Monday 12th July 2021, 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Programme for the evening

5.30pm Welcome and news
5.35pm Company presentation by CentralNic plc
6.15pm Interview with Philip Rodrigs, Raynar Portfoilio Management
6.55pm Company presentation by Tharisa plc
7.25pm Alan Charlton interviews Jim Shears, CEO of Tandem plc
8.00pm Company presentation by Immotion plc
8.40pm The Mello BASH – Kevin Taylor and Paul Scott.  Paul reviews company results and updates over the past three weeks.

Interview with Fund Manager, Philip Rodrigs

Raynar Portfolio Management is a privately owned boutique asset manager founded in 2020. The Founders invested a significant proportion of their net worth in the funds at launch. Strong performance and client support have driven the firm’s AUM beyond £100m. The founding principle is performance-first – designing products to enable optimal client outcomes. The approach is active, unconstrained and focused in two strategies: Flagship – UK High Conviction Stock Selection managed by Philip Rodrigs and Enhanced – Multi-Asset managed by Matthew Taylor.

Philip founded Raynar Portfolio Management and is the Portfolio Manager of the Raynar Flagship Strategy. Philip is a multi-award-winning investor specialising in UK equities. He was named Investment Week UK Smaller Companies Fund Manager of the Year 2010 and 2011 during his tenure at Investec Asset Management and the Financial Express UK Smaller Companies Alpha Fund Manager 2016 during his tenure at River and Mercantile where he also created and IPOed the award winning UK Micro Cap Investment Company. Honoured with the prestigious cross-asset accolade of Morningstar Outstanding Rising Talent 2012, Philip has two decades of experience investing in the UK market.

Company presentation, Tharisa plc

Tharisa is an integrated resource group incorporating mining, processing, exploration and the beneficiation, marketing, sales and logistics of PGMs and chrome concentrates. Its principal asset is the Tharisa Mine located in the South-Western Limb of the Bushveld complex, South Africa. The mechanised mine has a 14-year open pit life of mine (LOM) and the ability to extend operations underground by at least an additional 40 years. Tharisa also owns the Salene Chrome project, a development stage, low cost, open pit asset, located in the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe. Tharisa is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE: THA) and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE: THS). 

Phoevos Pouroulis, Chief Executive Officer 

Phoevos Pouroulis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tharisa plc, with responsibility for overall strategy and management. Phoevos has held various senior managerial and operational positions in his more than 17-year career. He has extensive experience in project management, mining design, commissioning and mining operations, including chrome and PGM mines, having been involved in South Africa’s mining industry since 2003. He has served as Commercial Director for Chromex Mining plc and was a founding member of Keaton Energy. Phoevos is the past President of the International Chrome Development Association.  Qualifications: Bachelor of Science and Business Administration, (Boston University, USA)

Phoevos has kindly answered your questions from MelloMonday webinar here:

Questions                                                                                               Answers

Your PGM revenue is largely dependant on the price of Rhodium which is now c40% off its recent highs 2 months ago. Given Rhodium price is so volatile, how do you remain certain that you can maintain or exceed the current profitability?

We have a very balanced prill split, and have generated very healthy PGM revenue when rhodium prices were a tenth of the current levels, we are simply making very healthy extra profits on the back of the high rhodium price, the basket needs to be considered, not just one part of the basket, especially given our low operating costs

Which PGMs would be most used in the hydrogen economy?

Platinum is the main use in hydrogen fuel cells, not replaceable at this stage of research on  hydrogen fuel cell technology, remember also that the minor PGM metals are used in a number of chips that run any electronic item, and we have seen the shortage the metals have caused in chip supply

Are you concerned that the riots in KZN and Gauteng could affect your operations ? And what is your view of the political risk ——-presumably this is already reflected in the share price.

These outbreaks are very sad and dealt with by the government as we speak, they are  very isolated and have no effect on our operations

The Vulcan plant should see construction completed in September 2021.  How should it ramp up and when will it be operating at 100%?

Construction is due end of FY2021, we see a 3 month ramp up to production

Given that the company has made exceptional profits this year due to the strength in the PGM basket, would the company look to re-visit the dividend policy as 15% of NPAT seems rather low given the significant cash generation this year?

We have received very positive feedback on our policy that has been consistent throughout the cycle, so a policy change has not been up for discussion thus far. We have, as you would have seen, always paid more than our policy and we could see us continuing this trend for this year, if prices continue the way they are

The bulk of Tharisa’s chrome 
production is exported to China. This 
gives the Group a significant exposure 
to a single market. This is a significant risk – what is the business doing to mitigate this? Thanks

True, but china is also wholly reliant on South Africa for its stainless steel industry, with China/Indonesia making up close to 70% of the word’s output; while there are other producing areas for chrome, no other area can deliver the volume and the volume at the cost, South Africa can. We have some 60 clients globally, we have already mitigated some of the risk by reducing our reliance of met chrome by becoming the largest chemical chrome producer globally

Please comment on the proposal by the South African government to impose a chrome tax

This is off the table for now, we are part of Chrome SA and have thus far vigorously opposed the imposition of such a tax

Can I ask why they don’t hedge / sell forward production at high resource prices? Also. why do they continue to invest given that investment is not being reflected in the share price?

 Chrome cannot be hedged, neither can rhodium, the investment in the mine is very evident in the performance of the operations

Once the open pit becomes depleted, how cost effective is the underground mining

 Those numbers will become evident closer to the time when we need to look at developing the UG, we have over 10Y to go until we reach that stage, however, the scope of work thus far sees us operating a mechanised on reef mine at very shallow levels, so no comparison to the labour intensive deep levels underground mines in our vicinity

What political risks do they foresee over the short to medium term?

We see no change to the current risk profile, as a company we have bene operating in developing economies for a long while and believe our make up as a business and our interaction with all stakeholders has ensured we are able to operate as we have, remember, the community owns 6% of the operation and are an integral part in our stakeholder make-up

Company Presentation – Immotion

Immotion Group was co-founded by Martin Higginson and David Marks in 2017. The business is a UK-based immersive entertainment company. Its main focus is the delivery of location-based VR theatres, working in partnership with established leisure operators such as Merlin and MGM. In addition, the Company also offers a home-based VR solution through its brand ‘Let’s Explore’.

Martin is a seasoned Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) entrepreneur with extensive PLC experience; who has set up, sold and listed multiple businesses.

His first business, a BMX magazine, was sold to IPC Magazines in 1982. Following three-years with IPC, he left to set up a publishing and telecoms business, Megafone. This was subsequently sold to Scottish Power plc. During his time with Scottish Power, he joined its subsidiary, Scottish Telecom as Managing Director of the Internet and Interactive division, including the UKs first Internet ISP – Demon Internet.

Following the flotation of Thus plc (formerly Scottish Telecom), Martin moved on to establish Monstermob Group plc, a mobile content business which listed on AIM in 2003. Over three years, it grew to become a Top 50 AIM listed business with a market capitalisation of £192m, operating in 31 countries around the world and employing 1,200 staff. This business was sold to Zed Worldwide in
late 2006.

Martin subsequently founded and listed a range of businesses, including Cityblock plc, a luxury student accommodation business which was privatised and sold to management in 2009; NetPlayTV plc, an interactive TV gaming business which boasted exclusive partnerships with Virgin Media, Channel Five, and ITV; and Digitalbox plc, a ‘mobile-first’ digital media business operating popular sites such as Entertainment Daily – a celebrity news and gossip site, and The Daily Mash – the UK’s leading satirical news site with a spin-off TV show on BBC2 (The Mash Report). Digitalbox was featured in The FastTrack 100 fastest growing UK tech companies in 2016 and 2017.

Martin is the co-founder and current CEO of Immotion Group plc, an immersive virtual reality business specialising in experiences. for high-footfall visitor destinations around the world such as Legoland, Sealife, Madame Tussauds, The O2 Arena and Shedd Aquarium.

Additionally, he holds the position of Chairman of M Capital Investment Partners, a UK based HNW real estate investment fund which he founded in 2012; and is Trustee of The Lune Scholarship Fund, a charity that he jointly established in 2003 with his former school – the Lancaster Royal Grammar, to support equal opportunities for underprivileged children.
Martin has held Non-Executive Director positions with Legend plc, Cupid plc and CMG Media.

Alan Charlton interviews Jim Shears, Tandem plc

Designers, developers, importers, distributors and retailers across a number of product categories including toy, sports & leisure; bicycles; home & garden; and emobility.  The Group sells character licensed and own brand ranges via a number of channels from large national blue chip retailers to small independent customers as well as direct to consumer.  Character licences include Batman, Disney Princess, Frozen, LOL Surprise!, Nerf, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and Spider-Man.  Own brands include Airwave, Ben Sayers, Boss, Claud Butler, Dawes, Falcon, Hedstrom, Jack Stonehouse, Li-Fe, Pro Rider, Squish, Stunted, uMoVe and Wired.

Jim Shears, Chief Executive Officer

Jim Shears joined the Group in 2002 and was Group Finance Director until August 2020 when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer. Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in both private and public sectors as well as small and large company environments, having previously worked for the Audit Commission, IFG Group plc and AWG plc as well as start-up businesses where he held various roles. He is also well versed in online and direct to consumer selling.

Company Presentation – CentralNic Group plc

CentralNic (AIM: CNIC) is a London-based AIM-listed company that drives the growth of the global digital economy by developing and managing software platforms allowing businesses globally to buy subscriptions to domain names, used for their own websites and email, as well as for protecting their brands online.  Its core growth strategy is identifying and acquiring cash-generative businesses in its industry with annuity revenue streams and exposure to growth markets and migrating them onto the CentralNic software and operating platforms.
CentralNic operates globally with customers in almost every country in the world.  It earns recurring revenues from the worldwide sales of internet domain names and other services on an annual subscription basis.
For more information please visit:

Ben Crawford is the CEO of CentralNic Group Plc, a company he IPO-ed on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, and has grown from $2M in revenues to over $250M, through a combination of organic growth and acquiring companies renowned for their excellent tech, people and customers – including Instra, Key-Systems, Codewise and Safebrands.

CentralNic is a leader in vertical integration of the domain industry, combining registries, registry back-ends, wholesale, retail and corporate registrars into one group, together with leading registrars and monetisation companies serving domain investors – including Hexonet, Moniker, Internet.BS, Parking Crew and Zeropark.

Ben specializes in developing international media and technology businesses, through a combination of business development, including personally negotiating many multi-million-dollar contracts, and M&A activity, having completed and financed 24 acquisitions to date.

Ben’s previous positions include President of Louise Blouin Media in New York, Managing Director of SportBusiness Group in London and Executive Producer of the Official Website for the Olympic Games in Sydney, as well as managing significant internet projects for Microsoft in the 1990s.

Ben is also a widely-published writer, featured in the New York Times, the South China Morning Post, Politico, Robb Report, and others. Ben is a true believer in the power of technology, business and a spirit of collaboration to bring the world closer together.

Michael Riedl was Executive Vice President and CFO of KeyDrive S.A. from August 2011, overseeing the company’s growth over the next seven years. Before joining KeyDrive S.A., Michael held managing positions in the private equity and ICT industries. He started his career with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, where he specialised in performance improvement programmes. Michael was Chief Restructuring Officer at Group Saint-Paul in Luxembourg from 2004 to 2007 before joining DZ Equity Partners, the private equity firm, in Frankfurt in 2007. In 2008, Michael joined BIP Investment Partners where he worked on private equity opportunities with a focus on buyouts until 2011. Michael holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from James Madison University, USA, a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from European Business School, Germany, and an LLM from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. He is also a Chartered Management Accountant.

Mello BASH (Buy, Avoid, Sell, Hold)

The MelloBASH features a mix of Fund Managers and Private Investors including Kevin Taylor, Edward Roskill and Jack Brumby.  They will be giving their verdicts together with the audience on listed companies selected by you…our Mello delegates.  Donations will be made to their chosen charities to show our appreciation of their excellent research and diligent coverage of the selected companies.  Do let us know which companies you’d like analysed in future MelloMonday BASH panels by emailing

Kevin began his City career 27 years ago, training as an actuary with a focus on defined benefit pension schemes. In 1997 he moved over to Investment Banking and joined a structured finance team working on complex projects and debt finance for large corporates. During those 27 years of financial markets experience Kevin has been a keen small cap investor looking after his family’s portfolios and trading on both the long and the short side of markets. Kevin is one of the more sceptical member of our panel and likes to see proof that demonstrate management’s claims before investing in a management team.

I trained as an accountant with a Top 5 firm, but that was so boring that I spent too much time in the 1990s being a disco bunny, and busting moves on the dancefloor, and chilling out with mates back at either my house or theirs, and having a lot of fun!

Then spent 8 years as FD for a ladieswear retail chain called “Pilot”, leaving on great terms in 2002 – having been a key player in growing the business 10 fold. If the truth be told, I partied pretty hard at the weekends too, so bank reconciliations on Monday mornings were more luck than judgement!! But they were always correct.

I got bored with that and decided to become a professional small caps investor in 2002. I made millions, but got too cocky, and lost the lot in 2008, due to excessive gearing. A miserable, wilderness period occurred from 2008-2012.

Since then, the sun has begun to shine again! I am now utterly briliant again, and immerse myself in small caps, and am a walking encyclopedia on the subject. I love writing a daily report for on most weekday mornings, constantly researching daily results & trading updates for small caps. Cheese!

Analyst, Blogger, Company Director, Entrepreneur, Event Organiser, Private Investor

Investment Strategy
I search for fundamental value in smaller caps, especially companies which are overlooked, or where price has become irrationally low due to negative sentiment. I like businesses with decent cashflow, strong balance sheets, and like dividends. I tend to hold for 6 months to 10 years, but a typical investment is 2-3 years. Special situations, and situations where the market has not yet priced in an improving commercial outlook for a company particularly interest me, as do turnarounds. But above all, shares which are cheap!

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