Whilst there has been a great deal of uncertainty over the last few months in the financial markets, the FTSE 100 displayed some good improvements over the last week, moving from 5,215 at the beginning of last week to close at 5,365 at the end. The AIM All share displayed more volatilities over the week however, closing the week broadly where it started at 770 points. This week, the IMF announced that the global economy had entered a dangerous new phase, stating that it thought that it would shrink to 4 per cent growth in 2012 from 5 per cent in 2010 due to factors such as major financial turbulence in the eurozone. The week ahead sees the publishing of the minutes of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee, as well as the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF.
Advanced Computer Software Group (LON:ASW 39.5p / £140.18m)
Leading provider of healthcare and business management software and services last week published a trading update for the half year ended 31 August 2011. The Group expects to report first half results in line with the Board's expectations with revenues of no less than £50m (2010: £47.3m) and adjusted EBITDA of no less than £13m (2010: £12.2m). At the period end the Group had cash of £9m (2010: £13.6m) and net debt of £25m (2010: £33.9m). Advanced Health & Care has continued to expand the market for its core patient care management software by partnering with Vodafone to market its iNurse product for district nurses and carers as a mobile application to Vodafone's NHS customers. Negotiations with other network providers are progressing well. AHC continues to work closely with healthcare providers to establish operating models for the new 111 urgent care service and is also pleased to report strong demand for its care management products from the residential and homecare market. Advanced Business Solutions has seen increased demand from the public sector for shared services, procurement, budgeting and forecasting solutions, resulting in new multi-million, multi-year contracts, as local authorities and other organisations invest in technology in order to reduce costs. Advanced 365 has continued to trade well with multi-year orders of over £18m signed in the first half year for managed services which are increasingly being delivered as private cloud or hybrid cloud models. Cross-selling continues to be a major focus with multi-year contracts valued at £7m signed with new customers during the period.
Airsprung Furniture Group (LON:APG 20p / £4.78m)
Hopes to bounce back in H2… Recent trading has indeed proved to be tough, with operating profits for the first half year likely to be a little short of last year, before the costs of further redundancies and restructuring are taken into account. The independents and larger multiple chains continue to suffer from a severe weakness in demand, which has affected all divisions of the Group. However the Airsprung Beds business through major catalogue and internet retailers has stabilised and had a reasonably solid start. Airofreem, the foam conversion business, is performing ahead of budget. With regard to the second half year, the outlook is now more promising than indicated in earlier statements. Several operational projects are producing positive results and gross margins are under control. Airsprung has not yet reached a turning point in the economic cycle, but the second half year should produce profits that can be regarded as satisfactory in the current environment and they remain confident in the prospects for the Group as the economy recovers.
Animalcare Group (LON:ANCR 167.5p / £34.18m)
Animalcare Group, a leading supplier of veterinary medicines, this week announced its preliminary results for the year ended 30 June 2011. The Company has been operating for nearly a year as a veterinary supplies business having divested itself of the agricultural supplies businesses in the first quarter of the financial year. Revenue from continuing operations was up 5.4 per cent to £11.8m (2010: £11.2m) with underlying profit before tax from continuing operations up 21.0 per cent to £3.0m (2010: £2.48m). The Board recommended a final dividend of 3p per share bringing the total dividend for the year up to 4p per share. The Company reported that during the past financial year and now in the current one there has been little or no growth in the veterinary medicines market in the UK. However with the launch of several new veterinary drugs in the first quarter amongst other developments, the Board believes that it will continue to grow business markedly faster than the market overall and increase its market share.
Avesco Group (LON:AVS 120.5p / £30.15m)
International provider of services to the corporate presentation, entertainment and broadcast markets last week announced its results for the nine months and three months ended 30 June 2011. Revenue was up 10 per cent to £97.4m (nine months ended 30 June 2010: £88.9m) and trading profit almost doubled to £3.2m compared to the corresponding period in the prior year (nine months ended 30 June 2010: £1.7m). Whilst three months to 30 June 2011, revenue was up 4 per cent to £35.4m (three months ended 30 June 2010: £34.1m) and a trading profit of £2.9m (three months ended 30 June 2010: £2.8m. Ian Martin, Chief Executive, commented: “...Looking towards 2012, we expect to benefit significantly from the "even year effect", notably with the inclusion of business generated from the European Football Championships and the London Olympics. In addition, we shall have a full 12 months' contribution from a number of multi-year projects that we have begun during 2011.” The net cash generated from operating activities in the third quarter remained strong at £3.6m (three months ended 30 June 2010: £3.6m). The adjusted diluted earnings per share for the nine months ended 30 June 2011 was 7.9p (nine months ended 30 June 2010: 5.9p). The Avesco Group continues to progress and full year results should be in line with expectations.
Avingtrans (LON:AVG57p / £14.52m)
Avingtrans, which designs, manufactures and supplies critical components and associated services to the medical, energy, industrial and global aerospace sectors last week announced its results for the year ended 31 May 2011. Turnover increased by 27 per cent to £36.3m (2010: £28.6m) and adjusted PBT increased to £1.4m (2010: £0.5m) with net debt reduced by 15 per cent to £ 36.6m and a final dividend of 0.4p per share re-introduced. Its strategy as a precision engineering group, operating in differentiated, specialist niches in the supply chains of leading OEMs, remains largely unchanged but it has benefitted from improvements in the majority of its markets. Looking forward the patchy performance of the UK economy is not expected to have a material impact on the group prospects but of greater concern is the turmoil in the Eurozone and USA where broader scale economic effects may be detrimental to manufacturing in the mid-term.
Eckoh (LON:ECK 7.62p / £15.23m)
Eckoh, a UK provider of customer service solutions using speech recognition, has recently extended its relationship with the Ministry of Justice to provide card services to the Legal Services Commission. Having provided automated payments services to the department since 2004 for the quick payment of fines over a telephone (and in accordance with the industry standard ‘Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards’). The extension sees the provision of an automated service using Eckoh’s EckohPAY, which should see a reduced cost and a faster processing time for the Legal Services Commission for each transaction. Last month, the Company announced that a leading UK logistics organisation (they list ParcelForce as one of their customers) has signed a combined contract renewal for the provision of automated tracking and redelivery services. The Company is continuing to deliver to their clients, and the strength of their services and products is reflected in the strong performance in contract renewals/extensions.
Galantas Gold Corporation (LON:GAL 5.88p / £13.84m)
Finds a pot of gold…the gold mine producer and explorer in Northern Ireland, reported that its 100 per cent operating subsidiary, Omagh Minerals Ltd (OML) has identified significant gold intersections in drilling on its Omagh, County Tyrone property. The drilling was carried out on the Joshua vein, on land owned by OML. Three of the holes were on the southern part of the vein with one hole (no.54) to the north. Further drilling, with some channel sampling, has been carried out on the Joshua vein and results will be reported when received. The samples were taken by geological staff under the supervision of R.Phelps C.Eng MIMM, (President & CEO, Galantas Gold Corporation), the Qualified Person for the program. Samples were analysed (gold by fire assay and other metals by ICP-ORE) at OMAC Laboratory Ltd of Galway, Ireland.
GGG Resources (LON:GGG 22.88p / £37.91m)
GGG Resources announced this week a progress update on its merger with Auzex Resources Limited. An operational company called BBG Management Ltd has been established, the directors of which are made up of individuals from both GGG and Auzex, and a shareholder agreement and management agreement have been put into place. Existing contracts related to the Bullabulling project will be assigned to BBG Management, with future contracts being negotiated and entered into directly. Good progress has been made in establishing a Chairman for the organisation, with an independent executive search firm being appointed, and on an operational front the Company has appointed John Barton, a consultant mining engineer, to lead the completion of the feasibility study.
Last week, the Company announced its interim results for the 6 months to 30 June 2011- a period which saw the Company raise $8.1m of capital from institutional and retail shareholders after having listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in May 2011. This recent update on the merger demonstrates the continued efforts being made by the Company to grow this business.
Greenko (LON:GKO 162p / £229.46m)
Greenko, a clean energy generator and supplier to the mainstream Indian market this week announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2011. Turnover increased by 130 per cent to €44.4m (2010: €19.3m) and profit before tax was up 188 per cent to €14.0m as the Company laid the foundations for operational capacity to increase significantly, reinforcing the Company’s position as one of India’s leading clean energy producers. Clean energy is an increasingly important part of the Indian energy market and is attracting strong regulatory support and a favourable tariff structure . The Board reported that its hydro assets which have formed the bedrock of the Company’s portfolio are performing well and it has during the year taken started rolling out a comprehensive wind strategy which, together with hydro, will be the driver of the Company’s long term capacity growth.
Gulfsands Petroleum (LON:GPX 178.5p / £217.75m)
Gulfsands Petroleum, the oil and gas production, exploration and development Company, announced interim results for the 6 months to 30th June 2011 in which revenues stated to have been increased by 53 per cent to $78.6m (2010: $51.4m), whilst pre-tax profit increased to $31.2m (2010: $16.7m). Also, the Company saw an increase in net cash from operating activities from $27.9m in 2010 to $56.6m in 2011, which is a significant achievement and a good reflection of the businesses performance during the period. Average group working interest production during the 6 months was 10,923 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), compared to 9,689 boepd in 2010, and the Company continues to operate with significant interest in Syria, Tunisia and Iraq, though there is some uncertainty to the production outlook for the rest of the year as the Syrian government faces sanctions from the US and EU. Dealings, for example, with General Petroleum Corp have been disrupted, as has a planned production facility with Saipem, though the Company continues to remain committed to the region.
Hambledon Mining (LON:GPX 9.625p / £39.38m)
Goes for Gold…the Kazakhstan gold mining and development company has entered into an agreement for the purchase of 100 per cent of Akmola Gold; subject to certain government waivers and consents. The vendors are Central Asian Gold Corporation and Mr Yerkin Sadykov, who each have a beneficial interest of 50 per cent in Akmola Gold. The deal involves the acquisition of two wholly owned precious metals projects, Tellur and Stepok, both situated in central Kazakhstan, some 140 km North of Astana. The combined resources are around 440,000 ounces of gold plus silver and other metals; with considerable upside potential after further drilling has been undertaken. The total consideration is $5m, payable 50 per cent in cash and 50per cent in ordinary shares of Hambledon Mining. Gold production is expected to rise progressively over the next five years.
Image Scan Holdings (LON:IGE 2p / £1.53m)
Image Scan, specialists in the field of real-time 3D and 2D x-ray imaging for the 'Homeland Security' and 'Industrial Inspection' markets, announced a contract win for the provision of x-ray security screening systems, valued at £1.46m. The contract takes overall intake in the current financial year to £4.3m, though a substantial portion of the contract will be deliverable in the next financial year, and margins are expected to be lower on this particular contract due to the competitive tendering process. This adds to the volume of contract wins over the last few months, having been awarded several new contracts totaling £405,000 back in June (selling 21 FlatScan portable x-ray screening systems, as well as making its first sale of mailroom cabinet systems). The Company is clearly continuing to focus on its pipeline of opportunities, and the recent announcement shows this is paying off.
One Media Publishing (OFEX:OMPP 3p / £1.30m)*
One Media, acquirers of music and video rights announced they have signed an extension of ten years with its first music catalogue provider, Rainbow Media.
Rainbow was paid an advance of $9,000 to secure the deal. Given historic and current trading values the deal is expected to generate $200,000 in digital revenue throughout the ten-year contract. All tracks will be made available through One Media’s digital retail outlets of 300 music downloading websites, including iTunes, HMV, Amazon, Spotify eMusic, Verizon, as well as other classical specialist stores.
ReNeuron (LON:RENE 9.5p / £27.89m)
A stroke patient has been discharged from hospital after being treated with a higher dose of revolutionary stem cell therapy ReN001, it was revealed last week. The company said the remainder of this dose group, known as a cohort, will be treated by the end of the year as part of the pilot investigation of stem cells in stroke, known as the PISCES study for short. In all 12 patients will be treated with varying doses of ReN001 as part of this early stage trial being carried out in Scotland at the Institute of Neurological Sciences. The first dose cohort of three patients was treated without any side-effects or safety issues. Stroke is the third-largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world. The ReN001 therapy is based around ReNeuron’s lead neural stem cell line designated CTX by virtue of its origin from the cortex region of the brain. The firm’s other stem cell therapies include ReN009, targeted at peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and ReN003, its therapy programme focused on diseases of the retina.
ReThink Group (LON:RTG 10p / £10.14m)
Rethink, a recruitment and consulting company, announced interim results for the 6 months to 30 June 2011. Impressively, the Company posted a 100 per cent increase in profits before tax to £423,000 (2010: £211,000) whilst gross profit was up by 32 per cent to £7.8m (2010: £5.9m). Further, the Company’s confidence in its future was demonstrated by an increase in interim dividend to 0.0986p per share (2010: 0.054p). The period has seen the business develop significantly from an operational perspective, with the acquisition of Berkeley Recruitment Group Limited in June 2011, providing increased sector and geographical coverage, three further international offices and additional expansion into high value pharmaceutical and life sciences markets. A 17.4 per cent growth in contractor numbers to 629, continued development of both the business transformation and technology services division and RPO division has served the Company well in its performance and sets a good benchmark for the Company going forwards.
Sceptre Leisure (LON:SCEL 19.5p / £11.11m)
Last week Sceptre announced that it has secured a new contract to supply leisure machines to Marston’s PLC. The new contract will run for three years commencing in October 2011 and succeeds the previous three-year deal agreed in 2008. Sceptre has also been given the opportunity to increase the number of machines supplied to Marston’s PLC, and will continue to supply both the managed and tenanted/leased divisions. This contract follows other recent contracts wins including Punch Pub Company, SA Brains and The McManus Pub Company.
Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL 5.12p / £11.11m)
Stellar Diamonds is a London diamond mining and exploration company that focuses on West Africa. Last week it provided an update on the Company’s diamondiferous Droujba kimberlite pipe project in eastern Guinea. Thus far, 31 holes have been completed for 6,525 metres. Geological modelling undertaken by independent consultants, CAE Mining, indicates the potential for fifteen million tonnes to 350 metres of depth. Recent drilling has discovered that between the main drilling pipe, and southern pipe discovered by Stellar this year, the size of the intrusion increases with depth and that drilling is now planned for a depth of 400 metres and possibly deeper. Dewatering of pipe has also commenced in preparation for the bulk sampling, which is conducted in preparation for the construction of a bulk sampling plant. Furthermore, results from the drilling will enable the Company to make JORC compliant resource estimates in the first quarter of 2012.
Surgical Innovations (LON:SUN 11.5p / £45.39m)
Primed for recovery… The Medical Equipment Company saw revenue and profits fall in the first half of the year following a lack of repeat orders from its industrial business. Revenues were £3.2m compared to £3.57m over the same period last year, while pre-tax profits were £474,000, down from £766,000. However, the group said it was “very confident” of meeting its growth targets over the next two years; investing £1.36m in manufacturing, research and development during the period. Mr Bowland (CEO) said revenues had been hit on a like-for-like basis because of a lack of repeat orders from the group’s industrial business, as well as a smaller reduction in OEM revenues, due to the phasing of orders. However the group has made considerable progress in the first half putting in place a number of initiatives and long-term plans to ensure the regular flow of new products to bring to market in anticipation of expected growth into 2012 and 2013.
Summit Corporation (LON:SUMM 7.12p / £13.19m)*
Summit, the UK drug discovery company, announced that it is presenting positive data from its antibiotic program targeting infections caused by the ‘superbug’ Clostrictum difficile (CDI), a growing medical issue in hospitals and care-homes with an annual cost of $7bn in the US and Europe. Previous clinical trials have failed to address the problem posed by the virus, however, recent presentation at the ICAAC report results from various non-clinical efficacy studies, especially those taken in the human gut model of CDI and the gold standard in vivo disease model illustrate that Summit’s program addresses key clinical challenges. The results of the preclinical trials show that Summit’s preclinical development candidate SMT 19969, has a strong profile when compared to antibiotics that are currently on the market to treat CDI. The data shows that in the standard in vivo disease model SMT 19969 is superior in treating the hypervirluent strain of the disease and shows exceptionally low levels of resistance compared to current vaccines.
Synairgen (LON:SNG 23.5p / £16.35m)
The respiratory drug discovery and development company with a particular focus on viral defence of the lungs last week announced its audited results for the year ended 30 June 2011. A phase II trial of inhaled interferon beta in asthma is on schedule: the last subjects are expected to be dosed this autumn, with results anticipated Q1 2012. Pre-clinical assessment of the utility of inhaled IFN-beta to treat hospitalised patients with severe viral lung infections is on schedule to produce preliminary results in the autumn 2011. R&D expenditure for the year was at £2.9m (2010: £2.1m), and the post-tax loss for the year was £3.2m (2010: £2.6m), with cash at 30 June 2011 of £4.9m (2010: £5.0m). In June 2011 Synairgen raised £2.5m net to enable three initiatives to be financed: firstly to accelerate recruitment of subjects for a Phase II asthma study; secondly to conduct a series of dosing-related in vitro experiments to support common business development related questions; and thirdly to extend the pre-clinical study to include H5N1, a highly pathogenic virus. Synairgen is entering an exciting period where we should see the results of proof-of-concept studies both from the clinical trial in asthma and in the broader field of viral defence, starting with influenza. A positive outcome from either, or both, of these studies will represent a significant step forward for the Company and pave the way for a successful development.
Telit Communications Plc (LON:TCM 73.5p / £75.45m)
Telit, a global leader in machine-to-machine (m2m) communications, announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2011. Revenue increased by 36 per cent to $81.1m (H1 2010: $59.6m) and Profit before Tax increased by 89 per cent to $2.8m. They also announced that integration of the Motorola m2m business (acquired in March 2011) is now substantially completed; strengthening their position in the global m2m market. The gross margin decreased slightly due to the lower margin on the Motorola products, which they are taking steps to improve. 3G products development, with new Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) products family, continues to be successful. Alongside all this they have launched their 4G LTE program, for the development of Telit's future products complying with next-generation technologies. Since the reporting cut-off they have acquired GlobalConect, which is an additional building block in their strategy to provide customers with a full service portfolio, including connectivity and value added services.
Ubisense (LON:UBI 200p / £43.31m)
Ubisense is a market leader of ‘location solutions,’ which delivers mission-critical enterprise asset tracking and geospatial systems. The Company’s main market focus is the automobile industry. Ubisense’s revenues have been increasing steadily, experiencing a 41 per cent increase in revenue in 2011 to £11.3m. Operational profit for this year is at £0.2m. The Company has a strong cash position with £8.1m, having been admitted to AIM in June 2011 when it raised £5m.
Ultrasis (LON:ULT 0.72p / £10.91m)
Ultrasis, the provider of interactive health care services, this week announced that its Dutch partner, Innohealth BV, has developed a joint venture with Medic Info, itself a joint venture between two of Netherland’s largest health insurers, CZ and VGZ, which collectively provide insurance to 7.6m Dutch citizens. The new company, to be named ‘Psyhealth Direct’ will offer Ultrasis’ flagship product “Beating the Blues” to treat anxiety and depression across its membership.
ValiRx (LON:VAL 0.6p / £6.32m)*
ValiRx, a life science company with a focus on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, ValiPharma Ltd, has signed a collaborative agreement with the Oxford based biology company, Physiomics. This collaborative project will be based on revenue –sharing agreement that will see Physiomics receive a percentage of the license that is received by ValiRx. In the agreement Physiomics will contribute its biology expertise and ‘Virtual Tumour’ technology to assist ValiRx to develop ValiRx’s lead therapeutic, VAL201, and speedup its preclinical programme to support the regulatory requirements prior to its entering clinical trials. The programme will create new IP which will add value to both parties. Furthermore ValiPharma will retain both ownership and commercialisation of VAL201, in addition to all VAL201 associated new IP resulting from the project.
Zenergy Power (LON:ZEN5.76p / £ 3.98m)
Major re-structuring … Zenergy Power is to cut 70 per cent of its workforce following a restructuring of the company which will see the business model focus entirely on the development and marketing of the Fault Current Limiter (FCL) product. The FCL design is not dependent on HTS magnets and thus capable of significantly reducing complexity and manufacturing costs. No further capital will be deployed on the development of Second Generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire or the magnetic billet heater (MBH). The company hope that these changes will reduce the burn rate by two thirds from approximately £12m to £4m per annum. The Group currently has cash balances of around £6m.