The company said trading in the first two months of the year had been okay but in recent days has been increasingly significantly affected by the coronavirus.
The board of Comptoir has taken the decision to close its restaurants with immediate effect until further notice, saying the health of its staff and customers is its highest priority.
Noon: 4imprint warns on profits
4imprint Group PLC (LON:FOUR) lost a fifth of its value at 1,350p after warning it expects a hit on revenue and profit as a result of the current pandemic.
The promotional merchandise firm said it has experienced a “significant reduction” in daily order flow since 10 March, falling 60% year-on-year in the last three days.
The FTSE 250-listed company said it is recalibrating marketing activities and implementing cost saving initiatives, while keeping a long-term focus.
10.45am: TClarke’s results get warm reception
TClarke PLC (LON:CTO) boasted of five years of continuous improvement in its 2019 results, sending the shares up 11% to 82.5p.
Underlying profit before tax rose 15% to £9.2mln from £8.0mln in 2018 on revenue that edged up 2% to £334.6mln from £326.8mln.
“Clearly these results will be overshadowed by the global Coronavirus pandemic,” acknowledged Iain McCusker, the chairman of the building services company.
“It is worth reminding our stakeholders that the group has a proud 130-year history and overcome many challenges. During this time, we have built a first-class reputation for quality and being at the forefront of technological innovation within our sector,” he added.
9.30am: Arden Partners soars after a pointed reminder of its net asset value
The stockbroker noted a recent plunge in its share price – as recently as March 9 the shares were trading at around 13p – and the fact the movement was triggered by “very small volumes” of share transactions.
“The board understands the current volatile nature of the stock market and the impact of this on relatively illiquid stocks, but it wishes to advise shareholders that, as at 29 February 2020, the unaudited net asset value of the company was £5.6mln (equating to a net asset value per share of 19.2 pence),” Arden said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Xeros Technology Group PLC soared 42% to 0.698p on the back of a licensing agreement with an Asian original equipment manufacturer.
The AIM-listed developer and provider of water-saving and filtration technologies said its agreement with Ramsons Garment Finishing Equipments provides the latter with an exclusive licence for the manufacture and sale of Xeros-enabled garment finishing and dyeing equipment in South Asia.
Under the terms of the agreement, Xeros will receive a royalty for each XDrum machine sold by Ramsons and a share of the multi-year annuity revenues, paid by the garment manufacturers, for the ongoing use of XOrbs. The agreement allows for additional geographies to be added into the future.
Proactive news headlines:
i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) has secured a drilling rig from Dolphin Drilling for a minimum 82-day drilling programme that is due to commence no later than 1 September this year. The contract could yet be amended if both parties agree and could also be extended for a period of 78 days, furthermore, the contract is conditional on i3 confirming availability of funds to satisfy its obligations under the contract, 90 days prior to drilling commencement, i3 said in a statement. The company also revealed that, in light of recent world events and their effect on oil and capital markets, it has continued to reduce its corporate operating costs.
BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC) (TASE:BVC) is teaming up with an Israeli life sciences firm to develop and market a rapid home testing kit for COVID-19. Working with a company called Novamed, it is creating a kit that will analyse a sputum sample in minutes that identifies severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes coronavirus disease. BATM hopes to have a product with regulatory sign-off in the form of CE mark that’s ready to ship in three to four months.
Tavistock Investment PLC (LON:TAVI) has raised £650,000 in new funds and, in the process, the wealth manager has brought on board a new backer with significant financial services experience. Of the 32.5mln shares issued at 2p each, 30mln were bought by Hugh Simon, giving him a stake of just under 5%. Simon is the chief executive and owner of Hamon Investment Group, an asset manager based in Hong Kong and London.
Woodbois Ltd (LON:WBI) has inked a deal that will see the restart of the forestry and timber trading specialist’s operations in Mozambique. US group Future Earth II will fund, manage and operate the AIM-listed group’s concessions in the country to produce sawn lumber and veneers. The 300,000 hectares of trees have been on care and maintenance for over two years after an export embargo was put in place.
LoopUp Group PLC (LON:LOOP) has highlighted a “material increase in volumes” for its virtual meeting products during March as the coronavirus outbreak drives demand for remote working technology. In a post-period update accompanying its full-year results, the AIM-listed company said it was “too early to predict how usage levels will develop in the short term” but added that it was receiving “amplified” approaches from companies struggling to adopt video conferencing solutions.
CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC), the domain names and web services company, has applauded the turnaround at Team Internet, acquired late last year. During the period from 1 January 2019 through to 24 December 2019, which was the date of the sale of the German web services provider to CentralNic, Team Internet recorded revenue of US$74.0mln and adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of US$12.3mln.
Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) has become involved in ScienceIN2Business, a technology transfer competition run by the University of Lisbon. The competition invites academics to put forward projects with commercial potential, five of which are then chosen to be taken further. Frontier IP said it will provide mentoring support and expert advice to the projects entered into the competition and will also be involved in selecting the final shortlist.
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (LON:BMY) has revealed that its performance for the year ended 29 February 2020 is in line with the expectations of its board although the Harry Potter books publisher pointed out that it is unclear how coronavirus will affect its numbers in the current year. In a pre-close trading update for the 12 months to 29 February 2020, the leading independent publisher said its financial position is strong with net cash of £31mln as at 29 February 2020, after paying £1.2mln for the acquisition of Oberon Books Ltd in December 2019.
Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) has sent a message of “resilience” and “strong performance” against industry and broader headwinds In its financial results statement. The group said its results for the twelve months ended 31 December confirmed production growth of 36,250 barrels of oil per day (bopd), up from 33,700 in 2018. Revenue rose to US$377.2mln, from US$355.1mln, while earnings excluding exploration (EBITDAX) amounted to US$321.8mln, up from US$304.1mln.
VR Education Holdings PLC (LON:VRE) says it will enter a strategic partnership with Taiwanese electronics firm HTC to distribute its ENGAGE platform globally. ENGAGE allows users to build and attend classes or meetings in a virtual reality (VR) environment. VRE said the platform will be distributed through all of HTC’s enterprise sales channels, although stressed that at this early stage there was no certainty that the partnership will be concluded.
discoverIE Group PLC (LON:DSCV), the customised electronics maker, said it is well prepared to quickly mitigate any disruption from the spread of the coronavirus. The group said that the current financial year, which runs to the end of March, had seen strong momentum throughout the year but it saw some isolated disruption to the business in the fourth quarter as a result of the outbreak of the virus.
Impax Asset Management PLC (LON:IPX) said its assets under management rose by 8% to £16.3bn in the period from October to February, though the fund manager added that the market turbulence over recent weeks has had an effect since. “During March, the funds and accounts that Impax manages or advises have generally performed in line with the market, while flows have been slightly negative,” the firm said in a statement ahead of its AGM being held on Thursday.
Capital Drilling Ltd (LON:CAPD) chair Jamie Boyton has told investors that the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic remains unquantifiable for the company at present as the company posted its full-year results. Given that travel bans are increasingly being imposed, the company noted uncertainty in regard to equipment mobilisation, movement of teams and continuity of supply chain. Capital Drilling reported US$114.8mln of revenue for full-year 2019, in line with its prior guidance for US$110mln to US$120mln.
88 Energy PLC (LON:88E) said drilling of the ‘production hole’ will start imminently in the Charlie-1 well on Alaska’s North Slope. The company, in a statement, revealed that operations encountered a minor weather-related delay but surface casing has now been set and cemented in the well so that the next phase of drilling can now begin. It noted that ‘logging while drilling’ results are expected once the well’s total depth has been reached and initial analysis has taken place – presently that it is anticipated in early April.
Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has announced that its associate Forum Energy has agreed in principle to provide £150,000 of interim finance for the company, before the end of this month, so that the company can satisfy its creditors. The company, which is the process of becoming a cash shell for future investment, in January agreed a funding deal with Forum which at that time saw the company receive £250,000. Alongside the latest injection of funds, Forum has appointed two directors to the AAOG board. Dexter Ferreira and Tania Maciver have both been appointed as non-executive directors. Meanwhile, James Cane has agreed to step down as AAOG’s interim chief executive and finance director. Paul Forrest will act as part-time interim finance officer in a non-board role.
Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN), the AIM-listed, integrated primary vanadium producer which owns high-grade vanadium assets in South Africa, has announced the appointment of Dolly Mokgatle as an Independent non-executive director of the company. The group noted that Mokgatle is an established business leader in South Africa who has held various significant leadership positions within several of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises, as well as within the private sector, including as a former managing director of the Transmission Group at Eskom. Prior to that role, she held various Eskom roles including, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs, Senior General Manager: Growth of Development and Acting Legal Manager. She is currently the chairperson of Total South Africa Pty Ltd, and a Non-Executive Director on the boards of Rothschild (South Africa) Pty Ltd, Bid Corporation Limited and Telkom SA SOC Limited. Ian Watson, Bushveld Mineral’s chairman, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Ms Mokgatle to the Board. Her extensive expertise in respect of South Africa’s power network, coupled with her in-depth knowledge of energy policy, will be valuable as we continue to pursue our energy strategy.”
Ferro-Alloy Resources Limited (LON:FAR) announced that it has recently undertaken a marketing exercise with a limited number of potential investors to seek to place shares for Nick Bridgen, the company’s chief executive officer in order to make partial payment towards an existing around £3.3mln outstanding divorce settlement with his ex-wife. However, it added, given the unprecedented market volatility and lack of liquidity due to coronavirus (Covid-19) there has not been sufficient demand to successfully complete the planned placing. As a result of the uncertainty as to the length of the disruption being caused by Covid-19, the group said, Bridgen has agreed to enter into a 12-month lock-in over the 64,738,800 ordinary shares he holds in the company. It noted that the CEO was subject to a 12-month orderly marketing arrangement entered into in conjunction with the company’s IPO, that was set to expire on 21 March 2020, and the lock-in arrangement replaces that orderly marketing arrangement.
accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO) said it has been notified that its chief executive officer, Steve Brown purchased 151,000 ordinary shares in the company at a price of 137.8p each on 18 March 2020. Following the transaction, the group added, Brown holds an interest of 665,774 ordinary shares, representing 2.4% of the total issued share capital of the company.
BB Healthcare Trust PLC (LON:BBH) said it has now been advised that, given concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent UK Government advice in relation to measures to manage the pandemic, the venue and facilities for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) are no longer available. The group said the AGM will still proceed on the notified date and time, 11am on 23 March 2020, but the board has determined that it will instead be held at Mermaid House, 2 Puddle Dock, London, EC4V 3DB and there will be no presentation from the Portfolio Managers and the sole business of the meeting will be to propose the resolutions as set out in the notice of AGM.