News blog

AIM 50 Digest 27 August 2021

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 30/08/2021 |

Electrical and power accessories supplier Volex (VLX) is paying $16.4m for Irvine Electronics, a US-based electronics company. This broadens the range of products that Volex can offer in North America, particularly in terms of printed circuit board assemblies. The deal still requires regulatory approval in the US and is expected to complete by the end of 2021. Irvine generated 2020 revenues of $26.6m and pre-tax profit of $9.6m. That does include one-off Covid-19 equipment revenues. There is still finance available for further acquisitions.
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Third quarter revenues of Benchmark (BMK) improved by 17% to £28.3m and they are 9% ahead in the nine months period at £87.8m. The aquaculture company reported a loss, but the underlying operating profit for the nine-month period was £7.3m. Advanced nutrition and genetics divisions improved their EBITDA contributions, but the health division is still lossmaking ahead of the initial sales of Ectosan in the fourth quarter. It will take time to build up the sales of Ectosan. Net debt was £52.7m at the end of June 2021. Benchmark could make an underlying pre-tax profit next year.
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Smart Metering Systems (SMS) has gained a new metering contract covering at least 400,000 smart meters. A 50MW grid-scale battery project has been added to the pipeline, taking the secured pipeline to 240MW.
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Growth is accelerating at marketing services provider Next Fifteen Communications (NFC). It generated 40% year-on-year growth in the second quarter – 29% organic. This is better than expected. Growth came from all parts of the business. The interim growth was 31% - 23% organic. Net cash was £5m at the end of July 2021.
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MP Evans (MPE) has opened its fifth palm oil mill in East Kalimantan. This should obtain sustainability certification by the end of 2022. Planting has been restarted at the Musi Rawas estate.
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Silence Therapeutics (SLN) generated nearly £14m of cash from operating activities, thanks to a $40m upfront payment from AstraZeneca, and there was £81.2m of cash at the end of June 2021, following a £30.8m fundraising.
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IQE (IQE) is issuing 2.6 million shares and paying £3m in cash for the 4% of IQE Taiwan id does not own.
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AFC Energy (AFC) has delivered its first hydrogen fuel cell system to ABB in Estonia. The system will be integrated with ABB’s high power electric vehicle charging system.
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Pan African Resources (PAF) has concluded wage negotiations with the National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa. The three year deal provides an average annual wage increase of 5.6%.
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Warehouse REIT (WHR) has completed four acquisitions at a total cost of £13.1m since late May. It has also completed 20 new lettings generating £600,000 of annual rent. Total occupancy is 94.2%.
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Keywords Studios (KWS) has acquired AMC RO Studio, which takes it into the art services market in eastern Europe. The cost of the Romania-based company is €2.8m. 
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New RWS (RWS) chief executive Ian El-Mokadem has purchased a further 10,000 shares at 616.8p each. Executive chairman Dr Miroslav Reljanovic has reduced his stake in Ergomed (ERGO) from 22.3% to 19.8% by selling 1.2 million shares at £12 each, rasing £14.4m, and finance director Richard Barfield sold 50,000 shares at £12 each. This was to satisfy investor demand.

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