22nd February 2021, 6pm – 9.30pm

Interview with Fund Manager, Stephen English

Stephen is an Investment Director at Stellar Asset Management, responsible for running their AIM IHT fund. He believes in trying to give back to the investor community, having delivered keynote addresses at past Mello conferences.

Company Presentation – Open Orphan

Open Orphan plc (London and Euronext: ORPH) is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical service/contract research company that is a world leader in testing vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials. The company provides services to Big Pharma, biotech and government/public health organisations.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from both its 19-bedroom Whitechapel quarantine clinic, opened in February 2021, and its 24-bedroom QMB clinic which also has a highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory on-site. Open Orphan has a leading portfolio of eight human challenge study models for conditions such as RSV, flu, asthma and COPD. In addition, Open Orphan is also developing the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge study model as part of the Human Challenge Programme and has signed a reservation contract with the UK Government for the first three COVID-19 vaccine challenge studies.

Building upon its many years of challenge studies and virology research, the Company is developing an in-depth database of infectious disease progression data. Based on the Company’s Disease in Motion® platform, this unique dataset includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has many potential applications across a wide variety of end users including big technology, wearables, pharma and biotech companies. Following COVID-19 there is now a renewed interest and investment in infectious diseases.

Open Orphan’s Paris office has been providing biometry, data management and statistics to its many European pharmaceutical clients for over 20 years. For over 15 years, the Company’s Netherlands office has been providing drug development consultancy and services, including CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), PK and medical writing, to a broad range of European clients. Both offices are now also fully integrated with the London office and working on challenge study contracts as well as supporting third party trial contracts.

Cathal is 56 years-old, and is an entrepreneur, starting work at 16 years due to his father’s untimely illness he went on to complete his education at night classes and got an MBA from the University of Ulster in 1990. He spent the following five years lecturing part time in International Marketing and Business Planning at the University of Ulster, while running his own new technology services business. In 2001 he was part of the team who successfully established Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin and in 2007 he founded Raglan Capital. Cathal is the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Open Orphan plc which IPO’d on the London and Dublin stock exchanges in June 2019. He also co-founded Amryt Pharma plc in 2015 along with Joe Wiley, which is listed on the London stock exchange since 2016 and which listed on Nasdaq in July 2020. Prior to Amryt, Cathal founded Fastnet Oil & Gas plc in 2011 which he IPO’d on the London stock exchange. Cathal is a finalist in the International category as part of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.

Company Presentation – Image Scan

Image Scan Holdings PLC was founded in 1998 as a spinoff from Nottingham Trent University’s renowned Imaging Science group, with patents for stereoscopic 3D X-ray imaging systems. It joined AIM in 2002. Its initial focus was the exploitation of its 3D imaging technology in the security market which was growing fast in the aftermath of the 911 attacks. It went on to develop X-ray screening systems for a number of industrial application. In recent years the company has concentrated successfully on two specific sectors: rugged portable X-Ray systems for bomb squads and first responders, and industrial X-ray systems for inspection of catalytic converters in the automotive supply chain. It is currently focussed on expanding its range of security X-Ray systems and recently a new cabinet X-ray for mail, bags and parcels. The Company is a successful exporter with excellent access to the global security technology market through a network of international partners.

Bill Mawer joined Image Scan in April; 2014, bringing his considerable experience in the X-ray sector, having worked for 13 years with Smiths Group plc, in senior executive positions in Smiths Detection, a world leader in security technology. His experience is instrumental in supporting Image Scan’s development plans and driving forward the sales and marketing strategy. Earlier career highlights include working as a Sales and Marketing Director for British Aerospace and a period with French defence company Thomson CSF, now Thales.   

Following a very interesting presentation by Bill, he has kindly answered your questions:



With a £3.5m market cap, why stay listed?

De-listing is complex and expensive. I believe that in the past (before my time) this was considered but rejected by the shareholders. The company has successfully raised funds on several occasions.

RE Image Scan, good evening.  I may be missing something but you are working in a really important area, and yet you have virtually no turnover; you are not profitable; you have been around for ages so it would appear to be uninvestable, unless I am missing something, which I hope I am.

Alternatively, you could look at our growth from 2014 to 2017 and believe that that pattern could be repeated, though in a more sustainable way, if the company had a broader product range in more diverse markets, which is what we are working towards!

I’ve invested in IGE in the past and bailed out with burned fingers ! Whrere will IGE be in 5 years (or looking to be taken over ) Rev / EBITDA ?

I’d like it to be a portfolio of niche security technology businesses, each of which would individually be sub-scale for purchase by one of the larger companies, but which collectively would pass that threshold. I would hope that, with a global business in multiple markets, we would be under no pressure to sell out.

Significant director (even insignificant) dealings seem to be lacking (based on Stockopedia) – Would not signifiant director dealings be seen as positive by external investors ?

I hold a significant stake in the business, having increased it on several occasions. I accept that director trading can be a positive thing, but I do not believe in “forcing” directors to buy stock.

Your trading update says that orders have been delayed.  Where would you expect your turnover for the current year to have been without covid delay effect.

I’d certainly have hoped to have at least one additional large order in the order book by this point in the year.

Does Image Scan have a product advantage vs other 3d image scanners…and if so, what is it ?

Against other portable X-ray machines our materials discrimination ability (categorizing different materials using multiple X-ray energies) is a key differentiator and our image processing tools are best in class. Our industrial X-ray machines are optimised for a very particular application and currently have no direct competitors.

Good presentation thank you but at your scale why not cease giving market expectations so as to avoid an unnecessary distraction   ?

Surprised by this question, as we were praised for maintaining guidance through the pandemic. I don’t regard having guidance in the market as a distraction and it doesn’t impact the decisions we take.



thank you i will try again. Love the platform.


John , To Image Scan

Can you summarise your main competitors and the advantages  of image scan systems?

There are a number of small private companies in the portable X-ray space. As I said above, our materials discrimination ability (categorizing different materials using multiple X-ray energies) is a key differentiator and our image processing tools are best in class.

Do  IS use AI to scan the images ?

We recognise the potential benefits of this technology and are actively investigating how to apply it to our systems

What is the service revenue as a percentage of the total revenue and how do you manage the servicing across the globe considering the size of the company.

We don’t publish a separate number for our service revenue. In normal (non-Covid) times our industrial machines are visited for scheduled maintenance by our own services techs or a local service partner, who will have been trained by us. We have increased our use of both local  service partners and remote diagnostics in the pandemic but have continued to be responsible for servicing the machines.

Primary Bid

PrimaryBid is the only platform where individuals can join corporate fundraisings on equal terms as institutional investors. We’re putting the public back into public markets. 

In partnership with the London Stock Exchange and Euronext, we have created the infrastructure to seamlessly connect retail investors with public companies when it matters most.

We are a team of specialists with a shared set of principles, working to democratise capital markets and empower individual investors.


Following a very interesting presentation by James, he has kindly answered your questions:

Last week it was impossible to even get on the system when trying to buy Jet2 shares. Is this unusual ?Hi Andrew, yes, we were unfortunately upgrading the system at the same time the transaction went live and for 30 mins the order flow didnt work on certain platforms. However it was swiftly resolved and we built a book of demand way above the amount that was allocated to us under the current regulatory limits

the 3 main platforms HL, AJ Bell and interactive investor have written to FCA asking for access for retail investors in IPOs.

what are your thoughts on retail participation in IPOs? Do you think platforms are set up to support this?

Hi Cliff, yes they absolutely are and we are campaigning hard to include retail and indeed give the platforms full intermediary access on all transactions.
In June, large caps (Compass, Ocado, Taylor Wimpey, William Hill) embraced PrimaryBid.   Since then, large caps seemed to have pulled back from using PrimaryBid.  Why?Sam, I am not sure this is the case. JD Sports is the only example I can think of and sadly their advisers were not so accommodating
Hi James, How does the indirect access process works ? as most of the IPO simply stats that its not possibel to buy these IPo via ISA / SIPP. Thx.As long as the IPO is ISA eligible, we can deliver shares accordingly
Hello James, do you only raise money on behalf of listed companies ?Yes
Is it possible to access Primary Bid through an ISA rather than as an IndividualYou can go through a ‘bed & ISA’ process but it is not straight forward and so the best way is to place your interest via your existing broker. For instance, HL will reflect your order directly to us and settle in to your ISA
Allocations for placings and ipo’s are typically at the behest of bulge bracket ecm desks. Are there any stats as to the typical allocation percentages for private investor applications through such platformAs Bob Dylan said ‘times they are a changin’. My point is that allocations are now firmly in the hands of the company, not the banks. We work with the company to make sure we get at least equal treatment to the institutions. We set the terms pre the deal going live and so we almost always succeed in delivering equal allocations
Does Primary Bid provide custody for the shares?No but we work with platforms, wealth managers and registrars to make this process as seamless as possible
The last time I checked I don’t think you offered the service through ISA’s, did I understand you correctly tonight that you do now? And will you add certificates?We cannot allocate to ISAs directly but your broker can face us on your behalf. SO we give you teh deal information and you execute through your trusted broker. Or as a back up, transact through PB and you can perform a ‘bed & isa’ process post the transaction

Primary Bids app isn’t available in Ireland ? Have you plans for expanding the app into various counties ?


Yes indeed
I would like to know more about how to subscribe to an offering from within my ISA account with, say, Interactive InvestorBy all means ask II, they should be happy to oblige
Why is the Primary Bid platform not allowing subscriptions to ISA’s / SIPP accounts?In time we will but today it is not possible, please see prior answers
When can funds from my AJB ISA / Dealing Account be used to participate ?Any time that a transaction is ISA eligible
Can you use in connection with a Child ISA? Have you refused to work with any one?I believe so if coming via your broker. We are here to work with all market participants, the companies dictate where we allocate
whats in it for you, A reasonable question because you deserve a reasonable reward for offering this very interesting service.  We are free to use for investors and are paid by the issuer, only on what gets allocated through our platform
What are you doing about the €8 million limit?Working with LSE, HMT, FCA and other industry bodies to consider the benefits of doing so
WHO OWNS THE BUSINESS?  DON GODWINSenior management/founders + London Stock Exchange, Fidelity, Draper Esprit, Omers Ventures, Pentech, Hambro Perks and other smaller shareholders
I use iii and HL.  How does your service operate with them?We work closely with them and treat orders coming from the platforms as equal to direct via our own system
Will UK investors be able to go into Euronext with PB?Ultimately yes, this is the ‘holy grail’ of what we are seeking to achieve
You say you are well on board with most of the UK banks.  I dont see Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, others? We can only put so many on a page. We work with everyone
 Come via your broker or otherwise if you look up ‘bed & isa’ on google, that should help. Otherwise please do send an email to enquiries@primarybid.com and we would be happy to help further

James Deal Co-Founder and COO 

Are you engaging enough on Twitter?

Our panel of highly experienced Twitterati will discuss how investors are making the most of their vast networks on Twitter and if you have never used it you will see what the advantages are and may even become one of their followers! They have tens of thousands already which gives an indication of the power of each tweet…

               Aston Girl               @reb40

Graham Neary       @GrahamNeary

       James Nelson        @1James1n1 

Michael Taylor       @shiftingshares

Company Presentation – Hummingbird Resources

Founded in 2005, Hummingbird Resources Plc (AIM: HUM) listed on the London AIM exchange in December 2010. The Company is a leading multi-asset, multi-jurisdiction gold production, development and exploration company and member of the World Gold Council (‘WGC’).
Our vision is to continue to grow our asset base, producing highly profitable ounces, while central to all we do being our Environmental, Social & Governance (‘ESG’) policies and practices.

Since IPO the Company has significantly grown its global resource inventory from an initial 0.8Moz to 7.4mt across three countries, Mali, Guinea and Liberia.

The Company currently has two core gold projects, the Yanfolila Gold Mine in Mali, and the Kouroussa Gold Project in Guinea. Further, the Company owns the Dugbe Gold Project in Liberia that is being developed and funded by Pasofino Gold Limited (TSX: VEIN) who will earn in a 49% stake in the Project once a definitive feasibility study and agreed exploration programme is completed.

For more information please visit our website and investor releases can be found here.

Edward Montgomery joined Hummingbird Resources as Chief Strategy & ESG Officer in September 2020.  Edward is an Australian Certified Chartered Accountant and has over 20 years experience in global financial markets. Edward spent time in Melbourne Australia, San Francisco, New York, USA and London UK. After working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Edward moved on to global equity markets working in several key roles including: Sell-side equity analyst with Goldman Sachs in London and New York; buy-side equity analyst with Ospraie Asset Management, NYC; AsiaPac equity sales with Credit-Suisse London and the last six years with Canaccord Genuity as their resources specialty sales person in London.  Edward brings a wealth of experience and contacts in global equity markets and the resources sector, but, having been an analyst in the global renewable sector he brings with him experience and passion for environmental, social and governance (‘ESG’) to Hummingbird Resources.

Following a very interesting presentation by Edward, he has kindly answered your questions:

Hummingbird Forecast AISC for 2021 has risen significantly – could you explain why so high?


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc.  2021 AISC is higher this year for some key reasons as detailed below and please see our latest release for more details being: 1) 2021 production profile is weighted towards the second half of the year, with part of the KE pit to be mined out this period and focus to move to Komana West (“KW”) pit where higher grades are lower in the orebody which are not expected to be accessed until the latter part of 2021 onwards; 2) This shift as described, in part means in this years’ mine plan our overall mining costs are higher which was discussed at the Mello Event driving by: a) In 2021 due to this shift towards KW we are mining more tonnes then 2020, adding to AISC and b) mining costs per tonne are also up on 2020 driven by being lower in the pits, increased haulage costs, blasting costs a higher of sulphides some key reasons; and c) tighter 2021 production range of 100-110koz.        


why is your aisc so high this first half


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc.  2021 AISC on average for the first half expected to be higher than the 2H 2021 because per the recent Company release 2021 production profile is weighted towards the second half of the year, with part of the KE pit to be mined out this period and focus to move to Komana West (“KW”) pit where higher grades are lower in the orebody which are not expected to be accessed until the latter part of 2021 onwards.


Can you explain your relationship with Capital Drilling at Yanfolila? What are you outsourcing to them?


We have a positive relationship with Capital Drilling who provide drilling services to us at Yanfolila, including weep hole drilling in the pits and exploration drilling (for example at Sanioumale East and Sanioumale West).


How concerned are you about political instability, particularly in Mali? What can you do to protect yourselves from turmoil?


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc. We have been operating in Mali for many years with a dedicated on site and in country security team who are constantly in touch with local and federal authorities. So it is taken very seriously.  In terms of the 2020 political situation, this did not impact production but did impact logistics as boarders were shut by the surrounding country’s for ~6 weeks which coupled with extreme weather events at the time impacted our AISC costs for 2020.  See our Q3 2020 release for more details on this. Further, we would note we are in good and constant dialogue with other mining companies in Mali sharing security intel. Lastly, mining in Mali is a key part of the overall economy, with a good mining code, so is seen as an important industry for the country to look after would leave you with as well.    


Many gold mining companies don’t generate returns to shareholders through the cycle since all the cash goes back into adding ounces, often at the peak of the cycle. What stage does the company intend to return cash to shareholders?


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc.  Capital management initiatives are discussed at the board and senior management level.  However, while the Company is in a material growth phase with our Kouroussa Guinea project to develop and come on line in the coming years, to then double the company’s production profile, we will not being paying a dividend near team. 


Hi Ed, great presentation. Sounds a great investment. You were very convincing. How much skin in the game do you have? How many shares have you bought?


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc.  Details on individual shareholdings other than directors are not disclosed, however all senior management have the clear objective of delivering long term shareholder value.


Are you concerned about the recently reported outbreak of Ebola in the region?


Thank you for your query and interest in Hummingbird Resources Plc.  We monitor health risks constantly in the region and even more so since the outbreak of Covid-19 early last year, so is something we are very aware of.  Currently the recent Ebola breakout looks to have been controlled by government health authorities and not impacting us in the region, however as said something constantly being monitored.  Further, we use remote healthcare experts.



Mello Soap Box

Barry Gamble takes to the Mello Soap Box to tell us what prompted his recently published letter in the Financial Times “Don’t let governance guard down in IPO razzmatazz”

Chairman, The NED City Debates.  As well as being a private investor, Barry is an experienced board director.  He has led an AIM IPO, secondary fundraising, including working with The Takeover Panel, and an AIM de-admission.Through a role as Senior Advisor at Boudicca Proxy he also has experience of  activists, institutions and corporate boards in shareholder engagement and activist scenarios.

Alongside board advisory and non-executive roles he regularly writes and speaks about the challenge of board best practice working with a range of organisations and media outlets.The letters columns of the Financial Times have published a number of his views on board best practice and corporate governance. He was Editor-at- Large at BoardRoom magazine.

MelloBASH (Buy, Avoid, Sell, Hold)

Stephen is an Investment Director at Stellar Asset Management, responsible for running their AIM IHT fund. He believes in trying to give back to the investor community, having delivered keynote addresses at past Mello conferences.

Kevin is a full-time professional Investor and a part-time business consultant.  He began his City career in 1993, training as an actuary with a focus on defined benefit pension schemes. In 1997 he moved over to Investment Banking, joining a structured finance team that developed bespoke financial solutions, and provided debt finance, for large corporates. Kevin has always been a keen small cap investor looking after his family’s portfolios and trading on both the long and the short side of markets. He is one of the more sceptical panel members and likes to see proof that demonstrates management’s claims before investing in a management team.

Bruce has a degree in Theology from Durham University and passed all 3 CFA exams.  He now writes a weekly commentary for Sharepad / Sharescope and invests his own money. In his spare time, he owns a craft beer bar in Berlin (Kaschk), plays beach volleyball.

Bruce covered UK banks as a sell side research analyst from 2000-2013 working for various investment banks and stockbrokers (eg Credit Suisse, Société Générale, Seymour Pierce) before that management consultancy.  Some of his published UK bank research is available here https://brucepackard.com/research

I’m looking for compounding investments  

I started off in Leisure – a part of the market I still love, but an area where stocks can appear “cheap” for years without going anywhere. It made me realise that valuation is only one part of the puzzle. 

Now I sift through a much broader universe of stocks in search of small, high quality operators with large addressable markets, strong and maintainable margins, and clear share price catalysts.