MARKET REPORT: Hammered! Auction Technology dives 8.2%

Shares in Auction Technology spooked investors after a warning sounded about the outlook.

The FTSE 250 company, which operates as a marketplace connecting bidders with auction houses to purchase items such as antiques, sofas and paintings, warned that revenues this year may not grow as fast as last year.

It said it expects “high single-digit to low double-digit revenue growth” for the fiscal year through the end of September 2023.

Lower bids: Auction technology works like a marketplace connecting bidders with auction houses to purchase items such as antiques, sofas, and paintings

The prospect of single-digit growth raised fears it will fail to match the 11 per cent revenue increase to £119.8 million it achieved in the 12 months to September 2022.

The group also posted another £9 million profit last year, following a loss of £25 million 12 months earlier. Auction Technology said its 2023 outlook was based on “high levels of macroeconomic uncertainty.”

It will also aim for £2 million in cost savings per year from 2025.

The shares, which floated at 600p in February last year, fell 8.1 percent, or 69p, to 788p.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent, or 14.56 points, to 7558.49 and the FTSE 250 rose 1.1 percent, or 205.19 points, to 19,368.52.

Pearson fell 5.2 percent, or 51.6 pence, to 943.6 pence after BNP Paribas downgraded the education group’s rating from “outperform” to “neutral.”

Meanwhile, Spirax-Sarco’s takeover wave gained momentum as the engineer added another company, with a £279.1 million takeover of Durex Industries, a US company that makes electric industrial heaters.

Stock watch – Tribe group

1669947867 474 Market Report Hammered Auction Technology Dives 82

Tribal Group issued a profit warning after pinning its hopes on a contract now expected to lose £12 million.

The company, which provides software for higher education, thought the contract with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, which started last year, was worth £17 million over eight years. But there have been delays in implementation and delivery.

It means earnings for this year are now likely to be £9m lower than previous expectations. It fell 17.9 percent, or 10 pence, to 46 pence.

It follows Spirax-Sarco’s acquisition of Vulcanic at the end of September. Shares were up 1.6 percent, or 1755p, to 11,380p.

On a difficult day for Peel Hunt, the City broker sank into the red after profits were all but wiped out by a lack of listed companies.

Profits fell 99.7 per cent to £100,000 in the six months to September, down from £29.5 million a year earlier.

Only five UK listings took place in the first six months of 2022, compared to 37 a year earlier. Sales fell from £71.4 million to £41.1 million over the period. Shares fell 5.4 percent, or 4.5 pence, to 78.5 pence.

But things looked good for AJ Bell, where profits rose 6 per cent in the year to the end of September to £58.4 million as it attracted more than 57,000 customers.

The increase came despite a 2% fall in assets under administration to £64.1bn as market turmoil drove down the value of investments on the platform.

AJ Bell also predicted that its profit margins would increase in the coming year as it benefited from higher interest payments from customer funds held by the company.

Shares fell 1 percent, or 3.8 pence, to 360 pence.

Darktrace rose 4.3 percent, or 14.8 pence, to 355.8 pence after Redburn began reporting with a buy rating and a target price of 550 pence.

Hotel Chocolat made an annual loss of £9.4 million in the 12 months to June, after making a profit of £3.7 million a year earlier.

The slump came despite a 37 percent increase in sales to £226.1 million and a 35 percent increase in UK sales.

It had to write off nearly £30 million after its Japanese joint venture went bankrupt.

Meanwhile, Hotel Chocolat chairman Andrew Gerrie and finance chief Matt Pritchard will both leave next year. Shares fell 1.4 percent, or 2 pence, to 147 pence.

Kin & Carta found itself at the center of a shareholder revolt over its remuneration policy.

At its annual general meeting, the digital consultancy, formerly known as St Ives, said the pay plan was passed despite opposition from more than a quarter of investors (26.9 percent).

Kin & Carta said it is “committed to an open and transparent dialogue” with shareholders. It rose 1.3 percent, or 3 pence, to 239.5 pence.

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