A continuing downward trend for the FTSE 100 last week closing 300 points lower at 5,264 points, whilst the AIM All Share fell 45 points to close the week at 692. Ensuing discussions around Greece and its position on the Euro, the OECD providing numerous comments on the threat of the Euro (and its constituent countries) to the global economic outlook and the IMF suggesting that the UK may need fiscal stimulus (a a time when inflation figures have fallen to 3 per cent annualised), have all been particularly troubling. The week ahead sees inflation, retail sales and public finances data, together with MPC minutes being announced.
2ergo Group (LON:RGO)
2ergo Group, the mobile solutions company, has launched “TikTap™”, its local commerce contactless coupon redemption technology. The Company has also announced its first five key agreements for TikTap™ with councils in Preston, Southport, Skegness, Salford and Blackpool. These agreements are the first in a phased national roll-out in partnership with Local Government, Retailers, Business Forums and City Centre Management Groups, which will ultimately create a network of local loyalty programmes. TikTap™ offers SMEs the ability to generate a brand presence through the TikTap™ mobile application, available on iOS (Apple‟s operating system) and Android operating systems. It enables retailers to promote local, relevant, reliable and sustainable offers and to initiate fast, contactless transactions via any smartphone by a consumer simply tapping their smartphone over in-store pods, which are attached to the retailer‟s cash till. The system is automatic, requires no manual intervention by the shop staff, and is based on 2ergo‟s recently launched podifi™ contactless technology platform, which is fully compatible with the majority of EPoS (electronic point of sales) systems currently in use. It has also been fully endorsed by all major UK EPoS manufacturers and distributors. 2ergo will accrue a one-off fee for each installed pod and further recurring revenues from monthly licence fees per pod, as well as transaction fees.
Angel Biotechnology Holdings has signed a new contract with ReNeuron Group (LON:RENE) to perform GMP manufacturing services in support of the final part of the PISCES Phase 1 clinical trial of its ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke. Dr Stewart White, Acting CEO, said: "Angel is very proud to be providing ReNeuron with additional manufacturing support to complete this ground breaking Phase 1 clinical trial". ReNeuron put out a similar announcement on the same day and said that this marketing authorisation represents a positive development for the Company. Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of ReNeuron, said: “We are pleased to continue our manufacturing partnership with Angel to serve the needs of the ongoing PISCES stroke clinical trial, and we look forward to seeing the higher dose cohorts in the study treated with our ReN001 stem cell therapy over the coming months.”
ANGLE, the technology commercialisation company, has announced that its 31 per cent-owned portfolio company, Geomerics, which specialises in computer games middleware, has successfully completed the third and final milestone in its corporate partnership with one of the world‟s leading technology companies, resulting in a final milestone payment being received by Geomerics. Geomerics and the undisclosed corporate partner continue to work closely together. The deal included investment in Geomerics of up to £2.3m, of which approximately £1m was subject to the achievement of certain milestones. The total investment of £2.3m has now been received. The corporate partnership has resulted in the development of new capabilities to make Geomerics products „next generation technology ready‟.
Ark Therapeutics Group last week announced completion of the dose ranging Phase I section of the academic study of Ark's VEGF-D adenoviral vector treatment for refractory angina. The Phase IIa stage is expected to enrol its first patient in Q3 2012. Refractory angina is a consequence of insufficient blood supply to the areas of heart muscle damaged by a heart attack. Ark's adenoviral vector carrying a transgene for expression of pro-angiogenic human VEGF-D is designed to treat the condition by stimulating new blood vessel generation at the ischemic heart muscle to which it is directly administered. Ark Therapeutics also published its interim management statement for the period from 1 January 2012 to date. The Company intends to report its results for the six months to 30 June 2012 on 29 August 2012. Over the last 18 months, as part of the Company's overall transformation, an increasing emphasis has been placed on the revenue generating capability of the Company's manufacturing assets. Then, in April they announced that the Finnish Medicines Agency had, following inspection, extended Ark's Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification to include GMP3, the Company's newest and largest manufacturing facility. This certification has greatly increased Ark's manufacturing capacity, including an automated, high through-put "fill and finish" line. As announced in March, Charles Spicer was appointed to the Board as Non-Executive Director and Dr David Venables was appointed as Executive Director - Manufacturing Services in April. In the full-year results announced on 12 March 2012 the Company had £9.5m in cash at 31 December 2011.
The AGM statement said that this has been a transformational year for Beacon Hill which has seen the Group grow into a significant Mozambican coal producer and developer operating in one of the world‟s most exciting developing coking coal regions. During the last 12 months they have delivered on numerous key operational objectives at their primary asset, the Minas Moatize Coal Project in Tete, resulting in Beacon Hill beginning its ramp up of operations targeting production of 4Mpta Run of Mine, ROM coal. These achievements included the commencement of coking coal production and the publication of a Definitive Feasibility Study which demonstrated the highly attractive economic fundamentals of the project. Perhaps most importantly, the focus on logistics has culminated in developing an end to end logistics solution which was demonstrated in their first export shipment in December 2011, and they continue to make progress with respect to securing long term rail access which will enable increased capacity and higher margins. Beacon Hill has a marketing agreement with the Vitol Group, the world‟s largest private energy trader, which offers Beacon Hill an optimum route to market for its products, in addition to providing the flexibility to meet their existing commitments under the off-take agreement with Global Coke. Importantly, they remain well funded with access to a US$20m debt facility from the Vitol Group, and revenues from the sale of both coking and thermal coal.
Beowulf Mining (LON:BEM)
Beowulf, the mineral exploration company which owns several exploration projects in Sweden announced that further to the release of 4 May 2012, the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Jokkmokk Iron Mines AB (JIMAB), has now received approval from the Mining Inspectorate at Bergsstaten for the work plan filed and notified in respect of the 2012 drilling campaign on its Kallak nr1 permit area. JIMAB intends to file a new work plan shortly in respect of the Parkijaure nr2 permit area as the timetable set out in the original notified work plan has now expired. The Company has, for some considerable time, sought and been in consultations with the Mining Inspectorate and the local Saami community seeking to resolve the Saami's objections to JIMAB's work plans on the grounds that such planned operations could potentially affect the community's seasonal reindeer herding.
Bloomsbury announced that total turnover was up 11.5 per cent to £103.2m (2011: £92.6m), with total continuing turnover up 16.9 per cent to £97.4m (2011: £83.3m). Pre-tax profit was up 13.6 per cent to £4.8m (2011: £4.2m) and the total dividend increased by 10.2 per cent to 5.2 pence per share (year to 31.12.10: 4.72 pence per share). The continuing basic earnings per share was up 75 per cent to 9.80 pence (2011: 5.59 pence). Given that the year saw a disposal, major acquisition, restructuring and change of year end, we suggest you look at the actual announcement by Bloomsbury Publishing plc to see how like for like numbers are compared. In the period, Bloomsbury acquired the leading Academic publisher Continuum for net £19.2m and continued strong development of its intellectual property with Continuing Rights & Services revenue up 88 per cent to £12.6m (2011: £6.7m) demonstrating quality of content, includes partnership with IZA in Germany. Bloomsbury also sold the loss-making German subsidiary for €2.6m. Bloomsbury is well placed to benefit from growth of digital sales and had huge ebook growth with sales increasing by 159 per cent to £5.7m (2011: £2.2m). Again, Bloomsbury has a diversified portfolio of bestsellers across the Group with three novels on the shortlist of six for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction: Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, four New York Times ebook best sellers: Kitchen Confidential, Prophet’s Prey, History of the World in Six Glasses and Salt. Commenting on the results, Nigel Newton, Chief Executive, said: “... 2011/12 has been a transformational year for the Group as we continue to see the benefit of our One Global Bloomsbury strategy. The acquisition of Continuum has significantly enhanced our academic business as we continue to focus on robust renewable revenue streams. This area will be a key driver of future growth. We have built a uniquely balanced business between trade and academic publishing. There is also a fundamental shift happening from print to digital and from the high street to the internet. The decision to digitise our backlist several years ago continues to reap benefits and as a result we have seen significant ebook sales, up 159% year on year.”
Chamberlin, the specialist castings and engineering group, has reported revenues and earnings above pre-recession levels for the year ending March 2012, with 70 per cent of sales for export markets. Revenues increased by 14 per cent to £45.5m, while underlying profit before tax was up 107 per cent to £1.7m. Net debt in the period reduced by 46 per cent to £1.6m, and the Company is proposing a final dividend of 2.0p, taking total dividend for year to 3.0p compared with 1.0p in 2011. Growth was seen across all three foundries and this trend is expected to continue.
Chime Communications, a leading marketing services group, announced the acquisition of a 51 per cent stake of Harvey Walsh Ltd, a provider of market access and data services to the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS. Total consideration was £2.19m- split into an initial amount of £2.1m and a further £90,000. A further tranche of the initial consideration of up to £1.9 million may be payable depending upon the trading performance of HWL in 2012 and 2013. The existing owner directors of Harvey Walsh will continue to develop HWL as part of Chime's healthcare division.
Cluff Natural Resources (LON:CLNR) An investing company founded by natural resources entrepreneur Algy Cluff which focuses on investing in global oil & gas and mining assets is being admitted to trading on AIM today. The Company has raised £3.75m by way of a placing at 5 pence per share and placing of 35,000,000 Warrants, providing the Company with a market capitalisation of £4.35m on admission to trading on AIM. The funds raised will be used to identify and acquire natural resource assets in the North Sea and Africa, where the board of CNR believes significant opportunities exist to generate substantial value for shareholders.
Crimson Tide, the leading developer of mpro business applications, on smartphone, tablet and pda, has signed contracts with Brenchley Civil Engineering and Capital Compactors to deliver its mpro smartphone applications. Both contracts are for an initial 3 year period and charged on a monthly subscription. Capital Compactors has signed a 20-user contract with Crimson Tide to equip this team of mobile engineers with the Company's mpro smartphone application, mpro Gemini. The mpro Gemini application will give Capital Compactors complete management over all of its engineers out in the field through its powerful job scheduling, alerting and reporting functionality. The contract with Brenchley Civil Engineering is for an initial 36 subscribers. Brenchley Civil Engineering check, excavate and survey terrain in preparation for lamppost installations and for the repair of pot-holes. Once on a job, the mpro Gemini system will present engineers with mobilised versions of their forms, which they'll complete on the smartphone. These mobile forms will include before and after photo capture of every stage of work-completion, which are then automatically synchronised back to the main web-based server, hosted in the cloud by Crimson Tide. Both contracts result from Crimson Tide's recent partnership with Premier Telecom, Vodafone's largest B2B partner in the UK. Premier Telecom's sales executives are now actively reselling the Company's mpro applications, and with a partner of Premier Telecom's calibre on its side, Crimson Tide looks set to extend the sales opportunities for its mpro smartphone applications even further.
The integrated system design company delivering wireless solutions for lighting control and utility metering, announced an order exceeding US$1m, from a major metering customer in India. Cyan also announced over the past week that the Smart metering industry expert Geoff Sarney had been appointed as VP Strategy. Mr. Sarney joins Cyan from Telefonica/O2 where he was Head of Smart Metering/Smart Architecture. Prior to Telefonica, Mr. Sarney worked for a two year period in China on strategy, clean energy and the smart grid. From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Sarney worked for Siemens, including three years as Head of M&A, Strategy and Planning for Siemens Energy Services, where he led the smart grid initiative on a global basis.
Eden Research (LON:EDEN)
The agrochemical and encapsulation development company announced that is has received notification from the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) of its intention to grant a patent for the use of terpenes encapsulated in hollow glucan particles for killing insects and arachnids. Clive Newitt, Managing Director of Eden said: "The granting of this patent will be useful not only to our existing licensees, but also to other prospective licensees based in Africa. The granting of a patent in such a large and important area of food and crop production inherently adds real value and strength to Eden's intellectual property and business proposition."
Energetix Group which develops and commercialises alternative and efficient energy products, announces that its subsidiary Energetix Genlec Limited has received Unit Verification from the British Standards Institution for the first of its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) version of the Kingston microCHP Delta unit. As previously announced the Group has been working with Calor Gas to develop an LPG variant. To date trials in Energetix labs have shown that the LPG appliance operates as expected and is very similar in performance to the original Kingston microCHP Delta production engineered units which run on natural gas. The next stage in the development of a commercial LPG version of the Kingston boiler is to commence field trials in homes to assess the performance of the appliance in off-gas grid homes. Initially four LPG units will be used in the field trial. Unit verification has been received for the first LPG unit with certification of the remaining units expected to be completed shortly. Installation of the trial units will then take place in time for the next heating season beginning in September.
The AIM quoted specialist provider of counter terrorism, intruder prevention products and intelligent lighting, today announced that its Security Blinds division has won a significant new order with a multi-national oil company in Baghdad. The order, worth US$176,000, is to provide bomb blast and physical security protection for a new project office, with additional ballistic protection in key areas.
The global public relations and healthcare communications group provided an interim management statement in which it stated that it had strong revenue first quarter comparable revenue growth for the Huntsworth group of 3.8 per cent. Grayling, global public relations and public affairs consultancy, achieved 3.8 per cent like-for-like revenue growth in the first quarter driven from digital revenues and strong performance in the Middle East, Huntworth Health delivered 3.3 per cent like-for-like revenue growth, Red grew by 19.4 per cent, though Citigate exhibited a 2.7 per cent decline on the back of the subdued financial markets. The Company also announced the appointment of Terry Graunke as a Non-Executive Director with effect from 21 May 2012, who has 25 years of experience in marketing services, and together with Lake Capital Management LLC which is the Company he founded, owns 9.82 per cent of the voting rights in Huntsworth.
Ilika, the advanced cleantech materials discovery company, announced substantial growth in joint development and contract research revenues in the financial year ended 30 April 2012. Total revenues (including other grant income) increased to approximately £2.3m, 21 per cent ahead of the previous year's total revenues (2011: £1.90m).Turnover from operations increased to approximately £2.0m, 30 per cent ahead of the previous year (2011: £1.54m). Earnings before Interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and share based payment charge improved slightly compared with last year‟s reported loss of £1.81m and losses before tax for the year improved compared with last year's reported loss of £3.15m. Cash balances total £5.3m at 30 April 2012, reflecting the placing announced on 4 April 2012 which raised £4.6m after expenses.
Milestone Group (LON:MSG*
Milestone, the AIM-quoted provider of digital media and technology solutions, announced that it has raised £258,570 by way of a placing at a price of 1 penny per share for cash with new and existing shareholders. Deborah White, CEO of Milestone, commented: "We are pleased to announce the successful completion of this round of fundraising. The Company has been through a significant transformation recently and is delighted by the support that has been shown by both our existing and new shareholders."
NextGen Group (LON:NGG)
AIM listed company developing its own diagnostics product pipeline and providing diagnostic biomarker development services, announced the commercialisation of a new assay for the identification of diagnostic biomarkers in brain disorders. The assay measures protein markers in human cerebrospinal fluid. The new assay will expand the product offering of NextGen's contract research subsidiary, NextGen Sciences Inc. NextGen uses mass spectrometry (a technique for specifically identifying and quantifying biomarkers in samples) as its core technology to discover highly specific protein biomarkers that can be used for diagnostic purposes. In 2010, the total global market for biomarkers was an estimated $13.5bn and is expected to grow to nearly $33.3bn by the end of 2015 (BCC Research). Adds Barry McAleer: "...Firstly we will develop further assays in humans that will allow us to measure many more hundreds of proteins in CSF. Secondly we will apply these principles to expand the protein numbers we can measure in human plasma. Thirdly, we will introduce assays for the same proteins in rat and monkey species."
One Media Publishing Group (LON:OMP)*
One Media Publishing Group, the PLUS quoted consolidators and acquirers of music and video rights, announced the acquisition by ICAP Holdings Limited of PLUS-SX as a positive move. Michael Infante CEO/Chairman said: "Since the news a week ago that PLUS was being wound down, like many members of this share platform, we considered our options. We will continue to do this despite the news that PLUS-SX may be acquired by ICAP. PLUS in our opinion is, for many `small-caps', a very important yet fragile exchange, and despite the liquidity issues plays an important role. One Media will continue to monitor the situation with its professionals."
Polo Resources, the investment company with interests in coal, gold, iron ore and oil and gas, announced that it subscribed for a further 2,857,143 new shares in Signet Petroleum Ltd for a total consideration of $10 million be exercising a call option granted on 22 August 2011, with Signet using the funds for exploration activities in Tanzania, Burundi, Namibia and Benin and as general working capital. Polo will have shares in Signet representing 21.7 per cent of share capital (or 17.9 per cent on a diluted basis).
Premier Gold (LON:PGR)
Premier Gold, the Central Asia-focused gold exploration and development company, has received the results of rock and soil analyses from samples collected during the 2011 exploration programme, which focused primarily on the Talbaital prospect within the Company‟s Cholokkaindy licence in Kyrgyzstan. Cholokkaindy is an early stage gold exploration project where four target prospects have been identified, of which Talbaital is the most advanced. Two periods of sampling in 2010-11 have built a picture of a significant gold target, possibly extending southwards to a second prospect identified at Jarkonush, which will be the focus of detailed exploration in 2012, including drilling. At Talbaital, the initial trenches pointed at a single structure but the second sampling programme has demonstrated that it is much wider and therefore of greater potential. Notable new trench assay results from the Talbaital prospect included: 5 metres of 1.9 g/t gold, 3 metres of 2.5 g/t gold, 3.4 metres of 2.07 g/t gold, 5 metres of 0.24 g/t gold. Significant values have also been obtained in trenching and rock sampling within Jarkonush prospect including 20 metres of 0.036 g/t gold.
Silence Therapeutics announced excellent top line data from its ongoing Phase I trial of Atu027 showing that of the 33 patients treated in the first cohort of the study, 10 patients experienced stable disease after three months. Silence's open label, single-centre, dose-finding Phase I study of Atu027 in subjects with advanced solid cancer is ongoing where the study was designed to evaluate up to a total of 11 escalating doses of Atu027 and enroll approximately 33-36 patients. The Company will publish the latest data at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, 1-5 June 2012 and they expect to complete the ongoing Phase I clinical trial of Atu027, in July 2012.Tony Sedgwick, CEO of Silence Therapeutics said:"I am delighted that with Atu027 we potentially have a first in class RNAi therapeutic for treating solid tumours. Cancer therapy needs innovative treatments such as Atu027. The new data at ASCO demonstrates that Atu027 can be safely administered at doses above those believed to be effective."
Further to previous announcements regarding the Company‟s re-structuring, Specialist Energy Group announced that 10,000,000 New Ordinary Shares priced at 50 pence have now been issued to MBE Mineral Technologies Pte Ltd (MBE) raising £5m before expenses for the Company. The funds will be used to settle existing derivative instruments and to facilitate the Company's new borrowing arrangements with Standard Chartered Bank and MBE. Following this subscription, MBE, which already owns 25.27 per cent of Specialist Energy, will increase its stake to 41.69 per cent Also sought by Specialist is the authority to issue four million new shares so it can buy between 20 and 24 per cent of MBE Cologne Engineering GmbH - a wholly-owned subsidiary of MBE.
Tandem Group (LON:TND)
Designers, developers and distributors of sports and leisure equipment, provided an update statement at their AGM, explaining that revenue for the 20 weeks to 18 May 2012 was approximately 5 per cent behind last year, with sales of bicycles and accessories in particular falling by 8 per cent. Challenging trading conditions were somewhat further impacted by poor weather conditions, though the Company continues to be optimistic, for reasons including the impact of the London 2012 Olympics. Revenue from the sports, leisure and toys business was slightly ahead, as is revenue from the Company‟s brands, Hedstrom and Ben Sayers. Tandem also announced its intention to appoint Phil Ratcliffe to Group Commercial Director, having been Sales & Marketing Director at the subsidiary, MV Sports & Leisure Limited.
On 2 April 2012, Thalassa announced the terms of a Partial Offer for Rock Solid Images PLC (RSI). As at 1.00 p.m. on 21 May 2012, the first closing date of the Partial Offer, it had received valid acceptances in respect of 13,778,753 RSI Shares, representing approximately 8.71 per cent of the existing issued share capital of RSI. There are no outstanding irrevocable commitments or letters of intent to accept the Partial Offer. Thalassa currently owns 6,342,322 RSI Shares, which together with the 13,778,753 RSI Share tendered under the Partial Offer, now represents a total of approximately 12.72 per cent of the issued share capital of RSI. The breakdown as to the current level acceptances for the Cash Offer and Thalassa Shares Alternative is approximately 32 per cent of acceptances received pursuant to the Cash and approximately 68 per cent of acceptances received pursuant to the Thalassa share alternative. Transense Technologies (LON:TRT 6.38p/£11.26m)* The provider of sensor systems for the transportation and industrial markets announced that its trading division, IntelliSAW, has successfully completed the installation and full commissioning of a pilot switchgear monitoring system at the Salem Works CPP2 plant of JSW Steel where the pilot is a key component of JSW's program to implement temperature monitoring in its electrical switchgear cabinets. The ongoing relationship with JSW will be maintained by El PE, IntelliSAW's exclusive Indian distributor.
Vatakoula Gold Mines (LON:VGM)
Vatukoula yesterday announced its interim results for the half-year ended 29 February 2012 with cash generated from operations up 57 per cent to £4.38m. During the period the Company benefited from an increased gold price, which resulted in a higher turnover figure. The increase in the gold price offset the increases in mining, processing and overheads, to give a gross profit of £4.9m. The net profit for the period was £1.0m. Vatukoula also announced that David Karl Paxton, CEO, has on the 21 May 2011 acquired 40,000 ordinary shares in the company at £0.47 each.
ViaLogy, a provider of reservoir characterisation, geophysical imaging and hydrocarbon sizing services to global oil and gas Exploration and Production companies based on proprietary, patented active signal processing technology, announced that following a number of new contract wins, it has raised a total of £2,045,000 (before expenses) through the placing of 74,363,637 ordinary shares at a price of 2.75p each with existing and new institutional investors. The Placing is completing in two tranches of around £1m each. The first tranche is expected to take place on 23 May 2012. The second tranche is conditional upon shareholder approval at a general meeting of the Company to be held on or around 15 June 2012. The net proceeds of the Placing will be used to strengthen the balance sheet and provide additional working capital to support ViaLogy's strategy.
VPhase (LON:VPHA) Trading Update
VPhase, which develops energy saving products for residential and commercial properties, has seen a significant increase in demand in the first 20 weeks of 2012 with total sales up by 292 per cent and sales volumes 333 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2011. This growth is in line with expectations and the Company continues to drive for the additional growth necessary to meet full year expectations. The Company has a strong order book of over £200,000 and a significant pipeline of potential orders. Demand in the Social Housing Sector, which has been the main driver of growth in this period, remains strong and continues to grow. The management expects further opportunities will arise in this important segment. Margin pressure remains but the process of establishing a low cost manufacturing capability should, once implemented, return margins to expected levels later in the year. The Company continues to lobby the UK Government for inclusion of Voltage Optimisation under the Green Deal; although additional support is being gained, the Board has agreed with Enact Energy to temporarily postpone promotion of its product through the Tesco website until this is clarified.
AIM listed specialist manufacturer of internationally award-winning touch sensor products last week announced interim results for the 6 months to 31 March 2012. Revenues increased by 17 per cent to £10.6m (2011: £9.1m), and profit before tax was up by 68 per cent to £2.1m (2011: £1.3m). Having continued to develop sales of its touch sensor products, the Company has diversified away from the original electronic display products to the development and marketing of Projective Capacitive Technology (PCT products), now taking touch to about 70 per cent of its overall revenue. The period has also seen the extension to the cleanroom at the main factory become operational in February 2012, as well as the splitting of the main website into two separate sites- one exhibiting an investor focus and the other designed to target customers. A 24 per cent increase in the interim dividend was also announced at 2.6p (2011: 2.1p) perhaps in part as a result of increased confidence going forwards. *A corporate client of Hybridan LLP