3 unmissable small-caps? Independent Oil & Gas plc, Tern plc and Belvoir Lettings plc

Are these 3 smaller companies buys or sells? Independent Oil & Gas plc (LON: IOG), Tern plc (LON: TERN) and Belvoir Lettings plc (LON: BLV)

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Shares in Independent Oil & Gas (LSE: IOG) have risen by around 6% today after it released a positive update regarding its Skipper appraisal well in the North Sea. It now plans to commence drilling of the appraisal well in July following previous delays due to challenging operating conditions within the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, Independent Oil & Gas now expects to drill with a significantly reduced estimated duration and cost.

Clearly, this is good news for the company and investors have reacted positively to the update. Today’s share price rise takes Independent Oil & Gas’ capital gains since the turn of the year to 27%, with at least some of those gains being due to a higher oil price.

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Looking ahead, there is further potential for gains if the oil price rises, although the supply/demand imbalance which has been present in recent years looks set to persist in the short term at least. Therefore, buying smaller exploration plays remains relatively high risk, although Independent Oil & Gas may be of interest to long term, less risk averse investors.

Also rising today are shares in Belvoir Lettings (LSE: BLV), with the property specialist announcing the acquisition of Northwood GB Limited for a total consideration of up to £22m. With Northwood being the largest remaining independent UK lettings franchise which operates 86 outlets nationwide, Belvoir will be the largest property franchise group in the UK upon completion of the deal.

To fund the acquisition, Belvoir is conducting a placing to raise gross proceeds of up to £2.5m. The deal appears to be a logical one for Belvoir and fits in with its multi-brand strategy to grow both organically and through acquisitions.

With Belvoir forecast to increase its bottom line by 12% this year and 9% next year, it appears to be performing well even without the acquisition of Northwood. And with greater diversity and increased resilience during what could prove to be a relatively challenging period for the UK property sector, buying Belvoir now seems to be a sound move for long term, less risk averse investors.

Meanwhile, investment specialist Tern (LSE: TERN) has also been engaging in M&A activity of late, with it announcing the purchase of Flexiant Limited last month. It is a provider of cloud management software for cloud orchestration for on-demand, fully automated provisioning of cloud services. The deal has been paid for through the issue of 8m new ordinary shares in Tern and with its shares rising by 13% in the last month, investor sentiment in the business seems to be improving.

Clearly, the cloud and internet of things spaces have considerable long term appeal and could allow Tern to deliver rising profitability over the coming years. However, with it being a loss-making entity last year and there being other options within that space, it may be prudent to await further news flow and improved financial performance before piling in.

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