12.15pm: Power group powers ahead

XP Power Ltd (LON:XPP) has seen its shares spark up after a positive trading update.

The company, which makes critical power control components for the electronics industry, said first quarter orders were up by 7% and revenues by 23% on a constant currency basis. The increases were helped by strong performances in the semiconductor and industrial technology sectors. But healthcare orders fell compared to a year ago, due to the exceptional COVID-19 related orders received in the first quarter of 2020 not repeating.

It said: “Overall, we remain positive about the group’s prospects but are mindful of the potential impact from foreign exchange movements and the ongoing COVID-19 related uncertainty.

“Longer term, the board believes XP Power to be very well positioned to grow ahead of its end markets, supported by its strong cash generation and a robust balance sheet.”

Its shares are300p or 6.26% better at 5090p.

11.03am: Ultrasound group gets CE mark for scanning system

Intelligent Ultrasound Group PLC (LON:IUG) has been boosted by news of a key approval for a second product.

The company, a specialist in ultrasound artificial intelligence software, said it had received CE approval – required for many products for the UK and EU markets – for its ScanNav Anatomy PNB system.

The system uses the latest AI technology to automatically highlight and enhance a live ultrasound image. The company expects to launch the product in the UK in the second quarter of this year, and is also seeking FDA approval to allow it to be sold in the US.

Chief executive Stuart Gall said: “We’re delighted to have received CE mark approval for our second AI product. Building on the success of ScanNav Assist, our first obstetric AI software that is integrated into GE Healthcare’s recently launched SWIFT ultrasound machine, ScanNav Anatomy PNB will launch into the anaesthesiology ultrasound market and continues the group’s expansion into AI-based real-time clinical ultrasound image analysis. We are particularly pleased that many of the independent clinicians who used ScanNav PNB during product testing think that it would benefit them in their everyday clinical practice.”

The news has lifted it shares 2.3p or 12.96% to 20.05p.


9.59am: Fashion group hopes to cash in from reopening

The optimism about the reopening of retail outlets has even extended to fashion group Quiz PLC (LON:QUIZ) despite its full year trading performance being hit hard by the pandemic fallout.

The business said revenues dropped by 66% to £39.7m, with demand for its outfits for a night on the town curtailed by the lack of social events to go to.

As well as its own store which were closed during lockdown, it also has 72 concessions in Debenhams which will never reopen following the demise of the department store group. But it said revenues from that source had already been declining, so the closure should not have a major impact on profitablity or cash flow.

It said it was looking for new opportunities to grow through its own website and store network, as well as looking for new partners.

Chief executive Tarak Ramzan said: “With prolonged periods of store closures, the past 12 months has been a very challenging period for many in the UK retail sector, and Quiz has not been immune to this. However, against this difficult trading backdrop, the group has taken proactive actions to preserve cash and realign our store estate for the future retail landscape. In addition, we remain confident that there is robust underlying demand from our customers for the Quiz brand and our trademark dressy and occasionwear. We are looking forward to being able to serve customers again through our store estate and to the gradual opening up of the retail and leisure economies over the coming months, which we believe we are well placed to benefit from.”

This positivity has spread to the share price, which is up 8.33% or 1p to 13p.

9.03am: Mining group loses ground

Arkle Resources PLC (LON:ARK) saw its shares soar on Monday on hopes of a reverse takeover.

Sadly for investors the company, which is a gold and zinc explorer in Ireland, has had to throw cold water on that idea.

It said: “The company notes the significant rise in its share price yesterday and references made on an investor forum to an article dated 22 March 2021 from bne IntelliNews regarding a potential reverse takeover of Arkle by a Mongolian mining organisation. 

“The company confirms that the 162 group of companies (including Arkle) were approached about assisting with the financing of this mining project by an intermediary but have since declined to progress matters and there are no discussions regarding a reverse takeover taking place.”

Its shares – which hit a peak of 1.15p on Monday – are down 14.91% or 0.16p at 0.94p.

8.23am: Model maker ahead of expectations

Hornby PLC (LON:HRN), the model railway to Scalextric business, has seen its shares accelarate after an upbeat trading statement.

The company, which is starring in its own TV documentary to be aired later this year, said fourth quarter sales were ahead of budget and the same period last year. So full year sales were better than anticipated and 28% higher than the previous year.

In January it warned of a slow start to the year due to Brexit hold-ups on products sent to Europe and the effects of the pandemic. But now it says: “Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present uncertainty, both Hornby and our suppliers have been able to operate more effectively through the current restrictions than was the case in the first lockdown, as evidenced by the resilient levels of activity seen in the fourth quarter.”

The news has sent its shares up 11.11% or 5.5p to 55p.

Also heading higher is healthcare group Totally PLC (LON:TLY).

It has jumped 12.16% or 3.75p to 34.6p after forecasting its full year earnings – due to be reported in July – will be well ahead of expectations and the £4m reported in the previous year. It expects to have £14.8m of net cash, up from £8.9m.

It said: “The resilient and improved trading performance across the group is due to multiple factors but primarily as a result of the company being able to respond proactively and quickly to the numerous demands for its healthcare services during the global COVID-19 pandemic, through which the company has assisted the NHS in providing frontline care across the UK.”

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