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TRADING UPDATES: Capita sells Irish unit; Daily Mail buys science mag

Wed, 3rd Mar 2021 19:14

(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on Wednesday and not separately reported by Alliance News:



HSBC Holdings PLC - FTSE 100-listed Asian-focused lender - Intends to issue USD1.00 billion 4.000% perpetual subordinated contingent convertible securities and USD1.00 billion 4.700% perpetual subordinated contingent convertible securities. The 4% securities are callable in 2026, while the 4.7% can be called in 2031. The securities will be listed in Dublin.



Carnival PLC - Miami, Florida-based cruise ship operator - Says Princess Cruises extends pause of cruise vacations on roundtrip Southampton sailings through September 25, 2021. Notes, for UK guests, Princess Cruises will launch a series of new short cruises departing in late summer on Regal Princess and Sky Princess from Southampton that will go on sale later this month. "We share in our guests' disappointment over these cancelled voyages, and we appreciate the continued understanding and cooperation from our loyal guests and travel advisors," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "As we prepare our ships for a return to service, we remain in close contact with the UK government to monitor the latest travel guidance for international guests."



Capita PLC - FTSE 250-listed London-headquartered outsourcer - Completes sale of Irish Life & Pensions Services to Nasdaq-listed financial technology SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. The purchase price was not disclosed. CLPSI provides business process management, technology and consultancy services to the international life and pensions sector. The acquisition adds approximately 370 employees in Dublin, Belfast, and Craigforth. The group will continue to focus on Ireland as part of SS&C's Global Investor & Distribution Solutions business.



Daily Mail & General Trust PLC - London-headquartered media company - Buys New Scientist from a consortium of individual investors led by Bernard Gray, for GBP70 million cash consideration. "New Scientist has a large and growing international readership, with a weekly circulation of approximately 120,000, of which just over half are UK-based. The business also has a high-quality revenue base with about 75% derived from subscriptions. In 2021, the business is expected to generate cash operating income and operating profit of approximately GBP7 million and revenues are expected to exceed GBP20 million," company adds.



LSL Property Services PLC - Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England-based estate agency - Agrees option price for the acquisition of the remaining 5% interest in Group First Ltd having initially invested in the company in 2016. The option price has been set at GBP1.4 million with the transaction expected to complete in July 2021. The acquisition will be through LSL's wholly owned subsidiary, your-move.co.uk Ltd.



Cohort PLC - defence and security markets-focussed technology company - Confirms subsidiary Elac Sonar in discussions with an export customer about the provision of submarine sonar systems. "If these discussions are successful, the resulting contract would be significant in relation to the group's order book and would enhance the visibility of future revenues, though it would not materially affect current market expectations of the group's performance," company says.



Real Estate Investors PLC - Midlands-focused real estate investment trust - Refinances existing debt facilities. Company's GBP51 million RBS term loan facilities, due to expire in February 2021, of GBP41 million, and August 2023, of GBP10 million, have been renewed with NatWest Bank for a further three years at 2.25% above LIBOR, with expiry of this facility due in March 2024, secured on a portfolio of the group's properties. The average cost of debt across the group remains at 3.4%.



Allergy Therapeutics PLC - Sussex-based biotechnology firm focused on allergy vaccines - Pretax profit in six months to December 31 down slightly year on to GBP15.6 million. Revenue improves to GBP54.0 million from GBP50.5 million. Administrative expenses grows to GBP14.3 million from GBP9.5 million. Chief Executive Manuel Llobet says: "The group has made a strong start to the year despite the uncertainty of Covid-19, Brexit and the regulatory and business environment. We continue to perform well commercially with robust growth across all key products in our portfolio and further market share gains thanks to our dedicated workforce. Progressing our growing, high-potential pipeline remains a priority and provides exciting opportunities in the allergy immunotherapy field and the broader immunology space."



Sportech PLC - Edinburgh-based gambling technology firm - Seeking further clarification on US state of Connecticut's proposal to expand gaming, specifically sports wagering and iGaming in a deal with the Mohegan Tribe and the state Lottery. Says announcement is somewhat contrary to the previous statements from the governor of the northeastern state. "The proposal includes 15 retail sports betting locations awarded to the state lottery with a right to sub-license some of those locations to Sportech venues," company says.



Ground Rents Income Fund PLC - real estate investment trust - Net asset value per share ends September at 105.7 pence compared 111.3p at the same point the year before. Portfolio value stable over the period at GBP124.2 million. NAV drop reflects a one-off accounting adjustment relating to the Beetham Tower litigation which is expected to be reversed during the current financial year. Pays total dividends of GBP3.9 million in 2020, unchanged on year before. Chair Malcolm Naish adds: "The board and manager continue to support leasehold reform which achieves a better balance between the interests of ground rent investors and leaseholders, and we are both advocates for a fair and transparent leasehold system which takes account of all stakeholders and supports the appropriate value of the group's portfolio."



finnCap Group PLC - London-based stockbroker - Says it has traded materially ahead of internal expectations in the second half. Expects total income for year ending March 31 in excess of GBP43 million, which would represent a 65% rise year on year. Profits and year-end cash balance to be well ahead of internal expectations. "The capital markets business recorded its highest level of quarterly deal fees in Q3 and continued to enjoy good growth in year-on-year sales and trading revenue. After a quiet Q3, the M&A team in Cavendish has delivered a strong performance to date in Q4 with the successful closure of a number of deals before the announcement of the UK budget," company adds.



GetBusy PLC - document management and productivity software - Pretax loss broadly flat year on year in 2020 at GBP1.1 million. Total revenue improves 12% to GBP14.2 million from GBP12.7 million, as recurring revenue grows 14% to GBP13.0 million. Virtual Cabinet revenue up 2% to GBP8.5 million and SmartValue revenue up 31% to GBP5.7 million. Chief Executive Daniel Rabie says: "n 2021, we expect to continue to capitalise on the trends that have been favourable to us during 2020. We are very clearly in the scaling phase of our document management business comprising SmartVault and Virtual Cabinet, and we are able to see a path to a substantial business with high quality, predictable and valuable earnings in the medium to long term."



Barkby Group PLC - Abingdon-headquartered company with businesses in real estate, consumer & hospitality and life sciences - Says revenue in final six months of 2020 was GBP7.9 million, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization loss of GBP1.1 million and a net loss of GBP2.0 million. Executive Chair Charles Dickson says: "Barkby has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic largely due to the success of our highly cash generative commercial property development business and activity has resumed apace. As we come out of lockdown, our pubs and coffee business are poised for significant growth and a return to profitability. The group's investments in SleepHub and Verso Biosense are performing well. Our liquidity is strong and the diversification of the business means that the group is in a strong position to benefit from the lifting of government lockdown restrictions. We look forward to the next 12 months with confidence."



Premier Miton Global Renewabls Trust PLC - energy, water and infrastructure firm investor - Net asset value per share ends 2020 at 173.48 pence, up from 144.94p at the same point the year before. Annual dividend unchanged year on year at 10.20p. NAV total return in 2020 16.5% compares to FTSE Global Core Infrastructure 50/50 Total Return Index losing 6.1%. "There are a couple of factors relating to the trust's out-performance worth highlighting. Firstly, during the market rout in the first quarter, the manager acted to limit losses by taking a short index futures position against the major markets to which the portfolio was exposed. This gave a cash profit, which was then re-invested into the market at a very attractive entry point, resulting in further gains. In total, equity market hedging gains in the year amounted to GBP2.9 million," company says. It also notes its portfolio, being mainly exposed to contracted and regulated underlying revenue streams, was in reality not as exposed to the economic situation as either the market as a whole.



BlueRock Diamonds PLC - South African-focused diamond miner - Raises gross proceeds of GBP1.5 million via an oversubscribed placing and subscription of 3.8 million new ordinary shares at 40 pence per share. The net proceeds will primarily be used to complete the company's expansion project, at its Kareevlei diamond mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, to increase annual production to about one million tonnes per annum by early the second quarter of 2021 and provide working capital to cushion against further disruption which has arisen due to excessive rain and Covid-19.



Mosman Oil & Gas Ltd - Australia and US-focused oil & gas explorer - Notes operator of the Falcon-1 well in East Texas, US, has reported a recent increase in water production alongside a fall in pressure at Falcon-1. To manage this, the well head choke size has now been reduced. "These developments have resulted in significantly lower reported oil and gas production rates at Falcon-1. The operator is assessing the situation and has indicated that it intends to run downhole logs to gather more information in order to recommend an appropriate course of action," company adds. Mosman has a 50% working interest in the well.



Fletcher King PLC - London-based chartered surveyors - Expects trading loss in the second half of financial 2021, ending April, which could be similar to first half's loss of GBP447,000. Says transaction-based fees materially lower than would otherwise be expected, blamed on the pandemic. Notes it remains well supported by a strong balance sheet with no debt. "In addition, the company believes that it will be necessary to write down the value of its investment in the SHIPS 16 property syndicate, being an interest in a property in Botolph Lane, London. Two floors in the property remain unlet and prospects for achieving lettings in the current challenging economic environment have been made even more difficult by the return of lockdown measures since December," company adds.



Edenville Energy PLC - operating of the Rukwa coal project in southwest Tanzania - Continues to work with its strategic partner Infrastructure & Logistics Tanzania Ltd regarding the proposed handover of operations at Rukwa. Says it continues to satisfy existing contracts and is pursuing additional contracts with both existing and potential customers. Receives new East African enquiries regarding power generation capacity and is continuing discussions with the Tanzanian government regarding a future power plant development at Rukwa.



Phimedix PLC - Hong Kong-based metal recycling company - Says proposed acquisition in the life sciences space will not now be proceeding. "As no reverse takeover will be completed by March 14, being the date six months following the suspension of trading in the company's shares, the London Stock Exchange will cancel the admission of Phimedix's ordinary shares to trading on AIM with effect from 0730 GMT on Monday March 15," company explains. Adds: "After cancellation, the company will explore its available options, and keep shareholders informed as and when appropriate."



By Paul McGowan; paulmcgowan@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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