Small cap movers: U and I rockets on GBP190mln LandSec acquisition offer, but Purplebricks expects hou


U and I Group PLC (LSE:UAI) has been one of the main small-cap stories this week, rocketing 72% to 148p on the back of a takeover bid.

Property giant Land Securities Group PLC (LSE:LAND) offered to buy the regeneration group for GBP190mln or 149p per share, which represents a 73% premium to the previous closing price.

The FTSE 100 group said the acquisition would provide access to a significant pipeline of mixed-use development schemes, of which two – Mayfield and the Manchester strategic regeneration framework – are well-progressed through planning.

U+I also provides access to London’s Landmark Court, a further high quality, office-led development with planning consent.

“Developing truly world-class mixed-use communities that inspire and create opportunity is more important than ever. The combination of Landsec and U+I is compelling and will help us accelerate our strategy, both by introducing exciting new Urban development opportunities and by further strengthening Landsec’s front end development capabilities and placemaking skills,” said LandSec chief executive Mark Allan.

Conversely, estate agent Purplebricks (AIM:PURP) Group PLC plunged 41% to 32p after issuing a profit warning, blamed on an imbalance of supply and demand in the housing market.

Following a stronger period for instructions last year, sales are expected to slide over the next few months as there aren’t enough properties being listed.

Looking at the wider market, both the AIM All-Share Index and the FTSE 100 rose 1% to 1,237 and 7,322 respectively.

Sticking to the fallers, Alba Mineral Resources PLC (AIM:ALBA) dove 25% to 0.1p after the Welsh authorities denied a permit for water discharge activity at the Clogau-St David’s Gold Mine. The miner hasn’t shown how the plan would “not have an adverse effect” on the local protected animals, Natural Resources Wales said.

Berkeley Energia Limited slumped 20% to 13p as it suspended shares on the Australian Stock Exchange following a claim by the Oman Investment Authority, which is asking the energy company to pay US$65mln for a convertible note. Berkeley Energia has been served with a writ for proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria at the Melbourne Commercial Court.

Omega Diagnostics Group PLC (AIM:ODX) slipped 16% to 43p after announcing it’s still waiting for UK approval on its COVID-19 rapid tests, which is delaying supply to customer DAM Health clinics. The UK has implemented new rules for coronavirus assays.

Speciality ingredients maker Itaconix PLC (LSE:ITX, OTCQB:ITXXF) tumbled 12% to 5p after it had to temporarily suspend production at its New Hampshire facility due to severe rainstorms causing water damage.

Looking at the risers, Nightcap PLC (AIM:NGHT) surged 18% to 22p after announcing that trading has been stronger than expected in recent weeks and is to open three new London Cocktail Club sites before Christmas.

Similarly, The Real Greek and Franco Manca owner Fulham Shore PLC (AIM:FUL) advanced 11% to 17p after boasting that its restaurants have topped 2019 revenue levels during the summer.

Silence Therapeutics PLC (AIM:SLN, NASDAQ:SLN, OTC:SLNCF) rose by a tenth to 552p after revealing a new shareholder, Frazier Life Sciences Public Fund. The healthcare-focused investment firm bought US$20mln of existing shares and now owns 3% of the drug discovery group.

Netscientific PLC jumped 9% to 112p after its investee Sofant Technologies signed a EUR7.3mln contract with the UK and European space agencies. Sofant, a specialist in 5G communications that develops antennas, will help commercialise a low-cost, low-power satellite communications platform.

Next week, Firering Strategic Minerals plc is scheduled to join the junior market with a GBP4mln IPO. The Cyprus-based group is a holding company for exploration and development companies focused on the ethical production of critical metals. Its portfolio is in Cote d’Ivoire and contains projects with potential for lithium and columbite-tantalite.


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