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Leading The Revolution

Sometimes the media (and perhaps the rest of us) needs and enjoys a good punch bag, and this week accompanied by her book “Ten Years To Save The West,” former Prime Minister Liz Truss obliged. Apparently, she is “leading the revolution against globalism, socialism, and the liberal establishment.” But unfortunately, she is not. The reason one can be so sure is that the last person to actually lead the revolution was Margaret Thatcher, who like Truss was quickly removed after it was clear she would not tow the “deep state” line. Thatcher said “no, no, no” to the EU / Maastricht projects on October 30 and was removed within weeks in November 1990. As soon as it was clear Truss was actually going to reduce taxes, and start threatening State funding and power,  she was swiftly removed. We have only had centrist Prime Ministers ever since Thatcher, apart from the 49 days of Truss, who could perhaps be regarded as analogous to the brief tenure of Lady Jane Gray as Queen. If Thatcher could not win the “revolution”, no one else stands a chance, not even the new President Javier Milei of Argentina, or former / future President Trump.

Weekend Markets

For the past few months I have taken part in the Weekend Markets video podcast with Biztech Academy’s Steve Deacon. There are of course millions of podcasts out there all trying to be The Joe Rogan Experience or Diary of A CEO. But actually what is of use in Weekend Markets is being so ad hoc and ad lib, so that one touches upon themes and ideas that one would normally have not thought about. For instance, most weeks we look at the week’s rising stocks. This week it was a look also at the losers. And it was not a pretty picture. Alumni here included Horizonte (HZM), Bens Creek (BEN), Molecular (MEN), Byotrol (BYOT), UK Oil & Gas (UKOG), East Imperial (EISB) and Mast (MAST).

Having had day in / day out experience of the small cap area for over 35 years, I can be said that almost all the companies listed above have in their time ticked most of the negative boxes in the space. For instance, in terms of the quality / experience of management, the choice of service providers, ability to communicate with investors, funding. In addition, as someone in PR / IR I can usually tell what a company’s fate may be from who they chose to do their PR, and there is an offender or two in the list above. Obviously, as someone who interviews / meets companies all the time, hears the gossip, and actually wants companies to win, one sees the same negative scenarios pan out again and again.

For instance, with one of the companies in the list above I just knew from the first meeting several years ago the CEO was not up to the job. Another company’s CEO never went into the detail of how he would get the company over the line, even on a casual conversation. Normally companies with difficult births have problematic times on the market. Interestingly, there are those who receive offers of help that could save them, but choose to ignore them – that is another company on the list.

Electric Guitar

Given that I am normally the interviewer, I do not normally take the time to listen / watch company interviews. However, this week I did watch an interview with John Regan, CEO Electric Guitar. I think that Regan put in a decent explanation of the rationale for Electric Guitar’s £2.2m successful fundraise to acquire 3radical and proposed admission to AIM. 3radical is a marketing technology company for consumer data acquisition and audience engagement solutions. Obviously, given the lay of the land on AIM, anyone stepping up to the plate deserves our full support. In addition, given that most of the new entrants have been in the resources space, we should hope that a tech play will be appreciated. This country really needs a unicorn or two, as soon as possible.

I3 Energy

Given what a well run company i3 Energy (I3E) clearly is under CEO Majid Shafiq, the share price underperformance of the past 18 months has been frustrating. However, it looks as though this period is finally at an end. We already guessed something positive was on the horizon, with the recent director share buying near the 10p mark. This week’s announcement that the company has sold part of its royalty assets for $24.8m should once and for all end the stock market quibbling over the capital structure, and cash position. Both were issues where the market was overly cautious on, bear market conditions notwithstanding.  To expect shares of i3 to be back on the right side of 20p by the summer does not appear to be too optimistic.