Broker Peel Hunt’s veteran leisure analyst Nick Batram hit the nail on the head in a recent note on Gibraltar-based online gaming giant Bwin Party Digital Entertainment, 0.3p easier at 109.9p.
Coming after a shock profits warning last month, he said its management is running out of chances to put things right. It has yet to provide the market with any confidence that it can deliver a sustainable improvement from here. There is value in the business, and if this management team doesn’t unlock it, then someone else will.
Analysts slashed earnings forecasts after it warned that revenues would fall by up to 17 per cent this year as it shrinks the business to focus on fewer markets where it can make higher returns.
Rumours of a 200p a share cash offer from Google has been doing the rounds of late with dealers hearing that the US giant could pounce before Bwin’s online poker and casino games are up and running in the state of New Jersey before the end of the year.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed an amended bill into law in February this year. The online gaming market in New Jersey is believed to be worth £630million.
Rival broker Numis says there are reasons to be optimistic about 2013. Operations may start in New Jersey, a new poker product will launch, as will a new mobile interface for sports. Its target price is 200p.
William Hill, which has also been mentioned in the same breath as Bwin Party, closed 5.1p better at 424.1p.
Gaming software developer Playtech advanced 17.5p to 720p after Panmure Gordon upgraded earnings forecasts. The company will have cash (no debt) of €532million on the balance sheet at the year-end. Irish bookie Paddy Power, which has already teamed up Facebook in a live cash betting joint venture, closed down €0.80 at €60.20.
Confirmation of the Government’s largest privatisation in decades with the £3bn flotation of the Royal Mail postal service provided an early talking point but markets generally lacked inspiration.
Revived fears that the US Federal Reserve will taper stimulus measures next week inhibited investment enterprise but the Footsie stayed in the black with a modest gain of 0.55 points to 6588.98. The FTSE 250 fell 53.71 points to 15,192.07. Wall Street fell 26 points after a jobless claims report failed to give any clues about the Fed’s next move.
Reflecting relief it had dropped its proposed £700million bid for oil services engineer Kentz (50.5p down at 499p), shares of Amec rose 20p to 1078p. Amec now says it is considering paying out cash (£500million?) to shareholders in the fourth quarter.
Broker Oriel Securities is a buyer of Kentz and says it remains an attractive target and the bid simply flagged the value that has been overlooked by the market.
Sellers dimmed the lights at temporary power group Aggreko after Deutsche Bank slashed its target price to 1870p from 2100p. The close was 41p lower at 1610p.
Industrial lighting group Dialight was also left in the dark at 1150p, down 225p, after warning that delays in the signing of large contracts means profits will be flat for the full year. Profits will now come in at around the previous year’s £25million, which is around £6million below shop broker Canaccord Genuity’s latest forecasts.
Charles Skinner’s thriving UK office services provider Restore rose 9p to 137p in response to excellent interim results. Pre-tax profits soared 95pc to £4.1million on revenues 35 per cent higher at £24.6million. The dividend is hiked 50 per cent to 0.6p.
House broker Cenkos forecasts full-year profits of £6.2million, rising to £10million next year. It expects Restore to remain a stand-out performer within the small-cap universe.
Luxury car dealer HR Owen accelerated 21p to 162.5p after Philippine investment group Berjaya Philippines increased its offer to 170p cash a share from its rejected 130p a share bid after buying a further 2.4million shares, taking its holding and that of people acting in concert with it to almost 41 per cent.
An upbeat note from Daniel Stewart helped Plethora Solutions firm 0.88p to 6.32p. The broker says that now the group has regained global control of PSD502, a treatment for premature ejaculation, it intends to commence regulatory filings with the US Food & Drug Administration. It sees it being launched in the US in the second-half of 2015. It is in discussions with multiple partners to roll-out the drug once PSD502 is approved.
AfriAg put on 0.22p to 2.1p after completing a £600,000 financing at 2.06p a share with YA Global Master SPV. Patagonia Gold dipped 1.25p to 12.5p following interim results.