James Fisher & Sons PLC, a provider of specialized services to the shipping, oil, and gas industries, emerged from its recent slump as investors embraced a new £210 million lending facility.
Fisher has been divesting parts of the business to reduce debt and plans to continue with disposals for further deleveraging. Shares climbed 14% to 322.5p by the end of the week.
In the primary industries, Pensana PLC experienced significant movement. Shares in the rare earths developer surged 40% to 33p on Friday after the company announced that major shareholders M&G Investment Management and Angola’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to invest an additional US$10 million, raising their combined stake to 38.6%.
Chairman Paul Atherley said the pair’s additional investment “reflects their confidence in our strategy and growth prospects”, and their request to participate in future equity raises “a clear endorsement of our business, demonstrating long-term alignment with #PRE goals”. https://t.co/reA73dUL8W pic.twitter.com/NlI07s1F6r
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Chairman Paul Atherley stated that the additional investment “reflects their confidence in our strategy and growth prospects,” and their request to participate in future equity raises is “a clear endorsement of our business, demonstrating long-term alignment with our goals.”
Numis Corporation, an AIM-listed broker, has been acquired by Deutsche Bank for £385mln in an all-cash deal, resulting in its delisting from AIM.
Numis is a vital player in the equity market’s small- and mid-cap sectors, supporting companies’ fundraising efforts and providing M&A advice. However, the market is challenging for companies like Numis at present, with fundraising activity and new company listings at an all-time low.
Numis’ recent trading update reflected this difficulty, showing a 14% fall in revenues to £64mln in H1. As a result, Numis’ competitors finnCap and Cenkos have recently agreed to merge defensively.
Deutsche Bank’s striking offer of 350p per share sets Numis’ valuation close to its level during the 2021 fundraising spree.
Following the announcement, the shares predictably surged 67%, or 137p, to 341p.
Numis wasn’t the only AIM participant announcing a delisting.
Asimilar Group plc experienced a 30% drop in share price on Monday after a three-week trading break. However, this decline is expected to be temporary due to the small-cap tech investor’s plan to cancel its AIM listing while keeping a quote on AQSE.
The decision arises as the company aims to minimize operating expenses and capitalize on a more suitable market environment for an investment firm. Software company Smoove may soon join the growing list of small-caps leaving the junior market for a private takeover strategy.
Smoove revealed that it is in preliminary talks with the Australian electronic conveyancing platform PEXA Group regarding a potential cash offer. This news led to a 28% share price increase to 44.9p.
Shifting to the consumer sector, Naked Wines PLC is experiencing a revival.
Entering 2023, Naked Wines was in a precarious position. The online wine retailer’s market valuation plummeted by 80% by December 31, following a disappointing mid-year trading update. Profits before tax had significantly dropped, cash reserves were cut in half, and the management felt that the company had lost focus on its objectives.
CEO Nick Devlin acknowledged the issues, stating, “We have driven volume of new members at the expense of quality and in the UK, in particular, have allowed our market positioning to shift to become the lowest price online player – which is not consistent with our ambition to be the world’s leading quality online wine platform.”
In response, the company implemented a targeted cost-cutting strategy, reduced excess inventory, enlisted former CEO Rowan Gormley as an advisor, prioritized profit over growth, and admitted to making mistakes. This has kept Naked Wines in the game, with investors reacting positively to the recent trading statement.
Full-year profits ending April 3 are expected to reach the upper end of guidance, demonstrating, in Devlin’s opinion, that “our pivot to profit is on track.”
Consequently, Naked Wines’ shares jumped 13% to 118p on Thursday. Although they corrected to 113p on Friday, the company remained a top performer among AIM-listed retail and consumer stocks.
The AIM All-Share Index followed a downward trend for most of the week, reaching its lowest point at 819 on Wednesday. However, an early Friday surge pushed it above 826, resulting in virtually no net change over the five-day period.
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