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McColls hammered as it reveals margins are under pressure

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McColl’s Retail Group PLC (LON:MCLS) lost a fifth of its value at 24.6p after its full-year trading update set alarm bells ringing.

Despite the convenience store retail experiencing strong demand, a change in shopping behaviour during the pandemic has resulted in margin pressures.

In addition, the group has experienced lower services revenues as well as ongoing COVID-19 related costs, it said as it revealed adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) is expected to be between GBP29mln and GBP30mln or roughly GBP58mln using the IFRS 16 international financial reporting standards.

2.10pm: Basket size decreases at Ocado

Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) was the top faller on the FTSE 100, down 5.8% at 2,191p despite raising earnings guidance.

The groceries delivery technology company expects underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the year to November 29 will exceed GBP70mln, up from GBP43mln posted a year ago.

Sales in the 13 weeks to November 29 climbed 35% to GBP579mln, but the average order size was GBP133 compared to GBP141 in the third quarter, sparking some fears that the growth rate is slowing.

1.15pm: Infrastrata wins wind farm gig

Infrastrata PLC (LON:INFA) advanced 11% to 48.5p after it signed a letter of intent to build windfarm development vessels (WDVs) for Triumph Subsea Services.

InfraStrata’s fully owned subsidiary, Harland & Wolff (Belfast) Limited would be responsible for the build, assembly and delivery of the WDVs to Triumph.

The letter of intent initially contemplates the build of one vessel, with Triumph having an option for an additional vessel to be built at Harland & Wolff (Belfast).

12.20pm: Union Jack flying high

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO), up 10% to 0.19p, was flying high after its West Newton appraisal well confirmed a substantial hydrocarbon column.

West Newton B1Z is an appraisal of the discovery made previously in the WNA-1 well which is located some 2.5 kilometres away, to the south.

This well result so far de-risks the project and is described by the company as “a significant step forward” towards development.

11.15am: Jaywing surges as it returns to profitability

Jaywing PLC (Lom:JWNG) rocketed 23% to 6.35p after its interims revealed the company moving into the black with a bang.

The data science specialist saw net revenue in the six months to the end of September slide to GBP9.34mln from GBP12.00mln in the same period of 2019 but that did not stop it posting adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of GBP1.39mln, versus a loss the year before of GBP573,000.

The reported loss before tax narrowed to GBP251,000 from GBP1.54mln the previous year.

10.10am: Orders rolling in at Corero

Corero Network Security PLC (LON:CNS) hacked its way 21% higher to 10p after it unveiled a slew of contract wins from October and November.

The provider of real-time, high-performance, automatic distributed denial of service (DDoS) defence solutions said it took more than US$3mln in order in the first two months of the final quarter of 2020.

Revenues associated with these orders will be recognised over the course of the lifetime of each of the contracts.

9.15am: Applegreen’s founders in talks to take the company private

Applegreen PLC (LON:APGN) soared 40% to 496p after it revealed it is involved in talks that might lead to a cash offer for the company.

A consortium including B&J Holdings Limited, which has a 41.3% stake in the company, and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners are mulling an offer at EUR5.75 for the petrol station convenience stores operator.

B&J Holdings Limited represents the holdings of Applegreen’s founders, Robert Etchingham and Joseph Barrett, respectively the chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Applegreen.

CML Microsystems Plc (LON:CML) jumped 22% to 63p after it agreed to offload its storage division, Hyperstone, for US$49mln in cash.

The buyer is Swissbit, a specialist producer of industrial-grade data-storage and embedded Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

The proceeds from the disposal will “provide the group with the financial flexibility to maximise its future growth potential”.

Proactive news headlines: Ceres Power, Corero Network Security, XLMedia, Iconic Labs…

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