Altitude Group lifted as new finance director joins

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Altitude Group PLC has seen its shares fly higher after it appointed a new finance director.


The company, a provider of technology and information services to the promotional products, print and clothing industries, said Graham Feltham was joining from AIM listed Newmark Security, where he had been chief financial officer since 2019.


Beginning his career at Ernst & Young, Fetlham also worked for StatPro Group and Safetykleen Group, the latter of which was bought by APAX Partners for GBP800mln in 2017.


Altitude chief executive Nichole Stella, said: “He brings a wealth of knowledge and commercial experience to our finance team. His expertise will be instrumental in delivering accelerated growth in the future.”


Altitute shares are up 5.43% at 36.9p.


1.19pm: LPA slumps as supply issues set to push it into loss


LPA Group (AIM:LPA) PLC, the LED lighting and electronic component specialist, has seen its shares blow a fuse after its latest trading update.


In June the company said that despite COVID-19 and Brexit, it remained positive that its conservative expectations for the financial year would be achieved.


Now, not so much. Now it expects to make an operating loss.


It said: “Supply chain challenges have continued to impact worldwide, causing further rail project delays, and impinging the momentum we had anticipated from the market, tipping this year’s results into an operating loss.


“We have been re-looking at our strategy going forward which will continue to be export led but will also have a greater emphasis on the UK’s growing engineering demand, on-shoring opportunities, and the capacity constraints being experienced throughout the sectors that we can address through the capacity and capabilities we have across our manufacturing sites.


“Our recent focus on large scale rail projects that have been hampered by supply issues and delayed by macro-economics will be less strategic but nevertheless our order book will be a bedrock to allow us to adapt and build our business. The 2022 full year will be a year of development as we implement these changes and deploy our sales and marketing staff into more a resilient market focus.”


Its shares are down 23.81% at 56p.


12.04pm: Hotel Chocolat in demand as it serves up tasty results


Investors have got a taste for shares in Hotel Chocolat Group PLC (AIM:HOTC).


The company reported a 21% rise in full year revenues and an increase in profits from GBP2.4mln to a better than expected GBP10.1mln, as a boost in online sales helped make up for enforced store closures.


Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive officer, said: “These results show we have now evolved from a UK store-led brand to a globally ambitious digital-led brand. 2021 was a year where Hotel Chocolat improved on many fronts. Our digital and subscription-continuity models surged ahead and our global aspirations racked up more strong growth and progress.”


The company’s shares have climbed 10.49% to 447.5p.


10.46am: Marechale Capital (AIM:MAC) jumps by nearly a quarter as Luke Johnson buys a stake


Marechale Capital (AIM:MAC) PLC has been boosted by news that entrepreneur Luke Johnson is buying a 9.04% stake in the business and could join the board.


He is subscribing for 8,000,000 new shares at 2p each, raising GBP160,000 for the business, a corporate finance firm aimed primarily at hospitality and renewable energy companies in the UK and Europe.


Under the terms of the deal, Johnson will have the right to join the board of the company, subject to regulatory due process, and has entered into a 12 month orderly market agreement in respect of the disposal of any shares.


Chief executive Patrick Booth-Clibborn said: “Luke Johnson is a successful entrepreneur and investor. Luke is a past Chairman of Channel 4 Television and PizzaExpress and his current directorships include Gail’s Artisan Bakery, which was recently valued at over GBP200 million.


“The directors of Marechale Capital (AIM:MAC) are delighted he has become a major long term shareholder and we look forward to working with him particularly where he can help with deal flow and investments for our current and future pipeline of growth capital clients.”


(It may also be remembered that Johnson was also at the helm of Patisserie Valerie when it uncovered a fraud in 2018 which led to its collapse into administration.)


Still, Marechale shares have jumped 23% to 2.4p on the news.


10.17am: MySale thrives as earnings beat expectations


Mysale Group PLC (AIM:MYSL) is in demand after it returned to profit in its 2021 results.


The international online retailer – launched in 2007 in Australia, which is still its largest market – said revenues slipped from A$131mln to A$117.9mln.


But helped by cost cutting its underlying earnings came in ahead of market expectations at A$4.2mln, compared to a A$2.7mln loss.


It also raised A$9.3mln during the year, and appointed Kalman Polak, formerly of Catch.com.au, as it chief executive.


Since the year end, gross merchandise value in the first quarter was more than 50% ahead the same period last year, with gross profit up around 15%.


Carl Jackson, executive chairman, said: ”It has been a year of significant strategic and operational progress, with a return to underlying profitability, leaving us well positioned for strong growth in full year 2022 and beyond. The successful capital raise, backed by experienced industry figures, has allowed us to accelerate the transformation of the business, which is now focused on scaling our unique, off-price marketplace platform by being the partner of choice to more brands who want access to over three million buyers. For our international partners, the platform also provides a counter seasonal solution for their excess fashion inventory.


“There are a number of opportunities ahead, both in our core apparel category, but also across beauty and homewares.”


The company’s shares are up 7.74% at 8.35p.


8.30am: Echo Energy jumps as production increases at Argentinian oil field


Echo Energy PLC (AIM:ECHO, FRA:A321) has seen its shares gush up after a positive update from Argentina.


The oil and gas company said it has brought a further three wells online at the Campo Molino oil field at Santa Cruz Sur, just over a month after production was restored at the field.


It said all the wells were producing in line with expectations, with maximum daily reported production of 350 barrels of oil per day, a 20% increase from production levels announced on 26 August.


In September liquids production net to Echo averaged approximately 290 barrels of oil a day, an almost 50% increase in the total daily liquid production rate at Santa Cruz Sur compared to the period immediately prior to the restoration of production. The wells are now delivering the same average monthly rate achieved prior to shut in in April 2020.


The company has focused production and sales on the highest quality blends, the prices of which have increased more quickly than other blends.


Chief executive Martin Hull said: “The work we have done in recent months has borne fruit and we are now seeing materially higher prices for our higher-quality blend. This, coupled with increased production levels from the reactivated wells at Campo Molino, means we are seeing stronger cashflows as we head towards the end of the year.”


The company’s shares are up 8.47% at 0.64p.


Also heading higher is SimiGon, a specialist in training systems


It has won a contract to supply its virtual reality simulators to the US Marine Corps, comprising up to 25 units over a three year period.


SimiGon Inc president Jack Sarnicki, said: “This win is indicative of the trust we have established with the US Government through timely deliveries, innovative technologies and excellent customer service. This is a new customer for SimiGon Inc. and an entirely new product to offer the military training & simulation market. We look forward to working closely with the Recruiting Command and expect this Contract to help generate future new business not only with the USMC but also other similarly tasked governmental organizations.”


SimiGon has jumped 10.53% to 5.25p.


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