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Watch out Real Madrid, the Sub-Standard Shockers XI is ready to take on all-comers

By Cynical Bear | Monday 30 May 2016

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Some of you will know I have a bit of a bugbear with the use of the Standard Segment of the Official List, particularly for small investment companies, so in the spirit of Nigel’s great work on the FilthyForty, I have compiled my very own football team of Standard List participants to follow throughout the forthcoming seasons.

For those of you who didn’t read my earlier piece on the shockingly poorly regulated (Sub) Standard Listing segment of the Main Market (HERE), I am of the view that it is fast becoming the home of subscale investment companies, and a few others, that are unable to pass the “stringent” tests to get on to AIM and so they acquire a Standard Listing instead.

This makes no sense to me and my thesis is that these are poor investment opportunities, particularly as most private investors will miss out at getting in at the IPO price, and the rules should be changed. Accordingly, I will follow their progress with interest to prove the case further or otherwise.

Thanks to a couple of readers, Drunken Sailor and Robert L, for pointing me in the right direction to compile the team. I was also helped by the fact that most of them are corporate clients of Optiva Securities, obviously the manager of the team.

With one exception, I have focussed on those companies that have joined in the last year or so, particularly since the AIM regulations have tightened up on investment companies. The one exception is clearly the team captain, Worthington Group (WRN), which I had to include for comedic value.

Worthington is the Roy of the Rovers character of the team, playing in midfield, never aging, permanently suspended in time. Coincidentally, Worthington and Roy Race are the same age, 62, as Roy played his first game for Melchester Rovers in the Tiger comic in 1954. At least Roy had the good grace to leave the game to the younger players in 2001, whereas Worthington struggles on.

The goalkeeper is the newest member of the team, David Breith’s latest vehicle, Toople (TOOP) having recently raised £2 million at 8p that I covered HERE. No significant movement in the share price to-date.

The centre-backs are the Mark Gustafson and Gert Reider pair of investment vehicles, namely Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL) and Falcon Acquisitions (FAL), much commented by me on this site. To be fair, they both sit well above their 10p IPO prices at 24p and 20.25p respectively…..for the moment.

The full-backs are the Malaysian related duo of Vertu Capital (VCBC) and Davictus (DVT) on which more anon as there is a certain smell related to these two. For the moment, worth just stating that Vertu came to the market in January 2015 raising £800,000 at 1p and currently sits at 1.125p and Davictus listed in January 2016 raising £1 million at 10p. Its share price is 12p at present

Although the share prices are performing pretty well at the moment, it doesn’t look the strongest defence in the world to me but we’ll see!

Alongside Worthington in the centre of midfield is player-manager, Senterra Energy (SEN), it being an Optiva vehicle with Jeremy King and Kurt Portmann on the Board. A hugely flexible player having started its career as an oil and energy investment play but having been recently suspended pending an IPO of a SIM technology company – impressive stuff by any player’s standards. For the record, it was admitted to trading in November 2015 raising £1.25 million at 5p and was suspended last week at 4.25p.

Providing the width in midfield is RockRose Energy (RRE) and Silver Falcon (SILF).

RockRose is led by a good friend of Shareprophets, namely Andrew "piggy" Austin of IGAS infamy, almost guaranteeing a bit of fun and games. It listed earlier this year in January raising a comparatively impressive £4.4 million at 50p and currently stands at 47.25p. It is focussed on acquisitions in the UK oil and gas industry.

Silver Falcon joined the Standard Segment in November 2015 raising £1.3 million at 3p. It was suspended in December 2015 at 3.75p pending an RTO of an Australian fintech play in the insurance space, Lime. It remains suspended today, over five months on.

As ever, the strikers are the stars of the show with Highland Natural Resources (HNR) and Bluebird Merchant Ventures (BMV) completing the line-up.

Highland joined the market in March 2015 raising £950,000 at 5p but has gone from strength to strength ever since, particularly in the last couple of months. Incredibly (as Lucian Miers just commented HERE) it sits at around 60p at the moment.

Bluebird is earlier on its career having just raised £1.7 million at 5.75p in April this year and is a Philippine focussed resource company but I am hoping for Tom’s sake that it plays as well as Highland, despite sitting underwater at the moment at 3.75p

The team clearly needs plenty of substitutes due to the fact that at any one time, quite a few of the players are likely to be suspended and unable to play. The bench comprises Levrett (LVRT), Upland Resources (UPL) and Opera Investments (OPRA).

Levrett joined in December 2015 raising net proceeds of £915,000 at 2p focussed on investment in biotech and pharma space. No news as yet and the share price sits at 2.125p.

Upland Resources raised £1.3 million on admission in October 2015 at 1p (currently 1.15p) focussed on acquisitions in the oil and gas sector (again).

The final squad member, Opera Investments, was admitted in April 2015 to focus on acquisitions in the (can you guess?) oil and gas sector. It raised £1.2 million at 10p. It was then suspended from July 2015 through to just a couple of weeks ago when it announced that it terminated its potential acquisition discussions. Share price unsurprisingly come off as a result at 7.375p. This is what started my rant in the first place.

A fine squad, I’m sure you’ll all agree, I look forward to keeping you updated with their performances over the coming season.


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