Currys PLC – the electrical retailer formerly known as Dixons Retail, Dixons Carphone, DSG etc – has seen its shares spark up after a positive update.
It said total sales for the first six months of the year were up 15% compared to the pre-pandemic figures in 2019.
Sales in the UK and Ireland rose by 11% as growth in electrical products was offset by an expected decline in mobile revenues. Sales in the Nordics rose by 19%.
It expects a “robust” peak trading season for Christmas, and says it is on track to meet market expectations for the full year of GBP161mln pretax profits.
It said: “We have put in place measures to mitigate the well-publicised supply chain disruption caused by industry-wide availability challenges and labour shortages.”
It has also announced it will buy back GBP75mln worth of shares over the next twelve months.
2.05pm: Provexis (AIM:PXS) boosted by Chinese agreement for Fruitflow product
Provexis (AIM:PXS) PLC is looking healthy after signed a co-operation deal with a GBP5bn Chinese company.
The ten year agreement gives the Chinese firm, By-Health, exclusive supply and distribution rights for the company’s Fruitflow heart-health functional food ingredient in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Australia.
By-Health is currently conducting the clinical studies required for Fruitflow to receive regulatory approval in China.
Five studies have been successfully completed and two clinical studies and one animal study are currently underway.
Provexis chief executive Ian Ford said: “We are delighted to announce this supply and distribution agreement for Fruitflow with By-Health, which follows our extensive work together over the last five years. The collaborative approach facilitated by this agreement will allow both Provexis and By-Health to continue to contribute their expertise in the most effective way…
“By-Health currently expects to be in a position to complete the last of its eight studies in 2022, and it will file its regulatory submission to the State Administration for Market Regulation for Fruitflow at the appropriate time, seeking to obtain a new permitted health function claim for foods such as Fruitflow that can demonstrate an anti-platelet effect. If By-Health is successful in obtaining a new permitted health function claim, it is currently expected that this would result in some significant orders for Fruitflow, potentially at a multiple of current total sales values.
“Fruitflow is well placed to play an important role in the Chinese cardiovascular health market under the permitted health function claim legislation, and we look forward to working closely with By-Health seeking to maximise the commercial success of this agreement for the benefit of both companies.’
Provexis has climbed 18.38% to 0.95p.
11.44am: Draper Esprit lifted by positive update on investments including Cazoo and Trustpilot
Draper Esprit PLC is the top riser in the FTSE 250 after a positive update on its investments.
The firm, a venture capital business specialising in digital technology businesses, said its net asset value per share was expected to be not less than 885p at the half year, up from 600p a year ago.
The value of its portfolio is set to jump from GBP702mln to GBP1.345bn.
It said the increase reflected new financing rounds at increased valuations for a number of its investments, including: Aircall, Revolut, Ledger, Form3, N26, Aiven. It also reflects the closing prices at the 30 September 2021 balance sheet date for its publicly listed investments Cazoo, Trustpilot and Ui Path.
Chief executive Martin Davis said: “We’ve continued to make significant progress over the first six months of the year driven by the strength of our portfolio, our investment team and buoyant market conditions. I am pleased to report realisations have remained strong enabling us to increase our deployment of capital across the portfolio; underpinned by our expanded platform. I feel excited by our performance going into the second half of the year.”
Draper’s shares are up 6.74% at 1046p.
10.45am: Boohoo close to settling California legal claim
Boohoo Group PLC (AIM:BOO) is in demand after it moved closer to settling a US class action claim about misleading customers.
The claim brought against the group in California alleged that some of its brands, including Pretty Little Thing, had been offering discounts based on incorrect original prices.
Now boohoo says both sides have agreed the terms of a preliminary settlement, which will be covered in full by provisions disclosed in its latest accounts.
It added: “Whilst there is no guarantee that the preliminary settlement will result in a final settlement of the claim, the parties will now work together to incorporate the terms of the preliminary settlement into a legally binding settlement agreement.”
In its half year results in September it said it had set aside GBP19.1mln for claims, although this figure is believed to include other items as well.
Its shares have climbed 3.89% to 192.29p on the news.
9.32am: Gattaca drops after sharp fall in recruitment profits
Specialist recruitment group Gattaca PLC (AIM:GATC) is under pressure after a sharp drop in profits.
The company said the pandemic had hit its business hard, and even though it saw signs of improvement in the second half, full year revenues fell 22% to GBP415.7mln and profits dropped 32% to GBP2.2mln.
Its engineering business saw net fee income fall 17% while the decline wa 25% in its technology division,
Internationally, fee income fell 30% and it has closed its Mexican business and is in the process of selling the South African division.
Chairman Patrick Shanley said the company was still cautious about recovery but hoped the worst was over.
He said: “The fundamentals of our business model position us well for the upswing in the economy. It is well recognised that the demand for STEM skills will only increase and we are well balanced to fulfil our role with our clients in finding the talent that they require. Last year we were cautious regarding the timing and whilst we feel more confident today we are also aware that this pandemic may well be wounded but is not yet finished. There may well be twists and turns over the coming months.
“What we do know is that our business is in the best possible position to exploit any market growth having been focused on our core markets for over 37 years. We have left behind us Brexit, IR35, new systems implementation and hopefully the worst of COVID-19.
“What lies ahead is a period where the expectation for major infrastructure projects in the UK is unprecedented and an optimism amongst our client base that we are entering a growth phase for STEM skills with a shortage of candidates. We are therefore hopeful that as the markets return we will see a significant recovery in the medium-term to our level of profitability.”
Some investors clearly do not want to wait, with its shares down 15.85% to 174.19p.
8.43am: Fulham Shore trades ahead of expectations as tourists and office workers return
The Fulham Shore PLC has seen a tasty rise in its share price after a positive trading and financing update.
The group behind The Real Greek and Franco Manco, said its restaurants were trading ahead of the comparative period in 2019 and ahead of expectations.
Its 17 restaurants in London have performed particularly strongly, trading 3% higher than in 2019 as office workers and tourists returned after the pandemic lockdowns.
Since its last update it has opened a Franco Manca in Blackheath Village, London, taking its total number of restaurants operated to 76 (56 Franco Manca and 20 The Real Greek).
Fitting out works are underway in a further Franco Manca on Baker St, London, W1 and another two The Real Greek – in the Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent and at The Corn Exchange in the centre of Manchester.
There are 20 more potential sites in solicitors’ hands for both new Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants.
It is also expanding internationally, with a franchise agreement for Greece with plans for a minimum of six restaurants to be opened over the next three years. It is also in discussions about sites in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
As for finances, it has extended its revolving credit facility with HSBC by two years and increased the size from GBP14.25mln to GBP17mln.
It has also repaid the GBP8.5mln remaining balance of its UK government backed GBP10.7mln coronavirus loan.
Chairman David Page, Chairman, commented: ” Fulham Shore continues to experience growing sales across both our businesses. Many of our restaurants throughout the UK continue to break trading records on a regular basis.
“We are accelerating our growth in the UK and abroad. We continue to trade ahead of our own expectations and have a strong pipeline of exciting new locations.”
Its shares are up 8.96% at 18.25p.
Also heading higher is imaging and sensing control specialist SDI Group PLC.
Its shares have climbed 5.28% or 10p to 199.5p after it said it expected full year revenues to be GBP45mln and pretax profits to reach GBP9.2mln, both above market expectations.
This follows a strong first half, especially from its Atik Cameras division which received exceptional orders for cameras related to testing for COVID-19 although demand for these will fall in the second half.