London's FTSE 100 is broadly flat at 6,778 on Friday, a quiet day for news ahead of the bank holiday weekend. Housebuilder and construction company Henry Boot (BHY) is a stand-out riser however, heading 7.7% higher to 201.9p on impressive half-year results and a bullish outlook statement that stokes forecast upgrades.
Operating profit at the £243.6 million cap shot up 79% to £14 million, driven by strong results across every trading division trading and translating into an 81% hike in profit before tax to £13.4 million. With net debt reduced by £3 million to £33.1 million since the year-end, Henry Boot confidently increases the interim dividend to 2.1p (2013: 1.95p).
Premium range cookers producer AGA Rangemaster (AGA) adds 1.38p to 155.38p on encouraging half-year results. Operating profits surged 60% higher to £2.4 million in the half with an improving housing market helping UK sales almost 10% higher, while improving cash generation meant net debt reduced from £6 million to £2.4 million. New products are performing well and AGA says its full year performance should be well ahead.
Digital contextual advertising specialist Phorm (PHRM:AIM) gains 5.9% to 9p as it reveals a narrowing of interim pre-tax losses from $24.3 million to $22.8 million. In a bullish outlook statement the company notes a 44-fold year-on-year increase in peak daily unique users, a 42-fold increase in advertising requests and an 18-fold increase in revenues as it also unveils a £2.4 million share subscription to meet working capital needs.
A two thirds increase in net output and a substantial boost to reserves lifts US onshore oil and gas firm Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP:AIM) 37.6% to 1.45p. The company reports proved reserves worth $31 million and production of 257 barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd), up from 150 boepd on April 1.
Bank of Georgia’s (BGEO) first half growth appears priced in as the shares slip 2p lower to £24.98. Pre-tax profits increased 10.3% to a record GEL 122 million on falling funding costs as the £900 million cap took 7.4% more on deposit compared to the same period of 2013 and grew its loan book 17.2% to GEL3.6 billion. Net interest margin – the profit made from the running Shares Play of the Week's lending activities – was flat at 7.3%.
The fight for Hyder Consulting (HYC) takes another turn with Dutch engineer Arcadis raising its bid from 650p to 730p, in an attempt to push out Japanese consultant Nippon Koei who offered 700p on 8 August. Hyder's shares rise 4.1% to 736p.