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Small Cap Movers: Crawshaw slaughtered as failed fundraising pushes it into administration

A look back at some of the more interesting stories from the junior market this week...
Butcher with meat cleaver
Crawshaw blamed its woes on "too many high street stores and not enough factory stores"

Butchery chain Crawshaw Group PLC (LON:CRAW) was the big news on AIM this week as its shares were suspended after a failed attempt to raise funds forced it to call in administrators.

The company, whose closure puts 600 jobs at risk, blamed tough market conditions and the fact it had "too many high street stores and currently not enough factory stores" on its books.

Crawshaw’s fate adds another name to the list of defunct bricks-and-mortar retailers that have fallen victim to the demise of Britain’s high streets and shopping centres.

One company seeing better fortunes was healthcare firm Concepta PLC (LON:CPT), which rose 47% over the week as it announced the imminent UK launch of its myLotus fertility tracking kit.

MyLotus is an easy-to-use home test that has been developed for women who have been trying to conceive for six months or more.

The product will be launched at the Fertility Show in Olympia in London, due to take place on November 3 and 4.

Following not far behind was miner Xtract Resources PLC (LON:XTR), which saw shares jump 28% as it agreed revised terms to a collaboration agreement with Nexus Capital Limited for the mining of alluvial gold deposits at its Manica concession in Mozambique.

Xtract said the new agreement provides it with more favourable terms and potential additional income with minimal operating risk.

In the fallers, oil and gas firm Ascent Resources Plc (LON:AST) wasn’t living up to its name as shares plunged 46% after news it would be taking the Slovenian government to court over a failure to grant permits.

The group has been trying to obtain a pollution prevention and control permit for its Petisovci project in the country for five years.

As a result of the delays, the company said it had reached "the end of the line" and would be taking the dispute directly to the EU, saying legal action in Slovenia would be a waste of time and money.

Looking at the broader market for small-caps, the AIM All-Share index rose 3.3% to 999 over the week while its blue-chip benchmark, the FTSE 100, was up 1.9% at 7,161.

Seeing red along with Ascent was superyacht maintenance group GYG PLC (LON:GYG), which sank 46% as it issued a huge profit warning blaming the rich for spending more time in the Caribbean and project delays caused by the closure of one of its shipyards for maintenance.

The firm said it now expected to swing to an underlying loss of €1.2mln for the year on revenues of €44mln compared to a profit of €7.2mln and revenue of €62.6mln last year.

To make matters worse, the company also axed its dividend.

Speaking of profit warnings, recruitment and tech consultancy Parity Group PLC (LON:PTY) slumped 34% as continued delays to a large contract meant its pre-tax profits would breakeven in the second half of the year.

The group added that even if the contract was eventually approved, its scope would be “reduced”.

Miner Sunrise Resources Plc (LON:SRES) was looking brighter, with shares jumping 21% after it more than trebled the size of the claim area at its flagship CS pozzolan-perlite project in Nevada.

Perlite is an industrial mineral that is often added to soil to stop it compacting, and therefore is highly sought after in the horticultural industry as well as the growing cannabis market.

Meanwhile, turbine supplier SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited (LON:SAE) soared 26% this week after it joined a joint venture to develop a large-scale tidal power project in Normandy.

The Normandie Hydrolienne project is aiming to harness the two gigawatts of power that flows through the Alderney Race, an eight-mile strait that runs between Alderney and La Hague in France.


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