News blog

AIM 50 Digest 9 December 2022

  • BY: Andrew Hore |
  • POSTED: 11/12/2022 |

Identity data services provider GB Group (GBG) reported flat underlying operating profit of £28.1m on a 23% increase in revenues to £133.8m in the six months to September 2022. This includes a full contribution from Acuant, which is now completely integrated. There was weakness in cryptocurrency and internet volumes. The location division improved its profit contribution, while fraud and identity divisions made a lower contribution as the additional costs from acquisitions offset revenues growth. Net debt was £132.6m at the end of September 2022.
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Floorcoverings and tiles manufacturer Victoria (VCP) reported a 7.7% increase in like-for-like interim revenues even though the UK and Europe floorcoverings division, which accounts for more than 50% of group revenues, was flat. The other divisions all grew in double digits and Victoria is increasing its market share. This organic growth was supplemented by acquisitions. In the six months to September 2022, total revenues were 59% ahead at £776m, while operating profit moved from £58.6m to £61.1m. This excludes exceptional items, including a credit because the Balta acquisition was made for below asset value. The raw materials price has eased, and shipping costs have also reduced. Peel Hunt has trimmed its full year pre-tax profit forecast from £78.3m to £73.3m because of higher interest rates.
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Numis Corporation (NUM) full year revenues fell by one-third to £144.2m, while pre-tax profit fell by more than two-thirds to £20.9m. Revenues from corporate retainers were flat and M&A advisory fees rose. There was a large slump in capital markets fees due to a lack of flotations. The previous year there was a profit on investment activity, but last year there was a loss.
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Impax Asset Management (IPX) assets under management fell by 4% to £35.7bn to the end of September 2022, but it has subsequently recovered. Operating profit improved from £55.8m to £67.4m. The total dividend was raised from 20.6p a share to 27.6p a share.
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Aquaculture company Benchmark (BMK) made good progress in 2021-22 with each of its divisions growing revenues and the group generating £10.8m in cash from operations. Net debt excluding leases was reduced from £56.9m to £47.5m. All salmon egg production from the new Iceland facility was sold in the fourth quarter. A share issue in Norway will raise £13.2m at the equivalent of around 37.5p a share and that will provide liquidity for the proposed Euronext Growth Oslo flotation as well as further reducing net debt.
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Weakening mortgage markets are hitting the revenues of Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB1) with October and November volumes 50% below expectations. Weak volumes are expected to continue into next year. The network members are reducing the number of advisers employed and new hiring has slowed. Market share continues to increase, and it has reached 7%. The 2022 pre-tax profit will be slightly below the previous expectation of £28.9m at £27m and the 2023 figure could be similar.
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North Sea oil and gas producer Serica Energy (SQZ) says that the North Eigg exploration well has not encountered commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. The well cost around £13m. Serica increased production to 28,977 barrels of oil equivalent/day in November and the full year average should be above 26,000 barrels of oil equivalent/day.
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Peel Hunt has cut its 2022 pre-tax profit forecast for oil palm plantations operator MP Evans (MPE) because crude palm oil prices have fallen during the second half. The forecast pre-tax profit has been cut from $120.9m to $100.9m, although the dividend is still expected to be 48 cents a share.
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WH Ireland has trimmed its James Halstead (JHD) earnings per share forecast by 2%. Demand is still stronger than last year, but cost pressures, particularly energy price rises, will hamper profit progress. There was also a strike at the Radcliffe facility. The 2022-23 earnings are expected to slip to 9.4p a share.
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Video games services provider Keywords Studios (KWS) is acquiring video games digital support provider for up to $75m, and there should be plenty of cross-selling opportunities. Annual revenues are $20m.
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Engineering services provider Renew Holdings (RNWH) increased its full year dividend by 6% to 17p a share. There was net cash of £20.2m at the end of September 2022 and £15.6m of that cash is being spent on Enisca, which provides services in the water sector. This deal should be immediately earnings enhancing and adds to the revenues generated from long-term contracts for maintenance and other non-discretionary spending for sectors such as water, nuclear, highways and rail. This year pre-tax profit should improve from £58.2m to £61.5m this year.
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ITM Power (ITM) chief executive Dr Graham Cooley has stepped down and left the company. The electrolysers developer has delayed a trading statement until January to enable new chief executive Dennis Sculz.
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A reservoir modelling report from Schlumberger commissioned by Pantheon Resources (PANR) reported oil in place estimates for Alkaid, Theta West and Talitha of 1.67 billion barrels, 10.9 billion barrels and 5.26 billion barrels respectively. This is lower than the company’s previous estimates.
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Savannah Energy (SAVE) has completed the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s assets in Chad and Cameroon one year after the deal was signed. Readmission of the shares after the reverse takeover should happen on 13 December.
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Budget airline and tour operator Jet2 (JET2) executive chairman Philip Meeson sold 625,000 shares at 1003p each and 1.375 million at 990p each. He still owns 18.3% of the company.
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Kestrel Opportunities has acquired a further 1.86 million shares in CentralNic (CNC) taking its stake to 22.55%. It has also increased it stake in IDOX (IDOX) to 10%.
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FW Thorpe (TFW) non-exec Anthony Cooper sold 7,500 shares at 424p each. LBG Media (LBG) chief executive Solly Solomou acquired 900,000 shares at 51p each, taking his stake to nearly 42%.
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Pan African Resources (PAF) has launched a sustainability-linked bond in the South African market.
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Abcam (ABC) leaves AIM on 14 December.

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