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MicroSalt  said it was pleased to announce the Launch of its Primary Bid offer as part of its AIM IPO looking to raise in total £10 to £15m, giving private investor the unusual opportunity to invest pre IPO. It is a term of the PrimaryBid Offer that the aggregate value of the new Shares available for subscription at the Offer Price does not exceed £2.5 million.

Comment: Of course, one wishes any company looking to raise capital in current stock market conditions all the good luck in the world. It is interesting that the company is using PrimaryBid for the pre IPO, rather than the private markets.

Tap Global Group Plc (AQSE: TAP), the regulated cryptocurrency app, announced its intention to launch in the United States, via its wholly owned subsidiary Tap Americas, through a partnership with Zero Hash LLC, a Chicago-based B2B2C crypto infrastructure platform. TAP said that with over 200,000 registered Tap users already, the US launch, expected in Q4 2023, will pave the way for further expansion into additional countries, including Canada and Australia.

Comment: If this was a normal time in the stock market one would have expected TAP shares to have soared in the run up to what is momentous news. Adding Canada and Australia to the roll out within the RNS should ensure that even in current conditions the shares catch a decent bid.

i3 Energy (I3E), an independent oil and gas company with assets and operations in the UK and Canada, updated with regard to its proposed reduction of capital. The company said the proposed Capital Reduction is intended to increase retained earnings by an amount equal to the amount standing to the credit of the Company’s share premium account in order to create further distributable reserves in the Company to facilitate the future payment of dividends (in cash or otherwise) to Shareholders, where justified by the profits of the Company, or to allow the redemption or buy-back of the Company’s shares.

Comment: The recent oil price recovery and the rebound for the stock, combined with director share buying, all provides for a decent backdrop as far as i3 share going into the capital reduction proposal. One can envisage a return to the 20p plus zone by the end of the year off the back of such factors.

Ebiquity (EBQ)  fell 14% to 39.5p and a Mkt Cap of £54m, after reporting Interims to June on Friday. The sell-off was despite Revenue increasing 11% to £40.6m and a £1.4m profit against a loss with EPS of 2.86p.  There was a 50% jump in US turnover as recent acquisitions contributed that help clients to protect brand integrity. EBQ’s, key services is advising global advertisers on how spend budgets wisely by analysing the efficacy of $55bn of media spend over 75 markets, clients include Shell, Land Rover, and Jaguar. Its GMP365 technology platform is being deployment and already improving efficiency and margins. Despite, the media budget headwinds, business is reported to be in line with management expectations. Its highly cash generative, but due to acquisition payments its net bank debt increased to £15m with cash balances of £9.8m and undrawn bank facilities of £4.7 million. These facilities last until 2025 and debts should start falling as differed acquisition payments cease. The normalised P/E would be around 8x.

Comment:  The media sector is deeply out of favour and change of investment strategy at, shareholder Crux Investment, saw them reduced their holding to 3.5%.  Nevertheless, there should be a real recovery opportunity coming here soon.

Smarttech247 (AIM: S247), a provider of AI-enhanced cybersecurity services, provided an update on a recent contract win and further Company developments. Smarttech247 has won a tender contract from an existing Government of Ireland department client, worth c.€400,000 over two years. The company said winning this latest tender underscores its unwavering commitment to delivering cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions and it looks forward to supporting its client’s security objectives and contributing to a safer digital landscape.

Comment: As we heard from the likes of Pires ([PIRI) and Riverfort (RGO) last week, Smarttech 247 has been something of a shining star in its space, a point underlined by the latest contract win.

Bluejay Mining (JAY), the exploration and development company with projects in Greenland and Finland, announced the results from the recent exploration programmes at the Hammaslahti Copper-Zinc-Gold-Silver Project. JAY said intercepting sulphide mineralisation with eight out of eight diamond drill holes targeting extensions of the E-lode mineralisation previously discovered by the Company is an excellent result. Especially when considering the pinching and swelling nature of the Hammaslahti ore bodies known from earlier drilling and the former mining operations.

Comment: Although shares of JAY are still near their lows for the year, it has been the case that in recent weeks the fundamentals in terms of the newsflow have been improving quite markedly. This does imply some kind of intermediate rally here is overdue.

Europa Oil & Gas (EOG), the AIM traded UK and Ireland focused oil and gas company, announced that following the interpretation of recent seismic reprocessing, the Company’s Pmean prospective resource estimate for Inishkea West has increased by 92% to 1.55 TCF. The seismic data has been reprocessed using full waveform inversion and reverse time migration (RTM) to 20Hz, which are cutting edge techniques. The Company said this is a very exciting development for the FEL 4/19 licence as the seismic reprocessing has significantly enhanced the sub-surface imaging which has improved our understanding of the size of the prospects and the seal risk.

Comment: A 92% rise in a resource estimate could and should be a shot in the arm for EOG, or indeed any company. It is to hoped that in current reticent stock market conditions the company feels the benefit of its latest news.

Orcadian (ORCA) announced that it has today raised gross proceeds of £350,000 at 12p. The Company said though more funding was made available to the Company from other groups, it is continuing to minimise Company overheads whilst seeking to add value per share. It looks forward to providing updates on the proposed farm-in to the Pilot Project and the outcome of its applications in the 33rd Offshore Licensing Round.

Comment: It is interesting that ORCA has only raised £350,000 after its recent stellar share price rise, citing reasons of dilution. Indeed, the company has always been mindful of this factor, in a way that many other companies in equivalent positions have perhaps not have been.

San Leon (SLE), the independent oil and gas company focused on Nigeria, updated in relation to a further extension to the longstop dates for the proposed transactions with Midwestern Oil & Gas Company Limited and the Company’s further conditional investments in Energy Link Infrastructure (Malta) Limited, an extension of the loan repayment date of the Company’s secured $5.0 million loan. All longstop dates have been extended to December 31, 2023.

Comment: Given that SLE remains in something of a funding pending suspended animation, extending the longstop date to reduce the frequency of RNSs announcing that the longstop date has been extended is probably a good thing.

Canadian Overseas (COPL), an international oil and gas company, announced that it has entered into an amendment to its Senior Credit Facility providing a waiver of its covenant tests as of September 30, 2023.  The waiver is conditional on closing of the Company’s financing which has been extended by agreement with Anavio Capital Partners LLP to October 6, 2023. The Company said it is on track to close the financing prior to 6th October 2023.

Comment: Shares of COPL have clearly been holding their breath of late, in anticipation of the closing of financing. While it may seem to be something of a binary bet, one could still say the market appear to be looking on the bright side, and there could be a squeeze higher anyway ahead of October 6.

East Star Resources (EST), which is defining mineral resources in Kazakhstan, announced it has raised gross proceeds of £540,000 at 1.5 pence per share including a one-for-one warrant at an exercise price of 3p. Alongside other existing and new investors, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and its largest shareholder have both participated in the Placing. The Company said that the funds raised today from new and existing investors will go towards advancing a potentially game-changing copper deposit at Verkhuba as well as preparing a number of other targets for drill-ready status such as Talovskoye, where a rock chip sample from 2022 returned >17% Cu and >10% Pb.

Comment: Given stock market conditions it may be said that EST’s fundraise has probably been carried out at the best the Company could have achieved. This is especially the case given the way that the share price has persistently undervalued the EST portfolio.