It's another quiet day on the company news front, but there are still some interesting price movements on the back of company updates. After a weak start, the top share index is adding to yesterday's slight gains.
In the FTSE 100, UK insurance buyout firm Resolution is wanted after it announced details of a share repurchase programme of up to £250m which is due to start tomorrow. The move is part of its target return of excess cash to shareholders totalling £500m, in conjunction with another £250m to be returned in the first half of next year.
Struggling CD and DVD retailer HMV moves ahead after it struck a refinancing deal with its banks worth £220m that represents an "important milestone" in securing the company's financial stability.
Online print publishing and events firm Vitesse Media sped higher after it doubled annual pre-tax profit and said it expects to see further progress depending on the economic recovery. The group posted a pre-tax profit of £79,937 for the year ended 31 January 201 from a profit of £36,706 a year earlier. Revenue slipped to £3.31m from £3.64m before.
Insurance broker and distributor Brightside climbed nearly 10% after it said overall trading in the year to date is ahead of company expectations and it views the remainder of the year with optimism. In a statement ahead of the company's Annual General Meeting later today, chairman Chris Fay said, "Trading in 2011 to date has been strong with an aggregated performance of the business units ahead of initial expectations."
Findel, the home shopping group behind the cleaning products brand Kleeneze and supplier of education supplies, delivered a share price rise after it said a resilient performance left it well-placed for the future, despite a fall in profits. In the year to 1 April, pre-tax profits slipped to £7m from £11.7m the previous year on revenues down to £532.6m from £547m.
Shares in human resources group Penna Consulting slumped after it nearly fell into losses in the year to 31 March and said it does not expect any significant growth from its recruitment services division in the current year. Pre-tax profits slid to £300,000 from £7.3m the previous year on revenues that fell to £80.2m from £108.5m. The company was hit hard by the government's recruitment freeze.
Back in the FTSE 250, oil rig services group Lamprell said that the positive trends seen last year have continued into 2011 and its year-to-date performance has been in line with management expectations.The firm noted that its strong performance in 2010 was driven by elevated oil prices and a turnaround in the new build jackup market which was triggered by the "post-Macondo effect".
Healthcare outsourcer Synergy Health said its provision of critical healthcare services is helping it to cope with tough economic circumstances as it posted a rise in profits and revenues. Adjusted pre-tax profits in the year to 3 April were up to £38.3m from £32.6m the previous year on revenues that rose to £287.3m from £286.4m. The company, a provider of sterilisation services, lifted its full-year dividend to 15.84p from 13.2p.
Shares in IT infrastructure group Phoenix IT jumped after it reported a slight rise in profits for the year to 31 March and signalled its intention to exploit growing demand for 'cloud' computing. Pre-tax profits climbed to £25.3m from £25.2m on revenues that increased to £271.6m from £245.8m.The total dividend goes up to 10.5p a share from 6.45p.
Tempus yesterday pointed out that one of his picks for 2013, Lamprell, was up 53 per cent so far and suggested investors might take some profits. A second, Thomas Cook, is up 78 per cent so far, after yesterday's update. For him the best option for nervous investors may be that 78 per cent in five weeks might be regarded as enough. He is not sure, though, that Thomas Cook shares might not have farther to run, even if some sort of equity issue looks inevitable. [8 Feb '13]
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