Online retailer Gear4music (Holdings) PLC (LON:G4M) has benefited from demand for musical instruments as people sought distractions during lockdown.
And although it does not expect to see the same level of sales as things reopen, it thinks the slowdown will be less than it previously expected
Its full year figures showed earnings up by 154% to GBP19.8mln, ahead of market expectations.
It also made two acquisitions during the year, Premier drums and Eden, a bass guitar amplification brand.
Chief executive Andrew Wass said: “We had an exceptional period of trading during [the full year], particularly during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in the first quarter. The number of potential customers in our market significantly increased, as traditional high street retailers were unable to operate as normal and people sought activities in which to participate whilst spending more time at home…
“Given that the [full year] exceptional financial performance was driven by the initial COVID-19 lockdowns during the first half, the board does not expect to meet the same level of trading during the first half of the 2022 financial year, and as previously guided, does not currently expect to achieve the same level of full year profitability during the 2022 financial year that the Group achieved during 2021.
“However, trading in the first quarter has been stronger than the board previously expected and, having retained a good proportion of the gross margin gain achieved during 2021, financial results for 2022 are likely to be ahead of the board’s previous expectations.”
The update has seen its shares climb 4.53% or 42p to 970p.
12.58pm: Capital Metals encouraged by progress at minerals project in Sri Lanka
The natural resources company said the environmental impact assessment process was nearing completion.
With the COVID-19 situation steadily improving in the country, Capital is focused on the final steps before the grantin of a mining licence.
A drilling programme is planned for the third quarter of this year, with first production targeted for the first half of 2022.
Chief executive Michael Frayne said: “”The company is encouraged that progress is now being made on the EIA process, given strict lock down protocols in Sri Lanka. Indications are that COVID-19 conditions in Sri Lanka are improving and the company expects to progress matters more rapidly in the forthcoming third quarter. The anticipated conclusion of the EIA process and permitting, leading to the grant of a mining licence is a considerable milestone for the company and we look forward to achieving this objective and adding value very quickly thereafter.
“We are pleased to have generated considerable interest from strategic and industrial groups with regard to offtake discussions. We see this as an endorsement for the Eastern Minerals Project especially given the strong current and forecast prices in the mineral sands markets.”
Capital’s shares have climbed 3.48% or 0.4p to 11.9p.
11.36am: Property developer boosted by planning permission for Bolton site
Harworth Group PLC (LON:HWG) has build up a decent share price rise after positive developments in Bolton.
The property business has received planning approval for the development of up to 1.1 million sq ft of logistics and manufacturing space at its site in Wingates in the town, with the potential to create up to 1,500 new jobs.
The scheme originally received planning consent from Bolton Council in January 2020 but the application was subsequently called-in by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Planning approval was granted following an public examination earlier this year.
Harworth plans to start enabling works at the site in early 2022, in preparation for the first phase of commercial development later that year.
Chief executive Lynda Shillaw said: “Securing planning for our Wingates development marks a significant milestone for us and will have a substantial positive effect on the local economy in terms of construction, permanent jobs and investment. It will allow Bolton businesses to expand, while at the same time improving highways infrastructure and protecting local biodiversity and green spaces.”
The company’s shares have climbed 3.17% or 4.5p to 146.5p.
10.14am: Printed circuit specialist sees revenues hit by order delays
The company, which makes specialist products using printed circuit technology, said full year revenues had climbed from GBP2.91mln to GBP6.07mln, with an adjusted operating loss of GBP0.19mln compared to a profit of GBP0.26mln.
But it warned that due to a number of factors, including pandemic related delays as well as upgrading its facilities, some revenues expected this year would be pushed out to 2022.
Chief executive Philip Johnston said: “What has become clear during the early part of 2021 is evidence of increasing supply chain stress, with increased prices and lengthening delivery timescales for a number of key raw materials. Sales have not been lost but this is impacting our ability to complete some orders on a timely basis in both our Advanced PCB and IHT divisions.
“We have continued to work with our UK EV OEM customer on development improvements to the products we will be producing for them. As a result, it is now anticipated that our volume production, initially expected towards the end of 2021, will begin in early 2022.
“Combined, these factors above will have an impact on revenues in 2021, although some will be offset by new business from other smaller customers as well as a continued focus on cost controls.”
Its shares are down 11.5% or 26p at 200p
8.53am: Engineer boosted by US Navy orders
MS International PLC (LON:MSI) – the engineering company whose activities range from defence to building petrol stations – is in demand after it returned to profit and hailed a breakthrough in the US market.
The company moved from a full year loss of GBP3.25mln to a profit of GBP1.59mln and lifted its final dividend from 1.75p to 6.5p. It said the outlook was “much brighter than we could have imagined twelve months ago.”
In defence it said international marketing was restrained due to the pandemic and the UK Ministry of Defence market was subdued.
But evaluation trials for its naval weapon system by the US navy went well and it has been awarded a contract to supply seven systems.
It was hopeful of further production orders, and meanwhile it has received an order from a US shipbuilder to supply eight similar weapon systems for a US government Foreign Military Sales Programme.
It said: “This important break-through in the United States defence market, is a direct result of our persistent and purposeful marketing effort within the US over many years and our relentless, and crucially important, investment in product development programmes for the world markets.”
Its petrol station business benefited once the sites were designated essential businesses during the pandemic, allowing them to remain open.
It said: “As travel restrictions were eased, so the need for structural maintenance and new builds gained momentum and there was a pleasing marked restoration in our UK activities.
“Unfortunately, there was not a similar freedom of movement across mainland Europe and consequently our operation in Poland – which traditionally services customers from Scandinavia and across Eastern Europe – had a much reduced, activity level throughout the period.”
It expects to do well from movement in the overall UK petrol station market.
It said: “There continues to be a notable, and very positive change, in the structure of petrol station ownership in the UK. The long-established ownership of stations by the large international oil companies is diminishing and passing to that of that a small number of privately owned, well- funded, entrepreneurial groups. Consequently, there is considerable investment taking place to enhance their station operations, creating what is being termed ‘mobility hubs,’ that will offer, not only a wide variety of fuel options, but also high quality and spacious convenience stores; fast-food outlets; rest areas and internet amenities plus superior car valeting facilities.”
But its forgings business was hit by both Brexit and COVID-19, and market conditions only started to improve in early 2021.
Overall though, the return to profit and the upbeat tone has seen its shares jump 22.15% or 36p to 198.5p.
8.25am: Audioboom sees advertising revenues surge
The podcast company has seen its shares jump 7.37% or 65p to 947p after it said full year revenues would be significantly ahead of current market expectations, with increased earnings.
Its signed advertising bookings after less than six months of the year are already more than 99% of the amount forecast for the whole year.
It has boosted its advertising capabilities allowing it to reap further financial benefits from its back catalogue of content, and it has raised its ad prices by 22%.
Its original programme launches have done well, including Dark Air with Terry Carnation, The Southern Tea, and Dark History – a show which hit number 1 on the Apple Podcast Chart in the US, UK, Canada and Australia following its launch on 2 June 2021. Episode 1 of Dark History has received more than 2 million listens.
It is now listed as the fourth largest podcaster in the US.
Its shares are up 7.2% or 0.45p to 6.7p after it signed a memorandum of understanding with medical charity St George Street Capital.
The two will collaborate to develop a companion diagnostic platform for certain therapeutic assets already licenced to SGS by a large pharma company, which seeks to address unmet clinical needs in autoimmune disease.
SGS is expected to make milestone payments to Cizzle Biotechnology of up to GBP1mln, from which the company will fund the work to be undertaken to develop the companion diagnostic and any third parties contracted by Cizzle Biotechnology to assist.
SGS has agreed to grant Cizzle Biotechnology potential future royalty payments from the commercialisation of SGS’s therapeutic asset of up to GBPmln, plus potentially further payments from the use of the companion diagnostic. In consideration of this potential royalty stream, Cizzle Biotechnology has paid GBP65,000 to SGS initially and will pay a further GBP135,000 on entering into a full commercial contract.
Cizzle executive chairman Allan Syms said: “The proposed commercial agreement with them will leverage the technology and know-how of Cizzle Biotechnology into a new area, bringing Cizzle Biotechnology’s diagnostic capabilities into the therapeutic arena and broadening the opportunities and potential revenue streams for the company.
“Whilst this is an exciting opportunity for the company, I would like to reiterate that our primary focus remains on progressing our blood test for the early detection of lung cancer, based on the C1Z1B biomarker, and I look forward to reporting on our progress in due course.”
Proactive news headlines
OPG Power Ventures PLC (AIM: OPG) expects to meet market expectations for profit after tax and cash generation for the year to March 31, 2021.
Karelian Diamond Resources PLC (LON:KDR) said an aerial magnetic survey has been completed over the Anomaly 5 (Tervavaara) target in the Kuhmo region of Eastern Finland, an area where the company announced the discovery of a very rare pale green diamond in early 2017.
Blackbird PLC (LON:BIRD) said it has launched a report based on independent research which highlights the “hidden costs” of traditional on-premise video editing workflows adapted for the cloud, known as ‘cloud based’, when compared to the cloud-native platform provided by the company.
Cloudbreak Discovery PLC (LON:CDL) has taken an indirect stake in a borate project under a deal negotiated by Temas Resources, a company in which it holds a 15.8% stake. Temas has entered into a definitive option and joint venture agreement for the development of Erin Ventures’ Piskanja borate project in Serbia.
Kavango Resources PLC (LON:KAV) has appointed existing board member Ben Turney as chief executive. Michael Foster, the outgoing chief executive, has decided to step down from the role after 40 years in the mineral exploration industry but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
TomCo Energy PLC (LON:TOM) used its interim results to highlight progress made in Utah despite the challenges of the pandemic with its Greenfield Energy joint venture establishing production from a pilot project.
Europa Metals Ltd (LON:EUZ) said it appointed mining consultancy Wardell Armstrong International Ltd (WAI) as the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) manager for its wholly owned Toral lead, zinc and silver project in northern Spain, following a competitive tender process.
NQ Minerals PLC (AQSE:NQMI, OTCQB:NQMLF, OTCQB:NQMIY) announced late on Monday that Roger Jackson has resigned as an executive director of the company with immediate effect.
Mineral and Financial Investments Ltd (LON:MAFL) has received a further US$1mln payment as part of its earn-in agreement with Ascendant Resources Inc (TSE:ASND) in regard to the Lagoa Salgada zinc-lead-copper project in Portugal.