Top of the leader board, troubled regional airline Flybe (FLYB) ascended 12.9% to 50.5p after agreeing to take on some of Ryanair's (RYA) routes. This is to help the Irish low-cost carrier win the European Commission's approval for its Aer Lingus (AERL) takeover bid. Ryanair will pump €100 million into a new business, Flybe Ireland, which will contain 43 routes, airport slots and staff. The UK-listed Flybe will purchase this business for €1 million.
Aer Lingus itself has reported results today, beating market expectations. Cost efficiencies are benefiting the business but pension issues remain unresolved. Its shares advanced 1.5% to €1.32. Ryanair has offered to pay €1.30 for the airline.
Ian Gorham, the boss of financial services provider Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), cheekily used the £3.5 billion cap's interim results to get a quick step on the soap box. He declares: 'Hargreaves Lansdown's results demonstrate that a reputable company can, even in this climate, add genuine benefit to the UK economy and public, whilst paying its taxes in full.' The market likes a 24% hike in the dividend and record pre-tax profit of £93.7 million (up 30% on the previous year), sending the shares up 6.6% to 783p.
After a string of profit warnings dogged the share price in the second half of 2012, oil services group Lamprell (LAM) is now firmly in recovery mode. The shares nudged up a further 5.2% to 142p today (6 Feb) after winning a contract with Singapore's Jindal Group.
After being investigated by the Financial Services Authority on suspicion of mis-selling home emergency policies, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Homeserve (HSV) say that response to its latest marketing efforts have been weaker than previous campaigns. Yet investors appear to welcome the lack of news on the City regulator's probe, triggering a 6.1% rise in the shares to 143.25p on today's trading update.
Further to yesterday's approach, Liberty Global (LBTYA:NASDAQ) confirms plan to buy Virgin Media (VMED) for $23.3 billion in a cash and shares deal.
Small cap oil and gas producer Ruspetro (RPO) has crashed 26.5% to 37.5p after postponing the issue of senior secured notes, proceeds of which were to replace a loan facility.
The two largest shareholders of small cap gold play African Mining & Exploration (AME:AIM) have kicked out the non-exec directors and put in their own representatives on £1 per year salary.
Can we expect a new start for troubled resources group URU Metals (URU:AIM)? It has taken an option on a gold/uranium asset in Canada. The small cap needed to take alternative action as its flagship nickel asset in South Africa is suspended amid a court case. Poor exploration results look as if URU will give up on its Niger uranium interests. The shares advanced 4.4% to 3p.
Micro cap BlueStar SecuTech (BSST:AIM) jumped 45.5.% to 4p after winning a contract worth nearly the same as its £2 million market cap (prior to the deal). The video surveillance group will be paid RMB18.1 million (£1.8 million) by Bank of China for equipment to monitor cash machines.
Although uranium remains out of favour, radioactive exploration group Forte Energy (FTE:AIM) has nearly tripled in price since December. Its Australian-listed shares have been suspended since 1 February while it works on a corporate transaction, yet the Aim stock continues to trade, rising a further 18.3% today to 2.72p. Market gossip points towards fellow Mauritania-based Aura Energy (AEE:ASX) whose shares have also been suspended in Australia. It has land next to Forte which could be more valuable as a single holding.
Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG:AIM) retreated 14.4% to 1.76p after raising £23 million at 1.6p in an oversubscribed placing. This is a 22% discount to yesterday's closing price.
Industrials group Coral Products (CRU:AIM) bought distributor Interpack in September 2011 to provide a channel by which it could start making and selling food packaging, using space factory capacity caused by dwindling sales of CD and DVD packaging. Unfortunately it hasn't been able to offset the weaker side of its operations fast enough with the new business lines, triggering a profit warning today. The shares dropped 12.7% to 12.88p in response.
And finally, another IPO lands on the door mat, suggesting that market conditions are indeed picking up. Greencoat UK Wind will invest in wind farms with deals already in the pipeline to buy assets from utilities RWE (RWE:ETR) and SSE (SSE). It will be positioned as an income stock, eyeing 6% dividend yield upon listing on the main market in March.