News blog

AIM 50 Digest 21 January 2022

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 24/01/2022 |

ASOS (ASC) is planning to obtain a premium listing by the end of February. In its trading statement for the first four months of the financial year it said it was preparing a prospectus for approval by the FCA.
Trading in the first four months of the financial year was in line with expectations. Sales were 2% ahead and full year pre-tax profit guidance is maintained at £110m-£140m. UK and US sales were better than expected. The other markets did not do as well through a combination of lockdowns and delivery problems. The US could also have done better without the delivery problems. Sales through Nordstrom have gone well.
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Legal and professional services provider company Knights Group Holdings (KGH) generated organic growth of 9% in the six months to October 2021, although this was against weak comparatives at the height of lockdown in 2020. Management is set to step up acquisition activity.
Overall revenues increased by 29% to £59.7m including contributions from acquisitions. Underlying pre-tax profit was 26% ahead at £7.6m. An interim dividend of 1.46p a share is being paid. Net debt was £23.3m at the end of October 2021.
Knights has broadened its range of services, by offering debt advisory. management is confident that the second half trading will be strong even though the comparatives are much tougher. 
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Residential rental and student accommodation properties developer Watkin Jones (WJG) reported pre-tax profit improved from £45.8m to £51.1m in the year to September 2021. Total dividend is 8.2p a share. Demand for buy to rent property developments remains high from both institutions and potential renters. Student accommodation demand remains strong, but the main growth will be coming from buy to rent and affordable housing developments.
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Triley Bidco has increased its bid for Clinigen (CLIN) from 883p a share to 925p a share and that values the pharma services company at £1.2bn. Clinigen shareholders have received a 5.46p a share dividend since the original bid was made. The higher bid reflects the potential for the services business and the drugs in development. 
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Frontier Developments (FDEV) reported an increase in interim revenues from £36.9m to £49.1m, but it slumped into loss. Net cash was £33.6m at the end of November 2021. Revenues in December were the highest ever for that month. Two games should be delivered by the end of May.
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Ceres Power (CWR) expects 2021 revenues to be £31.5m and there is still £250m in the bank. Discussions concerning a Chinese joint venture are continuing.
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Audio visual products distributor Midwich Group (MIDW) says that 2021 revenues were in excess of £850m, while pre-tax profit will be at least £31.5m. Full year figures will be announced on 8 March. Adjusted net debt was £57m at the end of 2021. Midwich acquired a 65% stake in video security products distributor Cooper Projects for £8.6m.
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Healthcare IT systems supplier EMIS (EMIS) achieved an outcome for 2021 that was ahead of the top end of estimates. Net cash is £64m. EMIS upgraded its earnings forecast by 2% to 53.9p a share. After the year end, EMIS acquired Edenbridge Health for £4m. Edenbridge software provides real-time information for GPs. This leaves plenty of cash for further acquisitions.
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Oil and gas company Serica Energy (SQZ) had £218.4m in cash at the end of 2021 thanks to higher gas prices and production. This year Serica Energy will retain 100%, rather than 60%, of the net cash flow from the BKR fields.
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Alaska-focused oil and gas company Pantheon Resources (PANR) has received a permit to drill Theta West #1. The ice road to Theta West is under construction.
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Soft drinks maker Nichols (NICL) says that Vimto continues to gain market share, while the out of home division recovered, but it is still 31% lower than 2019. Revenues were £144.3m in 2021, while pre-tax profit will be between £21m and £22m. There is £56.7m in the bank.
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Gamma Communications (GAMA) says 2021 trading was at the upper end of expectations. Net cash was £49.5m at the end of 2021.
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Central Asia Metal (CAML) reported 2021 zinc production of 22,200 tonnes and lead production of 29,700 tonnes, which were below the guidance ranges, although higher prices offset this. Copper production was 1% ahead at 14,000 tonnes. VSA forecasts 2021 net income of $76.3m, rising to $82.6m in 2022.
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Textile and workwear services provider Johnson Service Group (JSG) reassured the market that volumes in November and December were in line with expectations, although there was a dip in the last two weeks of 2021. The hotel and catering volumes were 60% in the last two weeks of the year. Energy costs are rising, although 80% of consumption has been fixed. Overall trading was ahead of expectations and there should be further recovery in 2022. A 2021 pre-tax profit of approaching £7m could be achieved with a bounce back to £46m in 2022.
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Alliance Pharma (APH) increased statutory revenues by 26% to £163.2m. Organic growth was 12%. The main growth was in the consumer healthcare business, while a recovery in in routine treatments enabled the prescription medicine business to return to growth. Pre-tax profit will be well ahead of expectations thanks to strong sales of scar treatment Kelo-Cote. Lack of acquisition activity helped net debt to fall £22.3m to £87.1m.
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MP Evans (MPE) is paying a special dividend of 5p a share. The oil palm crop increased by 13% in 2021 and crude palm oil production was 15% higher, which is slightly better than expected. finnCap upgraded its 2021 pre-tax profit forecast by 18% to $90.8m thanks to higher palm oil price. Net debt is expected to be $10m.
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Secure Income REIT (SIR) has maintained its quarterly property income distribution at 3.95p a share. The company collected 100% of rents in the fourth quarter of 2021. Prior arrears are 0.04% of the rent roll. Smart Metering Systems (SMS) is paying a second interim dividend of 6.875p a share.
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Polar Capital Holdings (POLR) increased assets under management from £20.9bn to £24.3bn in the nine months to December 2021. The net performance fee profit for the period was £4.3m. Non-exec chairman David Lamb bought 45,000 shares at 686p each, non-exec Andrew Ross bought 30,000 shares at 665p each, chief executive Gavin Rochussen bought 20,000 shares at 699.88p each. Impax Asset Management (IPX) increased funds under management from £37.2bn to £41.4bn in the quarter to December 2021. Wealth management adviser Brooks Macdonald (BRK) had £17.3bn under management at the end of 2021. Profit is ahead of the same time last year.
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Big Technologies (BIG) chief technology officer Charles Lewinton bought 20,000 shares at an average price of 315p each. This was his first purchase. The July 2021 placing price was 200p. FD Technologies (FDP) chief executive bought 5,700 shares at 1735p each and finance director Ryan Preston acquired 1,140 shares at 1740p a share.

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