News blog

AIM 50 Digest 19 March 2021

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 22/03/2021 |

Ceres Power (CWR) raised £181m at 1060p a share. Bosch and Weichai Power Hong Kong are both buying more shares to maintain their stakes. The cash will be used for further development of solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysis technology. In the 18 months to December 2020, revenues were £33m, although the loss increased. Ceres may move to a premium listing in the middle of 2022.
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EMIS (EMIS) is maintaining its record of increasing dividends every year. There was a 3% increase to 32p a share in 2020. Recurring revenues increased but overall revenues were unchanged at £159.5m. The company’s software is being used to organise the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
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Mixer drinks supplier Fevertree Drinks (FEVR) reported lower UK revenues in 2020, but other markets continued to grow. Off-trade business was strong, but the loss of on-trade hit pre-tax profit, which fell from £72.5m to £51.6m. Net cash improved to £143.1m. The dividend was increased by 4% to 15.68p a share.
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Smart Metering Systems (SMS) ended 2020 with index-linked annualised recurring revenues of £77m. Following the sale of meters, the underlying pre-tax profit slipped from £15.6m to £15.2m. Net cash was £40.2m. The total dividend was 25p a share and this should increase by 10% a year.
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There were large AGM votes against three Blue Prism (PRSM) directors. They are chairman and chief executive Jason Kingdon (34.5% against), deputy chairman and senior independent non-exec Chris Batterham (26% against), who has been a director for more than nine years, and non-exec Ken Lever (37.5% against). Kingdon has been a director since 2008 and, when Alastair Bathgate stepped down as chief executive, he became chairman and chief executive last year. That dual role may have upset some shareholders.
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Young and Co’s Brewery (YNGA) plans to open 140 managed pubs when the lockdown restrictions are eased on 12 April. The rest should open by the middle of May, although there will still be restrictions. There will be no dividend this year.
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Secure Income REIT (SIR) reported a decline in net tangible assets from 429.4p a share to 379.3p a share at the end of 2020. Loan-to-value is 36.4%. Dividends dipped from 16.3p a share to 15.7p a share.
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Reduced numbers of operations meant that profit halved and woundcare products supplier Advanced Medical Solutions (AMS) on a 15% reduction in revenues. There was £53.8m in cash at the end of 2020 and the dividend was increased by 10% to 1.7p a share.
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Light fittings manufacturer FW Thorpe (TFW) maintained its interim pre-tax profit at £7.4m on a small decline in revenues to £56.4m, although they were an improvement on the second half of last year. The interim dividend is being raised by 2% to 1.49p a share. There was £39.5m in cash at the end of December 2020. Trading should continue to improve in the second half.
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Life sciences products retailer Abcam (ABC) increased interim revenues from £138.2m to £147.5m and improved its gross margin. However, greater investment spending and additional Covid-19 costs meant that the underlying pre-tax profit fell from £32.8m to £221.9m. Net cash was £211.9m at the end of 2020. The year end is being changed to December so the next accounts will be for 18 months. Management believes that 2024 revenues will be between £425m and £500m. Directors have been adding to their shareholdings.
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Audio visual products distributor Midwich (MIDW) increased revenues in 2020, but that was due to full year contributions from past acquisitions. The rate of decline in organic revenues slowed to 7% in the second half. Pre-tax profit more than halved to £14.2m.
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Keywords Studios (LSE:KWS) has made its first move into Australia with the purchase of 85% of Tantalus Media for up to $46.8m.
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The bid for Scapa (SCPA) has been increased from 210p to 215p a share in cash, valuing the company at £412.6m.
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CareTech Holdings (CTH) says trading is in line with expectations. Some shareholders voted against the re-election of Karl Monaghan as a director because of the length of time he has been on the board. There were 35.6% of votes cast against Monaghan and he will be replaced as chair of the audit committee then step down. Commercial director Andrew Lee has sold 1,500 shares at 546p a share.
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Jet2 (JET2) has confirmed that it is eligible to issue up to £200m under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The company will issue the full amount of commercial paper before the end of the scheme on 22 March. On 7 March, Jet2 had £892m of its own cash. There is continued uncertain concerning the summer holiday season, but bookings are increasing.
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Frontier Developments (FDEV) non-exec Charles Cotton has raised nearly £445,000 through the sale of 17,165 shares at 2592p each.
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ITM Power (ITM) has sold a 1.4MW electrolyser to Sumitomo in Japan.
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Serica Energy (SQZ) has started drilling the latest exploration well in the Columbus area of the North Sea.

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