There was a sharp improvement in operating profit from £120,006 to £213,657 at Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (HYDP) in the year to October 2016. Revenues improved from £3.13m to £3.21m, while gross margin jumped from 9.9% to 13.6%. Pre-tax profit rose from £133,576 to £224,352. Improved marketing has helped to boost trade but the hotel will be hit by increases in the national living wage. Further refurbishment is panned at the hotel. Strong cash generation has increased the cash position from £651,000 to £1.39m. The second interim dividend is being raised from 12p a share to 14p a share, taking the total to 21p a share, up from 18p a share.
Rail track technology supplier Wheelsure Holdings (WHLP) reported an increased loss in the year to August 2016 because of higher admin expenses. Pre-tax loss moved from £228,000 to £262,000. Revenues increased by 21% to £290,000 even though London Underground orders have been delayed by budget restrictions. Orders have been received since the year end. Wheelsure has issued shares at 1p in lieu of £14,000 of commission owed to the company’s Italian agent, which has generated the first order for track equipment incorporating Tracksure.
Ashley House (ASH) remained profitable in the six months to October 2016 even though trading conditions were tough and there remains uncertainty about government funding for supported housing. It does appear likely though that there will be increasing demand for extra care housing schemes. Interim revenues were flat at £10.7m and the gross margin was much lower. The underlying pre-tax profit was halved to £200,000. Full year profit is still forecast to rise from £1.2m to £1.5m but this depends on three schemes reaching financial close by April.
Building projects manager and developer Formation Group (FRM) maintained its pre-tax profit at £2.2m in the year to August 2016, even though the recognised profit share from the development at Norwich House in Streatham fell from £2.42m to £1.42m. Group revenues were one-quarter higher at £29.4m helped by sales of apartments at Iverson Road, London N6. There was also a £1.02m post-tax write back relating to past properties. NAV increased from £7.6m to £10.4m. Since the year end, cash has been received from disposal proceeds, which will reduce net debt from £3m.
Mechan Controls (MECP) has appointed administrators from Leonard Curtis to its subsidiary PJO Industrial, following a deterioration in its prospects. PJO supplies mining and pipe laying equipment. Mining demand has been weak. PJO was hit by a bad debt in 2015 and lost £206,000, while net liabilities were £514,000.
Forbes Ventures (FOR) has raised £530,000 from Gravity Investment Group at 0.3p a share. Gravity has a 60.8% shareholding in Forbes. The bulk of the cash will be invested in £500,000 worth of 12%, two-year convertible loan notes in residential care provider Primus Care, where Gravity director Chris Bateman is on the board. The conversion price will be 80% of the fair market value of an ordinary share.
There was further fundraising activity last week. NQ Minerals (NQMI) has raised £125,000 at 7p a share in order to finance working capital. Energy efficiency products supplier Sandal (SAND) has raised £52,000 at 28p a share. Milamber Ventures (MLVP) executive chairman Andy Hasoon has invested a further £16,300 in the technology investment company at 13.55p a share. Property investor Etaireia (ETIP) has generated £10,000 from the issue of shares at 0.09p each.
United Cacao (UCL) has raised further concerns about former chairman Dennis Melka. This involves a number of loans which were not previously disclosed. It also turns out that the small farmer programme has planted 70 hectares and not 194 hectares as said in the interim figures. The Peru-based cacao plantation operator has extended the exclusivity agreement with existing investors, in order to try to secure the long-term financial viability of the business, to 31 March. Cash is being raised from bond issues at large discounts. Just over $515,000 has been raised from the issue of $3.45m of nominal value bonds with a 7% coupon. One of the company’s directors will invest a further $40,000 at 18 cents per $1 bond.
SME news and commentary
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