News & Tips: Afren, Serica Energy, Smiths News, Ark Therapeutics, Pearson, Crest Nicholson, XG Technology & more

Shares have ticked up again today and The Trader Dominic Picarda believes that although the FTSE100 is showing signs of being overbought, it should push on higher yet.


Afren (AFR) enjoyed record production levels during 2012, averaging 42,830 barrels of oil per day, giving revenues of around $1.5bn. A successful series of exploration wells bodes well for future production and this year’s output is expected to be in the region of 40,000-47,000 barrels. We keep our buy.

Meanwhile explorer Serica Energy (SQZ) has issued an update on its planned campaigns for 2013, detailing both drilling and seismic acquisition from the North Sea to Namibia via Morocco. Buy.

Smiths News (NWS) has made a small bolt on acquisition of Erasmus Antiquariaat en Boekhandel for €1.5m, bolstering its books division. We maintain our buy rating.

Sell recommendationArk Therapeutics (AKT) says that talks with investors over a possible fund raising have failed to yield enough support and that it is exploring other financing options with certain shareholders that may result in significant dilution.

Document storage specialist Restore (RST) says trading has been in line with expectations in both its document storage and office relocation businesses. Buy.


Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has announced its intention to return to the London market after a period of five years in private ownership. Like its peers in the house building sector, Crest Nicholson’s recent performance has been strong and its backers are taking advantage to list the company in February.

Investors Chronicle owner Pearson (PSON) says its operating profits for 2012 will be ‘broadly level’ with the previous year at around £935m at constant exchange rates but market conditions for several of its businesses remain weak.

Luxury car retailer HR Owen (HRO) enjoyed a strong end to the year for its Rolls Royce and Bentley operations and consequently expects to exceed market forecasts.


Software specialist SciSys (SSY) says trading has been solid, with good progress in the Government & Defence and Media Broadcast divisions but it expects public sector work to be challenging in 2013.

XG Technology’s (XGT) leading shareholder MB Technology Holdings has agreed to the early conversion of a loan into equity and is also committing $5m towards a new $10m bridge financing.

Great Eastern Energy Corporation (GEEC) says that production from its Raniganj coal bed methane operation is in line with expectations. The company has also announced a $45m financing facility.


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