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Small Cap Movers: Closing of Safestyle UK competition drama gives shareholders a lift

A look back at some of the more interesting from the junior market this week...

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Safestyle shares are still below their £1 listing price

Those familiar with the TV series White Gold will know it chronicles the rise and demise of a bunch of 1980s Essex double-glazing salesmen – with a little drug taking, a lot of womanising and the odd Ford XR3 thrown in there for good measure.

The machinations at Safestyle UK PLC (LON:SFE), which ended up in court, could easily have provided grist for a new series – minus the bed-hopping, hot hatches and white powder references, of course.

The plot of this real-life drama tells the story of two former partners, who are now rivals, that culminates in expensive legal action.

This week the court battle came to a head in rather less outlandish fashion than might have been the case had the episode been written for televisual consumption.

It saw Safestyle and its co-founder Mitu Misra, who set up Safeglaze in competition to the incumbent, agree a five-year non-compete deal.

Misra will receive 4mln shares and a cash payment of up to £2mln in the final quarter of 2020.

Safestyle began life in 1992 with £2,000 of seed capital and was floated at £1 a share, at which point Misra exited after pocketing an estimated £70mln.

He used some of that money to write and produce his debut film, Lies We Tell, a northern noir set in Bradford and starring Gabriel Byrne.

For Safestyle, this week’s legal settlement provided a tonic for the shares, which rose 25%. However, at 77p they are still some way below the listing price.

It wasn’t such a good week for Yu Group PLC (LON:YU.), the energy provider, that sounded the mother of all profits warning, leading to an 80% fall in the value of the business.

Investors were told the business would be loss-making after it found several areas of “significant concern” that will hit its bottom line.

These included problems in how it recognises historic accrued income, higher levels of trade debt that cannot be paid back to Yu Group, and a squeeze in market conditions.

Yu doesn’t expect to book a profit until the end of next year.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All Share index fell 3.5% with investors going into ‘risk-off’ mode as the sell-off on Wall Street, Asia and on the Footsie filtered down to impact small-cap stocks.

A roller coaster week left the benchmark FTSE 100 index in slightly better shape as it only shed 2.3% over the last five trading days.

Faron Pharmaceuticals (LON:FARN) provided a little more detail as to why its phase III trial didn’t pass muster, which could potentially breathe new life into its drug for acute respiratory distress.

Unfortunately, investors weren’t on the same page as the stock slipped by a third. It has tanked more than 90% in the year to date.

In the natural resources sector, the latest fundraising, which brought in £1mln, decimated the share price of MX Oil PLC (LON:MXO), which lost 24% of its value.

Hummingbird Resources Ltd (LON:HUM), a gold miner with assets in Mali and Liberia, saw 31% wiped from its value after it told the market it would cease mining on an area of its Yanfolila operation until safety work can be completed.

It has been a rough transition in to production for the company and its investors, including management and “connected parties”, who own almost 16%, with the stock down 50% over the last year.

Sticking with the miners, Premier African Minerals Limited (LON:PREM) enjoyed a decent week with the shares vaulting up 29%.

One suspects some sort of overhang had been flushed through as there was no real news of note to titillate the market makers.

Either that, or behind the scenes wrangling over the ownership of the RHA tungsten asset in Zimbabwe is close to a fruitful conclusion.

Long-suffering investors will be hoping that a resolution is in the offing.

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