Market Prognosis

A concise summary of the major macro events of the past 24 hours, and selected UK company-specific news.

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May 23, 2023

Drinking & axe throwing drive XP growth

UK Company News

Networking testing company Calnex Solutions reported FY revenue growth of 25% and profit growth of 21%. It has net cash of £19m and said it is growing its relationships with hyper-scale customers. Its mid-term order funnel has strengthened. Trading in Q1 FY24 has continued as anticipated, and the Board is confident in delivering results for the year in line with market expectations as revised in March 2023. 

Drax CMD update highlighted the extent of the carbon capture investment directed in the US.  

Hilton Food updated that trading has been in line with Board’s expectations. Its’ turnaround plan for the seafood business remains on track. Since the start of 2023, trading performance has aligned with the Board’s expectations.

Gas producer Kistos completed the acquisition of Mime, signalling its entry into the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Kistos estimates that on a pro forma basis, the enlarged group would have had net cash of €5m, comprising cash of €293m and outstanding Nordic Bonds of €288m.

Portmeirion updated that it had seen some increased caution from US customers. It anticipates a heavy second-half weighting. 

Topps Tiles reported record profitability but much lower profit, as cautioned, due to the impact of inflation.  

Experiential leisure operator XP Factory reported its revenue increased 228%, with Q1 trading remaining strong. The group is performing ahead of management expectations. 

XP Factory, formerly Escape Hunt, offers activity-based leisure activities via escape rooms and a bar concept called Doom Battle Bar, where customers combine drinking with axe throwing. What could possibly go wrong? XP Factory is rolling out its concepts rapidly and gaining generous incentives from landlords. It has enjoyed strong recent growth, tapping into the latent demand for experiential activities among customers who want to do more than drink.  

Bytes, the enterprise IT specialist, produced FY results with revenue increasing by 26.5%, eps increased by 23.1% with cash conversion of 84.3%. The group’s strategy is to acquire new customers and grow wallet share. It does this with solid vendor relationships and technical and commercial skills. 


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