A day after the RedLeg Spiced Rum and Blackwoods Gin business reported a 39% increase in full year gross profits, the company announced an industry veteran was joining its board.
Former Guinness and Suntory executive Michael Keiller is joining Distil as an independent non-executive director with effect from 1 July.
.At Suntory he helped convert its Morrison Bowmore Distillers business from a bulk whisky supplier to a strongly profitable consumer brand marketing-led business with globally acclaimed single malts. He was later a non-executive director at The Last Drop Distillers Ltd which was sold to The Sazerac Corporation in 2017.
Distil executive chairman Don Goulding said: “I am delighted to welcome Mike to the board as we seek to further strengthen our team and take Distil into the next phase of development particularly in the area of premium malt whisky. His breadth of industry experience in Scotland, the UK and internationally, together with a proven track record of driving transformational growth will bring significant value to the business.”
Distil shares have bubbled up 14.58% or 0.35p to 2.75p.
2.47pm: Westminster Group shares take off after airport security deal
Its shares have soared 35.37% or 1.45p to 5.55p as it unveiled a long term multi-million dollar contract to provide security services to five airports in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The contract is for an initial period of 20 years with a five-year renewal and involves supplying comprehensive ground security operations, initially at 4 international airports and 1 national airport in the DRC.
12.37pm: Video advertising firm heads for Nasdaq listing
The Aim-listed, Tel Aviv based video advertising firm is joining Nasdaq by issuing 6.8mln American Depositary Shares to raise around US$150mln.
Its shares have climbed 4.86% or 38p to 820p on the news.
11.36am: Kidney specialist falls as R&D costs help push it into hefty loss
The company, a developer of diagnostic solutions for kidney disease, said the net loss for the three months to the end of March came in at US$8mln, compared to just US$0.7mln for the same period in 2020.
General expenses, including those relating to public listing compliance and consulting fees, rose from US$1.3mln to US$5.5mln.
Research and development expenses increased from US$1.4mln to US $3.1mln, primarily due to increased headcount, consulting, and professional fees to support the ongoing development of its key product KidneyIntelX as well as research studies focused on long-term effects of COVID-19 on kidney health.
Its shares are down 4.93% or 55.45p to 1069.55p.
10.41am: Semiconductor specialist reports record order book
The company, which develops mixed-signal, RF and microwave semiconductors for global communications markets, sold its storage business for US$49mln in cash and returned more than GBP10mln to shareholders.
Full year revenues fell from GBP15mln to GBP12.5mln reflecting the effect of COVID-19 on its markets. Pretax profits came in at GBP0.01mln after share-based payments and finance income.
But its order book is at a record level, as is its cash balance of GBP31.9mln.
It has recommended a final special dividend of 50p a share.
Group managing director Chris Gurry said: “This has clearly been a transformational year for the business. We made the decision to dispose of the storage division to focus on an expanding communications market opportunity and the board believes that the group can now scale without the distraction of conflicting divisional and operational investment needs.
“We start the new trading year in a much stronger position than one year ago. Headwinds remain, including the pandemic, trade uncertainty between China and the USA and the ongoing semiconductor capacity issues that are widely reported. That said, the underlying feeling within the company is one of opportunity and optimism evidenced by our day-to-day activities and the pipeline of opportunity that we see.”
Analyst Martin O’Sullivan at the company’s joint broker Shore Capital said: “Despite recent outperformance, we regard the current market value as unduly low relative to earnings and prospects (and the final special dividend). Broadening recognition of CML’s strategy, growth opportunity and financial asset backing should provide scope for a material rerating, in our view.”
CML’s shares are currently up 6.06% or 22.5p at 393.5p.
9.23am: Digital advisory group in demand
Kin and Carta PLC (LON:KCT), which advises companies on how best to exploit digital technology, is seeing growing demand for its services as the economy begins to improve.
The company, formed from the ashes of the St Ives printing business, said it expects revenues for the year to July to grow by 10% to around GBP150mln, with profits up 35%-40% to GBP14.5mln.
Both of these are well ahead of current market expectations.
Based on current performance and backlog of orders, it expects accelerating growth in net revenue to around 20% and improving underlying operating margin of 12-13% for the following financial year.
The company recently announced that GBP3.7mln of the GBP6.7mln US paycheck protection programme loan it took out to mitigate the effects of the pandemic had been forgiven by the government. Some GBP0.8mln had already been forgiven, and the balance of GBP1.8mln after adjusting for foreign exchange movements will be repaid in May 2022.
Kin and Carta’s shares have jumped 16.16% or 32p to 230p.
8.46am: Home credit firm to beat expectations
International Personal Finance PLC (LON:IPF) shares have moved 8% higher to 137.6p in early trading after reporting that business has picked up in recent weeks despite the continuing effects of the pandemic.
The home credit company said in April it expected debt collections to weaken during the first half of this year. But in fact its actual collections performance has continued to be strong, giving a faster than expected improvement in impairment as a percentage of revenue.
Meanwhile credit issued has been broadly in line with management forecasts, so overall it expects a better outcome for the year than it had anticipated.
Analyst Gary Greenwood at Shore Capital said: “Today’s positive update sees us nudge our fair value up to 135p [from 130p], which continues to factor in a 25% haircut for regulatory risk (mainly in respect of price capping risk in Poland).”
Elsewhere the transfer of a stake in the Brockham oil field in Surrey has benefited both buyer and seller.
Alba Mineral Resources PLC (LON:ALBA) has sold its 5% share to Angus Energy PLC (LON:ANGS) in a deal which involves Alba paying GBP38,400 in cash and shares to Angus to settle “certain back costs and a contribution toward eventual abandonment costs.”
Angus said the transfer aligned its interests in the Brockam and Lidsey field in West Sussex.
Angus managing director George Lucan said: “It is the company’s expectation that moderate oil production and the facility of water injection at Brockham, together with 9.7 million barrels of Oil In Place at Lidsey, will represent a good value proposition for shareholders, and for possible farminees, once seismic re-interpretation is complete and permissions are in place for a side-track at Lidsey.”
Alba is up 7.44% at 0.26p while Angus has added 6.67% to 0.8p.
Proactive news headlines
Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has said that following a leave of absence for health reasons in March, its chief executive Andrew Day has decided to bring forward a longer-term retirement plan and will be leaving his role as CEO and his position as a director with immediate effect.
BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC; TASE:BVC) has landed a US$4.1mln cybersecurity contract from a unnamed “long-standing government defence department customer”.
Eckoh PLC (LON:ECK) believes lasting changes to the working environment, particularly an increase in work-for-home patterns, will drive opportunities and demand for its secure payments and customer contactproducts.
Condor Gold PLC (LON:CNR)(TSE:COG) has commenced a 1,700 metre infill geotechnical drilling programme within the permitted La India open pit in Nicaragua. Two diamond drill rigs have been deployed. The drilling is likely to add significant new resources to the planned open pit.
Eurasia Mining PLC (LON:EUA) is proceeding with its plans to create a series of joint venture companies with partner Rosgeo. On 26 March 2021, Eurasia signed a binding agreement to create a joint venture with Rosgeo in which Eurasia will own a 75% equity stake in nine platinum group metal and battery metals assets, four of which are post the Russian feasibility study stage, and which have state approved reserves.
Kavango Resources PLC (LON:KAV) has identified an electro-magnetic anomaly in Target Area C in the Hukuntsi section of the Kalahari Suture Zone project. Designated Target C1, the conductive anomaly is located 11km from Target A2, which was first announced in April last year.
Norman Broadbent PLC (LON:NBB) has appointed recruitment veteran Peter Searle as executive chairman. He will take up the role immediately after the recruitment and business group’s Annual General Meeting on June 25.
Pelatro PLC (LON:PTRO) is aiming to raise at least GBP2.15mln of new capital through a share placing plus a share offer to retail investors on the PrimaryBid platform. Some 5.37mln new shares are being sold in a placing, priced at 40p per share. Shares sold via PrimaryBid will be priced on the same terms.
Teleradiology specialist Medica Group PLC (LON:MGP) has appointed a veteran of the technology sector as its new senior independent director and chair of the audit committee. Barbara Moorhouse will replace Steve Whittern at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday (June 16).
IQGeo Group Plc (LON:IQG), a developer of geospatial productivity and collaboration software for the telecoms and utility industries, is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the US Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to support their electrical transmission line inspection process.