Fulcrum Utility’s attempt to calm nerves fails to do the trick

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Fulcrum Utility Services Limited failed to settle nerves as it issued a statement in the wake of share price volatility.


The shares fell 13% to 14.875p despite the smart metering specialist saying its order book and the delivery pipeline is robust and resilient to the turbulence being felt in the energy market.


The board said it believes that although conditions for energy suppliers are currently uncertain, the strong government stimulus and increasing regulatory framework are key market drivers for the group’s smart metering business and, as such, it sees significant and strategic growth opportunities for the group in this arena across all aspects of meter life.


1.40pm: McColl’s slumps as margins come under pressure


McColl’s Retail Group shares were left on the shelf after the convenience store operator warned supply shortages and other disruption would mean significantly lower revenues than expected this year.


The ongoing nationwide shortage of delivery drivers, labour shortages at distribution centres and insufficient supply of key products, including high margin branded impulse lines, had intensified in the fourth quarter, it said.


The shares fell 17% to 15p, making the second-worst performers in London today.


12.45pm: Biome Technologies hits a bump


Biome Technologies PLC (AIM:BIOM) slumped 19% to 304.5p after an expected acceleration in sales growth in the second half of 2021 failed to materialise.


The bioplastics specialist’s expectation of an upturn had been based on the assumption that the previously reported engineering limitations at the company’s second US customer for filtration mesh would be removed, allowing a ramp-up of their additional manufacturing lines.


These engineering limitations have been resolved and a quarter of the customer’s installed capacity has been equipped to run Biome’s products, with high-efficiency production being achieved; however, Biome now understands that the expected acceleration of further off-take will not occur until next year as the customer manages conflicting production priorities.


11.50am: Mode waives fees for a limited time on Bitcoin trading to raise profile


Mode Global Holdings PLC (LSE:MODE) was 6.0% heavier at 35.5p after it said it would waive fees for a limited time on customers trading Bitcoin.


The campaign is part of Mode’s goal for its crypto trading app to become “one of the most competitive in the market”.


“Now more than ever we are focused on getting Bitcoin into the hands of millions,” said chief executive Ryan Moore.


10.55am: Caracal lifted by licence decision


Caracal Gold PLC (LSE:GCAT) shares advanced 5.9% to 1.35p after the company said a prospecting licence surrounding its Kilimapesa gold mine in Kenya has been renewed for a further three years.


The prospecting license forms part of the company’s broader exploration and development activities at Kilimapesa, which will now be accelerated, and is 62 times larger than Kilimapesa’s current licence area.


“The renewal of our prospecting licence, which surrounds Caracal’s existing mining licence at Kilimapesa, is yet another vote of confidence from the Kenyan Government in our operations in the country,” said chief executive Robbie McCrae.


10.00am: It’s a thrill a minute at Tatton (possibly)


Thrills are at a premium in the dry world of asset management so Tatton Asset Management PLC (AIM:TAM)‘s management should be moderately pleased with today’s 4.8% share price gain to 608p.


Assets under management (AUM) increased by GBP1.8bn or 20% to a record GBP10.8bn in the six months to the end of September. The current AUM stands at roughly GBP11.2bn.


The interim dividend has been hiked 14.3% to 4p after pre-tax profit after the impact of exceptional items, amortisation of customer relationship intangibles, finance costs and share-based payment charges increased to GBP4.79mln from GBP3.07mln in the corresponding period of 2020.


9.05am: Speedy Hire raises expectations


Here’s one we probably should’ve seen coming: an upturn in fortunes for Speedy Hire PLC (LSE:SDY), the UK’s leading provider of tools and equipment hire.


The shares rose 5.2% to 67.1p after the company saw revenue leap 28% to GBP186.6mln in the six months to the end of September from GBP145.5mln the year before while adjusted profit before tax more than tripled to GBP14.6mln from GBP4.1mln.


In its interim results, the company said full-year results are expected to be ahead of current market expectations and that market conditions remain positive.


The top riser in early deals was Wildcat Petroleum (LSE:WCAT) PLC, which leapt 21% to 2.35p after it commissioned a consultant to produce a report.


The consultant’s brief is to look at oil and gas licences Wildcat has previously studied (especially in Africa) that meet the company’s investment criteria.


The consultant, Simco Petroleum, will immediately assist Wildcat in the evaluation of existing opportunities in South Sudan where Simco has recent experience of licence management.

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