Pressure Technologies – 80p

9 April 2020 – trading update

The company has issued a trading update for the six month period to 26 March and this has revealed that delays in certain contracts will have a negative impact on the interim results.  in addition, the effects of Covid-19 and the low oil price are also having a detrimental effect on performance and given the current uncertainty the company has withdrawn guidance for the full year.  In the circumstances we reduce our recommendation to HOLD.

Avacta – 43p

8 April 2020 – collaboration

The company has announced that it has entered a collaboration with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences) to develop and manufacture a rapid test for Covid-19.  This has created significant interest in the shares which have performed well of late but clearly this could be an exciting development for the company and the shares are a SPECULATIVE BUY.

Alliance Pharma – 66.55p

7 April 2020 – final results

Results for 2019 have been released.  In the twelve months ended 31 December 2019 see-through revenues were up 16% at £144.3m (2018: £124.0m) on both a reported and constant currency basis, in line with expectations.  International sales saw another year of strong growth and the figures include a first full year’s revenues from Nizoral.  Excluding acquisitions, revenue increased by 10% and 8% on a constant currency basis.  Statutory revenues were up 15%, to £135.6m (2018: £118.2m).  Underlying EBITDA was up 22% to £39.4m (2018: £32.4m).  Underlying earnings per share were 5.09p versus 4.54p a year earlier.  Strong cash generation meant that leverage fell to 1.48x at December 2019 from 2.33x a year earlier.  No final dividend has been declared to prudently preserve cash in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We rate the shares as a BUY.

Avacta – 23p

6 April 2020 – proposed placing

The company has conditionally raised gross proceeds of £3.75m through a placing at a price of 18p per share.  This follows news of a subscription for £2m of shares at the same price which was announced on 2 April.  An update on current trading has also been released.  Following the collaboration and option agreement with ADC Therapeutics at the end of 2019, Avacta has successfully expanded the LG Chem Life Sciences Partnership and established a joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd in South Korea.  Revenues for the 17 month period to 31 December 2019 doubled to £5.5m from £2.76m in the same period a year earlier, ahead of market expectations.  Order intake and the sales pipeline into 2020 are the strongest ever.  Revenues in 2020 are expected to benefit from the expanded LG Chem partnership, the new collaboration established with ADC Therapeutics and the recently announced joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceuticals.  The cash position as at 31 December 2019 was £8.7m (31 July 2018: £5.2m), following completion of a placing in November 2019.  We continue to rate the shares as a BUY.

Norcros – 125p

3 April 2020 – director dealing

The company’s CEO and Finance Director have added shares, buying 200,000 and 15,000 shares respectively at 121p each.  This is a positive signal and adds weight to the BUY case.

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