The departure of Spirent (SPT) chief executive Bill Burns is a major shock with the telecoms kit business seemingly bouncing back. But it looks like Burns is paying the price for slow orders and failure to prop up the share price with cash. But the market thinks it's the right move, pushing the shares 5% higher to 135p.
Yet another earnings upgrade helps to fuel shares in consultant WYG (WYG:AIM), up 3% to 104p. We look at the running Shares Play of the Week in more detail, arguing that momentum will over-ride valuation for the foreseeable future.
A decent trading update from Greene King (GNK) sends the pub operator-to-brewer up 0.4% to 852p. Its retail division, which covers the managed pubs business, has achieved 4.6% like-for-like sales growth in the 18 weeks to 1 September.
Johnson Service (JSG) dips 3.5% to 48.25p despite a solid set of interim results. There's no doubt an element of profit taking given its lengthy bull run as, up to yesterday, the shares had increased by 86% since June 2012. Profits are up, the balance sheet has been strengthened by the sale of its facilities management business and there's strategic growth options as it looks to focus on the creation of a single textile services business.
Packaging firm DS Smith (SMDS) falls 1.4% to 266.3p despite confirming it is on track to meet expectations for the year to April 2014. The market may be reacting to identified pressure on margins from short-term increases in input costs.
Marwyn Management Partners (MMP:AIM) rises 9.3% to 13.25p after confirming plans to list its subsidiary Marwyn European Transport on Aim. It plans to raise €50 million of cash to fund its growth in the German bus market.
Engineering and building products group Alumasc (ALU) rises 7.9% to 129.5p after posting full-year profits before tax of £5.1 million for the 12 months to June 2013 compared to the previous year's £1.6 million. The Kettering-based company saw a 20% drop in engineering revenues more than offset by an 18% rise in building products.
Cloud IT services supplier Outsourcery (OUT:AIM) has finally cut the last of its ties to its old mobile reseller operations with the sale of the business for an undisclosed fee. That probably means not very much, which explains the flat share price at 122.5p, but it allows the £38.5 million cap, which joined Aim in May, to concentrate on cloud applications.
Animal healthcare specialist Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) rises 1.5% to 701p as it declares a 14.1% dividend increase to 14p per share. Management is focusing on the higher-margin animal pharmaceutical market after selling its service business for £87.5 million cash, a strategy we have previously analysed. Its pre-tax profit from continuing operations for the year was up 59.7% to £33.5 million due to a 68% rise in European sales.
Real estate investment trust Great Portland (GPOR) slips 2.9% to 528.2p after launching a £150 million unsecured convertible bond. The proceeds generated by the five-year paper will fund its developments and refinance its acquisition Oxford House in London (17 July).
Private label shower gels-to-shampoos developer McBride (MCB) sheds 2p at 130p on final results showing pre-tax profits down 22% to £18.4 million amid weak consumer markets, heavy promotions and exiting a low-margin business. Yet the £241 million cap reports positive private label sales growth for the second half and a good start to the new year following a flurry of new product launches.
Shellproof (SHLP:AIM), the early-stage English sparkling wines hopeful with land in West Sussex, surges 33% higher to 42p on the £7 million acquisition of sparkling wine business Gusbourne Estate. Soon to be renamed Gusbourne with Lord Ashcroft holding 65%, Shellproof has raised £2.85 million at a premium price of 54p to fund the estate's development and plant a further 100 acres of vineyards in Kent.
New Zealand-focused oil explorer Kea Petroleum (KEA:AIM) falls 30.3% to 2.88p after launching a strategic review of its Puka oil discovery. The group says the decision has been taken given 'current challenges for small sized oil explorers in accessing capital markets'. It also announces the relinquishment of its PEP51155 permit.
US onshore oil and gas play Nostra Terra Oil & Gas (NTOG:AIM) ticks up 2.6% to 0.4p as it reveals progress in the collection of funds from Richfield Oil & Gas. Richfield is a debtor of Nostra Terra and is in foreclosure; a court has awarded Nostra a judgement against Richfield in excess of $1.5 million.