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UK Inflation, Berkeley Group Holdings #BKG, Coinsilium #COIN and Vela Technologies #VELA with Alan Green

The UK Investor Magazine Podcast is joined by Alan Green for a discussion around UK equities and the global economic environment.

We start by looking at the latest UK inflation data which jumped to a whopping 9.1% in May with predictions it will continue to rise through the summer. Our focus shifts to the market’s perception of this data and what it means for central bank action.

With major central banks set for further interest rates hikes, there is a real risk of a recession both in the UK and US. However, there is plenty of room for easing after this which will be welcomed by the markets and could spark an equities rally.

Berkeley Group Holdings shares stumbled in early trade after the Housebuilder said their margins were being squeezed by rising input prices and a lower mix of housing sales.

We explore Coinsilium in a backdrop of crypto volatility and drill down into their blockchain operations.

We finish with a rundown of Vela Technologies portfolio, especially a number of upcoming IPOs from their portfolio companies.

UK Inflation, Berkeley Group Holdings, and Vela Technologies with Alan Green

Quoted Micro 23 May 2022

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Nigeria-focused oil company Lekoil Ltd (LEK) made the switch from AIM to Aquis on 18 May. Trading in the shares will remain suspended until audited accounts are published. Lekoil is in dispute with Lekoil Nigeria, where it has a major interest, and former chief executive Mr Olaekan Akinyanmi, who is being funded by Lekoil Nigeria. The board wanted shareholders to have a trading facility, while the litigation is being pursued. The main source of assets will be the recovery of intercompany debts and there is likely to be little value in the oil and gas operations.

Valereum (VLRM) is still going through the regulatory process to acquire 90% of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange. There is a government review of the Gibraltar financial services community.

Quantum Exponential (QBIT) is investing £450,000 in Brighton-based Universal Quantum Ltd, which is trying to build the first million quantum bit quantum computers. The cash will help to develop the processing unit. The investment is via an advanced subscription agreement, and this will be converted into shares after one year or if there is a fundraising of at least £10m.

Hemp and CBD wellness products company Yooma Wellness Inc (YOOM) generated revenues of $10.2m in 2021, while the loss was $35.7m, including $22.5m of asset write-downs and £1m of listing costs. The company’s products are being rolled out in additional high street and online stores. The US operations are being rationalised and the focus moved to other markets.

SuperSeed Capital Ltd (WWW) made two investments in the first quarter of 2022. Investors in the company’s fund during January have already made a 43% gain. There was seed capital provided to the two investments. Ai Build is a software developer for 3D printing additive manufacturing, which will enable the 3D printing of larger objects. ThingTrax is developing technology that will help manufacturers to monitor and automate production.

RentGuarantor Holdings (RGG) has obtained a non-exclusive to use the Propertymark trademark in the UK. Propertymark has 18,000 of property letting and sales businesses. Propertymark will promote RentGuarantor rent guarantees for tenants.

Major shareholder Neo London Capital is providing a lending facility to Black Sea Property (BSP) to finance the exploration of property development opportunities.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has completed the survey of additional targets at the Red Setter project in Australia. The first phase of drilling at Red Setter is 3,000 meters.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has sold a flat in Chelsea for £2.185m, which is above the book value of £2.1m.

Oscillate (MUSH) has a stake in Psych Capital, which is joining Aquis on 25 May.

The incoming finance director Robert Smith has bought 500,000 Chapel Down (CDGP) at 42.5p each.

AIM

Fishing tackle retailer Angling Direct (ANG) managed to beat previously upgraded forecasts for the year to January 2022. Revenues increased from £67.6m to £72.5m even though online sales fell. UK online sales increased but European online sales because of difficulties with prompt delivery. The new Netherlands distribution centre will help. There was £16.6m in cash at the end of January 2022. Pre-tax profit jumped from £2.7m to £4m, but this is not expected to be maintained. Singer forecasts a pre-tax profit of £2.8m on revenues of £82m in 2022-23.

Compliance and energy saving services provider Sureserve (SUR) continues to grow and it is set to supplement this growth with acquisitions in the energy efficiency and renewables sectors. Interim revenues from continuing operations increased by 24% to £126.2m, while pre-tax profit was one-third higher at £4.3m. The non-core fire and lift businesses are profitable, and they made a slightly higher pre-tax profit of £1.24m on revenues of £17.3m, which is not included under continuing operations. Those non-core businesses have net assets of £13.1m. Assuming Sureserve receives a similar amount when they are sold this would boost the cash position. There was £8.86m in the bank at the end of March 2022.

Designer and supplier of automotive interior components CT Automotive (CTA) reported its maiden full year results as an AIM company. There was a strong recovery in the first half, but component shortages have reduced the demand from car manufacturers in the second half. Even so, full year revenues recovered from $109.9m to $132.9m, although the company remained loss making. There is a strong order book, but revenues are still likely to be hit by lack of demand due to component shortages. These problems could last for most of this year with automotive volumes set to recover in 2023. A new factory in Mexico should be open in July.

Vela Technologies (VELA) invested £750,000 in convertible loan notes in EnSilica, which is about to join AIM. This investment should convert into 1.75 million shares, which is a 2.3% stake in the integrated circuits designer and supplier.

Chariot Ltd (CHAR) has raised £20.4m ($25.5m) at 18p a share and more could come via an open offer. This will help Chariot to make progress with the Anchois gas development in Morocco. Some of the cash will go on renewables projects.

Begbies Traynor (BEG) says 2021-22 results will be comfortably ahead of expectations and insolvencies are increasing.

Digital coupons and loyalty technology provider Eagle Eye (EYE) says that the roll out of services to a US retailer has helped 2021-22 EBITDA to potentially be 10% higher than expected.

MAIN MARKET

Standard list shell BSF Enterprise (BSFA) completed the reverse takeover of Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based tissue engineering 3D Bio-Tissues Ltd for £2.5m in shares. There was £1.75m raised in a placing at 7.37p a share, which is the same price at which the 33.9m consideration shares were issued. That valued the company at £6.32m on readmission. The share price ended the week at 9p. There are three main types of technology that are being developed. City-mix is a serum-free media for culturing muscle and fat cells in an animal-free process that can be used to grow meat and leather in a laboratory. There is less variation between batches than for some rivals and it could cost less. Another technology is based on Lipopeptide Etsyl, which helps to increase collagen production in human skin cells, and it can be used dermatological products. This will be sold as an ingredient to skincare product manufacturers. The third technology is tissue templating. This includes the original substitute cornea technology, as well as other uses.

In the year to February 2021, Braemar Shipping Services (BMS) expects an underlying operating profit of £9.8m, up from £7.7m. The annual dividend will be two fifths higher at 7p a share. The operating profit expectations for 2022-23 have been upgraded from £10m to £12m.

Macfarlane Group (MACF) is buying German protective packaging distributor PackMann. This is a profitable business, and it will help Macfarlane to expand in northern Europe.

Nanoco (NANO) has received an official decision that its 47 disputed patent claims are valid. This is an important step in the legal proceedings against Samsung, which used its quantum dot technology without agreement. There is still some way to go, but a settlement could generate more than £100m for Nanoco, even after the litigation funder gets its payment.

Net Zero Infrastructure (NZI) is in talks to acquire specialist equipment hire company Taylor Construction Plant and Solar Highways. Trading in the shares has been suspended.

Andrew Hore

Alan Green covers Altona Rare Earths #ANR and Vela Technologies #VELA on this week’s Stockbox Research Talks

Alan Green covers Altona Rare Earths #ANR and Vela Technologies #VELA on this week’s Stockbox Research Talks

Quoted Micro 11 April 2022

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

NFT Investments (NFT) is not going ahead with the acquisition of crypto tech and operations company Pluto Digital Assets and trading in the shares has recommenced. NFT had cash of £21.9m, having made seven investments, and net assets of £34.4m, 3.43p a share, at the end of 2021.

National Milk Records (NMRP) is linking up with another former Milk Marketing Board business Genus (GNS). National Milk Records will provide the fully listed animal breeding company with multi-panel genomic testing and evaluations. The two firms have been part of a process to map the DNA of the worst cows and bulls in terms of environmental impact. Farmers will be able to choose to breed cows with lower impact and highest milk yields. The initial contract lasts for five years.

Asimilar Group (ASLR) has joined the Access segment of the Aquis Stock Exchange. The technology investment company hopes that this will improve share liquidity. The AIM-quotation is being maintained but may be terminated to save money if the new quotation is successful.

Rogue Baron (SHNJ) has signed two new distribution deals. Oak and Still will distribute Shinju whisky in the UK from April 2022. Beverage Hunters will be the distributor in Spain from May.

Vanadium flow batteries technology developer Invinity Energy Systems (IES) has successfully concluded a validation programme by Korea-based Hyosung Heavy Industries and signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a global partnership and exclusivity in Korea.

Talent management and livestreaming company All Things Considered (ATC) increased revenues and other operating income by 23% to £9.9m in 2021. The loss is likely to be £2.8m. There was £4.4m in cash at the end of 2021. The live music market continues to recover. All Things Considered has invested $6m from a short-term promissory note into a new company focused on music digitisation and blockchain technology. This is a minority investment out of a total of $80m. The full year figures should be published in May.

Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has been appointed as the official sparkling wine supplier to the English Cricket Board. The company’s sparkling wines will be given to the winners of internationals and domestic finals.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) says that iron ore stockpile shipments have started from the Amapa project in Brazil.

Eastinco Mining (EM.P) has discovered 16 new pegmatite zones following geochemical sampling at its HCK joint venture in southern Rwanda. This takes the total to 18.Surface geological exploration is underway at Musasa.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) has renegotiated its loan facility and the £5m deemed to be outstanding has been changed into convertible loan stock that is convertible into shares at 1p each. There will be immediate conversion of £4.47m of loan notes.

Gunsynd (GUN) invested £75,000 into First Tin (1SN) at the placing price of 30p, having already invested £125,000 at 15p a share. The share price ended the first day at 30p.

AIM-quoted Vela Technologies (VELA) has acquired a 28.8% stake in healthcare and medtech firm Igraine (KING) for £404,000 or 1.8p a share. Richard Edwards had previously sold his 10.3% stake.

Giles Brand has increased his stake in EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) from 32.1% to 33.4%.

Aquis Exchange (AQX) non-exec chairman Glenn Collinson has bought an initial stake of 12,003 shares at 512p each. Shepherd Neame (SHEP) director Richard Oldfield has bought 25,000 shares at 837.4p each and 15,000 shares at 835.35p each. Hot Rocks investments (HRIP) non-exec chairman Brian Rowbotham bought 715,000 shares at 0.7p each and he owns 3.5%. Non-exec director Charles Vaughan has taken his stake to 2.53% after purchasing 1.5 million shares at 0.65p each.

AIM

The London Stock Exchange says that Arden Partners (ARDN) will lose its nominated adviser status if the merger with legal services provider Ince (INCE) goes ahead.

The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) revenues more than doubled to £24m, while pre-tax profit jumped from £4.77m to £6.42m thanks to the acquisition of rival Hunters Property. There is more to come. More financial advisers are being recruited and more of the franchisees are taking advantage of the services. The total dividend of 11.6p a share was higher than expected.

Belvoir Group (BLV) generated organic revenue growth of 25% last year. In 2021, pre-tax profit jumped from £7.5m to £10.3m, while the dividend is 8.5p a share. Management expects the residential sales part of the business to return to normal levels following the ending of incentives, while the lettings and financials businesses continue to grow.

Gaming machine monitors and consoles supplier Quixant (QXT) generated 2021 revenues of $87.1m, while pre-tax profit was $5.4m. Net cash is $17.6m. Screens supplier Densitron achieved the highest sales since it was acquired. Revenues are increasing from higher value added products.

Trading levels of most of the businesses of Tracsis (TRCS) have got back to previous levels, although the traffic data division recovery was delayed. In the six months to January 2022, group revenues were 31% ahead at £29.2m, while underlying pre-tax profit improved from £4.1m to £5m. The interim dividend is 0.9p a share. The recent US acquisition provides a customer base in the US, which is not as far advanced in terms of rail optimisation software as the UK.

Freight forwarding and transport services both improved their profit contribution to Xpediator (LSE: XPD) in 2021. The warehousing and logistics profit slumped due to problems in the UK. Pre-tax profit rose by one-quarter to £9.1m in 2021. The total dividend was reduced to 1.1p a share. A special dividend is a possibility this year, though. A new chief executive is still being sought.

Ecommerce technology provider Attraqt (ATQT) increased full year revenues by 9% to £22.9m but continued to lose money. There was £3.5m in the bank at the end of 2021 and management hopes to be cash neutral in 2022.

SourceBio International (SBI) grew Covid-19 testing revenues and core divisions also improved revenues during 2021. Group revenues grew from £50m to £92.5m, but they are expected to decline to £39.5m in 2022. That masks sharply higher core revenues partly due to a recent acquisition. The Covid testing labs can be converted to other uses.

Floorcoverings supplier Likewise (LIKE) says that first quarter of 2022 is ahead of budget. The Birmingham logistics site is up and running. The latest acquisition is Delta Carpets, which is earnings enhancing.

Anglesey Mining (AYM) has made the switch from the Main Market to AIM. It had been listed since May 1988. The company’s main asset is the 100%-owned Parys Mountain copper lead zinc deposit in Anglesey, north Wales. Other assets include a 20% interest in the Grangesberg iron project in Sweden. There is a right of first refusal to increase the stake to 70%. The share price moved up by 0.01p to 4.06p on the first day of trading on AIM.

MAIN MARKET

First Tin (1SN) raised £20m at 30p a share and ended the first day of trading at 30p (29p/31p). First Tin issued 60 million shares to acquire Taronga Mines, which owns Australian tin mining assets. The company already owned German tin projects. The cash raised should last for 18-24 months.

Radiology services provider Medica Group (MGP) had a much stronger second half to 2021. Revenues from elective surgery where slightly lower in the first half because of the effect of lockdowns and restrictions. The 2021 group revenues improved from £12.5m to £17.3m as surgery activity built back to previous levels. In 2021, group revenues improved from £36.8m to £61.9m, while underlying pre-tax profit increased from £4.74m to £11.5m. That excludes £4.13m of non-underlying costs, including amortisation, share based payments and one-off professional fees of £555,000. Net cash was £3.88m at the end of 2021. There is potential contingent consideration of £6.89m. The total dividend is 5% higher at 2.68p a share.

DG Innovate (DGI) completed its reversal into Path Investments. The company was acquired for £32.4m in shares issued at 0.6p each and has two operations. The first is developing electric drive technology and the other is developing sodium-ion batteries. The £2.55m raised at 0.5p a share, plus the £2.08m raised from warrants exercised at 0.25p each, will help to commercialise these technologies. The share price ended the first day at 0.34p, which is higher than the suspension price.

Ajax Resources (AJAX) is a shell seeking energy and natural resources assets and it raised £1.34m at 4p a share. The shares ended the week at 4.75p. The pro forma net assets are 2.6p a share. Management is seeking production that provides cash flow and/or strong exploration potential in known resources areas.

Aura Renewable Acquisitions (ARA) is a new shell seeking acquisitions in the renewable energy sector and it raised £1m at 10p a share. It ended the first day of trading at 17p. Pro forma cash is 8.4p a share. The founder shareholder is Harmony Capital Investments, which is behind the management of AIM-quoted, Asia-focused investment company Jade Road Investments Ltd (JADE), where Aura chairman John Croft is executive chairman. Aura is targeting is a range of businesses in areas such as wind, solar, biomass, hydro, carbon capture, waste management, smart grids and hydrogen supply.

OTHER MARKETS

Cyprus listed FOS Holdings has appointed Nick Kounoupias as chief executive. He is a solicitor with his own intellectual property consultancy. The film and entertainment company is planning a complex of five studios in Cyprus between Limassol and Larnaca, plus studios in other locations around the world. EU grants will help the funding of the studio complex, but other funding will need to be secured. FOS also plans to make three films a year.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 3 January 2022

aquis stock exchangeAQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Valereum Blockchain (VLRM) is planning to acquire trust management and funds administration company Juno Group. The Gibraltar-based company will cost £850,000 in cash and shares.

Chana Greenberg is no longer chief executive of Pharma C Investments (PCIL) and Tony Shilito will be acting chief executive.

Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) reported a 6% decline in NAV to 96p a share at the end of September 2021. The unsuccessful bid by Virgata Services cost £169,000 and that was most of the decline in net assets.

Spinal stabilisation technology developer Truspine Technologies (TSP) says that the FDA has requested further testing for the Cervi-LOK. The interim loss increased from £448,000 to £483,000. Net cash was £277,000 at the end of September 2021.

British Honey (BHC) decided not to go ahead with the extended collaboration agreement with List Distillery in Florida. The focus is the UK market.

Forbes Ventures (FOR) lost $297,000 in 2020 and $158,000 in the first half of 2021, even though there were initial revenues of $29,000. Management is working on the first transaction for the securitisation platform.

SulNOx Group (SNOX) reported a small increase in interim revenues from £18,000 to £24,000. The interim loss increased from £378,000 to £724,000. There was £1.89m at the end of September 2021.

Cadence Minerals (KDNC) has entered into a binding settlement agreement with the bank creditors of the former owner of the Amapa iron ore project in Brazil. The joint venture in which Cadence has a 20% stake is undertaking pre-feasibility studies.

BWA Group (BWAP) has commenced legal action against St-Georges Eco-Mining Corp relating to the proposed acquisition of Kings of the North Corp. There have been 80.8 million shares issued in settlement of the outstanding convertible loan note liabilities of £404,000.

AIM

Shares in Atome Energy (ATOM) started trading on 30 December following the £6m fundraising at 80p a share. The share price ended the year at 83p. Leeds-based Atome Energy has been spun out of AIM-quoted President Energy (PPC) with its shareholders being distributed one share in Atome Energy for every 169 President Energy shares, while the oil and gas company retains part of its stake. There were some tiny share deals in early trading with smaller investors selling the stakes they received. The strategy is to develop projects that use renewable energy to produce ammonia, which can then in some cases be converted into hydrogen. Ammonia is mainly used in fertiliser, but it can also be used as a fuel. The first projects are in Iceland and Paraguay.

CCTV technology installer UniVision Energy Ltd (UVEL) improved interim revenues from £4.06m to £4.98m, with a bigger increase in HK dollars, even though maintenance income declined. However, pre-tax profit fell from £394,000 to £142,000. That was due to a £634,000 impairment loss.

Vela Technologies (VELA) had net assets of £8.06m at the end of September 2021, including £2.52m in cash. There are plans for a 50-for-one share consolidation. The investing strategy is being revised, but it remains broadly similar.

Catalyst Media (CMX) reported a £1.6m loss in the year to June 2021. The main asset is a 20.54% stake in Sports Information Services, and this is equity accounted. NAV is 52.3p a share. No dividend is declared.

Trading in Savannah Energy (SAVE) shares recommenced following the publication of the document for the acquisition of assets in Chad and Cameroon from Exxon and Petronas. Savannha Energy raised £48.7m at 19.35p a share to help finance the acquisitions.

Inspirit Energy Holdings (INSP) still has no revenues. The waste heat recovery system is still being developed with partners. There was £561,000 in the bank at the end of June 2021.

United Oil and Gas (UOG) announced that it made a commercial discovery with the Al Jahraa-13 development well in the Abu Sennan licence, onshore Egypt. Following testing the well will be brought onstream. United has a 22% working interest in the licence.

MAIN MARKET

Creightons (CRL) did not have a repeat of the £11.5m of one-off hygiene sales in the six months to September 2021, but the decline in revenues was limited to £2.37m leaving interim revenues of £30m. There was an initial contribution of £790,000 from acquisitions. Underlying pre-tax profit fell from £2.9m to £2.49m. Net debt is £7.5m at the end of September 2021. The interim dividend is maintained at 0.15p a share.

Andrew Hore

Quoted Micro 25 October 2021

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Lush co-founder Andrew Gerrie plans to float a new shell called Silverwood Brands on the Aquis Stock Exchange. The strategy is to acquire and develop consumer brands and pay with shares and cash. Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) founder Angus Thirlwell is an adviser. Silverwood Brands was formed in August. There are currently 100 shares, which were issued at par value of 1p. A pre-IPO subscription of £1m recently closed.

Boanerges (BNRG) has agreed to acquire the business and assets of digital ecommerce company WeShop, where AIM-quoted Brandshield Systems (BRSD), Vela Technologies (VELA), Primorus Investments (PRIM) and IamFire (FIRE) are shareholders. The payment will be 33.33 million shares at 75p each, compared with a market price of 77p, following a May flotation at 20p a share. Boanerges intends to leave Aquis and join the JP Jenkins matched bargain facility. Boanerges is offering to acquire any shares bought since the Aquis flotation at 75p each. Boanerges believes it has the cash it requires to develop the WeShop business, and it may seek a listing in the future.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) says customer deposits have increased by 19% to £2.8bn so far this year, while loans have risen by one-quarter to £1.97bn. Assets under management are 14% higher at £1.3bn.

Capital for Colleagues (CFCP) has sold its investment in Office for Public Management for £469,000, having invested £250,000.

Dispersion Holdings (DEFI) has acquired Accru Finance for £8.75m in the form of 250 million shares. The vendors will own 29% of Dispersion and the founders Philip Blows and Digby Try will join the Dispersion board. The former will become chief executive. Accru is developing cryptocurrency trading platform, which is yet to get FCA approval.

Altona Rare Earths (ANR) has agreed to acquire a 51% interest in the Chambe rare earths project in Malawi and this new deal is likely to delay the move to the standard list. An initial payment of one million shares will be held in escrow until the exploration licence is transferred to a new company in which Altona can increase its interest to 70%.

Vulcan Industries (VULC) reported revenues of £5.23m in the year to March 2021. There was a loss of £3.42m. Net debt is £3.4m.

There was a £891,000 cash outflow at Semper Fortis Esports (SEMP) in the six months to July 2021. There is still £1.77m in the bank.

AIM

Bens Creek Group (BEN) has acquired coking coal mining assets in West Virginia, and it believes it can restart production before the end of 2021. The estimated coal resources are 17.2 million in-place tons with proven and probable reserves of 2.34 million tons. Bens Creek raised £5.8m, after expenses, at 10p a share when it joined AIM. Bens Creek announced an offtake agreement for washed Hi-Vol-B metallurgical coal with Integrity Coal Sales, which has agreed to take 22,000 US short ton of coal each month for a 12-month period. This deal starts in January and covers 50% of expected production volumes. The current market price is $277/short ton and the price paid will depend on the market price at the time. This deal sparked an uptick in the share price, which reached 13.25p by the end of the week.

Devon-based Tungsten West (TUN) is developing the Hemerdon tungsten and tine mine near Plymouth and it joined AIM during the week. The share price ended the week at 63p, up from the 60p at which £39m was raised before expenses. Hemerdon was previously owned by Wolf Minerals, which went into administration, and acquired by Tungsten West two years ago. There had previously been more than £170m invested in the mine. There is an estimated mineral resource of 325Mt at 0.12% tungsten. A bankable feasibility study was completed in March.

Disinfection products supplier Tristel (TSTL) reported lower revenues and profit but that was down to stockpiling in the comparative period. Revenues were 2% lower at £31m, while pre-tax profit fell by one-quarter to £5.4m, which is similar to the 2018-19 level. Profit growth should recommence this year, but it will take time to beat the 2019- 20 figure. Tristel is shedding non-core products, which will reduce costs. Progress continues with US product approvals.

ASX-listed Future Metals (FME) did not raise any cash when it gained a secondary quotation on AIM. The share price ended the first day of trading at 12.25p and then fell to 10.5p. The company was previously quoted on AIM as Red Emperor Resources and has returned following the acquisition of 100% of the Panton PGM project in Western Australia. There is definitely a resource. A bankable feasibility study was completed by previous owners in September 2003, and it was reviewed in 2011. There is a JORC mineral resource of 14.3Mt at 5.2g/t PGM and 2.4m ounces of gold. There is also nickel, cobalt and copper mineralisation.

Solid State (SOLI) has an order book at record levels. The order book has increased by 48% to £61.5m with orders stretching further ahead than in the past. Interim pre-tax profit is estimated to have risen from £2.6m to £3.3m. Operating margins benefited from a change in product mix.

Internet domain name registry and services provider CentralNic (CNIC) is continuing to perform ahead of expectations. Organic growth was 29% in first nine months of this year. CentralNic expects full year EBITDA of at least $32m, up from $22.1m in 2020.

MAIN MARKET

LED lighting and wiring accessories supplier Luceco (LUCE) is trading in line with expectations of achieving a full year underlying operating profit of at least £39m. Revenues are 36% higher than the 2020 figure. Gross margins are slightly lower due to cost pressures.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 26 July 2021

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

Ecotricity has launched a 340p a share cash bid for Good Energy (GOOD). Ecotricity believes the combined group would be better placed to compete in the energy supply business. The Good Energy board rejects the bid.

Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB) reported a bounce back in interim pre-tax profit from £200,000 to £3m. the main profit improvement was at Arbuthnot Latham. NAV was 1292p a share at the end of June 2021. Assets under management reached £1.22bn. A second interim dividend of 16p a share was announced, and it will be paid on 24 September.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) says its Hellyer gold mine generated revenues of A$19.8m in the second quarter, while net income was A$5.7m. The major capital investment in the mine cost A$16.4m and was finished during the quarter. NQ Minerals is still seeking to move to a full listing on the London Stock Market.

Sativa Wellness Inc (SWEL) generated record revenues in the first half of 2021, and it is generating cash from operations. CBD products supplier Goodbody Botanicals is profitable. There have been 47 clinics opened to offer Covid-19 testing.

Apollon Formularies (APOL) says that medicinal cannabis formulations developed by its subsidiary have been able to kill prostrate cancer cells.

Watchstone Group (WTG) management recommends that shareholders reject the mandatory 34p a share bid.

Ervin Kovac has resigned as director of Freyherr International (FRYR) and the shares remain suspended as the company’s financial position remains uncertain. Trading was suspended more than nine months ago.

Harry Hyman has taken a 3.08% stake in Oberon Investments (OBE).

Newbury Racecourse (NYR) is moving from the Access segment to the Apex segment.

AIM

Digital payments business Boku (BOKU) increased interim revenues by 37% to $34m – organic growth was 21%. Investment is increasing in order to take advantage of growth prospects, but cash is also increasing.

Trading is improving at employee benefits services and insurance products provider Personal Group (PGH) and interim revenues were 12% ahead at £34m even though weak insurance sales last year mean that premium income fell. SaaS-based revenues increasing by 50% – helped by the partnership with Sage. Sales of consumer electronics products through PG Let’s Connect has improved by one-fifth.

Insolvency levels remain relatively low, but Begbies Traynor (BEG) still grew strongly last year. In the year to April 2021, underlying pre-tax profit improved from £9.2m to £11.5m – a combination of organic and acquisitive growth. There is more to come this year from recent acquisitions.

Lawyer Gateley (GTLY) managed to increase its pre-tax profit from £18.1m to £19.3m despite the tough trading conditions in the year to April 2021. The property and corporate finance divisions did particularly well last year. This kept utilisation levels high. A final dividend of 5p a share was announced. Gateley is paying £815,000 for Tozer Gallagher, which is a quantity surveyor and construction consultant.

Online womenswear retailer Sosandar (SOS) increased its full year revenues by 35% to £12.2m. It remains loss-making and that is likely to continue this year even though revenues continue to grow rapidly. First quarter revenues jumped by 256% to £5.7m, although the comparatives were weak. Active customers increased by 23% compared with the previous quarter. Singer forecasts double full year revenues to £24.4m.

Parcel and freight delivery company DX (DX.) is still growing its freight business faster than expected and analysts have upgraded their forecasts for 2020-21 and the current year. The additional business is also more profitable than in the past. DX Express revenues are flat due to lower office mail delivery revenues.

Judges Scientific (JDG) had a much better order book at the end of June 2021. It was 49% higher than June last year. Organic sales growth was 5% compared with full year forecasts of 1.5%.

Open Orphan (ORPH) spin out Poolbeg Pharma (POLB) has started trading on AIM. The shares are trading at 10.875p, which is equivalent to 3.63p a share to Open Orphan shareholders. The Open Orphan shareholders cannot sell yet.

Vela Technologies (VELA) has invested £750,000 in Northcoders Group, which joins AIM on 27 July. Manchester -based Northcoders provides software coding training.

International payments business Cornerstone FS (CSFS) is pursuing potential acquisitions, but it has not secured any since it floated earlier this year. The mix of business remains consistent, although more of it is direct which improves margins, and trading has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

MAIN MARKET

New shell Acceler8 Ventures (AC8) has soared from its placing price of 100p to 215p on limited volumes. After expenses, the cash in the company is equivalent to 60p a share. The sector of the potential target has been kept vague.

Sivota (SIV) is a shell that wants to acquire Israel-based technology businesses. The company has just under 78p a share of cash. The share price has risen from the placing price of 100p to 112.5p.

NMCN (NMCN) is making progress with the refinancing and related documentation. The 2020 accounts are expected to show a pre-tax loss of much more than the £24m previously indicated.

Aquaculture technology developer OTAQ (OTAQ) increased full year revenues by 18% to £4.05m, while the underlying loss was reduced from £1.05m to £726,000. Restrictions have held back the progress of the business.

Town Centre Securities (TOWN) has collected 88% of the billed rent of £4.9m for the quarter to June 2021 with a further 8% that was agreed to be deferred.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 22 February 2021

AQUIS STOCK EXCHANGE

British Honey Company (BHC) is acquiring Union Distillers for an initial £8m in cash and shares. Leicestershire-based Union Distillers has been trading for more than eight years and has its own still and bonded warehouse. There is a range of gins, vodkas, a spiced rum, an absinthe and an espresso vodka liqueur under the Two Birds brand. There could be up to £2m of earn-out consideration payable in cash and shares depending on the target revenues from the Union products. A share issue raised £4.59m at 110p a share, while a convertible loan note issue added a further £1.63m. Union has £250,000 in cash. The deal should be earnings enhancing and cash generative. In the year to September 2020, Union generated revenues of £4.94m and pre-tax profit £1.13m. NAV was £1.52m.

National Milk Records (NMRP) reported flat interim revenues of £10.8m, but pre-tax profit increased by one-quarter to £500,000. Net debt was reduced to £1.1m despite investment in a genomics lab. An unchanged dividend of 1.25p a share will be paid. The outlook is positive for the dairy sector with UK milk prices expected to be maintained at current levels. Finance director Mark Frankcom has bought 9,974 shares at 101.75p each.

Imperial X (IMPP) is making four acquisitions and continues to move towards a standard listing. The purchases involve the issue of 245.6 million shares. Cloudbreak Discovery Corp, Howson Ventures Inc and Cabox Gold Corp are all being acquired, and certain assets of Anglo African Minerals are being bought. Imperial X has a £10m drawdown agreement with Crescita Capital. This lasts for three years.

Upper Thames Holdings (UPPT) is not going ahead with the proposed acquisition of Sweden-based mobile camera systems technology company Ridercam. Instead, the focus will be on blockchain and the linking of conventional currencies with cryptocurrencies. A placing has raised £516,000 at 1p a share. Peterhouse has been appointed as corporate adviser.

Hydro Hotel Eastbourne (HYDP) fell into loss last year as revenues slumped by two-fifths. The hotel has been closed or under restrictions for the period since the year end in October 2020. There is £1.03m in the bank and the NAV is £3.3m.

S-Ventures (SVEN) has bought a 75.1% stake in Ohso Chocolate for £295,000 in shares at 9p each. The remaining 24.9% stake in Ohso could be sold for nearly 1.1 million shares. Ohso is a probiotic chocolate supplier and it generated revenues of £311,000 during 2020. The S-Ventures chief executive and finance director owned 50.6% in Ohso.

World High Life (LIFE) is changing its name to Love Hemp. A general meeting will be held on 11 March. In the first half, revenues were £2.36m and second quarter revenues were nearly double those in the first quarter, although the gross margin fell. A debt of £2.15m has been settled by the issue of 86.1 million shares.

Sativa Wellness Inc (SWEL) has submitted a novel food application for validation by the Food Standards Agency. This covers a range of CBD products.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) has identified new gold targets at the Red Setter project in Western Australia. The magnetic survey has discovered targets that are shallower than previously.

Ananda Investments (ANA) has raised £300,000 from two investors. This will finance the first phase of the medicinal cannabis growing facility in Lincolnshire. Vulcan Industries (VULC) has raised a further £330,000 at 4p a share.

AIM

Avacta (AVCT) is starting its first clinical study. This is a phase I study for AVA6000, developed from the pre|CISION platform. This is a treatment for solid tumours, including those for bladder, pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancer. The trial will assess safety and dosage levels. Early data could be published before the end of the year.

Transense Technologies (TRT) should move into profit next year as it receives a full year of royalties following the sale of the iTrack business to Bridgestone. In the year to June 2020, there was a £1.3m loss and this year there could be a much-reduced loss this year. Once Bridgestone has built up iTrack sales the royalties will cover group overheads. This will enable Transense to invest in its surface acoustic wave technology and Translogik tyre probes. A 2021-22 pre-tax profit of £357,000 is forecast.

Strong underlying growth in the mobile division helped Blannco Technology (BLTG) to maintain interim revenues at £17.4m. The previous year included £1.4m of one-off contract income. The fastest growth is in Asia Pacific. The prospects for data erasure operations are good and new partners have been signed up. Data erasure is particularly important while remote working is a major factor in companies.

Chamberlin (CMH) is getting a cash injection from Trevor Brown. The £200,000 loan will, subject to shareholder approval, be converted into shares at 6p each and Brown will have a 29.5% stake. The Scunthorpe foundry is busy and profitable, but management is still trying to win work for the Walsall foundry.

Duke Royalty (DUKE) has secured a new client involved in steel fabrication. There is a £6.2m royalty financing agreement with Meteor HoldCo, which makes steel street lighting and guardrail products.

Telecoms testing systems supplier Calnex Solutions (CLX) says some revenues appear to have been brought forward into 2020-21 and therefore the full year revenues and profit will be ahead of expectations.

Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG) has published details of the Rodnikova project scoping study, which suggests a potential 14-year life for the project. The JORC resource is 6.3Mt at an average grade of 5g/t gold. Post tax NPV10 is $177.6m – based on $1,600/ounce gold price.

MAIN MARKET

Israel-based cannabis-based products supplier Kanabo Research has completed its reversal into standard list shell Spinnaker Opportunities to form Kanabo Group (KNB) two years after the deal was announced. The value of the deal was £15m in shares and the company also raised £6m at a share price of 6.5p. Kanabo was valued at £23.4m when it was admitted to trading. The share price has risen to 31p – having at one point reached 50.75p – and that values Kanabo at £111.7m. One of the investors in Kanabo is AIM-quoted Vela Technologies (VELA) and it invested £150,000 at 6.5p a share.

MGC Pharmaceuticals (MXC) has expanded its research programme into the use of cannabinoids to treat aggressive glioblastoma brain cancer. The expanded study includes the use of a nanoparticle delivery system. MGC has also secured a three-year distribution agreement with Swiss PharmaCan for its product ArtemiC Rescue as a food supplement. The minimum order quantity is 40,000 units per quarter, which has a retail value of $3.4m.

Path Investments (PATH) is not going ahead with the purchase of DT Ultravert from two vendors including Zoetic International (ZOE) following concerns during the preparation of the potential prospectus. Path has raised £3.5m at 0.25p a share.

Rare earths explorer Pensana (PRE) is dropping its listing on the ASX.

Papillon Holdings (PPHP) has submitted a prospectus to the FCA for the proposed reverse takeover of the Kilimapesa gold project.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore – Quoted Micro 23 December 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Trading in the shares of Barkby Group (BARK) following the publication of the prospectus for the reverse takeover of the Dickson group companies and move to AIM. There will also be a share consolidation of 193 shares into 74 new shares. Barkby is paying £30.6m, predominantly in shares with £750,000 in cash, and raising £5m at 30p a share. The businesses include Workshop Coffee, which operates four coffee shops and is a wholesaler of speciality coffee, and a south east England-focused 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. A dividend is planned for this financial year.

Schroders has bought the whole of the 29.8% stake in Rutherford Health (RUTH) that was previously held by Woodford Investment Management.

Trading in the shares of Tectonic Gold (TTAU) has been suspended. Tectonic South Africa has been awarded an interim land mining contract at a diamond mining project in Alexander Bay in South Africa. It is replacing a previous subcontract that the company had. Mining can resume until the full contract is agreed. That could be by next March. A private investor signed an option agreement for the purchase of a 64% stake in Tectonic South Africa. In return they will fund future project development. There is a £100,000 cash payment to Tectonic on completion. There are 120 days for the investor to raise the cash required. The figures for the year to June 2019 will not be published by the end of 2019.

SulNOx (SNOX) started trading last week and the share price rose from 50p to 55.5p (53p/58p). There have been 35,875 shares traded on NEX.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) is raising £300,000 at 6.5p a share. This will fund an exploration programme to extend the life of the Hellyer mine.

Primorus Investments (PRIM) says that investee company WeShop hopes to float on AIM in the second quarter of 2020. Pre-IPO funding of £2m has been secured. Vela Technologies (VELA) and Two Shields Investment (TSI) are also investors in WeShop.

Clean Invest Africa (CIA) says that its CoalTech subsidiary has had successful tests with two listed South African coal consumers. Pelletised coal fines have been produced and they were deemed suitable. The first potential customer could sign up for a long-term supply agreement and the second could justify a plant at their location.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says that it generated 2019 revenues of $10.6m up to 17 December and the full year figure should be higher than the $10.9m reported in 2018. The starting of operations in Europe will help to grow revenues. Wishbone will receive $600,000 in relation to its operations in Honduras. There could be a further $400,000 depending on production. There will be a consolidation of 100 existing shares into one new share.

The CAMRA Members’ Investment Club has increased its stake in brewer Adnams (ADB) from 2.81% to 3.69%.

AIM

Focusrite (TUNE) is paying £39.2m for professional sound systems manufacturer Martin Audio. This will diversify the product range of the group and enhance earnings in the first year. The two companies are based near to each other in High Wycombe. In the 12 months to October 2019, Martin made an operating profit of £2.9m on revenues of £24.4m. ADAM Audio’s contribution has helped revenues to increase in the first quarter. Like-for-like revenues are lower due to adverse exchange rate movements and a on-off boost in the first quarter of the previous year.

Bidstack (BIDS) has entered into a two-year agreement with a global marketing services group, which will spend up to £10m on advertising via the Bidstack in-game platform over that period. None of the revenue will be in 2019, which is why the forecast will not be met and revenues will not be signficant.

Naked Wines (WINE) is paying a special dividend of 5.2p a share. The ex-dividend date is 24 December.

Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) is acquiring six VW car, one VW commercial vehicles and one SKODA franchise from Jardine Motors for up to £22.3m. Trading remains in line with expectations, but Edison has cut its 2020 profit forecast by £4.1m to £23.2m, partly due to the loss-making acquisition.

Filtronic (FTC) is selling its telecoms antenna business to Microdata for $5.5m (£4.2m). The company can concentrate on the 5G and defence markets.

ValiRx (VAL) says that the VAL201 phase I/II clinical trial is coming to an end and the initial results appear to show that there is an impact on patients with prostate cancer. The compound is also safe and well tolerated.

A trading statement from Van Elle (VANL) has led to Peel Hunt cutting its 2019-20 pre-tax profit forecast from £4.8m to £4m. The ground engineering contractor says that the second quarter was stronger than the first and first half revenues have risen from £42.9m to £48m. However, pre-tax profit slumped from £2.8m to £1m. There should be some improvement in the second half. The share price has halved this year. The interims will be published on 22 January.

Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG) says the Russian authorities have confirmed the company’s residency in the Kamchatka advanced special economic zone and this could save $6m over seven years. Trans-Siberian will develop an extension of the Asacha gold mine and expects to invest up to $21.2m in the next five years.

Sabien Technology (SNT) has raised £300,000 at 0.15p a share. This will provide working capital as a review of the business continues. Sabien is seeking to broaden its range of products from energy efficiency to other technologies, particularly health and medical rehabilitation sectors. Alan O’Brien stepped down as chief executive and Richard Parris became executive chairman.

Shareholders have agreed to put Stirling Industries (STRL) into voluntary liquidation. Trading will be cancelled on 24 December.

MAIN MARKET

Sure Ventures (SURE) maintained its net asset value at 83.1p a share at the end of September 2019. That includes cash of £1.45m. Management believes that some of the earlier investments are maturing and they could have valuation uplifts.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) has raised £638,000 at 2p a share via a placing in Norway. The cash will be used to buy drilling equipment.

Career development and consumer engagement platforms provider Dev Clever (DEV) plans to raise more cash four months after raising £436,000 at 3.4p a share. The share price fell by around one-third just before and just after the company admitted it was raising money. The share price fell to 1.05p.

OTHERS

Getmapping has ended its strategic review and is no longer up for sale. The geospatial services provider believes it is not the optimal time to consider offers.

Andrew Hore

Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 19 August 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

Brewer Adnams (ADB) reported a decline in first half revenues from £35.5m to £34.7m, while the loss increased from £840,000 to £1.15m. Beer volumes were 2% ahead, compared with a 1% decline in the market. Low alcohol beer sales grew. Gin sales fell because of greater competition. A fire at the Ship at Levington hampered the performance of the pubs business. Adnams made an underlying profit in 2018, thanks to a better second half performance. The new IT system went live in March and the implementation has been a distraction to management. The dividends are unchanged at 78p a share for each B share and 19.5p per A share.  

Bruce Pubs (PUB) has decided to cancel trading in its 7.2% secured bonds, 31 March 2022. There are £20,000 worth of bonds admitted to the market and there have been no trades. Bruce Pubs had wanted to raise up to £20m from the bond issue. It is therefore not a surprise that Bruce Pubs believes it is not worth having a trading facility. The bonds can be redeemed early by the company.

NQ Minerals (NQMI) has produced 10,164 tonnes of lead concentrate, 7,431 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 46,863 tonnes of pyrite concentrate in the first half of 2019. An operating profit of A$3.6m was made on sales of A$23m.

TechFinancials (TECH) had $1.23m in the bank at the end of June 2019. A reduction in trade receivables meant that there was a small cash inflow from operating activities, but there was $402,000 capitalised developed on the blockchain ticketing system.

China-focused healthcare company MiLOC Group Ltd (ML.P) has raised £755,000 at 30p a share.

Queros Capital Partners (QCP) has gained a quotation for its bonds on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

AIM  

ICAMAP has acquired 7.94 million shares in easyHotel (EZH) at its offer price of 95p a share, taking its stake to 44.1%. This means that it is a mandatory cash offer.

Iofina (IOF) has launched IofinaEX Global to deal in hemp derived products in Central America and the Caribbean. Iofina will potentially link up with a government in the region that wants to develop its country as a hub for hemp derived products. There are no details of this potential partnership. The company believes that its regulatory expertise in the iodine market will be helpful in the CBD market. The US is likely to be a major market.

LightwaveRF (LWRF) has raised £1.3m at 7p a share. The smart homes equipment supplier wants the cash to finance further growth. There are also plans to secure a facility for stock.

Altitude (ALT) is considering the disposal of its Manchester-based promotion products supplier AdProducts.com. This would enable Altitude to concentrate on its AIM platform for promotional products suppliers.

Greatland Gold (GGP) has raised £4.2m at 1.85p a share and that will be used to finance exploration in the Paterson region of Australia. There has been positive exploration news from the Scallywag prospect in the Paterson region. A ground gravity survey starts this month and an induced polarisation survey next month. Then 3D modelling using the data will come up with drill targets.

Cyber security software and services provider Corero Network Security (CNS) says interim revenues are lower, but operating costs are unchanged. That means that the interim loss has increased. However, full year revenues are expected to be one-fifth higher, but higher investment in sales means that the loss will still be higher. Net cash was $3.6m at the end of June 2019.

Equals Group (EQLS) is raising up to £16m via a placing and open offer. The international payments company has raised £14m at 110p a share and up to £2m will come from the one-for-90 open offer. The cash will be used for acquisitions and working capital.

Tanfield (TAN) says that 49%-owned Snorkel International has moved back into profit in the second quarter of 2019, although the first half was still loss-making. Last year, the value of this investment in the access equipment supplier was cut from £36.3m to £19.1m.

Oil and gas producer President Energy (PPC) says that there should not be a material effect on its operations from a change in Argentinian president. Revenues are US dollar based and cash is held in the same currency, so the decline of the Argentinian peso should not be too much of a problem.

Anthony Laiker has subscribed £25,000 in Vela Technologies (VELA) at 0.1p a share. A general meeting has to approve the share issue to the executive director, as well as an issue of 6.25 million warrants exercisable at 0.15p. Approval of the conversion of £200,000 of loan notes plus interest into nearly 241 million shares will also require the company to be given the ability to issue more shares. Laiker would than own more than 301 million shares.

Gfinity (GFIN) is pulling out of its Australian joint venture because the esports company wants to focus its cash on the US and other important markets.  

Workspace software provider Essensys (ESYS) says that its revenues were one-quarter higher at £20.5m in the year to July 2019. That was better than expected. Annual recurring revenues run rate is £17.3m.

MAIN MARKET  

Associated British Engineering (ASBE) made an increased loss of £1.81m, up from £582,000 the previous year. The company’s main pension fund remains a worry and there are ongoing discussions with the Pensions Regulator. There are net liabilities of £3.71m after the pension deficit of £4.98m.

Nanoco (NANO) generated revenues of £7.3m in the year to July 2019, more than double the previous year. The cadmium-free quantum dots developer had £7m in cash at the end of July and expects to have £6m at the end of 2019.

Highway Capital (HWC) has issued €30,000 of new convertible loan notes. These are convertible to a value in excess of 50% of the net asset value of the company at the time of conversion. The terms of an existing convertible loan note of £100,000 have been changed and the conversion price is 5p a share.

Shareholders in Avocet Mining (AVM) have voted against the resolution to wind up the company. This means that it is likely to go into administration unless there is a viable transaction that the board can assess.

Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) wanted shareholders to approve the voluntary liquidation of the company, but there is not enough support for the proposal. GRIT has sold 430 million shares in Kalia for £225,000 in order to provide working capital. A new board is being appointed to undertake a strategic review. James Normand will become chairman and Martin Lampshire as an executive director. Stephen Roberts will become a non-executive director.  

IMC Exploration (IMC) has been awarded two additional licences in County Wexford. They adjoin an existing licence where there are indications of gold.

Book publisher Quarto (QRT) reduced its interim loss from $6.6m to $4m on flat revenues of $56.4m. There was a change in the mix of revenues with children’s books increasing revenues by14% and in geographic terms more of the revenues were in the US, which moved into profit. Net debt has fallen by 11% to $65m.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) says that drilling has commenced at well C-37 in the Jafarli oilfield.

Pendragon (PDG) is selling its Chevrolet dealership in California for £17.2m. GM can alternatively nominate another purchaser if it wants. The rest of the US business will be sold.

Andrew Hore 

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