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EARNINGS: International Biotechnology bullish; Andrews Sykes profit up

8th May 2024 11:39

(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of earnings for London-listed companies, issued on Wednesday and not separately reported by Alliance News:

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International Biotechnology Trust PLC - London-based biotechnology and healthcare sector-focused alternative investment fund, managed by SV Health Managers LLP - Reports net asset value total return of 11% in six months to February 29, outperforming reference index which rises 8.2%. NAV per share rises 8.9% to 748.90 pence from 687.51p at end of August. The trust had paid a first interim dividend of 13.90p in January, down 0.7% from 14.00p. Its dividend policy is to make payments equivalent to 4% of NAV. It plans to make the declaration for the second dividend of the year in July, before payment in August. Looking ahead, Chair Kate Cornish-Bowden says: "The science and innovation in the drug development sector is more exciting than ever. The number of new clinical trials registered in 2023 reached a new high, as novel techniques and technology including gene therapy, cell therapy and RNA therapeutics gained momentum. The M&A outlook remains bright, and the need for large pharmaceutical companies to fill their pipelines is as great as ever. Relative valuations in the small and mid-cap biotechnology companies are compelling."

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Andrews Sykes Group PLC - Wolverhampton-based heating and air-conditioning firm - Revenue in 2023 falls 5.1% to GBP78.7 million from GBP83.0 million in 2022. Pretax profit, however, improves 9.5% to GBP23.6 million from GBP21.6 million. Credit loss provisions reduce to GBP959,000 from GBP2.1 million. Depreciation of right-of-use assets down to GBP2.8 million from GBP4.0 million. In addition, it reports GBP1.6 million in finance income, a rise from GBP631,000. The firm says: "The current year has not been without its challenges with the well publicised inflationary pressures and tight labour markets that have been impacting the UK and European economies also impacting Andrews Sykes. However, our strong relationships with customers and long standing relationships with key suppliers, coupled with our highly experienced management team have allowed us to once again not only navigate our way through these circumstances, but thrive." Maintains final dividend at 14.00p. Total dividend for the year amounts to 85.30p, up markedly from 41.00p. The total payout includes a 59.40p special dividend. Looking ahead, it says: "Trading momentum has continued into the current year, with overall performance in the year to date in line with the board's expectations. The group is confident in its core markets, its revenues and its profits."

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Light Science Technologies Holdings PLC - Derbyshire, England-based agricultural lighting and monitoring systems provider - Revenue in year ended November 30 rises 14% to a record of GBP9.3 million, from GBP8.2 million. Pretax loss slims to GBP1.1 million from GBP2.7 million. "We are very pleased to report significant operational progress in the period, with strong progress across all parts of the business delivering record group revenues which exceeded internal management expectations," Chief Executive Officer Simon Deacon says. "We move forward with a significantly strengthened corporate team and long-term global structural drivers that complement our business model. The Light Science management team is committed to growing a complementary portfolio of companies that is diverse, operationally self-funding, and delivers for its shareholders."

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Cornerstone FS PLC - London-based provider of cloud-based payment systems - Revenue in 2023 doubles to GBP9.4 million from GBP4.8 million. Posts pretax profit of GBP1.3 million, swinging from a loss of GBP5.8 million. "This has been an excellent year for our business, resulting in 100% revenue growth and our maiden full year of profitability and positive cashflow. This has been driven by the expansion of our sales team, which achieved an increase in client numbers as well as average transaction value. At the same time, we advanced key strategic initiatives that will be drivers of our future growth in the near term," Chief Executive Officer James Hickman says. Cornerstone FS trades as Finseta. It will "shortly" change its name to Finseta PLC. It adds: "The strong trading momentum that was experienced during 2023 has been sustained into the current year, which reflects the continued increase in the number of active clients and expansion of the group's introducer network. This is being driven, in particular, by the investment that the group is making into its UK sales team. Consequently, the group is on track to report significant growth for full year 2024, in line with the board's expectations."

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Alba Mineral Resources PLC - Northern Europe-focused mineral explorer - Pretax loss in year to November 30 narrows to GBP196,000 from GBP2.6 million. Reports no revenue, unchanged on-year. Administrative expenses fall 55% to GBP738,000 from GBP1.6 million. In addition, it reports no impairment expense, compared to GBP984,000 in prior year, aiding its bottom line this time around. Alba says: "The outlook for our Welsh gold projects is strong, not least as we now find ourselves within touching distance of possible first gold production from the bulk sampling of both the Waste Tip and the Llechfraith target. With that in mind, in the next period we intend to further our partnership, marketing and offtake discussions in relation to future gold produced at Clogau and at the same time to continue our development work to establish a fully traceable 'mine-to-market' supply chain. This will underpin our ability to command a premium price for our gold production."

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Ocean Wilsons Holdings Ltd - Bermuda-based investment holding company - Revenue at Wilson Sons subsidiary climbs 18% on-year in first-quarter of 2024 to USD129.4 million from USD109.8 million. Profit for the quarter improves 29% to USD21.2 million from USD16.4 million. Wilson Sons operates a port and maritime logistics company in Brazil. Ocean Wilsons says the value of its investment portfolio improves 4.1% during the three months. "This result was driven by the strong performance of the public asset portfolio and the fact that the defensive portfolio performed well versus government bonds," Ocean Wilsons says.

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Brighton Pier Group PLC - leisure and entertainment business that owns the Brighton Palace Pier - Revenue in year ended December 24 amounts to GBP34.8 million. In the 18 months to December 25, 2022, revenue amounted to GBP58.9 million. The firm had changed its financial year end date from June 30. Pretax loss in 12 months to December 24 amounts to GBP8.8 million, swinging from profit of GBP7.6 million in the earlier 18-month period. CEO Anne Ackord says: "In spite of a number of operational challenges experienced during 2023, the group delivered a resilient underlying trading performance. While the outlook must continue to be one of caution until economic conditions improve, the plan to trial charging for admissions to the Pier during peak trading periods, the rationalisation of the loss-making sites in the Bars division and the ongoing lodges project at Lightwater Valley are all important developments that should enhance the group's ability to successfully navigate the challenges faced."

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LMS Capital PLC - investment company focused on real estate, energy and late stage private equity - Net asset value per share at March 31 first-quarter end falls 1.5% to 51.4p from 52.2p at end of December. LMS adds: "We see our real estate activities, particularly in retirement living as being a key area of focus over the next period in establishing a portfolio which can deliver our long-term goal. In particular, we will be focussed on identifying additional investment opportunities and funding partners with whom to develop our investment platform in the retirement living sector."

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By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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