Homeware maker Ultimate Products soars on THIRD profit upgrade this year

Some of the major news-driven risers and fallers in London on Wednesday…

two people drinking smoothies
Ultimate Products is the company behind Salter, while it also makes Russell Hobbs-branded goods under a licence

Shares in UP Global Sourcing Holdings PLC (LON:UPGS) headed, well, up on Wednesday afternoon after the maker of Salter kitchenware issued its third profit upgrade of the year.

The company, which also makes Russell Hobbs knives and kitchen utensils, said it had continued to trade strongly over the past couple of months, with better-than-expected demand from all customers – discounters, supermarkets, international and online.

In fact, sales have been so good that profit for the year to the end of July is now expected to be above current forecasts. Shares rose by 16% to 83.9p.

Angus Energy investors encouraged by finance director’s recent share purchase

Angus Energy PLC (LON:ANGS), the UK onshore oil explorer led by Lord Lucan’s son, George, is flowing higher after its finance director snapped up some shares.

Carlos Fernandes has paid £20,000 for 1.08mln shares. It is the first time he has purchased any stock since joining the company six years ago.

Investors take director buys as a sign that the company is well-placed to grow. After all, if the people at the heart of the business are prepared to put their own money on the line, why shouldn’t others?

Shares were up by 21% to 1.88p on Wednesday afternoon

Saga rises as activist investor Elliott takes a 5.1% stake

Shares in Saga PLC (LON:SAGA) jumped on Wednesday after it was revealed that activist investor Elliott Advisors had taken a stake in the over-50s insurance and cruises specialist.

Elliott, which is famed for its activism both in the US and the UK, has bought a 5.1% stake in Saga.

Saga’s shares have more than halved since the start of 2019, a fall that was accelerated by a profit warning in April, when bosses said they would have to slash prices in the insurance business. They also cut the dividend.

The company is also looking for a new chief executive after Lance Batchelor, who has led the firm since its float in 2014, said last month he would step down in January.

Saga shares were up 4.2% to 44.7p on Wednesday.

Mirada booms on Netflix tie-up

Shares in Mirada PLC (LON:MIRA) boomed on Wednesday after the television technology group unveiled a tie-up with streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).

Mirada has integrated Netflix into its Iris multiscreen product, giving its customers – TV operators – the option to put the streaming service on their set-top boxes.

“We are thrilled to announce the integration with Netflix as we know that it will help our clients, the operators, to delight their existing customers and attract new customers by transforming their pay TV offering into a fuller entertainment hub for their users,” said chief executive José-Luis Vázquez.

Mirada shares were up by 40.0% to 1.32p in morning trading.

Itaconix reassures with first-half trading update

Itaconix Plc (LON:ITX) said revenues had grown 59% year-on-year in the first half, while underlying losses to narrowed significantly as it said it expected to match full-year market expectations.

The company, a specialist in sustainable polymers used in detergent, odour control and hair styling, said turnover was £500,000 for the six months to June 30.

It reckons its loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation will be in the order of £1mln for the period, down from £2.4mln a year earlier. Importantly for company in the early stages of its commercial journey, Itaconix was sitting on £1.5mln of cash at the end of last month.

Shares were up 5% to 2.5p early on Wednesday.

Major Hurricane shareholder sells £51mln stake

Hurricane Energy PLC (LON:HUR) dropped 5.3% to 47.8p in early deals after one of the British offshore oiler’s major shareholders sold a slug of shares.

Private equity house Kerogen Investments pocketed £51mln after selling 110mln shares at 46.5p apiece.

Even after the sale, which represented about a quarter of its overall stake, Kerogen still holds a 16% interest in Hurricane.

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