Niche drug maker Shire (SHP) opens 1.2% down at £44.73 following yesterday’s £51.15 a share offer from US outfit AbbVie (ABBV:NDQ). The £30.1 billion bid is the fourth the Chicago-based firm has made for the UK attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug maker, beating its previous offer by 11%. Shire has until July 18 to reply.
Food wholesale star Booker (BOK), planning to return £61 million (3.5p per share) to shareholders, is marked down 4.3p to 126.7p despite delivering a reassuring first quarter trading statement. The cash and carry operator's total sales, including acquired business Makro, grew 3.8% in Q1, with tobacco sales 0.7% ahead and more profitable non-tobacco lines 5.4% higher.
Revived chocolatier Thorntons (THT), a running Shares Play of the Week, sweetens 4.5p to 112p on a reassuring fourth quarter trading statement. Following a third quarter wobble Thorntons' fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) division returned to growth in the fourth quarter thanks to strong sales through UK retailers.
Crowd-sourcing services platform operator Blur Group (BLUR:AIM) edges around 2% higher to 79.5p as it unveils bookings growth of more than 200% to just over $16 million. The company has spectacularly fallen from grace after several revenue warnings and a cash call earlier this year.
Risk management and compliance solutions supplier Lombard Risk Management (LRM:AIM) jumps more than 6% to 12.88p as it confirms early year trading inline with expectations. Analysts are forecasting £5 million pre-tax profit on £22.5 million revenues this year to March 2015. Lombard also appoints investment banking bean counter Nigel Gurney as chief finance officer.
Ireland-focused oil play Providence Resources (PVR:AIM) sinks 9% to 127p as it announces its Spanish Point appraisal well will not be drilled this year thanks to rig delays. Operator Cairn Energy (CNE) is tendering for another rig and hopes to drill in 2015 – Cantor Fitzgerald notes Spanish Point 'was a potential turning point in Providence's fortunes' and puts its 969p price target and buy recommendation under review.
Slovenian tight gas play Ascent Resources (AST:AIM) is falling fast, down more than 20% to 0.58p. The slump comes on news that an initial £11.7 million subscription payment associated with May's £15 million share subscription by Global Power Sources (GPS) has not been received. The cash had been lined up for the repayment and redemption of outstanding loan notes as well as the development of its flagship Petisovci project.