News blog

AIM 50 Digest 24 June 2022

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 26/06/2022 |

Online wine retailer Naked Wine (WINE) reported a £3m pre-tax profit for the year to March 2022, but it is set to fall back into loss this year. There is a concern that economic uncertainty and inflation mean that ending a Naked Wine subscription could become a way of saving money. Last year, repeat customer sales retention fell from 88% to 80% and it is lower than the year before the pandemic. The five-year forecast payback of the investment in acquiring new customers has declined from 2.6 times to 1.5 times. The year one payback has declined from 82% to 68%. 
Peel Hunt has downgraded its 2022-23 expectations from a £1.3m pre-tax profit to a £6.9m loss, even though revenues are forecast to improve from £350.3m to £375.2m, which is at the higher end of the guidance range. The balance sheet is strong with £39.8m in the bank even though inventories were increased from £76m to £142m.
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Healthcare IT provider EMIS (EMIS) is recommending a 1925p a share cash bid from Optum UK, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Ltd. This values EMIS at £1.24bn and the offer is around 32 times prospective 2022 earnings. The bid is more than one-quarter above the previous share price high last year. Optum UK already provides healthcare software and services to the NHS.
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Interim figures from CareTech Holdings (CTH) show relatively flat revenues and a small dip in underlying pre-tax profit from £33.6m to £32.2m due to cost pressures. Net debt was £278.3m at the end of March 2022. There is no interim dividend is being paid because of the current bid discussions.
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The Next Fifteen Communications (NFC) share price has slumped since the bid for advertising agency M&C Saatchi (SAA) was announced. Next Fifteen is offering 0.1637 of one of its shares and 40p in cash for each Saatchi share. At a Next Fifteen share price of 1266p, the bid was valued at 247.2p a share. The Next Fifteen share price has fallen to 912p, which values the bid at 189p a share. Next Fifteen says that trading continues to be strong, helped by a strengthening dollar, and profit is ahead of expectations. First quarter revenues were 68% higher at £130m, with organic growth of 37%.
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Identification services provider GB Group (GBG) reported 2021-22 figures in line with expectations, but it is cautious about the outlook for this year. Underlying pre-tax profit edged up from £56.7m to £57.1m. There are strong first half comparisons, but Peel Hunt has maintained its 2022-23 pre-tax profit forecast at £69.4m, but that means flat earnings of 20.3p a share. Numis has been appointed as nominated adviser and as joint broker with Barclays. Chairman David Rasche acquired 11,940 shares for 415p a share and finance director David Ward bought 10,000 shares, also for 415p each. 
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Power products supplier Volex (VLX) reported a 39% increase in 2021-22 revenues to $614.6m. Organic growth was 19%. Underlying pre-tax profit rose 24% to $51.4m. Net debt increased from $27.3m to $95.3m. The dividend is 9% higher at 3.6p a share. There are high levels of consumer demand in the new financial year.
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Smart Metering Systems (SMS) has acquired a 25% stake in Clenergy EV, a charge point software platform, and 100% of smart meter data software company n3rgy Data for an initial £1.4m. These investments will enhance the existing meter asset business and n3rgy Data software will be integrated with the company’s existing data and software assets. The Clenergy EV stake cost £2m and for a further £2m it could acquire a further 26%.
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Oil palm plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) says changes to the Indonesian tax and levy regime for up until the end of July mean that the levy payable by the company will decrease by up to $87/tonne, although that depends on the palm oil price. From the beginning of August, there will be other changes so there will be a lower reduction of up to $47/tonne. Mill gate prices have been around $750/tonne.
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Savannah Energy (SAVE) says 80%-owned Accugas Ltd has started selling gas to First Independent Power Ltd’s Trans Amadi power plant in Nigeria.
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Learning Technology Group (LTG) finance director Kath Kearney-Croft bought 73,850 shares at an average price of 121.8678p a share and 8,354 shares for her daughter at 119.7p a share.
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Polar Capital (POLR) is reporting its results on 27 June. Polar Capital funds have taken a 5.04% stake in SigmaRoc (SRC) and increased the stake in Watkin Jones (WJG) from 4.98% to 5.14%. 
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Young and Co (YNGA) people director Tracy Dodd sold 1,240 shares at 1288p each and a further 1,240 shares at 1230p each in order to cover a tax liability. 
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Warehouse REIT (WHR) has published a placing programme prospectus prior to the move to the premium list on 11 July.

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