Market ReportMarket Movers

BigDish beefs up on bid interest but is still below its flotation price

A look at day's gliders and sliders, including Integumen, MC Mining, Intermediate Capital, Bovis Homes and other house-builders, Dart Group,Flybe, easyJet, IAG, Learning Technologies and Oilex.

FLaming frying pan
BigDish's shares were on fire!

It’s nearly tea-time so it is an apposite moment to write about BigDish Plc (LON:DISH), the creator of a restaurant table reservation app.

I mention that in case you thought it was in the satellite TV business, or something …

The shares were up 10% today after the company revealed it had received several informal approaches for its Asia-based business, prompting a strategic review of that operation.

“The Asian division has seen good growth since the IPO, compared to 12 months ago, it is now seating three times more diners,” noted broker, Shore Capital.

“In the UK, BigDish has been following advice to rethink its branding and has started upgrading UK app and changing its logo, the company has also been investing in its technology team growing to nine people (from seven) with an aim of 15 over the next year,” the broker added.

The shares were listed in August at 4.5p; they now trade at 2.75p.

Fund manager Intermediate Capital Group PLC (LON:ICP) was one of the best performers on a FTSE 250 index that took an utter shoeing today, rising 7.4% following results for the six months to the end of September.

Shore Capital said it would most likely be materially upgrading its earnings forecasts, primarily due to the outperformance of the investment company division, which saw profits rise to £59.6mln from £51.2mln the year before.

“We believe that ICG has been operating in almost perfect market conditions, reflecting strong demand for alternative high yield assets in a low interest rate environment; however, we think a combination of the end of quantitative easing and broader market weakness, has driven recent share price weakness. This has brought the shares back to a more sensible valuation level in our view when compared to our last published fair value estimate of 965p (4% upside),2 the broker said.

“With a strong H1 performance we would expect the shares to bounce,” the broker added, as it put its ‘sell’ recommendation under review.

2.00pm: Integumen scrubs up well and MC Mining hip-hops higher

Personal healthcare firm Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) scrubbed up well on Thursday after it reported a major acceleration in sales in the last three months.

The company, which specialises in gels, creams and devices for the integumentary system – the skin and appendages such as hair and nails) – was the best performing stock in London, up 40%.

"In just the last 3 months the improvement of the Labskin and STOER Skin Care divisions have been transformational. Sales have accelerated and costs have reduced to break-even in the skincare section,” said Gerard Brandon, the chief executive officer of Integumen.

“Labskin's new high margin services have seen higher demand with improved revenues from cosmetic, skin, health and wound care companies. There is good visibility of orders for the months ahead,” he added.


If you think Inegumen is a strange name then what about MC Mining Limited (LON:MCM)? It sounds like a rap act from the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The shares were up 22% at 25p after the company reached agreement on the terms and conditions under which it will acquire the two key properties required for its Makhado hard coking and thermal coal project.

The company had been pursuing various avenues, including legal and negotiation on commercial terms with the owner, a privately owned company, that uses the properties for commercial hunting purposes.

The properties will be acquired for 70mln rand, which is equiValent to about US$4.8mln or, the way the pound is going today, six billion quid.

“With the acquisition of the properties, the company can proceed with the geotechnical and related studies for the mine's infrastructure,” said David Brown, MC Mining’s chief executive officer.

Noon: House-builders take fright at more Brexit uncertainty (or the prospect of a Labour government)

House-builders were under the cosh today after two worrying pieces of news from the sector.

Bovis Homes Group PLC (LON:BVS) fell 7.3% after a decent set of half-year figures – how could they not be with the British tax-payer underwriting the new houses market? - was somewhat marred by a warning relating to today’s buzzword: Brexit.

Bovis said uncertainties over the effects of Brexit has had an effect on discretionary buyers, with the group seeing an increase in the number of buyers going for the part-exchange option. The number of reservations received from buyers opting for part-exchange is currently running at around 15%, up from 8% in the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government released slightly depressing numbers concerning the growth in the size of the UK’s housing stock.

The 222,190 net additions in 2017-18 resulted from 195,290 new build homes, 29,720 gains from a change of use between non-domestic and residential, 4,550 from conversions between houses and flats and 680 other gains (caravans, house boats etc.), offset by 8,050 demolitions.

Should you be interested, the Vale of White Horse, Uttlesford and Daventry have the top three net addition rates per 1000 dwellings in the country.

“London presents a mixed picture, with six of the top 40 net addition rates per 1000 dwellings, but also eight of the bottom 40,” the ministry’s press release observed.

It was not just Bovis getting it in the neck today; bigger hitters such as Persimmon, Barratt Developments, Berkeley Group and Taylor Wimpey were down by around 6% or more.

“The country faces a race against time to get house building up to speed but the needle has barely moved in the last year, rising from a walk to a gentle jog,” said Joseph Daniels, the founder of modular smart homes developer Project Etopia,

“Failing to maintain the building rate from one year to the next is a socially unsustainable policy as the gap between the ‘haves and have nots’ widens each year. The growth rate in the number of new homes being built has slumped from 11.9% in 2016/17 to 6.4% in 2017/18.

“Young people and families desperately want to get on the housing ladder but are hamstrung by weak supply of new homes,” he opined.

On the other hand, a limited housing stock is like catnip for the house builders so today’s news that Britain’s chronic housing shortage is being addressed at a rate that would embarrass a sclerotic sloth should have seen the share prices rise.


11.00am: Sterling plummets, capping a bad morning for airlines

It has not been a good morning for the airlines with sterling taking a pasting on the foreign exchange markets.

Dart Group PLC (LON:DT) lost around a sixth of its value after its half-year report contained some anxious words about the effect of Brexit uncertainty on its business.

The owner of the Jet2 airline warned that it expects increased losses in the second half and that it remains “unclear how demand will develop in the medium term” amid Brexit uncertainty.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s news that it is considering putting itself up for sale has not provided the shot in the arm for the share price of Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB).

Flybe’s shares dipped from 11.7p to 11.3p yesterday and have dived further, to 9,125p.

The bigger players in the sector have also suffered some clear air turbulence, with easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) 5.2% lower and British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) down 3.3%.

9.15am: Learning Technologies makes Watershed acquisition; Oilex soars after Indian court decision

Shares in Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) were up 11.3% in early deals as the company unveiled its latest acquisition and new long-term goals.

When I first saw the announcement of a “watershed acquisition” I thought that, at last, a company had come up with an alternative to the over-used “transformational acquisition” but it turns out that Watershed is the name of the company is it buying.

The digital learning specialist already owned 30% of Watershed Systems Inc and has decided to buy up the remainder.

Watershed is a software-as-a-service business that develops learning analytics.

As for the new long-term goals for LTG, “the board's updated ambition is to achieve run-rate revenues of £200mln and run-rate EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] of at least £55mln by the end of 2021.”

Oilex Ltd (LON:OEX, ASX:OEX) shares rocketed after a favourable decision in the High Court of Gujarat, India.

The company said the application by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) for an extension of time to clarify the amount of money GSPC is required to submit to the court has been dismissed.

On July 30, Oilex announced that it had formally requested the Government of India to transfer GSPC's participating interest (PI) in the Cambay production sharing contract (PSC) to Oilex.

The request was made following GSPC's failure to remedy an end of default (EoD) notice within the required 60-day period. The EoD notice was a result of GSPC's ongoing failure to pay its PI share of Cambay PSC expenses.

GSPC is now essentially obliged to put money in escrow and agree to commence arbitration proceedings before December 1, 2018.

Shares in Oilex were up 38% at 0.61p.

Proactive news headlines:

VR Education Holdings Plc (LON:VRE) is to launch its Titanic VR virtual reality experience on the PlayStation platform on November 22.

Table reservation app Bigdish PLC (LON:DISH) has received several informal approaches for its Asia-based business, prompting a strategic review of that operation. The outcome might mean substantially less capital is required than previously anticipated to roll-out its UK business.

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) has snapped up the remaining 70% of Watershed Systems shares which it didn’t already own for up to US$11.6mln. The digital learning group also set out its new long-term goals, targeting run-rate revenues of £200mln and run-rate EBIT of at least £55mln by the end of 2021.

Echo Energy Plc (LON:ECHO) told investors it expects to kick off a two-well stimulation programme in Argentina within the next three to four weeks. The company earlier this year drilled four wells across its onshore Argentina portfolio, within the Fracción C licence, two of which were seen as successful.

Ticketing services and queue-jumping software provider accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO) has expanded its relationship with Australia’s Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which is now taking more accesso services.

Alba Mineral Resources Plc (LON:ALBA) chairman George Frangeskides described the company as “very encouraged” following the release of the latest data out of the Horse Hill production testing campaign. A deluge of stats have indicated the so-called ‘Gatwick Gusher’ project’s Kimmeridge zones can be “commercially viable”, according to the project’s operator.

Avation PLC (LON:AVAP) provided an upbeat assessment of prospects as it said first-half revenues and earnings were growing strongly. In an update provided at the aircraft leasing company’s annual meeting investors were told lease income for the six months to the end of December will be in the order of US$58mln, up 39% year on year.

Arix Biosciences PLC (LON:ARIX) has hailed the early-stage clinical trial success of an Australia-based pharma company in which it has a significant stake. Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) is developing what’s called a LOXL2 inhibitor to treat fibrotic diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP), the UK energy developer of a combined lignite mineral resource and mine mouth power plant located in the Thar desert in the south-east of Sindh Province, Pakistan, said that, further to its announcement of 18 September, it has received the outstanding balance of subscription funds of £85,000 from the two relevant subscribers. Accordingly, the company added, it has sufficient working capital into the first quarter of 2019.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) said it has now concluded the majority of the engineering design to bring to market its first commercial fuel cell system.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) has released the results of its first phase of drilling at the A1 Dome as it updated on the activity of its joint venture in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited (LON:CGH) has struck more gold its Tulkubash project in the Kyrgyz Republic in the latest round of drilling. In a separate announcement, Chaarat confirmed it had secured funding of US$10mln with a previous note holder.

Live Company Group Plc (LON:LVCG) said it has received confirmation that the agreement between its US joint venture and Live Nation Entertainment Inc for the exclusive promotion of BRICKLIVE events throughout North America and Canada, had been signed.

Korea-focused gold mining junior Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (LON:BMV) has raised US$380,000 from a private share issue at a premium to the market price. Colin Patterson, chief executive, has also agreed to swap US$750,000 of debt into shares.

Clinigen Group PLC (LON:CLIN) , the global pharmaceutical and services company, has announced the appointment of  Professor Alan Boyd as a non-executive director with immediate effect. The firm pointed out that he is CEO of Boyd Consultants, a UK based consultancy to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Eland Oil & Gas PLC (LON:ELA), the oil & gas production and development company operating in West Africa with an initial focus on Nigeria, has announced the appointment, with immediate effect, of Stifel Nicolaus Europe as its joint corporate broker, alongside the company's new nominated adviser and joint broker, Peel Hunt.

Chagala Group Limited (LON:CGLO, the London-listed specialist services and facilities provider to the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan, said it has received a notification that Eagle Resource Holdings Limited sold 1,163,330 ordinary shares in the company, representing 5.47% of the total voting rights at a price of US$1.5 per share on 22 October 2018. After this transaction, the firm added, Eagle Resource Holdings holds no direct or indirect interests over any shares or voting rights in the company.

APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ), the emerging markets growth company, said that as at the close of business on 31 October 2018, its unaudited book value per ordinary share was US$97.10, equiValent to 75.99p, including the accrual for a 1.5p  (1.9 US cents) dividend payable on 30 November 2018.

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