Specialty chemicals outfit AZ Electronic Materials (AZEM) has received a €1.9 million takeover offer from German chemicals giant Merck, sending its shares up 51.6% to 398.5p. Shareholders in AZ, which supplies products used in iPads, smartphones, semiconductors and flatscreen TVs, are set to receive 404p per share in cash, representing a 53% premium to Wednesday's closing price of 263p.
English luxury brand Mulberry (MUL:AIM) sheds 1p at £10.24 on news half-year sales eased 2% to a worse-than-expected £78.1 million, with retail sales ahead yet wholesale orders down due to cautious ordering from European distributors. The market is also unimpressed by the high-end bag maker's lower pre-tax profits of £7.2 million (2012: £10 million), with returns curtailed by overseas expansion costs and increased seasonality.
IRN-BRU-to-Rubicon maker A.G. Barr (BAG) froths 8p higher to 551.5p as a strong trading update demonstrates ongoing outperformance in a competitive soft drinks market. Over the 18 weeks to 1 December, sales and volumes fizzed up 8% and 6.4% respectively with the in-licensed Rockstar energy drink the stand-out performer.
Canadian gold producer Kirkland Lake Gold (KGI:AIM) is targeting $5 million annual cost savings after new boss George Ogilvie wastes no time in reshaping the business. One of his first decisions has been to stop mining low-grade ore. The market likes the news, sending the shares up 1.6% to 155p.
Russian precious metals giant Polymetal (POLY) says it won't pay a special dividend this year, given the fall in commodity prices and how this has affected its free cash flow. Although this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone closely following the company, the news clearly disappoints many investors as the shares fall 2.2% to 489.65p.
Investors jump on natural language specialist Arria NLG (NLG:AIM), the latest technology growth hope story, seeing its shares soar 49% in opening trading. Listed at 100p, the stock now trades at 149p.
Veterinary services provider CVS (CVSG:AIM) rises 4p to 260p on a confident trading statement. Positive momentum continued in the first four months of its fiscal year, with like-for-like sales 4.3% ahead in the period to end-October, while news of ten surgery acquisitions since the end of June drives upgrades this morning. Shares highlighted the acquisitive growth prospects in a fragmented industry here.
Africa focused oil explorer Tangiers Petroleum (TPET:AIM) sinks 10.6% to 11.9p as it announces a A$37 million off-market merger with Aussie-listed peer Jacka Resources (ASX:JKA). Once complete, Tangiers shareholders and Jacka shareholders will own around 53% and 47% respectively of the new concern which will have assets in Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Somaliland.
Fellow African oil play Bowleven (BLVN:AIM) ticks up 2% to 38.8p as it announces the award of three exploration blocks in Zambia and flags encouraging results from an airborne survey of its block 11B in Kenya. The initial exploration period in Zambia includes a minimum committed work programme estimated at around $500,000.
Life science company ValiRx (VAL:AIM) jumps 8.8% to 0.3p after patenting its NAV3 gene biomarker in screening for cancer in Australia. This adds to its existing protections in the US and Europe. Biomarkers identify those more likely to respond to therapy and also indicate tumour regression.
Social care services provider CareTech (CTH:AIM) rises 1% to 245p despite its £17.4 million pre-tax profit coming slightly below consensus for the year to October. Good news included £21.6 million cash generated from its operations, up from £19.2 million in 2012. The dividend is raised by 7.6% to 7p.