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Brewer Shepherd Neame (SHEP) edged up its interim profit helped by a strong performance from tenanted pubs and lower interest charges. In the six months to end December 2019, revenues were 3% higher at £79m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved 5% to £6.2m. Cost pressures held back the performance of the managed pubs. There was a fall in profit contribution from brewing. Net debt was £84m at the end of 2019. The interim dividend was increased by 2% to 6p a share. Brewing volumes have increased since the period end and like-for-like pub revenues continue to grow, although the rate is slower for managed pubs. Coronavirus has not had an impact yet but it is likely to.
Altona Energy (ANR) is raising up to £400,000 through an open offer to existing shareholders at 6.5p a share. That is a one-third discount to the previous mid-price. The cash is required to acquire a new petroleum exploration licence application in South Australia and the maximum will provide 12 months working capital. This will enable assessment of an in-situ gasification project. There is also potential for wind and solar projects in the area. There was an overdraft of £96,000 at the end of June 2019. The latest time for acceptance is 31 March.
European Lithium (EUR) reported a dip in interim income in 2019 from $23,817 to $3,365, while the loss was flat at $2.3m. There was $32,000 in cash at the end of 2019. There are convertible notes valued at $1.1m, some of which have been subsequently converted, but more have been issued.
KR1 (KR1) has been hit by weak Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices, but it had already banked some of its profit. The value of the remaining portfolio has dropped sharply. There will be an update shortly.
Rutherford Health (RUTH) has requested a subscription of £9.64m at 176p a share under the Woodford Commitment at the time of the company’s flotation. LF Equity Income Fund, formerly LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, will own 28.8% of the proton beam therapy company. This is the final subscription under the agreement.
Former investment banker Dr Keith Harris has been appointed as executive chairman of SAPO (SAPO) and Selwyn Lewis is joining the board as an executive director.
Fuel emulsification company SulNOx Group (SNOX) has filed an international patent application for its technology. It has already filed for the patent in the UK. The technology can be used for many fuels but the focus is diesel and heavy fuel oil.
Cannabis investment company World High Life (LIFE) has raised £2.36m from two issued of convertible loan notes with a 10% coupon. The conversion price is 100p a share.
Trading in First Sentinel 7% bonds, February 2023, First Sentinel preference shares and EPE Special Opportunities 7.5% unsecured loan stock, 2022 has been suspended because of the market maker temporarily withdrawing from market making activities.
OnTheMarket (OTMP) has ended its litigation with Connells and its subsidiary Gascoigne Halman. The property portal had already won a judgement in a Competition Appeal Tribunal and it was seeking the recovery of further damages. Earlier in the week, Ian Springett was dismissed as chief executive of OnTheMarket. He has a 12 month contract and earns £250,000 a year.
Geospatial software provider IQGeo (IQG) reported an increased loss last year, but that masks the progress made. Third party revenues declined. In 2019, total revenues fell from £9.98m to £7.81m, however, own product revenues increased from £4.74m to £5.55m, while recurring revenues contributed £1.63m, up from £918,000. More people were employed in sales and product development and operating expenses jumped from £6m to £9.5m. That is why the loss increased from £1.6m to £6.17m. There was still £13m left in the bank at the end of 2019, following £11m spent on buying back shares.
Mass spectrometry instruments developer Microsaic Systems (MSYS) continues to add to its partners. Last year, revenues rose 51% to £870,000 with the benefit of the newer agreements still to come. Higher development spending meant that the loss edged up to £3.1m. There was £2.62m in the bank at the end of 2019 and management admits it is assessing its options in terms of raising more cash.
Concrete levelling equipment supplier Somero Enterprises Inc (SOM) had a stronger second half, following the profit warning in the first half due to bad weather. The outcome in 2019 was slightly better than the previously downgraded expectations. Even so, revenues fell 5% to $89.3m and pre-tax profit was down by a similar percentage. The dividend was reduced by 1% to 18.75 cents a share. The additional dividend relating to excess cash (net cash was $23.8m) is 7.7 cents a share. Increased costs mean that there could be a further decline in profit this year.
Mark Greenwood has further increased his stake in Richland Resources (RLD) by buying the market and acquiring shares in a placing at 0.12p a share, which raised £100,000 for the company. Greenwood’s stake is 18.5%. The share price is one of the few AIM risers this month.
The Panoply Holdings (TPX) has acquired consultancy Ameo Professional Services, which generates 9-% of its revenues from the public sector. Ameo made a pre-tax profit of £1m last year and is being acquired for £7m in cash and shares, plus the distribution of £1.3m in excess cash.
Molecular diagnostics developer Yourgene Health (YGEN) is acquiring its French distributor and this will be immediately earnings enhancing. Yourgene will still make a loss in 2020, but the following year earnings per share will improve from 0.18p to 0.23p.
Open Orphan (ORPH) has reported positive results for the phase IIb field study of FLU-v vaccine, which has been developed by a 49%-owned joint venture. The results have been published in a journal. IP Group has cut its stake to below 3%.
Redx Pharma (REDX) says it has received a bid approach from Yesod Bio-Sciences, which is considering offering 15p a share. Redmile Group is making a mandatory offer of 15.5p a share, following its purchase of the 39.5% stake owned by Moulton Goodies, which obtained most of its shares at 5.25p each when it capitalised its £2.5m loan. Redmile owns 45.5% of Redx, which is valued at £29.5m. The board recommends the bid.
Brickability (BRCK) has made its second acquisition in one month. It is paying £6m for plastic fascia and guttering merchant U Plastics, which made a pre-tax profit of £1.3m in 2019.
Moss Bros (MOSB) has agreed a 22p a share bid that values the suit hire and retail company at £22.6m. The bid vehicle is owned by people involved in the apparel sector, including Michael Shina of Crew Clothing. The main executives will be retained.
Motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) has discovered accounting irregularities. The fraudulent transactions in one of the operating divisions mean that the 2019 figures will be delayed until late April. These transactions should not be significant for the group. Chief operating officer Cameron Wade has resigned.
Standard list shell Hertsford Capital (HERT) has agreed the acquisition of oil services provider OTAQ Group for £12.4m through an issue of shares at 57.5p each (post-consolidation). A placing will raise £1.5m at the same price. OTAQ designs and supports products for the aquaculture and offshore oil and gas sectors. The focus is on growing the aquaculture operations. The company will change its name to OTAQ and be readmitted on 31 March.
Sure Ventures (SURE) is raising £250,000 at 100p a share, which is a premium to NA of 95.74p a share. This followed news of an investment by 25.9%-owned Sure Valley Ventures in AI security company Getvisibility. The fund has invested €750,000. The cash will be used to expand the business internationally.
Spinnaker Opportunities (SOP) has spent more than one year trying to finalise the acquisition of cannabis processor Kanabo Research and a commitment to invest £1.4m has been secured. At the end of 2019, there was £597,000 left in the bank.
Dev Clever (DEV) is acquiring Phenix Digital, a digital agency focused on the educational sector. It is paying £100,000 in cash and 3.57 million shares. There is an existing relationship between the two companies.
National Milk Records (NMRP) increased its interim revenues from £10.5m to £11.7m, although some of this was due to seasonal factors and one-off testing business. Pre-tax profit improved from £0.96m to £1.13m. Net debt was £2.06m at the end of December 2018. Every part of the business grew its revenues. Milk volumes are set to be strong in the second half, although milk margins are been squeezed by a decline in the milk price and higher feed costs.
Barkby (BARK) has completed the acquisition of Centurian Automotive for an initial payment of £201,000 in shares at 4.775p each, with up to £251,000 more based on performance over three years. Operating profit in each of the years is required to be at least £200,000 in order to achieve the full payment. The consideration represents a discount to net assets and will be equivalent to up to 20% of Barkby. In the year to March 2018, the automotive dealer made a pre-tax profit of £123,000 on revenues of £5.6m.
Sandal (SAND) says there was a significant increase in Energie MiHome sales in December, particularly later in the month, but trading is still below expectations because of a lack of cash to spend on marketing. The stock overhang has been unwound. A Wi-Fi adapter plug has been added to the range, which is being rolled out in Denman’s Electrical Wholesale branches.
Sport Capital Group (SCG) owned Palermo Football Club for less than one month before selling it back to the previous management team. It was bought for a nominal sum and is being sold for a nominal value, following further due diligence. The company’s representatives joined the board in December and resigned last week. Debt will be settled at the same time. Sports Capital had been trying to raise up to £20m over the next few months.
Trading has recommenced in the shares of EcoVista (EVTP) after it published its results for the year to August 2018. There was a £142,000 property revaluation gain and net assets were £1.39m. There are plans to launch a €10m Eurobond issue to fund further property site acquisitions in London, Hertfordshire and Essex.
Gold explorer Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has completed stage one drilling on the Specimen Hill project in Queensland and each hole drilled intersected gold. Geological modelling results will be available in March. A further 7,500 metres of drilling is being planned.
Auxico Resources Canada Inc (AUAG) has raised $400,000 at 20 cents a unit (one share and one-half warrant). The expenses of the placing were $28,000. The cash will be used for assessing coltan opportunities in Colombia and Brazil. NQ Mining (NQMI) has raised £54,000 at 11p a share.
Panoply Holdings (TPX) has made its third acquisition since floating in December. UK-based GreenShoot Labs provides digital services using artificial intelligence technology. There is no initial consideration and any payment will depend on performance.
Marketing and media services provider Ebiquity (EBQ) traded in line with expectations last year. The disposal of the advertising intelligence was completed on 2 January. This cut net debt to around £8m. The continuing business is expected to continue to grow at 8% a year.
Online merchandising software and services provider ATTRAQT Group (ATQT) increased its 2018 revenues by 26% to £17.1m and the loss declined from £4.1m to £2.7m. The largest customer has renewed for two years. Annual recurring revenues are £16m.
GRC International (GRC) has acquired data consulting business DQM Group for an initial £5.9m with up to £5m in deferred consideration, although it is not expected to be more than £3.5m. This is a significantly earnings enhancing deal.
Cabot Energy (CAB) is consolidating 100 shares into one new share and raising up to £2.85m at 10p per consolidated share. The cash will pay off trade creditors. The main focus is Canada but Cabot believes its Italian oil and gas exploration assets could still be valuable even though the Italian government has suspended exploration work and is reviewing the situation.
The administrator has sold most of the businesses of Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) but there will be no money for shareholders. Dublin-based Causeway Capital has acquired Patisserie Valerie and AF Blakemore acquired Philpotts for a total of £13m, of which £3m is deferred. Baker and Spice was sold to the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs for £2.5m. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 25 February. Paul Mumford of Cavendish Asset Management believes that the company’s banks should have supported a rescue and been more attentive to what was happening at the company. He thinks that shareholders should seek compensation from the banks.
Malvern International (MLVN) has confirmed that it moved into profit in 2018. The education business has doubled its London-based revenues and this made up for difficult trading in Malaysia.
Realm Therapeutics (RLM) is selling is hypochlorous acid assets for $10m and intends to leave AIM. Realm already had $18.8m in the bank at the end of 2018. The plan is to use the cash to complete a strategic transaction in the life sciences sector. The ADSs will continue to be listed on Nasdaq.
Stride Gaming (STR) has started a strategic review. The choices are acquisitive or organic expansion or the sale of the online gaming company.
Renalytix AI (RENX) has secured a joint venture with laboratory and clinical trials operator AKESOgen and this will enable Renalytix AI to provide additional services in the US. The artificial intelligence-based kidney diagnostics already has a presence in New York and the new joint venture is based in Georgia.
Administrators have been appointed to Utilitywise (UTW) but none of the subsidiaries is in administration. Shareholders are not likely to get anything from the administration process. Unitlitywise was unable to raise the cash it required to keep going and meet liabilities.
Heavitree Brewery (HVT) improved full year revenues from £7.3m to £7.61m and pre-tax profit grew from £1.55m to £2.25m, although that included profit on the sale of pubs and other property of £824,000, up from £6,000. The previous year had benefited from the write-back of a bad debt provision. The final dividend is being increased from 4p a share to 4.25p a share. Heavitree no longer has to cover a pension scheme deficit because three people transferred out of the scheme.
Bowmark Capital has launched a 110p a share recommended cash bid for Tax Systems (TAX) and MXC Capital Ltd (MXC) has accepted with its 25.6% stake. The bid values the tax software provider at £100.6m.
Kodal Minerals (KOD) has published the results of the drilling programme at the Bougouni lithium project. These will be used to update the JORC resource, which should happen by the end of February. Kodal has met with the Mali authorities to update them.
Insignals Neurotech is the third Portuguese spin out for Frontier IP (FIPP) and it will hold a 33% stake. Insignals is developing technology for brain stimulation surgery.
Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI) has made another scientific instruments acquisition and it has raised £2.5m at 34p a share to help finance it. A further £100,000 was raised via PrimaryBid. Graticules manufactures reticules and graticules and fits with the digital imaging division. It cost £3.4m and has added 6% to next year’s earnings per share.
Strategic Minerals (SML) has announced a trebled resource at Redmoor, in which it has a 50% stake. There is an inferred tin equivalent contained metal of 137,000 tonnes.
James Latham (LTHM) has acquired the timber merchant that has the rights to sell Accoya wood in Ireland. Abbey Woods will cost an initial €1.825m with a further €300,000-€400,000 depending on completion accounts. Further deferred consideration of up to €400,000 depending on performance over two years. Last year, Abbey Woods generated EBITDA of €379,000 on revenues of €7.5m and it has operations in Dublin and Cork.
Vast Resources (VAST) says that the tranche B offtake finance from Mercuria Energy Trading did not happen. This means that the planned December and January repayments of the loan from Sub Sahara Goldia Investments have not been made Talks continue with potential finance providers to replace the cash to invest in 80%-owned copper, silver, gold, zinc, lead, tungsten, molybdenum Baita Plai project. Bergen Global Opportunities Fund is pausing the second tranche of the $3m bridge facility because the share price has been below 0.2p for two days. A placing has raised £896,000 at 0.135p a share and this will repay the £525,000 owed to Bergen. There are discussions with a potential cornerstone investor for a diamond project in Zimbabwe.
RiverFort Global Opportunities (RGO) has subscribed for shares in Pires Investments (PIRI), that will give it a 24.3% stake. RiverFort is taking nearly 50% of the shares issued in a placing that raised £782,000 at 2.4p a share for Pires. The cash will be used for new investments.
Trading in the shares of African Battery Materials (ABM) will resume on Monday 18 February following the issue of 200 million shares at 0.5p each. The cash will be used to pay creditors and leave enough to finance the business for 12 months. Andrew Bell has been appointed executive chairman and Paul Johnson as executive director.
Windar Photonics (WPHO) will undershoot the 2018 forecast, but there should be higher orders from Vestas and another manufacturer next year. Even so, 2019 forecasts are likely to be reduced. Total 2018 revenues were 59% ahead at €3.5m and higher gross margins meant that the loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell from €1.22m to €360,000. The end of year order book was worth €1m.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has more than trebled its proved and probable reserves to 2.43 million barrels of oil. Net proved reserves are 764,030 barrels of oil.
President Energy (PPC) has updated the reserves position. The Argentina and Louisiana reserves are valued at almost $300m, which is equivalent to 21p a share. That is more than twice the market capitalisation. Production is predominantly oil but gas production will increase this year.
Harwood Wealth Management (HW.) has acquired IFA Castleton Financial Planning for up to £1.6m.
Trading in the shares of Urals Energy (UEN) has been suspended following the resignation of Allenby as nominated adviser. A general meeting, which will be held on 22 February, has been called by Adler Impex SA in order to remove three directors and appoint four other directors. Oil production was 1,690 barrels/day in January. Loans made without board approval have meant that the company is short of cash.
Waste-to-energy technology developer PowerHouse Energy (PHE) is confident that it could sign up a customer in the next quarter. There is increasing interest and six potential sites are being assessed. Potential engineering, procurement and construction contractors have approached PowerHouse. Development partner Waste2Tricity is in negotiations with Toyota Tsusho, which would be a way of entering the Japanese market.
Braveheart Investment Group (BRH) has reduced its stake in Remote Monitored Systems (RMS) from 5.9% to 1.32%. Stephen Jones increased his stake from below 3% to 14.5% in just over one month.
Dewscope Ltd, where Mark Horrocks is a director, has cut its stake in Sabien Technology (SNT) from 12.7% to less than 3%. Chris Akers has also reduced his stake from 16.9% to less than 3% and Brendan Adams has cut his shareholding from 4.2% to under 3%. These stakes were acquired on 14 December, when the mid-price was 0.11p. On 11 February, when the shares were sold, the share price increased from 0.145p to 0.175p. Sabien reported a decline in interim revenues from £462,000 to £342,000, but the loss was reduced from £233,000 to £207,000 due to cost reductions.
TV programme producer DCD Media (DCD) expects to report revenues of £7.3m and a small EBITDA in 2018. Trading has started well in 2019 helped by business that was delayed from last year.
HaloSource (HAL) is seeking shareholder approval for the disposal of assets to Strix (KETL) for $1.3m. The cash will pay creditors and fund the winding down of the business. The AIM quotation will be cancelled on 12 March.
WANdisco (WAND) has raised $17.5m at 546p a share to provide cash to support relationships with partners. WANdisco has become an advanced technology partner with Amazon Web Services.
Adamas Finance Asia Ltd (ADAM) is issuing 6.1 million shares to China Aerospace for a 6.8% stake in Hong Kong Mining Holdings, where Adamas already has a 84.8% stake. This is a complicated deal, but Adamas can tell China Aerospace where to transfer these shares. It means that Adamas will not necessarily increase its shareholding in the mining company. Sorting out what was effectively a stock overhang should make it easier to do a deal that will unlock cash for Adamas.
NetScientific (NSCI) has concluded its strategic review and it has decided to cancel its AIM quotation. The remaining cash will be spent on the investee companies with the best prospects of providing a return before the company runs out of money.
Angus Energy (ANGS) is repaying the £1.5m initial advance from YA II and RiverFort Global Opportunities. Angus has raised £2.2m at 4p a share.
The University of British Columbia has ordered a polariser system from Polarean Imaging (POLX).
Begbies Traynor (BEG) has made the earnings enhancing acquisition of profitable Newcastle insolvency practice KRE. The initial payment is £450,000 with up to £150,000 more based on revenue targets over 12 months.
Full year figures will be lower than expected at IFA Tavistock Investments (TAVI) but a maiden dividend is still on the cards.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) will report a 45% increase in 2018 revenues, with most of the growth coming from software.
Cryptocurrency mining services provider Argo Blockchain (ARB) is refocusing its business. All existing contracts will be terminated by the beginning of April. The focus will be Argo’s own currency mining. Ongoing costs will be cut by one-third. Net cash is £15m and that is much more than the market capitalisation of Argo. The cash outflow should be stemmed in the second half of 2019. Hadron Capital recently increased its stake to 7.6%.
Trading is in line at fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) even though the UK automotive market is weak. More than two-thirds of sales are overseas. Additional UK stocks for Brexit are worth around £2m.
Commercial aircraft leasing company Avation (AVAP) expects to report a doubled interim profit on revenues that have risen from $52.4m to $58m.
Outdoor digital media company Grand Vision Media Holdings (GVMH) has signed a partnership agreement with Rakuten Bank in Japan to add to the one it signed with CY Group in South Korea. GVMH’s marketing services will help its partners promote themselves to Chinese tourists. GVMH has glasses-free 3D technology.
Helen Sachdev has been appointed as a non-executive director of Athelney Trust (ATY) and Frank Ashton has taken on the role of executive chairman. Discussions continue with Gresham House Asset Management about taking over the management of the company’s investments.
Future (FUTR) has secured a new £90m revolving credit facility and it is acquiring CyclingNews.com and Procycling Magazine, which generate annual revenues of £2m. This deal widens the sports publishing activities.
REA Holdings (RE.) significantly increased palm oil production in 2018, even though extraction rates were lower than expected. The Kota Bangun coal concession is heading towards reopening the mine, although there are local disputes.