Richard Jeans’ week in technology: Mood remains nervous

The markets remain nervous, amid concern over the rising coronavirus cases across the globe. The nervousness is reflected in the VIX index which is hovering around 35, near double its long-term average.

A major focus this week will be the key US monthly jobs data on Thursday, which follow the surprisingly strong figures of a month earlier. 

News roundup

Last week we saw annual results from (), Iomart (), and Alpha Financial Markets Consulting (), a trading update from NCC (AIM:NCC) and Capital Markets Events from CentralMic (AIM:CNIC) and Kape (AIM:KAPE).  There were fund raisings from Instem () and Redcentric (), which also released a trading update.

.Designs, which provides specialist products using printed circuit technology, reported a 16% decline in revenues to £2.9mln and a modest adjusted profit. However, the Improved Harness Technology (IHT) business, which is the group’s key growth area jumped by 55% to £0.9mln. Stevenage Circuits (SCL), acquired in April, has been successfully integrated, and the company’s existing Radio Frequency (RF) business is being transferred to Stevenage, freeing up capacity at Tewkesbury for the IHT operations. SCL was acquired in April for an initial £1.4mln net of cash acquired. The company had net debt of £0.3mln as at 31 December, raised c £5.87mln gross in March, partly to fund the acquisition, and currently has a net cash position of c £1.5mln. The IHT business produces PCBs that replace wiring and hence result in a substantial reduction in weight. End markets include electric vehicles, aerospace and medical. The RF business targets the telecoms industry and has been impacted by the delayed T-Mobile / Sprint merger in the US, which has since been resolved, and the trade disputes between the US and China. The investment case is promising, for instance, the company is negotiating with several medical device companies and there is one opportunity for an order of a million units for one product alone. In total, the group has 72 customers and collaborations, up from 45 as at March 2018. This includes a number  blue-chip names such as Aerospace and Airbus.

NCC, the cyber security provider and resilience advisor, said in its trading update that it expects revenue and adjusted EBIT to be comfortably ahead of analysts’ consensus expectations. While NCC has experienced delays, cancellations, and disruption to its business, these are clearly not as bad as had been feared. However, the company in not yet reintroducing guidance due to Covid-19 uncertainties. Net debt slipped to below £5mln from £20.8mln as at 30 November.

Redcentric, the UK IT managed services provider, said in a trading update that Q1 recurring revenue orders were expected to be marginally ahead of Q120 and significantly ahead of the board’s expectations at the time of the last trading update in April. Further, Q1 customer…

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