A clampdown on plastic and fears over cash generation slashed nearly £375million off the value of packaging firm RPC.
The worries overshadowed otherwise solid full-year results, with a 36 per cent increase in revenue to £3.7billion and a 105 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £316.6million in the year ending March 31.
Its results follow pledges from the Government and the EU to stamp out single-use plastic products including cutlery, drinks stirrers and straws in a bid to help the environment.
Analysts have pointed out that RPC does not make any of the items covered by a ban, although that did not make investors any less nervous.
Clean up: The Government and the EU have pledged to stamp out single-use plastic products including cutlery, drinks stirrers and straws in a bid to save the environment
RPC, which is listed on the FTSE 250, says it is focusing on developing recyclable and biodegradable plastics.
Brokers also raised concerns about RPC’s volatile cash flow, which dipped 4 per cent to £229.2million over the past year. Its shares fell 11.9 per cent, or 92.2p, to 681.8p.
The FTSE 100 edged up 0.33 per cent, or 25.57 points, to 7712.37, while the FTSE 250 notched up a 0.57 per cent, or 119.54 point gain, to 21,171.40.
Oxford Biomedica signed a deal with a US company to commercialise a gene-based therapy for Parkinson’s disease that could earn it up to £628million.
The biotech firm will receive £22million from Axovant Sciences, with the rest to come once certain milestones, such as getting regulatory approval and hitting sales targets, are hit.
Stock Watch – Autins Group
A profit warning has hit shares at Autins.
The car component maker expects full-year revenue and profit to come in well below expectations due to falling demand from customers.
Chairman Adam Attwood said it had built a strong pipeline but warned investors to expect short-term pain.
‘Before this new business can come into live production, we have near-term challenges with lower demand in the UK.’ Shares dived 40.2 per cent, or 33p, to 49p.
The announcement sent Oxford’s shares soaring 18.9 per cent, or 137p, to 861p.
Back on the FTSE 250, analysts at Liberum were feeling trigger happy, dishing out downgrades to transport group Stagecoach as well as property firms Rightmove and ZPG, the owner of Zoopla.
The broker cut Stagecoach’s rating from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ due to fears over its struggling bus divisions.
In a note, Liberum said: ‘With little prospect of rapid progress in its bus divisions and significant doubts about the potential profitability of future rail franchises, a more cautious stance is warranted.’ Shares slipped 2.5 per cent, or 3.5p, to 139.2p.
Rightmove and ZPG were both cut to ‘hold’ over concerns their shares had peaked in the absence of any likely bidders. Rightmove shares dipped 0.3 per cent, or 14p, to 4946p, while ZPG edged up a tiny 0.04 per cent, or 0.2p, to 488.4p.
Investors were clearly feeling generous yesterday as they dished out millions of pounds to cash-hungry firms.
Struggling carpet seller Carpetright raised £60million as it continues its battle to stay afloat. The fund-raising is part of a turnaround plan that will see it close 92 shops. Shares dropped 4.6 per cent, or 1.6p, to 33.4p.
Plans to raise £1million caused shares in cake decorator Real Good Food to crash 15.8 per cent, or 1.5p, to 8p. The AIM-listed firm wants the cash to boost its working capital.
Chemical instruments maker Microsaic Systems also went cap in hand to investors to raise £5.5million. Shares fell 11.1 per cent, or 0.25p, to 2p.
Gambling software firm GAN reiterated its plans to launch internet sports betting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to lift a long-standing ban. Shares leapt 12.5 per cent, or 6.75p, to 60.75p.
Savannah Petroleum shares ticked up 4.8 per cent, or 1.5p, to 32.5p after it said it had discovered oil at a well in Niger, central Africa.
Harvey Nash shares hit a four-year high after the technology recruiter reported a 7 per cent increase in gross profit for the quarter ending April 30. Shares shot up 8.7 per cent, or 9.25p, to 115.25p.