Shepherd Neame (SHEP) improved its interim revenues and underlying pre-tax profit. Revenues were 6% ahead at £84.1m and underlying profit edged up from £5.7m to £5.8m. The interim dividend has been raised from 5.62p a share to 5.75p a share. Net debt was £79.5m. The main growth in revenues was in the managed pubs and hotels division. There was an underlying improvement in the profitability of the brewing business, where own beer volumes were 4.2% higher.
Ashley House (ASH) has reached financial close on the Scarborough extra care housing development. There are 63 apartments plus communal areas and the gross development value is £10m. completion is expected in spring 2019. A housing development and health scheme are likely to follow. This development is not part of the Morgan Sindall joint venture. Non-executive director Christopher Lyons has bought 31,000 shares at 10.09p a share.
EPE Special Opportunities (ESO) had a fully diluted NAV of 239p a share on 5 March 2018 but that was prior to the Luceco profit warning. The NAV included Luceco (LUCE) shares at 77.8p each but the price has subsequently fallen to 57.2p a share. EPE is the largest shareholder in LED lighting products supplier and this was the second profit warning in three months. The original 2017 profit expectation was £16.7m and this has been cut to £11m.
Western Selection (WESP) has raised £668,000 from the disposal of shares in Swallowfield (SWL) and it has a remaining stake of 7.71%. Western sold 120,000 Swallowfield shares at 330p each and 80,000 at 340p each. Last month, personal care products supplier Swallowfield bought men’s grooming brand, Fish for an initial £2.7m.
Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has issued £4.76m of convertible loan notes as part of the £4.85m open offer. A holder of an existing £500,000 loan note is converting into the latest convertible loan notes and like the other subscribers is receiving one warrant for each £1 of loan notes.
MetalNRG (MNRG) says a licence has been granted relating to the Palomino cobalt project, where the company has the right to acquire a 100% stake in return for two million shares at 1.5p each. MetalNRG is also issuing 500,000 shares for work that has already been carried out.
Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) has raised £2.16m at 270p a share. The cash will be invested in sales and marketing and developing new cyber security products.
Good Energy (GOOD) says that holders of £3.6m of its first energy bonds have agreed to retain them, while the other £4.3m worth will be repaid on 29 March.
Co-chairman David Sumner has increased the amount of Healthperm Resourcing Ltd (HPR) loan notes he will subscribe for to £5m. The outstanding balance is currently £2.7m and additional tranches of up to £200,000 can be subscribed for each month.
London Capital Group Holdings (LCG) is selling a 91.5% stake in its Tradex and 100% of other subsidiary companies to its main shareholder in return for £4.64m of loan notes with a coupon of 8%. The costs of the NEX quotation will also be covered by the buyer. The remaining 8.5% of Tradex can be acquired for £431,000 in loan notes. The disposal requires FCA approval. London Capital will seek a fintech business to acquire within the required six month period.
SME news and commentary
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