A takeover offer has revived shares in fish-to-agriculture logistics group Lonrho (LONR), sending its shares up 88.3% to 9.79p. This is a reflection of the bid being priced at nearly double yesterday's closing share price (5.2p). Lonrho is being acquired by FS Africa – a new entity controlled by Rainer-Marc Frey, founder of investment firm Horizon21, and Swiss entrepreneur Thomas Schmidheiny. We had a good look at Lonrho last December in the 'Griller' section; click here to read the article.
Management of Severn Trent (SVT) are in belligerent mood, rejecting the 'proposed offer' from a consortium of investors first revealed yesterday. The £4.9 billion cap water supplier says the offer, 'completely fails to recognise the existing and potential value" of the group. The shares kept most of yesterday's 14% gains however, easing off just 24p to £20.53, implying that the market sees scope for improved terms. Read Shares' comment here.
A 3% correction in ITV (ITV) to 128p on the back of this morning’s in-line first-quarter results should be viewed in the context of the preceding 16.1% three-month run. Trading close to levels last seen in April 2004, shortly after the group’s creation out of the merger of Carlton and Granada, a lot of good news is in the price and a flat advertising outlook for 2013 suggests the valuation is well up with events.
Speedy Hire (SDY) has beaten market expectations with its full-year results. Alas, investors have displayed the increasingly-typical behaviour of taking profits on publication of financial figures, sending the shares down 2.8% to 51.75p. The equipment hire specialist reported a 35.5% increase in adjusted pre-tax profit to £16.8 million. The dividend's gone up by 15.2% and the company's chief executive officer, Steve Corcoran, told Shares that he is encouraged by lots of new, big infrastructure projects finally getting approved in the UK, which points to a more vibrant domestic market. This is also underpinned by contractors starting to get work for the next five-year water infrastructure 'AMP' investment cycle, as evidenced today by Balfour Beatty (BBY) getting a £1 billion to £1.5 billion joint venture deal (with Skanska and MWH) from Thames Water. Click here to read our recent 'Griller' article on Speedy and its growth strategy.
Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) has soared past the 500p mark for the first time, driven by a bullish AGM statement. It says trading for the first 19 weeks of its financial year has seen an 11% rise in sales (year-on-year) and a 4.5% rise in like-for-like sales. The shares jumped 4.4% to 507.5p on the news. Restaurant Group featured in our 'Mid Cap Marvels' cover story last November; click here to read.
Outsourcing group Xchanging (XCH) retreated 2.5% to 137.75p after proposing to sell its 51% stake in a transaction bank for €40.5 million to Deutsche Bank. This slices 8% from its 2013 earnings forecasts and 16% from 2014's numbers, yet it de-risks the business, says Liberum Capital.
Insurance outsourcer Quindell Portfolio (QPP:AIM) stays on the big movers list with the share rally showing legs. The stock jumped 11% to 9.99p, their second day in recovery, pepped up by director share buying. Chief executive Rob Terry has added one million shares to his 16.8% stake, while finance director Laurence Moorse also buys 250,000 shares.
Shares in Easyjet (EZJ) jumped 6.6% to £12.04 after reporting reduced pre-tax losses of £61 million. With around 50% of second half seats already booked, the group reckons trading in the second half of the year will meet management expectations.
Heavy construction specialist Keller (KLR) advanced 8.4% to 940p after a positive trading update. It remains optimistic about a progressive strengthening of the North American construction markets, assuming that the wider US fiscal position does not worsen. The group conceded that economic uncertainty in Europe continues to hold back a recovery in its construction markets but that it had seen no further deterioration in market conditions since the start of the year.
European property investor CLS Holdings (CLI) reached £10 a share for the first time after improving 0.8% following a positive update. The company, which has assets in London, France, Germany and Sweden, added three properties to its portfolio between January and May for £9.2 million, on a combined net initial yield of 10.2%. Its development projects are running to schedule and are on budget. Click here to read our recent story on CLS.
Aspiring coal miner GCM Resources (GCM:AIM) advanced 18.8% to 27.62p as investors speculated over the future of its large coal project in Bangladesh. GCM's largest shareholder, Polo Resources (POL:AIM), has been trying to sell its 29.77% stake in the coal group for some time. Polo yesterday afternoon announced a management and ownership change, bringing Malaysian investment group Mettiz Capital in as 11.77% investor and its boss, Michael Tang, as co-chairman. Investors have speculated that Mettiz could help GCM finally reach a deal with the Bangladeshi government to build its large coal mine, blocked for many years due to local opposition around the need to rehouse thousands of people. Mettiz first saddled up with GCM in February in an advisory capacity.
Dublin-based beverages business C&C (CCR), the maker and distributor of Magners and Bulmers cider as well as Tennent's beer, added 1.3% at 4.72p. Investors raised a glass to finals to February which met forecasts, with taxable profits rising 2.7% to €109 million on softer sales of €476.9 million (€480.8 million). Although the £1.6 billion cap's cider brands had a tough year amid woeful weather and intense competition, the Tennent's brand performed strongly in both domestic and international markets.
Car dealerships group Lookers (LOOK) accelerated another 4.5p to 105p on a bullish first quarter trading update. The £390 million cap highlighted 'an excellent trading performance' over the three months to the end of March, during which new car sales growth of 13% was slightly ahead of a recovering market and used car volumes continued on their upward trend.