Small cap movers: Live Company rebuilding confidence brick by brick

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Monday’s easing of lockdown restrictions in England was the first of many steps that should enable events organisers to get back to something approaching normality.


One such company is Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG), which saw its shares soar 60% this week as its operational update revealed light at the end of the tunnel.


The company, best known for its BrickLive events featuring a well-known building block toy, said it is well-positioned to take advantage of the expected upturn in the sector in the second half of 2021, particularly in the UK and the US.


The entertainment firm said it has bookings for 15 tours globally this year, while five were postponed until 2022 and three have yet to confirm their opening schedule because of Coronavirus (COVID-19).


In the first quarter of 2021, revenue is expected to come in at GBP500,000, of which half is from the new division Live Company Sports and Entertainment (LCSE) and the other from Bricklive.


If the pandemic and consequent lockdowns have been hard on Live Company, they don’t seem to have done Totally PLC (LON:TLY) any harm, as the healthcare services provider raised earnings guidance this week.


The shares rose by more than a third after the company revealed it expects underlying earnings (EBITDA) in the financial year just ended will be substantially ahead of both management expectations and underlying EBITDA of GBP4mln for the previous financial year.


The improved trading performance across the group is due to multiple factors but primarily as a result of the company being able to “respond proactively and quickly to the numerous demands for its healthcare services during the global COVID-19 pandemic”, the company said.


You don’t hear much of former chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne’s “march of the makers” these days but the long-established industrial engineering company The 600 Group PLC (LON:SIXH) is probably the sort of company Osborne had in mind back in 2011 when he coined the phrase.


The engineer said this week that COVID-19 had had an exceptional impact on the business, contributing to a 20% fall in revenues in the year to the end of March.


Revenues are expected to be around US$50mln but thanks to the implementation of operational cost savings and government assistance programmes, underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) are expected to be ahead of the board’s post-pandemic expectations at around US$2.5mln.


The strong increase in order activity in March improved the overall order book to about US$14mln at the end of March, which is almost 70% above the prior year.


The shares ended the week 31% higher.


Definitely not falling into the category of a maker is cash shell Ridgecrest PLC (LON:RDGC), which plunged 38% this week as its directors gave shareholders a reality check.


The shares had got ahead of themselves, trebling in price in January at one point, and the directors felt obliged to caution shareholders that “the board is becoming increasingly aware that, whilst a reverse takeover candidate would value Ridgecrest at a premium to its net asset value, such a valuation would be at a material discount to its current market capitalisation, which currently stands at more than three times net asset value”.


That pulled the rug out from under the Ridgecrest share price, although it did recover towards the end of the week.

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