A boom in airplane broadband sales sent shares in one of Britain’s biggest technology companies flying.
Satellite communication firm Inmarsat reported a 4.8 per cent increase in revenue to £254million in the first three months of the year, boosted by a 39 per cent increase in the division that supplies wifi to planes.
The success of its aviation division pushed pre-tax profits up to £41.2million in the first quarter, up from £960,000 in the same period of 2017.
The announcement is a major boost to Britain’s technology sector following a cooling of investor sentiment that wiped billions off share prices.
Sky net: Satellite communication firm Inmarsat reported a 4.8 per cent increase in revenue to £254m in the first three months of the year
Rupert Pearce, chief executive, said: ‘Given our track record, unique capabilities, differentiated market position and strong channels to market, we are increasingly well placed to deliver further annual revenue growth across all of our target markets.’ Shares flew 8.1 per cent, or 29.4p, higher to 391.2p.
The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.3 per cent, or 22.84 points, at 7543.2, while the FTSE 250 rose 0.8 per cent, or 157.95 points, to 20,506.27.
Sage, Britain’s largest software firm, has fired 30 senior executives following a sharp fall in profits.
The accountancy software giant reported a 7.1 per cent increase in revenues but a 5 per cent fall in profits in the six months to March 31.
In recent years the firm has had to contend with increasing competition from the likes of Salesforce and Netsuite.
Stock Watch – VR Education
Shares in VR Education rocketed after one of its virtual reality apps was chosen to be bundled with a much-hyped new headset.
The Apollo 11 VR app uses archive footage of the Apollo 11 space mission to let users witness the first moon landing through virtual reality.
The app will be included as part of the launch collection for Oculus Go, a new type of headset that doesn’t require a phone or PC to work.
Shares soared 43.5 per cent, or 4.7p, to 15.5p.
Shares actually rose – 0.2 per cent, or 1p, to 637.4p – reflecting investor relief that the company is trying to address its problems, says Russ Mould of broker AJ Bell.
‘The company has run into problems as it attempts to convert its small business customers to subscription-based services to improve revenue visibility,’ said Mould. ‘This is a laudable aim, but the disappointing outcome shows the risk of a company shifting its sales strategy.’
IWG, the serviced office provider, was the FTSE 250’s biggest faller after weak revenue growth and a slump in cash generation.
Currency headwinds meant it grew revenues by just 0.6 per cent in the three months ending March 31, while it generated £9.5million in cash, down from £23.7million a year earlier. Shares fell 4.1 per cent, or 10p, to 234p.
Indivior, the FTSE 250-listed anti-addiction drug maker, reported a 6pc slump in revenue and 11 per cent hit to operating profits in the first three months of the year.
It was knocked by a loss of market share in the US for an opioid addiction treatment which has come under pressure from generic copycats. Shares dipped 1.3 per cent, or 6p, to 455p.
In the small caps, broker RBC Capital Partners downgraded Nostrum Oil & Gas from ‘outperform’ to ‘perform’ after a disappointing update in which the firm said water had disrupted production in two wells.
It also cut the oil company’s target price from 415p to 395p. Shares fell 4.9 per cent, or 14.5p, to 282p.
On Aim, shares in Photon Star crashed as it raised £450,000 from investors for a next-generation wireless lighting system. Shares tanked 20.8 per cent, or 0.1p, to 0.4p.
A revenue warning hit shares in Hydrodec, a clean-technology oil refining company. It expects to make £2.6million in the year to March 31, down from £3.3million the previous year, due to lower sales. Shares slid 15.9 per cent, or 0.28p, to 1.45p.
Personal care product maker Innova Derma popped after it launched a premature ejaculation device in the US and Australia.
It is also seeking regulatory approval to launch in the UK and Europe later this year. Shares shot up 10.7 per cent, or 16p, to 165p.
Shares in Springfield Properties, the Scottish builder, leapt 8 per cent, or 10p, to 134p after a £20.1million deal to buy rival Dawn Homes.