Rose Petroleum plc

AFX UK Focus


UK small caps close lower; Robotic Tech stays down on disappointing profit news

AFX UK Focus (07-27-2007)LONDON (Thomson Financial) -

UK smaller companies closed lower today, extending earlier losses, with Robotic Holdings slumping by 17.74 pct on disappointing profit news.

The FTSE Small Cap index closed 31.60 points lower at 3,886.70, while the FTSE 100 index ended 36.00 down at 6,215.20.

Scoring one of the biggest falls was Robotic Technology, down 2-3/4 pence to 12-3/4, as it said it expects the group operating results for 2007 before exceptional items and amortisation to be lower than market expectations.

As predicted earlier, due to the low order intake at the start of 2007 and costs incurred to resolve an ongoing disputed contract in RTS Flexible Systems, trading in both its businesses has been weak in the first half of the year, the company said.

Profit warnings saw shares in two companies dip, including marketing, information and logistics specialist Dowlis Corporate Solutions, which fell 7 to 32-1/2.

It said it is expecting sales and profit for the full year to be below current expectations, primarily due to lower than expected growth in the promotional marketing division.

The other sufferer was manufacturer and distributor of digital printing systems Nipson Digital Printing, down 1-1/2 to 7-1/2, as it said it expects full-year results to be 'materially' below current market expectations due to delays in equipment sales in the first half.

The company said it has experienced further sales delays in the second quarter, although equipment sales were better than in the first quarter.

An in-line trading statement at its AGM failed to help online local search marketing company Infoserve Group, as shares fell back 5 to 45.

The company said it is confident that its contract with Yahoo Inc and other deals will support continuing growth in the current financial year.

There was also disappointment for Cenes Pharmaceuticals, slipping 0.70 to 3.55, as it said it intends to raise 6.1 mln stg by placing 5.79 mln shares at 105 pence each.

The company said it will use the proceeds chiefly for Phase III studies of lead drug M6G, its lead drug candidate for the treatment of post-operative pain, in the US.

There was cheer for Xansa, which rose 27-1/2 to 104, on news it is in advanced talks regarding a possible offer for the company at a premium to the current share price.

However: 'There can be no certainty that an offer for the company will be forthcoming', the outsourcing and technology company said in a statement in response to its share price movement.

Meanwhile, biosciences company Abcam extended earlier gains, up 35 to 345, as it is in preliminary talks with parties regarding a possible offer for the company, though reiterated that there can be no certainty an offer will be made.

Last month, Abcam said it expects to see full-year sales slightly exceeding market expectations, and will also see profits beating forecasts.

A similarly buoyant performance came from Renewable Energy Holdings, gaining 5 to 55 as it said it has entered into a binding memorandum of understanding with EDF Energies Nouvelles SA, under which, EDF will exclusively develop offshore wave power projects.

The companies will conclude a collaboration agreement which will permit EDF to develop the projects in the Northern Hemisphere and at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, using REH's proprietary CETO wave power technology, REH said.

Meanwhile shares in Amazing Holdings climbed 17-1/2 to 230 on news it has signed a deal with Larry Woolf-owned Navegante Group Inc to engage the latter's management services for Amazing's upcoming casino.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Amazing also reported 'considerable progress' on the casino project and said it was in the final stages of land acquisition on Penghu island.

And Vane Minerals ended the day 1-1/2 up to 22-1/4, on news it has received government approval to start its drilling programme at the North Alice Extension uranium project in Utah.

The initial programme will consist of up to 25 holes to test the extent of mineralisation which was discovered in the 1970s and 1980s by Homestake Mining Company, and Vane is trying to ascertain a clearer resource estimate through historical data and its own drilling.