London’s junior market contains more than three-dozen companies that are large enough to join the FTSE 250 index, were they to take the step up to the main market.
There were contrasting fortunes for several of this group of AIM’s upper crust this week, as well as for some of the fallen nobility with still-famous names.
ITM Power, the hydrogen electrolysis specialist that had been one of AIM’s largest companies earlier this year, saw its shares fall sharply after it advised of lower revenue and wider losses than the market was expecting.
Hydrogen electrolysis specialist ITM Power saw its boss step down after 13 years in the role
Revenue guidance was around 41 per cent below the City consensus, and guided EBITDA losses were 20 per cent worse, analysts at Berenberg said, warning that ‘significant downside remains’ due to what they think are potentially optimistic figures in terms of contract delivery.
Boss Graham Cooley has agreed to ‘step aside’ after 13 years in the role, the company said, though he will hang onto an advisory role.
But the biggest faller in the week was Joules, which falls into the latter category, shrinking to a market cap of less than £10million falls after Next walked away from talks.
The blue-chip retail giant had been discussing whether to take up to a 25 per cent stake in the troubled fashion and homeware brand.
Shares in Joules have plummeted more than 90 per cent over the past year, though it said it is still talking about potentially selling its stock via Next’s online platform and will also continue work on its own turnaround plan.
Another of the market’s fallen retailers, Mothercare, had a better week, with its shares rising over 61 per cent to recoup some of its losses this year on the back of more encouraging results.
It reported improved international sales – if excluding the Russian business it was forced to close earlier this year, as well as successful negotiations to alleviate debt and reduce its pension scheme deficit.
Fevertree Drinks, another of AIM’s elite, also impressed with its results, which sent the shares bubbling up more than 14 per cent on the day as it maintained its outlook for the year.
However, over the week, shares in the mixer maker dripped 1.4 per cent lower as investors focused on external pressures the drinks industry is facing, including the increased sea freight costs highlighted by the company as well as other inflationary headwinds.
Others in the drink sector have been hit harder, with Naked Wines tumbling after it announced plans for a financial and operational review.
This was accompanied by the departure of a non-executive director, Pratham Ravi, the representative of 10 per cent shareholder Punch Card Capital, after less than three weeks.
However, the next day, the online wine seller said it has appointed Rowan Gormley, its former chief executive officer and a 2.9 per cent shareholder, as an unpaid advisor to the board for two to three months as it works on its strategy.
The revised plans will be announced next month alongside a more detailed trading update, it said.
Other fallers included Trackwise Designs, which skidded 52 per cent lower after it said it will need extra cash as its major UK electric vehicle manufacturing customer expects lower production volumes this year.
The specialist in printed circuit products said it is now reviewing ‘a number of options’ to raise funding and exploring longer-term strategic investment partnerships to capitalise on its ‘very significant’ pipeline.
Overall, the AIM index fell more than 2 per cent to 862.54 points, far outstripping the FTSE 100’s 0.9 per cent drop.
But there were plenty of good news stories for constituents large and small.
Big Technologies, which makes remote people monitoring tech, has reported rising profit
Big Technologies, which like Fevertree is big enough to feature in the FTSE 250, climbed 27 per cent over the week after the release of its half-year results.
You might not have heard too much about this newcomer, but it has been one of the unheralded stars among the often disappointing ‘class of 2021’ IPOs.
The maker of the remote people monitoring technology for children and criminals, which floated in July last year and has not employed an external public relations adviser, reported a 14 per cent improvement in pre-tax profits to £8.8million as sales tracked 38 per cent higher, helped by winning an offender monitoring contract with the New Zealand Department of Corrections.
Founder and chief executive Sara Murray, best known as the founder of Confused.com, said there were strong market drivers and the board was ‘confident of delivering further growth in the second half of 2022 and beyond’.
Topping the lot in terms of share price gains was Tertiary Minerals after it pleased the market with news that it has signed a collaboration with Canada-listed First Quantum Minerals in connection with two of its copper exploration projects in Zambia.
The agreement ‘will turbo-charge Tertiary’s Zambian exploration in these two key licence areas,’ said executive chairman Patrick Cheetham.
Elsewhere in the mining space, Oriole Resources also surged as it reported ‘extremely exciting’ results from the latest drilling at its 90 per cent-owned Bibemi gold project in Cameroon.
In tech developments, Transense Technologies rolled 26 per cent higher after tying up an aerospace deal with Meggitt, the former Footsie defence contractor that was gobbled up by even larger US giant Parker-Hannifin this month.
Under the deal, the pair will work on potential market opportunities for Surface Acoustic Wave technology in the aerospace sector, with the intention for the AIM company to grant a licence to Meggitt by the end of next year.