2.40pm: Investment company shares catch fire
It seems that mentioning your interest in cannabis these days puts a light under your share price rather than getting you a knock on the door from the Drugs Squad.
Fragrant Prosperity Ltd, a Virgin Islands-based acquisition vehicle, joined the London market with a view to buying a financial services firm. So far no deal.
But the company – whose name seems rather apt now – has said it is “broadening its investment horizon” to the medicinal cannabis and cannabidoil (CBD) wellness sectors.
The move has been prompted by the successful flotations of Kanabo Group and MGC Pharmaceuticals, which the company said had meant it had received a number of opportunities in this new field.
It said: “To date the Company has not taken these forward but the Board has decided that in addition to opportunities in the financial services sector it will begin to actively consider opportunities in medicinal cannabis and CBD Wellness and has selected UK counsel with experience in listing cannabis businesses in the UK to assist with this process. Additionally, the Company is considering appointing one or more new directors with experience in the pharmaceutical and therapeutics fields in order to assist with the evaluation of possible opportunities. The Company is in advanced discussions with several potential director candidates but no agreement has yet been reached. The Company will update the market in due course.”
And the shares? Up 1.75p or 38.89% to 6.25p.
11.17am: Property group upbeat on prospects
LSL Property Services PLC (LON.LSL) has gained ground after a positive trading update.
The residential property services group had already unveiled a strong performance for 2020 in a statement last month. But now it says the first seven weeks of 2021 have continued to see a positive financial performance. All three divisions – financial services, surveying and estate agency – have reported growth in underlying operating profits.
It has also announced new banking arrangements, with a GBP90m revolving credit facility maturing in 2024 replacing a GBP100m one due to mature in May next year. It said the move would “give the group long-term balance sheet flexibility to take advantage of a number of attractive opportunities, particularly in financial services.”
Its shares are 13p or 5.39% better at 254p.
10.13am: Vaccine specialist reports increased losses
N4 Pharma PLC (LON.N4P) has dropped sharply after reporting increased losses for the year.
The company, which is developing a delivery system for cancer and vaccine treatments using a silica nanoparticle delivery system called Nuvec, said its work had been delayed by the onset of the pandemic. However these problems had now largely been overcome.
It said it was in a strong cash position, having raised GBP4.15m during the year, but losses rose from GBP947,340 to GBP1.56m and it said 2021 would be a pivotal year for the business. It has hopes its system can be used for coronavirus vaccines, as well as other treatments. Nigel Theobald, chief executive, said: “The last 12 months have seen us make considerable progress in the dispersion and formulation work for Nuvec which will put us in a stronger position for our collaboration discussions as we continue to present our data to potential licensing partners…we are now finalising the data we feel will give third parties the confidence to explore testing of Nuvec with their own constructs and we continue to expand that dataset all the time.
“We are continuing work on other applications for Nuvec both for cancer treatment and also to explore the potential for oral delivery of vaccines. This work on oral delivery will continue in the background as there is much that needs doing to establish the potential for Nuvec in this area as no one experiment will provide a definitive conclusion either way on this potential.”commercial discussions.
After the update, N4’s shares have fallen 0.57p or 6.16% to 8.68p.
Elsewhere Card FactoryPLC (LON.CARD) continues to climb as investors await an update on its finances, adding 13.99% or 5.4p to 44p. Analyst Nick Bubb said: “With February rapidly coming to an end, the embattled Card Factory is due soon to provide a “liquidity update”, but there has been no news today, despite a big jump in the share price [on Tuesday], in heavy volume (which implied that somebody thinks that the company’s banks have been satisfied that the business can meet its new covenants).”
8.35am: Netcall says earnings should beat forecasts
Netcall PLC (LON.NET) shares are in demand after the customer engagement software firm issued an upbeat trading statement.
Half year revenues rose 9% to GBP13.4m while pretax profits climbed from GBP0.14m to GBP0.96m, boosted by strong growth in its cloud services business. Despite the effects of the pandemic, it now expects full year earnings to be higher than its previous forecasts.
Chief executive Henrik Bang said: “Netcall enjoyed a strong first half year performance delivering solid revenue and profit growth despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and traded comfortably in line with management expectations. We continued to experience robust demand from our main market segments of financial services, healthcare and government driven by cloud subscription contracts for both Intelligent Automation and Customer Engagement solutions.
“The acceleration of organisations’ digital transformation initiatives represents a significant and rapidly growing market opportunity for Netcall. Therefore, l ooking further ahead, the Board remains confident that the strength of the Group’s product offering, combined with its solid balance sheet and high levels of recurring revenue, position Netcall well for continued success.”
The news has lifted its shares 5.26% or 3.5p to 70p.
Argo Blockchain PLC(LON.ARB) has jumped 14.04% or 29.9p to 242.9p after the UK-based cryptocurrency miner said its shares would start trading today on the OTCQX market in the US.
Peter Wall, Argo chief executive, said: ” The OTCQX is the highest tier of the OTC market and we are delighted to have qualified to begin trading..This approval will give increased access to US institutional and retail investors looking to invest in the Company and provide them with the opportunity to share in Argo’s growth as the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors continue to gather momentum.”
Proactive news headlines
Angling Direct PLC (LON:ANG) said it has “maintained positive sales momentum” across its 2020 financial year despite all of its retail stores being closed for a large portion of the period due to lockdown measures introduced during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mode Global Holdings (LON:MODE) said it will deliver the first-ever demo of its payments and loyalty solution online on Thursday (Feb 25).
Greencoat UK Wind PLC (LON: UKW) said it had agreed to make acquisitions worth almost GBP100mln.
Alpha Financial Markets Consulting PLC (LON:AFM) will host a virtual capital markets presentation for institutional investors and investment analysts later today, providing greater insight on its North American and Insurance businesses and their growth potential. A copy of the presentation slides will be available on the company website after the event.
Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT, NASDAQ:AMYT) will publish its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter 2020 and full year ended December 31, 2020 on Thursday, 4 March, 2021 at midday London time (7am EST).
Franchise Brands PLC‘s (LON:FRAN) executive chairman Stephen Hemsley and chief financial officer Chris Dent will be presenting at MelloMonday on 8 March 2021, which will take place as a webinar via Zoom. They will also take questions during the event.
Scirocco Energy PLC (LON:SCIR) has made available an audiocast of its latest corporate presentation. It is available on the company’s website and via the following link: https://webcasting.buchanan.uk.com/broadcast/preview/600ff815c4904929abd8221e