Irish charmer Paddy Power (PAP) falls 4.1% to 56.59p as long-standing chief executive Patrick Kennedy announces his plan to step down by next April. David Jennings, analyst at stockbroker Davy, comments: 'Given the group’s very impressive track record under his tenure, this is likely to lead to a period of uncertainty for investors with questions in relation to succession and the group’s willingness and ability to pursue significant strategic opportunities in the interim period. Naturally, this may weigh on the stock for a period.' The news coincides with the bookmaker saying unfavourable sports results in January and March resulted in its two worst weekends ever for football profitability.
UK shale gas play Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM) surges 17.2% to 25.5p as it announces an £8 million all-share deal with Alkane Energy (ALK:AIM) (down 4 at 4p) to acquire the latter's shale portfolio. This is the second bit of corporate activity in the UK shale space in less than a week after the IGas Energy (IGAS:AIM) and Dart Energy (DTE:ASX) tie-up announced Friday (9 May). Egdon also unveils a £6.4 million placing to fund its planned work programme.
Holiday operator TUI Travel (TT) falls 1.4% to 435.4p after first-half operating losses widened by 4% to £5.19 billion in the six months to 31 March. The group remains confident of delivering 7% to 10% growth in underlying operating profit during the year. Panmure Gordon reckons TUI Travel may return up to £800 million to shareholders as net debt is being rapidly reduced and business picks up.
Empiric Student Property announces its intention to raise £110 million and float in London next month, using the cash to fund the development of student accommodation across the UK. The company also plan to become a tax-efficient real estate investment trust.
Speedy Hire (SDY) rises 2.9% to 57.63p despite problems not yet resolved in its overseas business, the cause of two profit warnings since last November. Investors are no doubt encouraged by a robust performance from its UK and Ireland operations.
Construction specialist Henry Boot (BHY) adds 1.9% to 212p as a trading update points to ongoing recovery in the housing market. The running Shares Play of the Week says activity in the property market continues to feed through to consented land for sale and development.
Financial rules and compliance are finally starting to feed into real growth for software supplier Lombard Risk Management (LRM:AIM). Second-half revenues jump 45% which helps to drive up the share price by 8% to 11.5p. Shares highlighted the improving backcloth last month.
Rugged displays manufacturer Zytronic (ZYT:AIM) sees its half-year pre-tax profits jump 87% to £1.4 million as revenues continue to shift to higher-margin 'touch' products. The Newcastle company looks to have sustained recovery from last year's profits warning, as flagged in Shares last August, and again in October.
Motors and pumps business and running Play of the Week Hayward Tyler (HAYT:AIM) rises 8.2% to 73.6p as it says results for the year to March will be 'at least' in-line with expectations. New orders for the year are £46 million, up 8% year-on-year.
Stock Spirits (STCK), the leading vodka producer in Poland and the Czech Republic, falls 2.2% to 283.25p on a mixed first quarter trading update. Though the branded spirits business expects to hit full-year targets, it warns an excise duty hike in Poland has hit consumption and 'it is too early to tell what the longer term impact will be.'
Franchised motor retailer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) loses a penny at 53p despite revving in with better-than-expected half-time figures triggering further forecast upgrades. Underlying pre-tax profits speed 45% higher to £2 million in the period as Cambria outperforms the growing UK new car market.
Value-focused meat retailer Crawshaw (CRAW:AIM) fattens up 2.7% to 38p on the acquisition of a single site premium butchers shop east of York. Excited by the deal, giving Crawshaw a foothold in a second growth market, broker WH Ireland raises its price target from 40p to 45p.
Almost absent underlying growth and a forecast miss on revenues spark a hefty sell-off for geo-mapping technology company 1Spatial (SPA:AIM). Analysts had been looking for £18.6 million headline revenue, they got £17.3 million, and the shares slump 8.3% to 6.88p.
Troubled coal miner Strategic Natural Resources (SNRP:AIM) is saved at the last minute from going bust after securing a £1.5 million investment, predominantly from a South African businessman. Alas the new stock is placed at a big discount to the market, dragging down the share price by 15.8% to 4.63p.
Transdermal technology specialist Futura Medical (FUM:AIM) falls 4.3% to 60.2p despite preparing to launch its novel condom in the third quarter. It should have at least two revenue generating products in several countries by the end of the year.