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Stock market star Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:DPH) slumped 8.5% to 2,806p after it warned performance would be more second-half weighted than usual this year.

The company, which has a financial year that runs to the end of June, said that trading had been adversely affected by supply problems, predominantly in the fiscal first quarter.

Significant progress has been made and the supply issues have been largely mitigated, the veterinary products company said.

2.00pm: Digitalbox raises guidance

Digitalbox PLC (LON:DBOX) shares soared 17% to 7.75p after it upgraded profits guidance for 2019.

The AIM-listed firm, which owns celebrity news site Entertainment Daily and satire brand The Daily Mash, said in a trading update that revenues and operating margins had also come in ahead of forecasts, with the growth attributed to its Insights programme which is designed to analyse user behaviour and inform content strategy.

Over the year, Digitalbox reported that Entertainment Daily had seen its Google-sourced traffic surge by 127%, while audience levels at The Daily Mash website rose 15% year-on-year in the second half of 2019 as advertising revenue continued to grow.

12.45pm: Global Data slides as Sally Johnson elects to stay at Pearson in bigger role

Digital media group Global Data PLC (LON:DATA) shed 10% at 1,205p after it got caught in the fall-out of board room changes at Pearson PLC.

Sally Johnson was to have become the chief financial officer of Global Data in the first quarter of this year but with the news that Pearson’s head bean-counter, Coram Williams, is to leave the hard-pressed educational publishing giant, Global Data has allowed Johnson to stay on at Pearson and replace him.

Graham Lilley, GlobalData’s current chief financial officer, will continue in the role until further notice.

11.30am: Pearson plunges again after trading updates gets a C-

Pearson PLC (LON:PSON) was under pressure again, shedding 10% at 557.4p, as it warned revenues next year will be flat and profits will fall.

Sentiment was further turned by the announcement that finance head Coram Williams is leaving to be replaced by his deputy Sally Johnson.

“The struggling US Higher Education business has once again blotted Pearson’s copybook. In some ways, you have to feel for the group. CEO John Fallon correctly predicted the dramatic decline in print course materials and has been working hard to shift the group to a more digital set-up. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, and customers just don’t seem willing to fork out for digital what they once spent on print. Operational hiccups costing the group market share haven’t helped,” observed Nicholas Hyett, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

10.30am: Agronomics runs into aggro after reporting a 28% decline in NAV per share

A half-year report put the “aggro” into Agronomics Limited’s (LON:ANIC) share price, sending it 14% lower to 9.25p.

The investment company focused on the nascent alternative foods sector said its net asset value (NAV) per share at the end of December had fallen to 5.2p from 7p.

The company recorded a net loss for the second half of 2019 of £493,493, versus a loss of £16,357 in the same period of 2018.

9.30am: Cora Gold surges after scoping study on the Sanankoro gold project

Cora Gold Limited (LON:CORA) shares jumped 8% in early trade on Thursday, up a halfpenny to 6.75p after the West Africa-focused gold explorer published the results of a scoping study.

The group said the study of the Sanankoro Gold Project showed “good initial validation of the project’s future economic potential”.

It said this indicated an 84% internal rate of return, a US$30.9mln net present value at an 8% discount rate, and an all-in sustaining cost of US$942 per ounce.

The top riser in London, however, was Microsaic Systems PLC (LON:MSYS), which shot up 14% to 1.25p after a trading update.

The chip-based mass spectrometry (MS) instruments specialist confirmed that revenues for 2019 significantly exceeded the previous year’s while “increasing momentum is being achieved in key areas of the company’s strategy”.

The board is targeting a further significant increase in revenues in 2020 underpinned by further extending its MS product offering with the launch of a range of new complete system products.

Proactive news headlines:

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) has announced that its wholly-owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia (MGA) has received a cash refund for research and development (R&D) expenditure of A$555,212 (approximately £295,515) under the Australian government’s R&D Tax Incentive scheme. In a statement, the precious metals exploration and development company said the qualifying activities pertain to research into turbidite-hosted gold deposits within MGA’s exploration licences in Victoria, Australia.

Digitalbox PLC (LON:DBOX) has hailed its first year as a digital media business as adjusted pre-tax profits for 2019 came in ahead of market expectations. The AIM-listed firm, which owns celebrity news site Entertainment Daily and satire brand The Daily Mash, said in a trading update that revenues and operating margins had also come in ahead of forecasts, with the growth attributed to its Insights programme which is designed to analyse user behaviour and inform content strategy

Cello Health PLC (LON:CLL) expects to report results for 2019 in line with consensus market expectations. The group enjoyed strong cash flow in the second half of last year, as is the norm, and conversion of operating profit into cash flow was strong; as a result, the group ended the year with a better net cash position than the market was expecting.

Clinigen Group PLC (LON:CLIN) has reiterated its expectation for growth to be “towards the upper end” of its organic gross profit guidance for the current year. The pharma and services group, which supplies drugs for clinical trials and distributes unlicensed and speciality pharmaceuticals, said it expects revenue growth of 16% for the first six months of its financial year to 31 December, with constant currency growth of 24%.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) chief executive Bill Higgs has celebrated 2019 as a “successful year” for the Iraq-focused oil and gas firm. In a trading update, ahead of full-year financial results due for release on 17 March, the group told investors that it delivered some 36,250 barrels of net oil production per day from the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq. The company pointed out that it brought 19 wells into production during 2019.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) produced a record 27,985 ounces of gold in 2019 surpassing its forecast for the year by almost 12%. The output from its Kiziltepe mine in Turkey in the fourth quarter was also close to a new record said Kerim Sener, the miner’s managing director. Ariana added it now expects to repay the development loan taken out to build Kiziltepe in full in April.

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) said 2019 was a record year for crystalline iodine production by the company and it expects this year’s output to grow even more. In a market update, Iofina said full-year crystalline iodine production totalled 602.7 tonnes in 2019, up from 588.8 tonnes in 2018, with 316 tonnes of the 2019 total being produced in the second half of the year. The company currently expects to produce between 315 and 345 tonnes of crystalline iodine in the first half of this year.

Woodbois Ltd (LON:WBI) on Thursday announced a “cash flow enhancement” as it revealed details of deals with past vendors and certain lenders. The aim is to accelerate the African timber company’s growth as it moves toward a cashflow positive position during 2020, the forestry firm said in a statement.

Avation PLC (LON:AVAP) has announced that it has delivered the second in a series of five new ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft to Braathens Regional Airways AB from the manufacturer’s facility in Toulouse, France. The commercial passenger aircraft leasing company said that, as with the first delivery to Braathens, this second delivery was financed with a “Green Loan” provided by Deutsche Bank.

VR Education Holdings PLC (LON:VRE) is forecasting “continued strong growth” and accelerated adoption of virtual reality technology in 2020 as standalone devices and 5G become more widely available. In a trading update for the year ended 31 December, VRE’s chief executive David Whelan said standalone devices such as the Oculus Quest VR headset, made by Facebook, will result in VR adoption becoming “more mainstream”, and, as such, the firm will see “strong growth of sales” for its showcase experiences as well as accelerated adoption of its ENGAGE platform, which allows users to create their own simulated environments for teaching or demonstrations.

Tekcapital PLC (LON:TEK), the UK intellectual property (IP) investment group focused on creating marketplace value from investing in university technology, said it will exhibit at the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) annual meeting, the largest gathering of academic technology transfer professionals. AUTM is made up of over 3,100 technology transfer professionals committed to commercialising university research. Tekcapital’s Invention Evaluator, and Vortechs Group business units look forward to attending the conference at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, and to meeting with current and prospective clients.

APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ), the emerging markets growth company based in Guernsey, said it has issued a total of 26,578 ordinary shares to employees as part of the 2018 management share-based compensation scheme, including Bart Turtelboom, its chief executive officer, who has received 23,366 Ordinary Shares. The price used in calculating the number of shares awarded under the 2018 Scheme was the book value per share as at 31 December 2017 of 128.11 US cents. Following this issue, the firm noted, Turtelboom is interested in 22,191,927 ordinary shares representing 28.35% of the company’s issued share capital.

Stobart Group Ltd. (LON:STOB) has received notification that Toscafund Asset Management has increased its holding in the company to 18.8%, up from 11.7% previously.