News blog

AIM 50 Digest 19 November 2021

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 21/11/2021 |

GB Group (GBG) raised £305m at 725p a share so that it could fund the acquisition of US identity verification business Acuant for £547m, including £87m in shares. This boosts the company’s position in the US and provides cross-selling opportunities. There was already a relationship between the two companies. Acuant generated revenues of $58.1m in the year to September 2021, while operating profit was $11.4m.
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Naked Wines (WINE) continues to gain market share, but momentum has slowed, and availability is being hampered by supply chain problems. Repeat customers spent 21% more, but Naked Wines was not as successful in attracting new customers as it was in lockdown, although that is not a surprise. Interim revenues edged up from £157.1m to £159.3m, although it did move into profit during the period. A full year loss is still anticipated.
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Interim revenues nearly trebled at Young & Co’s Brewery (YNGA) as its pubs reopened in the period to the end of September 2021. The company also returned to profit and net debt fell by one-third to £140.3m. The interim dividend is 8.55p a share. Third quarter managed like-for-like pub revenues were 3% ahead.
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Forecasts had already been upgraded prior to the DotDigital (DOTD) full year figures of the digital marketing business, which were in line with expectations. Revenues grew by 23% to £58.1m and 93% of those revenues are recurring. Nearly one-third of revenues are outside of the UK. There was £32m in cash at the end of June 2021. Pre-tax profit is forecast to improve from £13.6m to £14.1m in 2021-22.
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Blue Prism (PRSM) is providing SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc with information to enable it to decide whether it will make a 1200p a share bid. Vista Equity Partners has bid 1125p a share and that was recommended by the robotic software company. Blue Prism had total bookings of £221m in its recent financial year. Annualised recurring revenues are £179m.
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Jet2 (JET2) revenues are recovering but it is a slow process, and the loss has increased. Interim revenues were 43% ahead at £429.6m, while the loss jumped from £119.3m to £205.8m. Capacity increased but percentage usage declined. Jet2 had £1.46bn of its own cash in the bank on 14 November 2021. Further losses are expected in the second half. Bookings are improving and trading levels could be heading back to the pre-Covid position. Executive chairman Philip Meeson sold 1.55 million shares at 1113.89p each and 450,000 shares at 1050p, while the Philip Meeson 2019 Settlement sold 500,000 shares at 1050p a share.
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Electrical accessories and power products supplier Volex (VLX) interim revenues grew by 45% to $292.7m, while underlying pre-tax profit was one-fifth ahead at $25.4m. The interim dividend is 9% higher at 1.2p a share. Net cash was $21.8m in early October 2021. There is a strong order book and acquisitions will make contributions in the second half. Supply chain risks are being managed.
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ABB has ordered a S series fuel cell system from AFC Energy (AFC). The contract is valued at £4m and the first payment of £2m is payable immediately. ABB is subscribing £4m for AFC warrants exercisable at 58.8p a share. AFC non-exec chairman Gary Bullard has bought 20,000 shares at 59.87p a share and 25,000 shares at 58.38p each.
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Lighting products manufacturer FW Thorpe (TFW) says trading is marginally ahead of expectations and orders are significantly higher than the same period last year. There is a shortage of LED drivers and other components and that is hampering sales growth, which means it will be difficult to beat last year’s results.
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Floorcoverings supplier James Halstead (JHD) says revenues in the initial four months of the financial year are ahead of the same period last year. Demand from the hospitality sector is improving. Supply chain problems are being navigated. A full year pre-tax profit of £52m is forecast.
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Polar Capital (POLR) says two sets of preference shares held by the Polar Capital healthcare team and the lead manager of the Global Convertible Bond Fund are being crystallised. They will no longer receive a share of their unit’s operating profit as well as less in performance fees following this. The combined impact will be to add around 2.2p a share to earnings.
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Warehouse REIT (WHR) increased NAV from 135.1p a share to 152.4p a share at the end of September 2021. Non-exec Aimee Pitman bought 37,360 shares at 160.6p each.
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Silence Therapeutics (SLN) is leaving AIM on 29 November. There was £71.5m of cash at the end of September 2021.
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FD Technologies (FDP) has appointed JP Morgan as joint broker.
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Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB1) deputy chief executive Ben Thompson sold 55,000 shares at 1333p each. Learning Technologies Group (LTG) non-exec Leslie-Ann Reid bought 134,417 shares at 186p each. Fevertree Drinks (FEVR) acquired 7,630 shares at 2489p each. 

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