Small Cap Awards 2023: Aquis Company Of The Year

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Small Cap Awards 2023: Aquis Company Of The Year

The Small Cap Awards is an annual opportunity to recognise outstanding achievement focused on smaller quoted companies.

The Awards ceremony will take place on the 15th June 2023 at The Montcalm Hotel in Central London. The Awards celebrate companies and participants in the sub-£350m market cap quoted company sector on January 1st 2022 or on first day of listing across various categories.

Since it started in mid-2012, the Small Cap Club has successfully enabled leaders and participants in the small-cap sector to meet regularly, based on the premise that meeting people builds trust and creates new areas of thinking and opportunity, and the regular networking events have gone from strength to strength.

This year the Small Cap Awards, in association with Master Investor, are delighted to announce support from Network sponsors Hill Dickinson LLP, a leading international commercial law firm and headline sponsors, haysmacintyre, an award winning firm of chartered accountants and tax advisors who were supporting the awards for the first time this year. Further, valuable support was provided by Aquis, one of only two regulated equity exchanges in the UK, Guild Financial Advisors, an independent corporate finance advisory business, Share Registrars, a CREST enabled registrar, InfinitX, helping transform the growth potential of private companies and The Investor Relations Society, the UK’s professional body for investor relations practitioners. The awards are organised by Master Investor, which specialises in connecting companies and investors.

The shortlist has been selected by a judging panel comprised of leaders in the Small Cap sector and is Chaired by Gervais Williams, Head of Equities at Premier Miton Investors. The full judging panel, award categories and shortlisted companies can be viewed here: 2023 Awards.

The Nominees for Aquis Company Of The Year are as follows:


Equipmake is a UK-based engineering specialist with over 20 years’ experience developing and producing industry-leading electrification products for the automotive, bus and aerospace sectors.

Since its debut on the Aquis Stock Exchange raising £10 million in July 2022, and admission to the Apex segment of Aquis in December 2022, Equipmake has experienced strong growth and made excellent progress.

At the forefront of the transition from fossil-fuelled to zero-emission powertrains, Equipmake has emerged as a leader in the production of ultra-high-performance electric motors, electric vehicle (EV) drivetrains and ultra-fast power electronic systems.

Under the leadership of CEO Ian Foley, a highly experienced engineer with a background in global motorsports, including Le Mans and Formula 1, the Company has invested heavily in developing a team of highly skilled engineers and continues to expand its state-of-the-art facilities in Snetterton, Norfolk.

As an early adopter of the electrification process, Equipmake began researching electric motors in the early 2000s, in anticipation of a shift towards hybrid powertrains in Formula 1 motor racing. Since then, the Company has pioneered the development of electric drivetrains, establishing itself as an industry innovator.

Over the past decade, Equipmake has made substantial investments in research and development, positioning itself to meet the growing demand for its proprietary technology, EV consultancy services, and production of fully bespoke solutions. In January 2023, the Company raised £6.23 million to further develop and capitalise on its pipeline of opportunities.

Driven by the global movement towards electrification and sustainability, there is an ever-increasing demand for the comprehensive range of electrification products and services that Equipmake provides. The Company is capitalising on this shift toward sustainable transport, particularly as a global leader in the repowering of buses, notably, the recent all-electric repowering of a new Routemaster which is now in service and working with First Bus to upgrade its fleet.

Alongside its success in the bus repowering sector, Equipmake is expanding its offerings, both in terms of markets and geographies. It has entered the electrified aerospace sector, supplying state-of-the-art electric motors and inverters to Gilmour Space Technologies’ rocket project and Vertical Aerospace’s EVTOL, as well as partnering electric aircraft developer H55 on its electric trainer aircraft project. These ventures highlight Equipmake’s commitment to leading technological advancements in various sectors, which also include a hypercar project and the electrification of fire trucks in the USA.

Equipmake is also fostering strong commercial relationships and new partnerships. These include receiving a £1.6 million grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to support the development of a hydrogen fuel-cell for electric vehicles and recently entering a licensing agreement with Sona Comstar, a $3.5 billion global automotive systems and components manufacturer based in India, which will manufacture and sell some Equipmake EV products and technology in Asian markets.

With an unwavering commitment to British engineering excellence and innovation, Equipmake continues to thrive by seeking new opportunities worldwide. The Company is poised to make a lasting impact as it helps drives the adoption of electric transportation solutions for a greener, more sustainable, future.

National Milk Records

NMR plc is the leading agri-tech supplier of management information and testing services to the UK dairy supply chain, developing technology used to inform farming efficiency and animal welfare, and to evidence food provenance. NMR collects a milk sample from every dairy farm in Great Britain every day, positioning it as a highly respected and present voice across the breadth of the national dairy sector. NMR’s success has been largely driven by strong collaborative relationships with key industry players, including dairy farmers, vets, milk processors, third party suppliers, and retailers such as Tesco and Sainsburys.

Chapel Down

Chapel Down is the market leading English wine brand with the highest brand awareness, the broadest distribution, and a strong direct-to-consumer business that includes significant and growing wine tourism revenues. Our consumers are looking for premium drinks brands that are exciting, fresh and have real provenance. That is Chapel Down.

Our talented winemakers produce world-class sparkling and still wines from grapes grown on the chalky terroir in the Southeast of England. Our Head Winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire was announced as the winner of the ‘Best English Wine’ category in the Drinks Business ‘Master Winemaker 100 Awards 2022’.

Regularly receiving international accolades, our multi award-winning wines are sold direct to consumers through our e-commerce business and to retail partners, including Waitrose, M&S, Selfridges and Harrods, as well as leading bars, restaurants and hotels in the UK and internationally. Our leadership of the English wine category is reflected by our 33% share in the UK Off Trade in 2022. (Nielson, MAT Dec 22)

The Chapel Down winery, is based in the picturesque market town of Tenterden in Kent, boasts excellent visitor facilities and welcomed 65,000 visitors in 2022.

We believe investing in Chapel Down should be rewarding and fun and are delighted to offer our shareholders a unique range of benefits available at our winery estate, and online.  

2022/23 was clearly a strong year for the company, to what do you attribute your success?

We are delighted with the progress that we have made over the last 12 months in further developing our position as the number one and most celebrated English winemaker.

In 2022 we continued Chapel Down’s long, sustained record of growth with Net Sales Revenue (NSR), increasing by 10% to £15.6m. As we grow revenues, we are also driving the premiumisation of our brand and product range which allows us to build profitability further.

Our average selling prices (ASP) to our customers grew by 19% in the year. This increase is driven in part by customer prices increasing to help offset inflationary cost pressures, but more significantly by a changing mix of sales as we focus on the sale of higher priced traditional method sparkling wines.

Gross profit reflected that shift in mix, increasing 21% in the year to £8.5m (2021: £7.0m) and giving a step change in gross margin to 55% of NSR (2021: 49%). This increased profitability, combined with discipline on overhead costs, allows us to continue to invest strongly in marketing to grow our brand and support future profitability.

At our brand home last year, we had over 65,000 visitors, including 25,000 who enjoyed our wine tours and experiences and we continue to invest in providing an exceptional experience for our visitors and make sure they leave as ambassadors. We continued to improve our website user experience and our average order value and returning customer rate both increased significantly in 2022.

Our brand awareness was enhanced by a successful partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board as ‘Official Sparkling Wine’, sitting alongside other partnerships with a number of British Institutions across sports and the arts and bringing Chapel Down wines to new audiences across the country.

As winemakers we think not just in years but in generations. The sustainability of our operations is important to us as a business and as individuals, we are founding members of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain and the Walpole Sustainability Group.

The English wine region and consumer market continues to grow strongly and there is significant opportunity to build and develop our category leading Chapel Down brand with our customers and consumers in 2023 and beyond.

RentGuarantor Holdings Plc

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