Being a fast mover in the battle to beat Covid has paid off for Novacyt, a biotechnology tiddler listed on AIM that few retail investors had heard of at the start of the year.
Things have changed dramatically since then, after the French group’s Southampton-based subsidiary, Primerdesign, developed one of the world’s first coronavirus tests in January.
Rocketing sales of the tests swung the company into profit of £37million between January and June, compared with a first-half loss of £1.8million last year.
French group pharma Novacyt’s Southampton-based subsidiary, Primerdesign, developed one of the world’s first coronavirus tests in January
Group revenue was up tenfold to £66million as the company benefited from securing dozens of deals and regulatory approvals from the likes of the EU, the US and the United Nations.
Primerdesign’s turnover was around 2,000 per cent higher.
As well as financial benefits, which have allowed Novacyt to pay off its debts, the company said the Covid-19 tests has ‘resulted in an increased customer base and a reputation for innovation and high performance of our products’.
It has avoided becoming a one-trick pony by developing several other products and is working on more – particularly in the area of in vitro diagnostics.
Stock Watch – Ironridge Resources
MINING minnow Ironridge Resources got a boost from its latest drilling results from a gold resource in Ivory Coast.
A second round of digging found several high-quality gold deposits – though so far it has only tested around a quarter of the possible area it could mine. The AIM-listed, Africa-focused group has already kicked off a phase of drilling at the project, which borders Ghana and is nearby lots of other gold mines.
Ironridge shares rose 3.1pc, or 0.5p, to 16.75p.
Shares in the group rose 2.7 per cent, or 10p, to 380p – and are up by 2823 per cent so far this year.
IG Group is among a group of companies, online trading platforms, which have benefited from the stock market mayhem triggered by Covid.
Yesterday IG reported revenues rose 62 per cent to £209million in the three months to August 31 compared with the same period last year.
In the most recent quarter, which is the first of its financial year, the FTSE 250-listed group increased its active users by 50 per cent to 201,500, it said in an update.
IG’s shares climbed 6 per cent, or 47.5p, to 837p.
But things were gloomier on the wider stock market, with the FTSE 100 falling by 0.5 per cent, or 28.56 points, to 6049.92 and the FTSE 250 edging 0.3 per cent lower, down 57.54 points, to 17737.72.
Banks pulled the Footsie lower after talk of possible negative interest rates made traders nervous.
The Bank of England has held off on making any changes for now – but CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said just the mention of it was enough to spark a slide for the lenders, sending Natwest (down 3 per cent, or 3.05p, to 100.05p), Barclays (2.4 per cent lower, or 2.42p, to 100.54p), HSBC (down 2 per cent, or 6.2p, to 310.8p) and Lloyds Banking Group (down 1.2 per cent, or 0.33p, to 26.26p) lower.
Takeover target G4S completed the latest segment of the sale of its cash handling business to American firm The Brink’s Group – selling its Baltics business for around £49m. The security group, whose shares rose 4.3pc, or 7.9p, to 190.9p, is fighting off a £3bn hostile takeover approach from Canada’s Garda World – though G4S pointed out that the sale strengthens its finances.
Elsewhere on the mid-cap index, Domino’s Pizza rose slightly, finishing up 0.4 per cent, or 1.2p, to 345.6p, after one of its non-executive directors bought a £207,000 slice of stock.
Lynn Fordham bought 60,000 shares in two transactions this week, according to a stock market filing, to coincide with taking up her place on the takeaway group’s board and several of its committees.
Kier Group racked up an eye-watering £226million loss as the pandemic hammered the construction firm, costing it around £45million, and sending revenues 15 per cent lower to £3.4billion.
But this was better than anticipated – with relieved investors sending its shares up 12.1 per cent, or 6.6 per cent, to 61.35p by the close.