A decent performance from Chef & Brewer-to-Fayre & Square owner Spirit Pub Company (SPRT) sends its share price up 2.9 to 80.25p. Like-for-like sales from its managed pubs rise 6% in the 12 weeks to 24 May. It continues to roll out the steakhouse-style pub format Flaming Grill through a mix of buying new sites and converting existing pubs in its estate.
Tough times continue for IT services group Phoenix IT (PNX), the shares off 3.2% to 91p, although new chief executive officer Steve Vaughan has only recently taken control. Revenues and profits decline although net debt has been cut from £71 million to £56 million after a recent cash call. We take a closer look at the recovery challenge in this news analysis.
Speech recognition technology specialist Eckoh (ECK:AIM) rallies 2.2% to 46p, their highest since the dot com bust of 2000, after another solid set of full-year figures. Organic revenues rise 16% for the year to £14 million while cash generation is also very decent. The company has also secured a patent for its CardGuard digital payments technology.
TETRA communications opportunities are starting to emerge for technology specialist Sepura (SEPU), helping drive a 19% increase in operating profits for the year to March. The shares respond by rising 2.2% to 142p.
As foreshadowed by Shares, British lifestyle brand Ted Baker (TED) ticks 2p higher to £20.21 early on as a better-than-expected trading statement triggers forecast upgrades. Against tough comparatives, retail sales grew 15.8% and wholesale revenues 25.2% over the 19 weeks to 7 June, as Ted made positive progress in new and established markets and delivered a 48.1% surge in online sales.
Sports and leisure products distributor Tandem (TND:AIM) accelerates 11.3% to 118p on a positive trading update. Chairman Mervyn Keene says sales were 26% higher in the 22 weeks to end-May, boosted by strong sales across its bicycle, sports product and toy ranges.
Gift voucher and prepaid gift card business Park (PKG:AIM), the Birkenhead-based group known for its Christmas hampers, perks up 1.2% to 52.63p. Though full-year results to March show lower profits of £9.4 million (2013: £9.5 million), CEO Chris Houghton cheers with the news the current year has started well with consumer confidence rising and Christmas 2014 orders running 10% ahead.
Gas meter specialist Energy Assets (EAS) rises 5.4% to 342.38p as the market applauds full-year results. Pre-tax profit more than doubles to £6 million. Cash generated from operations rises by 58% to £14.5 million, yet there's still no dividend. The running Shares Play of the Week needs the money to invest in more meters which it rents to utility providers. Effectively it is laying the ground work for what should become a lucrative recurring revenue stream.
Alecto Minerals (ALO:AIM) jumps 17.7% to 1p on an exploration update for its Kossanto project in Mali. There's a few interesting drill holes at high gold grades but the share price reaction looks a bit excessive given the general trend is low grade material which wouldn't support a commercial gold mine at current prices.
Infection control specialist Tristel (TSTL:AIM) leaps 20.0% to 78p on raising expectations for the year to July. Its pre-tax profits are expected to be at least £1.75 million thanks to improving margins and rising revenues from new markets.
Kazakh oil producer Max Petroleum (MXP:AIM) gains 35.3% to 1.4p on a successful result from the ZMA-E7 development well on its Zhana Makat field. The shares remain a long way short of their 52 week high of 4.34p with the sell-off prompted by a lack of funds to pursue exploration activities.
The upward momentum behind Pressure Technologies (PRES:AIM) resumes as the company reports 59% growth in its order book at the interim stage. This outweighs a modest dip in pre-tax profit and the shares advance 3.7% to 669p.