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Calnex ‘considerably’ ahead of forecasts; Virgin Wines IPO

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4.30pm: FTSE fades

The FTSE 100 closed in the red as the positive sentiment surrounding the UK vaccine roll-out appeared to fade.

The index closed down 7.25 points, or 0.11% 6,748.86.

One of the biggest gainers on AIM was Scottish firm Omega Diagnostics, up 13p or 16.25% at 93.5p after positive feedback on its Covid flow tests from a research study.

11.30am: Infinity Works acquired

Accenture has acquired cloud and digital transformation consultancy Infinity Work for an undisclosed sum.

Infinity Works is headquartered in Leeds, with 440 staff in offices across the UK including Edinburgh, London and Manchester. 

11am: Menzies Distribution board appointment

Menzies Distribution, the Edinburgh-based logistics firm, has appointed a former Asda chief executive as non-executive chairman. 

Full story here

10.30am: Wind acquisition

Perth-based Realise Energy Services has expanded its wind turbine operation and maintenance business with an acquisition in Northern Ireland.

Full story here

8am: London remains higher

The FTSE 100 built on yesterday’s 166 point surge with a 24 point rise to 6,780.28.

7am: Calnex ahead of expectations

Tommy Cook

Calnex Solutions, the Linlithgow-based provider of test and measurement solutions for the global telecommunications sector, said the strong levels of customer spend experienced in the first half of the group’s financial year continued into the second half.

The company, which floated last year, said in trading update it had seen “no deterioration in operational performance noted from any macro-economic factors, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”  

The board believes the pandemic may have influenced certain customers’ spending patterns, resulting in some revenues being brought forward into FY21.

As a result of the continued strong performance in the second half of FY21, the board anticipates revenues for FY21 will be ahead of market expectations.

Lower travel and event costs mean higher margins are expected than would have been anticipated, which will result in the company’s profitability also being ahead of market expectations in FY21.

The group expects to start the next full year with a healthy order book.

Tommy Cook, chief executive and founder (pictured), said: “We expect to deliver growth in the year considerably ahead of the forecasts published at the time of our IPO.”

Iomart hires marketing director

Iomart Group, the cloud computing company, has appointed Sharon Mars Leach as group marketing director to lead the group’s brand acceleration strategy.

Full story here

Omega test backed

Omega, the medical diagnostics company said the UK Rapid Test Consortium of which Omega is a partner, welcomes confirmation from scientists at PHE, and the Universities of Bristol, Warwick and Cambridge, that its rapid antibody test for Covid is highly accurate.

Professor Chris Molloy, chairman of the UK-RTC, said: “This research on the different use cases for lateral flow antibody tests is welcome. The AbC-19 test is an important weapon in the global fight against COVID-19. It allows us to see the neutralising IgG antibodies produced in response to infection, or after vaccination.”

Virgin Wines seeks IPO

Virgin Wines, one of the UK’s largest direct-to-consumer online wine retailers, is to float on AIM.

As at 31 December 2020 Virgin Wines had approximately 169,000 active customers of which approximately 147,000 were members across its subscription schemes.

Serco acquisition

Serco Group is acquiring Whitney, Bradley & Brown, a leading provider of advisory, engineering and technical services to the US Military, for $295m from an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital.

Glencore sees improved H2

Mining group Glencore reported a loss for 2020, but said it swung to profit in the second half of the year and confirmed the resumption of its dividend in 2021.

The FTSE 100 Anglo-Swiss mining-and-oil company booked a net loss of $1.90 billion for the whole year, widening from a $404 million loss in 2019. It was worse than a consensus forecast of a $1.73 billion net loss.

However, Glencore delivered a net profit of $697 million in the second half of the year, bouncing back from a $2.60 billion loss in the first half, as commodity prices improved.

In addition, the group said that it is resuming the dividend by recommending a distribution of $0.12 in 2021.

BHP declares dividend

BHP, the world’s largest listed miner by market value and the biggest company on the FTSE 100, reported a net profit of $3.88 billion for the six months through December, versus $4.87 billion a year earlier.

Directors declared an interim dividend of $1.01 a share, up from 65 cents in the same period a year ago.

Markets

Oil prices jumped to a 13-month high as a deep freeze due to a severe snow storm in the United States not only boosted power demand but also threatened oil production in Texas.

Japanese stocks rose to a 30-year high on Tuesday for the second consecutive session as progress in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines boosted expectations that the global economy is poised for a strong recovery.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo ended up 1.28%, closing at its highest since August 1990. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.4% to hit a 32-month hig



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