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LONDON TRADING UPDATES: Luceco Expects To Report Record 2020 Profit

Thu, 21st Jan 2021 16:55

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



Luceco PLC - manufacturer and distributor of wiring accessories - Says it traded strongly in the fourth quarter of 2020 and expects to report record 2020 profit. In the three months to the end of December 31, revenue growth was 23%. Adjusted operating profit more than doubled from the comparative period last year driven by strong revenue growth and tight control of overheads. For the full year, Luceco says it expects revenue of GBP176 million versus GBP172.1 million reported for 2019. Adjusted operating profit for 2020 is seen at GBP30 million versus GBP18.0 million a year earlier, primarily driven by significant margin improvement.



Headlam Group PLC - floorcoverings distributor - Says second-quarter trading was hurt by Covid-19, with trading in the second-half characterised by a recovery to 2019 levels. The recovery was driven by the UK residential sector which performed well despite the continuation of restrictions and further lockdown periods, and compensated for a significantly weaker commercial sector particularly in the UK. Accordingly, total revenue for 2020 was 15% below the prior year at GBP609.1 million, compared to 31% below for the first-half. The company expects to report underlying pretax profit towards the top of the range of between GBP14 million to GBP16 million. Headlan says, to date, total revenue is down 5.1% against the prior year.



dotDigital Group PLC - software-as-a-service provider - Reports report strong first half performance driven by continued execution of the organic growth strategy, namely ongoing product innovation, geographic expansion and growth through strategic partnerships. Revenue from continuing operations for the six months to the end of 2020 was up by 22% to GBP28.2 million from GBP23.1 million a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization and adjusted pretax profit from continuing operations expected to be in line with market expectations.



Sumo Group PLC - creative services provider - Says revenue and adjusted Ebitda for 2020 are expected to be ahead of consensus market expectations with adjusted Ebitda for the year of at least GBP16.0 million. The higher-than-expected results reflect strong performances from Sumo Digital and thew company's latest acquisition, Pipeworks, and higher than expected royalty income, during the year.



Ten Entertainment Group PLC - family entertainment centres operator - Says pre-Covid trading was strong, delivering 13% total sales growth and 9.6% like-for-like sales growth in the first 11 weeks of 2020 before the lockdown. A particularly strong February with well executed half-term plans delivered like-for-like sales growth of 17%. Over the course of the year, the company noted that its centres were closed for 49% of the available time, with a full national lockdown from late March until mid-August and a further English and Scottish lockdown in November. Reopening in mid-August was encouraging, with August and September delivering 77% of last year's sales despite operating at only 50% capacity. Total sales for 2020 were £GBP36.3 million which is 57% lower on 2019 and 17% down on a like-for-like basis adjusting for enforced site closure periods. The company says it expects to report a loss for 2020.



Cloudcall Group PLC - communications company - Reports total revenue of GBP11.8 million for 2020, up 4% year-on-year. During the year, the company says it increased its number of end users by 5,900 or 14% to 48,255 users. The final month of the year saw continued progress on this front, with December's monthly net user growth increasing to an 881 users. "We look forward with confidence to a strong return to growth in 2021 and beyond," says Chief Executive Simon Cleaver.



Zotefoams PLC - cellular materials technology firm - Says strong second half trading momentum was maintained for the remainder of the year, resulting in record six-months sales and more than reversing the decline in the first half. As a result, 2020 company revenue was slightly above that of the previous year, in line with current market expectations. Whilst the improving backdrop in the second half has enabled the Group to begin reinstating investment into its long-term growth drivers, operational performance has been strong and, consequently, adjusted pretax profit before exceptional items for 2020 is anticipated to be at the top end of market expectations.



Highcroft Investments PLC - real estate investment trust - Reports that 93% of the rent invoiced and due to date for the quarter ending March 31 has been collected. These figures are based on rent due and do not take into account rents payable monthly. The company says it has worked with its tenants to collect outstanding cash and minimise bad debts and has undertaken several asset management initiatives including the agreement of new contractual terms to secure the long-term profitability and value of the portfolio. Going forward, Highcroft says the on-going property investment environment, in particular the retail and leisure sectors, remains challenging and the company cannot predict the full impact of current or future lockdowns. However, it continues to believe that its asset selection criteria and tenant mix within its current portfolio creates a strong base from which to continue to develop its business and generate further shareholder value.



Medica Group PLC - teleradiology services provider - Says revenue during 2020 were hurt by Covid-19 pandemic on radiology reporting activity. The company expects revenue for the year to be GBP36.8 million, a decrease of 21% year-on-year. Gross margins remained strong at 47.4% and profit was in line with expectations. During the year, the company says it continued to make significant investments to underpin long term growth. These planned investments to develop the company's technology, infrastructure and people, when combined with the reduction in revenue have, as expected, had a material impact on profitability, with adjusted net operating profit margins of 14% for the year compared to 24% in 2019.



Team17 Group PLC - video games developer - Says its performance for 2020 will be ahead of the board's expectations, delivering year-on-year revenue and adjusted Ebitda growth of 34% and 36%, respectively. Team17 says its growing portfolio has continued to perform well in the second half of 2020, in particular over the peak Christmas trading period. The company says it has launched 9 titles in the second half, more than any previous year despite the impact of ever changing working restrictions as a result of the pandemic. Team17's portfolio grew stronger during 2020 with additions to the Worms, Escapists and Overcooked franchises as part of the 12 titles launched in the year across a variety of platforms, further strengthening our diverse gaming portfolio. The company looks ahead to 2021 with confidence in its pipeline and its teams' ability to continue to build the business.



Actual Experience PLC - analytics-as-a-service company - Reports revenue for the year to the end of September 2020 of GBP2.0 million, up from GBP1.9 million a year prior. Operating loss before exceptional items narrowed to GBP4.6 million from GBP6.3 million a year ago. "Covid-19 has triggered an obvious, significant and enduring transformation in global working practices involving remote working and new digital collaboration technologies," noted Chief Executive Dave Page.

In a separate statement, Actual Experience says it has raised gross proceeds of almost GBP5.0 million through a firm placing of 4.7 million shares and has conditionally raised over GBP5.0 million through a conditional placing of 4.8 million shares, both at an issue price of 105 pence per share. The issue price is at a discount of 14% to the mid-market closing price of an existing share of 122.0p on Wednesday, the last practicable date prior to the announcement of the placing. "The proceeds of the fundraise will allow us to expand our sales and support teams in response to the growing pipeline of sales prospects, and smoothly on-board the company's new partners. Part of the placing proceeds will also be deployed to expand the company's technology development team to facilitate the development of enhanced cloud efficiency and scalability, as well as increased automation of report generation for the Professional Service engagements," said Page.



Secure Trust Bank PLC - retail and commercial banking company - Reports strong rebound in demand for the its lending products since the easing of initial lockdown restrictions continued during the fourth quarter. The introduction of new restrictions during the end of December 2020 and into 2021 have hurt the demand in the consumer businesses. As at January 11, the company's 2020 consensus was GBP7.6 million for pretax profit. As the company has made further positive progress since October, the company says it expects that 2020 results will be materially ahead of the upper end of consensus pretax profit.



Eco Animal Health Group PLC - pharmaceutical company - Says its revenue and Ebitda for the year ending March 31 expected to be significantly ahead of market expectations and prior year. Revenue outperformance in some markets, such as the US, continues to offset weakness in India and southeast Asia, such that revenue for the rest of the company - excluding China - is in line with management expectations for the nine months to the end of 2020. The strength in the Chinese market, meanwhile, was supported by the rebuilding of pig herds and the high price for pork, continued through the third quarter and the outlook for the final quarter sales continues these strong trading trends.



Animalcare Group PLC - animal health business - Says revenue and earnings for 2020 were ahead of market expectations. Despite significant disruption to the animal health market caused by Covid-19, 2020 revenue was GBP70.5 million versus GBP71.1 million in 2019, a decline of 0.7% year-on-year. Animalcare says its novel COX-2 inhibitor for treatment of pain in dogs continues to make progress through the regulatory process. Plans for a launch across markets in the second half of 2021, subject to approval, are well advanced. "Animalcare's resilience and agility came to the fore in 2020. Our trading performance during the continuing COVID-19 threat has further strengthened the Group, enabling us to continue investment in our long-term growth strategy," says Chief Executive Jenny Winter.



Sanderson Design Group PLC - interior design and furnishings firm - Says, in the nine-week selling period of October and November 2020, brand product sales were up 7% compared with the same period in 2019. Brand product sales in December 2020 have been stronger than expected, up 15% compared with December 2019. Brand product sales in January 2021 started well but have now been tempered by current UK national lockdown restrictions. The company's manufacturing operations also performed more strongly in December 2020 than expected with sales up 33% compared with December 2019. Manufacturing has performed well to date this month.



Sigma Capital Group PLC - build-to-rent housing provider - Says it is reporting nine-month results following the change of accounting reference date to the end of September. The company's revenue for the nine months to the end of 2020 was GBP8.0 million compared to GBP13.9 million for the twelve months to the end of 2019. Pretax profit was GBP3.2 million and GBP13.0 million, respectively. The company kept its dividend unchanged at 2.0p per share. Sigma Capital noted that its business model showed considerable resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.



88 Energy Ltd - fossil fuel producer - Finalises large independently assessed resource estimate at project Icewine during the three months to December 31. Also notes that farm-out process for 2022 drilling at project Icewine commenced in the quarter to the end of 2020. Elsewhere, at Yukon leases, discussions continue with nearby resource owners to optimise the monetisation strategy of the acreage, with permitting continuing for future potential exploration drilling - subject to farm-out.

In a separate statement, 88 Energy says permitting and planning associated with the drilling of Merlin-1 at 88 Energy's Peregrine project, located in the NPR-A region of the North Slope of Alaska, remains on schedule for a mid to late February spud. Schedule permitting, the Harrier-1 well will commence drilling once operations have completed at Merlin-1. Mobilisation of snow road construction equipment to the Merlin-1 location has commenced. To date 34 miles of a total 90 miles of the snow road to Merlin-1 have been constructed.



W Resources PLC - tungsten, tin and gold mining company - Says during the three month period ending December 31, it continued to make plant improvements at the La Parrilla mine in Spain resulting in major production increases across the board. These improvements continue apace and should be completed in early February. During the quarter, the plant continued to work a four day week, moving to a five day working week in early January, with a target to move to a seven day working week with effect from April. The company says it looks forward to once again operating the La Parrilla mine on a true 24/7 basis, which is widely accepted within the mining community as "best practice".



Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd - gold mining company - Says 2020 production guidance for Kapan gold mine of 55 thousand gold ounces equivalent exceeded by 6%, finishing the year at 58,200 ounces despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation and hostilities in the second half of 2020. At Tulkubash development project, the company says it has completed a 2,000-metre confirmatory drilling programme which is currently being implemented in an updated JORC-compliant resources and reserve statement. At Kyzyltash development project, meanwhile, independent assessment on metallurgy was completed to help define the ideal processing route. Comprehensive internal review was also completed, and external expert opinions received in June 2020 for the next stages and overall timeline to production, confirming the current preliminary timeline to 2026.



Greatland Gold PLC - precious and base metals exploration & development company - Reports early works activities commencement at the Havieron project in Western Australia. "Earth moving activities to prepare for the construction of the box cut and decline have begun and we will continue to update shareholders as work progresses. In addition, we look forward to advancing the 2021 growth drilling programme at Havieron, where mineralisation remains open in multiple directions outside of the initial inferred mineral resource estimate," says Chief Executive Gervaise Heddle.



TransGlobe Energy Corp - oil exploration & production company - Says production averaged 12.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the final quarter of 2020 and 13.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day for entire 2020, meeting the guidance. A 2021 work program and budget is being prepared for implementation, the company notes. Work has begun to expand the early production facility at South Ghazalat in order to facilitate a planned second quarter of 2021 recompletion of the SGZ-6X well to the deeper, more prospective lower Bahariya reservoir. Preparations are also underway to stimulate and equip, in the first quarter of 2021, the two-mile horizontal South Harmattan well drilled, but uncompleted, in the first quarter of 2020.



Cobra Resources PLC - gold exploration and mining company - Reports high-grade gold intercepts at the Barns and White Tank deposits on the Wudinna gold project in South Australia. The Barns JORC resource is currently estimated at 104,000 ounces, and the White Tank resource at 13,000 ounces. The objective of the drilling programme was to provide detailed structural and geochemical data, with the aim of confirming the orientation and continuity of the resource, and to enable the growth of the resource base. A total of 19 reverse circulation holes were drilled in and around the Barns JORC resource zone for a total of 3,177 metres. "The team is now fully focused on extracting every ounce of value from these data, updating our models, and finalising our plans for the 2021 programme. We look forward to keeping the market informed as the project continues to develop," says Director Craig Moulton.



Alien Metals Ltd - minerals exploration & development company - Says the maiden drilling program on its Hancock iron ore project, part of its Hamersley iron ore project, Western Australia, is underway. Alien Metals says maiden drilling program aims to validate recently announced exploration targets, which consist of minimum of 3,000 metres grid-based shallow reverse circulation drilling across priority targets and at least four target areas to test. Assay results from sampling expected late February 2021.



Trinity Exploration & Production PLC - exploration & development company - Says production levels remained strong during the fourth quarter of 2020 with volumes averaging 3,206 barrels of oil per day, yielding a 2020 average of 3,226 barrels of oil per day, higher than 3,007 barrels of oil per day in 2019. This 7% increase over the prior year was achieved despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 and no new drilling activity taking place during the year, Trinity notes. "Given the number of growth initiatives now underway, 2021 will be a year of investment as we seek to advance current developments, identify new opportunities via the strategic partnerships we have recently entered into and pursue further low cost appraisal and exploration targets," says Executive Chair Bruce Dingwall.



By Evelina Grecenko; evelinagrecenko@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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