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Oberon Investments Group (OBE) is acquiring 63% of Logic Investments Ltd, which provides back office services to investment managers. Logic has funds under management and administration of more than £275m and Oberon Investments will merge its own back office operations with Logic. A placing raised £1.75m at 3.5p a share. Chairman Alex Hambro subscribed for 1.14 million of the shares, taking his stake to 1.64 million shares. The cash will be used to accelerate growth.
GP IT systems supplier DXS International (LON: DXSP) reported a 2% improvement in interim revenues to £1.65m, while the loss was £131,000 due to higher depreciation and operating costs. There was £399,000 in the bank at the end of October 2022. Management options can be exercised if annual turnover reaches £5m in the next three years. Hybridan forecasts revenues 2022-23 revenues of £3.61m with a pre-tax profit of £86,000.
Cooks Coffee Company (COOK) says UK sales were 41% higher in 2022, while sales in Ireland were 91% ahead. The focus is generating better returns from existing café sites, although there will be some new openings.
Healthy snacks supplier S-Ventures (SVEN) says full year revenues were £8.7m, but the inability to obtain ingredients hampered sales income. The operating loss is £2.6m. The revenues were one-fifth down on initial expectations for the year to September 2022. Supply problems have eased, and price rises have helped to offset higher costs.
Marula Mining (MARU) has appointed Geofields Tanzania to commence copper exploration at the Kinusi copper project, where Marula Mining owns a 49% interest, and £80,000 has been raised from a warrant exercise. Initial exploration results should be published in the second quarter of 2023.
Hydrogen Future Industries (HFI) is investing in hydrogen production facilities developer Tower Green. It has spent £100,000 in cash and shares on a 20% stake and has the right to invest a further £50,000 for another 10% stake. Tower has an agreement with Element 2 to supply hydrogen fuel to fleet operators. Hydrogen Future Industries has developed wind-based hydrogen production systems.
Tap Global (TAP) continues to rise following the previous week’s completion of its reversal into Quetzal Capital last week. There was £3.1m raised at 4.5p at the same time, even though the market price had not been that high since May last year. Chief executive David Carr acquired 190,000 shares at 4.1p each and finance director Anthony Quirke bought 135,135 shares at 4.4p each.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) lost money on the Great Christmas Carnival and the company is likely to make a small profit in 2022. The other parts of the business traded in line with expectations.
Quantum Exponential (QBIT) had £2.48m in cash out of net assets of £4.85m at the end of October 2022. There was a cash outflow of £313,000 in the previous six months.
Guanajuato Silver Company Ltd (GSVR) has restarted processing at the Cata mill at the Valenciana mine. The initial processing rate is around 8,000 tonnes/month.
Invinity Energy Systems (IES) says that its VFB technology has passed phase 1 requirements for UK government’s LODES competition, and it is submitting the application for phase 2. The competition offers £11m of funding to the winner.
AQRU (AQRU) says that Accru Finance is raising the threshold for minimum account deposits on its app to $250,000. This will reduce assets on the app, but hardly affect revenues. There will also be further cost cutting.
Rogue Baron (SHNJ) sold 930 cases of Shinju whisky in the fourth quarter of 2022. Revenues were $120,000.
Gunsynd (GUN) has raised £194,000 from partial disposals of stakes in three companies. Gunsynd has invested £150,000 in Strategic Minerals Europe, the holding company of Aberdeen Minerals, which is exploring for nickel-copper-cobalt deposits in north east Scotland. Shares were acquired at 2.5p each and Gunsynd has a 2.7% stake.
Hydro Hotel Eastbourne (HYDP) is paying a dividend of 23p a share, up from 21p a share last year.
Pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings (RFX) did much better than expected in the year to September 2022. Group revenues increased by 62% to £66.1m, while pre-tax profit jumped from £564,000 to £8.27m. Net cash is £8.84m. The total dividend is 9p a share. Earnings forecasts for 2022-23 were upgraded by 5% following a 6% upgrade in October.
Regional legal firm consolidator Knights Group Holdings (KGH) reported a 19% increase in interim revenues to £71.2m and underlying pre-tax profit was also 19% ahead at £9m. This was achieved in a flat market. Net debt was £35.6m at the end of October 2022. The interim dividend is 153p a share.
China-based Hainan Mining is funding the Bougouni lithium project that is wholly owned by Kodal Minerals (KOD). A $100m investment will be made into a joint venture providing Hainan Mining with a 51% stake. The work on the construction of the mine will be overseen by Kodal Minerals. Hainan Mining is also subscribing $17.75m for a 14.8% stake in Kodal Minerals and that money will be spent on other projects.
Mirriad Advertising (MIRI) is launching a strategic review and potentially putting itself up for sale. The board of the programmatic advertising business believes that Mirriad Advertising is undervalued even though it continues to make heavy losses. Revenues were £1.51m in 2022 and there was £11.3m in cash, which should last until the third quarter of 2023. The strategic review will consider how the business should be funded from then on. In-content advertising is set to grow significantly, but Mirriad Advertising has to have the funding to take advantage.
Legal services provider Gateley (GTLY) generated organic growth of 10% and improved profit by 12% in the first half. In the six months to October 2022, group revenues were 22% ahead at £76.1m, helped by contributions from the new patent activities, while pre-tax profit improved from £8.5m to £9.6m. The dividend has been raised by 10% to 3.3p a share.
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) grew revenues by 5% in the third quarter despite strikes and weak consumer spending. UK sales were flat, and the growth was in Europe. Gross margins declined. A full year pre-tax profit of £1.1m, down from £5m, is forecast.
Inland Homes (INL) chief executive Donagh O’Sullivan has resigned after little more than one month in the job.
Panther Securities (PNS) is paying a special interim dividend of 10p a share. The property investor says that it expects net assets to increase by £19m in 2022, mainly due to the removal of two derivatives liabilities relating to interest rates on debt. Loan-to-value is less than 40%. Debt refinancing discussions will begin later this year.
Online women’s fashion retailer In The Style (ITS) was hit in December by price cutting by rivals and difficulties in delivering orders. Revenues in the quarter to December 2022 fell by 22%. Full year revenues are expected to be £46m, which is not much more than the £44.7m generated in the year before flotation. The EBITDA outcome is likely to be a loss of between £4.25m and £4.75m. There was £3.2m in cash at the end of 2022. On 8 December, In The Style launched a strategic review and that continues.
Rockfire Resources (ROCK) has entered into a joint venture with Sunshine Gold for the Plateau gold deposit in Queensland. Sunshine Gold will fund all exploration for three years. Rockfire Resources will focus on the Molaoi zinc deposit in Greece.
Circle Property (CRC) intends to return at least £30m to shareholders by March 2023. Three-fifths of the portfolio has been sold in 14 months. At 220p, the shares are trading on a discount to NAV of around 18%.
Upgrades for Equals Group (EQLS) continue to push the share price higher. The forecasts had already been upgraded in December and earnings per share have been increased by a further 4% to 4.8p, up from 2.8p in 2021. There was £15m in the bank at the end of 2022.
Crimson Tide (TIDE) revenues were better than expected and that reduced the forecast loss. The mobile as a service technology developer is still on course to breakeven next year. Annualised recurring revenues are £5.8m, which is more than generated in 2022. The US provides additional potential.
Shanta Gold (SHG) produced 65,209 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,270 at the New Luika gold mine in Tasmania, which is just below guidance. Capital investment means that it could produce 66,000-72,000 ounces of gold at an all-in costs of $1,200-$1,300/ounce.
LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) as 2022 revenues and profit are at the upper end of guidance. Strong cash flow reduced borrowings with net debt one-third lower than expected at £24m. The finance director is leaving and being replaced with non-exec Will Hoy.
Medica Group (MGP) revenues and profit for 2022 should be in line with expectations. Improved radiologist capacity helped revenues improve from £61.9m to £77m, while pre-tax profit is set to improve from £7.4m to £13m. Acquisition opportunities are being evaluated.
Good Energy (GOOD) received applications for £16.7m of the corporate bonds on offer. The maximum application level was £20m. The energy supplier will issue the bonds on 30 June. At the company’s AGM, Martin Edwards was not re-elected as a non-executive director and four special resolutions, three relating to pre-emption rights and one about calling a general meeting at 14 days notice, were not passed. Edwards has been a director of Good Energy since its formation and has expertise in renewable energy generation. It is unclear whether the length of his time on the board was held against him by institutions or whether there was another reason for him being removed from the board. He was chairman of the remuneration committee.
South Africa-based social impact investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) says that occupancy rates of its core investment Kazuko Lodge are improving and it moved into profit last year. The weakness of the Rand has helped to boost tourist demand and room rates. In the year to February 2017, Inqo revenues increased from R10.7m to R17m and a loss of R4.72m was turned into a pre-tax profit of R10.3m, thanks to a rise in other income from R867,000 to R14m. Net cash was R2.3m at the end of February 2017. This year, the first revenues from Bee Sweet Honey and retirement savings scheme provider Four One Financial Services are anticipated.
Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying an interim dividend of 5.5p a share. The shares go ex-dividend on 6 July.
Phoenix UK has bought out a rival shareholder in Hornby (HRN) and this has triggered a mandatory bid at the purchase price of 32.375p a share. This purchase took Phoenix’s stake in Hornby to 55.2%. The bid values Hornby at £27.4m. Neither Hornby’s management nor Phoenix wants to lose the AIM quotation. The bid closes on 14 July.
Wynnstay (WYN) reported flat interim pre-tax profit of £4.07m prior to the goodwill write-down on the Just for Pets retail business. Pet retailing is a competitive market and it is consolidation. Just for Pets is relatively small and it loss has masked an improvement in the core agricultural division and the Wynnstay Sores retail business. A recovery in the milk price means that farmers are back in profit and are spending more money on feed. Net debt was £8.28m at the end of April 2017, which is higher than last time because of the rise in commodity prices. The interim dividend was increased by 5% to 4.2p a share. The full year profit is forecast to decline from £7.4m to £7.1m.
NWF (NWF) also benefited from a recovery in feed demand in the second half of the year to May 2017, although there was a decline in the year as a whole. The food and fuel distribution businesses both made improved contribution. The full year figures will be published on 1 August.
South America-focused gold miner Orosur Mining Inc (OMI) says that operating costs were between $800 and $900/ounce last year. In the year to May 2017, Orosur produced 35,371 ounces of gold, which is at the lower end of the expected range. There was net cash of $2.9m at the end of May 2017 even though a new underground mine has been developed. Orosur plans to commence a drilling programme in Colombia, while the deadline for a decision by Asset Chile on whether to back phase II of the Anillo project has been extended to the end of 2017, although Orosur can talk to other potential backers.
Timber importer James Latham (LTHM) reported better than expected full year figures. In the year to March 2017, revenues were 7% ahead at £199m and gross margins improved. Earnings per share were 4% higher at 55.8p and the total dividend is 15.35p a share, up from 14.3p a share. Net cash was more than £16m. Revenues were 3% higher in the first two months of the current financial year.
InterQuest Group (ITQ) continues to advise against acceptance of the bid from Chisbridge, which is a management backed takeover vehicle. Acceptances of the 42p a share cash bid have been received from shareholders owning 2.85% of InterQuest, which is added to the 40.5% of the share capital that already backed the bid. The offer has been extended to 13 July.
European Wealth Group (EWG) is raising £6.14m at 12.8p a share and could raise up to £3.07m more via an open offer to existing shareholders. The cash will be used to pay off debt and deferred consideration.
Tracking and security equipment developer Starcom (STAR) has raised £650,000 at 1.5p a share, with each share coming with one-fifth of a warrant exercisable at 2.5p a share for up to 12 months. Some of the cash will be used to pay $246,000 to YA II, which will reduce the drawn down convertible loan facility from $330,000 to $110,000. YA II has agreed to a conversion price for the rest of the facility of 2.5p a share up until the end of 2017.
Redx Pharma (REDX) has a chance of securing the funds it requires in order to come out of administration. Discussions are still at an early stage. It is unclear whether this will involve changes to management, given that the current management believed that it could string along Liverpool City Council and put off repayment of its loan. Redx has gained UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approval for oral cancer treatment RXC004. This provides permission for a phase Ib/IIa study for gastric, biliary and pancreatic cancer patients.
Clontarf Energy (CLON) is in talks to secure further projects and additional finance. Clontarf was recently awarded block 18, offshore Equatorial Guinea.
Myanmar International Ltd (MIL) raised a total of $7.3m via PrimaryBid.com and institutions, having initially wanted to raise between $3m and $5m. The Myanmar-focused investment company offered shares at $1.18 each – a 9.2% discount to the market price. Myanmar has achieved a broadening of its shareholder base. The enhanced proceeds are still expected to be invested within six months.
Digital media content business Brave Bison Group (BBSN) has appointed Claire Hungate, a former chief operating officer of ex-AIM TV production company Shed Media, as chief executive but she does not join the company until September. Brave Bison says that it does not believe a merger with fellow AIM company Zinc Media is in its interests.
Water treatment company HaloSource (HAL) has finally completed a £1.8m fundraising at 1.5p a share. The cash will provide working capital to help expand the drinking water business and develop the lead removal technology. The cash will fund the group into 2018. The new shares are more than one-third of the enlarged share capital. The completion of the conditional fundraising was announced on 21 April. There is no mention in the latest announcement of the investor that had tried to gain Chinese government approval to invest.
Gold producer and explorer Shanta Gold (SHG) raised £11m at 6p a share as part of a refinancing that also includes a new $50m debt facility to replace the existing $40m facility. Shanta is acquiring TSX Venture Exchange-quoted Helio Gold, which has gold exploration assets near to Shanta’s own licences, for $5.6m in shares. Shanta will be able to finance the commercial underground production phase at its New Luika gold mine.
Thor Mining (THR) has raised£460,000 at 0.9p a share and there is one warrant with each new share which is exercisable at 1.8p a share. Thor has agreed to acquire 25% of US Lithium, which has interests in Arizona and New Mexico, from Pembridge Resources for £59,000 and £30,000 will be provided to cover operating costs. There is an option to acquire the other 75% for 52.8 million shares at a deemed price of 0.9p each. Thor has completed a 50 hole drilling programme on the Dundas gold project in Western Australia. The results should come through in a few weeks.
First, the good news from TLA Worldwide (TLA). Management is obviously trying to suggest that it does not have contempt for investors by releasing a profit warning at 7am – its advisers must be doing something right. This is certainly a big improvement on publishing a profit warning at 6.26pm on 23 December 2016. TLA still thinks that it will be able to report its 2016 figures and post its accounts on 30 June. However, the trade receivables write-off is going to be higher than the previous guesstimate of $1.5m-$2.5m. The write-off is expected to be $3.2m and on top of that the negative effect of the accounting corrections on EBITDA is likely to be $3.6m, up from $2m previously. That will leave 2016 EBITDA at $4.8m. The interest charge will take up the majority of that figure. It is not just that, though. The original 2015 profit will be reduced by $1.9m. Net debt was $21.8m at the end of 2016 but a large chunk of the receivables that should have helped to reduce that figure are not going to come in. There is no dividend – unsurprisingly. The finance director has left, although he will be providing assistance for three months.
Superyacht painting and maintenance services provider GYG (GYG) is raising £6.9m at 100p a share prior to joining AIM on 5 July. GYG is valued at £46.6m at the placing price and the plan is to pay an annual dividend equivalent to 6.4% of the placing price, although it will be 3.2% for 2017. Last year, GYG generated revenues of €54.6m and made EBITDA of €6.7m.
China-focused healthcare investor Cathay International Holdings (CTI) says that it will receive just over $4m in dividends from 50.56%-owned subsidiary Lansens Pharmaceutical. The dividend will be paid on 4 August. Lansens’ subsidiaries have received insurance payments totalling $2.58m. Two directors were not re-elected at Cathay’s AGM because, although they received the majority of votes, they did not receive the majority of independent votes. Further re-election resolutions will be proposed in the next four months and they will only need a majority to be passed.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Communications to collaborate on an over the top service for brands and content rights holders, using Falcon’s Q-Flow technology.
SMALL CAP AWARDS 2017 WINNERS
Company of the Year
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music has gone from strength to strength since joining AIM in June 2015. The share price has risen by 600% in the past year. In May, £4.2m was raised at 690p a share.
The musical instruments market remains fragmented but Gear4Music is becoming one of the main players in Europe and it is opening distribution facilities in Europe as well as expanding its UK base. The investment required is holding back short-term profit growth and, in fact, pre-tax profit is expected to dip this year from £2.7m to £2.4m before rising to £3.3m in 2018-19.
IPO of the Year
Accrol Group Holdings (ACRL)
Tissue manufacturer Accrol had just celebrated its first anniversary on AIM when it was given this award. Accrol floated at 100p a share on 10 June 2016 and the share price has risen to 159.5p. Full year figures will be announced on 10 July.
Accrol is a leading supplier of tissue products to the discount sector and it has opened a new factory in Leyland, Lancashire. This investment takes annual production capacity to 143,000 tonnes. A ten-year lease has been secured on a 368,000 square foot warehouse in west Lancashire and this will become the central distribution facility. The warehouse management and logistics have been outsourced.
NEX Exchange Company of the Year
Chapel Down Group (CDGP)
English wines producer Chapel Down has been quoted on NEX and it forerunners for more than 14 years. Revenues have grown from £1.47m in the year to September 2002 to £10.2m in 2016. The Tenterden-based business made a small loss when it floated. Continuing operations moved from an underlying pre-tax profit of £156,000 in 2015 to £340,000 in 2016. Frosts have hit production this year but the outcome for wine production is still uncertain.
The company has developed brewing business Curious Drinks, which has separately raised money to build a new brewery but Chapel Down still effectively controls the business. The new Ashford brewery will be open in mid-2018 and this will free up space for further wine making at Tenterden.
Impact Company of the Year
African agricultural and forestry business Obtala is set to start to commercialise its operations this year. Up until now revenues have been modest but they are set to jump to £11.9m in 2017, trebling to £36.9m in 2018, which should be high enough to allow Obtala to make a profit in 2018. Hardman estimates that the Mozambique forestry assets could generate EBITDA of more than £25m in 2021. There are also plans to build up the orchard and horticultural business in Tanzania.
In May, Obtala acquired profitable sawn timber trader WoodBois International for $14.8m (£11.4m). The Copenhagen-based business sources timber from across Africa and sells it around the world. WoodBois has been short of capital to finance growth and it fits well with Obtala’s existing timber and forestry operations.
Executive Director of the Year
Nick Jarmany, Quixant (QTX)
Telematics technology provider Quartix is highly cash generative enabling it to finance growth in the UK, France and the US and pay increasing dividends. Chief executive Nick Jarmany founded Quixant in 2005 having spent more than two decades at Densitron Technologies. He guided the business to an AIM quotation in 2013.
The UK remains the dominant region for revenues but France and the US are growing strongly from low bases. Last year, US revenues more than doubled, from £256,000 to £677,000, but the loss was even higher than that because of the investment in sales and marketing and support services to enable growth over the next five years.
Transaction of the Year
Keywords Studios (KWS)
Outsourced video games services provider Keywords Studios has made numerous earnings enhancing acquisitions since it joined AIM but this award is for the purchase of Synthesis for up to €18m, which is one of eight purchases in 2016. This deal meant that Keywords became the global leader in localisation and voice-over recording for video games and added additional studios in Germany, France and Taiwan.
Keywords is expected to maintain a net cash position at the end of 2017 but this will depend on the level of acquisitions activity. There is a €35m bank facility that is not fully utilised and that could be used for further acquisitions.
Analyst of the Year
Andrew Blain, Cenkos Securities
Journalist of the Year
Jamie Nimmo, Evening Standard
Adviser of the Year
Fund Manager of the Year
Paul Mumford, Cavendish Asset Management
Malcolm Diamond (Trifast/Flowtech Fluidpower)