Home Energy Small cap movers: Fevertree looses fizz over US roll-out

Small cap movers: Fevertree looses fizz over US roll-out

18 min read

Fevertree Drinks PLC (LON:FEVR) lost its fizz this week after the premium tonic producer had to revise down full-year guidance following a costly roll-out in the US.

Earnings for the year to 31 December will now come in 5% lower than 2018, while sales did not meet expectations, rising 9.7% to £260.5mln as opposed to 12-13% growth predicted.

Investors are wondering whether it is doomed to follow the likes of Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), Marks and Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) and, more recently, online estate agent Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) that have all failed spectacularly Stateside.

“Fevertree has an excellent business model with a very strong brand,” said Nicholas Hyett, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The question is whether its premium mixers can continue to justify a premium rating.”

It seemed the punishment meted out was disproportionate as Fevertree’s stock lost almost a quarter of its value in the bloody aftermath of the alert.

That said, the drink maker’s shares were priced for stellar success, leaving little margin for error.

Tiny rival Skinny Tonic revealed there was a still some thirst for mixers after closing a crowdfunding campaign 15 days early and oversubscribed. It raised £1.5mln when it was only looking for £500,000.

The private company, which is set to launch the UK’s first zero-calorie, zero sugar and 100% natural mixer, is considering a stock market listing but has not yet set a date.

Spirits group Distil PLC (LON:DIS), meanwhile, rose 14% to 0.8p after posting higher sales driven by its spiced Caribbean drink.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share dipped 0.7% to 967, while the FTSE 100 was down 0.8% to 7,611.

Shares in the posh wellie maker Joules Ltd (LON:JOUL) surged 21% to 204p after management reassured investors that a Christmas stocking mishap was just a one-off and the root cause is being addressed.

Fellow fashion retailer ASOS PLC (LON:ASC) rose 4% to 3,309p after a “better than expected” sales performance, although full-year guidance remained unchanged.

Musical instruments seller Gear4music Holdings PLC (LON:G4M) also hit the right notes, jumping 13% to 273p on the back of a “successful” festive period.

Professional services firm Norman Broadbent PLC (LON:NBB) went up 9% to 8.5p after proving it returned to profit in 2019 with a better second half.

A £38mln funding deal that saw German engineer Robert Bosch increase its stake in fuel cell maker Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LON:CWR) boosted the shares 16% to 392p.

Miner Goldplat PLC (LON:GDP) more than doubled in value to 5.8p after the benefits of the higher gold price boosted full-year expectations.

Fellow gold digger Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) rose 8% to 2.8p following “exceptional” results from a resources sampling programme at the Tavsan project in Turkey.

Turning to the fallers, podcast producer Audioboom Group PLC (LON:BOOM) tumbled 13% to 210p amid disappointment over a 91% rise in full-year revenues, which fell short of the 171% jump recorded in the first half.

Europa Oil & Gas tanked 27% to 2.1p after an unnamed oil major walked away from farm-out talks in a development offshore Ireland.

Engineer Van Elle Holdings PLC (LON:VANL) shed 7% to 50p after interim profits crashed 63% due to uncertainty in the UK, although it is expecting a “modest” improvement in the second half.

Publisher Dods Group PLC (LON:DODS) was also hit, falling 10% to 4.2p after it flagged slow trading in the quarter to March, the last in its financial year.

Similarly, Coral Products PLC (LON:CRU) plunged 14% to 7p after the plastic maker warned on profits due to softer demand.

Finally, geosciences firm Getech Group (LON:GTC) dropped 18% to 20p over failed contract negotiations, and now expects full-year revenue to be cut by a third.

Small cap movers: Fevertree looses fizz over US roll-out

Columbus Energy Resources PLC (LON:CERP) on Friday told investors it is now preparing to test the Saffron well in February. The Trinidad oiler, in a statement, told investors that it has now completed the Saffron well logging and initial results support the decision to proceed with the remainder of the well programme.

It has now submitted a well test application to Trinidad’s ministry of energy and energy industries.

Chief executive Leo Koot noted that the company’s decision was taken based on the logs for the Lower Cruse formation, and further log interpretation – for the Upper Cruse and Middle Cruse – are expected shortly.

“The interpretation of the logging gives the company comfort that it should proceed with the completion and testing of the well,” Koot said.

“Indeed, the only way to be certain and to evaluate the geological and economic potential of the prospective oil sands is to conduct a flow test – which can be done in relatively short order.”

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) raised A$5mln of new capital ahead of next months drill programme at the Charlie appraisal well. The explorer, in a statement, said the capital injection would cover any potential costs above those carried by Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO) via its farm-in to the Charlie project.

It will also pay for lease rental payments for the Alaskan acreage, interest on debt, and support new venture activity, 88 Energy added.

“The decision by the board to raise additional funds at this time was for several reasons, namely: unsolicited demand for investment at a premium to the most recent placement in September 2019; and a subsequent incremental increase in the well cost due to high grading of the quality of the evaluation program,” said Dave Wall, 88 Energy managing director.

On Thursday, ADM Energy Plc (LON:ADME) told investors that it is “well-positioned for a period of aggressive growth”, albeit the firm also noted the negative impact of project delays at the Aje field offshore Nigeria.

Following on from significant changes to its board last year, including the appointment of Nigerian oil specialist Osamede Okhomina, the company is now seeking to expand its asset portfolio.

ADM said that it is actively engaged in talks with a number of parties including potential local project partners, funding partners and offtake buyers. The company said its main approach will be to option appraisal assets where oil and gas has already been discovered. It expects industry-wide divestment programmes, among oil majors, will open up assets comprising some 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) of production for purchase by independent operators.

Ireland focussed explorer Europa Oil & Gas Plc’s (LON:EOG) saw its Atlantic ambitions take another dent as an unnamed sector ‘major’ walked away from farm-out talks.

The ‘major’, via its NW Europe division, had been in engaged in Europa’s farm-out process for more than a year, but, amidst an internal strategic review the would-be venture partner has now told Europa that the project is no longer under consideration. Europa said talks with other parties continue.

Europa reiterated that the Inishkea gas assets, located near the Corrib project – Ireland’s largest gas field – remain the group’s priority as they offer a lower risk ‘infrastructure-led’ exploration opportunity.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) had its borrowing base reviewed and its credit limit set at US$650mln. Presently, DGOC has drawn borrowings of US$437mln from the facility.

The redetermination of the borrowing base comes shortly after DGOC’s US$200mln securitisation financing, completed in November. At the same time, the company noted that Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have joined the lending syndicate which now includes a total of 17 banks.

SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) described 2019 as a successful year as it provided a trading update ahead of its financial results, revealing a 12% rise in production.

For the year, production averaged 4,020 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and the company noted that, at asset level, it had either exceeded or reached the upper end of guidance. Looking to 2020, the company’s guidance is pitched at 6,750 to 7,000 boepd, 68-74% higher, as operations continue to ramp-up.

On Tuesday, Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) confirmed that it has now entered into the recently agreed ‘put and call’ option agreement to potentially sell its residual 20% stake in its Congo subsidiary, which holds a 56% interest in the Tilapia field. It follows the signing of a term sheet earlier this month.

The call option sets out sale terms whereby Zenith will pay £1mln for the 20% stake in the business, should Tilapia production never exceed 2,000 barrels of oil per day over 30 consecutive days before 15 January 2021. But, if Tilapia produces an average of 4,000 bopd or over for 30 consecutive days before the same deadline, then Zenith will be required to pay £2.5mln for the 20% stake.

Zenith in late December agreed to acquire 80% of the Anglo African Oil & Gas Congo subsidiary for £1mln, including £500,000 of cash.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) said that the first stage of testing at the Cascadura-1ST1 well, at the Ortoire exploration project in Trinidad, had been suspended so the company can source alternative equipment capable of handling higher volumes of both natural gas and liquids.

The company, in a statement, said that significant pressures and natural gas volumes were encountered upon commencement of ‘clean up’ flows.

Paul Baay, Touchstone chief executive, said: “This is the best possible outcome for the initial test results from the Cascadura well, as natural gas and liquids have superior economic value under the Trinidad fiscal regime.”

On Monday, Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) revealed that drilling and wireline logging is now complete for the Campo Limite exploration well (CLix-1001), and, amid encouraging results the explorer and its partners will now move the well into testing.

The company, in a statement, revealed the CLix-1001 encountered the targeted Springhill formation, at a depth of 2,124 metres, and, wireline logging has highlighted a zone of interest which coincides with elevated gas shows.

Proactive weekly oil & gas highlights: Columbus, 88 Energy, ADM, Europa Oil & Gas, DGOC, SDX Energy, AAOG, Touchstone Exploration, Echo

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