Starcom changes name (don’t ask) to focus on shipping and freight market

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If you were a company called Starcom PLC (AIM:STAR) would you really want to change your name to … t42 IoT Tracking Solutions plc?


Apparently so. The firm, which specialises in wireless and internet of things solutions for remote tracking, has picked a new name which certainly has some of those words in it.


And investors are quite happy, given a 13.33% rise in its share price to 1.7p.


Perhaps it is the name change which has led to the increase. Perhaps it is the news that the company also plans an 8 for 1 share consolidation.


Or perhaps it is the upbeat statement accompanying the announcement.


The company said that following the name change it would relaunch its product range to focus on the container and freight market.


It said: “This strategy, and the rebranding that it represents, is intended to leverage the market opportunity that has been presented by the major problems currently being suffered in the shipping and freight movement sector. We believe that the substantial increases in freight costs and the disruption to supply chains increase the need for our superior tracking and monitoring technology as shippers seek real time information to better control their assets in motion.”


It is in talks for a number of “potentially substantial” projects which could provide significant revenues over the next few years.


It said: “There can be no certainty that these negotiations will lead to final contracts or if they do, what the final terms and value will be. However, certain potential clients have indicated their desire to reach an agreement with Starcom for its technology and the board is hopeful to conclude one or more contracts before the end of this year. The recent raise of new capital will help to meet short term cash needs and to increase our marketing spend to take advantage of the new opportunities.”


2.27pm: Image Scan Holdings sees new product launches hit by travel restrictions


Investors in Image Scan Holdings PLC (AIM:IGE) do not appear to like what they see in its latest update.


Shares in the supplier of X-ray screening systems to the security and industrial inspection markets are down 5.66% at 2.5p after it said full year sales fell from GBP3.5mln to GBP2.9mln, following a weak first half.


Pre-tax trading profit – adjusted for research and development spending – fell from GBP112,000 to GBP98,000.


The company has been hit by the COVID-19 disruption to travel, and is now also facing the global supply chain issues plaguing many businesses.


Image Scan’s chairman and chief executive, Bill Mawer, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact all aspects of the business. Launching a new product without being able to visit customers or attend trade shows has presented a considerable challenge, as has servicing our widely deployed industrial X-ray machines. However, first orders were received for the new product [the Axis-CXi cabinet X-ray system], our industrial service contracts have been delivered, and it is pleasing to report a profit for the second year in succession. Disruption to global supply chains remains a concern but, with more product launches planned for the new year, and a world that is starting to adjust to the presence of COVID-19, we retain our optimistic outlook for the future.”


11.57am: Zotefoams rises after record performance


Zotefoams PLC (LSE:ZTF) has seen its shares bounce after a positive update.


The cellular materials specialist reported a record third-quarter sales performance, with revenues up around 11% compared to the same period in 2020 and 35% better than 2019.


It said demand for polyolefin foams had grown strongly in most markets, with price increases becoming fully effective in the third quarter. Sales of footwear products were at approximately the same rate as the first half of 2021 but had been negatively impacted by the well-publicised COVID-19-related shutdown of a customer in Vietnam. But sales of other High-Performance Products were significantly above the low levels of demand experienced this time last year.


Costs have increased, partly due to the start up of a Polish facility but also caused by commodity polymer price movements, general inflationary cost increases and the current supply chain disruptions.


It does not expect any relaxation in cost pressure in the short to medium term.


Overall it expects its full year revenues and profits to be in line with market expectations.


Chief executive David Stirling said: “We have been greatly encouraged by the return of strong underlying demand across most of our industry segments, although continued COVID-19 and supply chain disruption has hampered markets such as automotive, aviation and footwear products. I am pleased that Zotefoams continues to manage this challenging environment of supply chain disruption and cost inflation well.”


Its shares are up 13.89% or 50p at 410p.


10.53am: Tekcapital raises GBP3mln with share placing to invest in portfolio companies


Tekcapital PLC (LSE:TEK) has fallen back after raising GBP3mln with a share sale.


The intellectual property company, which invests in university technologies, has placed 10.7mln new shares with new and existing investors at 28p each.


In the market it is down 12.06% or 4.15p at 30.25p.


The funds from the oversubscribed placing will be used to accelerate the growth of its portfolio companies.


It said GBP1.5mln will be used to build inventory and progress product development for Lucyd, GBP0.5m will be used to expand inventory for Salarius and GBP0.5m will be used to provide capital expenditure for Guident’s remote monitoring and control centre.


The rest will be mainly used for additional working capital.


Executive chairman Clifford M. Gross said: “We are delighted with the support from existing and new shareholders in thepPlacing which will contribute to the additional near term progress of our portfolio companies.”


9.33am: Micro Focus International lifted by sale of archiving business


Micro Focus International plc (LSE:MCRO) is on the rise after selling its archiving and risk management business.


The software group is raising US$375mln in cash from the disposal of the Digital Safe business to US group Smarsh Inc, a multinational based in Portland, Oregon. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.


Chief executive Stephen Murdoch said: “Archiving and risk management is changing rapidly and becoming an increasingly specialised area. We believe that by combining the Digital Safe business with Smarsh, a leading innovator in this area, our Digital Safe customers and employees will see significant benefits and be better served for the long term.”


Micro Focus is up 5.67% or 20.6p at 384p.


8.48am: Nightcap toasts the prospect of forecast-beating results


Investors in Nightcap PLC (AIM:NGHT) are cheering the latest update from the bar operator.


The company, which includes the London Cocktail Club and Luna Springs in Birmingham, said after recent strong trading, it expected full year results to be significantly ahead of current market forecasts.


It said pent up demand following people being cooped up during lockdown and building up disposable income had meant significant demand for socialising across all its cocktail bars, inside and outside London.


Chief executive Sarah Willingham said: “”I am delighted to announce this upgrade of our expectations for the 53 weeks ending 3 July 2022, as a result of such strong performance across the group.


“Nightcap was built during the COVID-19 global pandemic to acquire and expand leading brands in the drinks-led bar sector and whilst the macro-economic climate remains uncertain, we believe that this uncertainty is core to our opportunity.


“As anticipated, new sites are becoming available as the fallout from the pandemic continues. We expect the end of the rent moratorium in March 2022 to further improve availability of excellent sites.


“With the opening of three new sites in November and a further 23 sites in legal negotiations or under offer, we are confident both in the strength of our bar concepts and in our ability to continue our rapid expansion across the UK.”


The company’s shares are up 13.16% or 2.5p to 21.5p.


Elsewhere security and surveillance firm Synectics (AIM:SNX) is heading higher after winning contracts with two casinos in North America.


In partnership with Zuvid Surveillance Systems, it will supply surveillance management systems for Fallsview Casino Resort – the largest gaming resort facility in Canada – and its sister property, Casino Niagara. Both properties recently re-opened having been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19.


Chief executive Paul Webb said: “These are some of the first new major projects awarded in the sector since the start of the pandemic and, as footfall and revenues in North American casinos have recovered strongly in recent months, should indicate a relatively straightforward recovery in the gaming surveillance market in North America going forward. Continuing travel restrictions mean the market in Asia remains challenging, and any recovery there is not expected until next year.”


Even so, news of the contracts has pushed the company’s shares up 8.68% or 9.5p to 119p.




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