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Voyager Life (VOY) is an early-stage company offering CBD-based products – including chewable sweets, bath products, oils and skincare products. The company has been in existence for around eight months and revenues are small. The first high street shop will be opened in St Andrews during July. Voyager Life raised £400,000 at 58p a share, but by the end of the first week of trading the share price has fallen to 40.5p (39p/42p) – possibly because of trading by crowdfunders that bought at 31p a share. Proforma cash appears to be around £2.4m, but there will have been expenses since the end of March. Greencare Capital (GRE) invested £100,000 and it is currently worth around £107,000.
Samarkand (SMK) reported 2020-21 revenues of £20.6m, including exceptional revenues of £5.8m, up from £6.8m. This enabled the ecommerce technology provider to make a positive EBITDA. There was £14.6m in the bank at the end of March 2021. A Tokyo office was opened in June. The full year results will be published before the end of July.
Revenues fell by more than two-thirds at pubs and brewery operator Daniel Thwaites (THW) and they were £32.2m in the year to March 2021. There was a swing from profit to loss. Net debt increased to £78.8m with monthly cash burn running at £1.5m during lockdown. There were £11.2m of additional bank facilities available and there have been subsequent disposals of non-core properties.
Polygon Global Partners has taken its stake in Watchstone Group (WTG) to above 30% and it is making a mandatory bid at 34p a share, valuing the company at £15.7m.
KR1 (KR1) increased its NAV from 5.72p a share to 28.97p a share at the end of 2020. Non-exec director Rhys Davies has exercised options over 767,236 shares at 19.55p each, which raised £150,000 for the company.
In 2020, Coinsilium Group (COIN) made a pre-tax profit of £310,000, compared with a loss of £259,000. That was mainly due to unrealised gains. The cash outflow from operating activities increased from £496,000 to £788,000. There was £173,000 in the bank.
NFT Investments (NFT) has conserved its cash despite declines in cryptocurrency values. It made a $440,000 gain on crypto token investments but has exited the market for the time being. There is still £34.1m of cash and stable coin, which is deemed to be less volatile because their value tends to be linked to the dollar, in the balance sheet, compared with a market value of £25.6m at 2.55p. How that figure is split between cash and stable coin is not stated.
In the nine months to December 2020, British Honey (BHC) generated revenues of £1.5m. Union Distillers was acquired in February 2021. There was cash of £2.95m at the end of March 2021.
Rogue Baron (SHNJ) has opened a second bar in Washington DC, called De Rhum Shot, and it is three times the size of the existing bar. Rogue Baron is investing £90,000 for a 51% stake and it is committed to a further payment of £20,000. Sales of Shinju whisky should reach 5,000 cases in 2021.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) had cash of £457,000 at the end of 2020 and net assets were £175,000. Management is seeking investment opportunities.
Chris Akers has taken a 3.09% stake in DiscovOre (ORE).
Valereum Blockchain (VLRM) completed the £1m placing at 70p a share.
Wynnstay (WYN) has gained market share in the animal feed market and the milk price remains at a level that provides confidence to farmers helping the retail operations to grow. In the six months to April 2021, revenues rose from £229.3m to £249.7m. Raw material prices have increased but Wynnstay has been able to pass them on and improve gross profit from £31.5m to £33.3m, which is the important measure. Underlying pre-tax profit improved from £4.5m to £5.5m. The interim dividend was raised by 9% to 5p a share.
The restructuring of Huricane Energy (HUR) has been rejected by the courts and that effectively means that the company has defaulted on the planned convertible bond repayments. The non-exec directors have resigned, and two directors appointed to replace them.
Digital marketing services and technology provider Silver Bullet Data Services (SBDS) raised £9.5m at 257p a share when it floated. This will be spent on further development of its 4D technology that helps brands to target advertising. 4D has been developed as an alternative to cookies that remains in line with current and likely regulations.
Specialist cleaning company React Group (REAT) increased interim revenues from £2.09m to £2.51m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £50,000 to £74,000. Fidelis was acquired too late in the period to make a significant contribution. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to increase from £188,000 to £784,000.
Bermele (BERM) has agreed the acquisition of premium mixers supplier East Imperial Pte for £24.45m and it will be changing its name to East Imperial and raising £3m at 10p a share.
In 2020, Lookers (LOOK) increased its underlying pre-tax profit from £4m to £14.1m. The motor dealer is making annualised savings of £50m.
Highway Capital (HWC) says that it has whittled down potential acquisitions to a small number and is in discussions with one target. There is £41,000 in cash and net liabilities of £1.13m.
Wildcat Petroleum (WCAT) is focusing on Angola and Namibia in its search for oil and gas assets.
Media Tech SPAC is raising cash via Primary Bid ahead of a standard listing later this summer. The company wants to raise up to £6m at 10p a share. Areas of interest include digital technology, cyber security, social media, content distribution, virtual reality, gaming and interactive entertainment. Media Tech SPAC has previously raised £415,000 at 1p a share and £1.64m at 4p a share.
Ross Group (RGP) lost £1.46m in 2020. Net liabilities are £5m. Ross has acquired an aquaculture business, but it is yet to benefit from the investment put into this business.
TruSpine Technologies (TSP) has delayed the application for FDA approval of its Cervi-LOK spinal device for up to three months. This is due to a lack of testing time because of Covid-19. Computer modelling has enabled the company to make minor modifications, which widens the market for the device. A £250,000 cash injection is expected by 5 January.
Daniel Thwaites (THW) reopened its pubs in early July and up until the end of September sales were running at three-quarters of the previous year. Due to the lockdown in the first three months of the period, the interim revenues were 59% lower at £21.8m and the business moved into loss. Net debt was £66.6m at the end of September 2020. There are total borrowing facilities of £90m.
KR1 (KR1) has made two more investments. There is a $200,000 investment in Tidal Finance in return for 222,222,222.22 Tidal tokens. A further $200,000 is invested in HydraDX and the number of tokens has not been determined as yet.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has more than £1m of cryptocurrency and tokens with a further $127,000 of RIF tokens due to vest over 23 months.
Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has drilled 11 holes at the Specimen Hill prospect in Queensland. Gold/ copper/silver mineralisation was intersected in the first three holes. The other eight holes have similar characteristics.
Belvedere Leisure (BELV) has entered into an exclusivity agreement to purchase the 160 acre site known as Barnsoul Park in Dumfries and Galloway for £1.4m. The deal is subject to due diligence and 12 weeks after completion there are plans to install at least 28 lodges as part of an upgrade of the park. Bookings will be taken for June 2021 onwards if the deal goes ahead. In two years, there should be more than 150 lodges.
Upper Thames Holdings (UPPT) has non-binding heads of agreement for the purchase of a 10% stake in Sweden-based Ridercam, which supplies mobile camera systems for theme park rides.
Gunsynd (GUN) says that Angold Resources has completed the acquisition of Federal Gold Corp and trading in Angold shares will begin on the TSX Venture Exchange on 31 December. Gunsynd owns 712,500 shares.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) has appointed Allenby Capital as its corporate adviser.
Applegreen (APGN) is recommending a €5.75 a share bid from the company’s founders, which values the company at €718.1m. The roadside convenience retailer floated on AIM in 2015 at 277p a share. Applegreen has 559 sites.
Coral Products (CRU) its core mouldings business at Haydock and Interpack to One51 ES Plastics for £7.9m. That is nearly as much as the current market capitalisation, while pro forma net cash is expected to be £6.6m. One51 acquired Straight in 2014. Coral will still own the Haydock freehold and the annual rent will be £300,000. The deal required shareholder approval because it is deemed to constitute a change of business. The remaining subsidiaries are Tatra Rotalac, which produces plastic extrusions and mouldings, and Global One Pak, which supplies lotion pumps and trigger sprays. They generated full year revenues of £5.4m and are profitable prior to central costs. Pro forma NAV is £13.6m.
Equatorial Palm Oil (PAL) has agreed to acquire Capital Metals for £15.8m. The company is raising £2.09m at 12p a share (following a 20-for-one consolidation). Capital has an interest in the Eastern Minerals project in Sri Lanka. There is a JORC resource of 17.2Mt with an average grade of 17.6% total heavy minerals. The Environmental Impact Assessment should be published soon. First production could be in 2022.
Hargreaves Services (HSP) has sold its remaining speciality coal stocks to its German joint venture company for £24m. Hargreaves will market the coal on the joint venture’s behalf for commission. There will be a £3m goodwill write-off, but the profit impact should be neutral.
Duke Royalty Ltd (DUKE) has exited its investment in IT firm Welltel (Ireland) for £15.4m. This represents an IRR of 27%. There have been follow-on investments in two other royalty companies. Duke has invested £3.1m in recreational vehicle parts wholesaler MRDB, which will use the cash to help buy vendor loan notes for £4.9m. Duke will own 30% of MRDB. Monthly payments will be £147,000. A further £1m has been invested in Irish insurance brokerage company BHPC.
IXICO (IXI) has secured a £3.4m contract to provide data analytics services for rare neurodegenerative condition, SCA3 (Machado-Joseph disease). This will last more than four years.
Driver Group (DRV) chairman Steven Norris has bought 46,000 shares at 53.5p each. He owns 293,062 shares.
Sutton Harbour (SUH) has purchased a 1.5 acre site to the east of Sutton Harbour. Two residential developments totalling 200 units are planned for the site. A planning application has been submitted for another residential and commercial development at Sugar Quay. The company has also gained permission for event pontoons in the harbour.
Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has not received a definitive offer and the board has decided to end bid talks. It has also failed to secure the cash it requires and KRE Corporate Recovery has been appointed to advise on alternatives, such as selling assets. There is a possibility that an administrator may be appointed.
TMT Investments (TMT) received $40.9m for its stake in CRM company Pipedrive Inc and this increases its cash to $42m. It will repay the shareholder loan of $3m.
Residential developer One Heritage Group (OHG) has raised £930,000 at 10p a share when it joined the standard list. This valued the company at £3m. The shares ended the week at 11p. The initial focus is north west England and One Heritage redevelops and refurbishes buildings and has a lettings operation. The company has a marketing network in Hong Kong and also sells developments to institutional investors.
Standard list shell Pineapple Power Corporation (PNPL) raised £1.3m at 3p a share. The focus is renewable and clean energy. The share price increased to 3.25p.
Construction and water infrastructure company nmcn (NMCN) says that its full year loss will be £16.5m. That includes £5.3m of prior year adjustments. There should be a small cash outflow. The one bright area is telecoms, where capital investment by clients increased. The order book is valued at £200m. Shore Capital has been appointed broker.
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.
AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE
Daniel Thwaites (THW) had net debt of £65.4m at the end of March 2020 and this increased to £71.8m at the end of June following the closure of the company’s pubs and hotels. There is £12m of headroom in the current facilities but management is considering increasing the borrowing facilities. The sites were reopened on 4 July or shortly after. There has been steady growth in sales.
Altona Energy (ANR) has signed heads of agreement to acquire up to 75% of the Chambre rare earth project in southern Malawi. There is a backlog of exploration licence applications following recent elections. The trading suspension will end when new funds are raised. A funding will be launched via investment platform www.NRPrivateMarket.com once an exploration licence is granted in Malawi or heads of agreements are signed for another deal.
SulNOx Group (SNOX) has received a requisition from two shareholders (James Redman Jr and Sungold Escrow Nominees Ltd) for a general meeting. They own more than 5% of the company. A date for the general meeting has to be announced within three weeks.
European Lithium (EUR) has appointed Kimon Gkomozias to the board as part of its strategic agreement with EV technology metals project developer Talaxis. He will help European Lithium obtain funding. A placing is planned to raise $2m at 4.5 cents a share.
Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has obtained agreement in principle for the bank creditor settlement relating to the Amapa iron ore project.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has made a £1.9m investment in Atlantic Credit Opportunities Fund (ACOF), a distressed credit fund. EPE’s investment advisor Epic Private Equity intends to acquire a controlling stake in Atlantic Capital Management, which manages ACOF.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has set up Forbes Ventures Cell 1 Ltd to acquire UK-issued litigation funding loans. The rights to these loans will be assigned to and securitised by Malta-based Forbes Ventures CC1, which is planning to raise money via a bond issue. A Forbes subsidiary will receive a fee of 2% of the funds raised.
World High Life (LIFE) is assessing investment targets in the medicinal cannabis sector. This includes areas such as synthetic cannabinoids.
Trading in the shares of Sativa Group (SATI) has been suspended while Stillcanna awaits the approval of the Canadian Stock Exchange for the takeover of Sativa. The enlarged group plans to gain readmission to the Acquis Stock Exchange as Sativa Wellness Group Inc.
Alfred Henry Corporate Finance has been appointed as Eastinco Mining and Exploration (EM.P) corporate adviser.
Sumner Group Health Ltd (SGRL) has confirmed its withdrawal from the market on 8 September.
Capital equipment supplier Mpac (MPAC) has continued to secure orders even with the disruption caused by COVID-19. Interim revenues fell by one-fifth to £36.6m, but services revenues continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit fell from £4.5m to £2.5m. The order book is worth £45.4m. Net cash was £22.5m at the end of June 2020. Full year pre-tax profit is expected to fall from £7.5m to £5.2m.
CyanConnode (CYAN) was hit by delays to contracts in the 15 months to March 2020, but it appears to have a strong base for the current financial year. The smart meter technology developer is still losing money, but it has shown that it can manage its cash effectively by gaining advance payments on orders. Net cash was £1.2m at the end of March 2020.
Mattress supplier eve Sleep (EVE) says current trading is ahead of expectations and the full year loss is expected to be slightly lower than previously. Net cash of £5m is forecast for the end of 2020.
Cake Box (CBOX) has made a strong start to the new financial year. The franchised retailer of egg-free cakes is even offering a special dividend of 3.2p a share. Equity Development forecasts a rise in earnings per share from 7.8p a share to 9p a share in the year to March 2021.
7Digital (7DIG) has raised £6m at 2.25p a share, having sought a minimum of £5m. The streaming technology developer will be able to take advantage of opportunities in areas such as home fitness and social media.
Musical instruments retailer Gear4Music (G4M) has continued its sales momentum in the new financial year. There will be an interim trading statement on 22 October.
Driver monitoring systems developer Seeing Machines (SEE) has unveiled a new product strategy. This involves a focus on a chip whose performance is optimised by a neural processing unit called Occula. It will be made easier for automotive clients to integrate this technology. There are also plans to licence the Occula technology.
Nostra Tera Oil and Gas (NTOG) is acquiring a 100% working interest in the Caballos Creek oil field in Texas, which has an economic life of between 16 and 32 years. The cost is $425,000 and there should be a two-year payback. There are proved reserves of 92,100 (69,300 net) barrels of oil equivalent. Current production is 30 (22 net of royalties) barrels of oil per day, which increases Nostra Terra’s production by 25%.
Matthew Freud increased his stake in Reach4Entertainment (R4E) to 19.99% before trading on AIM ended.
Omega Diagnostics (ODX) has CE-marked Mologic’s lateral flow antibody test for COVID-19, which picks up infection at an earlier stage than most tests.
Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) has in-licensed the virus-like particle vaccine technology from Saiba and DeepVax for use in solid tumours, atopic dermatitis, asthma and psoriasis. This broadens the scope of the group, but it continues to focus on allergy treatments.
Consumer products supplier Creightons (CRL) increased full year revenues by 9% to £47.8m, while an improved profit margin meant that pre-tax profit increased from £2.87m to £3.55m. A final dividend of 0.5p a share is proposed.
Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has signed heads of agreement to acquire gold assets in Africa. It plans to acquire 100% of Kilmapesa in Kenya and 70% of the Kakamoeka gold project in Congo Brazzaville. They could provide near-term gold production.
Daniel Thwaites (THW) closed its pubs and hotels on 20 May and it will not pay a final dividend for 2019-20. Net debt was £65.4m at the end of March 2020 and there are £16.6m of spare bank facilities. Trading had been strong, and the predominance of freehold properties means that rent payments is not as big a concern as it is for some pub operators.
Housebuilder St Mark Homes (SMAP) had a NAV of 127p a share at the end of 2019. The share price is 87.5p. There is cash of £4.8m and the company intends to pay off its bond, which has a 6% coupon. In 2019, pre-tax profit dipped from £117,000 to £114,000.
KR1 (KR1) has raised $353,000 from the sale of RPL tokens, relating to the Rocket Pool, which is developing a proof-of-stake infrastructure service using Ethereum 2.0. The tokens were acquired for $0.21 each and sold at $1.67 each. The majority of the RPL tokens acquired are still held by KR1 even though there was a buyer for all of them. The takeover of digital asset custodian Volt Ltd has generated a further $244,000.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has signed a framework agreement that will enable it to provide cancer treatment services to NHS trusts. The deal lasts an initial period of two years.
Altona Energy (ANR) has cancelled its open offer because the minimum amount was not raised. Instead, management is in discussions with three companies that could reverse into Altona. Cash will be required to cover the costs of a reverse takeover.
Trading has resumed in Lombard Capital (LCAP) shares. Lombard’s waste and recycling subsidiary is acquiring land in Preston for £1.08m. Lombard needs to issue more bonds in order to fully fund the purchase. Existing bond holders are swapping £507,000 worth into shares at 25p each and £320,000 has been raised from the exercise of warrants at 10p each. The current share price is 27.5p and it is more than five times the level it was two months ago. The site was previously used for recycling and Lombard will reapply for an environmental licence. It will be used for a waste to energy project and a plastic recovering plant.
Coinsilium Group Ltd (COIN) has been appointed as adviser to Kesholabs, a Kenya-based blockchain technology developer. Kesholabs is developing three applications that could be launched within 12 months.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that CASA is set to resume limited operations after the lockdown in South Africa. CASA will produce test work and production of anthracite samples.
Ananda Developments (ANA) subsidiary DJT plants has met with the MHRA to discuss its plans to grow strains of cannabis. This is part of the licence application to grow medicinal cannabis. There will be further consultation with the UK authorities.
World High Life (LIFE) says that subsidiary Love Hemp has increased capacity for its LH Botanicals business.
IWEP is swapping part of its loan to Eight Capital Partners (ECP) into a 29.8% stake at 0.025p a share. Shares have also been issued to creditors to satisfy money owed.
First Sentinel (FSEN) has invested £270,000 in Stabiltech Biopharma as part of a £6m fundraising. The corporate finance subsidiary is advising the investee company on further fundraisings. The vaccine developer is developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19. Clinical trials should start in June.
Secured Property Developments (SPD) is still seeking property investments. There is £514,000 in the bank and net assets of £470,000.
All Star Minerals (ASMO0 has raised £80,000 at 0.02p a share and a further £170,000 is being sought. Ian Harebottle and Richard Lloyd, who both have mining experience, are joining the board.
NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £189,500 in placings at 7p a share and 7.5p a share. NQ has raised £340,000 in the past fortnight.
Shareholders have passed the resolution to consolidate 100 existing Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) shares into one new share.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) has appointed Peterhouse as joint broker.
Engineering businesses consolidator Vulcan Industries is seeking admittance to the Aquis Stock Exchange. The focus is profitable metal fabrication and precision engineering businesses. First Sentinel is corporate adviser. The expected admission date is 1 June.
Renalytix AI (RENX) plans to gain a Nasdaq listing. The renal diagnostics company has not decided how much money it wants to raise. Renalytix AI has launched a joint venture to develop and produce COVID-19 antibody test kits.
STM (STM) subsidiary Carey has won a court case brought by a client. Adams v Carey related to a non-advisory SIPP taken out by Adams and an investment that he asked to be put in the SIPP. The investment performed poorly, and Adams claimed for loss of value. This case has been going on for more than two years.
Employee background checks provider ClearStar (CLSU) has launched a COVID-19 testing service that will help employers with back to work planning. That could attract additional clients for ClearStar’s services.
Imaging services provider IXICO (IXI) increased interim revenues from £3.43m to £4.56m and that helped to more than double profit from £215,000 to £475,000. There was cash of £6.66m at the end of March 2020. The order book is strong. It was £15.3m at the end of the interim period and more has been added since then. Data analysis from existing trials is continuing during the lockdown.
Tiziana Life Science (TILS) intends to demerge its genomics-based personalised medicine businesses into a separate quoted vehicle. This will enable the business to raise cash to develop the StemPrintER technology for the prediction of disease recurrence in breast cancer patients.
Tissue products developer Tissue Regenix (TRX) raised £14.6m at a share price of 0.25p. This was much-needed cash because existing funds were about to run out.
A share placing by Open Orphan (ORPH) at 11p a share raised £12m after expenses. This will help to finance services for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, as well as more laboratory facilities.
Digital TV technology provider Mirada (MIRA) has extended the term for its revolving credit facility by 12 months to the end of November 2021. Earlier this month, Mirada launched a lower cost version of its technology. Iris in Swift Mode is a pre-packaged platform.
Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) has acquired the Eddie Stobart brand from Stobart Group (STOB), which will have to change its name, for £10m. An annual fee of £3m was payable for the brand. This will be saved from now on. There have been some reductions in activity due to COVID-19, but grocery and e-commerce demand remain strong.
Cash shell Summerway Capital (SWC) has £5.55m in the bank as it continues to seek an acquisition.
Contango Holdings (CGO) has published a prospectus relating to the acquisition of the Lubu coal project. The potential deal was announced more than one year ago. A £1.4m placing at 5p a share in January will finance costs and initial investment in the Lubu project. Readmission is expected on 18 June.
The Takeover Panel Executive has denied Moss Bros (MOSB) bidder Brigadier’s attempt to lapse its offer. Brigadier has asked for the ruling to be reviewed.
Pure Gold Mining Inc (PUR) has secured a $15m investment at $1.52 a share. This will be invested in the Red Lake Mine.
Loans to Shefa Gems (SEFA) totalling £1.25m have been converted at a premium to the market price. The shares issued account for 14.5% of the enlarged share capital.
Trading in the shares of Barkby Group (BARK) has been suspended ahead of further information about a proposed reverse takeover. The acquisition of a group of companies referred to as the Dickson controlled entities is expected to cost £30m, predominantly paid in shares. There will also be a share placing to provide working capital for the enlarged group. Charles Dickson would become executive chairman if the deal goes ahead. The businesses include Workshop Coffee, which operates four coffee shops and is a wholesaler of speciality coffee, a commercial property developer. Barkby will also acquire the right to invest in two private companies: Transcend Packaging, which won a contract to supply McDonalds with paper straws, and VivoPlex, which has developed a medical device for fertility monitoring.
Brewer and pubs operator Daniel Thwaites (THW) says fears that interest rates will fall has required a £4m increase in the provision for its interest rate swaps. That is a non-cash item and underlying pre-tax profit increased from £5.6m to £6.2m in the six months to September 2019. That figure also excludes a quadrupling of property disposal profit to £800,000. Interim revenues improved 7% to £53.4m. The new brewery is operating at full capacity, while there was a small increase in like-for-like pub revenues. The contribution from hotels improved. Net debt was reduced by £8.6m to £61.6m compared with 12 months before, although £22.5m has been reclassified as due within one year. The interim dividend is unchanged at 1.1p a share.
NEX and AIM-quoted AFH Financial (AFHP) says it is trading in line with forecasts. The wealth manager will report underlying EBITDA of more than £17m, up from £10.4m, in the year to October 2019. Funds under management were £6bn. The contribution from acquisitions has been earnings enhancing. The total dividend is expected to be 8p a share and this is expected to rise by one-quarter to 10p a share in 2019-20. There was still £11.9m in the bank at the end of October 2019, although there is estimated to be £32.2m of contingent consideration and a £15m convertible loan in the balance sheet. The current focus is on organic growth and there should be enough cash generated, along with the current balance, to pay the deferred consideration over the next two years.
Ashley House (LSE: ASH) has published a trading statement and it is changing its year end from April to October following the disposal of the Morgan Ashley joint venture. In the 12 months to April 2019, revenues fell from £18.5m to £11.9m and a pre-tax profit of £805,000 was turned into a £2.95m loss. There was a loss contributed by joint ventures. Net debt was £1.8m.
Clinical support systems supplier DXS International (DXSP) is considering a move to AIM. This would be part of a potential fundraising to enable further investment in the business. DXS has already announced that it 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. The focus will be on the existing core product DXS Point of Care, analytics and reporting service CompleteCare, digital medicines service ExpertCare and condition management platform MyVytalCare. The first is already on sale and the rest will be launched in early 2020. DXS is gaining final approvals for its four solutions to be listed in the NHS catalogue.
AfriAg Global (AFRI) has raised £160,000 at 0.1p a share. This cash will be invested in additional shares in Apollon Formularies, which will take the company’s stake to 2.68%.
Primorus Investments (PRIM) believes that the lack of flotations is providing it with more opportunities. Primorus has received the £275,000 it was owed by Zuuse and still owns 57,205 shares and holds options over one million shares at A$0.50 (26p) each. The latest fundraising by Zuuse is at A$1 a share. There is a potential market to sell the shares even before a flotation.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) shareholder Formation Group has appointed Andrew Bennett as a non-executive director of the proton beam therapy firm.
David Lenigas has been appointed chairman of NQ Minerals (NQMI) and the board is in talks to replace existing debt with lower-cost debt. First Sentinel, which is run by former NQ Minerals director, has been appointed as corporate adviser.
Block Commodities (BLCC) has raised £388,000 from an issue of convertible loan notes and shares. This is less than the company wanted to raise more than six months ago. The share issue raised £133,000 at 0.02p a share, with a warrant exercisable at the same price, and the conversion of the loan notes will also be at the same price. The cash will be used to move into the medicinal cannabis sector. Additional shares are being issued to pay creditors.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had net assets of 246.47p a share at the end of October 2019.
One hundred shares in Equatorial Mining and Exploration (EM.P) will be consolidated into one new share on 18 November.
Karoo Energy has changed its name to IamFire (FIRE).
Queros Capital Partners (QCP) will leave NEX on 28 November.
DBAY Advisors does not intend to bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and instead will acquire 51% of the underlying subsidiary that owns the transport operations. The poor financial situation of the business led to the change of strategy and Eddie Stobart Logistics has recommended the deal, which involves the injection of £55m of additional finance through a PIK Facility. This will pay off a £35m loan and provide working capital. The deal requires the extension of other existing debt facilities. The interim results to May 2019 are still being compiled. An operating loss of at least £12m is expected, but the underlying business could make a full year operating profit of up to £2m. There could be a goodwill write-down of £50m. Net debt will be around £200m. Wincanton (WIN) is still considering a rival deal.
ECO Animal Health (EAH) is still suffering the after effects of the African Swine Flu outbreak in China and the US/China trade war hitting imports from the US. First half revenues from China fell by three-fifths. Restocking will take time to flow through in terms of FCO’s results. There will be a sharp fall in full year profit. The interims could also be affected by accounting policy changes.
Advanced surface coatings provider Hardide (HDD) has been selected to coat parts for the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. This is an important step in building up business in the aerospace sector. The Hardide-A coating will replace HVOF thermal spray coatings. HVOF is one of the most widely used coatings in aerospace and Hardide-A is said to be technically superior. Hardide has also been awarded a patent for a water droplet erosion resistant coating for blades and vanes, including those used on steam and gas turbines for power generation. A field test is planned.
Adamas Finance Asia (ADAM) says that a test production run is planned later this month by 85%-owned Future Metal at its quarry in China. The plan is to restart production by the end of the year. This will help to underpin the Adamas NAV and provide potential upside. At the end of September 2019, NAV was 84p a share, which is more than three times the share price. Future Metal is 45.2% of that NAV and when the quarry is up and running then Adamas could raise cash by selling some of its stake. Cash is required to invest in new opportunities that are being presented to the company. Adamas issued 16.18 million shares at 34.8p each for its equity investment in Infinity TNP.
Safestay (SSTY) has bought the Hotel Auberge in Berlin, which is near to Berlin zoo, and intends to turn it into a 150-bed hostel. The site has an eleven year lease. This is the latest acquisition this year and it takes the total number of hostel sites to 18. The plan is to have 20 hostels by 2020.
PureCircle Ltd (PURE) chief executive Magomet Malsagov has stood aside temporarily pending further investigation of the classification of the stevia sweeteners supplier’s inventory and other transactions. The investigations have identified that inventory was $23m too high. Other transactions could lead to additional valuation changes. There could be write downs of intangibles and inventories. There should not be any increase in net debt, although the figures are still not fully audited. Bank covenants may need to be waived. Finance director Rakesh Sinha had previously resigned, although he remains with the company until the end of January.
Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is seeking a buyer. Management believes the company needs to be part of a larger group with greater financial resources.
Renewable energy supplier Good Energy (GOOD) says that holding back on operating expenditure has offset the downturn in demand due to warmer weather. Profit will be weighted to the first half. Good is investing in electric vehicle platform Zap-Map.
Brewer Daniel Thwaites (THW) reported a more than halved pre-tax profit from £9.8m to £4.5m. Turnover improved from £92.2m to £96.9m and the profit decline was mainly due to a non-cash swing from gain to loss on swaps and a pension adjustment. Operating profit was flat at £12.9m. The Inns business improved its profit and individual pubs are making a higher profit contribution, but hotels profit declined. The total dividend was maintained at 3.36p a share. Net debt was £69.7m at the end of March 2019, while NAV was £180.7m. The pension liability has fallen from £34.9m to £24.8m.
KR1 (KR1) has sold 70,079 tokens in the Cosmos Network for $361,000. The average cost of the tokens was $0.10 each and they were sold for $5.14 each. KR1 has also generate a further 7,008 tokens from staking activities and these were sold for $6.93 each.
There was a sharp rise in the share price of TechFinancials Inc (TECH) but much of this gain was lost by the end of the week. There does not appear to be a reason for the rise. Full year results should be published this week. There will be an operating loss. There was $1.1m in the bank at the end of May 2019. The company is still waiting for approval from the Seychelles authorities for the €100,000 disposal of MarketFinancials. There will be write-downs of the value of diamond trading blockchain developer CEDEX and MarketFinancials.
EPE Special Opportunities Ltd (ESO) had a NAV of 272.02p a share at the end of May 2019. The company intends to start buying back shares and these purchases could exceed 25% of the average daily volume of ordinary shares.
Shareholders have approved the plan of Oyster Oil and Gas to distribute the shares of its main subsidiary to settle indebtedness and certain creditors. These include Gunsynd (GUN) although the exact shareholding has yet to be announced. Production sharing contracts in Madagascar and Djibouti are owned by the subsidiary. Gunsynd has raised £500,000 at 0.037p a share.
Trading in Via Developments (VIA1) debentures has recommenced following the publication of figures for 18 months to September 2018. The company has net liabilities of £329,000 with long-term debt of £5.68m offset by cash of £91,000. A subsidiary is securing debt and equity for a project that will generate management fees fir Via, but that won’t happen until September.
Clean Invest Africa (CIA) is holding a general meeting on 3 July in order to gain shareholder approval for the acquisition of the 97.5% of Coal Tech and its related business that it does not own for £27.2m in shares at 2.75p each. CoalTech transforms discarded coal into coal pellets.
Lombard Odier sold 1.65 million shares in Chapel Down Group (CDGP) at 75p a share, reducing its stake to 11.5%. Chief executive Frazer Thompson exercised 2.39 million options at 12.5p a share and finance director Richard Woodhouse exercised 200,000 options at 10p a share and all these shares were sold at 75p each.
Frontier Smart Technologies (FST) has received another bid approach. Previous potential bidder Science Group (SAG) has built up a 28.3% stake in Frontier so it is in a strong position. It says that it does not intend to sell the shares to another bidder and could block any move to cancel the AIM quotation.
Park Group (PARK) increased investment in the business last year and this knocked underlying pre-tax profit progress which was flat at £12.5m, before asset write-downs. The dividend was increased by 5% to 3.2p a share. There was a smaller contribution from Christmas savings, but growth from corporate promotions and incentives offset that. Increasingly, business is card-based. There was £36.9m of the company’s own cash at the end of March 2019. There will be a dip in profit this year due to higher overheads and profit growth should resume in 2020-21. Chief executive Ian O’Doherty has bought 30,000 shares at 69.5p each.
Stanley Gibbons (SGB) has resolved claims against former management at antique dealer Mallett and this will result in a cash inflow of £850,000 over 12 months.
Safestyle (SSTY) has acquired the freehold of a 161 bed hostel in Pisa for €3.25m. This takes the company’s portfolio to 14 hostels, including the Paris site that is under construction.
Last year was about OnTheMarket (OTMP) building up the number of agencies on its property portal and increasing the number of homebuyers looking at the properties advertised. The rival to Rightmove and Zoopla needs to convert these agencies into fee payers and that process has just started. OnTheMarket will continue to be loss-making this year with higher marketing spending likely to offset higher revenues. Cash is expected to fall from £15.7m to £6.6m at the end of January 2019.
NWF (NWF) did better than expected in the year to May 2019. The feeds business was slightly behind the previous year, but new business helped the food warehouse business to significantly improve its performance and fuels did better than expected despite the milder winter, although behind the previous year. The results will be published on 30 July.
Industrial equipment distributor HC Slingsby (SLNG) says that pressure on margin means that operating profit in the four months to April 2019 is lower, even though revenues are slightly higher. Uncertainty over Brexit is affecting levels of demand in the first half of 2019. Net debt was £1.3m at the end of May 2019.
The actuarial deficit on the Molins UK Pension Fund has been cut from £69.9m to £35.2m over a three-year period. Mpac (MPAC) believes the deficit should be eliminated by July 2024. That is based on maintained payments into the scheme.
Filta (FLTA) says that its figures will be more skewed towards the second half. This is partly down to the integration of the Watbio grease management business. There has been growth in the FiltaSeal business and the North American FiltaFry fryer management franchise business.
Avingtrans (AVG) has acquired the Booth Industries specialist door manufacturing business from the administrator of Redhall (RHL) for £1.8m in cash. Booth made a pre-tax profit of £300,000 last year.
Full year results from fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) were slightly better than expected. Revenues were 6% ahead at £209m, while re-tax profit was a similar percentage higher at £23.5m. The dividend was increased by 10% to 4.25p a share. Trading remains tough.
Aquila Services (AQSG) has acquired education and sports consultancy Oaks Consultancy for up to £1.7m in cash and shares. In the year to March 2019, Oaks made a pre-tax profit of £254,000 on revenues of £909,000.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) is converting $2.89m of loans into 121.5 million shares. Management made most of the loans and chief executive Colin Patterson will end up with 19.1% of Bluebird. Bluebird is debt-free.
Standard list shell Safe Harbour Holdings (SHH) lost £2.3m in 2018 due to overheads and due diligence costs. There is still £26.9m in the bank.
IMC Exploration Group (IMCP) has published the prospectus for its move to a standard listing. No fundraising is planned to accompany the flotation. Management believes that IMC has enough working capital for 12 months. There was €152,878 in cash available at the end of January 2019. This takes account of the statutory spending on its licences.
Block Commodities (BLCC) is calling a general meeting to enable shareholders to decide whether the company should become involved in the medicinal cannabis sector.
Ananda Developments (ANA) owns 15% of LHT, the owner of hapac medicinal cannabis inhaling technology. The hapac products are being sold in Italy and the product range is being widened. Other investments are being assessed.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has declared a second interim dividend of 0.83p a share.
Anne Yerburgh has been replaced as chairman of Daniel Thwaites (THW) by chief executive Richard Bailey, although she remains as a non-executive director in order to represent family shareholders. A replacement is being sought for former non-executive director Nick Mackenzie.
Queros Capital Partners (BFD) has raised £305,000 from the issue of 8% unsecured bonds 2025. This will be used to provide bridging finance to UK businesses.
Chris Akers has a 3.97% stake in High Growth Capital (HASH) following the purchase of the intellectual property of Malta-based BDD, a company he founded. RRNB Capital Ltd has increased its shareholding from 1.92% to 9.95%, while Fujairah has raised its stake from 2.31% to 8.59%. High Growth Capital has completed the acquisition of additional shares in AI company Sentiance to take its stake to 15%. Whitman Howard has been appointed as corporate adviser and broker.
Modern Water (MWG) reported its 2018 results at 6.19pm o the Thursday before Good Friday. Revenues increased by 18% to £4.2m and the reported loss was more than halved from £5.23m, although this included a £1.53m goodwill write off, to £2.47m. This appears to be the first time that Modern Water has slipped out results after the market has closed for the week. Let us hope that this does not become a habit. Serial offender Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH) managed to put out its statement a bit earlier but after the close of the market. More can be found at https://ukinvestormagazine.co.uk/why-you-should-avoid-immunodiagnostic-systems-holdings/.
Enterprise software provider Sanderson (SND) says interim trading was ahead of expectations and further progress is expected in the second half. Interim revenues improved from £14.6m to £17m and underlying operating profit is one-third higher at £2.8m, which is partly due to accounting changes. Like-for-like operating profit would be one-fifth higher. Net cash was £3.29m at the end of March 2019. The order book is worth £8m. The interims will be published on 15 May.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum is investing £534,000 in MX Oil (MXO) for a 29.86% stake. He will appoint a non-executive chairman. This is part of a placing raising £680,000 at 0.04p a share. There are also 800 million warrants being issued that are exercisable at 0.04p over a five year period. Options over 10% of the enlarged share capital will be issued to management. The Aje field, where MX has a 5% investment is producing at around 3,150 barrels of oil per day and cash generated is being used to reduce project debt. The Aje field should start generating free cash in 2020 and that could move MX into profit in the first half of 2020. MX plans to consolidate 100 existing shares into one new share and change its name to ADM Energy.
Chief executive Sean Smith has bought 126,624 shares in biopesticide products developer Eden Research (EDEN) for 10.25p each. Finance director Alex Abrey has acquired 50,000 shares at 10.1p each. House broker Shore forecasts an increase in revenues from £2.8m to £3.7m in 2019, although the loss is expected to rise to £900,000. Shore expects Eden to move into profit in 2021.
PowerHouse Energy (PHE) has gained its first revenue generating contract for its DMG technology in conjunction with partner Waste2Tricity. Revenues will come from IP, design rights and licensing, followed by operational engineering.
Parity (PTY) is increasing its focus on the data analytics market and has appointed a new boss of consultancy services. Pre-tax profit halved to £850,000 in 2018 and a further decline is expected in 2019. Net debt is expected to remain at around £1m. Revenues are expected to continue to decline but there should be a greater proportion of the business coming from higher margin activities and profit is expected to bounce back to £1.5m in 2020.
Fryer and grease management services provider Filta (FLTA) increased revenues by 23% to £14.2m in 2018, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £1.81m to £2.2m. This is before any significant contribution from the Watbio acquisition, which cost savings appear to be on course. A 2019 pre-tax profit of £3.8m is forecast.
Nektan (NKTN) is selling a 57.5% stake in Respin for £300,000 to a new purchaser because the previous deal could not be completed at a higher price due to the fact that buyer could not raise the finance. The online gaming firm says that it owes £3.6m in tax to the HMRC and it is likely to need additional cash to pay the bill.
TruFin (TRU) plans to sell its stake in unsecured consumer finance provider Zopa for £44.5m, an increase of 22% on the 2017 valuation, and investing £25m in manufacturing finance provider Distribution Finance Capital, which will be floated on AIM in early May. There should also be £10m returned to investors later this year. That will leave early payment services provider Oxygen Finance and Satago Financial Solutions, which provides working capital to small businesses.
Delayed results from consumer care products supplier Venture Life Group (VLG) show revenues 17% ahead at £18.8m and nearly all the growth came from the company’s brands. Pre-tax profit improved from £63,000 to £710,000. Net cash was £5.8m so the company has funds to make additional acquisitions.
Yourgene Health (YGEN) has raised £11.8m at 10.25p a share and that will be used to fund the £6.3m cash payment for molecular diagnostics developer Elucigene, which will cost £9.2m in cash and shares.
Managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says net debt was £17.6m at the end of March 2019, compared with estimates of £20.2m. Pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £8m to £8.7m.
D4T4 Solutions (D4T4) has announced that its 2018-19 results will be ahead of expectations. This led to a pre-tax profit upgrade from £5.7m to £5.8m, but earnings per share were upgraded from 12.1p to 13.3p due to a low tax rate.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has raised £5m through a placing at 13p a share. The cash will boost the balance sheet while management undertakes partnership discussions and additional work on SFX-01. The phase IIb data for SFX-01 in subarachnoid haemorrhage is expected in the third quarter of 2019.
Directa Plus (DCTA) doubled its total income to €2.5m in 2018. The graphene-based products developer has net cash of €5.2m, following a €3m outflow from operations.
Ariana Resources (AAU) says that the Kiziltepe gold mine produced 7,296 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2019. That was lower than the fourth quarter of 2018, but it is ahead of the average annualised quarterly guidance.
IG Design (IGR) is set for 10% organic sales growth in the year to March 2019 and total revenues rising from £327.5m to £447m. Pre-tax profit is expected to grow from £21.4m to £29.5m. There could be further merger benefits to come from the Impact Innovations acquisition.
Europa Oil and Gas (EOG) is selling its 20% stake in PEDL143 in the Weald Basin to UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) for £300,000.
Plastics and panels supplier Tex Holdings (TXH) made a small loss in 2018 following accounting changes to the recognition of revenues and there is no final dividend. Trading levels were lower in the second half. Tex is in breach of some of its bank loan covenants. The major shareholder continues to support the group. The share price fell by more than one-quarter.
Electronic products distributor DiscoverIE (DSCV) is on course to improve its full year pre-tax profit from £21.8m to £27.7m. The group has raised £29m at 400p a share in order to finance the acquisitions of US-based transformers and magnetic components manufacturer Hobart Electronics and UK-based rugged and submersible sensors manufacturer Positek. The total initial consideration is £15.9m.
Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) says full year profit is slightly better than expected even though demand from China has been reduced due to tariff wars with the US. Net debt was £15m at the end of March 2019 and it has agreed a new four-year bank facility of £80m. This could be used for acquisitions.
Argo Blockchain (ARB) has set the date for its requisitioned general meeting, which will be held on 16 May. The requisition came from an entity owning 13.8% that is controlled by Frank Timis, who does not believe that the company will provide a satisfactory return to shareholders with its current cryptomining strategy. The plan is to remove Jonathan Bixby and Mike Edwards as directors and appoint another director. Argo has more cash than its market capitalisation. Cash operating costs have been reduced to £280,000, compared with £500,000 of potential revenues expected in May.
Kazakhstan-focused vanadium miner Ferro-Alloy Resources (FAR) is already spending the money it raised when it gained a standard listing last month. Equipment, a mobile crane and vehicles have been acquired. The design of the extension to the existing facilities and for the connection to the high voltage power line has been completed. The share price has almost halved from the placing price of 70p to 37.37p. More background information can be found at https://ukinvestormagazine.co.uk/ferro-alloy-resources-goes-to-discount-on-first-day/.
BATM (BVC) has won an initial $2m armed forces contract for cyber security and this lasts 18 months.
Emmerson (EML) has signed heads of agreement for an offtake agreement for 100% of the production from the Khemisset potash project.
Small cap award winners 2018
Company of the year
ZOO Digital (ZOO)
The ZOO Digital share price is ten times the level it was one year ago. ZOO localises film and television content and it has been investing in upgrading its technology and services over the past few years. This investment is paying off and the ability to offer cloud-based services is helping the business to grow and move into profit. Hollywood studios have been customers for many years and ZOO is winning market share. Newer entrants to the market such as Netflix have grown the demand for localisation of content. ZOO is expected to report an underlying pre-tax profit of £500,000 for the year to March 2018.
NEX company of the year
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS)
Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity originally floated on GXG and then switched to NEX. It was one of the youngest companies that was on the shortlist for this award. Crossword is generating modest revenues and it is developing cyber security products with partners. The real potential for the business will not be realised for a few years.
Impact company of the year
Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR)
Walls & Futures REIT is an ethical housing REIT that develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or requiring extra care. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%.
IPO of the year
K3 Capital (K3C)
Business sales and corporate finance company K3 Capital Group joined AIM at 95p a share in April 2017 and the share price has more than trebled. Bolton-based K3 helps owners to sell their businesses and it gains clients through a direct marketing strategy. The AIM quotation and the related higher profile appears to have helped to accelerate growth. A move up the Thomson Reuters deal rankings is also helping. Last year, revenues rose by 26% to £10.8m, while pre-tax profit improved 18% to £3.6m. In the six months to November 2017, revenues were 34% ahead at £7.5m and pre-tax profit moved from £2.48m to £3.21m.
Fintech company of the year
FAIRFX Group (FFX)
Foreign exchange and e-banking services provider FAIRFX has a low cost model while offering an improved experience to the more established rivals. Turnover was £1.1bn last year, while revenues were £15.5m and this enable the company to move into profit. Corporate turnover was 52.3% of the total, up from 45.5%. The company recently moved its international payments book onto the City Forex platform following its acquisition. The focus is increasing scale to improve efficiency combined with the rolling out of new products.
Transaction of the year
Proactis (PHD) – merger with Perfect Commerce
Spend control software provider Proactis merged with Perfect Commerce in August 2017. The deal significantly increased the scope of the business and added to the management team. The integration of the businesses appears to be going well but the loss of a couple of large customers has held back progress in the year to July 2018. Even so, annualised contracted revenues are still £45.5m. Progressive Equity Research still expects a near-doubling of this year’s pre-tax profit to £10.2m, rising to £13.2m next year. That means that earnings per share growth is modest this year because of the additional shares in issue.
Executive director of the year
Bobby Kalar – Yu Group (YU.)
Electricity and gas supplier Yu Group floated on AIM in March 2016 at 185p a share. The current share price is more than four times that level. The focus is on commercial customers. Yu increased its revenues from £16.3m to £47m last year and annualised bookings continue to grow. Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £195,000 to £3.08m. The dividend was increased from 2.25p to 3p a share. Trading continues to be strong and average annualised bookings per month were £6.6m. The cash pile has increased to £18.6m at the end of April 2018. Yu has obtained a licence to supply water.
Journalist of the year
Paul Scott – Stockopedia
Fund manager of the year
Nick Williamson – Old Mutual
Microcap fund manager of the year
Guy Feld – Canaccord Genuity
Analyst of the year
Kevin Ashton – Cantor Fitzgerald
Lifetime achievement award
Katie Potts – Herald Investment Management
Special services to small caps
John Jenkins (Founder of Ofex/NEX)
Daniel Thwaites (THW) increased its 2017-18 by 9% to £92.2m, while operating profit improved by 7% to £12.9m. There was a 79% increase in earnings per share to 13.8p, mainly due to a swing from a loss on interest swaps to a profit. The total dividend is unchanged at 4.46p a share. Investment in the pubs and hotels operations and in the new craft brewery at Mellor Brook has led to a rise in net debt from £47.6m to £63.7m. The old brewery will be demolished and the land will eventually be sold or developed. Poor weather means that the new financial year has started more slowly than last year.
Hellenic Capital has changed its name to Pelican House Mining (PHM) and is focusing on investing in early-stage resources projects in Africa. The focus is making capital gains on the investments. Pelican is trying to supplement its cash resources by selling a commercial property in Leeds, but the buyer withdrew. Pelican has retained the deposit. The investment property in Leeds is in the books at £204,000. Two directors, Simon Grant-Rennick and Mark Jackson, have been granted options over a total of seven million shares exercisable at 0.55p each.
Newbury Racecourse (NYR) says that its conference and events division is 22% ahead of the same time last year and the revenues of the hotel have risen by the same percentage. There has been a 17% rise in revenues for the nursery business on the back of occupancy rates rising by six percentage points. There are longer-term worries about the financial ability of bookies to provide sponsorship and other revenues. Management says it will not be paying any dividends until 2022 at the earliest after the current development projects are completed.
PCG Entertainment (PCGE) has raised £303,000 at 0.15p a share and around £119,000 will go towards paying the £119,000 settlement with D-Beta, which provided an equity sharing facility. D-Beta has sold its existing stake. PCG is talking to Cavitation Solutions Ltd about distributing cavitation technology, which deals with oil and other water pollutants, in China. It is also talking to ChainZy about distributing its blockchain-based technology in Asia. There is interest from third parties concerning the use of PCG’s media and gambling licences in China.
IMC Exploration (IMCP) has raised £250,000 at 0.7p a share and the cash will be used to develop the company’s three main gold and zinc projects.
South Africa-focused investment company Inqo Investments Ltd (INQO) has made a second investment in Uganda-based Four-One Financial Services, which manages the Mazima micro-pension scheme. This is the second tranche of the original investment and is in the form of a $100,000 convertible loan.
NWF (NWF) says that last year’s trading was much better than expected and net debt is lower than forecast. The feeds business improved its performance and trading of the fuels division was strong. The food distribution operations wee hit by reorganisation requirements and did not perform as well as expected.
Diversified Gas and Oil (DGOC) has got another large deal on the blocks and trading in the shares has been suspended. The Appalachian Basin oil and gas producing assets will be acquired for $575m and it will more than double the group’s daily production. This should be an earnings enhancing deal. A $225m share placing is required to help finance the deal.
RedstoneConnect (REDS) chief executive Mark Braund intends to leave the smart buildings technology company. Frank Beechinor will move from chairman to chief executive. The disposal of the systems integration and managed services divisions has been completed and the group can focus on its software business.
Ilika (IKA) has gained government funding of £4.1m for two battery technology projects in the automotive sector. The PowerDriveLine project is developing a solid state battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. The other project is headed by McLaren Automotive and is developing a battery for performance cars.
Secure payment products provider Eckoh (ECK) increased its full year revenues by 3% to £30m but pre-tax profit was 61% higher at £2.4m thanks to an improvement in operating margin. Growth in the US made up for a weaker contribution in the UK.
Redhall Group (RHL) slumped back into loss in the first half due to a delayed contract. However, it is still on course to make an improved profit in the full year. Interim revenues were 22% lower at £14.7m. There is strong demand for the company’s specialist doors from the nuclear and transport sectors.
Evgen Pharma (EVG) has enough cash to get to the end of 2018. There should be further positive news about the two ongoing clinical trials prior to the end of the year. Interim analysis of phase II trial of SFX-01 as a treatment for breast cancer show that six out of 20 patients, who had tumours that had initially responded to treatment but had become resistant, saw some benefit from the treatment of their tumours. The treatment has also been shown to be safe. The final results of the trial should be published before the end of the year.
Life sciences company Abzena (ABZA) has decided to focus on monetising its technology rather than raising money via a share issue. A non-binding heads of agreement with a third party would involve the sale of an interest in future royalties. If this deal is completed there would be enough working capital for the short-term.
Active Energy Group (AEG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Young Living Farms for the sale of a PeatSwitch plant, which makes environmentally friendly peat replacements. The first plant is in Mona, Utah and the client is paying $3.4m in cash. There could subsequently be other plants at the client’s other sites.
Trading has resumed in the shares of Audioboom (BOOM) following publication of its accounts. The share price fell from 3.6p to 2.18p. The podcasts publisher has raised £4.5m from a placing at 3p a share.
WideCells Group (WDC) managed to raise £513,000 at 3p a share via a bookbuild on the Teathers app. That includes £183,000 from directors. The total amount raised by the stem cell services provider is £2.04m, including conversion of debt of £165,000. Shareholder approval is required for the share issue.Trading in the shares has resumed and the share price has fallen below the placing price. WideCells is using £615,000 of its £624,500 overdraft, which will be reviewed at the end of June. Shareholders have loaned £120,000.
China-based Gamfook Jewellery is planning to join the standard list. The online retailer customised jewellery wants to raise £5m in order to invest in retail sites. Gamfook has managed to generate cash from operating activities in the past few years, although next year there will be a significant working capital outflow according to forecasts. Gamfook is offering an 8.5% yield on its potential placing price of 15p a share and that would rise to 12.5% in 2019.
Air Partner (AIR) has completed its accounting review and the net assets overstatement of £4m net of tax is in line with indications. There were accounting errors and subsequent attempts to cover up the problems going back to 2010. The review has cost £1.3m. Air Partner still intends to pay a final dividend of 3.8p a share.
BATM (BVC) has won a $3m follow-on cyber security for a government department. The total contract value will be $7m.
Falcon Media House (FAL) has raised £500,000 via a convertible loan note issue. The conversion price is 1.5p a share.
Cash shell AIQ Ltd (AIQ) has raised £250,000 from an oversubscribed open offer at 20p a share but there was a delay of one day before the shares were admitted to trading on 14 June. The share price has slumped from a high of 160p to 24.5p over the past month.
Dukemount Capital (DKE) has agreed a 30-year lease on a second property in north west England. Housing association Inclusion Housing is paying £168,740 a year for the lease subject to planning permission for extra rooms. The property needs to be refurbished.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (BMV) has executed the 50/50 joint venture agreement with Southern Gold for the Kochang mine and the feasibility report is expected before the end of September. The required $500,000 investment has nearly been completed by Bluebird and it is on course to invest the required $250,000 in Southern Gold. First gold is expected before the end of 2019.
There are eight companies in the running for the NEX Exchange company of the year at the Small Cap Awards. The awards will be held at The Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.
Kent-based wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has built up a significant presence in the English wines market. The company has a winery in Tenterden and it is building a new brewery for its beer operations. Chapel Down reported a 15% increase in annual sales to £11.8m. Wine sales were one-fifth higher at £8.12m with cider and beer sales, via associate Curious Drinks, were 7% ahead at £3.68m. Operating profit improved from £346,000 to £470,000 but there was a much larger loss from the Curious Drinks associate so pre-tax profit was lower. The new brewery should be open in the first quarter of 2019.
Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is still at a very early stage of its development but it more than doubled its revenues in 2017. The loss still increased from £950,000 to £1.24m despite the improvement in revenues from £345,000 to £737,000. The cash outflow was £1.06m, which left £490,000 in the bank. Since then, £2.16m was raised via a placing at 270p a share. Crossword has interests in a number of early stage businesses, including CyberOwl, a joint venture between Coventry University and Crossword, which has backing from Mercia Fund Management. CyberOwl is developing network security software for target-centric monitoring.
Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has one of the longest track records on NEX and it has its highest share price in more than one decade of trading. Field Systems designs, installs and supplies electrical, instrumentation and control systems, for the water, power and transport sectors. In the six months to November 2017, revenues jumped from £8.47m to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £114,000 to £211,000. There was £3.34m of cash in the bank and NAV was £3.31m, which is more than the market capitalisation.
KR1 (KR1) has had a successful year buying and trading various coins and tokens. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year. KR1 generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m.
Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) was originally part of the Milk Marketing Board and after it was spun off it joined the forerunner of NEX. National Milk Records generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices.
Energy saving electrical products supplier Sandal (SAND) reported flat interim revenues of £1.88m but it masks the growth in the sales of MiHome products. This growth will continue in the second half. The interim pre-tax profit edged up from £35,000 to £44,000. Sandal secured a term loan of up to £500,000 from major shareholder Greenbrook Industries Ltd and £250,000 was used to buy back 862,068 shares from Greenbrook. The shares were cancelled and this will enhance earnings per share.
Daniel Thwaites (THW) is a brewer, hotels and pubs operator that has been trading for more than two centuries. It has also been on NEX for more than two decades, since the London Stock Exchange closed rule 4.2, which was a matched bargains facility for unquoted companies. Some of these former rule 4.2 companies moved to AIM, while others, including a number of regional brewers, moved to Ofex/NEX. In the six months to September 2017, revenues improved from £44m to £48m and underlying pre-tax profit were flat at £5.9m. The shares are trading at a near-50% discount to NAV.
Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) is an ethical housing REIT and it is also on the shortlist for the impact company of the year. The company develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or needing extra care. Earlier this year, Walls and Futures raised £80,000 from an open offer at 94p a share. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%. Walls and Futures has joined the MSCI IPD UK Residential Property Index.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 June.
Cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) is widening its remit. It is asking shareholders to agree to investments outside of Canada.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has completed the acquisition of offices in Leicester for £4.385m. The Leicester Crown Prosecution Service pays an annual rent of £290,000.
St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying a maintained interim dividend of 5.5p a share and the ex-dividend date is 5 July. The dividend will cost £247,000. The carbon emissions trading business has also started electronic currency mining.
China CDM Exchange Centre Ltd (CCEP) reported a small dip in revenues from £898,000 to £888,000 but it managed to increase its profit from £2,000 to £35,000.
Karoo Energy (KEP) has secured Contax Partners as technical partner and project manager for the shale gas project in Botswana. Contax will accept £800,000 worth of shares in Karoo as payment for services. Karoo hopes to apply for admission to AIM by 1 July.
Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says full production at its Honduras processing plant has been delayed because permits have not been received for the processing of larger amounts of gold ore.
EPE Special Opportunities (EL.P) had an NAV of 228.16p a share at the end of May 2018.
Property investment adviser First Property Group (FPO) reported flat pre-tax profit of £9.23m in the year to March 2018. The final dividend is 3% higher at 1.18p a share. The underlying NAV rose from 47.6p a share to 53.1p a share. Third party assets under management were 45% higher at £454m, which is mainly down to the new office fund. Progress this year will be held back by the departure of the tenant in a building in Poland. Some of the space has already been re-let and the rest should be during the year.
Pawnbroker Ramsdens (RFX) continues to grow on the back of strong foreign exchange revenues. Last year, they were 26% higher at £11.3m. Group revenues were 16% ahead at £39.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit rose 60% to £6.5m. Net cash was £12.7m, although that does include foreign currency stocks. The total dividend was 6.6p a share.
Gooch and Housego (GHH) increased interim revenues by 7% to £55.6m and underlying pre-tax profit was13% ahead at £7m. Aerospace was the main growth area as subsea telecoms demand was weak. The photonics and optical equipment company is on course for a full year profit of £18.5m.
Artilium (ARTA) is recommending a cash and shares bid from Pareteum. The offer is 0.1016 of a Pareteum share and 1.9p in cash for each Artilium share, which values the telecoms software supplier at £78m. The offer follows a strategic alliance between the two companies that was announced last year.
IT managed services provider Redcentric (RCN) says that some public sector contracts have been cancelled and there will be upfront costs for a new contract with the NHS in Yorkshire. That means that 2018-19 EBITDA will be 10% lower than previously forecast.
Imaginatik (IMTK) has completed its strategic review and the chairman and chief executive are both leaving and they are waiving compensation. This will help to reduce annual costs by £750,000. The business is no longer up for sale because no suitable bid was received. Annualised revenues are £2.8m and the innovation software business could move into profit after a full year’s benefit of the cost savings. Former chairman Matt Cooper has sold £225,000 worth of shares at 0.5p each and reinvested the cash in a new £225,000 convertible, interest free loan note. Octopus has reduced its stake from 27.2% to 7.1%.
Mass spectrometry instruments supplier Microsaic Systems (MSYS) has raised £5.5m at 2p a share and an additional £102,000 via a PrimaryBid.com offer.
Trading in cash shell Monreal (MORE) has been suspended because the former Cogenpower has not completed a deal. The board is asking for shareholder approval to move to NEX after the AIM quotation is cancelled on 3 July. The investment strategy will focus on technology, media and telecoms.
Education-focused virtual reality content supplier VR Education (VRE) has delayed the full launch of the latest version of its Titanic VR product until August but it is not expected to affect full year expectations. Work has started with the BBC on 1943: Berlin Blitz.
Driver Group (DRV) continues to improve its margins and profit helped by the growth of the Diales expert witness business. Middle East revenues were lower but profit was higher, while high utilisation rates in Asia Pacific meant that was a sharp swing back to profit in the region. Underlying pre-tax interim profit doubled to £2.1m om the six months to March 2018 and Driver ended the period with net cash of £800,000. The sale and leaseback of the company’s head office was completed in April and net cash is forecast at £5.5m for the end of September 2018. A full year profit of £3.5m, up from £2.5m, is forecast. A return to dividend payments is a possibility in the next year or so.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE) has enough cash to push forward with the exploration of its Paradox basin acreage in the US. Rose is still earning its 75% working interest in the acreage and it has already received interest from potential farm-in partners that could help finance the first well, which could cost $7m-$8m. A competent person’s report will provide an updated resource in the next few weeks.
The smart machines division was behind the small improvement in profit at Vianet (VNET) in the year to March 2018. That was helped by a contribution from the Vendman acquisition. The smart zones drinks dispensing technology made a slightly lower contribution to profit as it lost more pub customers but the US side is making progress. Research and development spending on technology peaked at £1.5m last year and should fall this year. Net cash fell to £1.27m because of the extra spending but the dividend was maintained at 5.7p a share. The investment should start to pay off this year and pre-tax profit is expected to rise from £2.7m to £3m.
LED lighting supplier Luceco (LUCE) is closing its loss-making US business at a cost of £2m. The US business lost £1.9m last year. Luceco announced an operating profit of £14.2m in 2017.
Quarto Group Inc (QRT) has appointed former finance director Mick Mousley as interim finance director following the departure of Carolyn Bresh. This follows the change of control at the AGM.
Lb-shell (LBP) is asking for shareholder approval for the creation of £435,000 of unsecured convertible loan notes with a conversion price of 0.025p a share. That requires the par value to be reduced to 0.025p a share. Full conversion could mean the issue of shares equivalent to 89.4%. Three directors will own a total of £290,000 of the loan notes. The former Intelligent Energy will offer shareholders the chance to sell their shares for 0.025p each.