Small cap movers: Itaconix share price goes down the plughole

A look at some of the major movers in London's small-cap sector last week

BidStack Group PLC -

The price of Itaconix PLC (LSE:ITX, OTCQB:ITXXF) shares went down the plughole as the company, whose plant-based polymers are used in detergent products, said order fluctuations are occurring in detergent applications as brands and retailers adjust inventories.

As countries emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, it seems no one is quite certain about consumer buying habits.

As a result, unaudited revenues in this business area for the first half of 2021 were flat compared to the first half of 2020 due to a sharp decline in monthly volumes at the end of the period.

Revenues in personal care applications in the first half of the year were down year-on-year and substantially down on the second half of last year as shipments in the last part of 2020 were sufficient to meet customer needs during the lockdowns in North America and Europe.

On top of that, like a lot of companies, Itaconix is experiencing an increase in raw material prices.

The shares lost a third of their value this week.

RTC Group PLC (AIM:RTC), which as the name implies specialises in recruitment, training and conferencing, was another stock to hit the skids, sliding 25% after a disappointing interim report.

Profit before tax eased to £162,000 in the first half of 2021 from £231,000 in the same period of 2020 on revenue that edged higher to £40.5mln from £39.9mln.

The impact of the pandemic on the UK Recruitment segment was mixed, the company reported. Throughout the period it provided contract workers to the infrastructure and rail sectors at slightly higher levels than in the final quarter of 2020, and general UK recruitment and smart-meter installation activities gradually picked up with promising levels of UK recruitment in June especially, RTC told investors.

The hotel and conference business, however, saw depressed levels of activity because of lockdown restrictions.

The biggest gainer this week was Bion PLC, the environmental engineering, wastewater treatment and renewable energy solutions company.

Its shares rallied at the end of the week after initially dipping following last Friday’s news of a fire that occurred at a palm oil mill adjacent to the company's biogas power plant located in Malpom, Penang.

The company’s power plant was not damaged but it does rely on feedstock from the palm oil mill next door, which has been put out of action by the fire.

Bion’s shares advanced by two-thirds to 2.5p besting the 51% rise for Quantum Blockchain Technologies PLC (AIM:QBT), which was prompted by renewed enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. For similar reasons, Online Blockchain PLC (AIM:OBC) was wanted and racked up a 17% gain.

Shares usually get a lift when a company announces it will be selling a chunk of assets but TP Group PLC (AIM:TPG) bucked the trend by seeing its shares rise after it announced it would not be selling its maritime business as previously planned.

The decision may have been made by David Lindsay, who less than three weeks after being appointed as interim chief executive officer (CEO) was made CEO “proper”.

The consulting, software and technologies business said it had a number of enquiries from companies interested in buying the maritime business but none at a price attractive enough to persuade the company to sell.

Saietta Group PLC (AIM:SED, FRA:8ZM), which listed on AIM on 7 July, did not get off to the best of starts – which is possibly embarrassing for a maker of small motors – but after rising 23% to 142.5p this week it is comfortably above its flotation price of 120p.

Uploading a corporate presentation to the company website seems to have given the share price a lift. It must have been a hell of a presentation because they announced the upload twice on the stock market new service.

Lastly, Bidstack Group PLC, which has a technology that implants advertising discreetly into video games, jumped 20% after it announced a new partnership with T-Bull, one of the largest mobile game developers in Poland, for its free-to-play title Racing Classics PRO: Drag Race & Real Speed.

T-Bull is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and has had its games downloaded more than 250mln times.

Bidstack said its in-game ad placements cover track-side hoardings, the start/finish line of races and flags and banners throughout a track and can enhance the realism of a game without disrupting its performance.

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