Fashion-to-furnishings firm Laura Ashley (ALY) falls 14.3% to 22.5p on poor figures for the first half to 27 July. Blaming the impact of changeable weather on fashion and home furnishing sales, the small cap reports a £500,000 drop in taxable profits to £7.8 million on total sales down 5.6% to £137.3 million. Alarmingly, both like-for-like retail sales and e-commerce revenues went backwards. Ongoing weakness in fashion sales means like-for-like sales are down 1.3% in the opening eight weeks of the second half, leaving the shares decidedly out of fashion with investors.
Talk of an energy price freeze plan if Ed Miliband gets voters' support at the next election have struck fear across the electricity generator sector. Shares in giants of the industry SSE (SSE) and Centrica (CNA) are both off around 3.5%, to £15.29 and 382p respectively. Drax (DRX) also slips 12.5p to 680.5p. The plan to impose a cap on business and consumer energy bills until January 2017 could cost the companies £4.5 billion, according to estimates, although it may prove popular with voters.
Residential estate agency franchise owner M Winkworth (WINK:AIM) rises 2.1% to 168.5p on a strong first-half performance fuelled by a recovering housing market. We look at the results in more detail here.
GVC's (GVC:AIM) restructuring following the acquisition of Sportingbet assets is a lot easier than originally expected by the management. The gambling provider says costs are lower and revenue has held up well from Sportingbet operations, so the group's full-year earnings will beat market expectations. That news sends the share price up 5.2% to 335p. We looked at GVC's challenges with integrating Sportingbet in April.
Anglo American (AAL) advances 1.2% to £15.63 after amending sale terms on its Amapa iron ore project in Brazil. Rather than sell its 70% stake to Zamin, Anglo has now bought the remaining 30% in the asset from partner Cliffs Natural Resources – and will sell the entire entity to Zamin.
There's positive results from a new study on London Mining's (LOND:AIM) Marampa iron ore project in Sierra Leone, sending shares in the bulk commodities group up 8.9% to 122.75p. Production can be increased by 1 million tonnes per year in 2014 for $40 million of incremental capital. Lower cost guidance has been detailed, now $42 to $45 per tonne over the life of the mine versus previous guidance of $50 per tonne. Getting costs down was essential to London Mining regaining market support, as we detailed in a news analysis in March.
Nottingham-headquartered engineer Avingtrans (AVG:AIM) gains 3.6% to 143p as it posts record revenue for the first half of £45.3 million. The stellar performance is driven by a significant contribution from its aerospace division Sigma - we flagged the importance of this market to the company back in May.
Iodine producer Iofina (IOF:AIM) surges 15.2% to 170.5p as it sounds a bullish tone alongside its interims. The company, which posts record revenue for the period of $11.6 million, confirms it will have six plants (from the current two) in operation by the end of the year, with a further half dozen identified for roll-out in 2014. We featured Iofina as a Play of the Week last month.
Home improvement retailer Topps Tiles (TPT) loosens by a penny to 85p on a trading update. The £165 million cap says full-year sales will be broadly flat on last year's £177.7 million result, with like-for-like sales off 0.5% despite improving housing market conditions. Fourth quarter like-for-like sales were flat in the face of tough comparatives and growth constrained by July's warm weather, a possibility flagged by Shares last month.
Clinigen (CLIN: AIM) rises 6.5% to 429.3p on good results from the speciality pharmaceutical and services specialist, as we anticipated in a story earlier this month. Revenues are 49% up to £122.6 million while its pre-tax profit hits £14.5 million, from £10.2 million in 2012. Cash generation is strong, more than doubling to £11.3 million leading to a 2.6p maiden full-year dividend. Analysts have signalled an intention to upgrade forecasts once they've had time to digest today's figures.
Flexible office and warehousing provider Workspace (WKP) improves 1.6% to 421.6p after securing permission to redevelop a business park in Canary Wharf. The £21 million site will be converted into almost 400 apartments as well as a 58,000 square foot business centre and industrial units. This continues its strategy Shares first reported on late last year.
Fast-growing eCommerce platform minnow @UK (ATUK:AIM) has pulled off a £3.3 million placing to provide cash to take is business into new global markets. Priced at 33p per share, that's a whopping 48% discount to yesterday's 63.5p close, sparking a 21% slump to 50p today. But it's worth noting that the shares were trading at just 9p just six weeks back, perhaps a better measure of how strongly supported the company is by its loyal investors given the huge potential, spelled out by Shares at 20.8p two weeks ago.
Increased revenues and hefty cash burn are core features of half-year results from cloud services supplier Outsourcery (OUT:AIM). Sales are up 22% to £2.1 million but the £37.2 million cap, which floated in May at 110p, chewed through £5.5 million of cash on rising working capital needs. The shares rise 1p to 121.5p, suggesting a hefty rough eight-times annualised revenues valuation.
Business publisher Centaur Media (CAU:AIM) slips 0.7% to 57.1p giving back some of yesterday’s gains after management played down talk that former chief executive officer Geoff Wilmot was plotting a bid.