Small Cap Wrap: Month: October 2011

AIM Breakfast - Archive

18 October 2011

This week: Seeing looks forwards, Avation finds new wings and echoing sounds for Eckoh.

A steady rise for the FTSE 100, from 5,300 points at the beginning of last week to 5,475 at close (AIM All share similarly rose from 695 points to 715) marked a reasonable week for the financial markets in what is generally very turbulent times. This week so far has seen the markets take something of a dip, largely on the back of a warning from Moody’s that it may put a negative outlook on France’s AAA credit rating together with news of a slowdown in the rate of China’s economic growth. The ongoing debt European debt concerns continue, with EU leaders meeting again this weekend to try and flesh out proposals for resolution. The week ahead sees inflation data being announced together with minutes of the MPC’s October meeting being released, providing insight into whether there are any other policy tools being considered, apart from quantitative easing (QE2).

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Delisting Companies
Through these turbulent and uncertain times one trend that has emerged has been the continuing number of companies coming off AIM through a delisting. Fuse 8 (FUZ 8, 5p/£0.6m), which has been written on below, has confirmed its intention to do so having issued a profits warning which has ‘…compromised’ its ability to raise monies on AIM. IdaTech (IDA 15p/£7.85m), which manufactures fuel cells and related items, is seeking a delisting based on the difficulty it feels it has in raising money in the current economic environment. Earlier in the year, Et-China.com International Holdings, the Chinese travel specialist, left AIM largely as a result of having a tough time on AIM- it set out to raise £12.5m, but had to settle for £4.4m with flotation costs of £3m. Italian restaurant operator Individual Restaurant Company (IRC) departed from the AIM market in July in which the shares lost over ninety per cent of their value. Due to the illiquid nature of its shares Baqus had struggled to attract new investors, it also estimates the annual cost of maintaining a listing was £70,000 vs PBT of £120,000 for 2010. (the annual cost of maintaining a listing of £70,000 appears not too steep to us….). China Shoto (CHNS), a maker of industrial batteries and power supply systems also left  AIM blaming a lack of liquidity for a poor valuation in turn hindering takeover discussions at a reasonable level. There are also those that are finding AIM an expensive place to be. Just Car Clinics (JCR 15.5p/£2.04m) has recently indicated its intention to come off because of the considerable costs involved not justifying the benefits. Certainly there are a great number of questions companies are asking in these difficult markets, which can only be a good thing in ensuring they position their companies to reflect the best interests of their shareholders.

Angel Biotechnology Holdings (ABH 0.28p/ £7.39 m) *
The biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer yesterday announced that it has agreed non-binding Heads of Terms with Materia Medica Holding (MMH), to form a joint venture company (JVC) 51 per cent owned by MMH and 49 per cent owned by Angel. The purpose of the JVC is to commission new product programmes and to manage their production in a dedicated GMP unit operated by Angel, on behalf of MMH. Under the proposed joint venture (JV), Angel will increase the size of the GMP facility at Cramlington that the Company is currently re-commissioning, in order to customise a new dedicated area that will be allocated to the JVC for manufacture of MMH products. This increase allows the expansion of Angel’s core business to continue as planned. MMH will fund the cost of this work and provide, through the JVC, funding for capital equipment required for the manufacturing activities. The JVC will retain title to the capital equipment. The JVC will also occupy a non-GMP development laboratory where the preliminary work required before a programme enters the GMP unit will be carried out. Under the terms of the proposed JV, the dedicated facility will be managed, operated and staffed by Angel, supported by Angel’s infrastructure, and covered by Angel’s licences. The JVC will place orders, prioritise and manage the work carried out in the dedicated unit, paying fees to Angel for its use of the facility, staff and infrastructure, and associated overheads. MMH will provide the JVC with funds required to commission new programmes and the JVC will supply finished product to MMH. Profits retained in the JVC will be divided between Angel and MMH in proportion to their shareholdings. The arrangement will be reviewed after five years and it is understood that MMH will require a minimum of seven products to be manufactured in the first three to five years. Work will begin immediately to negotiate the agreements required to conclude a deal.

In the meantime, MMH has indicated that it intends to commission the first three programmes under the terms of our current umbrella agreement, pending formation of the JVC after which these will transfer into the control of the JVC. Having the dedicated set up and facility to accommodate MMH projects means that all the space previously being recommissioned can be used for projects other than MMH, potentially expanding the core business. Angel will not only benefit from profits associated to the JV (equal to the 49% ownership) but also from fees paid by the JV for the use of its facility, staff and infrastructure, and associated overheads which will smooth revenues somewhat. Having made significant progress in re-commissioning the Cramlington facility, the Board expect it to be operational in early 2012. On this landmark news of a potential joint venture, the share price rose.

Avation (AVAP 104p/£40.15m)
Aircraft rental and leasing company announced the delivery of a third new ATR72- 500 aircraft, all three of which are being leased to Skywest Airlines (a growing Australian Airline) who will operate the aircraft on behalf of Virgin Australia. Under the Australian Regional Airline Network  Agreement (ARAN) with Skywest Airlines and Virgin Australia, Avation will provide up to 18 aircraft to be operated in such manner through a wet-lease (the provision of aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance). Avation entered into a loan facility back in August for up to US$152.2m principally provided under a mandate to Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, which will help facilitate the acquisition of aircrafts for the program. A good update for the Company, which continues to benefit from the growth of Skywest and its contract with Virgin Australia.

Chamberlin (CMH 124 p/ £9.68m)
Cast iron performance from Chamberlin, the specialist castings and engineering group, announced an update on trading in advance of the publication of first half results for the six months to 30 September 2011. The company predicts a solid set of results in line with previous management forecasts.  Order flow across core foundry activities has reflected predicted schedules and demand has continued to strengthen through the period. New business development initiatives have helped to support the positive trading momentum. As a result the Company continues to trade in line with current market expectations. The Board is continuing to consider complementary acquisitions and sees further growth opportunities in the second half. Half year results will be published at the end of November 2011 when a further update on trading will be provided.

dotDigital ( DOTD 7.75 p/ £21.31m )
The Company announced its final results for the year ended 30 June 2011 which included an increase in turnover by 49 per cent to £8.95m and operating profit by 68 per cent to £2.30m. Total investment this year has been £150,000 of capital expenditure in hardware and £639,000 of R&D activity in products and services. Progress has been made on the integration of Netcallidus, the search engine optimisation business acquired by dotDigital in 2010. Teams across all of the dotDigital Group have been trained in the sale of search engine optimisation (SEO) as a product, particularly with respect to cross selling to existing customers. The Board has agreed to rebrand all of the search marketing activity as dotSearch and search marketing contributed over $1.2m (2010: £.01m) this year. The staff employed in Minsk, which is the new facility opened in October 2010, has increased from 15 to 45 over the year, with the majority of the staff involved in search marketing. In the Company as a whole the staff headcount grew from 103 to 142. dotDigital has seen high levels of organic growth with new client numbers increasing by 1,470 in the year and a number of new initiatives were introduced to ensure the products and services meet and exceed customer needs. A significant number of new features and improvements for the email marketing product, dotMailer, were made, including the release of an innovative, market leading visual editor.

Eckoh (ECK 8.5p / £16.97m)
A week for contract extensions. Eckoh, a UK provider of customer service solutions using speech recognition, announced a number of contract extensions this week. The Company, whose clients include the Ministry of Justice and ParcelForce, announced that an existing 2 year contract with Addison Lee which was due to expire in November 2012 has now been extended to 2014 for the provision of automatic speech recognition services to Addison Lee’s minicab customers in making bookings and receiving confirmation via text message. This week also saw the Company announce the extension of a contract with BT, which has been a client since 2003, for a further 3 years taking the Company up to 2014. Services for BT take the form of hosted speech recognition to a number of BT Global Services’ corporate customers. This is a good update for Eckoh, which over the last 2 months has seen the extensions of contracts with the Ministry of Justice and a leading UK logistics organisation. The Company is clearly continuing to deliver to its clients, and the strength of its services and products is reflected in the strong performance in contract renewals/extensions.

Eden Research (EDE.PL 18 p/ £14.94m)
The agrochemical and encapsulation development company announced that it has received a notice of allowance for its platform encapsulation technology patent in the People’s Republic of China, with formal grant to follow in the coming months. The patent is also in an advanced state of registration in a number of other countries. This is the fifth granting of a patent for Eden’s proprietary encapsulation technology which as per Clive Newitt ( Managing Director ) covers the significant and rapidly expanding market of China.  Clive Newitt, also said that China will be an important region for a number of Eden’s licensees in terms of both manufacturing and distribution.

Epistem (EHP 380 p/ £30.15m)
The biotechnology and personalised medicine company last week announced its preliminary results for the year ended 30 June 2011. Overall, the 2010/11 financial year saw Epistem continue to build on historic performance. Sales of £5.8m were seen, with strong underlying programme growth, and a third consecutive year of growth in profit at all levels and increased EPS were recorded. Epistem announced a significant Biomarker oncology collaboration with Sanofi-Aventis in the period, estimated at $4m over three years. This deal underpins Epistem’s oncology programme in biomarkers. Epistem is actively discussing with other pharma companies regarding identifying gene biomarkers. It saw 19 per cent sales growth in the Preclinical Research Services division and completed the development of and saw first sales from the Genedrive(TM) ‘Point of Care’ molecular diagnostic device. Epistem continues to differentiate itself through its growth, advancing technologies and firm commitment to growing investor returns. The business model has traditionally been dependent on service and license based revenues, but with the advent of their first molecular diagnostic product (Genedrive(TM)), revenues are expected to accelerate quickly over the coming year. Epistem remains selective in considering complementary technology, acquisitions and in-licensing, with few opportunities thus far meeting expectations. Epistem remains firmly fixed on building shareholder value by providing a high margin, diverse and rapidly growing portfolio of world class technologies.

At its analyst meeting, Epistem shared that most of its clinical work is on a repeat basis. The Company may behave in some respects as a Contract Research Organisation (CRO), but its margins suggest otherwise and it has a lot more to offer besides. The US government extended its bio defence programme for a further five years, which demonstrates how well respected it is as a Company in that space. We expect further updates over the next six months of various tests it is developing for GenedriveTM and how it might partner some of those. We sensed that as regards corporate activity, Epistem is more likely to partner than acquire.

Fuse 8 (FUZ8 5 p/ £0.63m)
Blown a fuse!  Digital marketing group Fuse 8 has confirmed it will de-list from the AIM market, having only joined – through a reverse acquisition – in July 2010. The Company recently announced the departure of its chief executive Nigel Hunter and issued a profits warning. It said this undermined investor confidence, “severely compromising” its fundraising plans on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). On Friday it added that profits for the year to the end of March will also miss its target. Fuse 8 said it uncovered a number of unspecified issues after Mr Hunter failed to give the board a requested business update. About 81 per cent of the company’s share capital is in private hands, with the bulk held between Mr Hunter (13.5 per cent), its founders Mark Walton and Andy Hutchinson, and a staff pension scheme. The Company said it will make a matched bargain dealing facility available to allow investors to trade shares. Investors holding 77.5 per cent of its shares have already backed the de-listing, making a vote next month a formality.

Fusion IP (FIP 37p/ £20.07m) *
The university IP commercialisation company last week announced its Preliminary Results for the twelve months ended 31 July 2011. Revenue & portfolio return increased by 35 per cent to £5.9m (2010: £4.4m). The Company reported a profit before taxation of £1.0m (2010: £1.6m loss) and had cash balances of £2.0m (2010: £4.6m). A co-investment agreement with IP Group was implemented on three occasions; one new portfolio company was started and funded in the year (Perlemax); and six portfolio companies entered a trading phase of growth, three of which are trading profitably. The portfolio company Simcyp increased turnover by 25 per cent to £5.9m (2010: £4.7m) and profit by 35 per cent to £2.3m (2010: £1.7m). The portfolio company Magnomatics increased turnover by 62 per cent to £1.3m (2010: £0.8m). £1.6m was invested in the portfolio companies by Fusion (2010: £1.8m) and £6.1m was invested in the portfolio companies by third party investors (2010: £6.9m). 15 funding rounds were completed by portfolio companies (2010: 20). Post the year end, Diurnal, the Cardiff-based drug development company, completed a £335k funding round in August that will enable its lead product to complete the profile stage of its Phase I clinical trials. Mesuro, the Cardiff-based Radio Frequency technology company, raised a further £440k in August to support its growing sales activity. The share price rose on the results. The Group remains focused on achieving its first cash realisation.

GGG Resources ( GGG 18.62p / £30.87m )
The Company announced a resource drilling update on the Bullabulling Gold project. The phase two infill drill programme which started on 14 May 2011 is progressing well, with a total of 24,212 metres drilled in 136 holes since 15 July 2011. There are currently three drill rigs working on this programme which is infilling the historic drilling between the Phoenix and Hobbit pits to increase the confidence in the current resource base. Exploration drilling is also underway, including exploration targets to the south of the main Bullabulling Trend. Total drilling for this programme is 46,411m in 261 holes and drilling since the JV started work on the project is 82,667m from 507 holes. Drilling results continue to reconcile well with recent new resource models and include new high grade intersections. The Company commenced a detailed magnetic survey to develop a 3D geological model for targeting deep mineralisation.

Herencia Resources (HER 1.88p / £25.99m)
The Northern Chilean miner has announced very high grade assay results from the Patricia drill programme at the Paguanta Project.  For example, drill hole PTDD091 includes 5.0m of grades of 10.2 per cent zinc, 4.0 per cent lead and 248g/t silver and 2.0m of 16.3 per cent zinc, 7.4 per cent lead and 478g/t silver.
Other samples include silver grades of up to 997g/t.

Instem Life Science Systems (INS 222.5 p/ £26.06m)
The AIM listed provider of IT applications to the global early development healthcare market announced that it has won a four year contract worth over $1m with one of the five largest pharmaceutical organisations for its Provantis solution suite; the Group’s industry leading preclinical data management system. The use of Provantis will consolidate several key application areas and harmonise the client’s sites worldwide. Provantis will be delivered via Instem’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model from its US-based data centre. The use of SaaS lowers the client’s infrastructure and support costs, while enabling more frequent upgrades for access to the latest features and functions. The contract has been signed for an initial four years and is worth $1,085,000 with on-line deployment starting this year.

Imaginatik (IMTK 0.6p, £2.57m)
Imaginatik, the provider of collaborative innovation software and processes, announced the extension of a contract with a leading auto, property and casualty insurance company in the US, valued at $0.95m. The Company will continue to provide its software and services to support the client’s innovation programme, including the use of Imaginatik’s newly enhanced product platform across the client’s 140,000 employees and network of agents. Back in August the Company announced losses of £2.4m for the year to 31 March 2011 (2010: £1.4m), though having since raised £1m we look forward to seeing how the Company will develop over the course of the next year and whether it can continue to generate such contracts and renewals.

MBL Group plc (MUBL 11.75p / £2.03m)
MBL announced the sale of Global Media Vault (GMV), its Digital and eCommerce businesses, to Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd for a consideration of £1m.  The sale follows a decision previously announced within the Operating Review of the Group plc’s Preliminary Announcement dated 26 August 2011 to withdraw from this business due to high development costs.  In the financial year to 31 March 2011, GMV made a loss before tax of £2.9m and had net liabilities of £3.9m. The sale proceeds will be used for working capital purposes.

Mouchel Group Plc (MCHL 18.75 p/ £21.07m)
Another week another departure from Mouchel:  Since reporting the profits warning and subsequent departure of CEO Richard Cuthbert in last week’s SCW, Bo Leranius (Chairman) has now stepped aside too.   Grant Rumbles (ex Exova & Serco) has been appointed CEO and is leading the negotiations to try and avoid breaching the group’s banking covenents.   KPMG have also been appointed to assist the new CFO (since June) Rod Harris to get on top of the situation.  Around two thirds of Mouchel’s business is Public Sector related and consequently under growing margin pressure, however it is hoped that the underlying business can be viable, so long as the balance sheet can be restructured: Perhaps through the disposal of assets; a rights issue; or both.

Next Fifteen Communications Group (NFC 76 p/ £42.30m)
Next Fifteen, the worldwide digital communications group, this week announced its results for the year ended 31 July 2011. The Company reported revenue up 19 per cent to £86.0m (2010: £72.3m) and adjusted profits before tax up 27 per cent at £8.4m (2010: £6.6m) underpinned by its early transition to digital services in its PR businesses. Digital is giving the group access to new revenue streams and helping deliver strong growth in North America and Asia.

Organic growth remains a strong feature of the group with revenues up 11 per cent. but the Company has also strengthened its business through targeted acquisitions and the Company continues to seek value enhancing deals.

On the back of these results the Company is proposing a final dividend of 1.535p per share, which increases the dividend for the year by 11 per cent to 2.05p per share. The Chairman also reported an encouraging start to the new financial year and continued confidence about the prospects for the Company.

Nighthawk (HAWK 2.6 p/ £9.83m)
Nighthawk, the US focused oil development and production company, last week announced an update on strategy and current activities. The Company is seeking to improve production at Jolly Ranch through a work programme to improve wells and drill a number of new wells, commencing in early 2012.The directors plan that this programme will demonstrate the operational capacities of the Company, increase production and establish additional value in the Cherokee shales. In order to execute the proposed work programme, as well as support recent and ongoing costs, the Company is planning an equity fundraising, which is expected to comprise a placing to institutional investors and a pre-emptive open offer to qualifying shareholders, to be undertaken at the same price as the placing and for up to £5m.

PhotonStar LED Group (PSL 14.25 p/ £12.47m)
PhotonStar, the British designer and manufacturer of smart LED lighting solutions last week announced that it had raised approximately £1.35m from existing shareholders.  The Company’s proprietary technology integrates LEDs, sensors and controls to provide intelligent lighting for commercial and architectural applications which benefit from greater C02 reduction, lower cost of ownership and improved functionality compared to other available light sources. The net proceeds will be used to develop ChromaWhite, the next generation of LED light engines and provide further working capital to support the Company’s growth.

Sarantel Group (SLG 0.7p / £5.81m)
Sarantel, a leader in the design of high-performance miniature antennas for portable wireless applications, has received production orders from General Dynamics Itronix for the GeoHelix GPS antenna.  Itronix will be using the antennas in their GD300 rugged wearable computers which are used by military and other field service personnel.  For less demanding situations, a Japanese camera manufacturer is considering the installation of the same antennas in their cameras in order to allow the recording of the geographical location of a photograph. Both applications seek to utilise the design and cost benefits of the GPS antennas’ miniature size and high performance.

Despite good progress with these products to a growing customer base, Sarantel reports in a trading update for the year ended 30 September that revenues are expected to be 24 per cent lower than the previous financial year at £2.2m.  This is largely as a result of delayed orders from two of its largest customers.

Seeing Machines (SEE 2.88 p/ £11.76m)
Seeing Machines, a leading developer of facial image processing software for applications that rely on understanding the movement of human faces and eyes, this week announced its results for the year ended 30 June 2011. Revenue increased by 60 per cent to A$7.2m (2010: A$4.5m) but net losses increased to A$2.2m (A$1.8m). These results were driven by the increase in demand for its Driver State Solution (DSS) technology – with a growing number of blue chip mining customers either using or planning to use the DSS – and the cost of investment in the DSS in sales and marketing, customer support and research and development.  The strategy for commercialisation of the DSS technology is strongly focused on the global mining and resources sector through direct sales and channel partners. Channel partners have been appointed for Africa and South America and there are a number of significant developments underway in these regions.   A strong focus will be on growing the services side of the business particularly through its data management, analysis and reporting services made possible through the DSSi database and reporting suite.    The chairman reported that the Company was moving forward with the commercialisation of its products and technology and that the Company was confident of continued revenue growth in 2012 along with an improved financial performance.

Synchronica (SYNC 8.5p / £13.37m)
The AIM listed company which develops and provides mobile device management and synchronisation solutions provided a trading update for the quarter to 30 September 2011, in which it stated that revenues for the period are expected to be significantly higher than for the same quarter in 2010, at circa $6.6m (2010: $0.7m), largely due to the acquisition of the Operator Branded Messaging business from Nokia. The Company has made a number of acquisitions over the course of the last three years, and is working to reorganize the business such that it is more integrated and can offer more comprehensive solutions. Reorganisation is expected to bring the business savings of at least $12m annually (through the closing of several satellite offices and a reduction of overall headcount by 22 per cent), based on a $2m ‘one-off’ cost. The last few months have been particularly turbulent for the Company, which in September saw both CEO Carsten Brinkschulte and COO Nicole Meissner leaving the Company. Synchronica also announced delayed payments from a number of device manufacturers, with a good portion of the $2m it expected to receive now not expected to be collected until 2012. Interesting times for the Company, and we look forward to seeing whether the new management (led by the new CEO, Angus Dent (who was CFO for Synchronica) and business strategies work in sync.

Zambeef Products (ZAM 43.25p / £107.25m)
The fully integrated agri-business with operations in Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana, provided an update on its performance for the year ended 30 September 2011. The Company anticipates announcing its final results in November 2011 and expects turnover and net profit performance for the full year to be in line with market expectations. Trading conditions over the financial year have continued to improve, with demand for all product lines increasing, driven largely by the continued expansion of the Zambian economy, which is currently growing at more than 7 per cent. per annum. In June 2011, the Group was admitted to trading on AIM, raising $55m via a placing and simultaneous rights issue on the LSE and concurrently it successfully concluded the acquisition of the Mpongwe farms in Zambia.

*A corporate client of Hybridan LLP

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.

11 October 2011

This week: Uber acquisition for Ubisense, Clarity is crystal clear and great sounds from Chime

The FTSE 100 opened last week at 5,000 points and closed at 5,300, whilst the AIM All Share closed the week in line with where it opened- at 695 points. The markets have continued with a lack of predictability, though this has somewhat been eased by the voting of Eurozone states on measures to increase the powers of the Eurozone bailout fund (increasing the funds’ capacity to EUR 440bn) in order to help tackle the European financial crisis – 16 of 17 member states have given approval, with Slovakia yet to vote. The week ahead sees British Retail Consortium retail figures being released, together with unemployment figures (forecast to hit 8 per cent) and average earnings, and the purchase of £5bn of gilts by the BoE as part of its quantitative easing programme (QE2).

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AdEPT  Telecom ( ADT 31.5p / £6.64m)
AdEPT Telecom announced this week that it has been awarded a 3 year Voice over IP migration contract with an existing customer worth an estimated revenue of £2.5m over the life of the contract with one of UK’s largest wholesalers. This contract covers 395 sites across 5 subsidiaries. Ian Fishwick, CEO said that this is one of the largest VoIP contracts placed so far in the UK, and an initial pilot covering 90 sites is anticipated to be followed by a phased roll-out of the other 300 sites.

ANGLE (AGL 59.5p/£21.1m)
Since the announcement that Parsortix’s cell separation device can capture cancer cells added to blood (announced on 28 September), ANGLE has increased its holding in Parsortix Inc to 90 per cent. ANGLE completed an equity fundraising to raise €1.25m in July 2011, 80 per cent of which has been allocated to Parsortix to fund the definitive validation of its initial findings (now complete), to optimise the separation device and commence beta testing with cancer clinics. ANGLE has agreed the terms for this further investment in Parsortix and, in addition, has acquired part of the holding of George Hvichia, the Chief Technical Officer and the original inventor of Parsortix’s separation device. Following the acquisition of part of Mr Hvichia’s shareholding, ANGLE’s holding in Parsortix has immediately increased to 90 per cent allowing ANGLE to ensure Parsortix is a qualifying subsidiary for the purposes of deploying funds raised under the EIS and VCT schemes. Mr Hvichia has retained a 10 per cent interest in Parsortix, and remains integral to the development of the business.
Angle also held its 2011 AGM last week, at which its chairman, Garth Selvey said: “Last week ANGLE achieved a major milestone by validating that Parsortix’s patented cell separation device can capture cancer cells added to blood. This breakthrough opens up a large market opportunity for Parsortix with the potential for early revenues through the launch of a research use tool targeted for mid 2012. We are also targeting FDA approval and a European CE Mark by mid 2013 to enable launch of the device for a number of different clinical applications…This leaves ANGLE in the enviable position of having a diversified business model, with a number of potential streams of income and opportunities for substantial returns.”

Arbuthnot Banking Group (ARBB 282.5p / £ 41.30m)
Arbuthnot last week announced its intention to float its wholly owned subsidiary, Secure Trust Bank on AIM. Secure Trust has a diversified lending portfolio including motor finance, retail point of sale and personal unsecured lending. Secure Trust has enjoyed significant growth in new lending and demand for banking services with its loan book up from £66.5m as at June 2010 to £89.5m as at December 2010 and up to £123.9m as at June 2011. The combination of its focus on higher margin lending and the absence of large fixed overheads in the form of a branch network mean it can offer competitive deposit interest rates to attract deposits. The flotation will be affected by means of a placing of new and existing shares in Secure Trust with Arbuthnot retaining a substantial majority shareholding.  The IPO will provide Secure Trust with further capital to support significant expansion of the loan book including, to make selective acquisitions of loan books and businesses and to grow within its chosen markets.

Avacta Group (AVCT 1p/£16.67m)
A  leading provider of analytical and diagnostic technologies and services to the pharmaceutical and animal healthcare sectors last week announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pall Corporation (NYSE:PLL), a global leader in filtration, separation and purification, to sell and distribute Avacta’s market leading protein drug development tool “Optim” in South East Asia.  This agreement extends Avacta’s commercial partnership with Pall, with whom the Group is already making good progress on sales and marketing of Optim in North America. The biopharma market for South East Asia is set for growth, with Singapore as a particular hotspot.  Several leading global pharmaceutical companies have recently announced significant investments to set up major biologics facilities in the region. The prospects for the South Korean bio-industry also look very promising due to strong government support and investments by international and regional businesses.

Avisen (AVI 3.75p / £ 8.5m) &   1Spatial (SPA 24.5p / £5.19m)
The happy couple – 1Spatial and Avisen have announced the terms of a merger whereby Avisen will acquire the entire issued share capital of 1Spatial. On completion, the enlarged Group will transition to a single 1Spatial brand.  Each 1Spatial Share will receive 5.761 fully paid new Avisen Shares. The Proposal values the entire issued share capital of 1Spatial at approximately £4.74m (22.35p per share) based on the Closing Price of 3.88p per Avisen Share on 6 October 2011. The Proposal represents a discount of 10.6 per cent. to the Closing Price of 25 pence per 1Spatial, but a premium of 17.3 per cent. to the Closing Price of 25 pence per 1Spatial Share on 6 October 2011, relative to the average Closing Price for Avisen Shares of 5.09 pence over the three month period to 6 October 2011. The Proposal will be implemented by means of a Scheme of Arrangement, which requires the approval of 1Spatial Shareholders and the sanction of the Scheme and confirmation of the Reduction of Capital by the Court. The Proposal is also subject to approval by the Avisen Shareholders of certain resolutions at an Avisen General Meeting. The Enlarged Group will be led by a management team drawn from the boards of both 1Spatial and Avisen.

Bloomsbury Publishing (BMY 101p / £74.92m)
Bloomsbury Publishing announced this week that it has signed a long term licensing deal with leading sports and entertainment management firm FidelisWorld FZ LLC for the rights to Wisden India. Rights will also extend to the regions of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Middle East and North America. Wisden India will be launched in early 2012, and the first edition of the annual Wisden India book, which will focus on all areas of the Indian game including Test matches, One day internationals, the IPL and domestic cricket,  will be published in October next year to coincide with the start of the domestic season. Wisden Sri Lanka is also expected to be launched in 2012. Working with various media partners to deliver year-round content on a range of platforms and the introduction of a Wisden India Hall of Fame, is also on the agenda. The Wisden India team will include Richard Charkin, Charlotte Atyeo of Bloomsbury, existing Wisden editorial and management people in the UK and senior sports marketers Navneet Sharma, CEO and Sanjay Khuller, VP Cricket of FidelisWorld.  Bloomsbury will be responsible for recruiting the editorial team. Richard Charkin, executive director said that Wisden India will deliver excellence in its reporting of cricket in the sub-continent and will be the independent voice of the next generation of Indian cricket fans.

Chime Communications (CHW 190.25p / £153.49m)
Chime Communications, a leading marketing services group, announced this week that it has acquired 100 per cent of the share capital of Gulliford Consulting Ltd for an initial consideration of £2.5m comprising of £1.5m in cash, £0.5m in cash to be paid on 1st January 2012 and the issue of 264,830 new ordinary shares in Chime. Further tranches of deferred consideration totalling a maximum of £2.25m may be payable depending upon the future trading performance of Gulliford.  Up to 30 percent of the deferred consideration may be satisfied through the issue of new Chime ordinary shares, at Chime’s option.

Clarity Commerce Solutions  (CCS  23p /£9.5m)
Clarity is crystal clear:  Clarity Commerce Solutions has considered the unsolicited offer made on 27 September 2011 by Enigmatic, for the entire issued share capital of the Company. The Board believes that the offer is highly opportunistic and undervalues the Company and its prospects.  The Board points out that though the results to 31 March 2011 showed a loss, principally due to reduced demand in the retail sector, the Company has now restructured operations and has achieved significant cost reductions; the UK and New Zealand Hotels businesses have been divested and group sales and operations have been focused on Clarity’s core markets. The Company’s cost reduction programme is progressing to plan and the UK redundancy programme, which completed last month, will remove a further £1m from the cost base. As a result the Board strongly advises shareholders to take no action in respect of the offer and to reject the approach.  The Directors are unanimous in their rejection of the offer.

Cyprotex  (CRX 3.375p / £7.6m)
Cyprotex the preclinical ADME-Tox services company announced the launch of its new Genomic ADME service providing drug researchers with actionable data about genomic differences in drug response at the early stages of drug development. The new service, named gADME™, enables drug developers to identify which enzymes play a role in the metabolism of their drugs, to understand the impact of genetic polymorphisms on that metabolism, and to devise dose adjustment strategies. This gives drug developers the opportunity to substantially improve patient care through identifying and compensating for variability in patient drug response, and enabling personalised dose regimens.

Energetix Group (EGX 30.75p/ £20.04m)
Energetix, which develops and commercialises alternative and efficient energy products, announced the appointment of Tony Stiff as commercial director of the Company. Having worked in the UK energy market space, including performing as Commercial Director of Bglobal, the AIM listed smart metering company, Tony has been brought on board to help execute the Company’s commercial strategy. At Bglobal, Tony worked to secure contracts with leading energy suppliers, and also helped find Atlantic Electric and Gas Limited, an independent energy supplier back by the US-based Sempra Energy Inc. Last month, the Company announced interim results for the 6 months to 30 June 2011 in which turnover increased to £0.10m (1H10: £0.01m), operating loss decreased to £1.20m (1H10: Restated £1.80m) and cash and cash equivalents of £2.00m (1H10: £3.30m). During the half, they transformed from a product development company to a group focused on commercialising its two leading products underpinned by significant IP and compelling value propositions across its key markets. The first of their two products is Genlec, their microCHP boiler development which is now complete and CE certification has been achieved. They are currently manufacturing 50 Kingston microCHP boilers for field trials this winter. The other product is Pnu Power, a compressed air powered UPS battery which has received repeat orders from the National Grid, UK and USA; a first Pnu Power DC100 Data Centre; and further orders from Switzerland and South Africa.  The CEO Chris Hutchings and Chairman Clare Spottiswoode have both bought stock since.

Epistem (EHP 375p/£29.75m)
The biotechnology and personalised medicine company last week announced the formation of a human DNA Identification collaboration with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Epistem and the NPIA will be evaluating Epistem’s Genedrive™ molecular device as part of the NPIA’s ADAPT programme (Accelerated DNA Profiling Technology programme). The NPIA provides critical national services to support frontline policing. It helps the police to save money and operate more efficiently. If trials are successful, the NPIA could use Genedrive™ to enable rapid and accurate DNA analysis at a crime scene leading to improved speed of identification, reduced cost and more efficient policing leading to a safer environment.   Genedrive™ provides a breakthrough in molecular diagnostic testing by providing a rapid (less than 30 minutes), low cost, simple to use device with high sensitivity and specificity. Positioned as a handheld device, it brings a new ‘Point of Need’ approach to disease diagnosis and identification across a broad spectrum of DNA related areas from human identification for policing purposes, to pharmacogenomic use in oncology, virology, ophthalmology and the detection of infectious diseases such as TB, HIV and sexually transmitted disease. The ADAPT evaluation programme in the NPIA will continue into 2012, following which, if successful, it will be rolled out into a number of police forces across the UK.

Flybe (FLYB 64.13p /  £48m)
Flying Finn: Flybe issued a Close period trading update noting that in September a significant slowdown in sales across our UK domestic network had brought down the revenues for H1 2011/2012, by around one per cent lower than management’s expectations, with costs remaining in line. H1 saw a total of 6.4m seats flown, an increase of £0.2m over H1. But after adjusting for the impact of volcanic ash disruption in 2010, H1 2011/12 seat numbers were down on H1 by 1.7 per cent on an underlying basis, reflecting the flat year-on-year (‘YOY’) capacity programme implemented and announced earlier this year. The acquisition of Finnish Commuter Airlines (a joint venture between Flybe and Finnair), which was announced on 1 July 2011, was completed on 18 August 2011.  Flybe’s share of the total acquisition price, including net cash at completion, was EUR21m.  This is the first step in fulfilling Flybe’s strategic aim of increasing operations within continental Europe. Flybe Finland has announced ten new routes, and tickets are now on sale.  The revised network will commence operation at the beginning of the IATA winter season on 30 October 2011. As at 30 September 2011 the Group had total cash balances of £87.5m.

Greenko Group (GKO 153p / £ 216.71m)
Greeko, the Indian developer, owner and operator of clean energy projects, this week announced that a newly created wind holding company (and subsidiary of Greenko) entered into a conditional share subscription agreement with a division of GE Energy, which is a subsidiary unit of General Electric. GE has agreed to invest $50m to support the development of the initial 500MW out of Greenko’s planned development of 1GW of wind energy project across India. This follows the $80 m placing in June 2011 with existing and new shareholders for the deployment of the Company’s strategy.

Hummingbird Resources (HUM 130p/£69.36m)
Hummingbird Resources, the Liberian focused gold explorer, this week announced its results for the year ended 31 May 2011. Since its establishment in November 2005, the Company has been active in Liberia, West Africa and is currently the holder of the largest area of mineral exploration ground in the highly prospective Birimian geological region of eastern Liberia. During the year the Company listed on AIM with a $40m fundraising and recently announced a resource upgrade making its Dugbe F project one of the fastest growing gold resources in West Africa this year.

i-Design (IDG 64.5p / £9.1m)
i-design, the developer and supplier of  a leading market solution for ATM’s and self-service machines, provided a trading update for the 12 months to 30 September 2011 in which it stated that it expected to report a maiden profit, ahead of market expectations which reported a loss before taxation. Sales are likely to be around £3.5m and cash and cash equivalents of £0.9m, helped by the signing of Barclays in May 2011 (the contract to supply atmAd, covers Barclays entire UK estate of c. 4,000 ATM’s and kiosks) and YourCash Limited in October 2010 (the largest independent supplier of ATM solutions in Europe).

Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH 1,010p/£285,19m)
A leading producer of diagnostic testing kits for the clinical and research markets last week announced a trading update for the six month period to 30 September 2011. Turnover from continuing operations for the period is 21 per cent ahead of the comparative period for last year at £27.3m (2010: £22.6m). The Company has made continued progress in placing IDS-iSYS systems into reagent rental accounts as well as outright unit sales. During H1 IDS sold or placed 81 systems compared to 66 systems in H1 2010, an increase of 23 per cent.  Overall trading continues to grow and the Board remains confident that, as in previous years, H2 revenues will exceed both those of H1 and of the corresponding period last year due to both the enlarged estate of IDS-iSYS system placements and an expanded IDS-iSYS product menu.

Intercede  (IGP 64.5p / £ 31.16m)
Double dose of good news at Intercede, where they announced an order for the supply of Intercede MyID Identity and Credential Management software licenses worth in excess of US$1m. This contract is in support of the issuance of ICAO(1) compliant smart card travel documents. The country and partner cannot be named at this time. This contract will contribute more than $1m to current year sales as well as generating a long term annuity support and maintenance revenue stream. At a time of global recession and spending cuts, this new government related order underscores the resilience of Intercede’s business model and places Intercede on track to meet full year market trading expectations. They also announced that the Intercede MyID solution for provisioning Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credentials to a Blackberry phone has been selected as a finalist in the Cartes 2011 SESAME award competition. The system allows BlackBerry smart phones to be enabled for secure email, signing and authentication. The solution makes use of the inherent security within MyID, ensuring keys are delivered in a secure manner and that the credential holder is strongly authenticated as part of the credentialing process. PIV is a US government standard defining the form and content of smart cards used for identity verification.

IQE (IQE 27.25p / £143.08m)
The developer of semiconductor materials announced this week the introduction of customizable silicon on insulator (SOI) with improved thickness and doping control. SOI has been integrated into a steadily growing number of applications including advanced microprocessors, high-voltage devices and complex MEMs and sensors. The benefits of replacing silicon wafers with SOI include the reduction of parasitic device capacitance and resistance to latch-up. IQE Silicon Limited is now able to offer this new range of SOI products that allows customers to customize the SOI parameters to their own specifications in terms of doping and device layer thickness. Having announced last month a 28 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £2.8m on a 16 per cent rise in revenue to £38.3m, IQE seems to be intent on delivering continued improvements in financial performance.

MDM Engineering Group (MDM 95.5p/£35.58m)
MDM last week announced that it has signed an agreement with Atomising Systems Limited (ASL) of Sheffield, United Kingdom, to exclusively market ASL’s specialised atomising equipment and technology which is used throughout the powder industry but has also been established in the mining industry as a direct route from pyro- to hydrometallurgy. Atomising processes and equipment will compliment alloy and slag granulation processes which MDM acquired when David Norval joined MDM and forms part of the range of process solutions which MDM provides to its customers worldwide. Martin Smith, MDM CEO said: “MDM look forward to a long working relationship with ASL and we are excited about securing its first technology supply agreement, which we believe will open the door to a new area of business for MDM, while enhancing our offering to existing customers.”

Media Square (MSQ 2.5p/£0.90m)
International marketing communications group provided an update prior to entering into a closed period in advance of the announcement of its interim results for the period up until the 31st August 2011. At an operating level, the Group has continued to make good progress in a challenging environment. Headline operating profit and revenue for the period is expected to be broadly similar to the equivalent period in the prior year. The Group expects net debt as of 31 August 2011 to be an increase over the position as of the 28 February 2011 (when underlying net debt was £19.5m). This cash outflow for the first half is in line with historical working capital patterns (which typically see an outflow in H1 followed by a corresponding inflow in H2). However, given the current economic environment and resulting pressures on working capital being experienced by the Group’s clients and suppliers, the Board recognises that there is a possibility that this build up in working capital may not be reversed over the course of the second half of the year, as it has been in prior years. Looking forward at a revenue and headline operating profit level, the Board anticipates that the Group’s results for the full year will be in line with previous expectations. However, the general trading environment as well as the potential additional working capital pressure on the Group’s financial structure means that the Board remains cautious about Media Square’s future prospects.

Mouchel Group plc  (MCHL 16. 5p / £18.54m)
Ouch! Mouchel the Public Sector consulting and services group had reported in June, that it expected a significant one-off profit on one of its long-term contracts to offset lower profitability than originally expected on a number of contracts. The Group was very recently informed that, as a result of an actuarial error, the one-off gain will be £4.3m lower than previously expected which has an immediate and corresponding impact on the profits the Group will report for the year to 31 July 2011. In addition, as part of the year-end audit process, Rod Harris, the new Finance Director, has reviewed contract risks and project claims, taking into account the continuing challenging business environment. As a result, the Group has decided to increase provisions in respect of these contract risks and project claims by a similar amount to the reduction in the one-off gain. The reduction in the one-off gain and the increase in provisions relate to non-recurring and non-cash items. Richard Cuthbert, Chief Executive, has tendered his resignation with immediate effect, and he will work with the Group for a short period to ensure an orderly handover. Bo Lerenius will become executive Chairman until a new Chief Executive has been appointed.  The Board will make a further announcement as appropriate.

Next Fifteen Communications Group (NFC 73p/£40.63m)
Worldwide digital marketing communications group has announced the acquisition of Munich-based Trademark PR and Trademark Consulting, on behalf of its subsidiary, Bite Communications. This follows a multi-year partnership between the two firms. Trademark represents an impressive portfolio of brands across the consumer electronics, technology and telecoms, entertainment and lifestyle, and beverage sectors. Current clients include HP, Harmon Consumer International, Creative, Amazon Web Services, and BRIO. The move gives Next Fifteen an 80 per cent shareholding in Trademark, a business with €2.11m of revenue in calendar year 2010 delivering adjusted profits before interest and tax of €0.57m. The initial consideration for the share purchase is €1.38m satisfied in cash with further payments, at multiples of PBIT ranging between 5 and 6, dependent on the PBIT and margin levels achieved by Trademark over five years. The maximum consideration payable is €4.5m.

Omega Diagnostics (ODX 14.12p / £12.04m)
The AIM listed medical diagnostics company announced a trading update for the six months to 30 September 2011.  Trading in the first half of this year is slightly ahead of management expectations and performance in the second half will depend on the successful roll-out of the Allergozyme products, and continued growth with core products such as Genarrayt and Good Detective. In R&D, good progress has been made with the IDS-iSYS development programme with a functional total IgE assay that is calibrated against the international standard. The priority of distributing Allergozyme though the Omega distribution network has advanced with the official launch at the end of September of the full 600+ range of products, including an improvement in certain product components. Turnover is expected to be £5.53m (2010: £3.30m) in the period, with the increase being largely due to the contribution from the allergy business acquired in December 2010. Allergy and autoimmune revenue is expected to increase to £2.28m (2010: £0.27m), food intolerance revenue to $1.84m (2010: £1.65m) and infectious disease and other revenue to £1.41m (2010: £1.38m). The company recently established a wholly owned subsidiary; Omega Dx (Asia) Pvt Ltd, to set up a direct presence in India. This will enable the company to retain control over the supply chain of allergy products to end users and act as a resource that can provide distribution to other companies’ products that could provide near term benefits.

Ovoca Gold (OVG 28.5p/£24.68m)
The Russian gold mining company reported this week that the Russian State regulatory body concerning the certification of states resources has granted a Certificate of Discovery to Ovoca, a key milestone in the process of obtaining of a full license. The certificate relates to Olcha and allows the Company to apply for a mining permit on presently drilled reserves, with licenses typically lasting 25 years. Currently, certified reserves are equal to 279,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 13.4g/t and 655,000 ounces of silver at a grade of 31.6 g/t. The Company has a number of licenses across Russia, including the 100 per cent owned Stakhanovsky, Rassoshinskaya (in which Olcha is hosted) and Nevsko-Pestrinskoye licenses. It continues to make progress in exploring these regions, with Stakhanovsky’s initial independently established resource being announced in February this year and the Company intends to put Stakhanovsky into production by 2013.

Rockhopper Exploration (RKH 169.75p / £438.53m)
The AIM listed North Falkand Basin oil and gas exploration Company, announced an update on the 14.10-8 exploration well which was designed to investigate reservoir and hydrocarbon presence within the Sea Lion Main Complex in an area with relatively low amplitudes, and for exploration on both the Casper and Kermit prospects. The thickness of the reservoir encountered in the well has increased the Company’s confidence that a good quality reservoir is likely to be present in other relatively low amplitude areas within the SLMC. The Company has refined its methodology for the depth conversion of seismic data over Sea Lion, which is an improved fit to all of the wells and provided an accurate prediction from 14/10-8. The Company believes that potential of 90 mmbls remains in the Casper prospect to the west of the structural saddle and the new management estimates for oil initially in place within the SLMC on Rockhopper’s 100 per cent owned acreage are 844 mmbbls for low, 1297 mmbbls for medium and 1428 mmbbls for high. The 14/10-8 well will now be plugged and abandoned as planned and the Ocean Guardian drilling unit will drill well 14/10-9 to investigate reservoir presence and hydrocarbon charge within the SLMC towards the southern edge of the Company’s acreage and exploration on eastern side of the Casper prospect.

Tissue Regenix (TRX 12.38p / £ 58.23m)
Tissue Regenix, the regenerative medical devices company which uses animal or human tissue to replace damaged or worn out parts of the human body, this week announced its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 31 July 2011. The Company was formed in 2006 in order to commercialise new technology developed by Leeds University in the field of regenerative medicine. Its proprietary platform technology, known as dCELL, is used to create biological scaffolds by decellularising human or animal tissue. When used to replace damaged or diseased body parts in humans these scaffolds have been shown to be capable of regeneration and become integrated into the patient’s body. In April 2011 the Company entered into a commercialisation and IP agreement with its development partners in Brazil. This agreement gives it worldwide rights (excluding Brazil) to the clinical data arising from the use of the dCELL process with human donor heart valves.  This will enable the Company to develop its technology faster and more cost effectively.  Cash and short term deposits as at 31 July 2011 were £4.8m.

Tricorn    (TCN 27.75P /  £9.27m)
Tricorn Group plc the tube manipulation specialist, gave a trading update for the six months ended 30 September 2011; ahead of entering its close period. First half sales are expected to be over 20 per cent higher than in the corresponding period last year, reflecting both the progress with its major blue chip OEM customers and continued strong global demand. It is those customers’ extensive geographic reach that ensures the Group has the benefit of significant exposure to worldwide markets with approximately two-thirds of Tricorn’s product ultimately destined for overseas use. Operating profit margins for the Group continue to improve with the focus on the Aerospace Division yielding the most significant progression.

Ubisense Group (UBI 199p/£43.10m)
The market-leading location solutions Company last week acquired Realworld OO Systems Ltd, a geospatial location solutions consultancy, for £2.4m.  The cash consideration consists of £1.25m on completion and a performance based payment of up to £1.15m over the next two years. Realworld, a UK-based leader in the provision of location solutions to telecoms companies throughout the world, has 20 employees and has developed a suite of location aware telecoms specific products.  Its blue-chip customer base, including Cable & Wireless and Global Crossing, will increase Ubisense’s presence in the UK. Realworld has developed the capability to integrate geospatial applications into corporate IT systems to enable corporate enterprises to more effectively and efficiently manage their assets. In the year to 31 March 2011, Realworld had revenues of £2.8m and reported a net loss of £0.1m. Richard Green, Ubisense CEO, commented: “Realworld are very well known to us, being located within the same building as our Cambridge operation.  We will be able to utilise their skills to expand our existing team and support our customers such as Mini, Aston Martin, Airbus and BAE.”

Ultrasis (ULT 0.68p / £ 10.16m)
Ultrasis, the provider of interactive health care services, has released two updates over the past week. The Company delivers computerised healthcare products to the NHS, the corporate sector and other healthcare providers in the UK and internationally. Its flagship treatment programme is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy called “Beating the Blues” which treats depression and anxiety.  It first announced the formal
launch of U Squared Interactive LLC, its 50:50 owned joint venture with UPMC Insurance Services, which will be used to launch the US-specific version of “Beating the Blues” to the US market.   It then announced that it had entered into a partnership agreement with Maia Psychology Centre to make “Beating the Blues” available in the private pay market in Malta.

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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.

04 October 2011

Fitbug strives to get fitter, ships to sea for Anglesey and dark days for Luminar

Another turbulent last week, with the FTSE 100 opening at 5,060 points, rising all the way up to 5,300 mid week and closing out at 5,130. With delays for a decision by the Eurozone finance ministers on providing Greece a continued bailout, the markets have taken a tumble this week, with talk surrounding a break-up of the Eurozone intensifying. Eurozone inflation has also increased, from 2.5 per cent in August to 3 per cent in September, though the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 10 per cent. The week ahead sees the MPC making its October decision on interests, with speculation being that they may increasingly consider the possibility of quantitative easing, and Wednesday sees the Office for National Statistics provide data on economic growth.

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Amur Minerals Corporation (AMC  8.95p/£24.87m)*
The nickel-copper sulphide mineral exploration and resource development company focused on Far East Russia announced its interim results for the half year ended 30 June 2010.  Reconnaissance exploration at the Kun-Manie nickel copper sulphide project commenced in June to identify the 2012 drill targets. Cash increased to $5.067m from $3.066m during the six month period due to both VAT refunds from the Russian Federation and an agreement with Lanstead to close the July and October 2010 Lanstead placings by settling the remaining payments on an accelerated basis, thus resulting in an increase in cash reserves. The Company remained debt free and progress has been made in advancing Amur’s application for the mining licence at Kun-Manie. All eyes are on the mining licence application whilst the Company continues to get good results in its exploration programme.

Andor Technology (532p/£163.25m)
Andor Technology, a global leader in the development and manufacture of high performance scientific digital cameras for academic, industrial and government applications, this week provided a trading update. The Board reported that trading through the second half of the year has continued strongly with each of its markets delivering excellent growth over the same period last year. The Company also announced the launch of the Andor acceleration centre, called “Certus”, which has the twin objectives of bringing additional products to market that are at present outside the Company’s standard technology roadmap and to deliver
those  products to market in a faster timeframe than would normally be achievable.

Angle (AGL 63.5p/£22.52m)
AIM listed Angle last week announced that Parsortix Inc, its 85 per cent owned portfolio Company which specialises in medical diagnostics, has achieved a major milestone by validating that its cell separation device can capture cancer cells added to blood. Use of Parsortix’s separation device to capture circulating tumour cells in cancer patient blood has an immediate market application for research purposes. Angle has already established discussions with several of the world’s leading cancer research institutes and there is strong interest in such a product, which would not require regulatory approval for use for research purposes. The target is to establish sales of the product for research purposes as early as the second half of 2012. The target is to seek FDA approval and European CE Mark by mid 2013 enabling sales of product for clinical use in relation to the early detection of cancer; monitoring of cancer patients during treatment; and post-treatment monitoring of cancer patients in remission. The share price reacted strongly, rising 5 per cent on the day that the news was announced.

Anglesey Mining (AYM 40p / £63.26m)
Iron ore miner Anglesey announced that the 33 per cent owned associate Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Limited has released its first shipment of LIM iron ore that is bound for China. 167,167 tonnes of iron ore was sold to the Iron Ore Company of Canada under the arrangement LIM has entered into for the sale and shipping of all LIM’s calendar 2011 iron ore production, with the sale price based on the actual realised prices to Chinese customers, less an allocation for handling, loading, shipping and sales costs.

This is excellent news for the Company, which only started transporting iron ore from its James Mine and Silver Yards processing plant back in August (478,000 tons of ore were mined, with 100,000 tons at a grade of 65 per cent stockpiled at the port awaiting shipment). With a second train in operation now, and shipping having commenced, the Company is very much driving its operations full steam ahead.

Boomerang Plus (BOOM 49.5p / £4.41m)
The media investment group announced results for the year to 31 May 2011. The Company healthily posted a 25.8 per cent increase in revenues to £26.93m (2010: £21.41m) and an increase in gross profits by 30.2 per cent to £4.55m (2010: £3.50m). Profit before tax for the Company was up 90.7 per cent to £1.02m (2010: £0.54m).
Boomerang is made of four key divisions: Boom Wales (production service for Welsh Broadcasters), Boom Factual (production of factual content for UK and global broadcasters), Boomerang AFP (Advertiser Funded Programming) and Gorilla (post production camera and studio facilities service). During the year, the business saw the acquisition of Indus Films Limited, which bolstered the Boom Factual division, and was further enhanced by the acquisition of Oxford Scientific Films post year end together with the Harlequin Talent Agency. The Company continues to seek out acquisitions, in addition to organic growth (with a strong capital investment programme), to build scope and scale, and the current set of results demonstrates it has managed to do that successfully thus far.

Eden Research (EDE 16.5p/£13.69m)
Leading UK agrochemical and encapsulation development Company announced that it has signed an exclusive licence agreement with Cornell University of Ithaca, USA. The agreement provides Eden with the exclusive rights to commercialise and sub-licence terpene based formulations relating to certain insecticidal applications.

EKF Diagnostics (EKF24.75p/£62.18m)
AIM listed point-of-care diagnostics business announced its unaudited interim results for the 6 month period ended 30 June 2011 – a period of transition, investment and progression. Revenues were up 23 per cent to £7.38m (H110: £6.01m); gross margins improved to 64 per cent from 58 per cent – but were still impacted by the strategy of placing Quo-Test at cost and the Company made an operating loss of £1.49m (H110: loss of £0.66m) – reflecting investment in infrastructure and increased overhead. EKF had cash at 30 June 2011 of £5.52m. In the period under review, EKF acquired Stanbio for an overall consideration of c. £16m; agreements were signed with Alere for distribution of the CLIA waived HemoControl device and cuvettes; the SFDA approval for Quo-Test in China came through and in total a cumulative placement of 1,000 Quo-Test instruments by the end of September should have been achieved. The development of Quo-Lab for a Medica launch in November with first shipments expected in Q1 2012 is on target and EKF has successfully developed the Argutus kidney markers onto the POC platform. Finally, Richard Evans was appointed as full-time Finance Director as of 28 September 2011. Richard joins EKF from Hitachi Data Systems GmbH where he has worked since 2002, firstly as Finance Director, where he had overall responsibility for the finance function in Germany, then General Manager and finally as Global Account Director. The analyst meeting for EKF was well attended. Management were at pains to point out that they are not on a Buy and Build strategy, and are focused on growing the business as it currently stands. We expect to see ongoing growth from Quo-Test and Quo-Lab is expected to do well in Emerging markets such as India. One interesting product was the Lactate Scout for sports medicine, which is launching a new model in early 2012 which will look at rising lactate as a cause of preeclampsia.

Equatorial Palm Oil (PAL 12.25p/£15.29m)
The AIM listed palm oil production Company with operations in Liberia, West Africa announced its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2011. In the period, it signed a Joint venture agreement with BioPalm Energy Limited; a new palm oil mill was inaugurated by the President of Liberia in May; first sales of crude palm oil were made; and the Company is on track to plant 1,200 hectares of oil palms by the end of 2011. EPO started its nursery at the Butaw Estate and began the enlargement of the existing Palm Bay Estate nursery. It completed the rehabilitation of 3,500 hectares of existing palms and the mill is in the final stages of commissioning with full ramp up of production expected Q4 2011. The Company has the potential to become an internationally competitive palm oil production company.

Fitbug (FITB 3.62p/£4.74m)
Fitbug, a provider of online health and well-being services announced this week that it has taken three key actions focussed on accelerating the Company’s growth and sales capacity in the USA in 2012 and 2013. First, Mr. Joel Barnes, a senior US healthcare industry executive, has been appointed as Senior Vice President –Sales and Business Development, and is expected to bring much experience to Fitbug. Second, the Company has opened a US sales and customer support office based in Chicago allowing easy access to all regions in the US with a convenient central time zone. Finally, a US legal entity, Fitbug Inc, has been incorporated to enable the Company to structure its sales, administration and customer service divisions to better meet the needs of the US markets and its customers. A healthy update by the Company.

GGG Resources (GGG 18.12p/£30.04m)
GGG and joint venture partner Auzex Resources Limited announced that they have applied for additional Prospecting Licence areas (Licences number P 15/5661-4 and P15/5669) covering 8.0 km2, to extend the borders next to the key prospective areas to the south of the main mineralised zone. The two companies, in the process of merging to become Bullabulling Gold Limited, are adding licence areas adjacent to their existing properties because this will both add operational efficiencies, and could also lead to an increase in the size of the overall resource, if the results of forthcoming exploratory drilling show the same characteristics as the rest of the Bullabulling Trend. The Joint Venture now has a total of 131 km2 in tenements held in various Mining Permits, Miscellaneous Licences, Prospecting Licences and applications. In addition the Joint Venture also holds the Pastoral Lease underlying the tenements.

Gooch & Housego (GHH 360p/£78.66m)
The specialist manufacturer of optical components & systems announced that results for the year ended September 30 2011 will be in line with market expectations. Favorable market conditions prevailed for the first three quarters of the year and strong demand was experienced across most market and product sectors. The acquisitions of EM4 and Crystal Technology during the second quarter contributed to revenue and profit growth and accelerated the diversification of the business. The integration of these new acquisitions is progressing well and Gooch’s presence in the aerospace & defense, life sciences and telecommunications markets has been significantly enhanced. Given the fragile global economic environment, Gooch anticipates some softening in demand in the final quarter, although this has been confined to certain product sectors and geographical markets.

Harvey Nash (HVN 58.75p/£43.15m)
Harvey Nash, the global professional services group, this week announced increased revenues and profits for the six months ended 31 July 2011. Revenue was up 28 per cent. to £253.4m (H1 2010: £198m) with increases in all three key revenue services: permanent, contract recruitment and outsourcing. Geographic spread broadened further with 60 per cent. of the Company’s gross profit generated outside of the UK and Ireland. Profit before tax was up 47 per cent. to £3.8m (H1 2010: £2.6m). The Company reported that the third quarter had started well with momentum from the first half continuing in the second half. Demand for technology specialists across the world has remained robust. However visibility for permanent recruitment is limited and the Company anticipates a likely migration from permanent jobs in favour of contract and temporary recruitment.

Image Scan Holdings (IGE 2.88p/£2.19m)
The Board of Image Scan, specialists in the field of real-time 3D and 2D x-ray imaging for the security and industrial inspection markets, this week provided a trading update for the year ended 30 September 2011. The Board anticipates turnover for the year of £2.1m, an increase of 40 per cent on the previous year figure of £1.5m. The Company also emphasised the improvement in the underlying order book and that the Company will be entering this new financial year with an order book in excess of the 2011 total.  This was attributed to the investment in an expanded  sales team to execute the strategy of building revenue growth based on selling standard security products through a network of agents and distributors worldwide.

Iomart (IOM 104.5p/£109.41m)
Iomart on Cloud Nine: Cloud computing specialist Iomart has issued a pre-close trading update reflecting the continuing buoyancy of the sector. The Group has performed strongly with revenues and profits significantly ahead of the comparative period last year and consequently is confident that the financial performance for the full year will be ahead of current market expectations. They continue to benefit from the growing trend of organisations seeking to reduce both operational risk and IT costs by moving their mission critical business applications to a trusted supplier and have an encouraging pipeline of opportunities which they expect to grow significantly as businesses move their critical IT systems to cloud. This gives good forward visibility of revenues and underpins the medium and longer term outlook for the Group.

Jubilee Platinum (JLP 12.12p/£31.1m)
Jubilee Platinum, the explorer and exploiter of natural resources, announced its full year results to 30th June 2011. Whilst revenue increased by 480 per cent to £5.5m (2010: £0.95m), pre-tax losses for the Company widened to £7.32m (2010: £2.23m). The increase in revenue is largely down to the expanded Middelburg smelting operations, which falls into the division of the Company that evaluates and develops Platinum Group Metal (PGM) smelters. The Company’s other operations include the evaluation of the reclamation and processing of Sulphide Nickel Tailings at a number of BHP Billiton operational sites, and the development of Platinum Group Elements and associated metals. Whilst the losses for the period have widened, the Company expects to return to profitability as the Company continues to drive the expansion of its smelting operations.

Judges Scientific (JDG 417.5p/£17.9m)
Last week AIM listed Judges reported interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2011. It recorded an EPS of 27.3p, up 21 per cent compared with the 22.5p achieved in H1 2010, and recommended an interim dividend of 3.3p, up 32 per cent compared with 2.5p in respect of H1-2010; eight times covered by adjusted earnings. Record sales of £9.7m, up 27 per cent compared with £7.6m in respect of H1 2010, were noted.  Judges recorded an adjusted pre-tax profit of £1.774m, up 21 per cent compared with £1.465m in respect of H1 2010. It acquired Deben UK Limited in March 2011. Deben designs, manufactures and sells devices used to enable or improve the observation of objects under a microscope and this transaction significantly reinforces Judges presence in microscopy. Judges increased its net debt to £3.1m as at 30 June 2011 (up from £0.8m as at 31 December 2010, reflecting the £3m adjusted net cash impact of the Deben acquisition). Adjusted cash balances stood at £2.7m at 30 June 2011. Alex Hambro, Chairman of Judges Scientific, commented: “…The Group has entered the second half of the financial year with good visibility but your Board is mindful that the renewed stresses within the global financial system may affect some of the drivers of our growth. Nevertheless, trading has remained robust and the Directors are confident that market expectations of trading results for the full year will be met.”

Luminar Group Holdings (LMR 0.88p/£0.88m)
Dark days at Luminar: Further to the announcement on 25 August 2011, regarding the extension to the covenant waiver of its banking group, longer term restructuring options continue to be investigated by Luminar and include discussions with the Banking Group and with certain shareholders in relation to these options and to a potential equity fundraising for a restructured Group. In parallel with these discussions, the Company has also initiated a marketing process in respect of a potential sale of the Group’s underlying business and assets and it has now received indicative bids in response.  The bids received to date are at a level which, if accepted, would not realise any value for ordinary shareholders.  The Board is continuing to explore both of these options. No offer has been received for the Company’s ordinary shares and the Company is not in discussions with any party regarding an offer for the Company’s ordinary shares. Luminar has also recently agreed terms to sell its club in Newcastle for a net consideration of £1.2m, with completion scheduled to take place during October 2011.

Milestone Group (MSG 0.78p/£2.24m)*
The AIM quoted provider of digital media and technology solutions announced an update on recent developments following its acquisition of the FEDS/ LIMIT software solutions and Oil Productions Ltd. The Company has extended the collaborative working tool ‘FEDS’ which allows for real-time feedback and sharing of information and is developing it in a number of new sectors including sport and the community. The Onside project which uses the software to produce a dynamic risk assessment tool within community sports is now being discussed with other sporting entities such as Saracens Rugby Club and Premiership Rugby for a potential rollout. ‘Voice’ is a community project developed by the Company in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police Hackney Gangs Intervention Team- initial trials of ‘Voice’ have now commenced. Furthermore, Oil Productions Ltd has been retained to carry out a further project for Unilever’s ‘Lynx’ brand- the success of a number of campaigns is followed by a request for Oil to re-launch the campaigns via Lynx’s Facebook channel. Whilst the Company is seeking to raise further funds in the near future to further accelerate its growth strategy, it thus far seems to have turned a corner such as with the ongoing Onside – Pilot which has commenced with the Charlton Athletic Community Trust.

One Media Publishing Group (OMP 3p/£1.30m)*
One Media Publishing Group the PLUS quoted consolidator and acquirer of music and video rights announced last week that it has signed two more music catalogue deals for an advance payment of $4,000 in cash and an onward royalty on sales of the content. The music content comprises ‘The Arrow Rock catalogue’ which contains 120 tracks by nostalgic bands and ‘The Recollections catalogue’ which contains 200 New age music tracks of a contemporary ‘Chill Style’ and ‘Anti Stress’ genre. Also, the Company has signed an in-perpetuity deal with Orbital Media for over 990 films and music documentaries. This deal was concluded for an advance payment of $20,000 comprising $12,000 in cash and 166,650 ordinary shares in One Media and an onward royalty on sales of the content. Good to see One Media continuing to do further music catalogue deals.

Personal Group (PGH 269.5p/£81.03m)
Employee benefits, insurance and consultancy specialist Personal Group has reported results for 6 months to 30 June 2011: PBT increased by 3 per cent to £4.7m (2010: £4.6m) and more promisingly, new business premia increased to £4m (2010: £3.5m). Personal, which pays out to shareholders four times a year, upped dividends 2.4 per cent to 8.7p a share for the first half. The Company hopes to have appointed a new CEO by early 2012 and in the meantime is looking to make complimentary acquisitions to the core business, particularly where they can bring in-house elements that they currently outsource.

Plethora (PLE 2.75p/£1.81m)*
The speciality pharmaceutical company made two important announcements last week. First, it reached an agreement with Shionogi Ireland Ltd which will allow the Company to regain regulatory and operational control of PSD502 in Europe and certain other territories in exchange for an undisclosed minority percentage share of the net income received from commercialisation. The directors believe that this can generate significant value for shareholders. Second, Plethora has conditionally raised approximately £2.052m to finance the activities associated with the PSD502 Agreement and for general working capital.
£1.2m has been raised through the issue of equity at a placing price of 2.5p per share and £850,000 through a new loan to be entered into by the Company as a condition to the placing. The Company also intends to reduce its borrowings by converting £1.655m (plus accrued interest of £518,668) of its £2.455m outstanding convertible loan notes through the issue of 86,946,731 new ordinary shares to certain convertible loan noteholders. These two transactions put Plethora on a firmer footing enabling it to focus on building up the business. Plethora also announced its results on Friday when it reported widened half year pretax loss and said it expects to see further cost savings achieved in the second half. Revenue was £21,000 for the six months to June 30 (2010: £1.1m) and a pretax loss of £1.9m (2010: loss £3,000). Since the half year end, trading in The Urology Company has increased and the fund raise and PSD502 transaction certainly put the Company on firmer footing.

Pulse Group (PGRP 85p/£0.9m)
A leading PLUS-quoted digital market research agency based in Asia last week announced its annual audited results for the financial year ended 31 May 2011. In the period, it established a new R&D laboratory and launched new services including a social media measurement service and an online branded communities’ service; established a centre in New Delhi, India, to service the domestic market; and plans to establish a similar operation in China. Operating profit came in at $50,045 (2010: $270,548) on lower revenue of US$1.6m (2010: $1.7m), making a marginal net loss of $8,342 (2010: Profit $237,600). Pulse believes that it is well positioned for future expansion as growth in Asia continues apace and it has a healthy pipeline for full year 2012. Pulse Chairman and CEO Bob Chua commented: “While the market research industry has remained relatively flat in the West, Asia has continued to develop. In response to this, our strategy has been to focus more on Asia-Pacific based clients over the past year or so and this is starting to pay off, resulting in new account wins, contract renewals, and a healthy pipeline for full year 2012. Our focus on innovation is leading us towards the next frontier of Consumer Insights measurement, where we believe that we are in the forefront, especially in Asia.”

SeaEnergy (SEA 26.5p/£18.31m)
The energy ventures Company focused on growing oil and gas and renewables businesses last week announced half year results for the six months ended 30 June, 2011. There is a clear strategy in place to build upon SeaEnergy’s unique position as an energy ventures business, reflecting the Company’s heritage in both oil & gas and renewables. The Company successfully divested of its 80 per cent interest in SeaEnergy Renewables Ltd (SERL) to Repsol in the period. SEA has a strong financial position with no debt and cash on the balance sheet thanks to its divestment of SERL. In the period, profit from continuing operations after tax came in at £27.0m for the first six months of 2011 (H1 2010 loss of £4.2m) and the Company had a cash balance at 30 June 2011 of £27.0m (H1 2010 £1.0m). SEA reported an EPS of 39.5 pence (2010: loss per share 5.96 pence). SEA’s Oil & Gas portfolio has material near term value accretive opportunities and significant progress has been made with developing the services business to the offshore wind industry. Steve Remp, Executive Chairman, said: “Our oil & gas investments are at an interesting stage, in particular with the near term potential of our increased holding in Lansdowne Oil & Gas…Elsewhere our development of a unique vessel for the operation and maintenance of wind turbines situated in deep and rough water has been well received by potential charterers. We are confident in the significant commercial opportunity of this strand of our business, and are working to maximise our chances of success in near term bidding rounds. We are also identifying other high margin opportunities in the servicing of the offshore wind industry.”  The Company may be in a position where it may make a distribution to shareholders, pay a dividend or buy back some of its own shares following completion of the audit of the Company’s 2011 results.

Silence Therapeutics (SLN 1.85p/£10.67m)*
Silence Therapeutics, a leading RNA interference therapeutics company, last week announced that it has entered into an agreement with one of the world’s leading global pharmaceutical companies to investigate the application of Silence’s proprietary DACC delivery technology for intravenous delivery of short interfering RNA sequences to the pulmonary vascular endothelium. Thomas Christely, CEO said that Silence is now significantly increasing its resource in business development, and that they are delighted to be announcing this partnership with another of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. A further RNS yesterday for Silence had the positive news that its chief executive and chief financial officer increased their holding in the group. Thomas Christély, CEO, bought 1,662,162 shares for 1.8 pence each and Max Herrmann, CFO, bought 1,114,864 shares for 1.8 pence each. A great endorsement for the Company.

Syntopix (SYN 3.12p/£5.41m)
AIM listed dermatological experts delivering healthcare innovation to the cosmetic, consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical industries last week gave a business update for the period ended 31 July 2011 ahead of the Group’s final results which will be announced on Tuesday, 29 November 2011. The Group will be holding a General Meeting on 20 October 2011 at which shareholders will vote on a special resolution proposing that the name of the Group is changed to Evocutis plc. Following the acquisition of Leeds Skin in May 2011, the Board announced that the integration of that business with Syntopix is in line with the Board’s expectations. The Company is progressing with the development of a new brand to reflect the strengths of the combined business; and the businesses are now located at one specialised facility in Wetherby, Yorkshire. The combined Group now has three business divisions: Clinical Research Services in dermatology; LabSkinTM – a proprietary human skin model to certify the efficacy of dermatology products; and Consumer skin care products.

Touch Group (TOU 0.88p/£1.84m)*
Touch Group, the international business-to-business publishing group announced its unaudited preliminary results for the 12 months ended 31 March 2011, last week. For the 12 month period  turnover was £ 4.79m, and the loss was £1.50m. There has been an increase in orders carried forward to £2.94m and at the period end the Group had net assets of £0.87m. The Company also announced that in order to meet its obligations as they fall due it will be required to raise additional capital.

Transense Technologies (TRT 4.5p/£5.95m)*
The technology transfer company announced its interim results for the half year ended 30 June 2011 last week. The gross profit increased to £141,000 from that for the half year ended 30 June 2010 of £108,000, whilst the operating loss fell to £816,000. The loss before taxation was £793,000- an improvement on last year’s half year results.  During the period Transense made significant progress in transforming itself from a company dependent for its revenues upon royalties from licensees to one having a number of revenue generating channels. Last week, we commented that General Motors had been identified as the end-customer for the torque drive-line ‘flexplate’ sensor using the Company’s patented SAW technology.  As well as the results over this past week, Transense announced the formation of a new trading division, IntelliSAW. The new business has been established to develop and market SAW based wireless sensor systems for Smart-Grid applications. Smart-Grid is the broad term used to describe technologies that provide intelligent control and monitoring of the electrical power grid. IntelliSAW leverages existing Transense IP and R&D investment and uses the Company’s patented SAW interrogation electronics to provide a state-of-the art wireless temperature monitoring system, initially targeted at the Electrical Switchgear market. The Board believes that the market opportunity for IntelliSAW is significant, and in line with the Company’s revised strategy of seeking out new routes to market for its wireless & battery-less sensing technology to generate additional near-term income, IntelliSAW will provide another complementary revenue stream. IntelliSAW has already received conditional orders in excess of US$300,000 and has agreed in principle to a distributorship arrangement which would lead to further orders in excess of US$700,000. In order for Transense to sell IntelliSAW products directly and increase its potential revenues significantly over and above those available as royalties, Transense has varied its licensing arrangements with Vectron. Transense share price has risen 33 per cent over the past 2 weeks. It is good to see some momentum behind this share.

Triple Plate Junction (TPJ 4.05p/£13.53m)
Papua New Guinean focused gold play Triple Plate Junction, has raised £2.2m to maintain its participation in key projects. Fraser McGee, a former RAB Special Situations investment fund manager has secured the funding at a 9 per cent premium to yesterday’s closing price, as Triple Plate awaits drilling results in about a month’s time from its Morobe joint venture with US gold major and shareholder Newmont. Newmont has 26 per cent of Triple Plate and 51 per cent to Morobe, which is next door to Harmony Gold’s £1.9bn Wafi project, holding an estimated 40m oz of gold and 15m tonnes of copper. After drilling at Morobe’s Hides Creek zone next month, Newmont’s Morobe stake could rise to 70 per cent as the next phase of the project unfolds. Triple Plate, also has a joint venture with Australian miner Newcrest at another promising PNG project, Manus Island. Triple Plate’s stake there will fall from 75.9 per cent to 15.2 per cent when Newcrest starts drilling later this year.

Tower Resources (TRP 3.62p/£40.68m)
Tower Resources, the oil and gas exploration company with assets in Uganda and offshore Namibia, last week announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2011. Progress over the course of 2011 has brought closer the drilling of a third seismic well in Uganda and the first well in Namibia. Additional 2D seismic in Uganda has identified new and better prospects and 3D seismic in Namibia has resulted in an improvement in the potential resources in place. The Board added that it continues to consider all funding and operational options to ensure that drilling remains on schedule.

Vane Mineral (VML 1.12p/£3.68m)
Vane Minerals, the copper and uranium producer has unconditionally raised £1.16m in equity for operations in the USA and Mexico. The net proceeds of the Placing will be used to accelerate the Company’s planned copper porphyry exploration programme in the southern United States, enabling the Company to bring additional sources of ore online in Mexico for processing at its SDA mill. It will also support its uranium exploration programme and investigate possible asset acquisition.   They also announced interim results for 6 months to June 2011. Revenue, increased to £1.24m up 18.45 per cent (H1 2010 £1.05) but the loss widened by 8 per cent to £1.56m representing 0.48 pence per share.  Group-wide cash balance at period end was £1.5m.

ValiRx (VAL 0.56p/£5.9m)*
ValiRx made two important announcements last week. First, Singapore Volition Ltd announced a proposed reverse takeover of Standard Capital Corp, pursuant to which Volition’s shares will be quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board in the US under the name of VolitionRx ltd. ValiRx will be entitled to be allotted $1.1m worth of shares within sixty days of the quotation of VolitionRx’s shares, at the 30 day mid-market price of the shares as at the date of allotment. Second, ValiRx Plc will be presenting data on previously announced progress relating to its GeneICE, VAL101 and VAL201 therapeutic programmes to the BioPartnering Europe 2011 Conference in London between 9 and 11 October 2011. The Company also intends to hold a series of one to one partnering meetings during the conference with pharmaceutical companies, other Biotech companies and investors.

Walker Greenbank (WGB 46.25p/£26.85m)
Walker Greenbank, the luxury interior furnishings group, this week announced its interim results for the six month period ended 31 July 2011. Its brands include Sanderson, Morris & Co., Harlequin and Zoffany. Half year revenue was up 11 per cent to £37.4m (2010: £33.7m) with all brands performing well. Profit before tax was £2.04m (2010: £2.31m) up 13 per cent before the exceptional gain in 2010. This strong performance was reflected in an increased interim dividend of 0.20p (2010: 0.15p). The chairman reported that whilst there is uncertainty in the global economic environment, the Company continues to trade ahead of last year and is achieving strong growth in export markets. International sales have been particularly encouraging, with impressive growth in markets including Russia, Japan and China.

Xenetic Biosciences (XEN 7.25p/£12.86m)
AIM listed bio-pharmaceutical company specialising in the development of high-value differentiated biologic drugs and vaccines last week updated the market on the closing of the major transactions first announced on 4th August 2011. The conditions precedent to the SynBio LLC (in Russia) and SymbioTec GmbH deals have experienced process delays in both Russia and Germany such that formal Closing by 30 September 2011 will not now be possible. Closing is now anticipated to take place in the second half of October.

*A corporate client of Hybridan LLP

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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.