There are eight companies in the running for the NEX Exchange company of the year at the Small Cap Awards. The awards will be held at The Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.

Kent-based wines maker Chapel Down Group (CDGP) has built up a significant presence in the English wines market. The company has a winery in Tenterden and it is building a new brewery for its beer operations. Chapel Down reported a 15% increase in annual sales to £11.8m. Wine sales were one-fifth higher at £8.12m with cider and beer sales, via associate Curious Drinks, were 7% ahead at £3.68m. Operating profit improved from £346,000 to £470,000 but there was a much larger loss from the Curious Drinks associate so pre-tax profit was lower. The new brewery should be open in the first quarter of 2019.

Cyber security technology developer Crossword Cybersecurity (CCS) is still at a very early stage of its development but it more than doubled its revenues in 2017. The loss still increased from £950,000 to £1.24m despite the improvement in revenues from £345,000 to £737,000. The cash outflow was £1.06m, which left £490,000 in the bank. Since then, £2.16m was raised via a placing at 270p a share. Crossword has interests in a number of early stage businesses, including CyberOwl, a joint venture between Coventry University and Crossword, which has backing from Mercia Fund Management. CyberOwl is developing network security software for target-centric monitoring.

Field Systems Designs Holdings (FSD) has one of the longest track records on NEX Exchange and it has its highest share price in more than one decade of trading. Field Systems designs, installs and supplies electrical, instrumentation and control systems, for the water, power and transport sectors. In the six months to November 2017, revenues jumped from £8.47m to £12m, while pre-tax profit improved from £114,000 to £211,000. There was £3.34m of cash in the bank and NAV was £3.31m, which is more than the market capitalisation.

KR1 (KR1) has had a successful year buying and trading various coins and tokens. The KR1 share price has more than quadrupled over the past year. KR1 generated gains of £4.3m on its trading in digital coins and tokens during 2017. There was also a total unrealised gain of £10.8m on these investments and a £1.18m foreign exchange gain. The total pre-tax profit was £14.5m, with a tax charge of £2.87m.

Dairy and livestock services provider National Milk Records (NMR) was originally part of the Milk Marketing Board and after it was spun off it joined the forerunner of NEX Exchange. National Milk Records generated revenues of £5.32m in the three months to March 2018. This means that revenues are £1.51m ahead so far this year, although the comparatives are weak. Herdwise, the screening service for Johne’s disease and other testing services are providing growth with a small improvement from milk recording services. Rising milk supply has started to hold back milk prices.

Energy saving electrical products supplier Sandal (SAND) reported flat interim revenues of £1.88m but it masks the growth in the sales of MiHome products. This growth will continue in the second half. The interim pre-tax profit edged up from £35,000 to £44,000. Sandal secured a term loan of up to £500,000 from major shareholder Greenbrook Industries Ltd and £250,000 was used to buy back 862,068 shares from Greenbrook. The shares were cancelled and this will enhance earnings per share.

Daniel Thwaites (THW) is a brewer, hotels and pubs operator that has been trading for more than two centuries. It has also been on NEX Exchange for more than two decades, since the London Stock Exchange closed rule 4.2, which was a matched bargains facility for unquoted companies. Some of these former rule 4.2 companies moved to AIM, while others, including a number of regional brewers, moved to Ofex/NEX. In the six months to September 2017, revenues improved from £44m to £48m and underlying pre-tax profit were flat at £5.9m. The shares are trading at a near-50% discount to NAV.

Walls & Futures REIT (WAFR) is an ethical housing REIT and it is also on the shortlist for the impact company of the year. The company develops new housing for people with learning and physical disabilities or needing extra care. Earlier this year, Walls and Futures raised £80,000 from an open offer at 94p a share. In 2017, Walls and Futures achieved a total return on its portfolio of 11.5%, ahead of its benchmark total return of 7%. Walls and Futures has joined the MSCI IPD UK Residential Property Index.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 June.

Cannabis investment company Sativa Investments (SATI) is widening its remit. It is asking shareholders to agree to investments outside of Canada.

Ace Liberty and Stone (ALSP) has completed the acquisition of offices in Leicester for £4.385m. The Leicester Crown Prosecution Service pays an annual rent of £290,000.

St Mark Homes (SMAP) is paying a maintained interim dividend of 5.5p a share and the ex-dividend date is 5 July. The dividend will cost £247,000. The carbon emissions trading business has also started electronic currency mining.

China CDM Exchange Centre Ltd (CCEP) reported a small dip in revenues from £898,000 to £888,000 but it managed to increase its profit from £2,000 to £35,000.

Karoo Energy (KEP) has secured Contax Partners as technical partner and project manager for the shale gas project in Botswana. Contax will accept £800,000 worth of shares in Karoo as payment for services. Karoo hopes to apply for admission to AIM by 1 July.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN) says full production at its Honduras processing plant has been delayed because permits have not been received for the processing of larger amounts of gold ore.

EPE Special Opportunities (EL.P) had an NAV of 228.16p a share at the end of May 2018.

 

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