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The Czech Is Still In The Post

There are of course many issues in this country that drive one to despair. Perhaps the worst things is not having a third class health service at a first class price, taxes at such high levels it is not worth working, a bloated and nanny state, and exasperating red tape, but the total failure to have the correct attitude on anything. This was illustrated by our dear Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (the one in no hurry to see crippling mortgage rates lowered) and his comments regarding the Royal Mail. The logical thing would be if someone was foolish enough to pay £3.5bn for a defunct way of sending messages, the nation should bite his hand off and take the cash, especially as we are bust. But no. Mr Hunt brings in the issue of national security. In fact, it would be best if Amazon were contracted to take care of the letters and parcels. For it, a few billion would be chicken feed for that company. Our friend in Number 11 seems concerned about our “infrastructure.” Alas, including our parliamentary system it varies between being mid 20th century to early 19th century.

AIMing High

This week the FTSE 100 once again flirted with record highs near 8,500, and AIM at 794 is back where it was last June. Only another 100 points or so and we shall be back where it was at the beginning of 2023. Such a feat is all the more impressive as we appear to be losing AIM companies by the day. But one can be sure that there will be dozens of flourishing private companies ready to come to market, quite happy to pay the £500,000 to get listed and £500,000 to stay listed annually. It is a no brainer! This is presumably what Raspberry Pi has concluded as the £500m computer company announced it was ready to join the London stock market party. Another name joining in the fun after a somewhat long gestation period is Georgina Energy. Mining Minerals & Metals (MMM), revealed the proposed all share acquisition of the helium, hydrogen and natural gas development company with assets in Australia. Given the way that Helix Exploration (HEX) has doubled since last month’s IPO, and Pulsar Helium (TSX-V: PLSR) a 4x, it may be that finally Georgina will be coming to market at the optimum time.

RNS’s Of The Week

Standing out in not a great way perhaps was the need for Cornish Metals (CUSN) to say that it knows of no reason for the latest share price fall, from which the shares bounced mildly. Perhaps what may be a factor here is that there has been something of a power vacuum at the company since previous CEO Richard Williams left at the end of March. The obvious thing is that the interim CEO Ken Armstrong just steps up to the plate, to end the impasse.

ValiRx (VAL) was left somewhat red faced, and red share priced, by what was presumably a typo in terms of how much cash it has left. It was forced to re-state the £174k figure with the correct £1.1m one. This is presumably one of the drawbacks of the convention of releasing RNS’s so early in the morning. That said, even if the company had £11.1m it would not be in party mode. There are still plenty of things to be done to get the early-stage cancer therapeutics  company over the line, despite some progress being made.

Hummingbird (HUM) said that it had resolved its Corica issue at Kouroussa, something which should have led the market to celebrate rather more than it did in share price terms. This is especially true given the way the stock tumbled in March when it was revealed that there was a contract dispute. It still seems to be the case that the market is disproportionately hard on bad news here, something one would hope will eventually not be the case.

On Thursday there was an update from hydrocarbon play Arrow Exploration (AXL). On the face of it the company has not put a foot wrong in Colombia, and to see the shares anywhere near the 20p level seems completely illogical. I am guessing it is a market communication issue, or one that once production gets to high enough levels will eventually be resolved.

A company which has started to turn around after seeing its shares fall to ultra low levels is CleanTech (CTL). It announced “highly encouraging” results from the processing of brine from Laguna Verde at the Company´s Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) pilot plant in Copiapó, Chile. Interestingly enough, the shares are now up over 26% year to date, as the company accelerates through its timelines.

Another company in recovery mode, this time in the mineral sands space, was Capital Metals (CMET). It announced it has finessed its relationship with Sheffield Resources. The shares are inching their way towards 2 year highs at 6p plus, and one would expect this slow burn to continue.

Somewhat under the radar (for now) Newmark Security (NWT), a provider of electronic, software and physical security systems, delivered a decent trading update this week. It said it expects to report robust year-on-year revenue growth with FY24 revenues of not less than £22 million (FY23: £20.3 million). Given where the market cap currently is, still under £10m, this looks like it is good value for those who like steady performers.

Interviews of the Week:

It was a busy week at fire safety group LifeSafe (LIFS), with the company raising £2m. The goal here is to get to the promised land as far as big industrial groups, who are seeking out its fire extinguishing and retarding skills. Perhaps rather characteristically the market has failed to recognise the jewel in the crown of LIFS in being able to tackle lithium battery fires. One would imagine given the institutional interest in the latest raise the penny will drop sooner rather than later, and the share price rise accordingly. I spoke to Chairman Dominic Berger, and CEO Neil Smith.

A company which has caught my eye, especially after the demise (from the stock market) of the Oxford Cannabinoid (OCTP) is Ananda Developments (AQSE:ANA). Of course, it could be the case that some of the former fans of the late OCTP switch to ANA. But the real sizzle with ANA as we were reminded in the interview is that health authorities are not only seeking out the CBD based treatments of the company, but also happy to fund their development. This rather throws a pie in the face of those who enjoy throwing mud at small companies because they cannot fight back, in terms of scaring investors on financial matters.

My final interview of the week was with Iofina (IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of specialty chemical products, in the wake of its audited full-year results. I have been aware of the company for decades, perhaps even since the 1990s. What is clear though, is that the company really has stepped up a gear in recent years, something which is not very surprising given how well CEO President and CEO, Dr. Tom Becker. He was very impressive indeed, something which I rarely say.

Finally, Power Metal Resources (POW) has not had a major RNS for nearly a month, something which is unusual for a company with so many moving parts. At the moment, it could be said that the highlight is Golden Metal Resources (GMET), which it spun off last year. But it is noticeable that so far this month the shares are up 20% off their closing low of 12.5p, and given the way that it is one of the better stock market signals to follow shares who rise without news, e.g. Belluscura (BELL) this week), POW may be worth following next week as further may materialise with regard to fresh spin off(s) and / or Molopo, Botswana and its nickel / PGE.