Spectris puts in measured performance as it restructures business


Spectris PLC (LSE:SXS), the precision measurement specialist, is on the move after reporting positive results from reshaping its business.

First half like-for-like sales grew 14%, reflecting a recovery in the market and new product launches, with pretax profits up 82.4% to GBP73.7mln.

It expects full year sales growth in the range of 10% to 12%.

During the half it disposed of a number of businesses, including B&K Vibro, ESG and Millbrook, and bought Concurrent Real-Time.

Chief executive Andrew Heath said: “Spectris is emerging from the pandemic a less complex, more focused, leaner and stronger business..

“The actions and approach we have taken over the past two years have positioned us well to benefit from the faster than anticipated economic recovery that we are now experiencing.

“We expect the recovery to continue through the remainder of the year and we are also benefiting from our investment in innovation, enhancing our customer offering through our latest product and service launches…

“Uncertainties clearly remain, with potential further COVID-19-related disruption, inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints. However, while our end markets are moving at varying paces, our continuing strong order intake provides good momentum going into the second half of the year, giving us confidence for the full year performance. Growth at the top end of the range will require some additional investment, although we will work to mitigate this where possible, as we continue to focus on enhancing our margin.”

The company’s shares have climbed 3.79% or 130p to 3564p.

2.41pm: Water Intelligence (AIM:WATR) in demand after strong first half performance

Water Intelligence (AIM:WATR) PLC has seen its shares bubble up after a positive trading update.

The leak detection specialist said it had seen a strong first half, with revenues up 44% to US$24.7mln and profit before tax nearly doubling to US$3.8mln.

It is also looking forward to further growth in the second half.

Chairman Dr Patrick DeSouza said: “During COVID-19, we were designated as an ‘essential service provider’ as citizens sheltered in place. As jurisdictions around the world invest in infrastructure in the aftermath of the pandemic – underscored by Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan and its anticipated $100 billion investment in water and wastewater infrastructure – we anticipate strong demand for our solutions to safeguard the world’s most precious resource.”

Its shares have climbed 7.18% or 70p to 1045p.

12.04pm: Zenith Energy climbs after debt settlement

Zenith Energy Ltd (ASX:ZEN) has seen its shares gush up after news of a debt reduction.

The oil and gas production company focused on Africa has concluded a debt settlement related to a EUR500,000 drawdown made following the signing of a revolving line of credit agreement with a financial institution in February.

It has now issued a total of 30,422,319 new shares at a price of NOK 0.1725 (equivalent to approximately GBP0.01412) to settle the credit facility in full.

The news has lifted its shares by 13.04% or 0.15p to 1.3p.

11.16am: Biome Technologies positive on outlook despite recent problems

Biome Technologies plc (AIM:BIOM) is upbeat about the outlook despite short terms constraints such as delivery delays.

The bioplastics and radio frequency technology group said half year revenues edged up from GBP2.5mln to GBP2.6mln.

In the bioplastics business, it said revenues rose 7.3% but were tempered by “ongoing turbulence in the global container shipping industry that delayed deliveries from Europe to North America.”

It added: “We factored these delays into the group’s expectations when we published the trading statement [on 1 July] and we are working hard to further mitigate their impact.”

The company had also said a US customer was facing a problem with installing equipment to deploy Biome’s compostable coffee-pod filtration material, but work to resolve this is proceeding.

It said: “Biome’s team is working closely to support the customer’s current offtake levels and anticipated ramp-up following this remedial work.”

Revenues in its radio frequency division dipped from GBP0.4mln to GBP0.3mln but it is seeing signs of recovery.

On the outlook, it said: “The board’s view of the group’s performance remains in line with revised market expectations following the trading statement. Demand for the group’s products and materials continues to rise and our reputation is strong. Whilst the group’s rate of growth will be constrained by the factors described above in the shorter-term, the board expects a return to the higher rates of growth indicated in its key performance indicators in due course.”

The market is clearly taking the longer term view, with its shares up 10% or 35p to 385p.

10.13am: Mirriad Advertising drops sharply after warning of lower sales

Mirriad Advertising PLC (AIM:MIRI, FRA:8WQ, OTCQX:MMDDF) has fallen back after warning of lower than expected sales for the year due to the pandemic.

The video technology group said first half revenues rose 27%, mainly driven by the US market.

It signed new deals in the US and UK and renewed its Tencent contract in China.

But it added: “In the May 2021 announcement of the full year results to 31 December 2020, the board noted that the macroeconomic outlook was still uncertain.

“Since then the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to impact media spend in the global advertising market, exacerbated by a slower than expected recovery, especially in Europe.

“On this basis, thebBoard now believes that converted sales will remain lower than previous expectations for the remainder of 2021, despite the first signs of improving market conditions in May and June.

“It is difficult to forecast the future expected revenues under the current framework agreement structures, and reduced media spend as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will have a short-term impact on the business.”

The news has seen its shares drop 17.86% or 7.5p to 34.5p.

9.10am: Sound Energy boosted by Morocco gas deal

Sound Energy PLC (AIM:SOU) has flared up after a deal to supply liquified natural gas to Morocco-based refinery and marketing group Afriquia Gaz.

As part of the deal, Sound will place GBP2mln worth of shares with Afriquia Gaz at 1.2521p each, giving the north African company a near 10% stake.

The ten year supply agreement involves not less than 171,000 cubic metres of LNG a year a prices of between US$6 and US$8 per metric million British thermal unit.

The deal is partly condiitional on an agreement for an US$18mln secured loan from Afriquia to Sound.

Sound Energy chairman Graham Lyon said: “By establishing clear paths both to market for our gas and to our financing of Phase 1 Development [at the Tendrara concession], today’s announcement together with the recently announced Schlumberger Silk Route Service acquisition not only mark critical milestones for the company but underscore our commitment to Sound Energy shareholders to deliver upon our objectives and to create value through innovative commercial arrangements.”

The news has lifted Sound Energy’s shares by 0.33p or 22.81% to 1.75p.

Also moving higher is printed circuit board specialist Trackwise Designs PLC (AIM:TWD).

The company’s shares are up 10.81% or 20p at 205p after it said first half revenues had jumped by around 71% to GBP4.1mln and its loss after tax fell from GBP0.92mln to GBP0.23mln.

During the period it appointed a new chief operating officer and acquired a new site at Stonehouse in Gloucestershire.

It said: “The group performed well in the first half of the year as a result of increased demand, as well as a full six-month contribution of revenues in the Advanced PCB division from SCL [bought last year].

“Revenue growth continues to be restrained by the impacts of COVID-19 on the supply of raw materials, and the effects of Brexit on our continental business at APCB; however, we are seeing some signs of these effects abating. Second half trading and outlook is in line with current market expectations.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here