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Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 November 2020
Daniel Thwaites (THW) had a strong eleven months in the year to March 2020, but the final month was unsurprisingly poor for the brewer and pubs operator. Full year revenues edged up from £96.9m to £98.1m, while pre-tax profit fell from £4.5m to £3.6m. Net debt was reduced from £69.7m to £65.4m, helped by property disposals. No dividends are planned in the near future.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has taken advantage of the strong Luceco (LUCE) share price and sold four million shares for total proceeds of £10m. EPE still owns a 24.9% stake.
KR1 (KR1) has participated in token generation by four platforms. There was a follow-on participation in a Plasm Network distribution event, while KR1 has also received tokens from ChainX, Edgeware and Phala Network. The Phala Network tokens have been sold for nearly $124,000.
BWA (BWAP) has given St George’s Eco-Mining Corp until 27 November to repurchase the company’s investment in Kings of the North Corp.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) says that the first hole drilled at the Specimen Hill prospect in Queensland has signs of gold bearing mineralisation. A second hole is underway.
Evrima (EVA) and partner Power Metal Resources (POW) have published a drilling update for the Molopo Farms complex in Botswana. The first hole has been completed at the nickel sulphide and platinum project. This confirmed that it is a feeder zone. Samples will be tested. There is a four-hole drilling programme.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) owns 30% of mining and exploration leases that form part of the Yangibana rare earth deposit. Drilling has confirmed that recent drilling results show an economic mineralised corridor 8km long.
Gledhow Investments (GDH) has taken a 4.82% stake in IamFire (FIRE).
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £835,000 at 5.5p a share, which is below the 7p a share that a UK institutional investor paid last month. Early Equity (EEQP) raised £105,000 at 0.5p a share.
Trackwise Designs (TWD) is raising a further £11m at 200p in order to finance a new Improved Harness Technology (IHT) manufacturing site to quadruple capacity. That is a large discount to the market price of 320p. A further £1m could be raised via an open offer. Back in March, there was a £5.87m fundraising at 80p a share. That was at the time of the purchase of Stevenage Circuits for up to £2.457m. The rest of that cash was earmarked for capacity expansion. The subsequent orders received by Trackwise mean that further investment in capacity is required. The funding dilutes short-term earnings per share.
Agricultural supplies group Wynnstay (WYN) had a strong end to its financial year, particularly September and October. Feed sales were better than expected. There will be one-off costs for closing three sites. Shore Capital has upgraded its underlying pre-tax profit forecast from £6.7m to £8.1m. The dividend is likely to be maintained at 14p a share.
Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) has broken its record and published interim figures at 6.22pm on Friday. Revenues fell by 27% and the company made a bigger loss.
Staffline (STAF) is selling its apprenticeships business to Babington Business College for a nominal fee. The business was losing money in the first half of 2020, although it was a lower loss than the year before. Staffline will concentrate on recruitment and adult skills training.
Bion (BION) is establishing a biogas consortium with three other companies in Malaysia. The plan is to formalise the partnership so that a special purpose vehicle that would be 55%-owned by Bion will own and operate biogas assets of Bion and Green Lagoon Technology. The new venture would be the largest owner of biogas plants in Malaysia. Shareholders will have to approve the deal if it goes ahead. Bion will work with the other two companies to develop waste-to-energy projects.
Trading is ahead of expectations at Somero Enterprises (SOM) and this should enable a significant supplementary dividend for 2020. The concrete levelling equipment supplier is expected to end the year with net cash of $26m.
Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL) has completed the acquisition of the stake in the Cote d’Ivoire cashew nut processing project that takes its shareholding to 52%. October palm oil production was 1,818 metric tonnes and 1,843 metric tonnes was sold. The average price improved to €636/tonne.
Mirada (MIRA) has integrated Disney+ into its Iris platform for Televisa’s izzi pay TV platform in Mexico.
Invinity Energy Systems (IES) has gained a contract to deliver a 0.5MWh vanadium flow battery system to a site in California. This should generate £480,000in 2021. There is also an order for two smaller battery modules.
Three potential bidders are assessing offers for Telit Communications (TCM) and the latest is u-blox, which is considering an all-share offer worth 250p a share. DBAY Advisors and Lantronix are the other potential bidders.
Packaging supplier Macfarlane (MACF) says that trading in the four months to October 2020 is ahead of the same period in 2019. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to be similar to last year at around £14m. It was previously expected to be more than 10% lower. Arden forecasts a total 2020 dividend of 2.4p a share.
Emmerson (EML) has completed the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Khemisset potash project in northern Morocco.
Petra Diamonds (PDL) has an agreement in principle for a restructuring that involves the raising of money from a loan note issue and the remainder of the loan notes will be converted into shares equivalent to 91% of the enlarged share capital.
Thalassa (THAL) has invested £300,000 in foreign exchange and international payments firm Cornerstone FS for a 3.65% stake. This follows a £3m investment in 8% convertible loan notes in payment systems company Tappit Technologies.
Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 27 April 2020
Cannabis products-focused company Sativa (SATI) has received a bid approach from StillCana Inc, which has built two high volume CBD extraction facilities in Europe. StillCana is Europe’s largest producer of CBD distillate and isolate. StillCana plans to offer 0.33651 of one share for each Sativa share. Sativa shareholders would own 65% of the enlarged business. If StillCana does not go through with the bid it may be required to pay Sativa £1m as a break fee. Trading in Sativa shares has been suspended. Peterhouse has been appointed as corporate adviser.
In the six months to December 2019, there was a £224,000 cash outflow at Imperial X (IMPP) as it assessed the way forward. The new investing strategy is focused on acquiring royalties in the oil and gas sector. There was £179,000 in the bank at the end of 2019. Imperial X has subsequently raised £27,700 at 2.5p a share.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) had net assets of £4.76m at the end of 2019. One of the successes has been the investment in Greatland Gold (GGP) and TruSpine Technologies is moving towards a flotation.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) owns 16% of AIM-quoted European Metal Holdings (EMH) whose shareholders have approved the £25.8m investment for a 51% stake in the holder of the Cinovec licences in the Czech Republic.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) says that the resource at the Barnes Hill nickel project to 25Mt at 0.6% nickel and 0.05% cobalt on a 0.25% nickel cut-off grade.
Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) n on-executive director Nigel Boardman has acquired an initial 5,020 shares in two amounts (1,500 shares at 960p each and 3,520 shares at 1010p each).
Altona Energy (ANR) has extended the closing date of its open offer until 12 May and it may consider a further extension if the market uncertainty continues.
Cyber security services provider Shearwater (SWG) has raised £3.75m at 240p a share. Directors David Williams and Phil Higgins are each investing £125,000. A new £4m, 3-year bank facility has been negotiated. In the year to March 2020, Shearwater generated revenues of £33m and underlying EBITDA was £3.2m. There has been a move towards higher margin business. Management believes that COVID-19 will provide opportunities to expand the business. There are acquisition opportunities with revenues of between £2m and £20m.
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) has confirmed that profit for 2019-20 was better than expected and gross margins improved from 22.8% to 25.9%.
Last year was tough for transport and logistics firm Xpediator (XPD) and this year won’t be easy, but it has a good base and the new Southampton warehouse will come on stream early in 2021. In 2019, revenues grew but lower freight forwarding margins and higher overheads hit pre-tax profit and it fell to £5.2m. Xpediator should still be profitable in 2020 and the second quarter tends to be a weaker period. A scrip dividend of 1.05p a share has been declared.
Health monitoring equipment supplier LiDCO (LID) had a strong start to its new financial year thanks to strong demand from the NHS. Since January 195 monitors have been sold, which is nearly as many as last year. The pre-tax loss is expected to continue to reduce and LiDCO has started to generate cash from operations.
Foreign exchange provider Equals (EQLS) increased first quarter revenues by one-third to £8.3m. The majority of this was business to business revenues. There was a sharp decline in travel money business in March.
Dragon Capital Group is offering a purchase facility to minority shareholders in Dragon-Ukrainian Properties and Development (DUPD) as part of the plan to cancel the AIM quotation. The purchase price is 10p a share. Shareholder approval for the departure from AIM will be sought at the general meeting in Kiev on 6 May.
DBAY Advisers is building up a stake in Wynnstay Group (WYN) and it has reach ed 6.47%. It is taking advantage of the decline in the share price, although it has rebounded strongly in the past few weeks. Investec has sold most of its stake. Trading has been subdued in the current financial year.
Dawn Ward and Tracy Lewis have resigned from the board of Staffline (STAF) and the company is seeking replacements. Henry Spain Investment Services has increased its stake in Staffline to 13.6%.
Mark Greenwood has taken his stake in Richland Resources (RLD) to 29.1%.
LED light fittings and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) reported 2019 figures in line with expectations. Revenues were %5 ahead at £172.1m and improved margins meant that pre-tax profit jumped from £6.3m to £15.8m. Revenues and profit are expected to fall back this year due to COVID-19 with the major hit coming in the second quarter after modest supply issues in the first quarter. Cash outflow should be limited to £500,000 a month while lockdowns are in force in Europe. There are bank facilities available to the group. Looking further ahead, Luceco is involved in a growth market and there should be acquisition opportunities.
J Smart Contractors (SMJ) reported a decline in interim pre-tax profit from £1.12m to £265,000. Net cash was £13.7m at the end of January 2020. An unchanged interim dividend of 0.95p a share has been announced.
Cathay International Holdings (CTI) has launched a 16.7456-for-one open offer at 1.5p each, plus a subscription to at the same share price. This could raise up to £105m. This will reduce borrowings and provide cash to put into investee companies.
BATM (BVC) has received a $31m order for 1,000 critical care ventilators. One-quarter of the cash has been paid upfront and the rest will be paid when the ventilators are delivered later this year.
A trading statement by fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) sparked a 6% 2019-20 profit downgrade to £17.2m by finnCap.
Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) says that sales and margins have fallen so far this year. Operating costs have been reduced. Sales of former sites are helping to reduce net debt, which is £65m. The fraud investigation has led to a £4m non-cash charge and there could be further write-downs.
Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 24 February 2020
The costs of a cyber-attack meant that National Milk Records (NMRP) interim pre-tax profit fell by two-thirds to £375,000. Revenues also declined from £11.7m to £10.7m, although that was mainly due to one-off revenues in the corresponding period. Disease testing services was the only part of the group where revenues improved. Underlying trading is within expectations. Net debt increased from £2.1m to £2.4m. Lower milk prices may reduce milk volumes from their high levels last year.
GP software supplier DXS International (DXSP) has raised just over £1m at 8p a share. The shares equate to more than one-quarter of the enlarged share capital. The cash will provide working capital required to market the company’s new products. The latest framework agreement has included a modest price rise. NHS accreditation of the company’s new software should be complete in April.
Cancer treatments developer Incanthera is planning to join NEX this week. Manchester-based Incanthera is developing Sol, a topical product for the treatment of solar keratosis and prevention of skin cancer, which could be licenced to a partner within 18 months. There is a pipeline of cancer therapeutics which have come through the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at Bradford University, which owns 12.3% of the company. AIM-quoted Immupharma (IMM) will hold a 11.9% stake and has 7.27 million warrants, where the exercise price is being rebased to the issue price. Cairn is the corporate adviser and Stanford Capital Partners is the broker. The expected admission date is 28 February.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) is paying A$2m for 100% of the Beaconsfield gold mine and processing plant in Tasmania. This was a major gold mine up until 2012 and it could go back into production. The gold price has risen by 50% since production stopped. The initial payment is A$100,000.
NAV fell from 64p a share to 59p a share at Western Selection (WESP) in the six months to December 2019. The lack of a dividend from AIM-quoted Bilby (BILB) meant that dividend income nearly halved, although it was the one core investment that increased in value. There will be no interim dividend. Share disposals mean that net cash was £2.45m at the end of 2019.
Gunsynd (GUN) has decided not to take up its option to acquire a further 22.33% stake in the Kolosori nickel prospect in the Solomon Islands. Previously £45,000 was paid for a 7.76% stake. Gunsynd has received £20,000 of the £260,000 it is due to be paid for its stake in Oyster Oil and Gas.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company SOA Energy UK hopes to join AIM by the fourth quarter of 2020. Drilling is due to commence at the Ofek well in Israel during May and it could last 40 days with a further 40 days of testing. The results will be known before the flotation. Primorus owns 14,977 SOA shares.
Belvedere Leisure Resorts (BELV) is still waiting for cash to cover the full subscription promised just after flotation and it does not appear likely that the investor can come up with the cash. Other investors may come up with the funds in the next six weeks.
Investment company First Sentinel (FSEN) has raised £196,000 from an issue of Green Finance preference shares at 100p each. There is a fixed interest rate of 5.05% a year and then a variable rate of up to 10.15% depending on whether certain conditions are met. The preference are convertible into ordinary shares. The focus is investments in the ethical, sustainable and renewable energy sectors.
Sativa Group (SATI) says subsidiary Goodbody Botanicals will have its products stocked in 100 of WH Smith Travel’s UK stores.
Angelfish Investments (ANGP) has appointed Novum Securities as its corporate adviser.
Rail optimisation software and equipment supplier Tracsis (TRCS) had a strong first half. Interim revenues increased from £18.8m to £26m. There were two acquisitions in January 2019, so they contributed for a full period this time. There is cash of £26m and it should reach £31.6m by the end of July.
Medical technology supplier Inspiration Healthcare (IHC) says it did better than expected in the year to January 2020. Revenues should be 15% ahead at £17.8m, which is equivalent to like-for-like growth of 12%. EBITDA should be one-fifth higher at above £2m.
4D Pharma (DDDD) is raising £22m at 50p a share, which is half the level that 4D floated at in June 2014. This cash will provide the additional funds required to support ongoing studies for IBS and oncology. The clinical study data is important when it comes the next step for the group.
Urban Logistics REIT (SHED) plans to raise up to £106.7m at 137.5p a share and this will be used to acquire logistics properties. The cash will be raised via a placing, offer for subscription and open offer. The share price equates to adjusted NAV and is a discount to the market price. A special dividend of 3.85p a share will be paid.
Stanley Gibbons (SGI) is acquiring trading inventory from 58.1% shareholder Phoenix SG Ltd for £1.07m. This will be paid as the inventory is sold, net of sales commission.
AdEPT Technology (ADT) raised £4.25m at 320p a share, which was more than it was initially seeking. This will reduce debt and provide funding for acquisitions.
Chris Pullen has resigned as chief executive of Staffware (STAF) and a search for a replacement is about to commence. The recruitment and training company continues to talk with its lenders. Net debt is estimated at £60m at the end of 2019.
Toys supplier Hornby (HRN) is raising up to £15m via a placing and one-for-3.006268641288 open offer at 36p a share. The cash will be invested in the company’s brands, digital marketing and corporate systems.
Nanoco (NANO) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung relating to Nanoco’s synthesis and resin technology for quantum dots. There was a collaboration with Samsung, but it ended without a licence agreement.
Stevia supplier PureCircle (PURE) has secured a waiver and amendment to its bank facility. This covers all previous defaults and provides an additional $8.6m of funds.
Career development platforms developer Dev Clever (DEV) has delayed the roll-out of its platform and that hit interim revenues. Management hopes to secure a partnership with a worldwide technology manufacturer that will enable an international roll-out. Chris Akers has increased his stake from 6% to 7.15%.
World Trade Systems (WTS) intends to cancel its listing on 27 March in order to save costs.
Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 17 February 2020
NEX and AIM-quoted Arbuthnot Banking Group (ARBB) says that there has been an increase in the level of confidence in its markets since the General Election. That was too late to have much effect on the 2019 results, but full year pre-tax profit will be at the upper end of expectations. Last year, customer loan balances rose by 31% and deposits by 22%.
Sativa Group (SATI) says that it welcomes the guidance from the Food Standards Agency on the safe use of CBD products and the timetable for novel food authorisation. Management points out that Sativa’s products do not include THC. Sativa expects to report 2019 gross profit slightly higher than expectations on lower than marginally lower than expected. Goodbody Wellness has piloted three retail stores, but they did not perform as well as expected. PhytoVista Laboratories has completed more than 3,000 tests on cannabis-based products. That includes Sativa’s own products and a new sports range is near launch. Medicinal cannabis-based development is focused on veterinary treatments.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has increased its NAV by 55% to 317.2p a share following a strong performance by Whittard of Chelsea and a recovery in the share price of fully listed Luceco. Pharmacy2U continues to grow strongly. Last year, 2.3% of the shares in issue were bought back by the company. New investments are being sought for available funds.
Ethical housing investor Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) increased its NAV by 15% to 106p a share in the year to January 2020. Chief executive Joseph McTaggart bought 1,991 shares at 61.75p each.
Hellyer gold mine operator NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £210,000 at 7p a share.
Investment company Primorus Investments (PRIM) has benefitted from the sharp share price rise in Greatland Gold (GGP) and the stake is worth two-fifths of the company’s market value. The current profit is £1.25m. Investee company TruSpine is on course to float in London this year. The spine stabilisation devices developer has gained a new cornerstone investor. Primorus is debt free.
Trading in the shares of Altona Energy (ANR) has been suspended because it has not published its annual report for the year to June 2019. Cash needs to be raised to keep the company going and management says that shareholders will be invited to participate in a fundraising. The company says it expects to publish the report in the next two weeks and blames the delay on a change of auditor and a new accounting treatment for its exploration licences. Final terms for the acquisition of the previously announced new petroleum exploration licence application are being negotiated.
SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) majority shareholder and chief executive David Sumner has also taken on the role as chairman after the resignation of Alan Kitchin and Katie Hiess from the board.
Brickability (BRCK) has acquired McCann Roofing Products for £2.75m. Essex-based McCann imports roofing and building products from Europe and generated a 2019 pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £8.2m. This deal adds additional suppliers to the group and should be immediately earnings enhancing.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has convened the requisitioned general meeting on 3 March. Eridge Capital wants to remove Matt Lofgran and Ewen Ainsworth from the board and replace them with Andrew Morrison. Eridge was previously known as former AIM company New World Oil and Gas. Nostra Terra’s subsidiary has loans that have a key man clause which stipulate that Lofgran has to be president of the subsidiary unless it give consent or there will be a default.
Drug discovery platform developer e-Therapeutics (ETX) has overhauled its board and raised £1.6m at 3p a share. Former Silence Therapeutics boss Ali Mortazavi becomes executive chairman. Ian Ross is stepping down to concentrate his role at Silence Therapeutics. Chief executive Ray Barlow and finance director Steve Medlicott are also leaving. An additional independent non-executive director will be appointed.
Gemfields Group Ltd (GEM) joined AIM last Friday. The share price ended the day at 11.7p.
Bidstack (BIDS) expects to have generated £150,000 from programmatic advertising for video games. That is much lower than previously hoped because it is taking much longer to get advertising agencies to take in-game advertising seriously. There was cash of £3.14m at the end of 2019 following a loss of £5.3m. There was £6m in the bank at the end of June 2019. First half revenues will still be small.
Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Nottingham law firm Fraser Brown Solicitors for up to £8.28m in cash and shares. This follows the purchase of Croftons Solicitors, which is based in Manchester, for up to £2.8m. A new revolving credit facility of £40m has been agreed and it lasts until June 2023.
Octopus Investments has cut its stake in Staffware (STAF) from 13.2% to 0.53%. Gresham House Asset Management increased its stake from 6.7% to 10.6%.
Filta Holdings (FLTA) says it should make an EBITDA of £3.2m in 2019. Cost savings and investment software will help the fryer management services provider to produce a much better performance in 2020.
Keystone Law (KEYS) has traded in line with expectations. Pre-tax profit is forecast to increase from £5.1m to £5.7m.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) says that the FDA has accepted the new drug application for Akindi Sprinkle as a treatment for infants and children. Approval could be gained by the autumn and it will be the only licenced treatment specifically for children. There was cash of £4.6m at the end of 2019.
Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is recommending a 700p a share bid from Infopro Digital, valuing the company at £114.5m. The two companies fit well together and will have greater scale.
Finance provider S and U (SUS) says that its figures for the year to January 2020 will be in line with expectations and trading has been getting better in the past few weeks. The used car market has held up well even though the new car market is week. This is why second hand car finance provider Advance should produce another record performance in 2020-21. Property bridging finance provider Aspen has made the progress hoped because of delays in repayments and the loan book is lower than expected, but it is still a young business. A 2019-20 pre-tax profit of £35.5m is expected to increase to £39m this year. The latest total dividend will be raised by around 5% to 124p a share.
JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN) is raising cash from the placing of up to 49.7 million shares. This will fund a pipeline of investments. The bookbuild will close on 26 February.
Ultimate Products (UPGS) says that sales growth is easing this year with first half revenues 3% ahead at £67.7m. There is also uncertainty about the supply of products from China. Even so, Shore is maintaining its full year pre-tax forecast of £8.77m, a small increase on last year. That could change.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) is widening the geographic scope of its activities by negotiating to acquire an oil production licence in West Africa. Zenith has raised £135,000 through a share issue at 1.5p a share. It has also entered into an equity sharing agreement with a consortium of institutional investors. The nominal amount raised is £810,000, but the ultimate amount will depend on the share price when each tranche is paid over the next 12 months. The benchmark price is NOK0.2231/share, equivalent to around 1.85p. The share price is 1.43p, so the first instalment is likely to be below the notional level if there is no share price recovery.
BATM Communications (BVC) has gained a $1.3m order from a Middle East-based poultry firm for its agri-waste treatment system.
Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) says market conditions are more challenging and there has been a slow start to the fourth quarter, which is normally the strongest. Margins have fallen and profit will be at the lower end of the range of forecasts. The Coronavirus has led to the extended closure of Chinese sites, but this is a small percentage of production.
Cathay International Holdings (CTI) says that production at its plants is on hold or preparing to gradual resume production because of the effects of the Coronavirus. The hotel business has been hit by a sharp reduction in occupancy rates.
Avation (AVAP) has made firm orders for two ATR 72-600 aircraft that will be leased to US-Bangla, the largest private airline in Bangladesh.
Predator Oil and Gas (PRD) is raising £3.56m at 4p a share. This will finance the drilling of the Moulouya well in Morocco and provide cash for further investment in Trinidad.
Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 4 February 2019
Property investor Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) increased its rental income by one-third to £1.95m in the six months to October 2018. Profit from continuing operations improved from £218,000 to £271,000 and a dividend of 0.83p a share has been announced. Four properties have been purchased since April 2018 and Hume House was sold.
Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) increased its NAV from 42.69p a share to 43.35p a share in the year to August 2018. The strategic focus is to make larger investments in bigger employee-owned businesses. There was £175,000 in the bank at the end of August 2018, so there appear to be limited funds available for further investments, although there are £1.3m of loans to investee companies.
Health and community care properties developer and modular buildings supplier Ashley House (ASH) was hit by delays in projects planned by its Morgan Ashley joint venture in the six months to October 2018. Only one scheme reached financial close during the period and a loss was reported for the period. Modular buildings demand is strong with a good pipeline of potential projects. A profit is still expected for the 14 months to June 2019, but this still depends on the timing of projects.
Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) increased its full year profit from £127,000 to £153,000 on turnover 4% higher at £3.66m. There is £1.09m in the bank at the end of October 2018. The dividend was maintained at 21p a share, which is covered 1.2 times by earnings. The strategy is to encourage more direct bookings with the hotel and an online booking system was launched last September. The completion of refurbishment activities has enabled an increase in bookings for weddings. Bedroom refurbishments continue.
Formation Group (FRM) reported an improvement in revenues from £37m to £38.6m in the year to August 2018, but the operating loss nearly quadrupled to £416,000. There was a gain on financial asset of £450,000 and an exceptional cost of £318,000 relating to an accident in 2015. Management is cautious about taking on new property developments under the current economic conditions.
Karoo Energy (KEP) is still trying to raise cash to enable it to move to AIM. Management is confident that it will be able to raise the funds in the near future.
Formerly AIM-quoted Altona Energy (ANR) did not managed to obtain a replacement nominated adviser for Northland and it has moved to NEX on 1 February. Sino-Aus Energy Group is subscribing for £500,000 of 7% convertible loan notes July 2020. The conversion price depends on the market price in the 2o days prior to conversion although the minimum is 10p a share.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) has appointed Epsion Capital to help it raise up to £20m from a share issue at a price of at least 0.5p a share. There will be a warrant issued with every four shares. A circular is being prepared to gain shareholder approval. Early Equity (EEQP) has raised £187,500 at 0.75p a share.
Ananda Developments (ANA) says that 15%-owned LHT has launched its hapac medicinal cannabis inhaling technology in Milan, Italy. The initial reaction has been positive.
VI Mining (VIM) has completed the acquisition of the Cushuro gold project for $27.5m in shares.
Nuclear notes linked to guaranteed contingent value rights relating to the takeover of British Energy will mature and stop being traded on 7 February.
Dealings in the shares of Wheelsure (WHLP) and Ecovista (EVTP) have been suspended because they have not published their results for the year to August 2018.
Recruitment and training company Staffline (STAF) has delayed the publishing of its accounts because of concerns about invoicing. Trading in the shares has been suspended.
Electronic and battery products supplier Solid State (SOLI) says trading is significantly better than previously expected. Gross margins are continuing to improve. finnCap upgraded its 2018-19 earnings per share forecast by 26% and the 2019-20 figure by 21%.
Filtronic (FTC) fell into loss in the first half even before the write-off of £500,000 of capitalised development costs. Massive MIMO antennas sales will not build up as quickly as initially expected. There is £2.2m in the bank so the antennas and telecoms hardware supplier has a strong cash position while it waits for orders to come through. There is expected to be a full year loss but cash should still be £1.8m. A focus on defence and public safety markets will help to diversify the customer base and provide new opportunities.
A court has ordered Grant Thornton to pay £21m relating to its failures in the auditing of AssetCo (ASTO) accounts in the financial years to March 2009 and March 2010. AssetCo had been seeking £40m from Grant Thornton and there is still interest to be calculated on the award.
Location Sciences (LSAI) says that 2018 trading was in line with expectations and 2019 has started well. There has been a soft launch of the Verify product that ensures that responses to advertising from mobiles are genuine. Paid for trials in the US will provide further evidence of effectiveness.
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has acquired Manchester-based Croft Transport Planning and Design, which provides highways and traffic advice to property developers, for an initial £1.5m in cash and shares. This widens the range of services offered by the property services division.
Utilitywise (UTW) has not published its accounts and trading in the shares has been suspended. The utility cost management consultancy has also effectively put itself up for sale as part of its strategic review. This was sparked by the failure to raise cash required from a share issue. The £25m bank facility expires in April.
BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) has secured an investment of up to $30m to fund the commercialisation of molecular biology products being developed by Ador Diagnostics, a joint venture with Gamida for Life, that is valued at $30m prior to the investment. The first $14.5m should be invested by the end of March and the rest will be invested at a 33.3% premium to the enterprise valuation after the initial investment by the end of 2020. Most of the cash will come from medical sector investors and Puma Brandenburg. BATM and Gamida will each invest $2m and after the initial investment BATM will own 38.2% of the company. Shore Capital will reinvest its total fees of $1m into Ador.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) is obtaining a $750,000 convertible security investment and a 24 month equity facility of up to $7m from an entity managed by The Lind Partners, which will get an initial commitment fee of $75,000. Between $100,000 and $300,000 can be drawn down each month. The shares will be issued at prices that are linked to market prices at the time. Rare earths production at the Gakara project in Burundi is expected to build up over 2019 as two further areas are opened up. Production costs were higher than sales revenues in the three months to December 2018.
Sportech (SPO) has acquired digital gaming technology business LOT.TO Systems, which has developed the iLottery platform.
Path Investments (PATH) has sold its Turkish oil and gas interests for £400,000. The focus is the acquisition of ARC Marlborough. The plan is to acquire ARC, which has a nickel and cobalt project in Queensland, via a share issue.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a forward funding and assignment of the contract of the Wavertree property in Liverpool. This is the second project that has reached this stage. Dukemount will continue to manage the redevelopment of the property and a development profit will be received on completion. Executive chairman Geoffrey Dart has been awarded a bonus of £80,000 for the completion of the first two transactions and it will be received in shares at 0.3p each.
Ian Pollard – Winter Of Discontent Impacts Begbies’ Business.
Begbies Traynor BEG claims that a winter of discontent has impacted business with 481,000 now in significant financial distress. Those in ‘critical’ financial distress increased by 25% year on year as the year came to a slow end and stand at 2,183. Real estate was the hardest hit sector in quarter 4 with a 9% increase. The retail industry should, it forecasts, be braced for a tough start to 2019 after poor Christmas trading from M&S and Debenhams. Link here to a detailed article by Begbies Traynor Regional Partner Julie Palmer
Wizz Air Holdings WIZZ describes its third quarter performance to the 31st December as solid, with profits for the quarter collapsing by 87.6%. Fear not however as full year profit guidance is maintained. Passenger growth during the quarter was 15% and revenue 21%. A new carry on bag policy saw revenue per passenger rise by 7% and means that passengers now get the injured backs instead of the baggage handlers. Like all low cost airlines it is having to face the challenging industry-wide operating environment
Solid State plc SOLI updates that trading results for the year ending 31 March 2019 will now comfortably exceed current market consensus guidance. Revenues are expected to be above current guidance and adjusted profits significantly ahead. The strong demand seen in the first half has continued into the second half and the Value Added Distribution division has is now expected to deliver results well ahead of management’s previous expectations.
Ingenta ING is now leaner and focussed on delivering first class services to all its customers claims the CEO, meaning it is significantly better placed to propel the business through the next stage of its growth. The Board confirms its intention to pay a dividend of 1.5 pence per ordinary share for the 2018 financial year.
Staffline Group STAF announces that publication of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018 has been delayed and a further update will be provided as soon as possible.
Rhythm One plc RTHM confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Taptica International Limited (“Taptica”) regarding a potential all-share offer for RhythmOne by Taptica.
Inspired Energy INSE expects to announce another strong set of results, delivering good growth in revenue, profits and cash for the year to the end of December. Group revenues are expected to be approximately 21 per cent ahead of 2017 with revenue growth expected to be approximately 29% ahead
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Ian Pollard – Sainsbury’s Investment in Price Cuts Pays Off
Sainsbury J SBRY First quarter sales for the 16 weeks to the 30th June saw a continuation of the improving volume trend which became evident in the second half of last year. Like for like retail sales grew by 0.2% excluding fuel and grocery sales rose by 0.5% helped by online grocery growth of 7.3% and an improving price position. Clothing and General Merchandise, including Argos both outperformed the market in what Sainsbury claims were challenging conditions. It is also on track to achieve its target of 200m in cost savings for the current year.
National Express NEX has been awarded a major bus contract in Morocco.covering the major cities of the Kingdom and with expectations of carrying 100m. passengers a year across 61 routes. The initial contract is for 15 years with an option to extend for a further 7 years and services are expected to commence with a year.
Gresham Technologies plc GHT expects a strong second half despite an anticipated decline of 5% in group revenue for the six months to the 30th June. Like for like Claretti revenue should show a rise of 17% for the first half but non Claretti revenues are expected to slide by 21%.
Staffline STAF updates that it is only trading inline despite a strong performance in The Recruitment division which has continued to perform strongly allowing it to meet growing customer demand during the six months to the 30th June.
Mattioli Woods MTW produced another year of strong and sustainable growth, with organic revenue growth of over 15% in the year to the 31st May. Acquisitions remain a core part of the company’s growth strategy. and recent acquisitions have continued to perform well. EBITDA has also continued to grow and the EBITDA margin for the year remains slightly ahead of the 20% target
Nektan NKTN delivered very strong growth, with record net gaming revenue of £5.7m,in quarter 4 an increase of 10.9% over the third quarter and 36.7% compared to quarter 4 of 2017. The strong fourth quarter ensured that full year net gaming revenue was £19.4m, an increase of 48.1% over the previous year. The strong momentum is expected to continue in the year ahead.
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Ian Pollard – Staffline Still On Target For Bursting The Billion
Staffline STAF remains on target for its Burst The Billion plan. A strong set of results for for the year to 31st December produced a 27.5% rise in statutory profit before tax. The final dividend is to be increaed by 2.6%. Market share has increased more than ever and net debt has more than halved from from 36.7m to 16.5m.
Wetherspoon JD plc JDWY Strong growth in the second quarter matched that of the first quarter, with like for like sales to the 21st January and for the year to date, both rising by 6%.Underlying profit before tax was slightly ahead of expectations, helped by better than expected sales. Chairman,Tim Martin repeats his accusations that the CBI, Whitbread, Sainsbury, the FT, The Times and The Gaurdian are trying to fool the public by issuing misleading information as to the costs of Brexit. Despite ample opportunity to rebuff Martins attack, every one of these august bodies has remained silent, apparently now accepting that Brexit will lead to a fall in food prices which the Customs Union keeps artificially high
Crest Nicholson Holdings CRST saw sales by volume grow by only 2% in the year to 31st October as against a 7% rise in value and a 33% rise in total dividends for the year. Forward sales as at mid January were up by 8% in value but the volume figure is not disclosed.. Statutory revenue rose 5%, profit before tax by 6% and basic earnings per share by 7%. The new build housing market continues to be robust thanks to government policies and strong demand.
Sage Group SGE Group organic revenue for the first quarter to the 31st December grew by 6.3%.with North America putting in a strong performance and France under performing. The second quarter is is expected to be stronger and full year organic growth is expected to be in the region of 8%.
Plant Healthcare PHC made strong progress in the year to 31st December, in implementing its key strategic objectives.Revenue rose by 22%, helped by particularly strong sales growth of 100% in Europe Africa.
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W. H. Smith “Strong Group Performance” as High Street Falls 4%
W.H. Smith SMWH claims a strong performance across the group for the 21 weeks to 21st January, presumably hoping that nobody will go as far as reading the actual figures which show that High Street revenue actually fell by 4% and only travel revenue with a 10% increase, saved the day enabling Smiths to show a like for like sales increase of 1% and a total increase of 2%. As a result of the success of the travel division, the group expects that profit growth for the group as a whole will be slightly ahead of plan.
Restaurant Group RTN admits to a catalogue of management failures which led to a fall of 5.9% in 4th quarter trading which continued to be challenging and compares badly with a decline of 3.9% over the 53 weeks to1st January. The decline is to be countered by improving its proposition and its operating processes, building a better business and delivering an attentive and engaging service, One can only hope that the people who failed to cope with the problems in 2016 will be able to deal with them in 2017, The first half of which is expected to be difficult and no improvement showing until towards the end of the year.
Koovs KOOV is enjoying another year of excellent growth with sales for the 9 months to 31st December showing a rise of 101% and traffic, registered users and social media all up by 100%. The success of its premium party dress collection which sold out in record time, 59% of it within three days of launch has left the company excited about prospects for 2017
McCarthy & Stone MCS saw legal completions for the 20 weeks to the 20th January fall by 2% compared to the previous year as a result of a lower forward order book and a slight slowing in sales momentum since results were announced on the 15th November. Year to date reservations are currently running ahead and are expected to bring in an extra 5% revenue, due to price increases. Profit before tax for 2017 will be more than usually weighted towards the second half.
Staffline Group STAF is increasing its final dividend by 29% after a year of strong organic growth which saw a rise in revenue of 26%. Underlying profit before tax rose by 30% and undiluted earnings per share by 23%. The company’s success means that it has increased its market share “more than ever”.
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