Growth in online shopping is helping to boost profits at UK Mail (UKM). The delivery group jumped 10.9% to 510p after reporting a 37% rise in pre-tax profit to £17.8 million. The market also liked news that UK Mail would invest in 'significantly increased automation' across its network as this should be a strong driver for volume growth and improved profit margins.
Shares in soft drinks business Britvic (BVIC) fizzed up almost 10% to 515p on well-received half-year figures from the Robinsons and Fruit Shoot owner, as well as the unveiling of a new strategy to accelerate growth by chief executive Simon Litherland. For the half year to 14 April, Britvic's taxable profits sparked up 50% to £37.5 million despite challenging market conditions, while the £1.1 billion cap also highlighted improved cash flow and a reduction in net debt.
No-fault accident claims specialist Helphire (HHR) enjoyed a 5.2% bounce to 3.6p on a trading update and news that its capital reduction plan had been approved at today’s general meeting. By eliminating the deficit on the £53 million cap’s profit and loss account the reduction will make it possible for the firm to pay dividends in the future.
Mezzanine debt finance specialist Intermediate Capital (ICP) enjoyed a 5.8% bounce on the back of strong full-year numbers. The FTSE 250 company ended last year, to 31 March, with record assets under management of E12.9 billion, up 13% year on year.
Optimal Payments (OPAY:AIM) advanced 9.3% to 183p after saying that trading was ahead of market expectations.
Aspiring nickel producer Horizonte Minerals (HZM:AIM) jumped 3.4% to 7.62p after completing metallurgical test work for its Araguaia nickel prospect in Brazil. It will now start a pre-feasibility study which it hopes to complete in 2014. Click here to read our recent story on the outlook for nickel and how Horizonte's plan fit into an expected rise in the commodity price.
The board of Afferro Mining (AFF:AIM) says it intends to recommend a takeover offer from International Mining & Infrastructure (IMIC:AIM). Having previously been a three-tiered proposal (click here to read our story on that news), IMIC has now changed its plans to a single offer of 80p per share cash and a two-year convertible loan note with principle value of 40p. Afferro's shares rose 11.4%% to 78.5p on the news.
Hargreaves Services (HSP:AIM) dipped 1.9% to 863p after selling assets from its defunct Maltby coal mine to Alkane Energy (ALK:AIM) for £7.5 million. The acquirer rose 3% to 30p as it said the mine's methane content would benefit its gas to power strategy.
Minnow oil explorer Aminex (AEX:AIM) gained 8% to 2.7p after unveiling a upbeat presentation of its prospects. The shares sold off heavily earlier this week on delays to a farm-out of its Tanzanian acreage and a divestment of its US assets.
Invasive surgery specialist Surgical Innovations (SUN: AIM) improved 4.1% to 5p after securing more than £210,000 from an undisclosed funding partner. The funds will be used by the medical device maker’s industrial division to develop a delivery system to be used in the on-wing inspection of jet engines. If the project is successful the devices could be on the market next year.
There's little surprise that the market remains sceptical on Cable & Wireless Communications' (CWC) future prospects, shares in the telecoms group drifting 1.5% lower to 44.3p. While management unveiled plans to slash an extra $100 million off costs, investors were given precious little steer on how declining revenues and profits will be reversed. Last year sales fell across all geographic territories, with Monaco its only market not to suffer profits slumps too.
Buy and build insurance outsourcing specialist Quindell Portfolio (QPP:AIM) is back in the news, announcing a new five-year contract with a big UK insurer. As is typical in this space, the partner's name remains confidential, and while initial service and maintenance revenues of £3.5 million are expected, this could rise substantially based on claims run-rates. The news once again lit-up investment bulletin boards, although the shares reaction was more circumspect, with Quindell rising 2.5% to 8.75p.
Talent management software supplier NetDimensions (NETD:AIM) saw strong demand for its shares, up 5.7% to 46.5p, as it spelled out its ambitions to drive sales beyond $50 million inside five years. The Hong Kong-based firm raised $6 million of fresh funding earlier this month, giving it $11 million of cash to invest in growth, with opportunities eyed in highly-regulated industries like aviation and healthcare, for example. NetDimensions posted revenues of $13.8 million in 2012.