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Bank note printer, De La Rue, has seen its share price plummet this week after its half year results showed it could be seriously short of money. The bank note printer’s market cap has shrunk by around 80% in the past two years, and the latest figures show this is now exceeded by its £171 million net debt. Its share price fell 20% in the wake of the news, to 144p at the time of writing, meaning the stock is down 70% in the past six months alone. Two profit warnings this year, along with a Serious Fraud Office Investigation in July, has been bad news for De La Rue but could it bounce back? The move to digital payments has hit the printer hard as its mainstay is currency printing. To dig its way out of its current hole, it has a lot to overcome – cash is likely to become less and less frequently used so its security and counterfeit division needs to take centre stage. Its authentication revenues increased 70% year on year, which is one piece of positive news and new Chief Executive Clive Vacher has already started a strategic review to boost revenue and cut costs. With one of its biggest shareholders suggesting the firm is now a takeover target though, and the printer itself suggesting that it could fold if its turnaround plan fails, investors are probably bracing up for a rocky ride.
Losing its license to operate in London has sent Uber’s share price plummeting by three per cent this week to $29.49 at the time of writing. The news wiped almost $2bn off the ride hailing firm’s market cap, as investors worry about the repercussions to revenue from the license loss. Transport for London decided not to renew the taxi firm’s license after it said ‘a pattern of failures’ put passenger safety at risk, finding that more than 14,000 trips were taken with drivers who had faked their identity on the Uber app. Uber’s UK general manager, Jamie Heywood said the ride hailing firm would appeal TfL’s decision, describing it as ‘extraordinary and wrong’, and said it will continue to operate until the appeal. So, what does this mean for Uber’s share price – can it recover, or has the license loss slammed on the brakes? Analysts think this could have a big detrimental impact on Uber – with around 3.5 million users London is its biggest European market and newcomers Bolt and Ola are poised to step into the breech in the city. Some also fear that Uber’s history of regulatory issues – whether through passenger safety concerns or driver’s rights – is worrying, and that London’s example may prompt others to follow suit. The taxi firm’s fast growth business model means it has spent $7 billion this year alone and so the last thing it needs is investors panicking and pulling out. Whether it can pull itself through this latest crisis or not may depend on the outcome of the appeal with TfL.
Pets at Home has seen its share price jump as its latest results revealed stellar sales growth for the first half of the year. The pet retailer is likely to have some happy investors as it posted an underlying year-on-year profit hike of 18.9 per cent to £45m for the period to the end of October. Its share price shot up 9.5 per cent, now standing at 258.55p at the time of writing and the group expects its full-year profit to be at the top end of its £87m to £93m expectations. So, is the pet superstore worth a punt or is it approaching its price peak? Analysts are impressed with the way the firm has differentiated its business model – with vet clinics and grooming services under the same roof as its retail offering there is plenty of potential for growth. The company has highlighted a possible risk of Brexit, in that most of its veterinary staff are EU nationals, but analysts are optimistic overall with Liberium raising its target price to 300p following the results.
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