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Maestrano pulls out of its tailspin after show of support from the chairman

A look at the day's major movers, including Tern, Mears, Elecosoft, Polypipe, Softcat and NAHL

Builder
Mears is a provider of services to the housing and care sectors in the UK

Maestrano Group PLC (LON:MNO) pulled out of a slump after the chairman of the company bought some shares in the company.

Ian Buddery bought half a million shares in the cloud business integration specialist at 2.9p a pop, taking his stake in the company up to 2.2mln shares, equivalent to 2.75% of the issued share capital of the company.

READ Maestrano warns full-year revenue, adjusted loss to be “materially behind market expectations”​

Maestro shares are trading at 3.4p, up 17.2%, which is less than half the level they were changing hands for before February's profit warning.

1.00pm: Tern heads south despite narrowing losses

Tern PLC (LON:TERN), the investment company specialising in the Internet of Things, is still losing money, albeit at a slower rate.

The loss before tax in 2018 narrowed to £312,564 from £1.69mln in 2017 on turnover that edged up to £106,117 from £97,940.

The narrower loss was primarily due to a £775,910 uplift in the fair value of its investments; as an investment company, Tern would argue that net asset value is more important than profits, and this rose to £16.75mln from £10.58mln the year before.

The shares trade at 10.5p, down 4.5%, giving the company a market capitalisation of around £26mln.

11.45am: Mears fails to excite with its prelims

With sector peers Interserve and Carillion having gone to the wall, investors seem nervous about Mears Group PLC (LON:MER).

The shares were down 7.9% at 267p after full-year numbers failed to hit the spot. Earnings per share for 2018 were 6% below Liberum's forecast as a result of the write-off of bid and mobilisation costs, and the broker has reduced its 2019 dividend forecast by 21% and reduced its profit before tax estimate by £8.5mln to £40.5mln.

Peel Hunt, meanwhile, has cut its price target to 450p from 500p; like Liberum, it rates the shares a 'buy'.

11.00am: Elecosoft runs into profit-taking as it is unable to repeat its January trick of raising expectations

Construction software specialist Elecosoft PLC (LON:ELCO) ran into profit-taking after the release of its results for 2018.

The company had told the market back in January its results would be significantly higher than the numbers for 2017, prompting a spike in the share price.

 

The shares have also been on a decent run in March, rising from 70p at the end of February to 79p overnight but they plunged to 69p today despite the company saying it had “performed well” in the first two months of the current financial year.

10.15am: Polypipe's prelims disappoint

 Another stock coming off the top after a recent good run was Polypipe Group PLC (LON:PLP), the water pipe specialist.

The shares, which had risen to 432.6p last night from 327.4p at the end of 2018, tumbled to 390p following the release of full-year results.

Underlying earnings (EBITA), earnings per share and the dividend were all modestly below the expectations of Shore Capital.   

 

9.30am: Softcat purring after results while whiplash effect appears to be fading at NAHL

FTSE 250 company Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) told the market in January it had enjoyed a banging December but today’s interims still surprised the market.

The shares were up 5.1% at 880p after the information technology giant, which as recently as October was wringing its hands over tough market conditions, reported a 21.1% year-on-year increase in revenue.

The interim dividend was cranked up by 36.4% to 4.5p from 3.3p on the back of an increase in profit before tax to £33.96mln from £24.15mln the year before.

Another stock on the comeback trail was NAHL Group PLC (LON:NAH), the company that operates the national accident helpline.

Back in October 2016, the shares were trading around the 270p level before the government changed the rules on compensation claims relating to “whiplash” injuries sustained in car crashes.

The shares closed last night at 89.4p but were up 5.1% this morning to 94p after the company reported “continued progress in transforming Personal Injury (PI) division to deliver long-term growth”.

Meanwhile, the Critical Care division delivered double-digit percentage profit growth and increased its market share.

Notwithstanding the above, revenue in 2018 still fell to £49.0mln from £51.9mln the year before and profit before tax declined to £9.77mln from £12.42mln in 2017.

Proactive news headlines:

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) shares jumped in early deals on Tuesday after it hiked its final dividend by 67% on the back of an earnings surge in 2018.

ITM Power PLC (LON:ITM) has confirmed that Toyota Australia is its first customer in the antipodean country, with the group purchasing a 0.25 megawatt (MW) rapid-response PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) electrolyser from the company. The AIM-listed energy storage and clean fuel company said this is one of the first four sales in Australia it announced on 14 January.

Hurricane Energy PLC (LON:HUR) shares nudged higher on Tuesday as UK oil field developer confirmed that, after failed previous attempts, it has now hooked up the Aoka Mizu floating production vessel to the Lancaster field’s infrastructure.

Mobile advertising specialist Taptica International Ltd (LON:TAP) boosted sales by almost a third in 2018, while underlying earnings were 29% better. All the improvement came from the brand advertising arm, where a strong performance and first-time contribution from Tremor Video DSP saw revenues more than doubled at US$146mln.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) has made UK-based Advanced Plastics its preferred choice as the manufacturer of flow plates for its alkaline fuel cells. The flow plate regulates the flow of gases and liquids within the AFC Energy fuel cell system.

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BMY) said trading in the fiscal year just ended was in line with the board's expectations.

Mobile commerce company Bango PLC (LON:BGO) saw end user spend (EUS) on its platform more than double in 2018.

BigDish Plc (LON:DISH) shares jumped in early trading on Tuesday after it partnered up with award-winning digital advertiser Loud Mouth Media to help drive brand awareness and app usage across the UK.

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) said, following completion of the merger of its investee company PDS with Edge Therapeutics, its ownership of the enlarged PDS Biotechnology Corporation on a fully-diluted basis is 8.15%, which at the listing price on 18 March 2019 of US$10 a share values its holding in PDS at £4,081,451. The company added that it is its intention to hold the shares and to make a decision on its position in due course.

INTOSOL Holdings PLC (LON:INTO) has signed a management contract for the SOUL Rainbow’s End luxury hotel in South Africa, which its executive chairman said could be its “most spectacular property yet”.

An expert gemmologist, Dr Gavrielov Gila, has valued cut and polished blue sapphire from the Kishon Mid Reach deposit owned by Shefa Yamim (ATM) LTD (LON:SEFA) at US$7,000 per carat. Natural moissanite from the same project was valued at US$10,000 per carat.

Mosman Oil And Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) told investors that drilling has now kicked off for the Stanley-2 well in Texas. The company said the programme would run for around 14 days, including evaluation, and it is being funded from existing cash resources.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) has outlined its plans for 2019, following the recent announcement of a US$65mln farm-in agreement with Newcrest to advance the Havieron project.

Photonstar LED Group PLC (LON:PSL) has conditionally raised £200,000 via a placing to provide further funds to support its search for a reverse takeover and also announced that a key existing shareholder is maintaining his stake in the shell company. The AIM-listed firm said it has placed 1,666,666,666 new ordinary shares with new and existing shareholders at a price of 0.012p each.

Oriole Resources PLC (LON:ORR) said its remuneration committee has today granted shares options to its chief executive officer, Tim Livesey, its chief financial officer, Bob Smeeton, and members of the management team. The group added that the options over 20,700,000 ordinary shares have an exercise price of 0.37p each.

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