This week: The name's Bond, Brady bond, APC minimises lighting costs


APC contract win,NLG final results,AVCT update at GM and new website,BDI contract extension,BRY trading statement,CAPD trading update,CBUY trading update,CRX trading update,EKF trading update,FIP acquired by IPO,HRN Interim Management Statement,IKA validation,ITM contracts,LBB launch of the Mary Berry Collection,LPA final results,Manx Telecom AIM float,MARL Peru drilling results,NARS trading update,PTCM trading update,RTG trading update,SSY trading update,SAL pre close trading update,SVR new contracts,SDM trading update,THR gold assays up at Spring Hill,TRCS overseas order

APC Technology Group (LON:APC)

APC Technology announced that its subsidiary, Minimise Limited, has received a further order from Wm Morrison's Supermarkets valued at £2.1m for the supply of energy efficient lighting to Morrison's as part of its continuing roll out of LED lighting into its stores across the UK. This contract is in addition to the previously announced contracts with Morrison's (with an aggregate value of £8.9m) and extends the expected delivery schedule to this customer into the second half of APC's current financial year. A further trading update will be provided at the Companies AGM on 31 January 2014. 


Arria NLG, which focuses on the development and deployment of natural language generation technologies, announced its final results for the year ended 30 September 2013. It reported revenue of £816,178 (2012: £62,554), gross profit of £676,694 (2012: £29,101), a loss before tax of £13.01m (2012: £6.52m) and it raised  £5.3m in the period to 30 September 2013 (a further £4.2m raised post year-end) to fund the full acquisition of Data2Text Limited and for working capital. Cash at 30 September 2013 was £3.9m (as at 30 September 2012: £8.7m). In the period, the Company listed on AIM and concluded the acquisition of the remaining 80 per cent of Data2Text Limited that was not already owned subsequent to year end on 25 October 2013. It also completed two foundational contracts for use of the Arria NLG Engine, one for 2013 licensing of the Arria NLG Engine software to monitor compressors on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and the other for expanding the use of the Arria NLG Engine across additional equipment classes.

Avacta Group (LON:AVCT)

The global provider of proprietary diagnostic tools, consumables and reagents for human and animal healthcare, held its Annual General Meeting and gave an update. The Board said that trading for the first half of fiscal 2014 is in line with market expectations. It has seen good progress in Avacta Analytical in the first half of this financial year following the launch of the re-engineered Optim2® early in 2013 and a strong growth in the number of units shipped in the second half of last year. This improved shipping run rate has continued this year assisted by commercial partners and by direct sales in Europe. Avacta Animal Health continues to concentrate on one of its core strategic objectives of expanding its business outside of the historical focus on allergy. Most notably, the unique canine lymphoma blood test was launched recently in the UK and the company is now establishing a route to market for this test in North America. There are several other new diagnostic tests to be added to the portfolio in the coming months. New tests will be commercialised initially through test kits and lab services (under the brand names Sensipak® and SensiTest®) whilst being adapted for delivery on the Sensipod® point of care in-clinic platform. This service aims to provide high quality Affimer binders to customers’ targets. Later in the year this will be added to by the launch of a catalogue of internally generated Affimers against targets where there are gaps in antibody availability and highly commercial targets. The company continued to make progress with its Affimer proteomic microarrays and is establishing high quality and robust manufacturing processes needed to supply large quantities of arrays for validation studies. Avacta Group separately announced Avacta Group Life Sciences has launched its web site to commercialise Affimer reagents. The new web site marks the start of commercialising Affimers as custom affinity reagents in the life sciences market. Avacta is also working to develop a catalogue of reagents which will be added to the web site later in the year as will the first microarray products when these are available.

Bond International Software (LON:BDI)

Bond International Software, the specialist provider of software for the international recruitment and human resources industries, announced Elwood Staffing, one of the staffing industry's largest firms, is to deploy Bond's Recruiting and Staffing Software throughout the combined Elwood/SOS Employment Group. Elwood Staffing, following the acquisition of SOS Employment Group in February of 2013, has annual revenue of more than $800m and ranks in the top 20 of all U.S. staffing companies. Elwood Staffing will gain operational efficiencies among its now nearly 1,000 employees with the deployment of Bond's recruiting and staffing software throughout the combined organisation.  Bond's software is a robust, fully-integrated front-to-back office offering which is uniquely suited to large enterprise staffing organizations such as Elwood Staffing, who have been using the software since 2001.  The relationship with Elwood staffing and Bond International Software spans 13 years and has grown from 40 licenses to nearly 500 licenses. The expansion of the contract throughout the combined organisation will increase the number of licenses to nearly 1,000. Importantly, Bond continually adds enhancements to the solution that builds on its ability to aid staffing and recruiting companies like Elwood to deliver exceptional customer service and profitably manage its operations from front office through to back office.

Brady (LON:BRY)

Brady, the global provider of Commodity, Energy and Recycling Software for Transaction Processing and Risk Management, provided an update on trading performance for the full year to 31 December 2013.  Brady ended the year securing five new contracts in the last six weeks of the year worth in total around £3m and taking the total number of new substantial contracts to 13. Revenue for these contracts will be recognised in 2014.  The Company expects to report revenues of £29.3m and adjusted EBITDA of approximately £3.6m. This reflects the timing of revenue recognition for the recently signed contracts and the unfavourable currency movement of the Norwegian Krone in the last two months of the year. Cash at year end is expected to be £6.7m.  Recurring revenues increased to 57 per cent of sales and deferred revenue at 31st December is £6.8m (previous year £3.7m), providing a strong platform for growth in 2014. Combined with the impact of the 2013 reo-organisation which produced annualised savings of approximately £2m, the Group is in a robust position for 2014.

Capital Drilling Limited (LON:CAPD)

Capital Drilling, the emerging and developing markets focussed drilling company, will announce its full year results for the period ended 31 December 2013 on 18 March 2014. The Board provided the market an update of activity through the second half of 2013 and the preliminary unaudited numbers for the 2013 financial year. The preliminary unaudited results show unaudited revenue of $116.3mn for the full year, representing a decrease of 27 per cent year on year. The full year revenue decrease was driven by a significant decline in fleet utilisation, and lower average revenue per operating rig (ARPOR). Management focus on cost reductions and CAPEX discipline has led to solid cash generation in 2013, with net operating cash flows of $15.3m for the year. Capital Drilling's Chairman, Jamie Boyton, commented: "Capital Drilling experienced a challenging year in 2013 consistent with a significant reduction in activity levels across the mining and mining services industries. Revenues were particularly impacted in the second half, however Q4 revenue did show some signs of stabilisation. The sharp deterioration in the demand environment over the year necessitated significant cost reduction activities and the impact of those reductions, coupled with the strict discipline around capital spending, saw the Group achieve a substantial reduction in gearing over the course of 2013, finishing the year with net debt to equity of 9.9%.” 

cloudBuy (LON:CBUY)

cloudBuy, the cloud eCommerce marketplace, provided an update on trading for the year ended 31 December 2013.  The Company achieved strong trading in the year, delivering growth in eCommerce marketplace and spend analysis revenue of over 50 per cent on the preceding year.  While the Company Formations division continued to see a small decline, overall revenues experienced strong growth resulting in a profitable cash generative UK operation in line with market expectations.  Following the Company’s stated strategy the profits from the UK business were invested in additional resources, in particular in sales and marketing activities and technical support of an accelerated Visa roll-out, alongside a small part of the proceeds of the Company's placing and open offer of £5.3m. This has resulted in a slightly higher loss to that in the preceding year.  As a consequence of this activity the Company start the year with the strongest pipeline that it has ever had, with active prospects in each of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, India, Canada and the USA, as well as our UK opportunities.  Following the placing and open offer, the Company has significantly strengthened its executive management and delivery team with the recent arrival among others of Jonathan Holden from Visa as CEO for the Europe Middle East and Africa region, along with the global solution team of Russell Darling, Nilesh Gopali, Sharlene Jobson and Chris Hope.  The Asia Pacific team has also been strengthened with Patrick Broughton as its President, Dale Stephens as CEO for the region and Jeff Corcoran joining as a Sales Executive.

Cyprotex (LON:CRX)

Cyprotex, a specialist ADME-tox Contract Research Organisation providing screening services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agrochemical and cosmetic industries, provided a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2013.  Figures for 2013 are unaudited; comparative 2012 figures are audited.  Cyprotex confirmed that trading for the year to 31 December 2013 is expected to be slightly ahead of market expectations at £9.77m (2012:£8.33m), an increase of approximately 17 per cent on the comparative period. The revenue performance is encouraging across all principal geographic markets and the main service operations of high throughput ADME, customised ADME and toxicology. Operating costs for the year to 31 December 2013, on a pre-exceptional basis, are anticipated to be in line with market expectations. Consequently, as a company with high operational gearing, Cyprotex expects to report, on a pre-exceptional basis, an operating profit in the range of £750,000 to £850,000 which would represent a record operating profit for the Group (2012:£326,000).  Cyprotex chose to rebrand its operations in the USA in 2013 resulting in a name change of its US subsidiary to Cyprotex US, LLC (formerly Apredica, LLC). As a consequence of this rebranding exercise, the Group has fully accelerated the amortisation of its intangible asset associated with the Apredica brand leading to a one-off charge to the income statement of approximately £140,000. Adding back this accelerated charge, adjusted EBITDA is expected to be slightly ahead of market expectations, in the range £1.5m to £1.6m. (2012:£0.91m).

EKF Diagnostics Holdings (LON:EKF)

EKF Diagnostics, the point-of-care diagnostics business, provided a trading update for the financial year ended 31 December 2013. EKF traded well in 2013 with unaudited revenues for the full year of approximately £31.8m, an increase of over 21 per cent on the previous year (2012: £26.1m). The Company has seen sustained revenue growth throughout the period with strong revenue growth in the second half of the year, which showed a 13 per cent increase on the first half (£16.9m vs. £14.9m). Adjusted EBITDA for the period is expected to be in line with consensus expectation, being an increase of over 40 per cent on the previous year (2012: £3.2m). This strong performance in adjusted EBITDA reflects both the increased profits generated on higher sales as well as the continued solid control of administrative expenses throughout the Group. The cash position of the Company remains strong, with cash balances as at 31 December 2013 of £2.55m (2012: £4.33m), reflecting the deferred consideration payments to the vendors of Quotient Diagnostics Ltd and Stanbio Inc. made in the first half of the year, an increase in trade debtors as a result of the high levels of sales in December, and investment in EKF Molecular Diagnostics. For the second year in a row, sales of higher margin reagents, particularly Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) have continued to perform strongly, resulting in a market share of these important cash generative products being held. Alere has continued to drive the HemoPoint H2 sales in the US and EKF is continuing to grow its market share as it sees higher levels of pull-though of cuvette sales on an ever increasing installed device base. The Company has also seen significant growth across all of the major product ranges; Biosen instrument sales have grown by 75 per cent and Quo-Lab and Quotest sales have grown by 74 per cent. Sales growth in the Americas continued to be strong (over 28 per cent) despite the negative impact of the dollar exchange rate and the fact that a significant potential tender win expected to conclude before the year end has been delayed until H1 2014. Additionally, as recently announced, the advances made within EKF Molecular with Pointman leads to a very positive outlook.

Fusion IP Group (LON:FIP) / IP Group (LON:IPO)

The boards of IP Group and Fusion IP announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a unanimously recommended all-share offer to be made by IP Group for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Fusion IP not already owned by IP Group. It is proposed to effect the Offer by way of a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act. IP Group currently owns 20.1 per cent. of the issued share capital of Fusion IP. Under the terms of the Offer, Scheme Shareholders will be entitled to receive 0.446 of a New IP Group Share for every Scheme Share held. The Offer values each Fusion IP Share at 80.2 pence and the entire issued share capital of Fusion IP at approximately £87.8m. The Offer represents a premium of approximately 27.4 per cent. to the Closing Price of 63.0 pence per Fusion IP Share on 22 January 2014 (being the last Business Day prior to the date of this announcement). Both IP Group and Fusion IP have a reputation for building businesses based on intellectual property primarily sourced from leading scientific research institutions and both companies are also recognised as key opinion leaders in this emerging asset class. The IP Group Directors and the Fusion IP Directors consider that the Offer represents an opportunity to create a stronger UK based IP commercialisation Company with greater critical mass which the IP Group Directors and the Fusion IP Directors believe will lead to enhanced value for the shareholder base of the Enlarged Group. IP Group also announced that it intends to raise gross proceeds of up to approximately £75m through the issue of IP Group Shares by way of an underwritten Firm Placing and non-underwritten Placing, Open Offer and Offer for Subscription at a price of 165 pence per IP Group Share. 

Hornby (LON:HRN)

Hornby, the international models and collectibles Group, gave a shareholder update on trading for the period from 1 October 2013 to date, which includes the important Christmas and January period. As a result of supply chain issues, the Group sales for the financial year are now expected to be below current market expectations and below the total for last year. However, on a like for like basis excluding sales of Olympic product it expects them to be in line with last year. The Group now expects a breakeven performance at the underlying pre-tax level in respect of the year to 31 March 2014. Due to supply delays, it also continues to suffer losses on the sterling value of currency held to purchase products which is now in total close to £1m in the year to date and will therefore lead to a £1m loss overall. Arrangements have finally been agreed in the last week for a managed exit from trading with the long standing major supplier of model railway product. This will lead to all of its remaining tools and moulds being made available to other manufacturer partners. The agreement will also result in Hornby making a payment of around £0.6m for materials, work in progress and components that will be released to it. It is expected that a significant amount of this payment will be written off in its accounts this year. 

Ilika (LON:IKA 49p/£20m) 

Ilika, the advanced materials discovery Company, announced earlier this year that it had achieved a unique processing methodology to produce stacked solid-state batteries, and has provided a further update. The electrochemical testing of the stacked solid-state batteries manufactured using Ilika’s proprietary process has generated performance data that validates the stacked architecture, with two-cell stacks producing twice the voltage and power of a single cell. In one automated procedure, Ilika has simultaneously produced one hundred identical solid-state batteries using the Company’s proprietary process technology. Each battery consists of two cells deposited in series producing a composite device with a second cell on top of the first. This has resulted in a doubling of the voltage available from the battery to approximately 8 volts. Further development work is continuing to increase the number of cells in each stacked battery and also their cross sectional area. This will result in batteries containing sufficient energy for initial commercialisation in network sensor applications, which is a rapidly growing segment expected to create an addressable market for micro-batteries in excess of £1bn by 2017. 

ITM Power (LON:ITM 41.37p/£53.18m)

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel Company, announced that it has secured a commercial contract from AMEC and the National Grid to assess the deployment of Power-to-Gas Energy Storage technology to reduce the energy losses in the gas network.  The project will look at the cost and energy benefit of deploying Power-to-Gas technology at specific sites on the gas network to reduce energy losses and increase system efficiency. AMEC, a tier 1 supplier to National Grid will be undertaking a third party assessment of the cost benefit analysis.

LiteBulb (LON:LBB 1.09p/£24m) 

LiteBulb, the innovative brand and product Company, has announced a three year deal with Mary Berry to produce a range of food and cooking products for the home. Mary Berry’s popularity is greater than ever and with sixty years cooking experience she is considered to be the doyenne of British baking. The Mary Berry Collection features ceramic and wooden cookery items, textiles and gift items all designed and manufactured with Mary’s personal approval. The initial range of 26 lines will launch in Sainsbury’s in March 2014 with a further trade range planned for autumn 2014. The company believes that the multi-billion pound home baking market has seen a significant resurgence in the UK, due in no small part to Mary Berry’s many successful television programmes featuring Baking and Cookery in general. 

LPA Group (LON:LPA 81p / £9.55m)

LPA Group, the LED lighting and electro-mechanical engineering group, announced profits after exceptional items of £1.82m for the year ended 30 September 2013 and a number of new orders either side of Christmas. Sales were down 3.9 per cent to £17.63m (2012: £18.35m) but profit before taxation was £1.79m (2012: £877,000) as a result of a surplus on the sale of property of £2.06m. Peter Pollock, Chief Executive, commented: "Our LED lighting and electro-mechanical activities benefitted from a strong export performance and, but for the hiatus caused by the delayed rail re-franchising process, which adversely impacted UK sales, expectations for the year would have been substantially exceeded. In December 2013, £2.5m of orders were booked; the highest monthly figure since June 2011 and mainly for UK rail, indicating that the beginning of the end of the refranchising hiatus may be at hand. This surge in orders has continued in January with two important new UK rail orders received. "The current financial year has started quietly, but the order book is firming up strongly, supporting an increasingly buoyant second half and progress in the year as a whole. We still have a factory refurbishment, a business relocation and factory extension to complete, so 2014 is going to be another very busy year, which we look forward to with confidence. The longer term, supported as it is already with major contracts already secured, is potentially very exciting." 

Manx Telecom (TBC/TBC)

Manx Telecom, a communication solutions provider on the Isle of Man, is set to float on AIM. The Group offers a wide range of fixed line, broadband, mobile and data centre services to businesses, consumers and the public sector on the Isle of Man. The Group also provides a growing portfolio of innovative solutions to offshore customers.  The Group is headquartered and domiciled in Douglas, the Isle of Man.

Mariana Resources (LON:MARL 4.175p/£21m) 

Mariana Resources, the exploration and development Company focused in Peru and southern Argentina, has announced further positive results from its scout drilling programme at its 102 sq. km Condor de Oro copper-gold-molybdenum project, located along the prolific Cordillera del Condor gold-copper belt in Northern Peru. The latest drill hole CDOYE-5 has yielded the strongest porphyry-style copper-molybdenum mineralisation to date. The best copper intervals are 22.4m @ 0.17 per cent Cu from 63.2m and 102.8m @ 0.19 per cent Cu from 277.9m.

Nationwide Accident Repair Services (LON:NARS 75.5p / 32.61m

Nationwide, the largest dedicated provider of automotive crash repair services in the UK, provided an update on trading for the financial year ended 31 December 2013 ahead of full year results which are expected to be announced in mid-April. The Board reported that the Group's trading performance in the second half of the year has shown the expected improvement on the first half and that the Group is anticipated to deliver full year results in line with current management forecasts. Nationwide also remains well positioned to support its rebased dividend policy. Net cash at 31 December 2013 was higher year-on-year at £6.2m and ahead of management's forecast even after taking into account the positive contribution of £2.2m from one-off items included in this total. In addition, the Group has arranged a bank facility of £20m including a £15m three year revolving credit facility, which will support strategic growth opportunities.

Porta Communications (LON:PTCM 17p / £27.56m)

Porta Communications, the international marketing and communications business, provided the following trading update in advance of its final results for the year ended 31 December 2013. The trading performance of the Group in the final quarter of the year was very strong and in line with management's expectations. During the last three months, Porta produced a positive EBITDA of approximately £0.65m after all costs including start-up costs. After adding back non-recurring costs, the Group achieved an annual EBITDA run rate of approximately £4.0m for the three months ended 31 December 2013. The Directors believe that this is a clear indication of the rapid progress made by the Group during the last year. 

SCISYS (LON:SSY 69p / £20.07m)

SCISYS, the supplier of bespoke software systems, IT based solutions and support services to the Media & Broadcast, Space, Government and Defence sectors, announced a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2013 prior to entering its close period. The Directors reported underlying results for 2013 in line with September's market guidance. Healthy order intake in the fourth quarter enables the Company to enter 2014 with a solid opening order book and an encouraging new business pipeline to underpin expectations for the year. The balance sheet remains strong. The Board believes that SCISYS can deliver further profitable progress in 2014. Acquisition opportunities will continue to be monitored by the Board during the year and will be pursued where strategically appropriate. Commenting, Chairman of SCISYS, Mike Love, said: "Despite several challenges during the second half I am pleased to report that our full year results for 2013 will be in line with expectations and that the Company has been able to deliver another performance which emphasises the resilience of the Group as a whole." 

ServicePower (LON:SVR 6.375p / £12.75m)

ServicePower announced new contracts for its ServiceStats software. Two of the Company’s existing, long-term clients have extended their use of the ServicePower field scheduling product suite through the purchase of ServiceStats software for a total value of US$750,000. Both contracts were signed at the end of 2013, and the associated revenue will be recognised in the current financial year and beyond. Marne Martin, CEO of ServicePower, commented, "I am delighted that two blue-chip clients have chosen to extend their use of the ServicePower field service platform. The addition of ServiceStats enhances the efficiency of field service operations, and in turn their own customers’ satisfaction. ServiceStats is not only the leading industry BI tool, but also complements the professional services offerings from ServicePower to support the analysis of “big data”."

SpaceandPeople (LON:SAL 129.5p / 25.28m)

SpaceandPeople gave an update on trading during its financial year ended 31 December 2013. The Company's final results will be announced on 24 March 2014. Gross revenue for the year increased to £36.8m (2012: £30.1m) and net revenue increased to £13.8m (2012: £13.1m) as the Company continued to expand its client base whilst delivering increased sales to its existing clients both in the UK and Germany. Pre-tax profit for the year is anticipated to be in line with current market expectations. Cash flow was again positive during 2013 with net cash being £1.9m at the end of the year compared with £834k at the end of 2012. During 2013, the Company has continued to make progress and has gained a number of clients including St Pancras International, One New Change, The Garden Centre Group and Corio GmbH.

Stadium Group (LON:SDM 54.5p / £16.11m)

Stadium Group, an electronic technologies group, announced that trading for the year ended 31 December 2013 is in line with the Board's expectations. As anticipated, the second half of the year delivered significantly improved profits as the benefits of the recent restructuring programme have started to come through. The preliminary results will be announced on Tuesday 11 March 2013.

The Rethink Group (LON:RTG 7.375p/£9m) 

The Rethink Group, the Talent Management and Recruitment services Company, has provided an update on trading for the 12 months ended 31 December 2013. Trading has been in line with management expectations and profitable growth has continued. Net Fee Income (NFI) was up 11 per cent on H2 2012 and is expected to be £19.4m for the full year, up 7 per cent on the previous year. The improving performance is being driven in part by a significant new client win by the Talent Management division combined with continued progress in the Open Market division.

Thor Mining (LON:THR 0.30p/£4.09m)

Thor Mining, the Australian focused mineral exploration and development Company, has announced more than a 50 per cent increase in gold grades after higher level assay testing was undertaken on ore samples from its Spring Hill gold project in Australia's Northern Territory.  Thor completed a resource enhancement Reverse Circulation drilling program at Spring Hill during 2013, and during late December and early January this year, undertook a series of screen fire assays following-on from the conventional gold assay testing the results of which were announced in December 2013 and January 2014.  Over the full 34 samples submitted in the latest batch for screen fire assaying, the upgrade averaged 57 per cent more gold. The samples were selected from conventional fire assay results below 2.0 grams/tonne (g/t). The first batch for screen fire assaying had been from samples above 2.0 g/t Au.  These new results announced represent an additional and significant upgrade to the values already reported from the 2013 Spring Hill drilling.  Thor holds a 51 per cent equity interest in Spring Hill, which is located south of Darwin, and is exercising rights to increase its interest to 80 per cent from Western Desert Resources Limited (ASX:WDR)

Tracsis (LON:TRCS

Tracsis, a provider of software and technology led products and services for the transportation industry, has received an order for an undisclosed six figure sum to supply its Remote Condition Monitoring equipment and associated software to a customer in Ireland. As communicated at its preliminary results, the company is focused on building its overseas presence and this order is further evidence of the progress in doing so. The management has also confirmed that the company's forecasts for the current financial year remain unchanged. 

*A corporate client of Hybridan LLP

A full archive of previous weeks’ Small Cap Wraps can now be viewed on www.hybridan.com.

The Hybridan Small Cap Wrap is a weekly review of some of the most interesting small cap stories of the past week. Our review will usually be of those companies whose market capitalisations are less than £50m although we may occasionally cover larger companies. 

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