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Rogue Baron (SHNJ) joined the Aquis Stock Exchange on Friday. The company is a spirits brand developer, and its focus is the Shinju Japanese whisky brand and specialist tequila Copa Imperial Tequila. The idea is to build these and other niche brands to the point where larger drinks companies will want to acquire the brand. There was £755,000 raised at 7p a share. The share price ended the first day of trading at 8p (7p/9p).
Gunsynd (GUN) has already more than trebled the value of its investment In Rogue Baron, which was worth more than £1.8m, including accrued convertible interest, at the time of flotation. Gunsynd holds a 28.5% stake. Chris Akers has increased his stake in Gunsynd from 5.36% to 6.19%.
Sativa Wellness (SWEL) has taken more than £1.1m of bookings for its Covid-19 testing clinic business. This has been achieved by the Bath clinic and a further clinic has opened, plus 13 in-pharmacy and two mobile clinics. There could be 30 clinics by the end of April, ready for the easing of lockdown.
KR1 (KR1) has invested $200,000 into Automata Network’s seed funding round.
IamFire (FIRE) made a loss of £162,000 in the six months to October 2020. During the period, investments were made in WeShop and Bio2pure.
Upper Thames Holdings (UPPT) has net liabilities of £83,000 at the end of 2020 and since then £516,000 has been raised. The board will seek approval to change the company’s name to Valereum Blockchain.
Quetzal Capital (WENP) is raising £3m at 4p a share and issuing enough warrants exercisable at 8p to raise a further £3m. This will help to fund a reverse takeover or investment. NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £255,000 at 7p a share. Bluebell Investment and Consulting has invested £25,000 in Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) at 13.5p a share, which represents a 4.9% stake. Altona Rare Earths (ANR) has raised a total of £800,000 at 6.5p a share from placings.
Western Selection (WESP) has increased its stake in Bilby (BILB) by 698,737 shares at an average share price of 35.11p each. This takes the stake to 12.2%.
All Star Minerals (ASMO) has appointed SP Angel as broker.
AMTE Power (AMTE) raised more than initially expected in the flotation and this should provide the cash required for investment in the battery cells development business. AMTE raised £11.3m at 175p a share. The share price jumped to 233.5p on the first day of dealings. The battery cells nearing commercialisation are aimed at the high-performance vehicles, oil and gas equipment and energy storage markets. There are currently 16 potential clients that products are being developed for.
Engineer Avingtrans (LON: AVG) is raising £35m from the sale of the Peter Brotherhood business that came with the £52.7m acquisition of Hayward Tyler in September 2017. Peter Brotherhood was estimated to be worth £9.3m of that cost. Borrowings will be paid off. Net cash is expected to be £22m at the end of May 2021.
Kape Technologies (KAPE) is acquiring Webselenese for $149.1m. This provides the group with a consumer platform for privacy and security content, which will generate information and data on consumer trends. In 2020, the acquired business generated revenues of $64.5m and EBITDA of $30.7m. In 2021, Kape is expected to increase earnings from 15.8p a share to 25.4p a share.
Billing and customer relationship management software provider Cerillion (CER) has won a Middle East contract worth £5m over five years. The implementation will take up to 18 months.
Getech (GTC) is raising up to £6.25m via a placing and open offer at 22p a share. The cash will be invested in developing hydrogen products and services.
Online merchandising technology provider Attraqt (ATQT) improved its full year revenues by 8% to £21m, helped by an initial contribution from AI firm Aleph. The loss was reduced from £4.4m to £2.6m. Annualised recurring revenues were £21.1m at the end of 2020. A £500,000 loss is forecast for 2021 before a move into profit in 2022.
Cloud-based PCI payment services provider PCI Pal (PCIP) is gaining momentum in the US. In the six months to December 2020, revenues rose by 56% to £3.2m. More of these revenues are coming via channel partners. Total annual contract revenues were 59% ahead at £8.3m. There should be enough cash in the bank to get the company to the point where it is generating cash.
Shoe Zone (SHOE) says that it does not expect to pay a dividend until at least 2025. The footwear retailer expects to continue to lose money this year. The stores are closed at the moment.ch
Online women’s fashion retailer Sosandar (SOS) has agreed to sell a specialist collection of its products through Marks and Spencer (MKS). This follows deals with Next and John Lewis.
Coral Products (CRU) is repaying its £1.6m property mortgage out of the proceeds of its recent disposal. The £2.5m valuation of the Haydock site is expected to be increased in the next accounts. Coral has also repaid £500,000 of its CBIL loan with the other £433,333 likely to be paid before the year-end.
Business restructuring company Begbies Traynor (BEG) is acquiring of David Rubin & Partners for up to £25m. This takes the group’s market share to 12%. There is an initial £12m payable and the rest depends on performance over five years. Begbies raised £22m at 105.5p a share to help finance the deal, which should be immediately earnings enhancing.
Arden has upgraded its Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) forecasts due to higher crude palm oil and palm kernel oil prices. This means that Arden expects Dekel to be profitable in 2021.
Avation (AVAP) is raising £7.5m at 110p a share and this provides additional cash at a difficult time for the airline industry. NAV was previously 174p a share. Avation could continue to lose money for the next two years Net debt will still be more than $1bn.
Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL) is entering into a deal to acquire Cindrigo Energy, which owns Cindrigo Ltd, the company where a previous offer lapsed. The business is a developer of renewable energy projects using Swedish expertise in waste-to-energy and biomass. The shareholders of the target company will own 96.5% of the enlarged business.
Kanabo (KNB) has signed a production and supply agreement with PharmaCann Polska for cartridges containing Kanabo’s medicinal cannabis formulations. The initial production capacity is up to 36,000 cartridges. FastForward Innovations (FFWD) has sold its stake in Kanabo for a profit of £140,000. FastForward has also sold its Cellular Goods (CBX) for a £54,000 gain.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has raised £26.8m at 200p a share and this cash will fund the purchase of a further stake in Pluto Digital Assets. The £7.3m investment in Pluto will maintain the Argo stake at 25%. AIM-quoted Pires Investments (PIRI) owns 6.4% of Pluto.
The Financial Reporting Council has started an investigation into the audit of motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) by Deloitte for 2017 and 2018.
Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM) is increasing its first quarterly dividend by 30% to 13 cents a share. The strategy is to pay 30% of average cash generated by operating activities in the previous four quarters.
Pharmaceuticals developer Nuformix (NFX) is raising £1.565m at 2p a share. This cash will finance preclinical studies for the NXP002 inhaled formulation for lung disease and further research and development of formulations. Nuformix is waiting to see whether Oxilio will option the NXP001 cancer treatment. This option expires on 24 March.
Ashley House (ASH) is selling its stake in the Morgan Ashley joint venture to its partner for £2m, with £500,000 deferred for 12-months. Delays in the financial closure of projects has led to a shortage of funds at Ashley House and this deal means it does not have to put any more cash into the joint venture. The renewed focus will be modular buildings and the health and wellness buildings sector. Ashley House cannot work in the elderly care housing sector for three years.
Medicinal cannabis company Ananda Developments (ANA) says that 50%-owned DJT Plants has lodged an application to grow >0.2% THC cannabis. Ananda had net assets of £725,000 at the end of July 2019. That included cash of £162,000. In the six months to July 2019, more than two-thirds of expenses related to the licence application to the Home Office.
Clinical support systems supplier DXS International (DXSP) has been awarded a place on the NHS GPIT Futures framework from the beginning of 2020. This replaces the GPSoC2 framework and means that systems and services will be able to be bought centrally rather than with GP funds. DXS is on course to meet approvals for its specific systems and services. Three newly developed products will be placed on the NHS Digital Online buying catalogue.
Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) is changing its name to Eastinco Mining and consolidating 100 existing shares into one new share. It is also seeking shareholder approval for the ability to issue more shares. The share purchase agreement conditions for the acquisition of Eastinco have been satisfied. Six billion shares (this will be 60 million after consolidation) and £300,000 of nil coupon loan notes June 2025 have been issued. Heavy mining equipment is being transported to the Kuaka project.
Trading in the bonds of Via Developments (VIA1) has been suspended because a new independent non-executive director has yet to be appointed.
Woodford Investment Management has reported that it has cut its stake in proton beam therapy services provider Rutherford Health (RUTH) from 49.28% to 29.78%, but it is not clear who has acquired the shares.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has declared an interim dividend of 0.83p a share and that will cost £359,000. The shares go ex-dividend on 7 November.
Panther Minerals (PALM) plans to consolidate 20 existing shares into one new share and shareholders are being asked to vote for the resolution at a general meeting on 14 November. Panther has been granted its first exploration licence in the Northern Territory. The Marrakai project licence is in the Pine Creek Orogen and covers just over 10 km2. There are a series of gold prospects and there has been previous drilling in the area.
Footwear retailer Shoe Zone (SHOE) has reassured investors that it will be able to achieve the downgraded pre-tax profit of £9.5m. Net cash of £11.3m at the end of September 2019 is better than expected.
Monoclonal antibodies developer Bioventix (BVXP) reported a 6% increase in full year revenues, although the underlying growth was 16% due to the inclusion of back dated royalties in the previous year. Underlying pre-tax profit was 14% ahead at £7.1m. A 47p a share special dividend is proposed on top of the final dividend of 43p a share. Vitamin D antibody sales increased by one-quarter and they account for 46% of group revenues.
D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) says that its first half trading was in line with expectations. Interim revenues of the data analytics and collection company were £8.8m and this should be one-third of the full year total.
Oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) is acquiring additional acreage in Rio Negro province from the Argentine oil company CGC in return for assuming the liabilities related to the acreage. CGC is also subscribing for $1.825m worth of shares in instalments. The first instalment of $500,000 will be subscribed when the acquisition is completed. The total subscription could be the equivalent of 3% of President, depending on the share prices when the money is invested.
Thor Mining (THR) is raising £510,000 at 0.2p a share. The cash will be invested in the Molyhil and Bonya tungsten and molybdenum projects in the Northern Territory and a copper project in South Australia.
Vianet (VNET) says that its smart machines division is adding to its customer base and the contracts won in August mean that the growth will continue. Overall trading in the first half was in line with expectations.
TNG (TNG) is seeking to join the standard list. The titanium dioxide project owner already has an ASX listing. TNG owns the TIVAN process that enables production of ultra-white titanium dioxide pigment. The Munt Peake project in Australia will be the first to use the technology. The project will also produce vanadium. A final investment decision will be made as early as next summer.
Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) has been hit by weakness in its main markets. There have been reduced volumes in the automotive market. The forecast pre-tax profit for the year to March 2019 has been cut from £22m to £20.3m.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £824,000 at around 3p a share from the placing in Norway.
Standard list shell Rockpool Acquisitions (ROC) has signed heads of terms with a company in Nevada, which will subscribe for £1.6m of shares and convertibles at an issue/conversion price of 12p a share. Rockpool will make a further loan of £750,000 to Greenview Gas, taking the total to £910,000, which will be convertible into 40% of Greenview.
J Smart and Co (Contractors) (SMJ) increased full year revenues from £8.56m to £16m. The pre-tax profit improved from £5.82m to £7.27m, although that was mainly due to the net surplus on property valuations rising from £2.86m to £4.05m. A lull in contracting work means that this year’s profit is unlikely to improve.
Cash shell Baskerville Capital (BASK) still had £1.5m in the bank at the end of June 2019.
Bruce Pubs (PUB) has raised £100,000 from an issue of 7.2% bonds and trading has commenced on NEX. The pubs operator wants to raise up to £20m. The cash will be used to acquire pubs in Scotland. Bruce owns 18 licenced premises with another licence pending. Bruce Pubs is a subsidiary of the holding company Bruce Group, which had net assets of £3.8m at the end of June 2018.
Sativa Investments (SATI) is investigating ways of raising cash to finance the company’s glasshouse and working capital for the first cannabis crop. There are also talks with vets about using medicinal cannabis in animal health. Sativa is pleased with the platform that NEX has given the business. Imperial X (IMPP) is the latest NEX company to change its investing strategy to cannabis investments.
Trading in the shares of Clean Invest Africa (CIA) following news that it has negotiated an agreement to acquire the 97.5% of CoalTech LLC it does not own. The company has technology that can convert waste coal into coal pellets for industrial and commercial use. A circular will be sent to shareholders in the first quarter of 2019.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) has increased its stake in Greatland Gold (GGP) to 35 million shares, which is equivalent to 1.09%. The average cost is 1.71p a share. The investment has been made ahead of further drilling results at the Havieron gold/copper project in Australia.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) reported a NAV of 189.95p a share for the end of 2018.
President Energy (PPC) beat its production target for the end of 2018. The Argentina-focused oil and gas company was producing 3,300 boepd by the year end, which is 10% above the target. The latest drilling programme of three wells has been a 100% success. President intends to build on this base during 2019. The next reserves audit should be published in March. There should be a significant jump in profit in 2019. Panmure Gordon forecasts a 2019 pre-tax profit of $18.6m. The cash generated will help to finance forecast capital investment of around $40m during the year. The target price is 15p a share.
Gateley (GTLY) continues to trade strongly with organic growth supplemented by contributions from acquisitions. The legal services provider increased interim revenues by one-fifth to £46.4m, while pre-tax profit rose from £4.2m to £5m. Net debt increased from £7.1m to £8.2m after acquisitions spending and dividend payments. The second half tends to be more cash generative. More business is coming from litigation work but management is confident that its revenue recognition policies mean that the strong cash generation will not be hit.
Castleton Technology (CTP) is paying £1.8m for Deeplake Digital, which provides digital communications services between landlords and tenants. Thirty of its 90 customers are new to Castleton.
ATTRAQT (ATQT) is expecting to make a small EBITDA figure for 2018. The online shopping performance enhancement services provider will report its 2018 results on 14 February.
More woe for Footasylum (FOOT) as gross margins come under pressure. Revenues were in line with expectations over Christmas but less money was made from them as old stock was discounted. The 2018-19 loss forecast has been edged up to more than £5m.
Higher input costs mean that Accrol Group (ACRL) will not do as well as expected and it will make a significant 2018-19 loss after exceptional charges.
Packaging machinery supplier Mpac Group (MPAC) says 2018 trading was in line with expectations and the year has started with a strong order book. The company is assessing the potential additional cost of pension equalisation for its defined benefit scheme.
Bowleven (BLVN) is paying a 15p a share special dividend on 8 February. This will leave the oil and gas explorer with the cash it requires for its exploration programme.
Wealth manager Mattioli Woods (MTW) says that its interim EBITDA margin was substantially ahead of the 20% target. Gross discretionary assets under management were £2.4bn at the end of November 2018.
Churchill China (CHH) had a strong finish to the financial year with a better second half performance in the UK. The 2018 profit will be higher than expected. The figures will be published on 27 March.
Shoe Zone (SHOE) stands out amongst its peers because it has had strong 2017-18 figures and a good Christmas. Last year’s pre-tax profit improved from £9.5m to £11.3m. Forecasts have been upgraded with 2018-19 earnings per share increased from 16.4p a share to 17.6p a share based on flat profit and a higher tax charge.
Quiz (QUIZ) sales continue to decline, albeit at a slightly lower rate of 5% like-for-like. The fashion retailer had to discount and gross margins were two percentage points lower. Overheads are also too high because of the lack of growth. The full year profit forecast has been cut from £6m to £4.4m.
A North African order for the Helios product supplied by Starcom (STAR) has been delayed until 2019 so 2018 revenues will be lower than expected. The total order value is $1.1m and the majority was expected to be recognised in 2018. Even so, revenues were better than expected, but the loss will be higher.
A general meeting has been requisitioned at Angus Energy (ANGS) by shareholders owning 6.2% of the company. It is believed that former chairman Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius is behind this requisition, which involves the proposed removal of Paul Vonk from the board and the appointment of the Earl of Lucan and George Bingham. Non-exec Rob Shepherd has resigned. Angus has entered into a 24 month, £3m loan facility with YA II PN Ltd and Riverfort Global Capital in order to finance the development of the Balcombe field in the Weald basin. A £1.5m drawdown is planned immediately.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has acquired additional acreage in the Paradox Basin in Utah at a cost of $35,000. Rose believes that the new acreage could have an NPV10 of around $12m. The deal follows the results of the Schlumberger study which suggests that the site of a proposed well in the area should be in an optimal position.
Diurnal Group (DNL) has been granted a second patent for hydrocortisone treatment Chronocourt, which already has orphan drug designation. The patent lasts until 2033.
A £2m subscription and $5m investment into an internal finance note by 1795 Volantis Fund will provide Obtala Ltd (OBT) with additional funds. 1795 Volantis Fund will own 12.9% of Obtala, as well as 40 million warrants exercisable at 10p each. The disposal of a Tanzanian agricultural business will bring in a further $2.5m. Obtala intends to acquire the 25% it does not own in Montara Continental for $5m, which will be reinvested in the internal finance note.
Fuel cell developer Proton Power Systems (PPS) will own 33.33% of Hamburg-based Clean Logistics, which is being set up to build heavy trucks powered by fuel cell hybrid systems in the range of 75kw-150kw. The other two equal shareholders are Hopen, which has interests in battery and electric vehicle developers, and modular transport service provider Hary.
Sopheon (SPE) had a strong end to 2018. The software provider will provide more details in its trading statement later this month, when finnCap says it will reassess its forecasts.
Dekeloil (DKL) says that fourth quarter volumes were in line with expectations with a 2% increase in crude palm oil production on the third quarter. The annual production was 15% lower because of the weak first half. Selling prices have been at a premium to the market price. The purchase of a 43.8% stake in the Tiebissou cashew processing project has been completed.
Imaginatik (IMTK) has decided to sell its software business and assets to Planbox. The initial cash payment is $1.7m and up to $800,000 more could become payable. If it is all paid then the selling price would be higher than the book value of the assets. Imaginatik will become a shell with around £1m in cash left from the initial payment. If the disposal is approved by sharehodlers the company will change its name to Abal Group.
Telematics firm Quartix (QTX) continues to grow fleet sales but lower insurance sales are partly offsetting that growth. A supplementary dividend will be announced with the final dividend when the 2018 figures are published on 25 February.
Brighton Pier Group (PIER) says problems with the railways are hampering the income generation of Brighton Pier and earning shave been lower. The trading of the bars division was flat last year. Pre-tax profit will be around £3.2m, which is 18% lower than previous expectations.
Frontier IP (FIPP) says that its investee company Exscientia has raised $26m and is collaborating with Roche in a deal worth up to CHF67m. Frontier IP owns 3.32% of artificial intelligence-driven drug developer Exscientia.
InnovaDerma (IDP) has revealed a 6% dip in first half revenues to £3.9m, even though retail sales grew strongly. Direct sales fell, although there are indications that they are recovering. The cosmetic products supplier will have to do well in the second half to achieve full year forecast revenues of £14.4m.
Trident Resources (TRR) has £1.85m in the bank at the end of October. The shell raised £4m when it floated in October. The balance sheet includes trade receivables of £2.1m, although management says that it started the year with just under £4m in cash. Potential acquisitions are being assessed.
Wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) says that its open offer at 50p a share was oversubscribed. Excess applications will be scaled back. The additional £1.47m raised takes the total to £20m. BlackRock holds a 5.79% stake and Nigel Wray owns 16.2%.
Startup Giants (SUG) has made its first investment since floating. An undisclosed investment has been made in Go Show Ltd, which operates a brand marketplace designed to enable product placement deals (www.goshow.net), and it will be released when milestones have been achieved. Go Show initially applied for funding in 2015 and it has been mentored by Startup Giants. There is a target for revenue generation of up to £1m within 12 months. An accelerator round has also been launched by Startup Giants. It is aimed at early stage, UK-registered companies.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has increased its shareholding in Indorse from 3% to 6.5% at cost of S$175,000. There is an option to acquire a further 3.5%, at the same cost, to take the stake to 10%. Indorse completed a token sales last September and those tokens are currently valued at $34m. The Indorse platform is designed to enable users to generate income from sharing their skills and validating the claims of others.
African Potash Ltd (AFPO) has entered into an agreement with Gibraltar-based TokenCommunities Ltd. This deal will help the blockchain joint venture that has also already been announced with FinComEco Ltd, which is developing platforms for agricultural markets in sub-Saharan Africa. TokenCommunities will advise on the deployment of tokens. The chain will link smallholder farmers, traders, brokers, storage, transportation and commodity buyers. There are plans for microloans to farmers at an annual interest rate of 12%, which is lower than existing rates. African Potash has completed the raising of £400,000 at 0.025p a share.
Black Sea Property (BSP) has completed the €2.76m purchase of four plots of land with permission to develop a camping complex. It has also invested €3.37 to help finance the development of the site, which could be completed by the middle of the year. Black Sea Property raised €3.53m at €0.01 a share late last year.
Lake Acquisitions (U.P) says that the contingent value rights holders will not get a distribution for 2017. The cumulative relevant revenues from the eligible nuclear power output was £41.1m. The cumulative base revenues were £41.9m.
UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) has decided to drop its NEX Exchange quotation on 31 January. That is just over 27 months after it joined. The company says that there have been low levels of trading on NEX and it still has its primary quotation on AIM. Interestingly, oil and gas company UK Oil and Gas was formed many years ago out of the shell of a former technology equipment business, yet it is still classed under the technology hardware and equipment sub-sector of the technology sector in the AIM statistics.
Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS) reported maiden full year results as a quoted company that were slightly better than expected. The housebuilding infrastructure provider reported a dip in pre-tax profit from £10.8m to £9.1m on flat revenues of £135m. The total dividend is 6.3p a share. A 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £10.8m is forecast.
Ilika (IKA) reported a significant cash outflow in the first half but the outflow should be reduced in the second half. Interim revenues trebled to £1m and full year revenues of £2.9m are forecast. The loss is reducing. There are licensing proposals with a handful of potential customers and any one of these could transform the fortunes of Ilika.
EKF Diagnostics (EKF) has confirmed that trading was strong in 2017 and EBITDA will be much better than the £8.8m forecast. EKF plans to spin-off its sTNFR biomarker technology into a separate company. This technology has no value in the balance sheet.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal Group (DNL) says that its Akindi treatment has performed well in a food matrix study in the US and it will be able to move onto the next stage in the process of gaining US approval. European approval for Akindi is expected in a matter of weeks. There was £14m in the bank at the end of 2017. The interims will be published on 12 March.
Lombard Risk Management (LRM) is recommending a 13p a share cash bid, which was nearly double the market price. The bid from rival financial services technology supplier is valued at £52.1m.
Somero Enterprises (SOM) has sparked another forecast upgrade with the 2017 pre-tax profit forecast rising 8% to $25.9m. Net cash should be at least $18.5m and that could rise by around $10m by the end of 2018. That leaves room for another special dividend as well as growth in the ongoing dividend. The tax changes in the US had already led to a one-fifth increase in the 2018 earnings per share forecast to 34.4 cents, which has been raised again to 36.8 cents.
Engineer Avingtrans (AVG) says that trading is on track and the integration of Hayward Tyler continues. A pre-tax profit of £2.2m is forecast for the year to May 2018 and this should generate nearly enough earnings to cover the forecast dividend of 3.6p a share.
Tough market conditions and adverse currency movements have not stopped motor dealer Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) trading ahead of expectations. Forecasts had already been upgraded and the 2017 pre-tax profit estimate has been raised a further 2% to £28.8m. However, a decline in pre-tax profit to £23.5m is forecast for 2018.
Smart meter communications technology provider CyanConnode (CYAN) continues to progress but the timing of orders has been delayed. The order book is worth $100m but 2017 revenues were £1.2m and the loss more than £10m. This year’s revenues are forecast to be £10m and the loss £7m. There should be enough cash to last the whole of 2018.
Strategic Minerals (SML) generated fourth quarter revenues of $2.14m from magnetite ore sales at Cobre. The 2017 total revenues of $5.64m were quadruple the previous year. Strategic had $3.8m in the bank at the end of 2017.
Online Blockchain (OBC) has taken advantage of its rising share price to raise £1m at 100p a share.
Fashion retailer Footasylum (FOOT) increased revenues by one-third to £89.8m in the 18 weeks to 30 December 2017. The fastest growth came from e-commerce. The revenues for the 44 weeks to 30 December 2017 also improved by one-third to £173m. These are not like-for-like increases and six stores were opened in the past 18 weeks.
There was a small decline in the full year revenues of Shoe Zone (SHOE) from £159.8m to £157.8m. The shoes retailer did improve its gross margin from 62% to 63.2% but higher admin and distribution costs offset this and pre-tax profit fell from £10.3m to £9.5m. The total dividend was edged up from 10.1p a share to 10.2p a share. Net cash was £11.8m at the end of September 2017. The pension fund liability has fallen from £13.1m to £7.1m. Consumer demand and currency movements remain the main challenges.
BNN Technology (BNN) directors Harry Keiley and Lord Mancroft are following the nominated adviser out of the door. Mark Hanson becomes non-executive chairman.
Film completion contracts provider FFI Holdings (FFI) has acquired the motorsports entertainment insurance book of business from All Risks for $1.825m. The acquisition has been made by Reel Media, which itself was acquired before Christmas for $7.25m in total.
Background checking services provider ClearStar (CLSU) traded in line with expectations in 2017. Revenues were 11% higher at $17.8m and the loss was reduced. There was net cash of $1m. The loss should be further reduced in 2018.
Masawara (MASA) and Kimberly Enterprises (KBE) both plan to leave AIM. Two shareholders own 90% of Masawara. Minority shareholders are being offered 25p a share or the chance to convert the shares into preference shares. Eastern European property investor Kimberly has net liabilities of €24.1m and sold most of its property assets. The lease agreement for the Marina Dorcol project has been terminated.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) has completed the enrolment of its 560 plus patient phase III trial for a treatment for patients with allergic rhino conjunctivitis due to birch pollen. The results of the trial should be available before the end of this year. The potential market is worth around £3bn.
Two large clinical trial contracts have been delayed and this means that Cambridge Cognition (COG) 2017 revenues will be 18% lower than expected. This means that there will be a loss for the year.
Telematics equipment and services provider Quartix (QTX) pleased the market by growing its 2017 revenues by 5% to £24.4m. This means that earnings per share forecasts have been raised from 11.8p to 12.3p.
Geospatial software company 1Spatial (SPA) has won a five-year contract from the state of Michigan in the US worth $766,000. Liontrust has sold all its 9.35% stake.
Xeros Technology Group (XSG) has launched its domestic washing machine that can cut the use of water, detergent and energy by up to 50%. A second development agreement has been signed with a commercial washing machines manufacturer.
Oracle Power (ORCP) is acquiring the minority stake in coal mining lease owner Sindh Carbon Energy for up to £3.6m in shares.
APC Technology Group (APC) has acquired electronic components distributor First Byte Micro for £1.2m. In 2016, First Byte made a pre-tax profit of £194,000 on revenues of £1.3m.
Reconstruction Capital II (RC2) has acquired stakes in two funds that own 60% of Romanian paints and coatings supplier Policolor. This will mean that Reconstruction Capital II has an effective stake of 55.36% in Policolor and make it easier to liquidate the investment.
BOS Global (BOS) wants to raise £1.2m at 1.25p a share to settle debts and provide working capital. The software company says the directors will not be paid until April and one of them, William Giles, will subscribe up to £300,000 in the placing and open offer.
Connemara Mining (CON) has announced drilling results from the Mine River gold project in Wicklow and Wexford. Most of the intersections contained gold at grades of less than 1g/t but two were more positive with 4.53g/t over eight metres and 16.1g/t over two metres.
Versarien (VRS) is collaborating with an Asia-based global textiles manufacturer on incorporating graphene into fabrics via yarns and finishes.
E-commerce-focused cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) soared as trading commenced on the standard list and trading in the shares had to be suspended after three days. There appear to have been nearly 1.4 million shares traded over three days, which is 2.8% of the shares in issue. Cayman Islands-based AIQ, raised £3.6m after expenses, at 8p a share. The suspension price is 125p. That means that the quotation and £3.6m in cash are valued at £62.5m. The plan is to seek an e-commerce acquisition, which has a strong management and is near to cash generation.
Bio-decontamination products supplier Bioquell (BQE) has completed the £122,000 disposal of the UK AirFlow parts and manufacturing business and received the final £70,000 for the sale of the service business. There was already net cash of £14.5m at the end of 2017. Full year revenues were better than expected at £29.3m, up from £26.8m and pre-exceptional profit will be much better, even before the £250,000 gain on the Airflow disposals. The 2017 figures will be published on 7 March.
Software supplier Gresham Technologies (GHT) says 2017 revenues were 24% ahead to £21.3m and more of these revenues are coming from Clareti enterprise data integrity software. There is £8.5m in the bank. Kestrel has trimmed its stake from 14.9% to 12.5%.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has won a cyber communication technology contract with a government worth $4m over 12 months. Delivery will start in the second quarter of 2018.
Thomas Charlton has further increased his stake in North Midland Construction (NMD) from 7.24% to 8.2%. This appears to have sparked a recovery in the share price.
Avocet Mining (AVM) has deferred the completion the sale of its Burkina Faso assets for $5m. The buyer, the Balaji group of companies, wants more time to settle a claim from International Royalty Corporation, a creditor of the holding company of the assets. Avocet has received a deposit of $500,000.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has announced the results of preliminary grab samples from the Gubong gold mine. The majority of samples had gold grades of more than 1g/t and silver grades of 10g/t or more.
Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN) has entered an exclusivity agreement for the acquisition of production and exploration licences in a Central Asian country. Azerbaijan-focused Zenith would be acquiring assets in a proven petroleum system and they produce 250 barrels of oil per day.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has started drilling at the Gakara project in Burundi. Gakara has an estimated in situ-grade of 47%-67% total rare earth oxide. The drilling is focused on the production area at Gasagwe and anomalies that have been identified. The first results will be in April. A second phase of drilling is planned later in the year and this could produce a JORC-compliant resource before the end of 2018. Production is building up and the run rate target for the end of 2018 is 5,000tpa. In December, Rainbow raised £2.8m at 14p a share in an oversubscribed placing. The cash will be used to acquire capital equipment.
Whitbread plc WBT places such emphasis on its various pipelines new and old that one has to wonder which business it is in, hotels or oil and gas. Verbiage in its interim report has not however stopped it from having a good first half. On a statutory basis, profit before tax for the six months to the 31st August rose by 19.9% and basic earnings per share by 23.6%Revenue growth was strong at 7.4% and Premier Inn and Costa are both gaining market share. In the UK over 2,000 new rooms have been 0pened and Direct bookings now account for 95% of the total which is not good news for the likes of booking.com.
As for those pipelines, in Germany it has accelerated new hotel pipelines and achieved nine secured pipeline hotels as well as strengthening a new Costa Store pipeline. The focus is on growth channels which are of course much better than straightforward ordinary growth without the channels.
Bunzl plc BNZL Since the 30th June revenue at constant exchange rates has grown by 11% and underlying growth has improved by between 5 and 6%. Growth through acquisition has also continued as an important part of the company’s strategy and for which it has an active pipeline.
GB Group GBG traded strongly in the half year to the 30th September with revenue rising by 40%, equal to 17% on n organic basis. An adjusted operating profit of £10m. is expected, which will be an increase of over 90% on last year.
Shoe Zone plc SHOE Despite the continuation of foreign exchange impacts continuing into the second half, full year profit before tax should be broadly in line with expectations. Revenue in the second half fell slightly due to the planned closure of loss making stores. The Big Box format as proved successful with six opened during the year and a further 10 planned.
Distil plc DIS Lapped prior year pipeline fill, with strong year on year growth in the six months to 30th September., which saw volume rise by 41.3% and gross profit by 22.1%.Operating losses fell by 68.1% to £22,000.