Small Talk: SRT has ridden the wave of the recession and is now set fair for growth

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The Independent Online

Software Radio Technology (SRT), the Alternative Investment Market (Aim)-listed group that produces radio-communications devices, had, even by the standards of the time, a woeful 2009.

Its managing director, Simon Tucker, who bought into the group after overhearing a conversation on a train, had plenty of good ideas of how to deal with the doom that was the financial crisis, especially in terms of freeing up entrepreneurs such as himself to get on with running businesses.

Sadly, at times his words seemed somewhat hollow when his own company's share price was falling through the floor: the stock sank as low as 2p a share in April 2008, having hit the dizzy heights of 54.5p in the third quarter of 2007.

One of the products available from SRT is marine radios, and taking the convenient cue, Mr Tucker managed to ride out the rough seas of last year, and 12 months on, life is getting much rosier.

Over the past few weeks, SRT has penned a number of deals, cumulating last week in a flurry of new orders for its AIS products – which are used in navigation and homeland-security identification and tracking applications – adding up to $2.1m (£1.4m) to the order book. Last month, the company said that its forward order book was $4m (£2.6m), with the AIS order increasing the backlog by 40 per cent to $5.7m (£3.7m).

"We continue to work hard to support our customers through the continued development of new technologies and products as well as reliable delivery and support," said Mr Tucker. "These orders reflect the rapidly growing global AIS market. We are working with our customers to maximise the opportunities their respective sales channels offer."

And of course, all this means that investors have returned to the group in their waves (no pun intended). SRT's shares have jumped by 826 per cent in the past year.

Many of the group's orders come from the emerging markets, and with the growing number of economists suggesting that the UK may be heading back into trouble thanks to the Government's spending cuts, more Aim investors may increasingly start seeing SRT as a safe haven.





Roll up for the Aim awards nominations

Far be it for us to suggest – and there are probably rules against this sort of thing – but SRT's share price leap may make it one of the favourites for a gong at this year's Aim awards, which are being held in October.

Nominations for the awards – sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ford Sinclair – opened last week for a range of categories, including best performing shares, best newcomer and best international company of the year.

Last year's winner of the blue-ribbon award, the "Aim Company of the Year", went to the biotech group Abcam, which has used the accolade as a springboard for greater things.

The group's share price has doubled in the past 12 months, and last week it said that full-year profits would beat previous forecasts, leading to more analyst upgrades and further jumps in the stock.

Of course, the awards can also act as something of a millstone around the neck of some winners. Generally speaking, share prices have improved in the past six months or so as most of the global economy has emerged from recession.

This has not stopped shares falling in Vertu Motors, which was formed in 2006 to "acquire and consolidate UK motor-retail businesses", according to its website.

The group picked up the "Best Use of Aim" award at last year's bash, but since then, its stock has dropped by more than 20 per cent, presumably as the popular car scrappage scheme came to an end.





Anglo Asian set for major gold reserve update

Gold has been popular in the past year as investors across the globe have targeted the shiny stuff instead of a variety of other dodgy options, like the euro, or blue-chip stocks. The very fact that a number of companies have sprung up offering to pay you not very much for your "unwanted" gold speaks volumes about the state of the market.

For miners of gold, the increased attention has been nothing but good news. Anglo Asian Mining, the Aim-listed digger that has its operations based in Azerbaijan of all places, last year began producing, and at the same time becoming, it claims, the first commercial producer in the country.

As often happens, there were a few initial hiccups in terms of production, but last year, Anglo Asian managed to exceed its production target of 25,000 ounces. By the end of this year, it reckons it will have churned out another 53,000.

This is all pretty good, but keep watching for an announcement towards the end of this month, when Anglo Asian is expected to say that it is increasing its reserves.

According to the company, early results indicate this will upgrade the resources at is Gedabek site by at least 50 per cent, which, it says, will significantly increase the economics and production capabilities of the mine. The resource stands at 702,000 ounces of gold, 37,500 tonnes of copper and 6,100,000 ounces of silver.

All this has impressed the analysts at Numis, who argue that the shares are now undervalued and that the group is due for a re-rating.

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