July 31--Promotional products group 4imprint was one of corporate raider Edward Bramson's early successes. As head of turnaround investment specialist Hanover Investments, he acquired a sizeable stake in 2003 at around 50p a share and was parachuted in as temporary chairman following a boardroom coup.
A year or so later, after reviving the group's US businesses, Bramson and his right-hand man at the time, Matthew Peacock, banked nearly pounds sterling 2.6m by selling 1.9m shares at around 135p a share. Bramson then stepped down, to be replaced by renowned company doctor Ken Minton.
4imprint has come a long way since. Shares in the company, whose promotional products range from laptop bags, pens and coasters to mugs and business cards emblazoned with the sponsor's logo, soared 60.5p to 705p after blowing analysts' interim profit forecasts out of the water.
Revenues were up 14pc to pounds sterling 115.7m and pre-tax profits climbed 37pc to pounds sterling 5.85m. The interim dividend is lifted 11pc to 6.2p.
Analyst Malcolm Morgan at Peel Hunt said: 'With pounds sterling 26m of cash on the balance sheet, the company is now looking to complete a further material pension risk-reduction exercise. It is estimated that this would cost pounds sterling 22m, paid in 2014-15'. He raised his target price to 780p from 730p.
Meanwhile, private equity fund Electra, Ed Bramson's latest target, closed flat at 145.25p. Via his investment vehicle, Sherborne, Bramson sits on a 19.3pc stake. He has demanded that he and two other unnamed directors be appointed to the board to carry out a strategic review. The Electra board does not want to know.
Private equity veteran Jon Moulton'sBetter Capital remained in the doldrums at 107.75p, down a further 0.25p. The turnaround specialist he founded has been in the dog-house since a shock profits warning in February. Yesterday, the company reported disappointing annual results with Investec blaming the write-down in office products firm Spicers as the big contributor to the 11.1pc decline in net asset value to 112.96p per share.
The Footsie was dragged 34.31 points lower to 6,773.44 in thin trading after Wall Street lost an initial 50 point gain to trade 31.75 points lower at 16,880.36. The Street of Dreams was at first boosted by news that the US economy grew at a better-than-expected rate of 4pc in the second-quarter. Sellers appeared as the market became anxious ahead of tomorrow's crucial US non-farm payroll (employment) figures after the ADP National Employment Report for July came up well short of expectations.
Apart from economic data, all US eyes were on shares in social networking group Twitter. They soared 25pc to $48.25 in hectic trading following its revelation that active users had risen a much better-than-expected 24pc in the second-quarter. Copper miner Antofagasta, or 'Fags', fell 39p to 816p despite its second-quarter 2014 production report confirming it was on track to achieve guidance of 700,000 tonnes of copper for 2014, after production increased 5.5pc from the first-quarter to reach 348,200 tonnes for the first-half.
After stating that revenues and profitswere in line with expectations, Tullow Oil slipped 8.5p to 755.5p.
Buyers were in the driving seat at National Express, 4.2p better at 260.9p. They shrugged off news that extreme US weather, strikes in Spain and a strong pound had affected profits in the first-half, focusing more on the transport group's strong cashflow and the fact another pounds sterling 80m had been cut from debt levels over the past 12 months to pounds sterling 729m.
Revived bid hopes and a UBS upgrade to neutral from sell and target price to 250p from 230p lifted struggling inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon by 9.2p to 249.2p. Pace, the world's biggest maker of TV set-top boxes, slumped 24.5p more to 337.4p. Broker Liberum Capital is cautious and believes the sudden departure of highly regarded chief cinancial officer Roddy Murray for 'personal and confidential' reasons suggest there were internal disagreements over strategy.
Inland Homes, the brownfield land developer with a growing housebuilding arm, added 1.12p to 45.38p after saying it would report annual results ahead of market expectations in September 2014. Its land bank has grown significantly along with the number of residential home completions.
Construction firm Keller lost 23p to 890p after announcing it will take a pounds sterling 30m hit in the first-half, relating to a dispute on a project completed by one of its units in 2008.
AIM-listed Tern, the investment company specialising in the cloud and mobile sectors, rose 0.5p or 31pc to 2.12p on hearing that Al Sisto, a director, has loaned the company an interest-free amount of pounds sterling 100,000.
Described by a fund manager as a 'significant step forward for the shareholders of Green Compliance after a difficult few years', the water treatment and hygiene company is to be acquired by APC Technology in a share-exchange bid worth around pounds sterling 4.8m based on APC's Tuesday's closing price of 35.75p. Green, which eased 0.38p to 0.98p, swung to a profit of pounds sterling 864,000 last year, compared with a pounds sterling 3.3m profit a year earlier.
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