LONDON (AFX) - UK small caps opened firmer with the wider market, a clutch of positive corpora
te news providing, dealers said
Overall gains were capped by profits warning from Sanctuary and Screen Technology, however, and by 9.11 am, the FTSE Small Cap index was just 0.6 up at 3,328.0, while the Footsie was 20.1 ahead at 5,704.2.
Among the winners, a swing to FY profits of 301,000 stg from losses of 15,000 stg lifted Capital Ideas 0.05 to 0.35 pence.
The group, which invests in private companies which are experiencing temporary distress, has made an encouraging start to the new year with the acquisition of shares in a hybrid low emission engine business in exchange for arranging the refinancing and restructuring.
Arc Risk Management rallied 0.07 to 0.62 following news of a reduction in full-year losses to 635,415 stg from 1.12 mln on the back of a 97 pct increase in turnover to 2.01 mln.
Executive chairman Simon Richards said the board's fundraising plans for the current year, which include the replacement of this debt finance in September, will continue to be influenced by the relationship between the share price and par value.
Buyers also came for Mediterranean Oil & Gas, 16-1/2 higher at 210-1/2, following news of an update to the resource estimates for the Company's Ombrina Mare oil and gas discovery.
And Vebnet Holdings jumped 10-1/2 to 157-1/2 after the employee benefit technology solutions concern disclosed that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation doubled in the 10 months to April 30.
Elsewhere, CybIT Holdings attracted support and rose 3 to 50 after the telematics service provider revealed a return to profit in the year to March 31 2006. It added that, in the coming year, it expects to increase market share in all sectors where it operates.
Nexus Management ticked up 0.05 to 0.87 as the provider of specialist IT managed services revealed that US-based Sapphire Technical Services and Atris Group have signed as agents to resell Nexus products to their existing and new customers.
In particular, the resellers will be focused on selling Nexus's recently
launched digital voice recording product, NexVR, which is already generating
significant interest among their customers, Nexus said.
meanwhile, SR Pharma edged up 1 to 14-1/4, a confident statement outweighing continuing full-year losses, while Churchill Mining moved ahead 1-1/2 to 30 as results from the company's Sendawar Coal Project in Indonesia confirmed the presence of high calorific coal.
Two newcomers to AIM made uninspiring debuts. Geong International, a leading provider of content management solutions software in China, stayed at its placing price of 30, while shares in Infoserve, which specialises in 'local search' marketing, were marked up to just 43 from a placing price of 41.15.
On the downside, troubled Sanctuary Group was again under pressure, sliding 10 more to 27-1/2, after the international music group warned that, after a review by the new management, it now expects to report an EBITDA loss of 17-22 mln stg for the year to Sept 30 2006.
Key findings from new management show that trading in the recorded product division in the current fiscal year to Sept 30 2006 will be below previous expectations, the disposal of various non-core assets is likely to take longer to complete than previously expected and further restructuring will be required.
Traders were also quick to exit Screen Technolgy, 7-1/2 lower at 35, after the board warned that sales for this year are likely to be significantly below current market expectations.
The sales forecast for 2006 was heavily dependent on the delivery of the new
high speed production machines and on the sale of modular products, the company said. The timing of both of these has been affected by delays by third party suppliers that will have a consequential impact on sales for 2006.
However, the board is confident that by the start of 2007, high speed tile production will be well underway and modular products will also be in production, supplying a very strong order book.
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