The magazine and events company, which already has six such courts around the world, revealed that the opening of the new Time Out Markets in Chicago and Montréal has been delayed, as well as “additional” investment.
The global roll-out will continue with new food courts to be launched in Dubai next year, London in 2021 and Prague 2023.
The dip in paper prices particularly hit profitability in North America, which lowered its export prices, but the cardboard maker said its newly opened corrugated packaging site in Indiana will over time “significantly reduce” the impact of paper on profits.
In the half year to 31 October, revenues rose 4% to £3.2bn and profit before tax jumped 31% to £213mln, owing partly to better margins and market share from its €1.67bn acquisition of Europac last year to increase its presence in Europe.
2pm: Microsaic Systems surges over exclusive contract for distribution in Japan
The AIM-listed firm, which develops instruments used in the pharma industry, inked the contract to have its core product, the 4500 MiD detector, distributed in Japan.
The 4500 MiD is a small device used in mass spectrometry, used for analysis of samples.
The AIM-listed developer of life sciences, beauty and personal care products said its direct to consumer platform drove performance, with a 43% increase in online store sessions year-on-year.
The group also noted that returning customer rate was up 20% year-on-year and accounted for around 54% of customers.
12pm: Resolute Mining surges over determination to extend mine life
Resolute Mining Limited (LON:RSG) was up 7% to 66p after exploration results at the Mako gold mine in Senegal proved potential to extend its life.
Next year will see additional diamond drilling to outline the full extent of the extra resources.
The project, added to Resolute’s portfolio through the acquisition of Toro Gold, produced 44,191 ounces in the quarter to September.
The FTSE 250 homewares chain launched a new website ahead of peak Christmas trading, following online sales already enjoying a 35% leap to £35.7mln in the six months to the end of September.
Management said there was no adverse impact on sales during the critical transition period and that customers have “responded well” after the website was moved onto a more flexible, cloud-based digital platform.
The company expects earnings for the year ended 30 November to be slightly higher than estimated, while revenue will rise around 13%.
“Group order books for the start of the 2020 financial year are healthy,” the company said in a release, adding net cash at the end of the period was £3.9mln following capital and acquisition expenditure of £14mln.
10.30am: Bigblu Broadband dips after signalling debt spike
Bigblu Broadband PLC (LON:BBB) lost 4% to 105.25p in mid-morning trades as it reported higher debt than expected in a full-year trading update.
The satellite wireless specialist said that while borrowings were in line with guidance over the course of the year, they spiked to £14.2mln due to “short-term timing issues” and exceptional costs associated with a legacy agreement.
Management said they are “extremely confident” the debt will be reduced in the short term, while trading for the year met expectations although customers dipped 3% to 110,000 at the end of the period.
The FTSE 250-listed group said it expected net trading revenue to be £250mln for the six months to 30 November, compared to £251mln last year.
This meant that revenue was down to £120.9mln in the second quarter, compared to £129mln in the first quarter of this financial year and £122.1mln in the second quarter last year.
Kamani, who is executive chairman of the online fashion retailer, sold 35mln of his shares at a price of 285p apiece to institutional investors. He retains a 13.1% holding.
Kane, who stepped back from being joint chief executive earlier this year but remains an executive director, sold 15mln shares at the same price and retaining a 2.7% holding.
9am: Thor Mining leaps as well-known investors take stake
Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) topped the early gainers in London, with its shares leaping 37% higher to 0.48p after news that former boss of resources investor Metal Tiger Plc (LON:MTR) has amassed a near 4.5% stake in the group.
In a brief statement, Thor said it has informed on 4 December 2019 that Paul and Michelle Johnson now hold a beneficial interest in 47,976,083 ordinary shares representing a 4.5% interest in the company.
“I see huge opportunity for Regency given its current asset base, particularly supporting the recent rapid growth of electric vehicles,” the incoming boss said in a release.
Also in the world of mining, European Metals Holdings Ltd (LON:EMH) jumped 9% to 17.9p as it confirmed an agreement with Czech state-owned electricity conglomerate ČEZ Group.
ČEZ will receive the option to invest €34.1mln and take a 51% stake in Geomet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of European Metals based in Czech Republic, which owns Cinovec, the largest known lithium resource in Europe.
ČEZ has exclusivity during the option period and the completion of the proposed investment is contingent upon due diligence, approval at AGM/EGM, agreement over future work programmes and budgets along with agreement over a new management team (including a chief executive and chief operating officer for Geomet).
Proactive news headlines:
Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) topped the early gainers in London, with its shares leaping nearly 36% higher to 0.475p after news the former boss of resources investor Metal Tiger Plc (LON:MTR) has amassed a near 4.5% stake in the group. In a brief statement, Thor said it has informed on 4 December 2019 that Paul and Michelle Johnson now hold a beneficial interest in 47,976,083 ordinary shares representing a 4.46% interest in the company.
European Metals Holdings Ltd (LON:EMH) shares advanced in Thursday’s early deals as it confirmed an agreement that sees state-owned CEZ receive the option to invest €34.06mln and take a 51% stake in the company’s Czech subsidiary Geomet. The Czech unit holds the Cinovec asset which is described as a “globally significant lithium project”, as it is presently the largest known lithium resource in Europe.
James Parsons, the former chief executive of Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) is to take over at Regency Mines PLC (LON:RGM) and help fund its push into battery metals. A placing will raise £831,000 as a part of a refinancing of the business with C4 Energy, a new company part-controlled by Parsons also granted an option to acquire Regency’s debt.
Circassia PLC (LON:CIR) has undertaken a major overhaul of its board and senior management. Steve Harris is stepping down as chief executive of the respiratory drug specialist after thirteen years, with Ian Johnson appointed executive chairman as his replacement. Johnson is best known from his time as executive chairman of Bioquell and is currently a non-exec chair of Redcentric and on the board at Ergomed.
InnovaDerma (LON:IDP) said trading on the Black Friday weekend was its strongest to date and overall the Skinny Tan group continues to perform well. In a brief update, the AIM-listed developer of life sciences, beauty and personal care products said the performance was largely driven by Innovaderma’s DTC (direct to consumer) platform with online store sessions increasing by 43% compared to the previous year.
BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC) has been awarded a US$4mln agri-waste contract by an unnamed Taiwanese food conglomerate. In a statement, the company said it would receive 30% of the sum by the end of December, with the remainder paid on completion of the project around this time next year. The contract will see BATM supply and install three waste treatment units based around its integrated steriliser and shredder technology at two sites.
Crossword Cybersecurity PLC (LON:CCS) revealed Thursday that its Consulting division has received CREST accreditation for its penetration testing services. In a statement, the AIM-listed firm noted that this means that the company now holds certifications from CREST, IASME and Cyber Essentials Plus. Stuart Jubb, managing director of Crossword Consulting, commented: “It is an excellent achievement that Crossword have been recognised by CREST as a credible organisation in the penetration test service marketplace.”
OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) has received European regulatory sign-off for the unflavoured version of SlimBiome Medical. The CE Mark provides a product line extension for the firm’s weight loss sachets after initial approval last November.
AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) has launched the zero-emission H-Power electric vehicle (EV) charging system, which is based on its scalable alkaline fuel cells. In a statement, the company also revealed a ‘blue-ribbon’ partnership with the British Motor Show 2020, becoming the event’s official EV charging partner. It noted that the British Motor show returns next year, after a 12-year absence, and it is expected to see over 50,000 visitors attend.
Europa Metals Ltd (LON:EUZ) has completed the first hole in a drilling campaign at its Toral lead-zinc and silver project in Spain. The AIM-listed miner said the TOD-024 hole had been drilled to 302.4 metres and had returned visible sulphide mineralisation. A second drill hole, TOD-025, was begun immediately afterwards and is expected to continue until mid-December and the drilling will then resume in early January, in line with the company’s schedule.
Plexus Holdings Plc (LON:POS) chairman Jeff Thrall has told investors that talks with more potential partners about new and existing applications for the company’s flagship POS-GRIP technology continue to see progress. In a statement ahead of today’s AGM, Thrall noted that the company has “a growing suite” of proprietary products based around the POS-GRIP technology, which includes certain patented features such as superior metal-to-metal seals. Such technologies and products have diversified applications beyond oil and gas, where the initial business is centred.
Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) says it is continuing to review strategic options for its Geocurve subsidiary following a restructuring. The AIM-listed group said that following headcount reductions and restructuring at Geocurve earlier in the year, the subsidiary had returned to profitability in the first half of the year.
W Resources PLC (LON:WRES), the tungsten, tin and gold mining company with assets in Spain and Portugal, confirmed it has secured a new €500,000 revolving credit facility with leading Spanish Bank, CaixaBank, which will provide the ramp-up working capital financing outlined in the company announcement on 15 November 2019. The group said the Caixa facility is in place and funds have been drawn and it is in the process of negotiating additional facilities and further announcements will be made in due course. W Resources chairman, Michael Masterman commented: “The Caixa facility allows us to further reduce the average cost of funds of our debt facilities and provide solid working capital support for the ramp-up of La Parrilla.”
Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) said that, further to its announcement of 29 November 2019 in respect of the £1.0mln Riverfort Facility, discussions remain ongoing regarding the proposed extension, and, accordingly, the investors have agreed to extend the payment of the outstanding balance due under the facility to 13 December 2019 from 5 December 2019. David Ciclitira, LVCG’s chairman commented: “I believe the outcome of these discussions will be genuinely positive for the Company and I remain confident about the Company’s prospects for 2020 and 2021”.
Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK), a worldwide supplier of detection technology focusing on the medical, security screening and nuclear markets, said it will be announcing its interim results for the six months ended 31 October 2019 on Wednesday 11 December 2019.