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Xeros Technology in demand after deal with Spanish giant


Xeros Technology Group PLC (LON:XSG) has seen its shares spin higher after a deal with Barcelona-based commercial laundry equipment group Girbau.

Xeros has developed products to help reduce water and chemistry in dyeing or laundering garments and fabrics. It also has technology to prevent microfibres generated during washing cycles – including microplastic – from being released into rivers and oceans.

Under the terms of the ten year deal, Girbau will licence the company’s XFiltra product – the microfibre preventer – and use it in a range of filters for the commercial laundry market. These rights are exclusive in a number of territories including Europe and North America with non-exclusive rights granted for certain other territories. Royalties are payable at a fixed amount for each device sold, with minimum sales levels also included in the terms of the agreement. First sales are planned in 2021.

Girbau’s XFiltra product, developed in partnership with Xeros, captures more than 90% of all microfibres released during laundry cycles.

Xeros chief executive Mark Nichols said: “This is major step by Xeros and Girbau, one of the world’s most respected commercial laundry equipment manufacturers, towards helping the world wear better and reduce environmental harm.

“Commercial and domestic laundry processes generate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of microfibre pollution every year, with microfibres now found everywhere on our planet and within the entire trophic range. Our announcement today signals the start of a significant step to cut this form of pollution…

“Moving from development stage to commercial agreement with Girbau in roughly 15 months is a fantastic achievement and evidences, we believe, the strength of the IP within XFiltra and we plan to begin trials of our domestic version with major appliance manufacturers later this year.”

Xeros’ shares are 3.9% better at 240p.

2.50pm: Hospitality group sees strong trading since re-opening

Various Eateries PLC (LON:VARE), which owns the Coppa Club clubhouses and Tavolino restaurants, has celebrated the end of lockdown.

In the first half of its financial year the company – formed in 2014 when entrepreneur Hugh Osmond bought the distressed Strada brand – saw revenues fall from £11.2mln to £3.3mln but nonethess it broke even before tax.

Its sites were of course closed during most of the period because of lockdown, but there was a positive performance from its Coppa Club sites outside London during their only month of trading in October 2020.

The company also received a business interruption insurance interim payment of £2.5m in December 2020.

Since re-opening it has seen strong trading, helped by having large outdoor spaces. Revenues at Coppa Club were better than expected – up 11.3% in the five weeks to 16 May compared to 2019 and up 28.3% in the subsequent five weeks when they could serve customers indoors.

It has new sites of Coppa Club planned in Bristol and Putney and is negotiating for further properties.

Executive chairman Andy Bassadone said: “After prolonged periods of closures and disruption, it is heartening to see the public returning so enthusiastically to eating and drinking out. It is still early days but the response to our re-openings has been good and trading has been ramping up as we have moved through the government’s roadmap.”

The company’s shares have climbed 4.77% to 97.44p.

11.59am: Wood Group sees revenues and earnings drop as pandemic hits projects division

Wood Group PLC (LON:WG.) has lost ground after unveiling the effect of COVID-19 on its business.

The engineering and consultancy group said half year revenues were expected to drop 21% to US$3.2bn, with earnings down 12% to US$255mln to $265mln.

It said strong consulting activity and relative resilience in perations partly offset lower activity in projects.

It expects lower activity overall for the full year, but is seeing improving activity levels which should see a stronger second half.

Stuart Lamont, investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said: “It has been a relatively slow start to the year for Wood, with revenues down around one-fifth on the same period in 2020. The company’s projects division, which represents 40% of sales, has been particularly affected by the pandemic and has seen revenues drop by around 40%.

“With that, debt has stayed above the $1 billion mark, after Wood had previously managed to make significant reductions. Nevertheless, the management team appears to remain confident in the outlook and order book momentum at its operations and consulting divisions looks positive, suggesting the company can get back on track in the second half of the year.”

Meanwhile the shares are down 9.3p or 4.06% at 219.7p.

10.49am: Tristel receives approval for three key products

Tristel PLC (LON:TSTL), which makes infection prevention products, is on the way up after receiving three significant regulatory approvals.

Its foam-based disinfectant for surfaces has received updated approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, expanding the product’s efficacy claims to include mycobacteria.

It has appointed Parker Laboratories as its US manufacturing partner and will sell the product through Parker’s nationwide network of distributors on a non-exclusive basis, staring in 2023. Other distribution channels will be put in place ahead of the US launch. 

Its Duo OPH disinfectant – used on ophthalmic instruments including ultrasound devices and lenses that contact the cornea-  has been approved by Health Canada.

Finally the South Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved its Tristel Duo ULT product as a high-level disinfectant for ultrasound devices.

It is now seeking approval for Duo ULT from the US FDA.  Worldwide sales of all Duo branded products for medical device disinfection, including Duo ULT and Duo OPH, will exceed £4.3mln in 2021.

Chief executive Paul Swinney said: “Every regulatory approval we achieve represents an important milestone in our progress, and these three approvals are very significant.”

Tristel shares are up 3.96% or 23.74p at 623.74p.

9.27am: First Property Group falls sharply after hefty losses

First Property Group PLC (LON:FPO) has seen its shares subside after a “perfect storm” sent it plunging into the red.

The property fund manager made a pretax loss of £5.09mln in 2020 compared to a £5.52mln profit.

The value ot its directly owned property fell from £56.3mln to £41.57mln.

Unsurprisingly it is not paying a final dividend.

 Chief executive Ben Habib said the property business required “real physical activity” and this had been non-existent during the pandemic.

He said the situation was worse than the 2008 credit crunch.

He said: “Real businesses could perhaps have taken the first full lockdown but we have had varying degrees of lockdown virtually for the entire financial year.

“Consequences of this have been manifold. Many tenants have refused to pay rent and our ability to enforce collection, even from those that could afford to pay, has been substantially neutered by government. Some tenants have gone bankrupt. Rents have fallen across virtually all office and retail sub-sectors. Replacing tenants has been extremely demanding in all cases and impossible in some. As a consequence asset values have dropped.

“In short it has been a perfect storm.”

It has cash in the bank after the £17mln sale of CH8 last year, but the outlook is still uncertain.

He added: “Quantitative Easing will no doubt begin to buoy asset values soon; there are signs of it now, even with income under pressure. But the gravitational pull of economic adversity is going to continue for some time yet.

“We have a number of interesting developments and investments afoot but it will take at least a year, possibly two, for the benefits of these to come through in the numbers.”

The company’s shares are down 21.43% or 7.5p at 27.5p.

8.33am: Vitec Group PLC soars after positive snapshot of orders and profits

Vitec Group PLC (LON:VTC) has broadcast a good share price rise after saying profits would be better than expected.

In an unscheduled update the company, which supplies products ranging from camera systems to mobile power to the likes of broadcasters and gamers, said it ended May with a record order book.

So half year profits are forecast to be not less than £19mln. This compares to £23.5mln in 2019 – pre-pandemic – although that figure included £5.8mln of insurance income.

And despite uncertainty around the impact of electronic component and raw material shortages, it now believes full year profits will be materially above current market expectations of £35.6mln.

There had already been material upgrades following the company’s annual meeting in May, said analyst Tom Fraine at Shore Capital.

He said: “We expect to upgrade our 2021 adjusted pretax profit by around 10% to £39.5mln. We see scope for further upgrades given that the company expects to report at least £19m adjusted pretax profit for the six months ending 30 June 2021, which has been much more heavily impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions than we would expect for the second half…

“We believe there is a good chance this upgrade momentum will continue given that our expected new adjusted [foreast] is still significantly below the £48mln achieved in 2019…

“We believe investing in Vitec represents a good opportunity to benefit from the trend of increasing independent video content creation, which is being driven by TikTok, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, Disney, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Facebook. We expect significant increases in funding for independent production companies (e.g. from Great Point, which has been planning to float a £200mln+ film & TV production investment trust) to the benefit of Vitec through sales of premium videographic equipment.

“In the medium-term, we believe Vitec has opportunities to grow earnings through value-enhancing M&A, operational efficiencies and the 4K replacement cycle.”

Its shares are up 13.41% or 165p to 1395p.

Also on the way up is Petards Group PLC (LON:PEG).

Shares in the security and surveillance systems specialist are 3.8% or 0.48p better at 12.98p after a key client took up an option to extend an existing contract.

The extension, won by Petards’ subsidiary RTS Solutions, is worth more than £0.5mln with annual revenues in excess of £0.25mln.

Chairman Raschid Abdullah said: “This award, together with the 3-year renewal of licensing and support agreements for WMS software announced in May, adds to RTS’s order book and provides it with a strong core of recurring revenues for the current and following years.”



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