Euronext Brussels: healthy bars and a leaky postman

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The bridge day brought little enthusiasm to Brussels, although a rally in beaten banks helped the Bel20 to profit. Lotus Bakeries is almost completely in control of the British maker of healthy bars NBF.

European stock markets have largely erased their bleak beginnings. That was certainly the case for Brussels, where the Bel20

0.8 percent higher closed at 2,962 points. This is mainly thanks to the banks, which together boost the stock market barometer. KBC

and ING

scrambled to their feet, but have still recorded a 35 and 50 percent loss since the New Year. .

Galapagos

was hit (-8%) on Thursday after the publication of phase 3 study results for filgotinib to treat ulcerative colitis, a serious inflammatory bowel disease. However, those results were largely in line with competitive data, say KBC Securities biotechanalists. The main disappointment was the impact of the lower dose (100 mg), while the higher dose (200 mg) performed as expected.

Lenny Van Steenhuyse and Sandra Cauwenberghs point out that for various reasons it is difficult to compare data from different studies. While there are still outstanding questions, they feel that the results of the study with filgotinib still deserve regulatory approval. Therefore, they increase the chances of success for filogotinib in ulcerative colitis from 75 to 95 percent. This increases their target price from 189 to 192 euros. Their advice will “keep”.

Galapagos does not benefit much from this on the stock exchange: the share closed almost flat at 185 euros.

Näkd and Trek

For the scarce company news, we have to be in East Flanders, at the famous biscuit baker from Lembeke. Lotus Bakeries

announced in advance that it has increased its stake in the British manufacturer of healthy bars Natural Balance Foods (NBF) from 67.5 to 97.9 percent. The company has reached an agreement on this with Jamie and Creg Combs, the founders of NBF, who sell their remaining shares almost entirely. The Combs brothers retain a 2.1 percent stake “because they want to continue to share in the growth story of Natural Balance Foods,” the press release said.

Lotus joined NBF in 2015, which produces healthy bars under the brand names Näkd and Trek. Jamie and Creg Combs will remain operationally involved until the end of this year. Gareth Dunne, operational director at the company, will become acting general manager.

The company does not specify how much Lotus paid for the remaining shares of NBF. It does say that the acquisition price represents a multiple of approximately 1.7 times the current net sales.

KBC Securities analyst Guy Sips is pleased that Lotus Bakeries has acquired the majority of NBF’s remaining shares. He estimates NBF’s growth potential higher than that of Lotus Bakeries as a whole. In his view, the price that Lotus has paid is correct. He maintains his holding advice and target price of 2,900 euros.

ING estimates that Lotus paid approximately 30 million euros for the additional interest in NBF, where the investment in 2015 required approximately 55 million euros. As a result of the transaction, the debt ratio (the ratio between the net financial debt and the adjusted gross operating profit) of Lotus Bakeries will increase slightly, from 1x to 1.2x.

Lotus Bakeries strengthened 1 percent at 2,820 euros, good for a 9 percent profit since New Year.

New low

Bpost

lost another 1 percent and set a new all-time high with 5.44 during the day. To put that in perspective: the postal and parcel deliverer went to the stock exchange in June 2013 for 14.50 euros. There, Bpost initially performed very well, but since more than two years it has been all over.

At the beginning of this month, the company reported that classic letter traffic, its most profitable branch, had fallen 9.9 percent in the first quarter as advertising campaigns were canceled due to the corona crisis. For the full year, Bpost now expects mail volume to shrink by 9 to 11 percent.

Acacia Pharma

shot 10 percent higher to 2.93 euros after 10.8 percent was added on Thursday. The British pharmaceutical company, which hopes to launch the drug Barhemsys in the US in the second half of this year, was recently named in a report as one of the top players in the market for medicines for post-operative nausea and vomiting. Acacia was listed alongside big names like Roche, Novartis, Sanofi, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline. The report was based on the market research agency Contrive Datum Insights.



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