Asos and Van Elle may come from the vastly different worlds of online fashion retail and construction engineering but this week the pair were united by their repeated failures.
This was in contract to the overall market, with both small caps and large caps having a largely uneventful week and ending pretty much where they started it, with the AIM All-Share index slipping four points to 913.61 and the FTSE 100 up a single point to 7,502.33.
On Thursday, AIM-listed Asos issued its third profit warning in less than a year, sending its shares tumbling by a quarter over the week and down more than two thirds from its all-time high above 7,600p last year to 2,146p.
Warning: On Thursday, AIM-listed Asos issued its third profit warning in less than a year
The e-retailer has endured hiccups with its overseas warehouses, with its highly automated Berlin depot unable to handle the volume of returned clothes in recent months, before that there were hitches in Atlanta.
After speaking to management, analysts at stockbroker Liberum had worrying words for investors on Friday, fearing there is ‘a lack of senior leaders in the business with the adequate skill-set to undertake the complex capital projects ongoing.’
It is said in investment circles that profit warnings come in threes, which could bode well for Asos, though will concern shareholders in Van Elle.
The foundation-building specialist followed an April warning with another on Friday sparked by contract delays and ‘customer uncertainty.’
Shares in Van Elle sunk more than 18 per cent over the week to 34.51p as it admitted to a suffering a ‘quiet start to the year’ in some segments and increased lumpiness from month to month.
Elsewhere, the biggest faller of the week was Albert Technologies, which plunged by 67 per cent to 2.18p after the marketing intelligence specialist sent investors flooding for the exit as it decided to leave AIM.
In the red: Shares in Van Elle sunk more than 18 per cent over the week to 34.51p as it admitted to a suffering a ‘quiet start to the year’
Going the other way, 7digital was one of the biggest risers, surging 131 per cent higher to the heady heights of 0.28p, after its top two directors voluntarily walked the plank to save costs.
The departure of chief executive John Aalbers after just three months into the job and finance chief Julia Hubbard after just four, along with other cost cutting plans, will save the company almost £1million a year.
Aalbers said he will stay on for a few more months in order to help complete a £4.5million fundraising and hand over the reins to operations director Paul Langworthy as he takes the top job.
Shares in 7Digital, which provides businesses with access to music rights to create music streaming, download and radio services, have tanked over the past year as it lost major German customer MediaMarktSaturn.
Keeping up the musical theme, the sounds of Silence were blaring this week as gene silencing specialist Silence Therapeutics was understandably not whispering about a new development-sharing deal with a $20million up-front payment and potentially worth around $2billion.
Silence, which has seen its shares boom 79 per cent higher to 151p since Thursday’s announcement, said the collaboration with Wall Street-listed biopharma outfit Mallinckrodt has the potential to bring in up to $700million in clinical and other milestone payments.
Mallinckrodt, which is also taking a 6.5 per cent stake in the UK company for $5million, will take over clinical development from the second phase of clinical trials and also have responsibility for global commercialisation of one of Silence’s drug candidate, which uses RNA interference to inhibit or ‘silence’ to treat a range of serious diseases.
Elsewhere, beauty products outfit Swallowfield flew 16 per cent higher to 240.55p on the back of a major facelift where a proposed sale of its manufacturing business for £35million will result in a strategic about-face and a change of name to Brand Architekts Group.
Kitchenware specialist UP Global Sourcing headed up 25 per cent to 85.71p as the maker of Russell Hobbs knives and kitchen utensils issued its third profit upgrade of the year amid better demand from its discounter, supermarket, international and online customers.
Surface Transforms squealed 14 per cent higher to a two-and-a-half year high just above 25p as its carbon-ceramic disc brakes were selected by a major German automotive manufacturer.
Shares in Mirada clicked 20 per cent higher to 1.2p after the television technology group agreed a tie-up to allow its broadcast customers to put the Netflix streaming service on their set-top boxes.
A deal to align more closely with Microsoft gave an 11 per cent kick to 546.4p for Sheffield-based WANdisco, which hooked up with Databricks, a ‘big data’ specialist that works with the US software colossus.