We talk you through the big movers and shakers on AIM, including a new Covid-19 testing firm.
The debut of Abingdon Health came as the York-based diagnostics firm raised £22 million from institutional investors to support the increased manufacturing of its rapid lateral-flow test.
Shares were priced at 96p for a market capitalisation of £92 million, but quickly rose to 106p on their first day of dealings as Abingdon joined the likes of Novacyt (LSE:NCYT), Genedrive (LSE:GDR), Avacta (LSE:AVCT) and SourceBio (LSE:SBI) as AIM-traded stocks with exposure to the Covid-19 testing market.
Sector prospects have been boosted by government funding until March 2022, with the next year expected to see peak demand as Boris Johnson aims for millions of tests every day.
The 17% rise for shares in Purplebricks came after it said that earnings for the year to April were currently ahead of City forecasts. The online estate agent has been busy since the end of lockdown restrictions in May and after a stamp duty holiday was announced in July.
This has resulted in a 20% rise in instructions over the five month period, with its overall market share stable at 4.8% of properties sold amid signs that consumers are now more comfortable about using apps and tech-based alternatives. Chief executive Vic Darvey added:
“We are now emerging from the pandemic in a strong competitive position.”
He announced a 110% jump in half-year earnings to £8.4 million and said the full-year figure is running ahead of the top end of City's consensus estimate of £10.6 million.
Even though he said the company's up-front fees still resonate with consumers, Darvey is exploring new pricing models and ways to expand its target market. A report on the results of pricing tests should be released alongside full-year results in 2021.
Purplebricks shares are now trading at 88.7p after today's surge, compared with 52.7p at the end of October and 23.5p in March.
Other strong performers on AIM included SpaceandPeople (LSE:SAL), which jumped 8% or 0.65p to 8.4p after being chosen by two more former Intu shopping centres, Gateshead's Metrocentre and The Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, to sell short-term promotional and pop-up retailing space.
Shares have jumped from 4.25p since the start of December after the company previously secured high footfall locations at the Lakeside Shopping Centre, Watford Shopping Centre, Braehead Shopping Centre and Victoria Shopping Centre, Nottingham.
Springfield Properties (LSE:SPR) was another stock with momentum after the Scotland-focused housebuilder reported that revenues for the six months to 30 November should be 17% higher than a year ago, in line with market expectations.
The group now has material visibility over full-year forecasts and expects a material reduction in net debt to around £33.6 million. Shares rose 3p to 119p, the highest level since March.
Greatland Gold (LSE:GGP) shares recovered from an initial 8% dip, having earlier announced CEO Gervaise Heddle is soon to leave the Australia-focused exploration company. The former Merrill Lynch fund manager joined Greatland in May 2016 and was instrumental in the acquisition of the Havieron project and its subsequent development with Newcrest.
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Chairman Alex Borrelli said: “Under his leadership, the team at Greatland has delivered exceptional value creation for shareholders.” Shares were 2p at the end of 2019 but peaked last week at 33p for a market value of £1.3 billion after figures showed an initial inferred resource of 4.2 million ounces on a gold equivalent basis for Havieron. Analysts at Berenberg said this made it more likely that Newcrest will elect to move forward with the development.
Heddle, who is leaving in March to pursue other interests, said the time was right to hand over to someone who can take Greatland to the next level. His replacement is Shaun Day, who spent five years as chief financial officer of Australian gold producer Northern Star Resources.
“Shaun brings the necessary large-scale mining pedigree and is highly respected in the industry with a track record of building major mining companies. He has my full support as the right person to take Greatland forward on the next leg of its exciting journey."
Shares were later just a quarter of a penny lower at 32.3p.
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