Small cap movers: Dart Group ups forecasts as it mops up Thomas Cook customers

A look back at some of the major stories from London's junior market this week

Dart Group -

The AIM 100 owner of Jet2, Dart Group PLC (LON:DTG), on the ascent again this week as it swooped in to fill the void left by its defunct rival, Thomas Cook.

In a trading update on Friday, the firm said it had seen “increased” demand for its flights and package holidays since Thomas Cook’s collapse last month, and as a result profits for its current financial year “will be exceeded”.

The shares gained altitude on the news and were up 13% to 1,055p over the week.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said Dart was always a “likely beneficiary” of Thomas Cook’s demise, with its package holiday and flight-only offerings serving as a “natural home” for its competitors’ former customers.

He added that the company’s good fortunes were likely to boost expectations for other Thomas Cook rivals, particularly Anglo-German giant TUI AG (LON:TUI).

There were, however, some clouds on the horizon, with Dart saying it was “very cautious” going forward due to the twin threats of Brexit uncertainty and a weak pound, both of which could affect the ability of consumers to jet off on holiday.

The AIM All-Share was down 0.4% at 859.6 during the week, while the FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 7,184,4.

Engineering group Pressure Technologies PLC (LON:PRES) saw the needle move higher this week, rising 9% to 106p following news of a major contract win from French energy giant EDF.

The firm said it would supply nitrogen storage units and ultra-large high-pressure cylinders to EDF’s nuclear power plants in Heysham, Torness and Hartlepool, with the contract carrying a price tag of over £3 million.

Contract news also boosted ‘out of hospital’ healthcare group Totally PLC (LON:TLY) 17% to 11p after it inked extensions to two existing deals worth just under £17 million.

Weight loss products maker OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) piled on some extra value after its LPLDL probiotic received the highest food safety rating by US regulators. The shares jumped 13% to 54p in response.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) was rejuvenated, soaring 55% to 130p, as the firm reported positive results from a trial of its Clevegen cancer treatment which suggested the product was well tolerated in patients.

Fellow biotech Maxcyte Inc (LON:MXCT) was lifted 3% to 124p after securing a licensing agreement for its cell engineering technology with Massachusetts-based pharma group Editas Medicine.

Industrial tape maker Scapa Group PLC (LON:SCPA) managed to stick itself higher on the chart, rising 3% to 209p, as it forecast a full-year revenue increase despite the loss of a contract with FTSE 250 medical supplier ConvaTec.

Africa-focused timber firm Woodbois Limited (LON:WBI) climbed 6% to 5p after notching up record quarterly revenues in the three months to the end of September.

The group reported revenues of $4.9 million in the third quarter, a 44% increase from 2018's average, thanks to a 70% jump in income from its trading division.

Beowulf Mining PLC (LON:BEM) was another bright spot, jumping 13% to 8p after drilling at its Viti licence in Kosovo uncovered “extremely attractive” copper and gold targets.

In the fallers, a profit warning caused shares in Castleton Technology PLC (LON:CTP) to crumble 41% to 54p as the software firm said its first half had been “behind expectations” and, as a result, it would miss market expectations for the full year.

Tubing specialist Tricorn Group PLC (LON:TCN) was bent out of shape after a significant drop in demand from the UK meant its first-half profits would be lower year-on-year. The shares plunged 36% to 11p in response.

Shares in Steppe Cement Ltd (LON:STCM) also sank like a stone, falling 6% to 27p, as the Kazakhstan-focused construction material group reported a 10% drop in revenues for its third quarter.

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