Esken Ltd bullish on energy business as Southend Airport set to recover

Shares of Esken Ltd (LSE:ESKN) rise after the aviation infrastructure and renewable energy group released an upbeat trade statement.

The company said its Stobart Energy business – which supplies wood waste to biomass power plants – ended the year trading at the upper end of the £18-20m range it had forecast.

This performance was driven by improved entry fees, increased wood waste supply and strong operational performance from its biomass power plant customers.

The company believes its London Southend airport is well placed to recover as travel restrictions are lifted.

Wizz Air recently decided not to restart flights from one destination to London Southend Airport for summer 2022. But Esken said the airport would benefit from the return of easyJet flights, with tickets already on sale for flights to Malaga and Palma, and flights to Faro went on sale on March 17, 2022. The company is also in talks with a wide range of airlines to set up agreements for Esken from summer 2023 .

He added; “While flights were restricted during the traditionally quieter winter period, the airport continued to benefit from global logistics revenue. Esken maintained strict financial discipline, underpinned by £14.4m of earmarked cash, which will be used to support the airport as it works towards a positive cash contribution.”

Esken shares are up 6.36% to 11.7p.

12:59 p.m .: AIQ boosted by an agreement to supply the NFT market in Hong Kong

Mention NFTs and you’re bound to get a reaction.

AIQ Ltd (LSE:AIQ), the IT consultancy and e-commerce company, has certainly found that to be the case.

Its shares jumped 20% to 9p after it said its Hong Kong company, Alcodes International, had won a contract to provide a non-fungible token marketplace and partnered with two vendors to deliver the project.

The marketplace is designed to enable art schools and education centers in Hong Kong to help their students post NFTs. Alcodes International will oversee and manage the project, with market development handled by software group Accubits Technologies and blockchain developer digiXnode Technology.

He added that he would be able to expand the market reach in China through the partnership with digiXnode.

Executive Director Edwin Li said, “We are delighted to have won this contract and to have partnered with Accubits and digiXnode for its delivery. As we have already indicated, our strategic objective is to take advantage of the demand for IT services for blockchain technology and digital assets. We are making good progress with our initial contract in this area, which is to provide a decentralized funding exchange, and this new project is a first step into the NFT market. We are especially excited to work with our new partners, and look forward to establishing a long-term relationship with them.”

12:05 p.m .: Daytime declines after losses nearly double and seek funding

Diurnal Group PLC (AIM:DNL) fell sharply after its losses nearly doubled and it said it was seeking additional funding.

The specialty pharmaceutical company said its half-year revenue rose 75% to £2.13million.

But its operating loss fell from £5.26million to £9.2million, which it says reflects increased investment in the product pipeline and launch preparations across the Europe of Efmody, a product designed to improve the treatment of diseases of adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Earlier this month, Efmody suffered a setback when the Scottish Medicines Consortium failed to recommend him for automatic reimbursement within NHS Scotland. Diurnal said it would provide additional data to support a resubmission to SMC as soon as possible.

He said: “The company’s initial assessment of the impact of SMC’s recent decision is that despite continued strong growth (expected to exceed 100% for the 12 month period ending June 30, 2022) , near-term sales expectations for Efmody are unlikely to be met and additional funding will be required to achieve profitability.

“The board remains confident that Efmody can grow into a profitable franchise but, based on current resource allocation, this will depend on the drug being approved for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency (AI) in 2024.

“To accelerate near-term adoption of Efmody and sales growth, the company will reallocate resources to key territories with immediate effect. The impact of this on Efmody sales and the magnitude of additional funding for Whether the company achieves profitability will be assessed over the next few months.In parallel, the company is exploring financing options, including non-dilutive financings.

Daytime shares are down 43.28% to 19p.

10:11 am: Knights law firm loses nearly half its value after Omicron hits earnings

Knights Group Holdings PLC (AIM:KGH) has been sidetracked by the pandemic, with lower than expected activity rates.

The legal and professional services business said it expected substantial growth in the second half after a strong first half where it posted organic growth of 9%.

But in a new business update, he said: “The lingering effects of Omicron across the country have led, in particular, to higher rates of illness among our staff, which has prevented the business from benefiting from “a faster return to office work and the resulting benefits. our team culture. We have also seen a weakening in business confidence, perhaps due to concerns about the strength of the economy, so there has been a slowdown in business work.

It therefore now expects underlying profits of around £18m for the year, down from the £18.4m reported in 2021, although revenue is expected to rise 22% , £126 million.

He also forecasts a slowdown next year: “Given the current uncertainty regarding both economic conditions and the speed of people’s fuller transition into offices, it is now prudent to anticipate organic growth in ‘approximately 5% for the year ending April 30, 2023, with margins rebuilt to historic levels over time.’

Knights shares fell 47.40% to 192p.

9:22 am: Fintel optimistic after full-year profit rise

Fintel PLC (AIM: FNTL) is flying after improved results and a positive outlook.

The company, which provides fintech and support services to the UK retail financial services sector, disclosed a 5% rise in full-year revenue to £63.9m and a 6% increase in its adjusted profits to £18.3m.

Co-Chief Executive Officer Matt Timmins said, “We delivered strong results in a year of significant strategic progress and continued strong financial performance.

“Revenues, EBITDA and recurring revenue all grew in line with expectations driven by organic growth, strategic corporate partnerships and the expansion of our proprietary consulting technology. We are well positioned for continued growth.”

Its shares are up 8.87% or 18.25p to 224p.

8:48 am: PCI-PAL strengthened by the approval of a US patent

Secure payment specialist PCI-PAL PLC (AIM:PCIP) has been boosted by news of US patent approval for a key product.

The US Patent Office ruling protects PCI Pal’s core innovation that allows its Agent Assist product to interact with phone calls.

It is the first of a number of pending patents worldwide to achieve Grant Approval status.

Managing Director James Barham said, “With this grant approval, the U.S. Patent Office has confirmed the truly novel nature of PCI Pal’s invention. The approval is a strong endorsement of our innovative approach and unique way in which we provide our customers and partners with access to our secure, cloud-based, globally available payment services. We continue to look to the future with optimism as we expand our leading partner ecosystem in the market and that we achieve the strategic objectives that we have set for ourselves.”

finnCap analyst Lorne Daniel said: “This is the first of several requests that should be granted. These will protect the core technology allowing Agent Assist to interface with calls containing sensitive data in the non-invasive touchscreen manner so important to users and central to the success and adoption of the cloud solution.

“We note that a number of competing systems have been reviewed – including Semafone, with whom PCIP currently has a patent dispute – and the US Patent Office is satisfied enough with PCIP’s innovation to grant the patent.

“This decision has no direct bearing on the outcome of the Semafone dispute – which is expected to be heard in US courts in 2024 – but in our view it is a positive indication.”

The company’s shares climbed 16.22% to 64.5p.

Elsewhere, The Pebble Group PLC (AIM:PEBB) rose 19.44% to 107.5p after its results showed a full recovery from the pandemic.

The company, which provides digital commerce, related products and services to the global promotional products industry, saw its full-year revenue increase by 40% to £115.1 million.

Adjusted profit soared 57% to £15.4m.

He said the new fiscal year had started well and was positive about the outlook.