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179622  Royal Dutch Shell 2017-06-21 12:54:00  2017-06-22 15:44:58  2017-06-21 13:04:46  Royal Dutch Shell, BP downgraded as leading broker turns bearish on the oil price  Royal Dutch Shell, BP downgraded as leading broker turns bearish on the oil price      royal-dutch-shell-bp-downgraded-as-leading-broker-turns-bearish-on-the-oil-price-179622.html    <p> Macquarie has made a raft of downgrades, with BP PLC (LON:BP) and <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:RDSA/Royal-Dutch-Shell/" rel="3891">Royal Dutch Shell</a> PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:RDSA/Royal-Dutch-Shell/" rel="3891">LON:RDSA</a>) among them, after becoming more bearish on the oil price.</p> <p> As the cost of a barrel of Brent crude hit a nine-month low of around US$46, so the Aussie broker took out the red pen.</p> <p> It sees Brent averaging just over US$54 in the second-half (down from almost US$59), then US$49.33 and US$52.75 a barrel for 2018 and ’19 respectively.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179551/are-horse-hill-partners-still-a-strong-stable-or-are-gatwick-gusher-bosses-becoming-a-coalition-of-chaos-179551.html" target="_blank">READ: Paradise lost; why the biggest onshore UK find has sparked bitter recriminations</a></h3> <p> Longer term it expects the price to average US$65 a barrel (down from US$70).</p> <p> While it expects demand for the ‘blacks stuff’ to hold up, the problem is one of supply – or over-supply to be precise.</p> <p> Feeding these assumptions into the Macquarie spreadsheet has come up with a rather depressing analysis of integrated oil and gas sector – home to the majors.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Oil is officially back in a bear market. Brent crude has fallen 20.18% from its January peak of $57.10 a-barrel. Now trading at $45.58. <a href="https://t.co/gUi75Qxjwu">pic.twitter.com/gUi75Qxjwu</a></p> — Tara Cunningham (@TaraSCunningham) <a href="https://twitter.com/TaraSCunningham/status/877183141345185792">June 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <p> Its analysts have reduced their per share earnings and cash flow estimates by 7% and 4% respectively for this year – which doesn’t appear to be a major drama.</p> <p> Going forward the cuts are deeper – 24% and 9% (for 2018 EPS and cash flow) and 26% and 10% (for 2019).</p> <p> On that basis only French giant <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/NYSE:TOT/Total-SA/" rel="12896">Total SA</a> (EPA:FP) and Portugal’s <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/PRIVATE:GLPEF/Galp-Energia/" rel="4082">Galp Energia</a> SGPS SA (ELI:GALP) remain on an ‘outperform’ rating.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7663/being-debt-free-gives-us-a-new-base-to-grow-from-aminex-ceo-jay-bhattacherjee-7663.html" target="_blank">WATCH: Is this oil tiddler ready to explode?</a></h3> <p> It is negative or neutral on the other large European integrated stocks.</p> <p> In BP’s case it has moved to ‘underperform’ from ‘neutral’ and has gone to a ‘neutral’ from an ‘outperform’ recommendation on <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:RDSA/Royal-Dutch-Shell/" rel="3891">Royal Dutch Shell</a>.</p> <p> Moving to the North Sea explorers, the picture is equally depressing.</p> <p> While Macquarie remains bullish on <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:CNE/Cairn-Energy-PLC/" rel="3121">Cairn Energy PLC</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:CNE/Cairn-Energy-PLC/" rel="3121">LON:CNE</a>) it is a ‘seller’ of <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:PMO/Premier-Oil-PLC/" rel="3125">Premier Oil PLC</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:PMO/Premier-Oil-PLC/" rel="3125">LON:PMO</a>) and Enquest PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:ENQ/Enquest-Plc/" rel="1863">LON:ENQ</a>). Services company Soco is downgraded to ‘underperform’ on “lack of organic growth potential”.</p> <p> Finally, Macquarie remains positive on <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:TLW/Tullow-Oil-plc/" rel="3127">Tullow Oil plc</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:TLW/Tullow-Oil-plc/" rel="3127">LON:TLW</a>) and <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/CVE:AOI/Africa-Oil-Corp/" rel="4251">Africa Oil Corp</a> (LON:AOI).&nbsp;</p>   Macquarie has made a raft of downgrades, with BP PLC (LON:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) among them, after becoming more bearish on the oil price. As the cost of a barrel of Brent crude hit a nine-month low of around US$46, so the Aussie broker took out the red pen.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179687  Electrical Geodesics 2017-06-22 13:06:00  2017-06-23 06:56:42  2017-06-22 13:13:19  Electrical Geodescis agrees £29mln merger with Philips  Electrical Geodescis agrees £29mln merger with Philips  medical devices, EEG    electrical-geodescis-agrees-29mln-merger-with-philips-179687.html    <p itemprop="headline"> US-based medical device group <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/LON:EGI/Electrical-Geodesics/" style="font-size: 14px;">Electrical Geodesics</a><span style="font-size: 14px;"> plc (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:EGI/Electrical-Geodesics/" rel="8362">LON:EGI</a>) has agreed to a takeover by Dutch health technology company, Koninklijke Philips, for £29mln.</span></p> <p> Amsterdam-based Philips has offered 105.4p in cash for each <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:EGI/Electrical-Geodesics/" rel="8362">Electrical Geodesics</a> share held, a 36% premium to its closing share price of 77.5p in London yesterday.</p> <p> Electrical Geodescis said its board of directors unanimously approved the merger and recommended all shareholders vote in favour of the deal at a meeting on 17 July.</p> <p> The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.</p> <p> Following approval of the merger, Electrical Geodescis will apply to the <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:LSE/London-Stock-Exchange/" rel="1123">London Stock Exchange</a> for the cancellation of its shares on AIM. The de-listing will need 75% approval of shareholder votes.&nbsp;</p> <p> A core product of <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:EGI/Electrical-Geodesics/" rel="8362">Electrical Geodesics</a> is its EEG platform technology, which measures electrical activity in the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp.</p> <p> Philips provides diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics.</p> <p> Shares in <a href="-##!##-/LON:EGI/Electrical-Geodesics/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="8362">Electrical Geodesics</a> rose 30.97% to 101.50p in afternoon trading.&nbsp;</p>   US-based medical device group Electrical Geodesics plc (LON:EGI) has agreed to a takeover by Dutch health technology company, Koninklijke Philips, for £29mln. Amsterdam-based Philips has offered 105.4p in cash for each Electrical Geodesics share held, a 36% premium to its closing share price of 77.5p in London yesterday.  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179688  Proactiveinvestors 2017-06-22 13:05:00  2017-06-22 13:26:44  2017-06-22 13:25:47  Ethereum cryptocurrency hit by ‘flash crash’ after plummeting from US$319 to just 10 cents  Ethereum cryptocurrency hit by ‘flash crash’ after plummeting from US$319 to just 10 cents  Ethereum, cryptocurrency, flash crash, bitcoin, GDAX, currency, Richard Branson, Blockchain, technology, digital, Google, GV    ethereum-cryptocurrency-hit-by-flash-crash-after-plummeting-from-us319-to-just-10-cents-179688.html    <p> The price of cryptocurrency ethereum plummeted on Wednesday after the bitcoin rival was hit by a ‘flash crash’ on the GDAX exchange.</p> <p> Ether, as it’s also known, crashed as low as 10 cents from around US$320 in just a few seconds after a “multimillion dollar sell” order was executed.</p> <p> The digital currency did stabilise not too long after the sharp fall and is hovering around US$317 on GDAX, although it had been trading as high as US$352 earlier on Wednesday.</p> <p> According to the vice president of GDAX, Adam White, the sell order resulted in a number of trade being filled from US$317.81 to US$224.48.</p> <p> As the price continued to fall, another 800 or so stop loss orders – a trade that is automatically executed once a security hits a particular price – were taken out, causing ether to trade as low as 10 cents.</p> <p> Analysts have pointed to the crash as the latest example that alternative currencies are untrustworthy or unreliable.</p> <p> Some on social media had suggested that illegal activity had taken place, but White denied this in a blog post.</p> <p> “Our initial investigations show no indication of wrongdoing or account takeovers. We understand this event can be frustrating for our customers.”</p> <h3> Blockchain start-up backed by Google and Richard Branson in US$40mln raise</h3> <p> Elsewhere in the digital world Blockchain Ltd – a bitcoin wallet start-up – has raised US$40mln, led by Google’s investment arm and UK billionaire Richard Branson among others.</p> <p> The investment comes at a time of rising excitement and interest in the cryptocurrency world, with both bitcoin and ethereum both recently hitting all-time highs.</p> <p> Blockchain has created a ‘wallet’ which is a piece of software that can store bitcoins and allows customers to carry out transaction with other users.</p> <p> The cash raised is expected to be used to expand its team and invest in more research and development.</p> <h3> What is blockchain technology?</h3> <p> A blockchain is a digital ledger in which all transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.</p> <p> Think of it as a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update the spreadsheet so all users can see a ‘live’ database.</p> <p> Importantly, users can add to these databases but can't erase past transactions or data. That, and the fact data is stored on lots of different computers, means the records of transactions are truly public and verifiable.</p> <p> Without a centralised version of all the information, there is nothing for a hacker to corrupt either.</p>   The price of cryptocurrency ethereum plummeted on Wednesday after the bitcoin rival was hit by a ‘flash crash’ on the GDAX exchange. Ether, as it’s also known, crashed as low as 10 cents from around US$320 in just a few seconds after a “multimillion dollar sell” order was executed.  ARTICLE          View Edit Delete
179684  Gemfields PLC 2017-06-22 11:56:00  2017-06-22 12:25:10  2017-06-22 12:25:10  Gemfields bidding war tipped to rumble on even if Pallinghurst investors back nil-premium offer on M  Gemfields bidding war tipped to rumble on even if Pallinghurst investors back nil-premium offer on Monday   Gemfields PLC, bidding war, Fosun Gold, Pallinghurst Resources, ruby, emerald, miner, shareholder vote    gemfields-bidding-war-tipped-to-rumble-on-even-if-pallinghurst-investors-back-nil-premium-offer-on-monday-179684.html    <p> Next week looks set to be a pretty big one for Gemfields PLC (<a href="-##!##-/LON:GEM/Gemfields-PLC/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3457">LON:GEM</a>) and its investors.</p> <p> Pallinghurst Resources’ nil-premium offer already has the backing of 61.25% of Gemfields shareholders, which is more than the 60% required to make the bid unconditional.</p> <p> Now South Africa-listed Pallinghurst – which already owns 47% of the emerald miner – needs the backing of its own shareholders, who are set to vote on the deal on Monday (26 June).</p> <h3> Pallinghurst claims to have enough investor support</h3> <p> Pallinghurst has repeatedly said it has irrevocable undertakings – i.e. binding, irreversible agreements – from 50.3% of its shareholder base, which would be enough to push the deal over the line.</p> <p> Should that be the case, Pallinghurst would have the necessary backing from both sides to take majority control of Gemfields.</p> <p> It would also nullify a rival 45p a share cash offer from Fosun Gold, which the Chinese conglomerate has previously said is only valid if it can take at least a 50% stake in Gemfields.</p> <p> So that should be that. If Pallinghurst gets 50.3% of the vote which it claims is in the bag, its offer would be successful and Fosun’s bid would fall away.</p> <p> But some think the vote and subsequent deal might not be that straightforward.</p> <p> Both Gemfields and Fosun have this week disputed Pallinghurst’s level of support, claiming that “there is the possibility that Pallinghurst will not receive the necessary majority to pass the ordinary resolution”.</p> <h3> ‘All to play for’ regardless of Monday’s vote outcome</h3> <p> The word from people close to the deal is that, despite Pallinghurst’s claims, Monday’s vote is far from a forgone conclusion.</p> <p> Perhaps most interestingly is that market sources also think the battle for Gemfields could still be ‘all to play for’ even if Pallinghurst does get the majority it needs next week.</p> <p> The suggestion is that regardless of whichever way the vote falls on the day, it might not be the last we hear of this particular tug-of-war.</p> <p> For its part, however, Pallinghurst remains confident that it will get the necessary support from its shareholders to increase its stake in Gemfields.</p> <p> All should become clearer on Monday, albeit for just a short while perhaps.</p> <h3> Share price suggests Pallinghurst win</h3> <p> If the share price is anything to go by, there doesn’t seem to be too much confidence from Gemfields investors that the Fosun offer is a likely victor in this war.</p> <p> After topping out around the 42p on the news of the offer, shares have fallen back to 39p over the past couple of days just above Pallinghurst’s implied bid of 38.1p or so.</p>   Next week looks set to be a pretty big one for Gemfields PLC (LON:GEM) and its investors. Pallinghurst Resources’ nil-premium offer already has the backing of 61.25% of Gemfields shareholders, which is more than the 60% required to make the bid unconditional.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179681  Imagination Technologies Group 2017-06-22 11:40:00  2017-06-22 11:54:55  2017-06-22 11:54:55  Apple is a potential buyer of Imagination Technologies as IP dispute continues - broker  Apple is a potential buyer of Imagination Technologies as IP dispute continues - broker      apple-is-a-potential-buyer-of-imagination-technologies-as-ip-dispute-continues-broker-179681.html    <p> Investors ought to pick up shares in <a href="-##!##-/LON:IMG/Imagination-Technologies-Group/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3497">Imagination Technologies Group</a> Plc now that the whole company is on the auction block, so says broker Liberum Capital, which reckons <a href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:AAPL/Apple/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="5920">Apple</a> Inc could be a buyer.</p> <p> Imagination halved in value earlier this year&nbsp;after Apple Inc decided to stop using the London-listed group’s <a href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:INTC/Intel/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="5708">Intel</a>lectual property in its future products (and since then the group has ‘been in dispute’ with Apple).</p> <p> Nonetheless, Liberum names the iPhone maker among the list of potential acquirers.</p> <p> On Thursday, Imagination it had been approached by a number of parties interested in acquiring the whole company whilst it was working to divest separately its MIPS and Ensigma divisions.</p> <h3> Price target doubles to 193p</h3> <p> Liberum responded to the news with an immediate upgrade, moving to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and adding a massive 98p to the broker’s target price up to 193p. Meanwhile, in the market, Imagination shares advanced 22p or 17.8% to trade at 145.5p.</p> <p> Analyst Janardan Menon, in a note, said the London-listed company doesn’t have sufficient resources to litigate with Apple, but, the iPhone maker could be vulnerable depending upon who acquired the Imagination business. Specifically, he identifies Qualcomm or an ‘intellectual property troll’ as possible buyers.</p> <p> “We also believe Apple will see value in all three IP blocks as well as Imagination's team of engineers,” Menon highlighted.</p> <h3> Qualcomm and Intel also seen as potential acquirers</h3> <p> He added: “Qualcomm is in a major spat with Apple which fundamentally questions its longer term licensing model. An acquisition of Imagination could be an additional weapon in its fight with Apple, given the existing dispute between Imagination and Apple.”</p> <p> Intel is another big name linked, by Liberum, to a possible approach - due to its in-process acquisition of Mobileye which utilises Imagination’s MIPS intellectual property.</p> <p> “Intel, therefore, has a clear interest in supporting MIPS and its future roadmap. Intel is also falling well behind <a href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:NVDA/Nvidia/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="5969">Nvidia</a> and AMD in graphics capability and IPR. The acquisition of PowerVR will help strengthen its internal graphics team and patents,” Menon added.</p> <p> CEVA Inc (<a href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:CEVA/CEVA,-Inc./" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3323">NASDAQ:CEVA</a>), Taiwan based MediaTek Inc (TPE:2454) and a plethora of Chinese buyers were also noted by Liberum as potential acquirers of Imagination Technologies.</p> <h3> Bidding war could unlock 'significant upside'</h3> <p> Such high level of potential interest opens up the possibility of ‘significant upside’ to the stock’s current price - aside from the broker’s target price, Menon sees potential valuations ranging between 153p and 233p.</p> <p> “In a sale process with multiple potential bidders the final price is rarely arrived through a rigorous valuation process, as the asset will have different imputed values for different buyers depending on their reasons for acquiring the company,” Menon said.</p> <p> “Given the long list of potential bidders for Imagination, we expect this to be an interesting process.</p> <p> “As a result we believe there could be significant upside to the share even after the sharp jump today morning.”</p>   Investors ought to pick up shares in Imagination Technologies now that the whole company is on the auction block, so says broker Liberum Capital, which reckons Apple Inc could be a buyer. Imagination halved in value earlier this year after Apple Inc decided to stop using the London-listed group’s intellectual property in its future products.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179677  Lloyds Banking Group 2017-06-22 11:34:00  2017-06-22 11:55:42  2017-06-22 11:40:35  Tougher regulation spells headache for Lloyds Banking and Barclays says Goldman Sachs  Tougher regulation spells headache for Lloyds Banking and Barclays says Goldman Sachs      tougher-regulation-spells-headache-for-lloyds-banking-and-barclays-says-goldman-sachs-179677.html    <p> Regulation of the UK banks is likely to step a notch next week when the Bank of England issues its latest quarter financial stability report.</p> <p> The possibility has prompted US broker Goldman Sachs to reiterate its sell stance on Lloyds Banking Banking Group PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:LLOY/Lloyds-Banking-Group/" rel="2992">LON:LLOY</a>) and <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:BARC/Barclays/" rel="2989">Barclays</a> PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:BARC/Barclays/" rel="2989">LON:BARC</a>) while <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:HSBA/HSBC/" rel="3429">HSBC</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:HSBA/HSBC/" rel="3429">LON:HSBA</a>) and <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:RBS/Royal-Bank-of-Scotland/" rel="3428">Royal Bank of Scotland</a> PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:RBS/Royal-Bank-of-Scotland/" rel="3428">LON:RBS</a>) are holds.</p> <p> Goldman expects &nbsp;the buffer held against a deterioration in the UK credit cycle to rise to 0.5% from zero currently, while consumer credit reviews currently underway may see a tightening of capital requirements.</p> <p> Though it is in mortgage risks assessment that the most immediate impact may be felt.</p> <p> “In our view it could have a capital impact of between 10 basis points (0.1%) for <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:BARC/Barclays/" rel="2989">Barclays</a> and 80 bp (0.8%) for Lloyds.”</p> <p> Even ahead of that possibility Goldman remains cautious on Lloyds (target price 58p).</p> <p> The bank is the largest mortgage lender in the UK and the prospect of increased competition and its impact on future margins are not in the price, the US broker says.</p> <p> <a href="-##!##-/LON:BARC/Barclays/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="2989">Barclays</a>, too, is a sell as the broker believes its need to rebuild its capital position will affect both dividends and profits going forward. The target is 180p.</p> <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:STAN/Standard-Chartered-PLC/" rel="2994">Standard Chartered PLC</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:STAN/Standard-Chartered-PLC/" rel="2994">LON:STAN</a>) is its only buy in the UK bank sector and this due largely to it being outside the UK credit cycle with its Asian focus. Target price rises to 960p from 950p.</p>   The bank is the largest mortgage lender in the UK and the prospect of increased competition and its impact on future margins are not in the price, the US broker says. Barclays, too, is a sell as the broker believes its need to rebuild its capital position will affect both dividends and profits going forward.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179666  Nu-Oil and Gas 2017-06-22 08:37:00  2017-06-22 11:09:46  2017-06-22 08:55:43  NUOG awaits regulatory approval in Canada  NUOG awaits regulatory approval in Canada      nuog-awaits-regulatory-approval-in-canada-179666.html    <p> NU-Oil and Gas Plc (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:NUOG/Nu-Oil-and-Gas/" rel="3745">LON:NUOG</a>) told investors that a new Canadian work programme is waiting on regulatory approval.</p> <p> In a statement, NUOG said all the major equipment had been mobilised to the Garden Hill project site, in Newfoundland, and the proposed programme is under review at the Department of Natural Resources.</p> <p> Work is expected to start promptly once approval has been granted, it added.</p> <p> "The company is delighted that preparations for the workover programme at PL2002-01(A) are progressing well and to schedule,” said Nigel Burton, NUOG chief executive.</p> <p> “This new activity at the Garden Hill Field brings new investment and is anticipated to achieve production and therefore revenue for NU-Oil."</p> <p> The programme is being paid for by PVF Energy Services which will be earning a 50% revenue share.</p> <p> It is planned that PVF’s programme will initially involve wireline clean-up of the AP#1-ST#3 well, and the clearing of physical obstruction that is believed to be restricting flow from the well. A subsequent period of testing, between 15 and 30 days, will provide more reliable analysis of the well’s production capability.</p> <p> A second phase of work would then see re-completion of the well and the installation of artificial lift equipment. Arrangements in the production sharing agreements also give the right to drill new wells, and NUOG said it expects to conclude a deal to cover that scenario in the near future.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> *Updated 11:01 Thursday June 22</p>   NU-Oil and Gasshares dropped 30% on Thursday as the AIM-quoted oil junior told investors that a new Canadian work programme is waiting on regulatory approval. In a statement, NUOG said all the major equipment had been mobilised to the Garden Hill project site, in Newfoundland, and the proposed programme is under review at the Department of Natural Resources.  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179673  Diageo plc 2017-06-22 10:28:00  2017-06-22 10:46:26  2017-06-22 10:36:38  Diageo suffers a tequila hangover as brokers react to US$1bn purchase of super-premium brand part-ow  Diageo suffers a tequila hangover as brokers react to US$1bn purchase of super-premium brand part-owned by George Clooney  Diageo PLC, FTSE 100, drinks giant, US$1bn acquisition, Casamigos, super-premium, tequila brand, part owned, Hollywood star, George Clooney, alcohol brands, Jonny Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness, US investment bank, Citi, UK broker, Shore Capital    diageo-suffers-a-tequila-hangover-as-brokers-react-to-us1bn-purchase-of-super-premium-brand-part-owned-by-george-clooney-179673.html    <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:DGE/Diageo-plc/" rel="3265">Diageo plc</a> (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:DGE/Diageo-plc/" rel="3265">LON:DGE</a>) suffered from a tequila hangover today as brokers reacted to news the blue chip drinks giant has splashed out US$1bn to buy Casamigos, a super-premium tequila brand part owned by Hollywood star George Clooney.</p> <p> The FTSE 100-listed owner of alcohol brands such as Jonny Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness revealed after Wednesday's market close that it will pay an initial US$700mln for Casamigos, plus a further US$300mln subject to the brand’s sales performance over the next ten years.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179658/diageo-goes-hollywood-with-us1bn-deal-for-george-clooneys-casamigos-tequila-179658.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: Diageo goes Hollywood with US$1bn deal for George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila</a></h3> <p> Clooney was one of three headline founders of Casamigos, alongside Cindy Crawford's husband and entrepreneur Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman.</p> <p> In mid-morning trading today, Diageo shares were 1%, or 25.5p lower at 2,349p.</p> <p> In a note to clients on the deal, analysts at US investment bank Citi said the brand acquisition “should help Diageo’s medium term growth in US, but this comes at a very high price.”&nbsp;</p> <p> They pointed out that Casamigos, launched in 2013, has been one of the fastest growing brands in the alcohol space, shipping 120,000 cases in 2016 - at a retail price point of US$45-55 - and the company expects to sell170,000 cases in 2017.</p> <h3> Multiple Diageo is paying ”looks very high”, says Citi</h3> <p> The analysts said that on Diageo’s platform, they think the brand has “plenty of room to grow in the US, and to a lesser extent in Europe and Travel Retail.”</p> <p> But they added: “The multiple Diageo is paying looks very high, however – c20x 2016 sales (of c$37m on our estimates), excluding the earn-out.”</p> <p> Diageo said yesterday that it expects the Casamigos acquisition to be "economic positive in the fourth full fiscal year post completion".</p> <h3> “Good brands in strategic growth categories are going to command high valuations”</h3> <p> In another note to clients, analysts at UK broker Shore Capital said: “Based on this guidance we believe it is hard to argue the acquisition is a ‘steal’ but on the face of it Diageo is adding a high growth brand in a market category that is currently buoyant especially at the premium end.”</p> <p> They added: “The valuation of this deal may disappoint those investors who were expecting Diageo to announce capital returns guidance as leverage was coming down albeit we believe this was at least another year away without deals and assuming trading remained solid overall.”</p> <p> The analysts concluded: “Our view, is that good brands in strategic growth categories are going to command high valuations. We believe this deal highlights Diageo to be focused on strengthening its position in a growth category in its most important market.”</p> <p> Shore Capital repeated a ‘buy’ rating on Diageo shares; Citi has a ‘neutral’ stance with a 2,500p price target.</p>   Diageo PLC suffered from a tequila hangover today as investors reacted to news the blue chips drinks giant has splashed out US$1bn to buy Casamigos, a super-premium tequila brand part owned by Hollywood star George Clooney. Analysts at US investment bank Citi said the brand acquisition “should help Diageo’s medium term growth in US, but this comes at a very high price.”   ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179672  James Latham 2017-06-22 10:10:00  2017-06-22 10:38:47  2017-06-22 10:35:30  James Latham shares edge lower despite “solid” year and bright outlook  James Latham shares edge lower despite “solid” year and bright outlook  James Latham PLC, full year results, Peter Latham, revenues, dividend, Northland, analyst, timber, wood, merchant, warehouse    james-latham-shares-edge-lower-despite-solid-year-and-bright-outlook-179672.html    <p> Shares in <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:LTHM/James-Latham/" rel="554">James Latham</a> PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:LTHM/James-Latham/" rel="554">LON:LTHM</a>) edged lower on Thursday morning despite the timber specialist posting a seemingly “solid” set of full year results.</p> <p> The Hemel Hempstead-headquartered company saw revenues climb almost 7% to £198.8mln in the 12 months to 31 March, with pre-tax profits following suit to rise by £0.9mln to £12.9mln.</p> <p> Latham said the weak pound forced the company to up its prices which partly explained the rise in revenues.</p> <p> That didn’t deter customers though, with the timber merchant reporting higher volumes of ex-warehouse sales, which is when the buyer arranges collection and delivery of goods themselves.</p> <p> “Year on year increases in both revenue and volume for the fourth quarter was particularly encouraging,” added chairman Peter Latham.</p> <p> Gross margins dipped by 0.3 percentage points across this year, primarily because of “competitive pressures” and higher stock replacement costs.</p> <p> Latham added that costs had been well controlled despite the higher volumes through the warehouses, while “bad debts were low overall for the year”.</p> <h3> Current trading strong but margins remain under pressure</h3> <p> In the first few months of its new financial year, Latham told investors that like-for-like revenues are 3% ahead compared to the same period last year.</p> <p> That’s even more impressive when you consider that the corresponding period of 2016 had two extra trading days because of the earlier Easter.</p> <p> Latham did add that the gross margin remains under pressure however.</p> <p> The construction of the new upgraded site for the Yate operation is nearing completion and the company hopes to move in next month.</p> <p> Negotiations are also an advanced stage for the construction of a new site for Latham’s Wigston unit and relocation is expected by the end of the current financial year (March 2018).</p> <h3> Broker praises “solid” performance, questions divi</h3> <p> “Another solid performance, where revenue was £199m, 1.4% ahead of forecasts and 7% [ahead] year-on-year,” said <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/columns/northland-capital-partners-view-on-the-city/28031/northland-capital-partners-view-on-the-city-james-latham-28031.html">analyst Michael Campbell in a note to clients</a>.</p> <p> “The balance sheet is in strong shape with over £16mln of net cash, well ahead of our forecast £8.6m.</p> <p> “Recommended final divi of 10.85p taking the total divi to 15.35p, well covered by earnings at 3.6x, though marginally below what we expected.”</p> <p> Shares were down 2% to 835.85p in mid-morning trade on Thursday.</p>   Shares in James Latham PLC (LON:LTHM) edged lower on Thursday morning despite the timber specialist posting a seemingly “solid” set of full year results. The Hemel Hempstead-headquartered company saw revenues climb almost 7% to £198.8mln in the 12 months to 31 March, with pre-tax profits following suit to rise by £0.9mln to £12.9mln.  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179671  Proactiveinvestors 2017-06-22 10:07:00  2017-06-22 10:17:59  2017-06-22 10:15:44  New share trading platform launches with zero commission deals  New share trading platform launches with zero commission deals      new-share-trading-platform-launches-with-zero-commission-deals-179671.html    <p> A new share trading service launched today claims to be the first yet to offer commission free trading in UK, US, and German shares.</p> <p> Trading 212 will allow investors to make ten free trades per month up to a value of £10,000 each.</p> <p> Larger and more active clients pay £1.95 plus 0.05% per trade, a charge that founder Ivan Ashminov told Proactive is about 80% lower than the current broker competition.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7677/trading-212-launches-trading-revolution-with-commission-free-platform-7677.html" target="_blank">WATCH:&nbsp;Trading 212 launches 'trading revolution' with commission-free platform</a></h3> <p> Trading 212 launched three years ago as a foreign exchange mobile app and buoyed by &nbsp;success here - Ashminov says its FX app has had 7mln downloads - looked at other areas to replicate the model.</p> <p> “We studied the commission structures of the brokers and thought, wow, this is ripe for disruption.”</p> <p> “Brokers are pretty comfortable at operating at 50% profit margin, which is unheard of in other industries, and this is why this disruption had to come from outside.”</p> <p> Ashminov suggests that by eliminating the cost of commissions a new, younger generation of investors can be attracted to equities.</p> <p> "A combination of zero commissions, premium quality execution and a great user experience, should make trading more attractive.”</p> <p> Trading 212 will provide access initially to over 1,500 commonly traded UK, US and German stocks.&nbsp;</p> <p> Its parent company Avus Capital UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. &nbsp;</p>   Trading 212 launched three years ago as a foreign exchange mobile app and buoyed by success here - Ashminov says its FX app had 7mln downloads - said it looked at other areas to replicate the model. “We studied the commission structures of the brokers and thought, wow, this is ripe for disruption.”  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179670  Centrica 2017-06-22 09:46:00  2017-06-22 10:03:22  2017-06-22 10:01:52  HSBC upgrades rating for British gas-owner Centrica after Queen’s Speech revealed no intention for t  HSBC upgrades rating for British gas-owner Centrica after Queen’s Speech revealed no intention for tariff cap  HSBC, global bank, upgrades rating, Centrica PLC, FTSE 100, energy provider, British gas-owner Centrica PLC, The Queen’s Speech yesterday, Theresa May, new government, tariff caps, Ofgem    hsbc-upgrades-rating-for-british-gas-owner-centrica-after-queens-speech-revealed-no-intention-for-tariff-cap-179670.html    <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:HSBA/HSBC/" rel="3429">HSBC</a> has upgraded its rating for British gas-owner <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:CNA/Centrica/" rel="3440">Centrica</a> PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:CNA/Centrica/" rel="3440">LON:CNA</a>) after The Queen’s Speech yesterday detailing the plans of Theresa May’s new government revealed no intention for tariff caps, although they think some intervention in the energy market is still likely.</p> <p> In a note to clients, the global bank’s analysts raised their stance on the FTSE 100-listed firm to ‘hold’ from ‘reduce’ with an increased target price of 202p, up from 187p.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179076/centrica-s-investment-case-overshadowed-by-tory-plans-for-energy-price-cap-says-barclays-179076.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: Centrica's investment case overshadowed by Tory plans for energy price cap, says Barclays</a></h3> <p> In early morning trading, <a href="-##!##-/LON:CNA/Centrica/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3440">Centrica</a> shares edged 0.1%, or 0.3p higher at 206.7p.</p> <p> The <a href="-##!##-/LON:HSBA/HSBC/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3429">HSBC</a> analysts noted that Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, sent an open letter to the chief executive of energy regulator Ofgem following the Queen’s speech to Parliament.</p> <p> They said in it he asked Ofgem to advise him “on what action you intend to take in three respects: Safeguarding customers on the poorest value tariffs;&nbsp; Ensuring that micro businesses are fairly treated; Considering the future of standard variable tariffs.”</p> <h3> More measured intervention in the supply market</h3> <p> The analysts added that “in light of the above political development”&nbsp; they&nbsp; have adjusted down their previous WACC (weighted average cost of capital) assumption for Centrica “because we believe that there will be more measured intervention in the supply market, as advised by Ofgem.”</p> <p> They said that in their increased sum-of-the -parts valuation for Centrica they have reduced the discount for Centrica’s UK Home to 10% from 20% and removed the discount&nbsp; for its North American business.</p> <p> However, they have reduced their yield expectations for the shares to 5.9% from 6.2% as they “think it will be politically difficult for Centrica to raise its dividend in the current political climate in the UK so are keeping the dividend assumption flat at 12p.”</p>   HSBC has upgraded its rating for British gas-owner Centrica PLC after The Queen’s Speech yesterday detailing the plans of Theresa May’s new government revealed no intention for tariff caps, although they think some intervention in the energy market is still likely.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179668  Frontier Developments 2017-06-22 09:09:00  2017-06-22 09:17:49  2017-06-22 09:17:49  Frontier Developments lifts full year revenue guidance on strong performance of video games  Frontier Developments lifts full year revenue guidance on strong performance of video games  video games, Planet Coaster, Elite Dangerous    frontier-developments-lifts-full-year-revenue-guidance-on-strong-performance-of-video-games-179668.html    <p> Video games developer <a href="-##!##-/LON:FDEV/Frontier-Developments/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="4130">Frontier Developments</a> plc (<a href="-##!##-/LON:FDEV/Frontier-Developments/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="4130">LON:FDEV</a>) has raised its full year guidance following the successful launch of its second franchise 'Planet Coaster'.</p> <p> The group predicts 2017 revenue will jump 75% to £37.3mln, slightly ahead of its previous guidance. Operating profit margins are expected to reach top end of its forecast range of 15-20% and that operating profit would surge 500% to £7.2mln.</p> <p> Frontier said the improved performance was driven by the release of the 'Planet Coaster' video games&nbsp;in November 2016.</p> <p> The first game franchise, 'Elite Dangerous', continues to perform well and will available to a new audience when it is released on PlayStation 4 later this month, the group added.</p> <p> “We now have two strong franchises in the market and have successfully transitioned to a self-publishing business model, proving our ability to launch franchises,” said chief executive, David Braben.</p> <p> “Our third franchise, which is&nbsp;based on an enduring Hollywood movie IP of global renown, is scheduled for release in calendar 2018, and we will provide more details about this exciting project later this year."</p> <p> The company held cash balances of £12.6mln at 31 May 2017, up £4.0mln on the previous year.</p> <p> Shares rose&nbsp;6.4% to 446.0p in morning trading.&nbsp;</p>   Video games developer Frontier Developments plc (LON:FDEV) has raised its full year guidance following the successful launch of its second franchise 'Planet Coaster'. The group predicts 2017 revenue will jump 75% to £37.3mln, slightly ahead of its previous guidance.   ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179655  Go Ahead Group 2017-06-22 07:39:00  2017-06-22 08:45:35  2017-06-22 07:48:18  Go-Ahead says full-year expectations unchanged, with modest growth from buses, but rail franchises m  Go-Ahead says full-year expectations unchanged, with modest growth from buses, but rail franchises mixed  Go-Ahead Group PLC, FTSE 250, transport operator, trading update, buses business, moderate revenue growth, mixed performances, rail franchises, Southeastern, London Midland, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)    go-ahead-says-full-year-expectations-unchanged-with-modest-growth-from-buses-but-rail-franchises-mixed-179655.html    <p> Go-Ahead Group PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:GOG/Go-Ahead-Group/" rel="3195">LON:GOG</a>) said today that its overall expectations for the full year are unchanged, with the transport operator seeing modest revenue growth in its buses business and mixed performance from its rail franchises, with Southern hit by strike action.</p> <p> In a pre-close trading update for the year ending 1 July 2017, the FTSE 250-listed group said its regional bus “continues to deliver revenue growth broadly in line with our expectations and slightly ahead of wider industry trends”, with expected full-year like-for-like revenue growth of around 1% for both its regional and London bus businesses.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/176638/go-ahead-says-southern-rail-strikes-have-stabilised-as-it-repeats-full-year-forecast-176638.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: Go-Ahead says Southern rail strikes have stabilised as it repeats full year forecast</a></h3> <p> The firm added that strong growth in passenger journeys in some regions has been offset by softer performance in other operating areas, leading to expectations for a flat like-for-like figure for its regional business, while mileage in its London buses business is seen down around 1.5%.</p> <p> Go-Ahead said “growth in revenue and passenger numbers is also slightly subdued as a consequence of the restructuring of selected route networks to match passenger demand and reduce costs.”</p> <p> Meanwhile, the group’s rail division – which operates the Southeastern, London Midland and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchises through its 65% owned subsidiary Govia – saw mixed performances.</p> <p> Southeastern saw passenger growth continue to slow, with an expected like-for-like fall of 0.5%, although passenger revenue is seen up around 3.0% supported by a cost efficiency programme.&nbsp;</p> <p> The group said the Department for Transport (DfT) has started the tender process for the South Eastern franchise and Govia has expressed an interest. Rival transport group Stagecoach PLC (<a href="-##!##-/LON:SGC/Stagecoach-Group/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3200">LON:SGC</a>) revealed today that it has been short-listed&nbsp;by the DfT to receive an Invitation to tender for the new South Eastern franchise.</p> <h3> London Midland growth solid; GTR declining&nbsp;</h3> <p> &nbsp;Go-Ahead added that the London Midland's financial performance remains strong, with revenue and passenger numbers both growing ahead of the wider industry, and predicted like-for-like growth seen at around&nbsp; around 4.5% and 4% respectively.</p> <p> The firm added that it is awaiting the DfT's announcement regarding the outcome of the West Midlands franchise competition, for which it has been shortlisted along with one other bidder.</p> <p> However the GTR franchises are expected to see its like-for-like passenger growth and journeys both decline by around 4.0% hit by strike action and noted that, disappointingly, the ASLEF rail union has called for an overtime ban for Southern train drivers which, if it goes ahead, “will result in unnecessary disruption for customers.”</p> <h3> Liberum says valuation remains underpinned by Bus divisions</h3> <p> In a post-results note to clients on Go-Ahead, analysts at Liberum Capital said: “We see modest downside risk to consensus, but the group’s valuation remains underpinned by its Bus divisions, with an effective free option on rail upside from either existing franchises or new wins.”</p> <p> They repeated a ‘buy’ rating on the stock with a 1,975p price target.</p> <p> In early morning trading, Go-Ahead shares were 0.3%, or 6p higher at 1,838p. &nbsp;</p> <p> Go-Ahead will release its full year results on September 7.</p> <p> <em>&nbsp;-- Adds share price, broker comment, Stagecoach news --</em></p>   Go-Ahead Group PLC said today that its overall expectations for the full year are unchanged, with the transport operator seeing modest revenue growth in its buses business and mixed performance from its rail franchises, with Southern hot by strike action.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179667  Standard Life 2017-06-22 08:44:00  2017-06-22 09:00:43  2017-06-22 09:00:43  Competition regulator greenlights £11bn Standard Life-Aberdeen merger  Competition regulator greenlights £11bn Standard Life-Aberdeen merger  Standard Life PLC, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, merger, Competition and Market Authority, asset management, fund manager    competition-regulator-greenlights-11bn-standard-life-aberdeen-merger-179667.html    <p> The £11bn merger between fund manager giants <a href="-##!##-/LON:SL./Standard-Life/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3424">Standard Life</a> PLC (<a href="-##!##-/LON:SL./Standard-Life/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3424">LON:SL.</a>) and <a href="-##!##-/LON:ADN/Aberdeen-Asset-Management/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="3515">Aberdeen Asset Management</a> PLC (LON:AND) has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog this morning.</p> <p> The Competition and Market Authority’s decision not to press ahead with a more in-depth ‘phase two’ investigation means the deal is on course to close by mid-August.</p> <p> The merger will create the UK’s largest asset management group and the second biggest in Europe with £660bn of assets under management.</p> <p> In a statement, the two firms said: “Standard Life and Aberdeen note the announcement today by the CMA that it has completed its review of their proposed merger and has cleared the transaction unconditionally.”</p> <p> The deal, which will see Aberdeen shareholders own 33.3% of the combined group and Standard Life shareholders owning the remainder, was <u><a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/174268/standard-life-and-aberdeen-asset-management-agree-merger-174268.html">agreed back in March</a></u>.</p> <h3> Shareholders in favour</h3> <p> The CMA’s decision comes after shareholders of both companies voted in favour of the merger earlier this week.</p> <p> Just shy of 99% of Standard Life investors backed the deal, while 94.6% agreed with the planned directors’ remuneration policy.</p> <p> On the Aberdeen side, 95.8% of shareholders voted for the tie-up, while 78.6% approved the executive pay motion.</p> <h3> Standard Life Aberdeen</h3> <p> The two Scotland-based companies want to create a global industry powerhouse and are targeting £200mln a year in cost savings. As part of those cost-cutting plans, <u><a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/177588/aberdeen-asset-management-and-standard-life-to-cut-800-jobs-as-part-of-11bn-merger-177588.html">the two fund managers expect to cut almost 10% of their combined workforce</a></u>.</p> <p> The combined group will be renamed Standard Life Aberdeen. It will also be headquartered in Scotland and will continue to have offices around the world.</p> <p> Both companies have previously agreed on a 16-strong board made up of an equal number of Standard Life and Aberdeen directors.</p> <p> Standard Life chief executive Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert will become <u><a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175075/merging-fund-giants-standard-life-aberdeen-asset-clarify-responsibilities-co-chief-executives-will-have-after-criticism-175075.html">co-chief executives of the new firm</a></u>.</p> <p> Standard Life shares shed 1% to 388.1p, while the Aberdeen share price fell 0.8% in early deals to 291.7p.</p>   The £11bn merger between fund manager giants Standard Life PLC (LON:SL.) and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (LON:AND) has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog this morning. The Competition and Market Authority’s decision not to press ahead with a more in-depth ‘phase two’ investigation means the deal is on course to close by mid-August.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179664  Chemring Group 2017-06-22 08:32:00  2017-06-22 08:37:41  2017-06-22 08:37:41  Chemring continues recovery after tough 2016, with first-half losses reduced as revenues grew strong  Chemring continues recovery after tough 2016, with first-half losses reduced as revenues grew strongly  Chemring PLC , FTSE 250, defence contractor, first-half results, losses reduce, revenues grew strongly, reinstates interim dividend, CEO, Michael Flowers    chemring-continues-recovery-after-tough-2016-with-first-half-losses-reduced-as-revenues-grew-strongly-179664.html    <p> Chemring PLC (<a href="-##!##-/LON:CHG/Chemring-Group/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="1119">LON:CHG</a>) has continued its recovery after a tough time last year, with the defence contractor seeing its first-half losses reduced as revenues grew strongly, and it reinstated its interim dividend.</p> <p> In its results for the six months ending in April 30, the small cap firm reported a statutory loss before tax of £6.8mln, an improvement on the £16.8mln loss at the same stage last year, while its underlying profits rose to £17.2mlm, up from £3.8mln.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/174975/chemring-withdraws-agm-plan-for-changes-to-directors-pay-says-year-has-started-positively--174975.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: Chemring withdraws AGM plan for changes to directors pay, says year has "started positively"</a></h3> <p> The reduction came as Chemring’s revenues grew to £249.6mln, up from £180.1mln a year earlier, helped in part by the post-Brexit vote drop in sterling.</p> <p> Chemring’s CEO Michael Flowers said: “In the first half of 2017 the Group has continued to build on its H2 2016 performance, with solid order intake and revenue delivery from its operations.</p> <p> “The consistency of manufacturing operations across all sites continues to improve, delivering more predictable revenue flow and improved margins.”</p> <p> The maker of ammunition, flares and surveillance systems had a rough run last year, warning on profits and requiring a rights issue cash injection in 2016.</p> <h3> Chemring’s board has “confidence in the Group's future outlook”</h3> <p> But Chemring said today that its board have “confidence in the Group's future outlook”, with approximately 85% of expected second half revenue in its order book, and full-year expectations for remain unchanged.</p> <p> Showing its improved confidence, Chemring reinstated its interim dividend with a 1.0p a share payout.</p> <p> In a post-results note to clients on Chemring, analysts at Liberum Capital said: “Recovery is underway, new opportunities are developing and key US defence programmes are progressing, which should help lift the rating from the current CY17 EV/EBIT of 11x.”</p> <p> Chemring’s reacted positively as well in early morning trading, adding 1.2%, or 2.25p at 188.5p.</p> <p> In March, Chemring saw its plans for changes to directors pay shot-down ahead of its Annual General Meeting, withdrawing the proposals following consultations with shareholders.</p> <p> In a trading update then, company had also said it had “started the year positively, continuing the momentum of the second half of last year.”</p>   Chemring PLC has continued its recovery after a tough time last year, with the defence contractor seeing its first-half losses reduced as revenues grew strongly, and it reinstated its interim dividend. The firm reported a statutory loss before tax of £6.8mln, an improvement on the £16.8mln loss at the same stage last year, while its underlying profits rose to £17.2mlm, up from £3.8mln.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179665  FirstGroup 2017-06-22 08:31:00  2017-06-22 08:59:51  2017-06-22 08:54:52  FirstGroup and Stagecoach shortlisted to run HS2 High Speed rail link  FirstGroup and Stagecoach shortlisted to run HS2 High Speed rail link      firstgroup-and-stagecoach-shortlisted-to-run-hs2-high-speed-rail-link-179665.html    <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:FGP/FirstGroup/" rel="3193">FirstGroup</a> PLC (LON:FRG), Stagecoach PLC (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:SGC/Stagecoach-Group/" rel="3200">LON:SGC</a>) and a consortium involving Chinese firm Guangshen have been shortlisted to run the new and controversial&nbsp;HS2 rail link.</p> <p> HS2 will link London and Birmingham and the opportunity to run it from 2026 is included within a West Coast Partnership franchise that starts in 2019.</p> <p> Chris Grayling, UK transport secretary, said the winner of the West Coast Partnership franchise will be expected to work with HS2 Ltd to launch the first services on the £55.7bn high speed link.</p> <p> “The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure that HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s railways.”</p> <p> Phase 1 on the new railway is scheduled to start to operate between London and Birmingham in December 2026. Two further stages will follow later linking the West Midlands to Crewe in 2027, to be followed by an extension to Manchester, and a link from Birmingham to Leeds.</p> <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:FGP/FirstGroup/" rel="3193">FirstGroup</a> is part of a consortium with Italian group Trenitalia while Stagecoach has lined up with French train giant SNCF and long-time partner Virgin.</p> <p> Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director said FristGroup was well-positioned to develop a completely new customer proposition both on the West Coast route, and to design and run initial services on the HS2 network.</p> <p> Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, which has also been shortlisted for the South Eastern franchise currently held by Go-Ahead, said: "We are pleased that the extensive expertise and strong track-record of Stagecoach and our partners has been recognised in the shortlists.”</p> <p> Guangshen has teamed up with Hong Kong metro operator MTR plus a number of sub-contractors make up the third consortium.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p>   Chris Grayling, UK transport secretary, said the winner of the West Coast Partnership franchise will be expected to work with HS2 Ltd to launch the first services on the £55.7bn high speed link. “The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure that HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s railways.”  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179663  Imagination Technologies Group 2017-06-22 08:12:00  2017-06-22 15:16:28  2017-06-22 08:25:55  Imagination Technologies put up for sale in wake of Apple Inc dispute  Imagination Technologies put up for sale in wake of Apple Inc dispute      imagination-technologies-put-up-for-sale-in-wake-of-apple-inc-dispute-179663.html    <p> What’s left of the <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:IMG/Imagination-Technologies-Group/" rel="3497">Imagination Technologies Group</a> Plc (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:IMG/Imagination-Technologies-Group/" rel="3497">LON:IMG</a>) has been put up for sale, with a formal process now underway with potential bidders.</p> <p> The chip maker told investors on Thursday that it had been approached by a number of parties interested in acquiring the whole company in ‘the last few weeks’ as it has been working to divest separately its MIPS and Ensigma divisions.</p> <p> Imagination said the potential bidders would need to sign confidentiality agreements to participate in the formal sales process, which is being managed by advisor Rothschild, and the company added that further details regarding timelines would be disclosed ‘when appropriate’.</p> <p> It comes after the collapse in the Imagination Technologies’ share price - from around 280p down to 125p before Thursday’s news - in the wake of <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:AAPL/Apple/" rel="5920">Apple</a>’s decision to stop using the London-listed group’s intellectual property in its future products.</p> <p> Imagination, in a statement, noted that it remains ‘in dispute’ with <a href="-##!##-/NASDAQ:AAPL/Apple/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="5920">Apple</a>.</p> <p> In Wednesday’s early deal, Imagination shares were up 20p, 15%, changing hands at 142.75p each.</p>   What’s left of the Imagination Technologies has been put up for sale, with a formal process now underway with potential bidders. The chip maker told investors on Thursday that it had been approached by a number of parties interested in acquiring the whole company in ‘the last few weeks’ as it has been working to divest separately its MIPS and Ensigma divisions.  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete
179660  WideCells Group 2017-06-22 08:04:00  2017-06-22 11:18:00  2017-06-22 08:12:30  WideCells Group at an inflexion point and primed for growth   WideCells Group at an inflexion point and primed for growth       widecells-group-at-an-inflexion-point-and-primed-for-growth-179660.html    <p> <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:WDC/WideCells-Group/" rel="14646">WideCells Group</a> plc (<a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:WDC/WideCells-Group/" rel="14646">LON:WDC</a>) has reached an “inflection” point that will see it “enter a new and significant period of growth”, the company’s founder and chief executive, João Andrade, will tell its annual meeting.</p> <p> He said revenues are now being received and are set to increase from both cell storage and research, and the stem cell insurance product, launching this month, will create a third income stream.</p> <p> Andrade will tell investors the business had made huge strides following its main market listing around a year ago.</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7678/zak-mir-reckons-widecells-shares-can-hit-18p-if-they-hold-above-this-number-7678.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">WATCH: Zak Mir on Widecells</a></h3> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/170622wdc7942i" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: The AGM presentation in full&nbsp;</a></h3> <p> “Since this time, we have made astronomical progress in building a revenue generative end-to-end stem cell support services company,” he will say.</p> <p> “Testament to this is the recognition we received from DISRUPT 100, an annual index celebrating the businesses with the most potential to influence, change or create new global markets, where <a class="companyPopupTrigger" href="-##!##-/LON:WDC/WideCells-Group/" rel="14646">WideCells Group</a> was ranked as the 21st most disruptive company globally.&nbsp;</p> <p> “This award is a great honour and I believe gives an indication of the huge impact our business is set to make on the medical world.”&nbsp;</p> <h3> <a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179090/widecells-well-placed-for-stem-cell-revolution-179090.html" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">READ: Our Big Picture overview of WideCells</a></h3>   WideCells Group has reached an “inflection” point that will see it “enter a new and significant period of growth”, the company’s founder and chief executive, João Andrade, will tell its annual meeting. He said revenues are now being received and are set to increase from both cell storage and research, and the stem cell insurance product, launching this month....  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179662  Redx Pharma Plc 2017-06-22 08:02:00  2017-06-22 08:23:31  2017-06-22 08:23:31  Redx Pharma working with advisers to try and lift share suspension  Redx Pharma working with advisers to try and lift share suspension  Redx Pharma PLC, Liverpool City Council, administration, share suspension, loan, drug discovery, cancer    redx-pharma-working-with-advisers-to-try-and-lift-share-suspension-179662.html    <p> Drug discoverer <a href="-##!##-/LON:REDX/Redx-Pharma-Plc/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="10667">Redx Pharma Plc</a> (<a href="-##!##-/LON:REDX/Redx-Pharma-Plc/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="10667">LON:REDX</a>) appears hopeful of lifting the suspension of its shares after engaging in talks with consultants in a bid to get the company out of its current pickle.</p> <p> The Cheshire-based group – <u><a href="http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178308/redx-pharma-shares-suspended-as-liverpool-city-council-calls-in-loan-178308.html">which was forced into administration in May</a></u> – said it is working with its advisers and the administrators on proposals to rescue Redx and return it to the control of its directors.</p> <p> AIM-listed Redx said the discussions are at a relatively early stage and there was no certainty that they will be concluded successfully in the short term.</p> <p> Further announcements will be made in due course, the company added.</p> <h3> Redx forced into administration</h3> <p> Redx shares were suspended at the end of last month after the company was forced into administration when Liverpool City Council (LCC) called in a £2mln loan.</p> <p> That loan was made to RedX Oncology, a subsidiary of Redx, but the parent company was unable to stump up the money.</p> <p> Redx professed bewilderment at the timing of LCC’s move given that it had been in talks with the council regarding the restructuring of the loan arrangement, but had been unable to reach agreement.</p> <p> The company had been actively seeking to secure alternative sources of finance in order to facilitate repayment of the loan as soon as possible, and offered LCC an immediate payment of £1 million in return for a short grace period in which to repay the outstanding amount. That offer was rejected.</p>   Drug discoverer Redx Pharma Plc (LON:REDX) appears hopeful of lifting the suspension of its shares after engaging in talks with consultants in a bid to get the company out of its current pickle. The Cheshire-based group said it is working with its advisers and the administrators on proposals to rescue Redx and return it to the control of its directors.  NEWS          View Edit Delete
179661  Directa Plus Plc 2017-06-22 08:00:00  2017-06-22 08:12:52  2017-06-22 08:12:52  Directa Plus and Italian firm Grassi to develop graphene-enhanced workwear  Directa Plus and Italian firm Grassi to develop graphene-enhanced workwear      directa-plus-and-italian-firm-grassi-to-develop-graphene-enhanced-workwear-179661.html    <p> Graphene specialist <a href="-##!##-/LON:DCTA/Directa-Plus-Plc/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="14573">Directa Plus Plc</a> (<a href="-##!##-/LON:DCTA/Directa-Plus-Plc/" class="companyPopupTrigger" rel="14573">LON:DCTA</a>), is to work with Italian workwear group Alfredo Grassi to manufacture a new range of garments using the highly flexible element.</p> <p> Grassi manufactures customised protective clothing, workwear and uniforms for private and public organisations globally and has been testing graphene its products to see the benefits.&nbsp;</p> <p> Under the terms of the joint development agreement, the companies will seek to market a range of graphene-based products to existing Grassi customers.&nbsp;</p> <p> "We are proud to be collaborating with Alfredo Grassi who have a successful track record of producing clothing that leverages their established heritage combined with the technological advances of their partners," said Giulio Cesareo, chief executive.</p> <p> "This agreement represents a further expansion of our textile offering as our Graphene Plus (G+) will be utilised to enhance the performance of workwear and protective wear for law enforcement and military forces, which we believe represents a significant market opportunity.</p> <p> At first, the two firms will look at garments with linings printed with Graphene Plus combined with waterproof, breathable textiles.</p> <p> G+ graphene is highly thermally conductive, allowing&nbsp;a homogeneous distribution of the heat produced by the human body in cold temperatures and a heat dispersion effect in hot temperatures.</p> <p> Similarly, it is able to rapidly dissipate antistatic charges and has a bacteriostatic effect whereby bacteria do not proliferate on the fabric. &nbsp;</p> <p> "As a company that is continually looking for innovative materials, while paying attention to environmental sustainability, we have found an ideal partner in Directa Plus," added Roberto Grassi, chief executive.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p>   "We are proud to be collaborating with Alfredo Grassi who have a successful track record of producing clothing that leverages their established heritage combined with the technological advances of their partners," said Giulio Cesareo, chief executive. "This agreement represents a further expansion of our textile offering."  ARTICLE            View Edit Delete

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