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AIM 50 Digest 6 October 2023

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 09/10/2023 |

WH Ireland has downgraded its 2023-24 revenues forecast for James Halstead (JHD) following the 2022-23 results. However, the pre-tax profit forecast has been maintained. A small improvement from £52.1m to £52.6m is expected, but the higher tax rate will mean earnings will dip to 9.7p/share. The focus is on higher margin business.
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In the six months to August 2023, Vertu Motors (VTU) revenues were 21% ahead at £2.42bn. There was a small dip in gross margin to 11%, but operating profit was one-third higher at £41.4m. The Helston acquisition pushed Vertu Motors net debt to £90.7m, and that meant that the interest charge was higher, so pre-tax profit grew 12% to £31.5m. The interim dividend is 21% higher at 0.85p/share. Net tangible assets of 70.9p/share.
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Next 15 Group (NFG) interims show a 5% increase in revenues to £286.4m, but pre-tax profit dipped 8% to £55.6m. The interim dividend was raised 5% to 4.75p/share. There are plans to buy back up to £30m of shares. AI will provide long-term opportunities.
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Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB1) increased interim revenues by 22% to £117.5m, thanks to the acquisition of Fluent, but underlying pre-tax profit was one-quarter lower at £8.8m because the cost base has been built up for expected growth. The interim dividend is maintained at 13.4p/share. Market conditions have got tougher in the third quarter. A full year pre-tax profit of at least £22m is expected.
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Defence company Cohort (CHRT) says first quarter revenues and profit are in line with expectations and the order book is worth £370m, which covers 93% of forecast revenues.
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RWS (RWS) has acquired South Africa-based STComs Language Specialists. This is the first foothold for RWS in Africa.
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Medical devices developer Niox Group (NIOX) increased interim revenues by 21% to £18.8m, while operating profit improved from £600,000 to £2.9m. Cash was £23.8m at the end of June 2023. Since then, a second payment of $3.5m has been made by partner Beyond Air.
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Victorian Plumbing (VIC) increased full year revenues by 6% and profitability has improved. The new warehouse is on course to be opened in 2024.
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Floorcoverings supplier Victoria (VCP) has stressed that there has been no wrong-doing at its small subsidiary Hanover Flooring, which has incomplete accounting records. Controls have subsequently been improved and all money accounted for. Integration projects should add more than £20m to annualised profit. Demand is stable and margins are improving. The group credit rating is maintained at BB-.
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Engineering services provider Renew Holdings (RNWH) says full year figures will be ahead of expectations. Analysts edged up pre-tax profit to £62m. Net cash should be above £24m at the end of September 2023.
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Alliance Pharma (APH) improved interim revenues from £81.6m to £82.4m, but pre-tax profit fell from £19.7m to £10.3m, partly down to higher interest costs. Destocking in China and manufacturing problems hampered progress in the first half. The second half should be much better.
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Learning Technologies Group (LTG) has been hit by one-off integration issues in the first half, but these are resolved. Interim revenues were 2% ahead at £284.6m, while operating profit was 1% lower at £43.1m. Net debt was £108.4m at the end of June 2023. The interim dividend is maintained at 0.45p/share.

Young and Co’s Brewery (YNGA) says like-for-like revenues were 6.8% higher in the first 13 weeks of the financial year.
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accesso Technology (ACSO) is spending up to £4m on buying back shares.
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New chair Liz Shanahan and her husband have bought 50,341 shares in Advanced Medical Solutions (AMS) at 198.64p each. Smart Metering Systems (SMS) director Tim Mortlock acquired 8,169 shares at 612p each.

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