Small cap movers: Fevertree looses fizz over US roll-out

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

Small cap movers

Fevertree Drinks PLC (LON:FEVR) lost its fizz this week after the premium tonic producer had to revise down full-year guidance following a costly roll-out in the US.

Earnings for the year to 31 December will now come in 5% lower than 2018, while sales did not meet expectations, rising 9.7% to £260.5mln as opposed to 12-13% growth predicted.

Investors are wondering whether it is doomed to follow the likes of Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), Marks and Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) and, more recently, online estate agent Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) that have all failed spectacularly Stateside.

“Fevertree has an excellent business model with a very strong brand,” said Nicholas Hyett, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The question is whether its premium mixers can continue to justify a premium rating.”

It seemed the punishment meted out was disproportionate as Fevertree’s stock lost almost a quarter of its value in the bloody aftermath of the alert.

That said, the drink maker’s shares were priced for stellar success, leaving little margin for error.

Tiny rival Skinny Tonic revealed there was a still some thirst for mixers after closing a crowdfunding campaign 15 days early and oversubscribed. It raised £1.5mln when it was only looking for £500,000.

The private company, which is set to launch the UK’s first zero-calorie, zero sugar and 100% natural mixer, is considering a stock market listing but has not yet set a date.

Spirits group Distil PLC (LON:DIS), meanwhile, rose 14% to 0.8p after posting higher sales driven by its spiced Caribbean drink.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share dipped 0.7% to 967, while the FTSE 100 was down 0.8% to 7,611.

Shares in the posh wellie maker Joules Ltd (LON:JOUL) surged 21% to 204p after management reassured investors that a Christmas stocking mishap was just a one-off and the root cause is being addressed.

Fellow fashion retailer ASOS PLC (LON:ASC) rose 4% to 3,309p after a “better than expected” sales performance, although full-year guidance remained unchanged.

Musical instruments seller Gear4music Holdings PLC (LON:G4M) also hit the right notes, jumping 13% to 273p on the back of a “successful” festive period.

Professional services firm Norman Broadbent PLC (LON:NBB) went up 9% to 8.5p after proving it returned to profit in 2019 with a better second half.

A £38mln funding deal that saw German engineer Robert Bosch increase its stake in fuel cell maker Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LON:CWR) boosted the shares 16% to 392p.

Miner Goldplat PLC (LON:GDP) more than doubled in value to 5.8p after the benefits of the higher gold price boosted full-year expectations.

Fellow gold digger Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) rose 8% to 2.8p following “exceptional” results from a resources sampling programme at the Tavsan project in Turkey.

Turning to the fallers, podcast producer Audioboom Group PLC (LON:BOOM) tumbled 13% to 210p amid disappointment over a 91% rise in full-year revenues, which fell short of the 171% jump recorded in the first half.

Europa Oil & Gas tanked 27% to 2.1p after an unnamed oil major walked away from farm-out talks in a development offshore Ireland.

Engineer Van Elle Holdings PLC (LON:VANL) shed 7% to 50p after interim profits crashed 63% due to uncertainty in the UK, although it is expecting a “modest” improvement in the second half.

Publisher Dods Group PLC (LON:DODS) was also hit, falling 10% to 4.2p after it flagged slow trading in the quarter to March, the last in its financial year.

Similarly, Coral Products PLC (LON:CRU) plunged 14% to 7p after the plastic maker warned on profits due to softer demand.

Finally, geosciences firm Getech Group (LON:GTC) dropped 18% to 20p over failed contract negotiations, and now expects full-year revenue to be cut by a third.

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