Hammerson sells seven retail parks to Canadian private equity business for £330mln
2.51pm: Property group exits retail park sector
Shopping centre owner Hammerson PLC (LON:HMSO) is on its way out of the UK retail parks sector.
It has exchanged unconditional contracts to sell its seven retail parks to Canadian private equity group Brookfield for £330mln in cash, an 8% discount to book value. They include sites in Falkirk, Middlesbrough and Telford.
Adding the proceeds to the funds from the sale of Brent South shopping park and other disposals, it has raised a total of £403mln this year. The money will go to reducing its net debt of £2.2bn.
Hammerson chief executive Rita-Rose Gagné said: “As highlighted at the full year results, our immediate priority is to strengthen the balance sheet. This latest disposal is a positive step. Alongside this, we continue to focus on delivering operationally. We have successfully welcomed back our customers in England to our flagship venues, with footfall levels well above the June 2020 reopening, and look forward to reopening our other destinations as local restrictions allow over the coming months.”
The company recently reported it had only received 40% of the rents it was due in the second quarter as retailers struggled during lockdown.
But news of the sale and the positive comments have lifted its shares 2.45% or 0.89p to 37.89p.
1.19pm: Deal lifts acquisition specialist
Catena Group PLC (LON:CTNA) has seen its shares surge after the AIM-listed holding company unveiled a £27.9mln deal and returned from September’s suspension.
Its is paying a mixture of cash and shares for Insight, a data science and machine learning solutions company. It already owns 9.1% of Insight, and the acquisition counts as a reverse takeover and needs shareholder approval.
In the market shares in Catena – which will change its name to Insig AI PLC after completion – have jumped 14.9p or 25.25% to 73.9p.
The new shares for the deal are being issued at 59p each. But it also plans to raise £6.1mln by placing shares at 67p each, a 14%premium to the closing price on 2 September, the last day before trading was suspended.
11.27am: Advertising group boosted by American move
From now on share in the advertising group will be traded in the US on the OTCQX Best market, with the aim of diversifying its investor base and allowing it to be traded by American broker-dealers.
The business already operates in the US, as well as Europe and China.
Chief executive Stephan Beringe said: “[This] marks another valuable step in our strategic plans in the US. As we focus on developing technology that will define the in-content advertising space, we look forward to global investors having increased access to our shares and joining our journey as we deliver against our objectives.”
Back on AIM, its shares are up 9.32% or 5.5p to 64.5p.
10.14am: Industrial group positive on outlook as it restructures
Revenues rose by 0.7% but profits adjusted for closure costs and the like rose 8.1% to £10.4mln.
Agriculture put in a strong performance, but engineering was hit by low oil prices and travel restrictions during the half, although its order book is up by 19% since the year end and it is set to improve its results in the second half.
New chief executive Hugh Pelham has been restructuring and simplifying the business.
He said: “Considerable opportunity exists to optimise the current portfolio through a process of standardisation, simplification and seeking synergies between similar businesses. Growth can be achieved through a mixture of geographic expansion, selling all our service lines to our customer base, and acquisition and potential industry consolidation.
“I am confident that the group will continue to deliver a resilient and improving set of results over time.”
The positive outlook has lifted its shares by 7.41% or 10p to 145p.
9.15am: Marketing group benefits from new data products
The market research and consultancy group said revenues in the most recent six months rose by 8% compared to a 26% fall in the first half. So full year revenues declined by 11%.
Helped by falling costs, the better sales performance meant an increase in profitability in the second half, with full year profits forecast to rise from £2mln to £2.9mln.
The company is benefiting from new data products including Test Your Ad, which gives customers a comparison of every TV ad in their industry, allowing them to check competitors’ strategies.
It said: “Underlying the recent improvement is the success of Test Your Ad, System1’s first fully automated predictive product set. The transition to automated data products..is well underway: data products represented 15% of sales revenue in the fourth quarter – mainly Test Your Ad – compared with 1% in the first half. We expect the proportion of data product revenues to increase with the rollout in 2021/22 of Test Your Brand.”
It also plans to restart the share buyback programme which was suspended in 2002 due to uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19 on the business.
On the outlook it said: “System1 is focused on achieving revenue growth over the short and medium term. In pursuit of this goal the company will increase discretionary investment in product development, IT, marketing, and relationships with advertising agencies and advertising platform partners…We plan to remain profitable and to continue to generate cash in the 2021/22 financial year, notwithstanding that we are targeting revenue growth to be at least matched by the rate of cost growth as we prioritise scaling our automated predictive products.”
The update has seen its shares jump 21.21% or 40.3p to 230.3p.
Travel companies may be under pressure thanks to the restrictions of COVID-19 but the private jet company appears to be flying high on the back of them.
Its JetCard programme – where customers can buy private jet flying hours in advance with the ability to change booking details or cancel up to the last minute without penalty – has seen sales rise 54% in the US and 15% in the UK. The deal gives travellers the ability to fly the moment travel restrictions are lifted, but with flexibility in case they need to amend plans.
Chief executive Mark Briffa said: “The US private jet market is one vast, domestic market so it has not been subject to the types of restrictions and national lockdowns that we have seen in the UK and Europe. As a result, the skies have remained open and we have seen sustained private leisure flying from high-net-worth individuals in the region. It is no surprise to see this demand continue, with our new customers from February and March making particularly significant deposits for future travel.
“In a very encouraging sign, this has also been the case in the UK as confidence returns to this market ahead of the anticipated easing of restrictions . The pandemic has really shone a light on the benefits of our JetCard product: for those who are able to reserve private flying hours in advance, it offers unparalleled flexibility and access to a private jet at very short notice. This means it is proving very popular among customers who want to know they can travel easily and safely when lockdown restrictions lift.”
Air Partner‘s shares have added 3.5% or 2.5p to 74p.
Proactive news headlines
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Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV) said it raised £10.3mln, before expenses, through an oversubscribed placing and direct subscription and that the net proceeds will mainly go towards progressing its flagship Mina do Barroso project in Portugal.
Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) revealed that its subsidiary, PhytoVista Laboratories, has been granted accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2017, general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
Spectra Systems Corporation (LON:SPSY) said it has executed an agreement with a central bank customer to include a new capability for its sensors to detect “exotic counterfeits”, with the new contract resulting in an immediate US$1.2mln of development funding.
ADES International Holding PLC (LON:ADES) has confirmed that its deal to be acquired by Innovative Energy Holding Ltd has now been declared unconditional – and, as of yesterday, there had been acceptances representing 95.98% of the company’s shares.
Tirupati Graphite PLC (LON:TGR) said it has opened its second mine in Madagascar at the Vatomina project, where it remains on track to start commissioning the first 9,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) processing plant in the second quarter.
Galantas Gold Corporation (LON:GAL) increased the ceiling on its proposed private placing to C$8mln from C$6mln, due to strong investor demand.
Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ) said the government of Azerbaijan approved the first of two five-year extensions of the production sharing agreement for its Gedabek contract area, while it is also in talks to obtain an extension of the territory of the existing contract areas and for new contract areas in the country.
Inspiration Healthcare Group PLC (LON:IHC) announced that its subsidiary SLE has received regulatory approval from the National Medical Products Administration to sell the enhanced version of the SLE6000 in China.
Coinsilium Group Limited (LON:COIN) said its portfolio company and advisory client Indorse is planning a public alpha release of Nifty Scanner, a digital asset analysis software solution for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF, TSX:APY) announced the timetable for dividends to be paid in 2021 and gave notice that its annual general meeting will be held at 10am on 26 May at the company’s registered office in London. Shareholders will not be permitted to attend the AGM in person and should therefore vote by proxy, inlcuding on the proposed 3.75p final dividend.