Francesca Morgan
Market Report
16:29, 29th October 2020

AO. World (LON:AO. FOLLOW) continues to rise 7.47% higher to 358.5p with raised profits 

The European online electrical retailer said that it expects half-year profit to rise by 57% for the six months ended 30 September 2020 due to strong demand in the UK and Germany.   

In a trading update released last week, AO World said that UK revenue rose by around 54% during the period with German sales increasing by 83% on a constant currency basis.   

Sales momentum continued in Q1 and Q2 despite the competitor physical stores reopening as customers turned to buying online goods due to concerns regarding COVID-19.   

“We believe we have seen a lasting step change in online penetration,” AO World said, further acknowledging that lockdowns have triggered a huge shift in consumer habits. Looking ahead, the group predicts that it is on track for its biggest ever peak trading period.   

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said, “Anyone working or furloughed at home only has to look out of their window to see delivery vans going up and down the road all day long.”  

“Years ago, buying a new cooker would have involved a visit to a showroom and lots of chit chat. Now it's a simple check of the reviews and an order online in minutes,” he added.  

Commenting on a positive trading performance, AO Founder and CEO, John Roberts, said:   

"The last six months of trading have been like no other during my two decades in the business. AO was in good shape coming into this financial year and the global, structural shift in customer behaviour to online, accelerated by Covid, emphasised our strengths.   

“Whilst we remain mindful of the uncertain economic climate caused by the pandemic and Brexit, we are on track with plans and well set for our biggest ever peak trading period in the UK and Germany,” he added.   

The Group expects to announce its interim results for the period in late November 2020.  Shares in the Company have skyrocketed over 250% since the beginning of the year.  

AO. price chart

Live Company Group (AIM:LVCG FOLLOW) shares rose 28.57% to 9p with Christmas contracts 

The live events and entertainment company announced this morning that it has signed new contracts for two sets of Christmas assets with shopping centres in the United Kingdom. 

The first set which consists of its Elfie Christmas bundle will showcase at the Fort Shopping Centre in Birmingham from 20th November and the second consisting of Santa's Express and Santa's sleigh will be at the The Mall Shopping centre in Luton from 17th November.  

This is the first time that the Company has worked with the Fort Shopping centre and it said it is ‘delighted to bring a unique Christmas shopping experience to the Midlands and Luton.’ 

Meanwhile, the Company also announces that BrickLive Animal Paradise and Bricklive Oceans are now in transit to South Africa ready for the first shows in Cape Town.  

Tickets recently went on sale for Bricklive SA at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre at the Waterfront in Cape Town which the group said will take place from 16 December 2020. 

LVCG price chart

Malvern International (AIM:MLVN FOLLOW) shares jumped 28.10% to 0.135p as it focuses on building student numbers 

The global learning and skills development partner said despite COVID-19, current bookings are ‘encouraging’ and the long-term education market fundamentals remain unchanged. 

In a half-year report for the six months ended 30 June 2020, Malvern said the closure of schools necessitated its acceleration of the roll-out of its Malvern Online Academy (MOA). 

‘At a minimum’, the group said, ‘MOA provides the Company with an insurance should further Covid-19 restrictions be applied, that enables the transfer of all students to remote learning under our standard terms.’ 

Malvern said that with the right positioning and product offerings, MOA has the potential to become an important division within Malvern's portfolio in the long term in its own right. 

The group said it believes that MAO can support in-class learning and offer remote follow on courses for students that have completed their studies in one of its schools. 

Like-for-like revenues from continuing operations in 1H20 were down 30% to £1.37 million from £1.94 million in 1H19, while cash at the end of June stood at around £0.06 million. 

MLVN price chart

Hornby (AIM:HRN FOLLOW) shares increased 27.94% higher to 43.5p as it swings to profitability 

The model train maker said sales rose by 33% in the first half of 2020 officially moving the company back into profitability. It said this growth was built on the back of the introduction of ‘some fantastic new products, new technology and the changing environment.’ 

In the six month period to 20 September 2020, revenue increased 33% to £21 million (FY19: £15.9 million), while last year’s £2.5 million loss before tax turned into a £0.017m profit. 

The company reported net cash of £4.0 million compared to net debt £8.4 million in FY19. 

Hornby has been selling in over 50 markets worldwide, with over 37% of sales in the first six months of 2020 being outside of the UK with all external teams having been restructured in the past two or three years to better supply the right products to the markets concerned. 

The group said it is seeing recovery within its international brands, ‘thanks to the hard work that has been done in developing new products.’  

The company told investors that its sales continue to be higher than where they were last year, and that there is “a real energy” within the group as it approaches Christmas season.  

HRN price chart

Aston Martin Lagonda Global  (LON:AML FOLLOW) shares continue to fall by 4% to 52.98p  

Shares in the British independent luxury sports car manufacturer continued to dip this afternoon, with the stock having more than halved in value since the beginning of the year.   

In recent weeks, Prestige Motor and Preferred Prestige Motor, shareholders in Aston Martin which once held a stake worth more than 30%, disposed of a 4.12% stake in the company.  

According to reports from Insider Media, the news comes after their investment was lowered from 7.14% at the start of September. The shares were held by Investindustrial Advisors Ltd.  

Yahoo Finance reported that the share price slump from March as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic has only added to the car maker’s woes. After starting 2020 at around 150p, the share price subsequently fell down to 46p by the middle of March. 

‘In the short term, the stock did trade back above 100p, but unfortunately it’s back at the time of writing to 50p. This represents a fall of 66% from the start of the year,’ it reported. 

As of 22 October 2020, AML’s shares were trading at 49 cents a share, down considerably from its nearly $25 IPO float price back in October 2018, CNBC wrote earlier this month. 

The carmaker is trying to salvage business as sales continue to tumble with newly appointed CEO, Tobias Moers, former head of Mercedes-AMG and its launch of the Aston Martin DBX, its first-ever luxury SUV which has been in the works since its virtual development in 2015. 

“The DBX may present a great opportunity for Aston Martin. Though it is a relatively late entry to the segment, SUVs are popular at every price. Other brands have seen tremendous success with them,” wrote CNBC of the recent launch, citing Porsche’s success with SUVs. 

It added, “If the DBX succeeds, it could give Aston Martin the financial cushion it needs to keep making the grand tourers and sports cars beloved by so many, but bought by few.” 

AML 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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