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TRADING UPDATES: Eckoh expects profit up; LXi REIT refinances facility

25th Apr 2023 16:19

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

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Okyo Pharma Ltd - UK-based preclinical biopharmaceutical company - Activates the first clinical trial site in the US for its phase 2, multi-centre, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of the OK-101 ophthalmic solution in subjects with dry eye disease. First patient is expected to make their first visit within the next two weeks. Chief Executive Officer Gary Jacob says: "Our primary focus continues to be on advancing the clinical development of OK-101 as a potential treatment option for dry eye disease, a chronic ocular condition that affects roughly 700 million people worldwide. With the activation of our first clinical site we are now very close to the opening of the OK-101 phase 2 trial and are looking forward to initiating enrolment and completing the trial before the end of the year."

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Eckoh PLC - London-based secure payment and customer contact products - Expects revenue for the year that ended March 31 to be GBP39 million, up from GBP31.8 million a year earlier. Expects adjusted operating profit of at least GBP7.6 million from GBP5.2 million, slightly ahead of market expectations. Net cash at March 31 up to GBP5.7 million from GBP2.8 million, also ahead of market expectations. Notes "excellent progress was made in the key North American region" with Security Solutions exit annual recurring revenue up organically 34% to USD15.9 million from USD11.9 million, due to "increasing focus on on its largest growth market, which resulted in further large contract wins, increased cross-selling and strong renewals in the region". Expects to announce its annual results on June 14.

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N4 Pharma PLC - Derby, England-based pharmaceutical company focused on developing Nuvec, a delivery system for vaccines and cancer treatments - Says it has now completed work on establishing assays to measure how Nuvec loaded with BCL-2 siRNA can silence expression of the BCL-2 protein. BCL-2 is a form of protein that regulates cell death in healthy cells however aberrant expression can facilitate tumour development and resistance to cancer therapy. Says this means it can now proceed to generate a dose response curve for knockdown of BCL-2 expression to compliment the one already generated for epidermal growth factor receptor. EGFR is found on the surface of some normal cells and is involved in cell growth. It may also be found at high levels on some types of cancer cells, which causes these cells to grow and divide. Says it has planned further work to assess the minimal loading of siRNA on Nuvec to achieve comparable inhibition to the two commercially available drugs. Says next step is to undertake a full dose response curve study for siRNA loaded Nuvec and compare to the dose response for Gefitinib and Venetoclax.

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Loungers PLC - Bristol, England-based operator of restaurants including Lounge and Cosy Club - Revenue in the year that ended April 16 is up 20% to GBP283.5 million from a year earlier. Expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be broadly in line with market expectations. Like-for-like sales growth up 7.4% from a year earlier and up 18% from pre-pandemic levels three years ago. Opens 29 new sites during the financial year. Chief Executive Officer Nick Collins says: "For almost a decade now we have consistently out-performed the market as we strive to deliver better for our customers and our teams. The inflationary pressure across our supply chain looks to be easing, and our scale and continued growth have allowed us to mitigate much of the impact. We look forward to continued strong performance as we enter [financial 2024]."

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PPHE Hotel Group Ltd - Amsterdam, Netherlands-based real estate firm, which operates hotels and resorts - Secures required regulatory approvals for its recently launched European Hospitality Real Estate Fund. Says this enables it to further accelerate its strategy of identifying, acquiring and developing attractive hotel assets across a range of key European markets. Hotels acquired by the fund will be operated by PPHE's hospitality operating platform. It intends to participate in fund for up to EUR50 million. Also extends partnership with Radisson Hotel Group, noting first Radisson RED hotel located in Belgrade, Serbia. Says the Radisson RED Belgrade will be the second hotel to be operated and marketed by PPHE, following the launch of Grand Hotel Brioni in Pula, Croatia, which opened as a Radisson Collection Hotel in May 2022 following an extensive repositioning project. PPHE Chief Executive Officer Boris Ivesha says: "This builds further on our successful 20-year partnership with Radisson Hotel Group, which is founded on trust, collaboration and joint value creation. We are excited about the future of our property portfolio through this enhanced partnership and our entrepreneurial approach to value creation that is possible through our unique business model. We look forward to continuing to unlock a range of exciting opportunities for long-term growth while exciting an ever-growing number of guests around the world."

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LXi REIT PLC - London-based commercial real estate-focused investment trust - Completes refinancing with six-year term facility for total GBP1.30 billion and a weighted average capped all-in cost of debt of 4.7%. Chief Executive Officer Freddie Brooks says: "We are pleased to have completed the company's comprehensive refinancing programme, delivering operational flexibility, further diversifying our sources of capital and underpinning our long-term progressive dividend policy. The new facilities represent a positive outcome for the company, despite the challenging economic backdrop, that is testament to the quality of our long-income portfolio."

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Guild Esports PLC - London-based e-sports company - Signs sponsorship deal with sports and fashion brand Hummel International Sport & Leisure AS. Says deal is worth up to GBP700,000 in revenue over the duration of the contract, appointing Hummel as Guild's official technical kit partner, receiving exposure on the front of Guild's team jerseys. Hummel will gain exclusive rights to the production and sale of Guild-branded apparel, which will be sold online including Hummel's website and potentially at the high street outlets of major retailers in the UK and Ireland, subject to confirmation in due course. Guild will receive a double-digit share of the merchandising revenues sold through hummel, including performance-linked payments based on certain sales targets being achieved. Based on Guild's sales projections, the combined value of the sponsorship and merchandising deal is estimated at around GBP1 million over the three-year contract term. Says the products are scheduled to go on sale on October 1. Also terminates contract with cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp from January 2024 to pursue new contracts with other sponsors. Last year, it agreed a three-year GBP4.5 million sponsorship deal with Bitstamp.

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By Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News reporter

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