Fulham Shore upbeat about prospects for its Franco Manca and Real Greek chains

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Fulham Shore PLC (AIM:FUL), the restaurant group behind Franco Manca and The Real Greek, has revealed the scars of the COVID-19 lockdowns in its full year figures.


But it has seen a strong recovery and “buoyant” trading since restaurants were allowed to re-open, giving it confidence for the outlook.


Revenues in the year to March fell 41.3% and it reported a loss before tax of GBP7.5mln compared to a GBP0.8mln profit.


It opened three new restaurants during the period and two more since the year end, making 74 in all with one more under construction. It sees potential for another 155 across the country, which would take its estate to 230.


It is also looking at expanding overseas.


Chairman David Page said: “Since the beginning of the current financial year.. the group has continued to trade profitably and ahead of management expectations, driven by strong performances across our suburban restaurants.


“From July 2021 all restaurants have been open and operating without restrictions, welcoming increasing numbers of customers as the UK’s vaccination programme progresses. Momentum has also been maintained across our take away and delivery channels, which continue to outperform 2019 levels..


“We are confident that this current financial year will be the start of another exciting period of growth for The Fulham Shore.”


Its shares are up 3.13% to 16.5p.


2.41pm: Plus500 Ltd (LSE:PLUS) upbeat on future performance despite drop in revenues and profits


Trading platform Plus500 Ltd (LSE:PLUS) has seen its shares jump as it said its full year revenues were likely to be above current market forecasts.


Its half year revenues fell 39% and its profits dropped 48%, as the surge in activity at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic eased off.


But it said the performance still compared favourably to trading in the same period in 2019 before the virus hit.


AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Plus500 has helped dispel fears that its lockdown-related success is due to come to a juddering halt by upping revenue guidance for the full year alongside first half results.


“Profit for the half year fell, which was expected given the comparison with a period in the early stages of the pandemic which, thanks to significant market volatility, created lots of opportunities for traders.


“COVID-19 restrictions meant there were more people at home with the time to put money to work in the markets and Plus500 seems to have done a decent job of hanging on to a decent portion of these new customers.


“However, there were some less positive elements of today’s update with Plus500 not giving guidance on profit and seeing customer acquisition costs going up – a trend it notably expects to continue.


“For now the market is giving the company the benefit of the doubt but that may change if momentum stalls and the threat of increased regulation remains a pretty constant cloud on the horizon as the authorities look to ensure people are protected from racking up substantial losses.”


Plus500 is up 5.56% or 79.5p at 1509p.


11.56am: Kanabo Group jumps after German cannabis deal by prospective acquisition


Kanabo Group PLC (LSE:KNB), the medical cannabis R&D company, is heading higher after a positive update from a potential acquisition.


Kanabo has made a non-binding agreement to buy the European businesses of pharmaceutical group Materia and is currently doing due diligence and working on a definitive deal.


Meanwhile its shares have climbed 17.78% to 21.2p following news that Materia’s wholly-owned German subsidiary has agreed with manufacturer Eurox Pharma to distribute medical cannabis extracts.


Nick Pateras, Managing Director, Europe at Materia, said, “This is a strategic step forward in our preparation for the market’s increasing adoption of medical cannabis in the form of extracts. Our sales team is already trained and equipped to win new pharmacy customers with the addition of this new format.”


10.43am: CloudCoCo climbs after “transformative” deal


CloudCoCo Group PLC has seen its shares head skywards after buying a rival IT group.


It is paying GBP1.58mln in cash and warrants over four million shares fro Systems Assurance Ltd, which comprises a B2B reseller and a cloud based service provider.


Last year Systems Assurance had revenues of GBP6.09mln and adjusted earnings of GBP209,000.


The deal will increase CloudCoCo’s operational efficiency, drive up margins and increase the purchasing power of the enlarged group.


The company is also raising GBP2.1mln through a conditional placing at 1p a share, which will fund the acquisition and provide additional working capital.


CloudCoCo chief executive Mark Halpin said the move was a tranformative step for the company: “It sees us progress to the next stage in our development .. which will see us focus on scaling the business while winning larger and longer contracts.


“[Systems Assurance brings] fantastic technology and an impressive customer base that not only complement the existing CloudCoCo business but will help unlock its potential through driving substantial efficiency gains and introducing new cross-selling opportunities.”


The news has seen its shares jump 13.04% to 1.3p.


8.55am: Surface Transforms (AIM:SCE) moves ahead after brake disc deal with US car firm


Surface Transforms (AIM:SCE) PLC has seen off an existing supplier to a major US automotive company and will be providing its carbon ceramic brake discs for a new version of one of the company’s models.


The company expects revenues of around GBP20mln from the deal, beginning in 2024 and lasting until 2028.


Chief executive Kevin Johnson said: “This is a very significant win for Surface Transforms (AIM:SCE). The customer is one of the most respected names in the industry and provides a further key reference point for other original equipment manufacturers. The contract win was one of those anticipated in the recent fund raise, and thus remains within our previously stated capacity requirements. We look forward to further extending our relationship with this new customer.”


“Moreover, it is particularly encouraging to note that this award primarily reflects the advanced technical capabilities of our product and provides further validation of our 15 years of technical development.”


The company’s shares have accelerated 11.29% or 7p to 69p.


8.28am: IMC Exploration jumps after positive update from copper mine in Ireland


IMC Exploration Group PLC has seen its shares surge after it began at drilling programme at its West Avoca mine in Ireland.


The County Wicklow site was closed in 1982 due to the low price of copper at the time, but significant amounts of ore were left in place.


In September IMC reported 20,000 ounces of gold, 2.6k tonnes of copper and 7.8k tonnes of lead from mine spoils and tailings, and the new drilling programme will allow an independent assessment of additional resources.


It said: “With the copper price recently at an all-time high, IMC has reassessed historical records along strike to the southwest from the Avoca mine, and interprets there is a 1.2km minimum strike length that has either been only partially tested or else has specific targets remaining to be drill tested.”


Chairman Eamon O’Brien added: ‘This drill programme is designed to validate and extend zones of mineralization encountered in historical exploration which left unmined zones of mineralization…


“With copper prices recently reaching an all-time high, climate change initiatives to the fore and copper a vital component to drive the green economy, IMC will be part of this new green future with its copper project in Avoca.”


The company is also continuing its due diligence on its proposed acquisition of the Karaberd Mine in Lori Mar, Armenia.


IMC‘s shares are up 23.08% or 0.23p at 1.2p.


Still with mining companies, Rockfire Resources PLC (LSE:ROCK) has issued a positive update after drilling started at the Copperhead project in Australia, almost 50 years after copper was first discovered there.


Chief executive David Price said: “Copper carbonates at surface become more abundant closer to the drilling site and it’s most encouraging to see copper minerals forming part of the interstitial rock matrix, as well as vein-hosted copper. This implies the potential for two styles of copper mineralisation.”


Rockfire has risen 5.83% to 1.08p.



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