ShareSoc Company Seminar, Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Manchester 11.07.2017 (CMCL & AVCT)

After Monday’s excursion to GMCC to see NEX Exchange and Invesdor amongst others, Tuesday saw me take another short drive into Manchester to  attend the ‘ShareSoc Manchester Growth Company Seminar’ at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel.

I was greeted at the venue by the lovely Amanda McTomney (aka @InvestorsNorth on twitter) and after having a brief chat with some of the ShareSoc management and other attendees I made my way in to the evening’s proceedings.

Caledonia Mining Corporation plc (AIM:CMCL / TSX:CAL, OTCQX:CALVD)

So as the Share Talk readers may (or should have) already noticed… this mining co has 3x listings across North America and the UK and is now also looking for a main market listing on NYSE to further increase liquidity.

You don’t need me to tell you this is a mining company. Such is obvious. But where do they operate and what are their prospects? Well… CMCL (I’ll use the AIM ticker for our UK audience) are operating in Zimbabwe and their primary project is a Gold play. VP of Corporate Development & Investor Relations, Maurice Mason led proceedings and outlined the investment case in what I perceived to be a well-oiled, crystal clear presentation.

Apologies, my photography skills were not at their best on the evening but you get the general gist…

So what did I find interesting about the presentation? Anything? Nothing? Well… quite a lot of it was pretty darn interesting to be honest. I’ve seen a lot of natural resource presentations in the short time I’ve worked at Share Talk and I often find that the balance of what types of information is presented is skewed either towards the geology and the statistical data end or towards video, animations and all that ‘glossy stuff’. Not that I’ve any problems with video… but sometimes I feel that a presentation needs to be about the speaker interacting with his/her audience and making sure their intended message has reached those participants. Maurice got the balance down to a tee. He gave a good introduction to the company as you would expect and didn’t skirt around the potential issues that spring to mind when Zimbabwe gets a mention. Geopolitical risk for example, was one of the first topics covered and I sensed around the room that CMCL’s approach to fair remuneration for government and local communities was evident and the mine in question is one of very few ‘fully tax compliant’ mines in the country. This obviously gives some credibility amongst not just government and regulators, but also with local workers. So where is all our money going?! I hear shareholders cry… Well… you’d be pleased to know (an a current or potential investor) that CMCL devised a well-thought-out loan agreement with their Zimbabwean partners in order to get the mine operational which enables that the vast majority of income from  the gold deposits goes back into CMCL coffers until 2020. The mine has a 10 year mine life and the expectation is that a new mine shaft (which is already funded) will be developed and put into production to extract the remaining deposits (and maybe new ones…).

Alba Min Res PLC (LON:ALBA) Clogau Drilling Completion

I could go on and describe the whole presentation but remember I said I liked video?… See below (this is 99% the same presentation from May 2017 as far as I can see).

We are hoping to get CMCL on to the Share Talk  podcast in the near future so if you have any questions please DM or email them to us at the usual address.

Avacta Life Sciences (AIM:AVCT)
Next up was the final presentation of the evening and it was delivered by Dr. Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Life Sciences. Avacta operate in the BioTech space and are known by their investors as spearheading their patented ‘Affimer’ alternative to current antibody technology. Now I’m not going to try and pretend I can explain everything there is to know about Affimers… but… in essence, they are an alternative to antibodies, take far less time to develop than antibodies, and don’t require testing on animals. Win win right?
So what did I find out that I didn’t know before the presentation? Well… the company has a number of trials ongoing with the NHS and are aiming for licencing deals with Big-Pharma and have something in place with one of the big 3 already although are sworn to secrecy. I think I’ll let Avacta themselves tell you about Affimers in this video below…

I think one of the things that can be frustrating for investors of listed companies is the amount of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that float around with particular contracts and licencing deals, especially with the majors where competition and protection of IP is everything. From my viewpoint it just makes life harder for the company to give investors a real idea of potential value/return. This isn’t a criticism of Avacta, it’s just a simple fact of how this (and other types of) business works.

Dr. Smith took us through the potential of Affimers and why they are a robust alternative to traditional antibodies but the main thing I was left wanting from this particular presentation was more information on potential revenues. Yes, we got the standard ‘look at these other companies in our space and their respective Mcaps and look where we could be’… but how do investors know how realistic this is? We’ve all seen it… companies with low to medium values floating the idea of what the potential size of the company might be in the future. I think what is more important is how do they show a route to market, and are they fully funded in order to do that with a management team that has skin in the game.

Cobra Resources PLC (LON:COBR) Update on Lady Alice Mines and RTO Process

One of the things that particularly impressed me with Avacta was the quality of the board without it being too top heavy. My one minor criticism of CMCL if I had to pick one was probably the fact I picked up that their board is 12 strong with 5 of these being non-execs and the other 7 are directors. There most probably will be completely bona fida reasons for the size of the board there, but as an investor, I want to know that companies have (for the most part) full-time senior management fully focused on returning value for shareholders. I look at a lot of companies and know instantly with certain management teams that there is no way that all that team are giving the company their full attention which, in my opinon, increases the risk in investment for that particular company. With Avacta, I don’t get that negative feeling. I see a highly qualified, highly commercially-focused team that have a unique technology which could change the game.

Income targets for 2017 are on target but I didn’t feel we got a true reflection in the presentation of 2018 expectations which I felt was possibly the only omission for me. I didn’t get chance to speak with Alistair afterwards but from the questions he did answer in the Q&A he is obviously a man who knows his subject and has an extensive pipeline of opportunities that investors expect will see significant returns as backed up by various research and broker institutions who have this as a ‘strong buy’. DYOR as always… I’ll leave you with another video but if you go on Avacta’s YouTube channel you will find a few more so I recommend taking a peek if this sparks your interest.

One final note… thank you to ShareSoc for putting on this event. I’m looking forward to signing up for full membership and going to more events like this. Nice people, well-organised, high quality companies – even a a few nibbles and a drink… what more do you want?

Blog by @djxforce

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