It’s all change at Essentra PLC.
The company – which is currently split into three divisions – has decided it needs to focus on its components business rather than filters and packaging.
It said the three businesses all had strong prospects and the potential to deliver good returns, but were at different stages of development and had limited synergies. So it will become a pure play global components business over time, and as a first step, it is reviewing options for the filters business.
This review is likely to take at least until the second quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile Essentra said the third quarter had seen a “robust start” with like for like revenue growth of 5.1%, thanks to a strong performance in components and filters, despite the current global supply chain disruptions.
Packaging however saw a 6.1% fall in revenues, with prescriptions and surgery volumes continuing to be hit by the pandemic.
For the full year, it expects operating profits to be in line with analysts’ forecasts of GBP80.7mln to GBP84.3mln.
Chief executive Paul Forman said: “Since I became chief executive of Essentra, we have simplified the group, significantly improved underlying performance and focused on our three market leading global businesses: Components, Packaging and Filters. The improvements in operational efficiencies and the strategic investments we have made mean our businesses are better positioned for growth, albeit they are at different stages of their development. We have concluded it is in the best interests of all our stakeholders that Essentra becomes a pure play Components business over time ..
“As a first step, the board has decided to review the full range of strategic options for the Filters business, a division which has undergone a substantial transformation and delivered on its strategic objectives over recent years but may have the opportunity to maximise its potential under a different ownership/partnership structure.”
The company’s shares have added 4.75% to 286.5p.
11.44am: Petrofac to raise GBP200mln, partly to pay fine after bribery scandal
Petrofac Limited (LSE:PFC) has seen its shares slide by nearly a fifth after it announced plans to raise GBP200mln from shareholders, partly to pay off a fine imposed after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
The company, which provides services to the global energy industry, will issue new shares at 115p each in a placing and open offer. In the market its shares are down 19.74% at 126.81p.
It has also announced a wider refinancing plan, which includes new credit facilities and a probable bond issue.
The proceeds will pay a GBP77mln penalty and well as repaying existing debts.
The penalty was imposed by Southwark Crown Court earlier this month after a four year SFO bribery investigation.
Meanwhile it reported a half year net loss of US$86mln, up from US$78mln.
10.20am: Cambridge Cognition lifted by contract news
Cambridge Cognition Holdings PLC (AIM:COG) has climbed higher on contract news.
The company, a specialist in assessing brain health, said it had won a contract for a further sizeable schizophrenia trial with an existing customer.
Cambridge will provide its digital cognitive assessments, Cantab, and specialist study management services in a deal worth more than GBP600,000 to the company over three years.
Chief executive Matthew Stork said: “We are delighted with the enduring partnership we have formed with this client and the award of a further order for digital technology solutions from them.
“This is also great news for us as our strategy is to broaden our offering and expand into more therapeutic areas. Demonstrating the value of digital cognitive assessments in schizophrenia drug development could provide for many more similar opportunities in the future.”
Cambridge shares are up 4.1% to 139.5p.
9.04am: IG Design Group drops by nearly a third as rising costs and delays hit profits
It’s not looking like a merry Christmas or a happy new year for IG Design Group PLC (LSE:IGR).
The company, which makes celebration, gift and stationery products, said full year profits would be well below current market expectations after a perfect storm of problems despite increased demand for its products.
It is facing disruption in its supply chain, partly due to the pandemic, as well as rising sea freight and raw material costs and labour inflation.
First half revenues rose 11% but this was below its forecasts, and it said the current challenges would continue into the second half and also into the 2023 financial year – although it was difficult at the moment to estimate the impact.
At the end of September net debt was US$59mln, up from US$23mln a year ago. It said this reflected the normal seasonal movement as it increased working capital ahead of the Christmas peak season, but also the impact of delayed deliveries to customers.
Chief executive Paul Fineman said: “It is more than frustrating to have to report a decline in expected earnings at a time when demand from our customers remains so positive, driven by the continued execution of our strategy and our best ever portfolio of products, brands and service.
“However, we are not immune to the unprecedented supply chain issues affecting just about every sector, including the significant increase in shipping costs, and despite our best and ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact, these factors have affected our margins. No one knows how long these supply issues will last and we are taking a cautious approach to the near-term outlook, especially in light of the recent increased COVID-19 concerns.”
The news has seen its shares slump 30.57% to 306.2p.
8.20am: Fertiliser group shows good growth
Harvest Minerals Ltd has seen its shares put on a growth spurt after beating sales targets for a key fertiliser product.
The remineraliser producer said it had exceeded last year’s total sales of 80,000 tonnes of KP Fertil more than two months ahead of schedule.
Chairman Brian McMaste said: “We are delighted to have exceeded our sales target for the full year of 2021 well ahead of December. This is a great achievement for the team and represents a watershed moment in the company’s development. We expect momentum to remain strong for the rest of this year, and look forward to ending 2021 on a high note and a robust start to 2022.”
The news has pushed its shares 26.86% or 0.85p higher to 4p.
Also on the way up is Irish-based IMC Exploration Group PLC.
Its shares have climbed 4.09% to 0.89p after a positive update from the first drillhole at its West Avoca property in Co. Wicklow, which encountered zinc, lead and silver mineralisation.
Chairman Eamon O’Brien said: “The directors of IMC are delighted that we have intersected 18.7m of zinc, lead and silver mineralisation in our first drill hole at West Avoca. This drill programme has validated and extended zones of mineralisation encountered in historical exploration. Further, it has confirmed the geological interpretation and emphasises the validity in reassessing and drill-testing historical deposits where significant mineralisation still remains. Our drill programme continues.”