Eurowag: caution this vehicle is reversing

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Eurowag, the Czech group being called ‘Uber for truckers’, began trading after its London initial public offer (IPO) today in reverse gear.


Conditional dealings began this morning at the price of 150p per share, valuing the card payment network at just over GBP1bn.


With the Prague-based payments company and its brokers having already slashed had to slash the price of its IPO from the range of 175p to 220p a share it had indicated only a week earlier, the shares then slid over 10% to 134p, according to traders.


Citigroup and Morgan Stanley were the main organisers of the IPO, with Jefferies a joint co-ordinator and joint bookrunner, and Numis Securities and UBS also on the float.


Not actually that similar to Uber, Eurowag provides services mostly to small trucking companies, including a card payment system, VAT refund services, vehicle information, telematics and smart routing.


11.42am: Tekcapital dish of the day


Investors are savouring Tekcapital PLC shares this morning, after the intellectual property group’s Salarius’ subsidiary won a contract for its MicroSalt with “one of the largest supermarket chains in North America”.


MicroSalt’s SaltMe! crisps, or chips as the supermarket is likely to call them, are expected to be available in more than 800 of the chain’s stores from next year.


Tekcapital said it was “a significant milestone for Salarius” as they expect SaltMe! to become “a national brand in the low-sodium-full flavour snack category”, with a positive impact for online sales as distribution and brand awareness increase, while also giving Salarius “a stronger go-to-market success story” to tell other potential customers.


“MicroSalt as a brand could be elevated to a national-level ingredient, which we believe will encourage other food manufacturers to incorporate MicroSalt into their products,” it added.


For those unfamiliar with the savoury technology, MicroSalt is a patented sodium microparticle which “delivers the full-flavour experience of salt with roughly half the sodium” as the salt particles are roughly 100 times smaller than regular table salt so they can dissolve more rapidly and achieve “a large sensation of saltiness” with less volume sprinkled on your crisp, chip or green beans.


11.11am: Weir speared by ransomware attack


Weir Group PLC (LSE:WEIR) shares fell after the engineer said third-quarter profits were hit by a “sophisticated” ransomware attack.


Boss Jon Stanton said the mining equipment company responded “quickly and comprehensively to what was a sophisticated external attack” but the actions to protect infrastructure and data “led to significant temporary disruption”.


The FTSE 250 group said attack happened towards the end of the third quarter but there was no impact on orders during the quarter, with its facilities all operational, but profitability was impacted because revenues will be deferred on shipment delays and ‘under-recoveries’, which normally result from selling at below cost price.


Weir said it now expects a full-year profit before tax of GBP230-245m because of the attempted hack.


The shares dropped 6% in early trading before recovering to a loss of around 3% at 1,598p.


9.26am: Brighton Pier makes a splash


Brighton Pier Group PLC (AIM:PIER) made a big splash in early dealings on Friday, with its shares flying 18% higher to 63p after announcing that trading had been “very strong” across all four divisions in the first quarter of its financial year and that business interruption insurance had successfully been claimed for the past year.


As well as Brighton Palace Pier, the group owns and operates eight bars under the Lola Lo, Embargo Republica, Lowlander, Coalition and Le Fez brands, eight mini-golf sites and the newly acquired Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire.


For the previous, pandemic-hit financial year to 27 June 2021, GBP5mln of business interruption insurance claims have been settled with insurers, meaning that earnings are expected to be GBP2mln higher than market expectations.


And for the first 13 weeks of the new year, in which all four divisions were open for most of the period, net sales reached GBP15.9mln, which is 145% over the same period in 2020 and 30% ahead of the pre-Covid period in 2019, helped by the first time Brighton Pier has achieved gross sales above GBP1mln in a single week.


Chief executive Anne Ackord now expects revenue and earnings for the 52 weeks to 26 June 2022 to be “significantly ahead of market expectations”, which investors will be able to toast with her at December’s annual shareholder meeting, which takes place on Brighton Palace Pier for the first time.


Elsewhere, Strategic Minerals PLC (AIM:SML) shares were up 7% to 0.48p after it pencilled-in a start date of early 2022 for its Leigh Creek copper project.


After discussions with the mines department of South Australia (DEM), conditional approval has been given, pending additional information about the intended management of potentially acid-forming material, the cover design and visual amenity associated with the Paltridge North waste rock dumps and heap leach pads.


Discussions are also underway over a US$10mln loan facility with a global bank, which is undertaking due diligence currently.


John Peters, SML’s managing director, said: “The company is encouraged by the support shown by the Department of Energy and Mines for mining and processing the Paltridge North deposit.”

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