MRI technology developer Magnetica and it will own 59% of the enlarged business after also injecting A$600,000. A further £3.2m investment could increase the stake to 61.2%. The combined business is loss-making but the increased scale will help it to move towards profitability.

Telit Communications (TCM) has ended bid discussions with u-blox, although the potential bidder is still interested in making an offer. An all-share bid of 250p a share was indicated.

Tekmar (TGP) has secured a contract to design and manufacture subsea scour protection for a quay development project, which is worth more than £4m. That will be recognised in this financial year.

IntegraFin has decided not to bid for Nucleus Financial Group (NUC), which increased assets under administration by 8% to £17.4bn in the three months to December 2020. Inflows of funds increased, and outflows fell.

Eqtec (EQT) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Greece-based Nobilis Pro Energy, which will enable Eqtec to be involved in its partner’s pipeline of gasification projects opportunities in Thessalia and central Greece. A joint venture will be formalised.

MAIN MARKET

One Heritage Group (OHG) has acquired a site on Bank Street, Sheffield for £880,000. The final development cost is expected to be £2.9m and gross development value should be £3.6m. The residential developer says that its Burnley development will not be completed until later in the first quarter. Construction of the Waterloo Place development in Salford should commence in the second quarter.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) mined 96 Bitcoin during December. The increase in the bitcoin price means that these are valued at £1.63m. Argo holds 209 Bitcoin. The sharp rise in the share price has led to the exercising of warrants and options. This has raised £1.63m.

Tirupati Graphite (TGR) is on track to commission the Vatomina graphite project in the second quarter and build production to 6,000tpa. Tirupati raised £6m at 45p a share when it floated at the end of last year and the share price has risen to 83p.

Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has completed its drilling programme at the Phalaborwa rare earths project under budget and the results are expected before the end of the first quarter.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) has raised £570,000 at 4p each and this should be enough cash to take the company into next year.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 9 November 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) lost £2.9m in the year to June 2020. There was a small operating profit, but this was swamped by interest charges. The loss excludes one-off charges of more than £9m, predominantly relating to the impairment of 26 properties and the cost of unlawful actions by an employee. Pub revenues fell due to the original lockdown period, although tenanted pubs remained profitable in the financial year. Trade was slow in July, but it started to build up prior to the latest restrictions.

SulNOx Group (SNOX) is not entering into new contracts and suspending existing contracts. Management is paying amounts owed under existing contracts and says that there will be minimal cash balances. The requisitioners of a general meeting have injected cash in order to keep the company trading and enable it to hold the general meeting on 4 December. The employment contracts of the directors have been terminated and the requisitioners want their own representatives elected to the board. Trading in the shares remains suspended.

There was a slight improvement in first quarter revenues generated by National Milk Records (NMRP) to £5.32m. The specialist services such as the testing of Johne’s disease provided the growth. Milk recording figures were 3% down. The latest lockdown should not have a significant effect on performance.

Gunsynd (GUN) has subscribed A$100,000 for a convertible in gold explorer Rincon Resources that converts at a discount to the flotation price on ASX. Rincon plans to raise at least A$5m prior a listing planned for 10 December.

GP software provider DXS International (DXSP) says that revenues are marginally up on the previous year and it remains profitable. There is around £1m in the bank. However, launches of new products have been delayed by the pandemic.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has sold its remaining shareholding in Greatland Gold (GGP) and raised £4.6m. That means that Primorus made a total gain of around £5.9m.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has identified four shallow targets on its Patersons Range project in Western Australia. Wishbone intends to move to close the acquisition of its interest in the tenements.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has agreed in principle to a settlement with secured creditors of the Amapa project. Once this is completed, Cadence will inject $2.5m into the project and take a 20% shareholding. There has been a 21% increase in the mineral resource. The initial mine plan envisages the production of 4.7 million tonnes of iron concentrate a year and the mine life could be nearer to 17 years following the updated resource.

Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) expects to complete its relaunch with a new strategy before the end of the year. There will be new corporate branding and a new website.

World High Life (LIFE) has raised £381,000 at 1p a share. This cash will finance due diligence on investment opportunities.

Imperial X (IMPP) has appointed Novum Securities as corporate adviser.

European Lithium has left the Aquis Stock Exchange.

AIM

Trinidad-focused oil and gas producer Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) has raised £23.1m at 95p a share. The previous placing in February raised cash at 40p a share. The money will be used to fund further exploration and development of the Ortoire onshore block. Touchstone recently announced its third discovery (Chinook-1) out of three wells drilled. Chinook-1 is thought to be a similar size to Cascadura, which is estimated at around 45mmboe. The current exploration well is Cascadura Deep-1 and that will be completed and tested in the first quarter of 2021. The original discovery, Coho, will soon start producing gas.

Mkango Resources (MKA) has started a drilling and soil sampling programme at the Mchinji rutile licence area. This will help management to identify the areas with the best prospects. The licence initially lasts until 2022 but can be extended. It is next door to a rutile discovery by Sovereign Metals, which makes the chances of a commercial discovery even better. There is already significant infrastructure in the area. Rutile is a white pigment used in paints, plastic and paper. Demand is strong and reserves are declining.

PerkinElmer Inc is offering 185p a share in cash for Horizon Discovery (HZD), which is double the previous market price. The bid is equivalent to the high in the past 12 months, but below the share price three years ago. Horizon is valued at £296m. PerkinElmer is keen to increase the scale of its cell engineering business and add to its gene editing services.

Trading in the shares of NWF (NWF) has been suspended following a cyber attack on the feed and fuels divisions. The businesses continue to operate.

Attis Oil and Gas (AOGL) has agreed an amalgamation with Helium One, which will then gain an AIM quotation and raise at least £5m. Helium One is offering one of its shares for 236 shares in Attis, which values the AIM shell at £1.76m (0.012p a share). The Attis share price has risen to 0.02p. Helium One has a potential helium project in Tanzania and is valued at £6m, which is similar to level of investment put into the project. Drilling is planned early next year. Scirocco Energy (SCIR) subscribed for a 10% stake three years ago and that will probably be diluted to around 4.6%.

AB Traction has increased its stake in construction disputes company Driver (DRV) from 15.6% to 17.3%.  

Empire Metals (EEE) has achieved significant results with its drilling programme at the Eclipse gold project in Western Australia. The results confirm extensions to previously defined mineralisation. Drilling has started at the second potential target called Houdini. The proposed sale of the Bolnisi copper and gold project to TSXV-quoted Candelaria Mining Corporation means that Eclipse is currently the main focus of Empire’s cash investment.  

Nasdaq-quoted Masimo Corporation is making a 12p a share recommended cash bid for non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring technology developer LiDCO (LID). Masimo is a medical technology company.

Surgical endoscopy devices supplier Creo Medical (CREO) has acquired its distributor in Belgium. Creo has also received FDA clearance for MicroBlate Fine, which is thought to be the world’s smallest diameter microwave ablation needle.

Dekel Agri-vision (DKL) has acquired a further 14.2% in the Tiebissou cashew nut processing project in return for 28.55 million shares. This takes the stake to 52%.

Beximco Pharma (BXP) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Serum Institute of India and the Bangladesh government for the supply of 30 million doses of the Oxford University/ AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Supplies will commence one month after regulatory approval in Bangladesh. This could provide a significant uplift to revenues, although the timing is uncertain.

Toilet tissue manufacturer Accrol (ACRL) is buying rival LTC for up to £41.8m. This will take Accrol’s share of the market to 16% and provide greater geographic coverage of the UK market. LTC has revenues of £28m and is profitable. There could be cost savings of £1m a year. Accrol raised £38.5m at 44p a share to help finance the deal. A one-for-21 open offer could raise up to £4.1m.

MAIN MARKET

Zotefoams (ZTF) says that third quarter revenues were 22% higher year-on-year due to demand for protective equipment and footwear. Management expects continued growth in the fourth quarter. Net debt was £36m at the end of September 2020. The new site in Poland should commence production early next year.

Cryptocurrency miner Argo Blockchain (ARB) generated £1.2m in revenues during October. It held 137 BTC in bitcoin at the end of the month. Argo is leasing 4,500 mining machines for 24 months and they should be up and running in February. It is also managing the mining operations of 4,378 machines for a third party.

Shell company Highway Capital (HWC) had £3,000 in the bank at the end of February 2020 and it has net liabilities of £991,000. There was £327,000 in borrowings.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 12 October 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has been profitable since the beginning of July when pubs were allowed to reopen. However, like-for-like sales were lower, particularly in city centres. Own brand beer volumes fell by 2%.  Net debt was £82.4m on 26 September, with deferred payments of £6.9m. 

There was a reduction in full year revenues generated by National Milk Records (NMRP) from £22.8m to £21.6m. Earnings per share halved to 4.7p.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has an exclusive 45-day option to acquire 100% of mineral tenements in the Patersons Range region of Western Australia. The option payment is £50,000. A dividend of 1.25p a share is proposed.

In the year to April 2020, property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased revenues by 26% to £6.39m. Pre-tax profit was £9,252, including a lease breakage fee of £173,000. There were £800,000 of fair value reductions. Net cash generated by operating activities was £1.88m. Since the year end, £3.14m has been spent on properties.

British Honey Company (BHC) generated revenues of £1.04m in the five months to August 2020, with £500,000 from sanitiser. More recently alcohol sales have recovered, and sanitiser generates around 10% of sales. There was a £435,000 loss in the period because of higher admin expenses.

VI Mining (VIM) is terminating the Minaspampa and Rosario de Belen project acquisitions. Unpaid deferred consideration of $42.2m has bee cancelled. A joint venture is being discussed for other group projects.

Good Energy (GOOD) has launched the UK’s first dedicated heat pump tariff. There is no standing charge in the winter months.

European Lithium (EUR) intends to leave the Aquis Stock Exchange on 6 November.

Peterhouse has resigned as corporate adviser to Imperial X (IMPP).

Early Equity (EEQP) has raised £94,000 at 0.5p a share.

AIM

Omega Diagnostics (ODX) is involved with the initial UK-RTC order for one million Covid-19 rapid antibody tests. Omega is set to manufacture 175,000 of these tests. This is the first order and Omega plans to increase capacity to 200,000 tests per week by the beginning of November. finnCap believes each test could generate 150p and the gross margin is 50%. The current revenue forecast of £12.6m for the year to March 2021 does not include the Covid-19 tests which could generate a further £5.7m. Omega should be profitable without any contribution from the tests.

Xpediator (XPD) has acquired Yorkshire-based freight business Nidd Transport for £4.6m. The owner is retiring, and the purchase price is covered by Nidd’s cash and property assets -where there is already an agreement for a sale and leaseback. The deal is earnings enhancing. The logistics business does not have a significant presence in northern England and there will be cross-selling opportunities with other parts of the business. Nidd also has operations in France, Spain and Portugal. In the year to April 2020, Nidd made and operating profit of £500,000 on revenues of £11m. 

Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) has raised £7.5m after expenses at 60p a share and there is an open offer to raise up to £2m.

Plutus PowerGen (PPG) plans to demerge its generation assets and become a cash shell. A placing at 0.02p a share will raise £490,000 after expenses and this will pay money owed to directors and provide working capital. Debt of £266,000 will be capitalised. Plutus tried to sell its co-investee assets but there was no buyer found. Plutus Energy is being demerged and there are plans to demerge the Plutus energy investment portfolio, but this is currently being blocked by Rockpool.  

Vanadium flow batteries developer Invinity Energy Systems (IES) is involved in four energy storage products funded by the California Energy Commission. These total 7.8MWh of batteries and they should be delivered next year. Commercial terms are still be agreed with partners. This follows a £1.1m order during June.

Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) increased third quarter crude palm oil produced by 10% to 5,280MT, thanks to a higher extraction rate. The cashew nut processing plant should still be commissioned next spring.

Caledonia Mining (CMCL) has increased 2020 guidance following third quarter figures showing gold production of 15,200 ounces and nine-month production of 42,900 ounces. Full year guidance is between 55,000 and 58,000 ounces. Caledonia has secured an agreement with the Zimbabwe government that will enable it to assess other gold projects. A solar plant is being built that will provide 27% of the electricity needs of the Blanket mine.

MAIN MARKET

Fintech firm Mode Global Holdings (MODE) joined the standard list on 5 October. Mode raised £7.5m in a placing at 50p a share. Trading commenced. The share price has fallen back to 48.5p. The cash will help to finance the launch of a payments service powered by Open Banking that would replace the need for cards.

Ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) had net cash of £1m at the end of September 2020 and it intends to pay a final dividend. Pre-tax profit of £14m is in line with pre-Covid-19 expectations. Health and wellness revenues grew by 16%, although total revenues fell by  3% due to the lower orange oil prices.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) plans to acquire the two data centres in Quebec housing its cryptocurrency mining equipment that are owned by GPU.one. September mining revenues were £1.1m.

BATM (BVC) has secured an initial order for its Covid-19 Real-Time PCR diagnostic test kits and they will be delivered in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 6 July 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has secured a diagnostics agreement with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust that is worth £19.1m over ten years, although it is initially for five years. Rutherford will supply imaging services from a facility in Taunton, which will be developed in partnership with Equitix. The service should start in the second half of 2021.

Good Energy (GOOD) says that it remains profitable, although smaller business energy demand was lower in the second quarter. Gross margins have been hit because excess energy had to be resold. Operational efficiencies have offset some of this effect. Cash collection has been strong. Four-fifths of customers have been transferred to the Kraken customer services system. This will help to reduce costs.

Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has negotiated additional bank facilities. Total debt facilities are £132.5m. The brewery has been generating income from increased sales to supermarkets and for export. The majority of the company’s pubs should reopen by the end of July.

Cannabis-focused investment company Greencare Capital (GRE) has raised £1.37m at 50p a share. That is double the original flotation price. Management is hopeful that it will make an initial investment in its favoured acquisition target in the near future.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) says that plant production levels at the Hellyer gold mine increased by 44% to more than 1.3 mtpa. NQ has completed the acquisition of the Beaconsfield gold mine in Tasmania.

British Honey Company (BHC) says sanitiser sales have enabled the company to achieve sales of 240% of budget in the past three months. BHC has swapped 4.5% of its shares for a 10% stake in List Distillery LLC. BHC has an option to buy the rest of the company for £4.5m plus up to £500,000 in contingent consideration.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) had an NAV of £7.55m (48.9p a share) at the end of February 2020.

Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has changed its corporate adviser from Peterhouse to VSA. Tectonic has published full year figures to June 2019 and interims to December 2019. NAV was £2.49m at the end of 2019.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) generated sales of $3.64m of sales in the first quarter of 2020, compared with $3.85m in the same period last year. In 2019, revenues were $10.7m.

Human Brands is selling some of its brands, including Shinju Whisky, to Rogue Baron in return for shares and Gunsynd (GUN) will have its £379,000 convertible loan note novated to Rogue Baron, which has been granted EIS advanced reassurance. Rogue Baron plans to float on a UK market and this could trigger the issue of further shares to Gunsynd.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has supplied a £300,000 loan facility to Vox Markets. This is convertible into shares. So far, £250,000 has been advanced. Loan facilities totalling £500,000 have been provided to Ridercam Systems. A £130,000 investment has been made for a 7.4% stake in investment company Malaika. The company’s Australian subsidiary has provided a loan facility to energy producer Direct Energy Holdings.

Ecovista (EVTP) was withdrawn from the AQSE on 1 July. The day after it published interim figures to February 2020. There was £42,000 in cash and this should cover general running expenses. Management says that being quoted cost £60,000 a year. NAV is £735,000.

Formerly known as Welney, Quetzal Capital (WENP) has been readmitted to the market following a share consolidation of 100 existing shares into one new share and placing raising £22,000.

AIM

Cambridge Cognition (COG) continues to win new contracts and the first half order intake was £4.9m. The digital health business has increased its contracted order book to £7.5m. The company is on course to make a much lower loss in 2020.

Construction disputes and expert witness services provider Driver (DRV) improved its profit in the first half thanks to a good performance from its Asia Pacific businesses. However, the Middle East is still a problem and a strategic review is underway. Net cash was £3.3m at the end of March 2020 and it has increased since then. There is no dividend. The second half will be tougher, though.

Forex provider Equals (EQLS) continues its strong growth record in 2019. Trading levels were hit by the COVID-19 lockdown in April and May, but June’s revenues per day recovered to a similar level to June 2019. The administration of Wirecard has had limited effect on business.

AFC Energy (AFC) is raising £31.6m at 16p a share. This will be used to invest in manufacturing for the H-Power fuel cell systems and employing additional staff for the deployment of the technology in the electric vehicle and construction markets. There will also be cash put into the development of the AlkaMem anion exchange membrane and the HydroX-Cell solid-state membrane fuel cell system.

Telecoms equipment supplier Filtronic (FTC) says it grew revenues from continuing operations in the year to May 2020 and it made a small underlying profit. Delays to deliveries mean that it is difficult to assess the outcome for the current financial year.

Redx Pharma (REDX) is raising $29m through a convertible loan note issue to Redmile and Sofinnova Partners and £812,000 via a share issue to Sofinnova.

Robinson (RBN) is paying an interim dividend of 3.5p a share. The packaging supplier did not pay a final dividend and the interim will be payable on 30 July to make up for that. First half trading was in line with expectations. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to be flat at £2.3m.

MAIN MARKET

Trading in Lookers (LOOK) shares has been suspended because it has not published 2019 results. They should be published in August. An investigation by Grant Thornton suggests that there will be a £4m non-cash write-off relating to fraud with a further £15m non-cash write-off for incorrect or inconsistent accounting, mainly relating to stock.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 March 2020

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Gin and spirits supplier British Honey Company (BHC) is using spare capacity in its distillery to produce # alcohol sanitisers. There is a shortage of sanitisers due to the coronavirus and HMRC has given permission for British Honey to produce denatured alcohol. The sanitisers are made with 70% alcohol and extracts of honey and green tea. Longer-term, the strategy is to buy other spirits brands to use spare capacity. British Honey started off as a honey producer and moved into craft spirits infused with honey in 2017. It has a computer-controlled, 1,000-litre capacity still and bottling facility with a capacity of 1.5 million bottles a year. Ingredients can be tracked. There has been £4m invested in this infrastructure. The existing products use a small proportion of this capacity. The company also produces spirits on behalf of third parties. Discussions have begun with some potential acquisitions. British Honey joined Aquis Stock Exchange at the beginning of the week and raised £4.25m (£3.88m after expenses) at 110p a share. Advanced assurance of eligibility for the Enterprise Investment Scheme has been obtained. The initial market capitalisation was £10m. Cairn is corporate adviser and Stanford Capital Partners is broker.

Sativa (SATI) is launching a cannabigerol (CBG) and alcohol-based hand sanitiser. CBG is thought to be effective as an antibacterial product and could combat superbugs.

Energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) reported better than expected 2019 pre-tax profit. Underlying pre-tax profit still dipped from £2.3m to £2.1m due to lower gross margins. Profit is expected to bounce back to £3.1m in 2020. Both business and domestic customers were higher last year. The total dividend has been increased from 3.5p a share to 3.7p a share. Net debt was £39.2m at the end of 2019.

Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) has decided not to pay the interim dividend of 6p a share announced the week before. The sharp downturn in trading and subsequent closure of pubs due to COVID-19 means that Shepherd Neame is also cutting capital investment and the board is taking a one-fifth cut in pay. Rent receipts from tenants were suspended from 16 March.

KR1 (KR1) has generated $168,000 from selling ATOM, taking the total raised from disposals to $290,000. It still holds nearly 17,000 ATOM.

Sheltered housing developer Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) has outperformed its benchmark for a third year in a row. The MSCI UK Residential index increased by 4.4% in 2019, while Walls portfolio increased by 23%.

BWA Group (BWAP) says that its subsidiary has been awarded an exploration licence for an area known as Dehane in central Cameroon. The focus is rutile sands and other minerals. The permit is for three years and the financial commitment in year one is £275,000, followed by £207,000 in each of the next two years. Tri Castle Investments is subscribing £100,000 at 0.5p a share.

First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £389,000 at 20p a share for working capital. VI Mining (VIM) raised £56,000 via a placing at 15p a share that was curtailed because of COVID-19. Further cash will be raised in the future.

Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) has secured a $200,000 facility from Augustin Corp, which is owned by a trust related to Eastinco executive chairman Charles Bray. The annual interest rate is 6 percentage points above commercial lending rates and the facility lasts for up to 18 months.

SAPO (SAPO) is holding a general meeting on 14 April to gain shareholder approval for increasing the share capital. Executive chairman Dr Keith Harris has been issued 20 million shares at 1p a share. The consideration will be paid by the end of 2024.

Belvedere Leisure Resorts (BELV) believes that once normality is resumed it can accelerate its resort development and deliver phase one on time.

Dozens Savings (DS07) says that 795 investors have subscribed for company bonds.

Trading in Dana International (DANA) shares remains suspended. The property investor is still trying to gain full information about share transfers.

Christian Taylor-Wilkinson has become interim chief executive of Altona Energy (ANR) following the resignation of executive chairman Qinfu Zhang.

AIM

Sales of COVID-19 tests by Novacyt (NCYT) continue to accelerate. It has received orders worth more than £8.7m in a six-week period. Manufacturing capacity is being increased.

Synairgen (SNG) is about to start a phase II trial for SNG001 for the treatment of an initial 100 patients with mild-moderate COVID-19. Initial results should be available by the summer. SNG001 is inhaled interferon beta, which has shown benefits in the treatment of SARS. The existing COPD phase II trial has been paused, but initial results suggest that there is clinical benefit.

Best of the Best (BOTB) would have been in trouble a decade ago when it generated its competition entries from airports and other areas of high footfall. Having gone online, the competitions organiser has continued to prosper. Additional marketing investment has helped the 2019-20 performance to be above expectations. The pre-tax profit forecast for the year to April 2020 has been raised from £2.6m to £3m.

Payment systems provider PCI-Pal (PCIP) has won a contract for its Agent Assist product with a UK government organisation. The annual contract value is £565,500.

Manx Financial (MFX) is buying back the 12.94% shareholding owned by Aaron Banks. Manx intends to pay £1.61m for the shares and then cancel them. This cash will become a loan to Manx and an existing £483,500 convertible will be added to the sum. Banks has requisitioned a general meeting at iodine manufacturer Iofina (IOF) in order to remove Lance Baller from the board and become a director himself. Banks does not intend to make a bid for the company.

Mobile payment services provider Bango (BGO) is still set to move into profit in 2020. End user spend doubled last year.

Indigovision (IND) is recommending a 405p a share cash bid from Motorola Solutions. This values the video security technology company at £30.4m. In 2019, pre-tax profit was $1.3m.

MJ Hudson (MJH) grew organic revenues by 12.5% in the first half. The asset management services provider has net cash of £20.1m following last year’s flotation. The acquisition of Meyler will expand the range of services provided in the US. The customer base is predominantly long-term and closed ended funds. A full year pre-tax profit of £1.1m is forecast.

Big Sofa Technologies (BST) has put itself up for sale and trading in the shares is suspended. The video and data analytics technology developer needs additional cash and it is difficult to raise funds in the market when there is so much uncertainty. The company expects proposals by the end of April.

The Wressle oil field development in north Lincolnshire is set to commence production in the second half of 2020 and Egdon Resources (EDG) has a 30% stake and is operator. Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) and Union Jack Oil (UJO) also have interests. The breakeven oil is estimated at $18/barrel. Production could start at 500 barrels a day. An application has been allowed against North Lincolnshire council for costs relating to delays in gaining a permit.

Diagnostic and precision testing services provider Diaceutics (DXRX) boosted revenues by 30% last year following its flotation. Although gross margins improved, a significant increase in headcount meant that pre-tax profit dipped to £500,000. The initial benefits of the investment in the business are showing through growth in Asia and other regions.

Regional property investor Real Estate investors (REI) increased its dividend by 7% to 3.8p a share. Like-for-like rental income was slightly lower at £16.9m and the weak retail property market led to a 3% reduction in EPRA NAV to 67.4p a share. Loan to value is 46.7%. The Midlands property market is strengthening ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. An improvement in NAV to near-69p a share is forecast for 2020.

Xeros (XSG) has signed a joint development agreement with a global commercial laundry business. XFiltra micro-particle filtration technology will be included in the partner’s commercial washing machines. The EU plans to have micro-particle filtration in use by 2026. Xeros is likely to need to raise more cash next year.

Oncimmune (ONC) says NICE has completed a positive review of EarlyCDT Lung and believes that it can help in the early diagnosis of lung cancer.

MAIN MARKET

Trading in the shares of Boston International Holdings (BIH) has been suspended ahead of the proposed acquisition of invoice factoring company Alexanders Discount Ltd, which is based in the South East. Alexanders Discount accounts for the year to November 2019 are for a dormant company and the assets were worth £4. The standard list shell floated in October 2016.

Telecoms services provider Toople (TOOP) says that the integration of DMSL is ahead of plan and it has won two new contracts.

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) is partnering with Novamed for an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic kit. The kit should be completed within four months.

AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has signed a conditional share purchase agreement for Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT services developer. AIQ is paying £2.3m in shares.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 16 March 2020

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) edged up its interim profit helped by a strong performance from tenanted pubs and lower interest charges. In the six months to end December 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £79m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved 5% to £6.2m. Cost pressures held back the performance of the managed pubs. There was a fall in profit contribution from brewing. Net debt was £84m at the end of 2019. The interim dividend was increased by 2% to 6p a share. Brewing volumes have increased since the period end and like-for-like pub revenues continue to grow, although the rate is slower for managed pubs. Coronavirus has not had an impact yet but it is likely to.

Altona Energy (ANR) is raising up to £400,000 through an open offer to existing shareholders at 6.5p a share. That is a one-third discount to the previous mid-price. The cash is required to acquire a new petroleum exploration licence application in South Australia and the maximum will provide 12 months working capital. This will enable assessment of an in-situ gasification project. There is also potential for wind and solar projects in the area. There was an overdraft of £96,000 at the end of June 2019. The latest time for acceptance is 31 March.

European Lithium (EUR) reported a dip in interim income in 2019 from $23,817 to $3,365, while the loss was flat at $2.3m. There was $32,000 in cash at the end of 2019. There are convertible notes valued at $1.1m, some of which have been subsequently converted, but more have been issued.

KR1 (KR1) has been hit by weak Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices, but it had already banked some of its profit. The value of the remaining portfolio has dropped sharply. There will be an update shortly.

Rutherford Health (RUTH) has requested a subscription of £9.64m at 176p a share under the Woodford Commitment at the time of the company’s flotation. LF Equity Income Fund, formerly LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, will own 28.8% of the proton beam therapy company. This is the final subscription under the agreement.

Former investment banker Dr Keith Harris has been appointed as executive chairman of SAPO (SAPO) and Selwyn Lewis is joining the board as an executive director.

Fuel emulsification company SulNOx Group (SNOX) has filed an international patent application for its technology. It has already filed for the patent in the UK. The technology can be used for many fuels but the focus is diesel and heavy fuel oil.

Cannabis investment company World High Life (LIFE) has raised £2.36m from two issued of convertible loan notes with a 10% coupon. The conversion price is 100p a share.

Trading in First Sentinel 7% bonds, February 2023, First Sentinel preference shares and EPE Special Opportunities 7.5% unsecured loan stock, 2022 has been suspended because of the market maker temporarily withdrawing from market making activities.

AIM

OnTheMarket (OTMP) has ended its litigation with Connells and its subsidiary Gascoigne Halman. The property portal had already won a judgement in a Competition Appeal Tribunal and it was seeking the recovery of further damages. Earlier in the week, Ian Springett was dismissed as chief executive of OnTheMarket. He has a 12 month contract and earns £250,000 a year.

Geospatial software provider IQGeo (IQG) reported an increased loss last year, but that masks the progress made. Third party revenues declined. In 2019, total revenues fell from £9.98m to £7.81m, however, own product revenues increased from £4.74m to £5.55m, while recurring revenues contributed £1.63m, up from £918,000. More people were employed in sales and product development and operating expenses jumped from £6m to £9.5m. That is why the loss increased from £1.6m to £6.17m. There was still £13m left in the bank at the end of 2019, following £11m spent on buying back shares.

Mass spectrometry instruments developer Microsaic Systems (MSYS) continues to add to its partners. Last year, revenues rose 51% to £870,000 with the benefit of the newer agreements still to come. Higher development spending meant that the loss edged up to £3.1m. There was £2.62m in the bank at the end of 2019 and management admits it is assessing its options in terms of raising more cash.

Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) had a stronger second half, following the profit warning in the first half due to bad weather. The outcome in 2019 was slightly better than the previously downgraded expectations. Even so, revenues fell 5% to $89.3m and pre-tax profit was down by a similar percentage. The dividend was reduced by 1% to 18.75 cents a share. The additional dividend relating to excess cash (net cash was $23.8m) is 7.7 cents a share. Increased costs mean that there could be a further decline in profit this year.

Mark Greenwood has further increased his stake in Richland Resources (RLD) by buying the market and acquiring shares in a placing at 0.12p a share, which raised £100,000 for the company. Greenwood’s stake is 18.5%. The share price is one of the few AIM risers this month.

The Panoply Holdings (TPX) has acquired consultancy Ameo Professional Services, which generates 9-% of its revenues from the public sector. Ameo made a pre-tax profit of £1m last year and is being acquired for £7m in cash and shares, plus the distribution of £1.3m in excess cash.

Molecular diagnostics developer Yourgene Health (YGEN) is acquiring its French distributor and this will be immediately earnings enhancing. Yourgene will still make a loss in 2020, but the following year earnings per share will improve from 0.18p to 0.23p.

Open Orphan (ORPH) has reported positive results for the phase IIb field study of FLU-v vaccine, which has been developed by a 49%-owned joint venture. The results have been published in a journal. IP Group has cut its stake to below 3%.

Redx Pharma (REDX) says it has received a bid approach from Yesod Bio-Sciences, which is considering offering 15p a share. Redmile Group is making a mandatory offer of 15.5p a share, following its purchase of the 39.5% stake owned by Moulton Goodies, which obtained most of its shares at 5.25p each when it capitalised its £2.5m loan. Redmile owns 45.5% of Redx, which is valued at £29.5m. The board recommends the bid.

Brickability (BRCK) has made its second acquisition in one month. It is paying £6m for plastic fascia and guttering merchant U Plastics, which made a pre-tax profit of £1.3m in 2019.

MAIN MARKET

Moss Bros (MOSB) has agreed a 22p a share bid that values the suit hire and retail company at £22.6m. The bid vehicle is owned by people involved in the apparel sector, including Michael Shina of Crew Clothing. The main executives will be retained.

Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) has discovered accounting irregularities. The fraudulent transactions in one of the operating divisions mean that the 2019 figures will be delayed until late April. These transactions should not be significant for the group. Chief operating officer Cameron Wade has resigned.

Standard list shell Hertsford Capital (HERT) has agreed the acquisition of oil services provider OTAQ Group for £12.4m through an issue of shares at 57.5p each (post-consolidation). A placing will raise £1.5m at the same price. OTAQ designs and supports products for the aquaculture and offshore oil and gas sectors. The focus is on growing the aquaculture operations. The company will change its name to OTAQ and be readmitted on 31 March.

Sure Ventures (SURE) is raising £250,000 at 100p a share, which is a premium to NA of 95.74p a share. This followed news of an investment by 25.9%-owned Sure Valley Ventures in AI security company Getvisibility. The fund has invested €750,000. The cash will be used to expand the business internationally.

Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has spent more than one year trying to finalise the acquisition of cannabis processor Kanabo Research and a commitment to invest £1.4m has been secured. At the end of 2019, there was £597,000 left in the bank.

Dev Clever (DEV) is acquiring Phenix Digital, a digital agency focused on the educational sector. It is paying £100,000 in cash and 3.57 million shares. There is an existing relationship between the two companies.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 30 September 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Peel Hunt has edged up its pre-tax profit forecast for brewer and pubs operator Shepherd Neame (SHEP) following the publication of its figures for the year to June 2019. They showed revenues of £145.8m and pre-tax profit of £11.4m, which was slightly better than expected. Brewing profit more than halved to £900,000 after the Asahi contract ended, but this was more than made up for by the contribution from managed and tenanted pubs. Own-brewed volumes have risen by 5.8% in the first few weeks of the year and managed ad tenanted pubs are showing like-for-like income increases. Debt costs will be lower than previously expected so the 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast has moved from £11.5m to £11.7m, which will allow a slightly higher anticipated dividend of 31p a share – twice covered by earnings. There is potential to acquire more pubs.

In the 17 months to May 2019, pubs operator and automotive dealer Barkby Group (BARK) made a pre-tax profit of £75,000 on revenues of £6.29m. Stripping out the amount acquisitions were made under net asset value and acquisition cost, the profit is £135,000. The addition of pub sites, taking the total to six gastropubs and inns, and the purchase of Centurian Automotive, will significantly increase revenues in the latest 12-month period. The plan is to have up to 12 pub sites within five years.

Karoo Energy (KEP) is changing its name to IamFire and raising £143,000 at 2.4p a share. Burns Singh Tennent-Bhohi has been appointed as an executive director and Jeremy Ross joins as a non-executive. They are both directors of cannabis company Eurocann International (BUD). The existing business is being sold to Noel Lyons and other opportunities in the oil and gas and base and precious metals sectors will be assessed.

National Milk Records (NMRP) has been hit by a cyber attack and this will reduce profit this year. It has interrupted IT operations and EBITDA is set to be 10% lower than expected in the year to June 2020.

WH Ireland has published a broker note on Cadence Minerals (KDNC) and this suggests that the 27% stake in the Amapa iron ore mine in Brazil is a potential company maker, even before any benefits from the lithium project investments. The mine produced between 2007 and 2014 before being closed because of an incident at the port on the Amazon and a falling iron ore price. The total resource is estimated at 245Mt grading 41% Fe, but this figure dates back to 2012. The mine life could be 15 years. Capex of $168m will be required to restart mining and processing. The 27% stake will effectively cost Cadence less than £6m. The other shareholder is Singapore-based commodity trader IndoSino. If other investors are sought, then Cadence has the right to increase its stake to 49%.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) plans to consolidate every 20 existing shares into one new share. A general meeting will be held on 16 October. Primorus expects its A$500,000 loan note with Zuuse to be repaid, plus interest, in the next couple of weeks.

St Mark Homes (SMAP) reported an improvement in interim pre-tax profit from £18,000 to £84,000. The housebuilder achieved this improvement because of a much larger share of the operating profit in a joint venture and increased interest receivable. Admin expenses rose even though revenues were lower. NAV is 126p a share.

Recently floated cash shell World High Life (LIFE) plans to acquire Love Hemp in return for £4m in cash and the issue of 30 million shares. A further £2m could become payable in the next three years depending on the achievement of turnover targets. If more than target turnover is achieved in any year then the vendors will receive 5% of the excess. Love Hemp is a supplier of CBD and hemp products and it made a pre-tax profit of £532,000 on turnover of £2.5m in the year to June 2018. World High Life plans to raise up to £5m in order to finance the acquisition.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says joint venture DJT has applied for a licence to grow >0.2% THC cannabis and has been registered with the Drugs Licensing and Compliance Unit of the Home Office. DJT has acquired Aristaeus Elements, which is setting up as a cannabis extraction and processing facility, for £1 and assumption of debt of £51,000 – the deposit paid for the equipment for the plant. The plan is to finance the investment in the facility through debt secured against offtake contracts.

Blockchain-related investment company Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) reported a dip in revenues from £1.33m to £109,000, but a reversal of an impairment charge and gains on financial assets meant that it still made a pre-tax profit of £242,000, down from £554,000 the previous year. The non-cash gains meant that cash fell from £592,000 to £475,000 over the six months to June 2019. NAV increased from £2.36m to £2.59m.

First Sentinel (FSEN) reported a fall in interim revenues from £963,000 to £710,000, while the loss increased from £46,000 and £114,000.

Panther Metals (PALM) says that early identification of an area of the Big Bear project in Ontario shows high gold grades. The 100% owned area has been extended via the acquisition of four additional mining claims.  

NQ Minerals (NQMI) generated revenues of £14.2m in the first half of 2019. The Hellyer polymetallic mine was not in production in the corresponding period last year. There was still a £17.9m loss because of high admin expenses. There was £65.6m of debt at the end of June 2019 and management believes that it can get more favourable terms now the mine is up and running.

AIM

Domain name registry Minds + Machines (MMX) is improving the quality of its earnings and it is nearer to sorting out legacy problems. Renewal revenues almost cover costs. Interim net revenues increased from $5.3m to $7.4m, while pre-tax profit trebled to $1.8m, helped by a full six month contribution from ICM. A full year pre-tax profit of $4.1m is forecast. Operating expenses should rise much slower than revenues and cash generation should be strong. A $5.1m cash payment will be made in the second half in order to cover those legacy costs. Even after that, the company should have net cash of more than $5m at the end of 2019. Longer-term, Minds + Machines could become a dividend payer.

Pelatro (PTRO) is dependent on fourth quarter licence sales to achieve forecasts following the 14% increase in interim revenues to $2.7m. That means that second half revenues of the telecoms marketing services and technology provider need to be $7.8m to achieve the 2019 target. There are some large potential sales in the pipeline, but delays of a few weeks could mean that they drop into 2020. Repeat revenues more than doubled in the first half because more of the business won has been in the form of revenue gain share contracts that take time to build up and produce revenues over a longer period than a one-off licence, which is recognised as revenue straight away.

Maestrano (MNO) has conditionally agreed to acquire Airsight Holdings, which offers engineering surveying services using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. Airsight had revenues of A$1.04m in the year to June 2019 and it is loss making because of development spending. Maestrano will issue 73.4 million shares to pay for the acquisition. There could be further payments depending on revenues. The Maestrano chairman is a shareholder in Airsight.

Escape Hunt (ESC) increased revenues from £800,000 to £2.2m in the first half of 2019 but it remains loss-making. Franchise revenues were flat, and all the growth came from the operated sites. Escape Hunt has signed an agreement with Proprietors Capital Holdings for the roll-out of franchise sites in North America.

Mattress supplier eve Sleep (EVE) reduced its loss but cash is still flowing out of the business. Net cash was £12.5m at the end of June 2019 and it is expected to be £8m by the end of the year.

MAIN MARKET

S and U (SUS) is adding new motor finance business even though loan standards have been tightened. Motor finance business Advantage Finance is on course to achieve its 20th year of profit growth. Bridging loans provider Aspen made a profit of £502,000 in the first half. Interim pre-tax profit rose by 3% to £17.1m and the dividend was increased by 6% to 34p a share.

Suit hire and retail business Moss Bros (MOSB) broke even, before the IFRS16 accounting changes for leases, in the six months to July 2019, which was slightly better than expected. A full year loss is still expected because despite like-for-like retail sales growth, hire revenues are declining and the IFRS16 changes will knock £2.5m off pre-tax profit. There was cash of £18.2m at the end of July 2019.

finnCap has reduced its 2019-20 forecasts for InnovaDerma (IDP) following its figures for the year June 2019. The beauty and health products supplier increased revenues by one-fifth to £12.9m and pre-tax profit more than doubled to £1.4m. This year’s pre-tax profit is expected to be £2m, down from £2.3m previously, because higher costs relating to marketing more than offset improved sales expectations. To put this in perspective, the 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast back in August 2018 was £2.6m. InnovaDerma needs to start meeting forecasts rather than having them downgraded on a regular basis.

Tex Holdings (TXH) has appointed Price Bailey LLP. Trading appears to be picking up in the plastics and engineering businesses. There is a record order book of £12m.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 23 September 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) continues to progress its development plans and some of the benefits are shown by the near-doubling of conference and events revenues in the first half. The remodelling of the main parade ring has been completed and a contractor appointed for work on the Royal Box, which will cost £2.5m. In the six months to June 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £7.57m, even though one race day was lost, and there was a slightly lower pre-exceptional loss of £317,000. There is a danger that legislation relating to fixed odds betting terminals could have a knock-on effect on Newbury’s revenues from bookies in the second half.

Shepherd Neame (SHEP) will be releasing its annual results on Wednesday. Peel Hunt expects pre-tax profit to be 5% lower at £11.2m, because there was no contribution from the Asahi brewing contract that ended in 2018. Excluding that contract, profit could have risen. Pubs have grown their like-for-like income and brewing volumes have recovered, but second half profit could be minimal. NAV of 1664p a share is forecast.

Healthcare IT provider DXS International (DXSP) has been hit by a short-term lack of sales activity in the NHS. In the year to April 2019, DXS reported an increased loss of £200,000, up from £46,000. Revenues dipped from £3.41m to £3.35m. More than £1m was spent on developing products during the year.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says that dry herb medical inhalation system Hapac has been refined and sales of the device and Hapac sachets are growing. However, legal uncertainty in Italy means that Hapac has been removed from sale while a court case over labelling and cannabis content is heard in Parma. There are plans to launch Hapac in other markets. Ananda has a 15% stake in Hapac’s owner. Edward Nealon has increased his stake in Ananda from 5.31% to 6.91%.

AfriAg Global (AFRI) says that Apollon Formularies, a Jamaican cannabis company where it owns 2.325% and it intends to acquire the rest of the shares, has completed a six week pilot opening of a medicinal cannabis therapy centre to treat patients.

Karoo Energy (KEP) is in discussions with investors so that the company can be recapitalised and settle outstanding creditors. NEX has agreed to defer the withdrawal of Karoo shares from trading ahead of the publication of a circular.

AFH Financial (AFHP) has bought another IFA. It is paying up to £3.2m for Wirral-based Broadleaf Financial Services.

LF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital Trust own 50.6% of Rutherford Health (RUTH) following the latest cash injection of £12.5m at 176p a share.

AIM 

StatPro (SOG) is recommending a 230p a share cash bid from Confluence Technologies. That is a 55% premium to the market price and the share price has never been anywhere near that level. It is equivalent to more than 32 times last year’s earnings. Nearly two-thirds of the shares have agreed to accept the offer, which values the asset management software supplier at £161m.

Fulcrum Utility Services (LSE: FCRM) has managed to avoid publicity of its full year figures. On the plus side, they were released before the end of September so there is no danger of trading in the shares being suspended. They were in line with previous indications after multi-utility construction services provider Fulcrum and its auditors finally agreed on the way to interpret IFRS16, which relates to recognising revenues. Fulcrum is no longer allowed to take the revenues and profit from constructing its own utility assets through the income statement. Revenues were one-fifth higher at £48.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £7.9m to £8.6m. NAV is 20.5p a share.

Background and medical screening checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) grew its interim revenues by 17% to $11.6m and it is getting nearer to profitability. The underlying pre-tax loss was $500,000. This has prompted a small upgrade in the revenues forecast to $23.5m, but additional marketing costs mean that pre-tax loss is still likely to be $600,000. Net debt could be $700,000 at the end of 2019. Demand from the US labour market remains strong and ClearStar is building its presence in newer sectors.

MAIN MARKET

Standard list shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) is in talks to buy Alchemist Codes, a Malaysian IT consultancy and e-commerce app developer, for £2.3m in shares. Trading in the shares has been suspended. Due diligence is ongoing, and the shares will remain suspended until a readmission document relating to the reverse takeover is published. 

Advanced materials supplier Low and Bonar (LWB) is recommending a 15.5p a share cash bid from Germany-based FVB that values the company at £107m. The bidder says that its geographic reach will widen, and it will be able to enter the coated technical textiles market. Recent trading at Low and Bonar has been poor.

National Word (NWOR) is a standard list shell that has been launched by former Mirror boss David Montgomery so that he can acquire UK local newspapers.

Toiletries manufacturer Creightons (CRL) has agreed to acquire its premises in Peterborough for £3.8m. This needs to be agreed to be shareholders at a general meeting.

Argo Blockchain (ARB) has installed a further 1,000 cryptomining machines, taking the total to 6,000. That figure could double by next spring. In the six months to June 2019, Argo generated revenues of £2.93m and made a pre-tax profit of £947,000.

 

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 18 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

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.

AIM  

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.

MAIN MARKET 

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.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 11 March 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) reported a 1% increase in underlying 2018 pre-tax profit of £5.9m. Pubs provided higher revenues and profit, while the brewery reported a reduction in profit contribution due to the ending of third party contracts and a small decline in volumes of its own beers and ciders. The brewing volumes have recovered in the early part of 2019.

Good Energy (GOOD) is making a strategic investment in Zap-Map owner Next Green Car Ltd. This is a business that provides electric vehicle market data and will help Good Energy move into the electric vehicle charging market. The initial investment is £1.08m for a 12.9% stake and £800,000 of convertible loan notes. If the loan notes are converted and payment of deferred consideration of £720,000 dependent on achieving financial targets, then the stake will increase to 50.1%.

Gunsynd (GUN) and Northbay Capital Partners have agreed with TSX-V-quoted Oyster Oil and Gas Ltd to settle debts of C$1.43m with the company in return for the outstanding share capital of Oyster’s subsidiary that owns production sharing contracts in Madagascar and Djibouti. Oyster shareholders have to agree to the deal for it to go ahead.

IMC Exploration Group (IMCP) has commenced drilling on PL2551 in County Wexford. The drilling should help to prove the presence of a major gold mineralisation trend.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) has increased its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) by two million shares, taking the stake to 1.15%. The average cost is 1.71p a share. Over the next 18 months Greatland will pursue targeted exploration campaigns in Australia and accelerate the development in the Paterson region.

Ananda Developments (ANA) says 15%-owned Liberty Herbal Technologies reports that the first 11 weeks of sales of the hapac medicinal cannabis products in Italy have grown strongly from a low base.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) is acquiring three prospective lithium assets in Australia. They are Picasso in Western Australia, Litchfield in Northern Territories and Alcoota in Northern Territories.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) lost £204,000 in the near-13 months since incorporation. There was £69,000 in the bank at the end of September 2018. The reverse takeover of the 97.5% of CoalTech not owned by the company has still to be completed.

Barkby Group (BARK) has secured an eight-year operating agreement for the Queens Arms in East Garston, Berkshire. The pub and restaurant also operates a 120-capacity function room and 12 bedrooms.

Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has paid £3,500 for a 70% stake in financial adviser and investment firm Epsion Capital, which could provide advice to Eight Capital investee companies. Former ZAI corporate finance director and current Eight Capital non-executive director John Treacy is the sole director and other shareholder of Epsion, which is working on two corporate finance transactions.

Following the demise of Daniel Stewart, NQ Minerals (NQMI) has changed its corporate adviser to Arden, Gamfook Jewellery (GAMF) has switched to Peterhouse and VI Mining (VIM) has moved to VSA.

AIM  

Telephony services and technology provider Netcall (NET) is increasing its cloud revenues and bookings. Interim revenues improved from £11.4m to £10.7m but pre-tax profit dipped from £1.9m to £1.2m because of increased investment. Annual contract value has risen by 11% to £15.1m.

Tracsis (TRCS) improved its interim revenues from £18.1m to £19m and pre-tax profit will be higher than the £3.9m reported last year. There was £18.7m in cash at the end of January 2019. Chris Barnes has joined the transport optimisation software and services provider ahead of becoming chief executive.

Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) is buying 18 Money Shop sites for £1.5m. They are in north west England and Scotland and will be rebranded as Ramsdens. The pawn books of the sites and five others that will be closed are being acquired by Ramsdens. City Financial Investment has sold its remaining 9.73% stake.

WH Ireland (WHI) has raised £4.95m at 45p a share, which was a 30% discount to the market price. The cash will make sure that the broker has enough regulatory capital. Trading is tough and the operating loss in the second half will be higher than previously expected.

SimplyBiz (SBIZ) grew 2018 revenues by 15% to £50.7m and earnings per share were 28% higher at 11.9p. The supplier of compliance and business services to financial advisers continues to add to member numbers and sell more services to them. Net cash was £6.4m at the end of 2018.

DX (Group) (DX.) is making progress with its turnaround but there is still a long way to go. The parcel delivery business has restructured its business and raised prices to clients. The cash outflow was significantly reduced in the first half. DX could move back into profit next year.

Swallowfield (SWL) was hit by weak trading in its cosmetics manufacturing operations. The brands business maintained its revenues and profit. The second half outlook for manufacturing is better and costs have been reduced. The interim dividend was raised by 7.5% to 2.15p a share. Fidelity has increased its stake to 5.73%.

Ilika (IKA) has secured an 18 month project with Network Rail for the use of its Stereax battery technology in a ultra-low power wireless sensor for the network’s condition monitoring platform.

Pelatro (PTRO) has won a contract with Ooredoo Maldives worth $1.6m over three years. There is a fixed monthly fee and a share of the incremental revenue generated. There are also opportunities to cross-sell to other Ooredoo telecoms operations.

Cambria Automobiles (CAMB) has traded ahead of the first five months of the previous financial year. Although new car sales were lower, Cambria made more profit because of the higher value franchises. It was a similar trend in used cars. The aftersales operations increased sales and profit.

FFI Holdings (FFI) says that the film competition contracts business has been slow because of a lack of films and smaller productions. There are also possible claims. Delayed productions have hit the insurance agency business. That has reduced operating profit by $6m. The expected range for this year is $7.5m-$11m.

Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) reported a 11% increase in interim revenues to £46.7m and underlying pre-tax profit was 70% higher at £11.4m. That was partly down to lower development and marketing spending. Cash more than doubled to £31.6m, helped by a £10.2m placing. Net cash was £28.5m. The data from the phase III PQ Birch allergy study is expected in the next few weeks.

Finance provider ThinkSmart (TSL) reported a lower interim loss and there is cash in the bank of £11.3m. A special dividend of around 2p a share will return £44m to shareholders.

Accounting regulation changes mean that Paragon Entertainment Ltd (PEL) will not be able to recognise as much revenue in 2018 as it thought it would. That could reduce the figure by £700,000. The new range is £8.8m to £9.2m. The loss will be more than £2.5m. Revenues are expected to be higher this year.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (TXP) increased its proved reserves to 11,222 Mbbl at the end of 2018. Proved plus probable reserves are 19,275 Mbbl. NPV of future net revenues of proved reserves has increased by 18% to $79.8m.

Begbies Traynor (BEG) has completed a number of contingency engagements in the third quarter and there should be more in the fourth quarter. Corporate insolvencies are rising.

GetBusy (GETB) has increased its revenues from its core software products by 17% to £10.9m and it is making progress with its GetBusy productivity software which is in use with beta users. Cash generated from operations is being ploughed back into development spending.

Gfinity (GFIN) more than doubled its interim revenues from £1.8m to £4.4m with the growth coming from the managed services division, which includes the F1 Esports series. The Esports business is targeting breakeven in 2021.

Independent Oil and Gas (IOG) has rejected a proposed 20p a share bid from RockRose Energy (RRE) which would value the company at £26.6m. Trading in the standard list company’s shares is suspended due to the proposed $140m acquisition of Marathan Oil West of Shetland.

Housebuilder Springfield Properties (SPR) is on track to increase full year pre-tax profit from £9.8m to £16.1m, following a strong first half. The housing market is stronger in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. The business has a mix of private housing and affordable housing developments. The Walker Group acquisition takes the company further upmarket in price terms and will make an initial contribution in the second half.

PhotonStar LED Group (PSL) has raised a further £170,000 at 0.01p a share, while directors John Treacy and Jonathan Freeman intend to subscribe a £24,000 when the company has authority to issue more shares. A general meeting will be held where the company will become a shell and change its name to Bould Opportunities. The operating business is being wound down. Antos Glogowski has a 20.9% stake.

In the past ten months, the valuation of the property assets of Sutton Harbour (SUH) has increased by 7% to £45.7m.

MAIN MARKET 

Small company-focused investment company Athelney Trust (ATY) reported a 21% decline in NAV to 225.9p a share at the end of 2018, although that is not a surprise given the weak stockmarket at the end of the year. The final dividend was increased by 2% to 9.1p a share. The board is in the process of appointing a fund management team. The plan is to increase the size of the fund to between £50m and £150m.

Standard list shell Cobra Resources (COBR) has agreed to acquire the owner of a 100% right title and interest in the Prince Alfred licence in South Australia. Prince Alfred was a producing copper mine. There is also an entitlement to earn 75% of five tenements in South Australia. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund has converted £140,000 of convertible bonds and penalty payments of £210,000 into 140 million shares in WideCells (WDC) and that has nearly doubled the number of shares in issue. The first 60 million shares have been sold.

Andrew Hore

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