Francesca Morgan
Market Report
15:58, 27th November 2020

Pets At Home (LON:PETS) FOLLOW shares ticked up 5.57% to 421p as pet care market remains ‘incredibly strong’ 

In its half-year results for the 28 week period to 8 October 2020, the pet supply retailer posted a 5.1% revenue increase to £574.4m (1H20:£546.3m) as it continued to see strong demand.

The company was classed as an essential retailer, meaning it has been allowed to stay open during lockdown. CEO, Peter Pritchard, said the pet care market has been “incredibly strong.”

Commenting on this strength, Pritchard said, “The market in which we operate remains resilient, with recent changes to our work and leisure patterns supporting rising levels of pet ownership, a good proxy for future growth in both the underlying market and our business,” 

PETS said it has adapted its operations to enable it to be able to continue providing pet care to customers with minimal disruption while increasing its capability to engage, serve and fulfil its customers remotely. It added that liquidity ‘remains strong and its balance sheet robust.’  

The group anticipates full-year underlying pre-tax profit to be in line with FY20, with the estimated financial impact of the pandemic not fully offset by this year's business rates relief. 

“There is much to be proud of over the last six months and much to look forward to in equal measure. While we will continue to remain focused and agile in our execution, we are, more than ever, confident in the resilience and longevity of our pet care platform,” added Pritchard.

Julie Palmer, partner at professional services firm Begbies Traynor said the retailer would still remain "mindful of the dampening effect of social distancing measures in store, which may impact margins over the all-important Christmas period and into the first quarter of 2021".

PETS price chart

Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (AIM:IDS) FOLLOW shares jumped 25.00% to 250p as it launches two COVID-19 antigen tests 

The company which provides solutions to the clinical laboratory diagnostic market has just launched two SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test kits, both of which are now available for sale in the UK, EU and other countries which accept the CE mark as the basis of regulatory approval.  

Both tests can be performed by a trained healthcare professional in community locations (e.g. workplaces, schools, doctors' surgeries) ‘without the need for any laboratory equipment.’

These tests can determine the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein antigen using direct nasopharyngeal swab samples and can provide a result within 15 minutes.

The antigen tests, which have been described by the company as ‘fast and easy to use tests’ are based on the lateral flow principle: one in a cassette format, one in a test card format.

The lateral flow cassette format test holds a specificity of 99.2% and sensitivity of 96.7% while the lateral Flow card format test holds 99.3% specificity and 92.0% sensitivity, respectively.

IDS price chart

Concepta (AIM:CPT) FOLLOW shares rose 16.67% to 1.75p after acquiring The Genome Store

On Monday, the healthcare company acquired The Genome Store, a home-administered postal genomic test service provider, for an initial consideration of £0.28m. Since then, shares in the company have more than doubled - increasing around 61% - from 0.93p to 1.50p.

Concepta believes the acquisition will deliver one of its key strategic areas of focus - growing its product portfolio into other areas of personalised health and female health products.  
Manchester Science Park-based The Genome Store has developed several genomic/DNA tests covering a range of female and male wellness, food intolerance and lifestyle testing. 

The genomic testing service provides a complementary portfolio of products to Concepta's personalised fertility tracker, with more women’s health testing products being developed. 
An initial portfolio of tests will be launched in Q420, with a pipeline of further tests to be commercialised from 1Q21. The Company detailed that the service is expected to be rebranded under Concepta ownership and the portfolio launched under a new brand. 
The company said the acquisition will provide it with a compliant laboratory set up, high throughput testing capacity and further revenue streams from ‘a scalable business model.’ 

According to Deloitte in their Health Solutions 2020 Survey of Health Care Consumers, customer behaviour has evolved since pre-COVID, where consumers were most comfortable using at home tests for diagnosing infections.  
Behaviour has changed significantly since COVID-19 - Deloitte stated that around 30% - 50% of consumers are now comfortable using at home testing for a variety of healthcare reasons. 

CPT price chart

Deltic Energy (AIM:DELT) FOLLOW shares increased 18.18% to 1.275p after identifying new prospects

Shares in the natural resources investing company have increased by over 15% since Monday when the group announced that it had identified three new geographical prospects.

An analysis at the group’s Cupertino exploration area in the North Sea discovered around 904 billion cubic feet (BCF) of gas resource potential across these three new geographical targets.

The licenced area contains the decommissioned Forbes Gas field which has been previously evaluated for its gas storage potential and its possible suitability for CO2 storage in the future.

“With combined P50 recoverable gas resources in excess of 900 BCF or the equivalent to in excess of 150 million barrels of oil, these prospects are clearly material in terms of their overall scale both individually and collectively,” said Graham Swindells, CEO of Deltic.

He added, “Cupertino stacked prospects, coupled with our recently re-acquired Cadence prospect, followed by our other recent licence awards, continue to deliver our stated strategy of developing a conveyor belt of exploration drilling opportunities of material scale.”

The company told investors that it is now focused on attracting “the best possible partner” to help us take these opportunities forward towards drilling and future commercialisation.

DELT price chart

Indivior (LON:INDV) FOLLOW shares fell 27.49% to 90.1p as its served £1bn claim

Shares in Indivior plummeted today after its former parent company, Reckitt Benckiser Group, filed a claim for over £1bn relating to an indemnity signed when the two demerged.

Since the demerger in 2014, the pharmaceutical company has since been swarmed by a plethora of lawsuits in connection to its guilty plea related to marketing an opioid addiction treatment drug, Suboxone, and was recently forced to pay $289m in criminal penalties.

Indivior has agreed to permanently disband its Suboxone sales force and take steps to prevent promoting it to healthcare providers at high risk of ‘inappropriate prescribing.’

Earlier in October 2020, the company’s former chief executive, Shaun Thaxter, was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay US$0.6 million in fines.

“Combating the opioid epidemic is a top priority for the Department of Justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. 

He added, “We will hold drug manufacturers accountable when they make misrepresentations that could affect consumers’ access to opioid addiction treatments.”

INDV price chart

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The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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