James Fisher moves ahead after sale of testing services business

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Shares in James Fisher and Sons PLC have sailed ahead after the marine services firm sold a business which no longer fitted its strategy.


It will bank GBP5.7mln from the disposal of its testing services division to Nottingham-based Phenna Group.


James Fisher intends to concentrate on the marine, energy and defence markets


Its chief executive Eoghan O’Lionaird said: “We are committed to refocusing the James Fisher portfolio on niche sectors within our chosen markets in order to deliver sustainable profitable growth.


“In Phenna Group we have a new owner who understands the ambition and potential of James Fisher Testing Services and is positioned to provide it with an exciting future.”


James Fisher is 3.39% or 14p better at 427p.


2.03pm: Berkeley Energia faces loan note claim


Berkeley Energia Ltd (LSE:BKY, ASX:BKY) has fallen sharply after a claim for the immediate repayment of a loan note.


The company, which is behind the Salamanca uranium project in Spain, said it had received the claim from Singapore Mining Acquisition Co – a subsidiary of the Oman Investment Authority – relating to an investment agreement and convertible note entered into in 2017.


Berkeley said: “The claim alleges that the principle amount of US$65mln of the convertible note is immediately payable by the company due to allegations that the investment agreement and convertible note have been frustrated, repudiated and/or an event of default has occurred.


“The company strongly disputes the allegations and claim made by OIA and is currently seeking legal advice in relation to the matter.”


The company’s shares have been temporarily halted on the Australian Securities Exchange but continue trading in London and Spain.


And in London they have lost 35.45% or 5.85p to 10.65p.


12.31pm: UP Global Sourcing upbeat about prospects including Salter acquisition


UP Global Sourcing Holdings PLC (LSE:UPGS), aka Ultimate Products, is in demand after a positive update.


The company, which focuses on consumer goods for the home and whose brands include Salter kitchen products and Kleeneze, said full year revenues rose 17.9% to GBP136.4mln, with profits up 13.7% to GBP9.5mln.


It recently bought Salter and that business is expected to be significantly earnings enhancing in the next financial year.


Another recent acquisition, German kitchen brand Petra, will be relaunched, initially in its home market and then elsewhere.


It said current trading was in line with expectations, with growth expected in 2022, despite the ongoing challenges of shipping availability and cost.


Chief executive Simon Showman said: “Once again, we are pleased to have demonstrated Ultimate Products’ resilience and adaptability against the extremely challenging background of the COVID-19 pandemic…


“As restrictions ease, it is becoming clear that the pandemic has ushered in structural changes to consumer behaviours, which are to the benefit of Ultimate Products and that we believe are here to stay. More home working and home cooking, a greater emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness, and a more considered approach to spending all complement our long-standing strategy of developing and building our portfolio of brands that focus on mass-market and value-led consumer goods for the home. The board therefore remains confident in the group’s long-term prospects.”


The company’s shares have responded well to this optimism, up 13.3% or 23p to 196p.


10.47am: Chemring boosted by contract news and profit forecast


Chemring Group (LSE:CHG) PLC has climbed higher after the defence business unveiled new contract wins and said results for the year would be in line with forecasts.


Its US business has been awarded a production contract from the Department of Defense for the Enhanced Maritime Biological Detection Program – an advanced sensor system to detect, collect and identify airborne biological warfare agents.


The contract is worth up to US$99mln with an estimated completion date of December 2027. An initial delivery order of US$16mln will see deliveries being made in the final quarter of 2022 and 2023.


Its Australian division has received a contract modification for the supply of infrared equipment valued at US$20mln. The customers are both the US Navy and Air Force, and the governments of Norway, Japan, Italy and the Netherlands.


Meanwhile the company said trading for the year to the end of October had gone to plan despite challenging conditions.


So it expected full year operating profits to be in line with analysts’ forecasts, which range between GBP56mln and GBP59.6mln, with a consensus of GBP57.5mln.


Chemring shares are up 3.8% to 300.5p.


9.45am: ValiRx falls despite proposed US licensing agreement


ValiRx PLC (AIM:VAL) has dropped sharply after licensing out one of its legacy products to a new privately owned US company.


It has made the agreement relating to its Val201 asset to TheoremRx, for development in the treatment of cancer.


The deal, which could bring in US$2.2mln before the end of 2023 and more than US$61mln in total, is dependent among other things on a successful fundraising by TheoremRx.


While TheoremRx does due diligence, ValiRx is restricted from continuing to market the programme to other parties. Completion of the Licence Agreement is also subject to terms and conditions at closing.


And ValiRx said: “The letter of intent and proposed licence agreement … remain non-binding and there is no guarantee that this licence agreement will be executed or that it will generate material revenues within the expected timeframe or at all.”


Shares in ValiRx, which have more than doubled since early September, are down 16.33% at 43.72p.


8.20am: Warpaint lifted by positive update


Warpaint London PLC (AIM:W7L) is looking good after the cosmetics group said profits would be ahead of market expectations.


The company behind the W7 and Technic brands – which is expecting to launch its products in Boots shortly – said the improving trends seen in the first half had continued, with growth coming from both existing and new customers.


Full year sales were forecast to be similar to the pre-pandemic figure of GBP49.3mln, and margins were currently higher than in 2019 and 2020 despite some increased costs due to supply chain disruption.


Profit before tax is expected to be higher than the GBP5.2mln achieved in 2019 and better than City analysts have pencilled in.


Chief executive Sam Bazini said: “The encouraging trends experienced in the first half of 2021 have continued. We are continuing to see particularly strong growth in the UK, significant growth elsewhere internationally and further increases in online sales.


“In line with our stated strategy, we have significant opportunities for further growth, both with our existing retailers, those such as Boots where we are expecting to launch soon, and with others that we are in discussions with. I look forward to the remainder of the year and into 2022 with a high degree of confidence.”


The company’s shares are up 16.89% or 25.75p at 178.25p.


Also heading higher is MTI Wireless Edge Ltd


The communications group has climbed 4.95% to 72.94p after winning orders for 5G antenna from two key customers. The combined orders are worth approximately US$0.85mln.


MTI’s chief executive Moni Borovitz said: “These significant new orders demonstrate the strength of our 5G backhaul solution and our customers’ satisfaction with it. The orders are expected to be supplied before the end of 2022 and will be part of our expected uplift in 5G sales next year.”




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