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SMALL CAP MOVERS: Inspiration Healthcare's ventilators in demand

"Stephen Shropshire" (2020-04-22)


Inspiration Healthcare was one of the few risers on the junior market as the coronavirus crisis intensified.

In fact the business may be one of the few beneficiaries if the outbreak with its ventilators in demand.

The NHS placed the first order on Monday, valued at £1.25million, which Inspiration Healthcare said was its single largest ever - until Friday, when it landed a £4million deal.






In demand: The NHS placed the first ventilators order on Monday, valued at £1.25million, which Inspiration Healthcare said was its single largest ever - until Friday, when it landed a £4million deal


As the equipment is required immediately, management are discussing with its US supplier to speed up deliveries.

However, the critical care tech provider pointed out that governments worldwide are tightening measures as the pandemic worsens, which could potentially delay supplies.

'Given this, and that we are at an early stage in the financial year, we remain cautious of how these factors may affect the markets in which we operate,' chief executive Neil Campbell said.

The medical equipment firm jumped 9 per cent to 70p.






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Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-share continued the coronavirus-driven descent, down 20 per cent to 623 points, while the FTSE 100 was in better shape, dropping 'only' 4 per cent to 5,322.

Among the countless fallers was speciality chemicals group Itaconix stood out with a 68 per cent plunge to 0.4p. Here's a business with a strong pipeline that was on the verge of bringing in more cash to meet demand for its additives. Now it's been forced to conserve its precious funds and is even mulling and exit from AIM to save money.





Retailers were also hard hit by the progressive shutdown. Fashion designer Sosandar collapsed 62 per cent to 5p after it said it expected a wider loss than predicted for the year to 31 March, adding it was impossible to predict the full impact of the outbreak thereafter.

Footwear seller Shoe Zone plummeted 40 per cent to 71p after it said it planned to ask permission to cancel the recently approved final dividend. 

Similarly, posh wellie maker Joules tumbled 31 per cent to 68p as it too cancelled the payout, saving £700,000 in the process.

The hospitality sector has also been battered, with City Pub Group crashing 52 per cent to 60p after it was forced to cut salaries, cancel sport streaming subscriptions and reduce trading hours.

Meanwhile, magazine and events company Time Out lost 36 per cent to 50p after announcing the closure of five markets across the US and Portugal following local government guidelines.

Restaurateur Comptoir Group tanked 36 per cent to 3p as it shuttered all its outlets until further notice.

Competitor Tasty shed 28 per cent to 1p, warning that it was 'impossible' to mitigate all risks coming from sharply reduced trading in the near future.






Footwear seller Shoe Zone plummeted 40 per cent to 71p after it said it planned to ask permission to cancel the recently approved final dividend


The risers were dominated by tech firms, such as LoopUp, which soared 41 per cent to 62p thanks to a 'material increase in volumes' for its virtual meeting products thanks to the millions now working from home.

Similarly, Bango surged 52 per cent to 105p after it launched carrier billing payment services for its subscription-based games streaming platform.

Following an initial launch with a US mobile operator, the firm said customers will now be able to subscribe to the gaming service by paying on their monthly phone bill.

Unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak, IndigoVision rocketed 105 per cent to 370p after succumbing to a 405p per share cash offer from Motorola Solutions, valuing the video surveillance systems provider at £30.4million.

Some more pandemic related good news came from Tekcapital, which lept 39 per cent to 5p after portfolio firm Belluscura filed a patent for a treatment for patients suffering from respiratory illnesses brought on by infections such as coronavirus.

Finally, Anglo African Oil & Gas gained 22 per cent to 0.2p after it announced that its associate Forum Energy had agreed to provide £150,000 before the end of this month so that the oiler can 'satisfy creditors'.






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