Francesca Morgan
Market Report
16:31, 22nd February 2021

Rank Group (RNK) shares ticked up 6.07% to 150.4p as new data fuels hopes of a vaccine-driven recovery 

While casinos and bingo halls remain closed as a result of the ongoing UK lockdown, shares in the Rank Group rose in anticipation of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “four-part” plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown which is expected to be mapped out this afternoon. 

Shares in the Group have continued to fluctuate over the past few weeks. Last month, the Company highlighted its confidence in investors in being able to navigate the multiple challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, despite posting a £48.6m pre-tax loss as a result of casinos and bingo halls losing 45% of operating days in the period.    

The Group reported underlying group-wide losses of £42m, representing a 171% swing on Rank’s 2019/2020 profits of £59m. Meanwhile, the Group’s net gaming revenue (NGR) fell 55% to £177.6m as like-for-like NGR from venues crashed by 70% as a result of closures.   

The ever-changing restrictions coupled with curfews, which in particular have a seismic impact on our Grosvenor venues, have resulted in an exceptionally challenging first half for the Group,” said John O'Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group alongside the results.   

The Group’s transformation plan which includes reopening venues is largely reliant on the vaccine roll-out achieving its purpose and “early data” released today has now shown a reduction in transmission in people who have had a vaccine, the health secretary reported. 

RNK price chart

Clear Leisure (CLP) shares soared 96% to 2.45p as it gains substantial shareholder  

Shares in the Company soared this morning after announcing that it had raised £1m at 1p a share with an individual investor, Mr John Story, thereby granting him an 11.14% stake.  

The investment firm said the proceeds of the placing will allow it to accelerate and widen the development of its latest plans within the cryptocurrency space, an area which has seen increased investor interest in recent weeks with Bitcoin continuing to hit record highs. 

The recent spike follows Tesla’s $1.5bn investment in the cryptocurrency with Elon Musk publicly stating that he believes that bitcoin is on the “verge of broad acceptance”. Several companies have followed suit by accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment. 

According to the BBC, the cryptocurrency has now increased by more than 90% in value since the start of January 2021, thereby pushing its total market value above $1 trillion.   

Executive Chairman and CEO, Francesco Gardin, said having John Story as a substantial shareholder would grant CLP direct access to several technologies he has recently invested into, which he added could be “extremely beneficial” to its new cryptocurrencies initiatives.  

CLP price chart

Catenae Innovation (CTEA) shares jump 44.74% to 2.75p as it is asked to participate in the UK Government’s digital identity policy 

The digital media and technology provider, said it has been invited by the UK Government 's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to participate in the development of a ‘Digital Identity Policy’ which will explore the future use of digital identities. 

The creation of a digital identity policy is part of the UK Government's wider plan to make it quicker and easier for people to verify themselves using modern technology, with the aim of creating a process as trusted as using passports or bank statements, the Company noted. 

Catenae said it will participate in a series of consultations with key stakeholders over the next 6 months, contributing from the perspective of a future identity service provider. 

Once the framework for the policy is finalised, it is then expected to be brought into law. 

“As a participant, we look forward to joining the discussions and highlighting the commercial benefits of the Digital Identity Policy, as well as advising how organisations should handle and protect people's data,” said Guy Meyer, CEO of Catenae Innovation. 

In addition, Catenae highlighted that it is currently in discussions with Public Health Scotland in regard to the automated transfer of Covid-19 data using its Covid-19 operating system. 

CTEA price chart

Ascent Resources (AST) shares rose 21.35% to 13.5p as it nears a conclusion for its ongoing dispute with the Republic of Slovenia 

The onshore energy and natural resources firm said it now expects to receive a formal response from the Republic of Slovenia by 19 March 2021 in regard to the Company’s ongoing dispute over permits for extraction of gas in the north-east of the country. 

The Company stated that, together with its subsidiary Ascent Slovenia Ltd., it expects to set out a settlement for the claim ‘in an amicable manner’ in the short term with the country. 

It added that there can be no certainty that an amicable settlement will be achieved with the Republic of Slovenia and that they fully reserves all rights and remedies arising out of Slovenia's treaty breaches ‘should an attractive settlement offer not be forthcoming.’ 

All parties have agreed to postpone the initiation of international arbitration until at least such date and expect that settlement discussions will conclude around the end of this four week period with a view to signing binding settlement documents as soon as practicable thereafter. 

AST price chart

G4S (GFS) shares fell 9.81% to 242.65p after GardaWorld refuses to raise offer 

Shares in the British multinational security services company shed nearly 10% in value this afternoon after Canadian bidder GardaWorld refused to raise its offer from 235p per share. 

Stephan Crétier, Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of GardaWorld commented, "There can be no better owner for G4S than GardaWorld, but we are disciplined buyers and we will not overpay for a company with systemic ESG issues that continue to come to light.” 

GardaWorld’s decision has now paved the way for Allied Universal to win the bidding war at £2.45p a share. It has stated that it would pay £3.8bn - that’s about $5.3bn - to acquire G4S. 

GFS price chart

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

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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