NEX and AIM-quoted Arbuthnot Banking Group (ARBB) says that there has been an increase in the level of confidence in its markets since the General Election. That was too late to have much effect on the 2019 results, but full year pre-tax profit will be at the upper end of expectations. Last year, customer loan balances rose by 31% and deposits by 22%.
Sativa Group (SATI) says that it welcomes the guidance from the Food Standards Agency on the safe use of CBD products and the timetable for novel food authorisation. Management points out that Sativa’s products do not include THC. Sativa expects to report 2019 gross profit slightly higher than expectations on lower than marginally lower than expected. Goodbody Wellness has piloted three retail stores, but they did not perform as well as expected. PhytoVista Laboratories has completed more than 3,000 tests on cannabis-based products. That includes Sativa’s own products and a new sports range is near launch. Medicinal cannabis-based development is focused on veterinary treatments.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) has increased its NAV by 55% to 317.2p a share following a strong performance by Whittard of Chelsea and a recovery in the share price of fully listed Luceco. Pharmacy2U continues to grow strongly. Last year, 2.3% of the shares in issue were bought back by the company. New investments are being sought for available funds.
Ethical housing investor Walls and Futures REIT (WAFR) increased its NAV by 15% to 106p a share in the year to January 2020. Chief executive Joseph McTaggart bought 1,991 shares at 61.75p each.
Hellyer gold mine operator NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised a further £210,000 at 7p a share.
Investment company Primorus Investments (PRIM) has benefitted from the sharp share price rise in Greatland Gold (GGP) and the stake is worth two-fifths of the company’s market value. The current profit is £1.25m. Investee company TruSpine is on course to float in London this year. The spine stabilisation devices developer has gained a new cornerstone investor. Primorus is debt free.
Trading in the shares of Altona Energy (ANR) has been suspended because it has not published its annual report for the year to June 2019. Cash needs to be raised to keep the company going and management says that shareholders will be invited to participate in a fundraising. The company says it expects to publish the report in the next two weeks and blames the delay on a change of auditor and a new accounting treatment for its exploration licences. Final terms for the acquisition of the previously announced new petroleum exploration licence application are being negotiated.
SG Recruitment Ltd (SGRL) majority shareholder and chief executive David Sumner has also taken on the role as chairman after the resignation of Alan Kitchin and Katie Hiess from the board.
Brickability (BRCK) has acquired McCann Roofing Products for £2.75m. Essex-based McCann imports roofing and building products from Europe and generated a 2019 pre-tax profit of £700,000 on revenues of £8.2m. This deal adds additional suppliers to the group and should be immediately earnings enhancing.
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas (NTOG) has convened the requisitioned general meeting on 3 March. Eridge Capital wants to remove Matt Lofgran and Ewen Ainsworth from the board and replace them with Andrew Morrison. Eridge was previously known as former AIM company New World Oil and Gas. Nostra Terra’s subsidiary has loans that have a key man clause which stipulate that Lofgran has to be president of the subsidiary unless it give consent or there will be a default.
Drug discovery platform developer e-Therapeutics (ETX) has overhauled its board and raised £1.6m at 3p a share. Former Silence Therapeutics boss Ali Mortazavi becomes executive chairman. Ian Ross is stepping down to concentrate his role at Silence Therapeutics. Chief executive Ray Barlow and finance director Steve Medlicott are also leaving. An additional independent non-executive director will be appointed.
Gemfields Group Ltd (GEM) joined AIM last Friday. The share price ended the day at 11.7p.
Bidstack (BIDS) expects to have generated £150,000 from programmatic advertising for video games. That is much lower than previously hoped because it is taking much longer to get advertising agencies to take in-game advertising seriously. There was cash of £3.14m at the end of 2019 following a loss of £5.3m. There was £6m in the bank at the end of June 2019. First half revenues will still be small.
Knights Group Holdings (KGH) has acquired Nottingham law firm Fraser Brown Solicitors for up to £8.28m in cash and shares. This follows the purchase of Croftons Solicitors, which is based in Manchester, for up to £2.8m. A new revolving credit facility of £40m has been agreed and it lasts until June 2023.
Octopus Investments has cut its stake in Staffware (STAF) from 13.2% to 0.53%. Gresham House Asset Management increased its stake from 6.7% to 10.6%.
Filta Holdings (FLTA) says it should make an EBITDA of £3.2m in 2019. Cost savings and investment software will help the fryer management services provider to produce a much better performance in 2020.
Keystone Law (KEYS) has traded in line with expectations. Pre-tax profit is forecast to increase from £5.1m to £5.7m.
Hormonal disease treatments developer Diurnal (DNL) says that the FDA has accepted the new drug application for Akindi Sprinkle as a treatment for infants and children. Approval could be gained by the autumn and it will be the only licenced treatment specifically for children. There was cash of £4.6m at the end of 2019.
Automotive information publisher Haynes Publishing (HYNS) is recommending a 700p a share bid from Infopro Digital, valuing the company at £114.5m. The two companies fit well together and will have greater scale.
Finance provider S and U (SUS) says that its figures for the year to January 2020 will be in line with expectations and trading has been getting better in the past few weeks. The used car market has held up well even though the new car market is week. This is why second hand car finance provider Advance should produce another record performance in 2020-21. Property bridging finance provider Aspen has made the progress hoped because of delays in repayments and the loan book is lower than expected, but it is still a young business. A 2019-20 pre-tax profit of £35.5m is expected to increase to £39m this year. The latest total dividend will be raised by around 5% to 124p a share.
JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN) is raising cash from the placing of up to 49.7 million shares. This will fund a pipeline of investments. The bookbuild will close on 26 February.
Ultimate Products (UPGS) says that sales growth is easing this year with first half revenues 3% ahead at £67.7m. There is also uncertainty about the supply of products from China. Even so, Shore is maintaining its full year pre-tax forecast of £8.77m, a small increase on last year. That could change.
Zenith Energy (ZEN) is widening the geographic scope of its activities by negotiating to acquire an oil production licence in West Africa. Zenith has raised £135,000 through a share issue at 1.5p a share. It has also entered into an equity sharing agreement with a consortium of institutional investors. The nominal amount raised is £810,000, but the ultimate amount will depend on the share price when each tranche is paid over the next 12 months. The benchmark price is NOK0.2231/share, equivalent to around 1.85p. The share price is 1.43p, so the first instalment is likely to be below the notional level if there is no share price recovery.
BATM Communications (BVC) has gained a $1.3m order from a Middle East-based poultry firm for its agri-waste treatment system.
Fasteners supplier Trifast (TRI) says market conditions are more challenging and there has been a slow start to the fourth quarter, which is normally the strongest. Margins have fallen and profit will be at the lower end of the range of forecasts. The Coronavirus has led to the extended closure of Chinese sites, but this is a small percentage of production.
Cathay International Holdings (CTI) says that production at its plants is on hold or preparing to gradual resume production because of the effects of the Coronavirus. The hotel business has been hit by a sharp reduction in occupancy rates.
Avation (AVAP) has made firm orders for two ATR 72-600 aircraft that will be leased to US-Bangla, the largest private airline in Bangladesh.
Predator Oil and Gas (PRD) is raising £3.56m at 4p a share. This will finance the drilling of the Moulouya well in Morocco and provide cash for further investment in Trinidad.
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