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Andrew Hore Quoted Micro 9 December 2019

NEX EXCHANGE

GP clinical software supplier DXS International (DXSP) broadly maintained its interim revenues at £1.66m. Admin costs were lower so DXS returned to profit. There was also a higher tax credit. It made a pre-tax profit of £90,000 in the six months to October 2019, while the post-tax figure was £202,000. The final accreditation for the NHS Digital Care Services (GP IT Futures) contract is due this month. This will provide a positive outlook for the rest of this year and next year.

Formation Group (FRM) is investing £10m in Irish property development sites in Dublin, Limerick and Kildare. These sites were owned by major Formation shareholder Zandra Holdings, which also shares directors with Formation. Market Equities is buying the sites and it will be 45%-owned by Formation and 55% by Zandra.

Eight Capital Partners (ECP) has bought a 59.9% stake in Financial Innovations Team, which provides corporate finance services. Eight Capital also owns 40% of Finance Partners Group, which owns the rest of Financial Innovations Team. The strategy is to eventually become the single direct owner of the business.

Hellyer generated record profit for NQ Minerals (NQMI) in November. The gold mine has provisionally reported net profit before tax of A$2.44m on revenues of A$5.64m.

Belvedere Leisure Resorts has obtained a NEX quotation for its 6.25% secured bonds. Up to £25m of bonds can be issued. The company is a subsidiary of Belvedere Leisure Park, which owns a site in Dumfries & Galloway with planning permission for a lodge park resort of 444 holiday lodges.

SAPO (SAPO) has joined the NEX Growth Market and set its sights on gaining some of the £200m that the government has set aside to make sure that rural people can have fast broadband.

Gunsynd (GUN) has bought a 7.67% stake in Kolosori Nickel, which owns 80% of the Kolorosi prospect in the Solomon Islands. Gunsynd has a 90-day option to purchase a further 22.33%. Gunsynd’s stake in Sunshine Minerals will be diluted to 15.5%, if Malachite Resources earns a 15% stake by financing geological data and technical work.

TechFinancials (TECH) is dropping its AIM quotation and concentrating on the NEX-quotation. The company is reviewing the future of its original financial trading software operations and closing its loss-making business-to-consumer operations. There will be a $2.6m write-off. Blockchain-based ticketing business Footies has still not signed up a client. The first version of the platform is being tested with clubs and the feedback is helping to focus development. The focus is mid-sized clubs. Diamond platform developer Cedex is still commercialising its technology and TechFinancials may consider selling its stake.

Block Commodities (BLCC) has sent a circular to shareholders to convene a general meeting to expand the investment strategy in terms of cultivation of medicinal cannabis, as well as to gain approval for issuing more shares.

Trading in Welney (WENP) shares has been suspended because it has not published its accounts for the year to June 2019.

AIM

A large contract has been won by telecoms marketing technology provider Pelatro (PTRO) has been won in the form of a recurring revenue deal rather than a one-off licence. This has led to short-term downgrades, but the longer-term prospects are better. The contract is worth up to $12m over five years, with $10m fixed and the other $2m coming from gain share with the global telecoms client. Pelatro has 50% of next year’s forecast revenues of $8m in the form of recurring revenues. That would generate pre-tax profit of $2.2m.

Shareholders have voted in favour of the DBAY rescue proposal for Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) and will acquire a 51% stake in the main operating subsidiary of the transport business.

Summit Therapeutics (SUMM) is raising £38.7m at 22.1p a share with most of the shares being acquired by Robert W Duggan who will own 72.8% of the antibiotics developer. He will also become a non-executive director. Summit will leave AIM and retain its Nasdaq listing.

ReNeuron (RENE) is expanding the scope of the phase IIa study of its hRPC stem cell therapy treatment in order to speed up the process towards a phase III study. Further data will be published next year. Patient recruitment for a treatment for stroke disability is being accelerated. The main data will be published in the middle of 2021. There was £21.3m in the bank at the end of September 2019.

Subsea cable protection services provider Tekmar (TGP) continues to benefit from increasing investment in offshore wind. Interim revenues were 140% higher at £17.1m and the business moved from loss to profit. Acquisitions boosted organic growth. The order book was at a record level of £15.9m at the end of September 2019.

Renalytix AI (RENX) will receive $950 per KidneyIntelX test used in the US from 1 January. This price lasts for three years and is set by the US authorities. Insurance companies are likely to pay a similar amount. Initial revenues have been generated by a pharma testing programme.

Fashion retailer Quiz (QUIZ) is still finding trading conditions tough with like-for-like store sales 10% lower so far this year. Costs have been reduced, but a pre-tax loss of £3.3m is forecast for this year.

Medical grade collagen components supplier Collagen Solutions (COS) is building up sales of tissue and starting to benefit from the collaboration with its major US shareholder. Investment in the Glasgow facility will increase collagen supply.

Antibody discovery company Fusion Antibodies (FAB) improved interim revenues from £660,000 to £1.75m. There was still £1.31m left in the bank at the end of September 2019. Belfast-based Fusion has launched its RAMP service, which helps clients to optimise the performance of an antibody. The Mammalian Antibody library should be launched by next September.

MAIN MARKET

Standard list shell National World (NWOR) has asked for trading in the shares to be suspended as it negotiates the potential acquisition of regional titles from JPI. There are also other acquisitions being assessed.

Zenith Energy (ZEN) has acquired the Italian gas production and exploration assets of Coro Energy (CORO) for an initial £402,000 in shares at 6p each. Up to £3.5m in also payable in shares if gas production averages 100,000 scm/day over a period of four successive months. Production is expected to reach 113,000 scm/day following developments planned over the next 6-9 months. The Italian authorities have to agree to the deal, which adds to Zenith’s existing assets in Italy.

Haynes Publishing (HYNS) says that interim pre-tax profit will be 37% higher than in the corresponding period last year. This is all organic growth. The interims will be announced on 30 January.

Digital inkjet technology developer Xaar (XAR) says that Stratasys has completed its increased investment in Xaar 3D and it has an option to acquire the rest of Xaar 3D within three years. Xaar sold 20% of the 3D printing business for $10m and Stratasys can buy the 55% it does not won for at least $33m.

Nanoco (NANO) says that interested parties have been asked to submit acquisition proposals by mid-December. The majority of contracted revenues of £3.5m will be delivered in the first half. Progress with new customers has been hampered by the formal sale process.

IMC Exploration (IMC) says that the exploration programme in the Goldmines River licence in Wicklow has confirmed gold values ranging up to 0.4g/t. Drilling results are still being analysed.

Pembridge Resources (PERE) says that its Minto mine in Canada has received £3.7m in payment for copper concentrate. Sumitomo makes a 90% advanced payment for the concentrate. The rest is paid on delivery. Pembridge is on a roadshow to raise between £3m-£5m.

BATM (BVC) has gained a $4m contract in Asia for its agri-waste business. Three units will be supplied to two poultry processing facilities.

MATCHED BARGAINS

MESH Holdings, which recently left NEX will have its shares dealt on the JP Jenkins dealing platform. The acquisition option for AI company Sentiance has lapsed but management is in talks to agree a new option, which would require MESH to invest more cash in Sentiance, where it has a 16.8% stake.

Andrew Hore

Ian Pollard – Clarkson #CKN Challenged By Headwinds

Clarkson plc CKN   Despite a challenging start to the year Clarkson produced a robust performance for the year to the end of December.Underlying profit before tax fell by 10% and earnings per share declined from 116p to 105p.The CEO is happy with this as it enables the dividend to be increased by 3% making it  the16th consecutive year of increased dividends. Headwinds are having their impact in the form of political uncertainty and natural disasters but these are expected to diminish as the year passes.

Polymetal International POLY  Preliminaries to the 31st December showed that 2018 was a year of strong operating and financial results,with revenue rising by 4% and gold sales up by 10$. Adjusted EBITDA was up by 5%, although average realised gold and silver prices both fell. A final dividend of US$ .31 is proposed. The dividend declared during the period has risen by 47% from last years 32 cents to the current 47 cents.

Xaar plc XAR updates that underlying trading results for the year to 31 December 2018 are in line with previous expectations and delays in ramp up of new product volumes in China have resulted in an unfavourable aging profile of working capital.   Provisions are therefore being taken on the basis of prudency.

Silence Therapeutics plc SRN updates that 2018 was a defining year for the company, with transformational change throughout the business. With the approval by the FDA of the first RNAi therapeutics, a new class of medicines has effectively been created. In-human clinical trials are due to commence later in 2019 to demonstrate both safety and tolerability. The interim Chair of Silence describes it as being at the cutting edge of an extremely promising new class of therapeutics.

Driver Group plc DRV reports that  the cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period due to a slowing in the speed of client conversion, in particular in the Middle East and south-east Asian markets. The cumulative trading result is now behind the Board’s expectations for the current period and the shortfall is unlikely to be recovered in the second half. Full year underlying profits before taxation are now expected to be slightly below the 2017/18 result at approximately £3.5m.

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Ian Pollard – Barratts #BDEV outstanding pedestrian year

Barratt Developments BDEV’s performance for the year to the 30th June was positively pedestrian compared to yesterdays results from Redrow but that does not stop Barratt claiming it has had another outstanding year with a strong operational and financial performance and its highest volumes in a decade. The increase of 4.7% in the final dividend, however, pales into insignificance compared to Redrows 65%. Profit before tax for the year rose by 9.2% and basic earnings per share by 8.5%. As at the 2nd September forward sales were ahead by 11.1%

Breedon Group BREE claims a resilient performance in a challenging market for the six months to the 30th June. Revenue rose by 16% but profit before tax fell by 3% although on an underlying basis it looked better with a rise of 15%. Ireland’s outlook was positive  but the GB market continued to suffer from short-term challenges. The company say it is is comfortable with current market expectations.

Somero Enterprises plc SOM enjoyed robust trading in the US and Europe in the half year to the 30th June and is doubling its interim dividend with a payment of 0.055 cents per share. Revenue for the half year grew by 6% and profit before tax by 13%. Sales in Europe were particularly strong with a surge of 24%.

Xaar plc XAR’s woes continued in the half year to the 30th June with underlying revenue falling by  39% year on year, due largely to a 69% decline in its ceramics business which was exacerbated by a slower than anticipated uptake of new products, in particular the Xaar 1201 printhead . The interim dividend has been slashed from last years 3.4 pence per share to 1p per share  to reflect expected cash requirement.

Quiz plc QUIZ will report today that it is pleased with the Group’s performance during the year to date and with the response to its summer product range. Despite an uncertain trading environment the group expects to continue with further strong growth.

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Barratt, Eddie Stobart, Robert Walters and Wetherspoons all upbeat

Barratt Developments BDEV is upbeat on trading, and reports total completions of 17,395, the highest level of completions in nine years. PBT is expected to beat current expectations at around £765m (2016: £682.3m), and year end net cash balance of around £720m is also ahead of guidance, driven by strong performance and the timing of land and working capital payments.

Eddie Stobart ESL reports a 13% hike in sales for six months to 31 May to approx £287m, with operational efficiencies improving the growth rate at an EBIT level. H2 has started well despite the challenges for the logistics sector due to the current political and economic environment, plus the period will benefit from a full six months’ contribution from the recently acquired iForce business.

Micro Focus International MCRO reports FY revenues of $1,380.7m, slightly above the mid-point of management guidance. Underlying adj EBITDA rose 4.2% to $640.9m, adj diluted earnings per share rose 19.7% to 175.65 cents and the FY dividend increased by 32.1% to 88.06 cents. The board says it is confident that medium-term low single digit revenue growth, industry leading margins and strong cash conversion will ensure that Micro Focus can deliver on its strategy.

NEX Group NEX says NEX Markets revenue grew 11% on a constant currency basis (20% on a reported basis) during Q1 principally driven by the CFETS partnership. Trading activity was hit by low volatility albeit with episodic activity around macro events such as the French election and a US rate rise.

JD Wetherspoon JDW says like-for-like sales increased by 5.3% for the 11 weeks to 9 July 2017, while LfL sales year to date (50 weeks to 9 July 2017) rose 3.9% (total sales up 1.9%). Around £24m of exceptional, non-cash losses are expected this financial year, mainly from pub disposals and closures.

Robert Walters RWA reports a record quarter, with net fee income up 16% (25% actual) year-on-year. The performance benefited from the group’s international footprint and breadth of recruitment solutions. The RWA board is confident that FY PBT will be ahead of current market expectations.

Xaar XAR reports an in line trading performance, and expects to report revenue of approx £44m for the six months ended 30 June 2017. The co also reports a joint development agreement with Xerox to develop together the next generation of industrial bulk piezo printheads using the extensive combined resources and IP of both companies

Redrow Expects “At Least” 22% Rise In Profit Before Tax

Redrow RDW as a result of its record order book, trading and performance in the second half of the current year continues to be robust and has enabled the company to increase its average selling prices more, or as they put it, “better” than expected. Profit before tax for the year to the end of June is now expected to increase by at least 22% to £306m.

Kingfisher KGF is increasing its total dividend for the year to 31st January by 3%, after sales and profit growth turned it into an important and productive year. Underlying profit before tax rose by 14.7%, adjusted sales were up by by 1.7%,  leaving group results ahead on all key metrics.

Savills pls SVS delivered another record performance in 2016, including what it describes as a highly resilient performance in the UK .Getting down to the nitty gritty though group profit before tax rose by only 1% after a 52% rise in continental Europe. Underlying basic earnings per share were up by 15% and total dividends for the year are increased by 12% to 29p per share, compared to 26p in 2015.

XAAR plc XAR Revenue for the year to the end of December was up by some 3% and profit before tax rose from £13.6m to £17.9m. Ceramic tile sales were disappointing.  Total dividends for the year have been increased from 9.45 p. per share to 10p.

Cello Group CLL Managed to turn earnings per share of 3.54p for 2015 into a loss of 3.23p per share for 2016. Revenue for the year to the end of December rose by 5.4% and like for like gross profit  grew “robustly” by 5.9%.  Dividends for the year grew even more robustly with a rise of 18.9% but headline profit before tax less so with a mere 0.8% rise. However a good start has been made to 2017.

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XAAR – Defying China

XAAR (XAR) specialises in inkjet printing technology and is a world leader in industrial inkjet print heads.

In September 2013 its shares reached an all time high of 1150p and then collapsed to 220p., losing 80% of their value in the 12 months to September 2014. The company took immediate action to overcome the challenges which it faced. The share price began to recover and had nearly doubled by the 26th August 2015 when they touched 450p.

Despite the turbulence which has hit world stock markets since 26th August, especially for companies which had anything to do with China, the shares have continued to rise instead of crashing back with all the others and have steadily risen by 16% over the past week, to 518p . As of yesterday, they were still rising despite the fact that profit before tax for the first half of 2015 fell to 3.7m. compared to 15.3m for the first half of 2014 and 7.8m in the second half. As a sign of confidence in the future Xaar increased its interim dividend to 3.15p

Xaar’s problems were caused by the slowing Chinese property and construction markets –  its print heads are used, amongst other things, for putting patterns on ceramic tiles. In 2014 revenue fell by 19% and profit before tax nearly halved, falling from 41.4m to 24.6m. Xaar responded by making a savage attack on costs. 20% of its global headcount went and new products were announced.. The result is that as per plan, the trading position has now been stabilised and a return to growth is expected in 2016.

The shares are in recovery mode and it will be interesting to see if they can continue to defy the China syndrome.

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