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Zambeef Products says profits will be up to 30% ahead of forecasts

11.09am: Meat producer sees strong growth

Zambeef Products PLC (LON:ZAM) is in demand after forecasting better than expected profits for the year.

The company – which as the name implies is one of the largest suppliers of beef in Zambia but also retails the likes of chicken, pork and dairy – said earnings and adjusted proftis would be 20% – 30% ahead of current market expectations. Productioin efficiences and managing costs have contributed to the improved performance.

It said: “Despite the difficult operating environment resulting from the 2020 economic and Covid-19 related uncertainties, the encouraging first half period performance has been driven by a focus on revenue optimisation. The macroeconomic relative stability witnessed in the first half year period is expected to continue during the second half. The exchange rate has depreciated at a much slower rate while monetary supply in the economy has steadily improved. The good rainfall season and the commissioning of power projects is expected to help alleviate the load shedding situation and positively impact on performance in the second half of the financial year.”

The company’s shares have climbed 12.16% or 0.78p to 7.15p.

10.27am: Photographic equipment firm upbeat

Vitec Group PLC (LON:VTC) has given shareholders a bright picture of the outlook at its annual meeting.

The company, a specialist in premium photographic and videographic equipment, said its trading performance had improved faster than expected as so full year profits would be “materially above current market expectations” of £30.7mln.

This performance comes despite some of its markets – particularly production sets in the US – not yet being not fully open as well as the company facing some electronic component shortages and capacity constraints.

It also expects good things from recent acquisitions Lightstream, which develops production software to enable content creators, particularly gamers, to enrich their live video streams,  Quasar, which designs LED lighting.

Analyst Tom Fraine at Shore Capital issued a buy recommendation, saying: “We see scope for further upgrades given that first revenue and orders were in line with 2019, despite the cine market shutdown in the US. Limited travel/tourism has also been impacting sales of photographic equipment…We expect these to recover as travel restrictions ease.

“We believe investing in Vitec represents a good opportunity to benefit from the trend of increasing independent video content creation, which is being driven by TikTok, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, Disney, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Facebook. We expect significant increases in funding for independent production companies (e.g. from Great Point, which has been planning to float a £200m+ film & TV production investment trust) to the benefit of Vitec through sales of premium videographic equipment.”

Vitec has added 130p or 9.35% to 1520p.

9.05am: Oil firm upbeat on outlook

Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) is making some noise after announcing a fourfold increase in revenues.

The Latin American focused energy company has jumped 14.68% or 0.15p to 1.18p after revenues rose from US$2. mln to US 11.1mln.

In the first full year of production from its flagship Santa Cruz Sur asset in Argentina , where it owns 70%, it produced 720,000 barrels of oil equivalent in line with expectations, despite a planned temporary shutdown a year ago due to a slump in the oil price

Since the year end it has refinanced €25mln of debt giving it more financial flexibility, as well as entering into a cooperation agreement with GTL International to seek future opportunities in Bolivia.

Chief executive Martin Hull said: “Echo’s resilience during a very challenging year has ensured that we have been able to continue our operations efficiently and build firm foundations commercially and operationally despite the difficult external conditions.

“Not only have we made significant cost-saving efforts across the company and rebalanced our financial position to provide increased flexibility, but we have also achieved tremendous operational progress across our Santa Cruz Sur assets where we currently benefit from a favourable fiscal environment and attractive gas sales agreements with key customers

“Moving forward, we are excited by the continuing expansion opportunities at our Santa Cruz Sur assets, where we aim to maximise production potential, and we are also encouraged by the potential for new hydrocarbon and/or renewable energy prospects in neighbouring Bolivia and elsewhere in the Region. The framework for 2021 and beyond has now been set in place, and we look forward to capitalising on our various growth catalysts.”

Analyst Craig Howie at house broker Shore Capital said: “Echo’s Santa Cruz Sur package of assets remains a key attraction to the investment case, in our opinion – with various reactivation and optimisation opportunities providing a strong balance of risk and reward, along with excellent scope to realise upside potential at modest cost.

“With the company successfully achieving market leading pricing for its products in a strengthening commodity price environment, strong production growth being achieved with infrastructure upgrades, and Echo’s debt obligations now successfully restructured, we continue to see an active operational period ahead.”

Also heading higher is Somero Enterprises Inc (LON:SOM), up 12.44% or 52.5p at 474.5p.

The laser equipment specialist said it would beat forecasts for the year after stronger than expected trading in the US in the first four months, as well as signs of improving activity levels in Europe and Australia.

At the start of March it said revenues were expected to grow in the single mid-digit percentage range from the US$88.6mln reported for 2020, adjusted EBITDA would grow modestly from the US$ 26.1mln previously and ending net cash would approximate US$ 27.4mln. Now it believes revenues will reach around US$ 100.0mln, adjusted EBITDA will be US$ 31.0mln, and the year-end net cash position will be higher.  

Proactive news headlines

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said initial results were encouraging from the maiden drilling programme on its Hancock iron ore project, part of the Hamersley iron ore project in Western Australia.

Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF, TSX:APY), a natural resources royalty and streaming company, said all of the producing assets in its portfolio are now back in operation, following the resumption of activities at the McClean Lake Mill after a period of COVID-19 related care and maintenance.

DeepVerge PLC (LON:DVRG) said it is expanding its data and technology division, Rinocloud, into the Moorepark Technology Centre (MTC) in Fermoy, Cork, Ireland, to create a European centre of excellence for the real-time detection of dangerous pathogens such as coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in water and wastewater systems.

Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) said it has completed the treatment of all patients taking part in an exploratory field study of short-course inoculation against grass pollen induced hay fever.

Jersey Oil and Gas PLC (LON:JOG), in its results statement, said it is delivering on its growth strategy with the Greater Buchan Area project in the North Sea.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) chief executive Bill Higgs is expecting the company will end the year with a material cash position.

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) is counting down to the start of drilling for the Saffron-2 appraisal well in Trinidad, with rig mobilisation starting this weekend.

Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV) announced the development of a Corporate Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) to help deliver its Corporate Sustainability Policy and support the implementation of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) said The Vaccine Group, one of the companies in its investment portfolio, has appointed Dr Jeremy Salt as its chief executive officer. He joins The Vaccine Group from GALVmed, a not-for-profit organisation that develops and makes available livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for small-scale livestock producers, where he was the chief scientific officer.

Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK) announced the appointment of Anesh Patel as chief financial officer of its trading subsidiary, Feedback Medical Limited.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) notified that it will today be presenting to international institutional investors as part of Goldman Sachs‘ 14th European Small & Mid Cap Symposium. 

XLMedia PLC (LON:XLM) confirmed its annual general meeting is scheduled for 27 May, with investors invited to submit any questions and complete a proxy voting form in advance as they will be unable to attend due to coronavirus regulations.

Jersey Oil & Gas PLC (LON:JOG) will hold its annual general meeting on 2 June in St Helier, Jersey. As it will be a closed meeting, shareholders are strongly encouraged to vote by proxy.

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) announced that on this week Trevor Brown, a director of the company, sold a total of 1,447,385 shares at an average price of 57.161p per share, leaving him with 1,976,714 ordinary shares or a 5.16% stake.

Sensyne Health PLC (LON:SENS) reported that an allocation of unit awards has been made to the company’s executive directors and other eligible employees under its value creation plan of September 2020. 

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR, ASX: THR, OTCQB:THORF) advised that an updated investor presentation is available on the company website
Cellular Goods PLC (LON:CBX) announced that it has granted certain warrants over ordinary shares to new members of staff and has agreed to extend the exercise period of certain previously granted warrants.

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