7 February 2018
BENCHMARK HOLDINGS PLC
("Benchmark" or the "Company" or the "Group")
The Company has been informed that Hugo Wahnish, Non-Executive Director, purchased 25,000 ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each in Benchmark ("Ordinary Shares") at a price of 67 pence per share on 5 February 2018, and a further 25,000 Ordinary Shares at a price of 66 pence per share on 6 February 2018.
Following this transaction, Hugo's total beneficial interest in the Company is 50,000 ordinary shares, representing approximately 0.01 per cent. of the Company's issued share capital.
UK equity income manager Neil Woodford has upped his stake in veterinary pharma business Benchmark Holdings (BMKB), following a share price fall of 31% over the past year.
Woodford increased his stake in Benchmark by 0.12% to 22%, held across the Woodford Equity Income fund and Patient Capital investment trust. This equates to 115 million shares, which is worth £77.1 million at a share price of 67p. Over the past three months, Benchmarks share price has risen by 83.6%.
The health and technology specialist reported a 28% increase in revenues to £140.2 million its final results for the year to the end of September 2017. Despite the improvement in the companys fortunes, it continued to record losses of £7.1 million for the year. However, this still represents an improvement compared to the prior year, when losses were £18.3 million.
CEO Malcolm Pye described it as a year of significant operational and strategic progress for the business.
He added: The organic growth delivered in the year and the achievement of significant milestones, together with the increased activity in many of our key markets at the end of the year leaves us full of confidence going into the new financial year.
Well that was what made me think of selling a few days ago.... might be or could just be profit taking or MMs just messing around with price - who knows. Would buy a few more purely to trade if spread not so wide...
I have not seen anything for today's price action. I guess we will see in due time maybe others looking to reduce ahead of the results rather than giving it back on the day. Agree, exciting company going forward so no intention to sell remaining only add after results on weakness if they are good.
Not sure what's going on today - got back in in mid 50s - nearly sold at 78p but decided to stick with this one. If what they have said recently is right about sea lice treatment then this one could really fly. Without a sea-lice remedy the whole salmon industry will have to go to contained tanks (possibly on shore) from the current sea net enclosures. A bit like egg producers having to go from cages to free range but in relative terms bigger imo.
Benchmark Holdings plc
("Benchmark" or the "Company")
Benchmark participates in gene editing research to develop disease resistance in salmon
Benchmark, the aquaculture health, nutrition, and genetics business, is pleased to announce its participation in an important gene editing research project.
· Third party funded study to investigate the potential for gene editing technology to increase resistance against infectious salmon anaemia (ISA)
· Gene editing represents a significant long-term opportunity in animal health, following on from recent breakthroughs in human health
· First of a number of initiatives being undertaken by Benchmark in this field for wider applications
The study, funded by a £500,000 Industrial Partnership Award from the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), will last three years and will investigate the possible use of gene editing technology to increase resistance against ISA. Project collaborators include individuals from the Roslin Institute, the University of Aberdeen, Benchmark's SalmoBreed, the Institute of Marine Research (Norway), INRA (France), Marine Science Scotland (Aberdeen) and Cefas (UK).
The aim of the study is to identify genes involved in the infection of Atlantic salmon by ISA and make alterations to increase resistance. This could then be applied to produce ISA resistant broodstock for farming.
Gene editing is a new technology which uses enzyme systems such as CRISPR/Cas9 and TALEN amongst others to make precise, targeted alterations to the DNA sequence. In contrast with previous technologies it does not rely on introduction of genes from other species.
ISA causes high mortality and significant monetary losses in affected salmon farms worldwide, and is a major welfare issue. There are no treatments for ISA and, in the event of an outbreak, producers are forced to cull all affected stock. Existing solutions such as vaccination and biosecurity cannot fully prevent the spread of the disease. Gene editing can provide an additional way to combat ISA.
This study is the first of a number of initiatives being undertaken by Benchmark in this field. Gene editing represents a significant long-term opportunity, and learnings from this study will be applied to other disease areas and species including shrimp and tilapia.
Malcolm Pye, Benchmark CEO, commented:
"Gene editing is a potentially powerful tool to combat disease in aquaculture and, with a team of world class geneticists, Benchmark is at the forefront of this research in line with our strategy of developing world class aquaculture health products. This is a very exciting time for gene editing with major breakthroughs in human health resulting from decades of research which augur well for animal health. We are delighted to be collaborating with leading institutions to use this novel technology to improve the health and welfare of farmed fish."
Benchmark Holdings plc
Malcolm Pye, CEO
Ivonne Cantu, Investor Relations Director
Rachel Aninakwah, Communications
Information within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014.
Benchmark Holdings plc
("Benchmark", the "Company" or the "Group")
Trading Update and Notice of Results
Benchmark, the aquaculture health, nutrition, and genetics business, provides the following trading update further to the announcement issued on 8 September 2017.
-- Revenues of GBP138m, in line with market expectations (unaudited)
-- Adjusted EBITDA of GBP10m (unaudited), ahead of the Company's guidance of GBP8.7m-GBP9.3m provided in the announcement of 8 September
-- Improved result from previous guidance driven by positive trading in Genetics and Advanced Nutrition, and lower bonus accruals, partially offset by forex movements, Animal Health and lumpfish sales
-- Net debt at year end of GBP24m
-- Overall, like for like revenues for the division grew by 21% (or by 8% on a constant currency basis over the prior year). Continued signs of recovery in key shrimp markets resulting in strong growth in sales of compound hatchery diets and health products, with Artemia sales similar to last year
-- Strong sales growth with a 49% increase (up 23% on a constant currency basis), driven by increasing demand for salmon products with sales in salmon eggs up on prior year in every major market
Animal Health (medicines and vaccines)
-- Continued progress in pipeline of 46 products, of which five are in regulatory phase, and ten are in pre-regulatory development trials
Notice of Results
Benchmark will announce its full year results for the year ended 30 September 2017 on Tuesday 23 January 2018. An analyst meeting will be held on that day at 9.30am at the offices of MHP Communications, 6 Agar Street, London WC2N 4HN. To register your interest, please contact [email protected]
Malcolm Pye, CEO, commented
"Benchmark has delivered organic growth and has achieved significant operational milestones, whilst continuing to invest in the development of its pipeline and infrastructure despite the challenges faced through the year. These, together, position us as a leader in one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry with great opportunities for further robust growth in the future."
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