A bit better today on the RNS front, it seems companies are beginning to awake from their festive slumber.
Gear4Music G4M 516.50 +16.50 3.30%
Market Cap: £101m
Gear4Music, the largest online distributor of musical instruments and equipment in the UK, announced a trading update for the four months from 1 September 2016 to 31 December 2016.
This company is a popular one. I know Paul Scott, writer of the Small Cap Value Report, is very fond of this company. It offers a significant growth opportunity as its numbers today show. Those bullish on the stock hope that this will be a pint-sized boohoo.com, though obviously the Market isn’t as big as online fashion.
Anyway, the numbers in the update are very strong. Total sales up by 55% to £24.38 million from £15.69 – impressive stuff! The company has more than doubled sales outside the UK, ROW sales totalled £9.37 million amounting to a 129% increase. That is one thing I look for in my growth stocks, worldwide appeal.
Beyond sales, the company has achieved a 63% in own-brand products, which offer more favourably profit margins. The number active customers on the website are 53% to 324,000. All good stuff. The company has seen strong growth in its share price recently and it seems that is set to continue.
Crawshaw Group CRAW 23.25 -2.25 -8.84%
Market Cap: £20.13m
Crawshaw Group, the fresh meat and food-to-go retailer, provided an update on Christmas trading for the 5 week period since our last update on 29 November 2016 to the 1 January 2017.
Group sales were up 13% in the 5 week period versus the prior year, with total customer numbers also up 13% for the same period. This is something.
However, Like-for-like sales were -3.8% for the 5 weeks ended 1 January 2017 having improved from -8.1% for the 4 weeks ended 27 November 2016. Like-for-like customer numbers were -4.2% having improved from -9.7% for the same periods.
In truth, I am not sure how helpful this is. I guess it shows customer moment – are things growing on a week-by-week basis? However, given the seasonality of the business, I am not sure you can expect this as a business. Of course, customers are going to be higher for Christmas, so I take that improvement with a pinch of salt. Also, the next update will probably be negatively phrased as that period won’t match the customer momentum that Crawshaw outlets had over Christmas – people wouldn’t expect it to. I see what they are trying to report or communicate to investors, but I am not sure it can it works because there is too much fluctuation to deduce anything from this.
With an improvement in trading over the Christmas period, “Board remain confident in achieving full year market expectations”.
Satellite Solutions SAT 9.35 +0.73 8.41%
Market Cap: £46.25m
Satellite Solutions Worldwide, a company specialising rural broadband, announced a new commercial contract with one of its key suppliers of satellite capacity, SES Techcom Services.
The contract will bolster the company’s already strong sale growth in European markets. It will boost the company’s Virtual Network. Operator capacity allowing them to create faster products and quicker solutions. It ensures the into early 2019 in the UK and French markets
Elsewhere, the company have also acquired Viveole, a provider of satellite broadband services in France, with approximately 1,900 residential and business customers. This deal is worth approximately £870,000 and includes customers and related assets, equipment inventory and the supplier agreement with SES of Auvea Ingenierie. The business was running at breakeven as of 31 March 2016. This acquisition strengthens SSW’s strategic positioning in France.
Ascent Resources AST 1.63 -0.07 -3.97%
Market Cap: £18.43m
Ascent have provided the market with an update on the work programmes required to deliver first gas in Q1 2017.
The company announced an agreement with Croatian company, INA, to sell gas to the company back in August. This news sent the share price rocketing up by about 70%. This sale of gas could be done by sending it through a pipeline from Slovenia to Croatia and selling it at the bording. This a quick, cheap and efficient route to market for a company, who were facing a long legal battle over the appeal of their IPCC licence. To secure the require pipeline, Ascent acquired gas company Trameta in Slovenia. The company indicated first gas could be delivered in Q1 2017.
I won’t bore you with technical details about well drilling and so on. If you want those, click through to the actual RNS.
The well was drilled and holes created meant that gas was successfully coming though. However, “it became clear that additional holes will be required to allow sufficient gas to flow to satisfy the supply contract with INA in Croatia”. The company are now working on this. They will be drilling additionally holes to improve the gas flow. Once done, a formal evaluation will be done.
The gas pipeline will be connected to the processing facility later this month following the completion of the flow test, so worth keeping an eye on that formal evaluation. If that delays, it’ll have knock of effects on the ability of Ascent to deliver gas in Q1 2017.
All other work programmes are progressing in line with expectations and we look forward to the production of gas before the end of Q1 2017.
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