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Small Cap Movers: Faroe Petroleum calls time as Norway’s DNO wins hostile takeover battle

A look back at some of the more interesting stories from the junior market over the past week
Hostile takeover
DNO received over 50% acceptance for its offer after upping it to 160p per share from 152p on Tuesday

One of the big stories on AIM this week was North Sea oiler Faroe Petroleum plc (LON:FPM), which is due to be taken out of the market after a hostile takeover bid from DNO succeeded on Wednesday.

The win for the Norwegian firm came as it raised its takeover offer to 160p per share from 152p on Tuesday, securing acceptances representing 52.44%.

On Friday, DNO said it had secured more acceptances taking the total to 76.49% and above the threshold to de-list Faroe from AIM.

The result ends a bitter battle over the future of the firm, which began nine months ago when DNO bought a stake but was resisted when it requested seats on Faroe’s board, prompting the takeover challenge.

A prominent faller was shoe retailer Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT), which dropped 14% to 28p after saying its gross margins for 2019 were now expected to be “lower than previously anticipated”.

Despite 14% revenue growth over Christmas, the company said “challenging trading conditions” had continued throughout the festive period, with promotional activity and discounting across the retail sector being “higher than anticipated” meaning its own promotions and clearances had increased.

More gloom was felt by clothing retailer Quiz Plc (LON:QUIZ) as its shares plunged 32% to 25p after slashing profit guidance following slow Christmas trading.

Group revenue in the six weeks to 5 January rose 8.4%, but that was still below what the company itself had been expecting and resulted in lowered guidance of £133mln from £138mln.

The sluggish sales performance meant the retailer had to trim some of its prices to entice customers, a move which hit margins and profitability.

Seeing better luck was gambling services provider Nektan PLC (LON:NKTN) as its shares surged 7% to 15.5p over the week after reporting “another record quarter” as revenues in the second three months of its fiscal year jumped 83%.

The record-breaking growth was driven by what Nektan said was “a significant increase” in the number of unique players on its B2B platform, helped by 4 new partners going live.

The AIM All-Share was up around 2.7% in the week at 911.4 points while the FTSE 100 was up around 2.3% at 6,966 points.

Another healthy riser was hormonal disease specialist Diurnal Group PLC (LON:DNL), which shot up 102% to 44p after it was granted a second US patent for Chronocort, a cortisol replacement product for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency.

Diurnal said the patent provides in-market protection until 2033 and is in addition to an already granted pharmaceutical composition of matter patent which provides in-market protection until 2034.

Heading for the bottom was toilet roll maker Accrol Group Holdings PLC (LON:ACRL) as its shares tumbled 38% to 13p after continuing weakness in the pound, brought on largely by Brexit uncertainty, put a dent in its business.

Rising input costs and weaker sterling caused a £5mln negative impact to profitability in its first half, Accrol said, adding that the ‘macroeconomic headwinds’ could potentially contribute to £8.5mln of additional costs.

Meanwhile, shares in video game developer Codemasters Group Holdings PLC (LON:CDM) jumped 9.6% to 177.5p after it upgraded earnings forecasts on the back of a mobile game development deal with Chinese internet and online gaming firm NetEase.

The AIM 100 firm said it would receive a minimum of US$8mln in revenue over the next three years as part of the agreement, with US$4mln to be received in the current financial year and adjusted underlying earnings for the full year now expected to be “ahead of expectations”.

Elsewhere, shares in airline Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB) went into a nosedive, falling 82% to 3p after it was acquired in a cut-price takeover deal by Stobart Group, Virgin Atlantic, and a New York-based hedge fund.

On Friday, the troubled airline accepted the deal of 1p per share, valuing the firm at just £2.2mln. At last close before the deal was announced, FlyBe shares were trading at 16.4p.


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