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AIM stars and flops - Prospex wins the Blue Riband

Published 29/12/2022, 07:09
AIM stars and flops - Prospex wins the Blue Riband
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Proactive Investors - Crisis? What crisis?

OK, 2022 has been a terrible year in many ways, especially for those in Ukraine, but as is usually the way in the stock market there are plenty of companies doing well out of adversity, and none of them are even bessie mates with Matt Hancock!

With Russia’s leader “Putin on the Fritz” with energy supplies, suddenly everyone loves an oil and gas company, especially Prospex Energy PLC (LON:PXEN), which is building a sizeable oil and gas investment portfolio.

The shares quadrupled in 2022, making them the champions of AIM, with the acceleration in the share price really kicking in after the investment company raised £500,000 in September to fund the company’s share of development costs at the Selva gas discovery on the Podere Gallina Permit, in the Po Valley in Italy.

Borders & Southern Petroleum PLC (LON:BSTH), up 187% on the year, might well have eclipsed Prospex as the best-performing AIM stock of the year had the company not taken advantage of its share price strength to raise £2.5mln in September to pay licence and other fees as it seeks to advance the Darwin project in the Falklands.

The share placing was at a steep discount to the prevailing share price and was heavily dilutive, and opened a trap door below the share price, (perhaps) leaving Borders shareholders in the slightly odd situation of feeling dissatisfied with a year in which the share price nearly tripled.

Dual-listed Southern Energy PLC is an oil and gas producer that even now is probably preparing to wheel out that old cliché about a “transformational year” when it issues its full-year results.

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Net earnings of $6.6 million in the third quarter to end-September, up from $4.3 million in the year-earlier period, were achieved on sales of $19.2 million, which was 268% higher than in the third quarter of 2021.

Average production in the quarter came in at 3,408 barrels of oil equivalent per day, of which 96% was natural gas. That was an increase of 67% compared to the year-earlier quarter.

Gas prices came off the top at the end of the year but the company has been heartened by its three-well appraisal programme at Gwinville in Mississippi, and hopes the share price direction of Southern will continue to be … er … northwards.

Another sector that has been in favour since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been the defence sector. MS International PLC was already having a good year before it announced on the last trading day before Christmas the first sales of its new land-based mobile gun system. Known as MSI-DS Terrahawk Vshorad dual-feed weapon systems, they sound like something out of a Gerry Anderson TV series. Never mind Thunderbirds are go – the MSI share price has been hitting heights only dreamed of by Thunderbird 5, up 247% on the year.

Another company that put in a late spurt in December was Tintra PLC (LON:TNT), after the fintech firm landed US$10mln of funding from a Gulf-based investor.

It was a second successive magnificent year for Premier African Minerals Limited, which climbed 163% to around 0.5p. Given it was trading at 0.046p at the beginning of 2021, the company’s legion of loyal shareholders must be overjoyed at continued progress at the Zulu lithium and tantalum project in Zimbabwe.

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It almost seems cruel to look at AIM’s losers each year; when a small cap falls, it tends to fall hard and investors see their holdings all but wiped out.

Example one is Trackwise Designs PLC (AIM:TWD), the printed circuit boards specialist.

It made its debut on AIM in July 2018, rising to 116.5p on their first day of trading after floating at 105p.

Fast forward to the end of 2022 and the shares are suspended at 1.15p, down 99% on the year.

The company had warned in September that lower production volumes would mean “additional funding will be required.”

December saw the company announce a heavily discounted share issue to raise a paltry £5.15mln.

Another company that came to the market full of high hopes not so long ago is Parsley Box Group PLC (AIM:MEAL), which left AIM on 22 December with the shares worth 1.1p a share.

The company, which floated at 200p a pop in March 2021, was a food delivery company targeting Baby Boomers. It was not immediately apparent what sets Baby Boomers apart in terms of palate – purple hearts?magic mushrooms? - but the timing of its flotation, which came a year after the first UK Covid lockdown, suggests the company might have rushed hastily to market to take advantage of the enthusiasm for all things related to home delivery. It is now back in private hands, giving the new owners time to lick their wounds.

A company that has been turning up on customers’ doorsteps for ages is consumer finance business Morses Club PLC (LON:MCLM) (AIM:MCL). It lost 98% of its value in 2022, begging the question: would you borrow money from a company in this bad a shape?

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A proliferation of customer redress claims for unaffordable lending blighted the doorstep lender’s full-year year results.

A total of £42.6mln in statutory losses was recognised mainly due to the claims, though uncertainty remains around the total liability given the company’s pursuit of a scheme of arrangement.

The group's current banking facility of £25mln is in place until 31 March 2023. Discussions continue regarding two covenants within the facility, which remain deferred, along with the extension of the term-out clause beyond the current date of January 2023.

Last to be mentioned in this catalogue of bombed out stocks is Yourgene Health PLC, which serves as a salutary reminder that today’s unicorns can be tomorrow’s donkeys.

The company was riding high in 2020 after it was added to the UK government's approved COVID private testing providers list but crashed to earth in 2022, sloughing off 97% of its value, despite the company claiming in last week’s interims that the first half of the financial year saw a steady return to growth in the core business reflecting a transition away from COVID-related services.

The company, which floated at 200p a pop in March 2021, was a food delivery company targeting Baby Boomers. It was not immediately apparent what sets Baby Boomers apart in terms of palate – purple hearts? magic mushrooms? - but the timing of its flotation, which came a year after the first UK Covid lockdown, suggests the company might have rushed hastily to market to take advantage of the enthusiasm for all things related to home delivery. It is now back in private hands, giving the new owners time to lick their wounds.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

A company that has been turning up on customers’ doorsteps for ages is the consumer finance business Morses Club PLC. It lost 98% of its value in 2022, begging the question: would you borrow money from a company in this bad a shape?

A proliferation of customer redress claims for unaffordable lending blighted the doorstep lender’s full-year results.

A total of £42.6mln in statutory losses was recognised mainly due to the claims, though uncertainty remains around the total liability given the company’s pursuit of a scheme of arrangement.

The group's current banking facility of £25mln is in place until 31 March 2023. Discussions continue regarding two covenants within the facility, which remain deferred, along with the extension of the term-out clause beyond the current date of January 2023.

Last to be mentioned in this catalogue of bombed-out stocks is Yourgene Health PLC, which serves as a salutary reminder that today’s unicorns can be tomorrow’s donkeys.

The company was riding high in 2020 after it was added to the UK government's approved COVID private testing providers list but crashed to earth in 2022, sloughing off 97% of its value, despite the company claiming in last week’s interims that the first half of the financial year saw a steady return to growth in the core business reflecting a transition away from COVID-related service.

AIM's best performers in 2022

Rank

Ticker

Company

Gain on year

1.

(AIM:PXEN)

Prospex Energy PLC

304%

2.

(AIM:TNT)

Tintra PLC

262%

3.

LON:MSI

MS International PLC

247%

4.

(AIM:MCM)

MC Mining Ltd

216%

5.

(AIM:BOR)

Borders & Southern Petroleum PLC

187%

6.

(TSX-V:SOU, AIM:SOUC (LON:SOUC), OTC:MAXMD)

Southern Energy PLC

185%

7.

(AIM:PREM)

Premier African Minerals PLC

163%

8.

(AIM:CMX)

Catalyst Media Group (AIM:CMX) PLC

144%

9.

(TSX-V:AXL, AIM:AXL, OTC:CSTPF)

Arrow Exploration PLC

143%

10.

(AIM:MFX)

Manx Financial Group (AIM:MFX) PLC

140%

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2022’s worst performers on AIM

Rank

Ticker

Company

Loss on year

1.

(AIM:TWD)

Trackwise Designs PLC

99%

2.

(AIM:MCL)

Morses Club PLC

98%

3.

(AIM:YGEN)

Yourgene Health PLC

97%

4.

(AIM:MEAL)

Parsley Box Group PLC

97%

5.

(AIM:PCF (LON:PCF))

PCF Group PLC (AIM:PCF)

96%

6.

(AIM:BCE)

Beacon Energy PLC (LON:BCEB) (AIM:BCE)

96%

7.

(AIM:XSG (LON:XSG))

Xeros Technology Group PLC (AIM:XSG)

96%

8.

LON:ASLR

Asimilar Group PLC

95%

9.

(AIM:ACT)

Actual Experience PLC (AIM:ACT)

94%

10.

OTC:SYGGF)

Synairgen PLC (LON:SYNG) (AIM:SNG, OTC:SYGGF)

94%

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