Francesca Morgan
Market Report
16:48, 3rd March 2021

Micro Focus International (MCRO) shares rose 14.82% to 503.4p after inking deal with Amazon Web Services

The FTSE 250 firm which operates as a global enterprise software company announced this morning that it has signed a commercial agreement with Amazon Web Services ("AWS").

Stephen Murdoch, CEO of Micro Focus described the deal between the two parties as strategically important in that it “combines its technology leadership position in Application Modernisation with the world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud provider.”

He said the agreement formalises a collaboration to accelerate the modernisation of mainframe apps and workloads of large public and private enterprises to the AWS Cloud.

AWS and Micro Focus will now work together to deploy Micro Focus technology for customers embarking on “the transformational journey” to modernise their business-critical mainframe applications and workloads to an agile, cloud-based production environment.

MCRO price chart

UniVision (UVEL) shares soared 113.64% to 2.35p as Chairman sells stake in Group

Shares in the Hong Kong based group have more than doubled after Chairman, Stephen Koo, agreed to sell an around 52.4% stake in the Group at a price of c.£8.2m, equivalent to a price of around 4.1p per Ordinary Share in UniVision to Singapore IT investment group SinoCloud. 

Following the sale, Koo will retain around 20.5% in UniVision. Should the transaction prove successful, the group will receive HK$10m from SinoCloud within three months of completion.

The Company has also reminded shareholders that the UK Takeover Code does not apply to UniVision and, should the Proposed Transaction complete as envisaged, SinoCloud will own 52.4% of the issued share capital of UniVision. In addition, SinoCloud has indicated that it has no current intention to make a general offer for all of the share capital in the Company.

UVEL price chart

finnCap Group (FCAP) shares rose 27.08% to 30.5p as it raises guidance 

Following a strong performance in H1, the strategic advisory and capital raising service provider said it continues to trade materially ahead of the Group’s expectations in H2. 

The Group’s capital markets business recorded its highest level of quarterly deal fees during Q3 while continuing to enjoy ‘good growth in year-on-year sales and trading revenue.’

It said the M&A team in Cavendish has delivered a strong performance to date in Q4, including successful closure of several deals before the announcement of the UK Budget.

As a result, the Board now expects total income for the current financial year to be in excess of £43m, around 65% up on FY20. Profits and year-end cash balance are also expected to be ahead of the Board’s expectations upon release of its half-year results to 30 September 2020.

FCAP price chart

The Barkby Group (BARK) shares jump 26.19% to 26.5p hails performance despite impact from pandemic

In a trading update, the diversified business group hailed its performance efforts despite being significantly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It told investors that this was due to the success of its ‘highly cash generative commercial property development business’.

Charles Dickson, Executive Chairman of the Company said, “As we come out of lockdown, our pubs and coffee business are poised for significant growth and a return to profitability.”

He added that, “Our liquidity is strong and the diversification of the business means that the Group is in a strong position to benefit from the lifting of government lockdown restrictions.”

In particular, the group said its investments in SleepHub, a specialist in sleep aids, Verso Biosense, a healthcare group, are both expected to pay off in terms of earnings next year.

BARK price chart

Hiscox (HSX) shares fell 10.09% to 882.4p as it swings to full year loss

Shares in the Anglo-Bermudan insurance provider fell after the Group posted a $268.5 million loss, driven by the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic (FY19: profit of $53.1 million).

The Group said it expects to pay $475 million in Covid-related claims net of reinsurance, the majority for event cancellation and the remaining for business interruption and other claims.

For the year ended 31 December 2020, the Group reported that it had suffered ‘some brand damage’ over the year. ‘We clearly regret the uncertainty and anguish that the dispute has caused to our customers, so it is important that we learn from this experience,’ it wrote.

The Group, which decided not to approve a final dividend, articulated regret over a COVID-19 dispute it had with several customers over the wording in some commercial property policies.

“We regret any dispute with a customer, but particularly where the policy wording was not as clear as it should have been,” Chairman of the Group, Robert Childs, wrote in response.

He added, “That is why we willingly agreed to be one of the groups of insurers that assisted the FCA with the test case and we welcome the finality and certainty the Supreme Court Judgment has brought. We are now paying covered claims as quickly as possible.”

HSX 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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