MARKET REPORT: Chinese pigs help animal genetics firm Genus to bring home the bacon

Animal genetics firm Genus was bringing home the bacon after announcing a deal in China to help develop flu-resistant pigs.

The FTSE 250 firm is partnering with Beijing Capital Agribusiness to research and genetically engineer pigs which are resistant to the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

The disease tears through pig stocks around the globe, especially in China, the world’s largest pork market. 

Under the collaboration, Genus will be paid up to £15.6million up front, between £94million and £125million in several years’ time when the firm’s new joint venture in China has been approved, and any further royalties from sales of the pigs.

Animal genetics firm Genus is partnering with Beijing Capital Agribusiness to research and genetically engineer flu-resistant pigs

Animal genetics firm Genus is partnering with Beijing Capital Agribusiness to research and genetically engineer flu-resistant pigs

There is no cure for the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, which causes suffering and reproductive failure.

But Genus has already been able to breed pigs which show resistance to the disease. Its shares shot up by 14.1 per cent, or 356p, to 2884p as it revealed the deal.

Struggling cyber-security firm Sophos also raked in gains after boosting revenue by 11 per cent to £555million for the year ending March 31.

After being dogged by ‘subdued performance’ for most of last year, the software business reported strong growth in revenue from subscriptions.

The amount Sophos billed its customers had been expected to slip but, in fact, they were flat year-on-year driven by stronger growth among smaller customers.

Stock Watch – Gaming Realms 

Mobile game developer Gaming Realms has played its cards right sealing a distribution deal with gambling business Scientific Games.

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The three-year agreement will see Scientific distribute Gaming Realms’ Slingo games to more than 200 operators, across its platform.

Slingo combines elements of slots and bingo, and Gaming Realms owns a number of variations based on popular television shows.

Shares shot up 12.4 per cent, or 0.56p, to 5.03p.

They helped Sophos swing from a £32million loss last year to a £42million profit before tax.

Nicholas Hyett, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Having been caught out repeatedly last year with over-optimistic forecasts, a better-than-guided performance in the final quarter goes some way to patching up the group’s damaged credibility.

‘Full rehabilitation is some way off, but this is the first step on the road.’ Shares soared by 13.9 per cent, or 47.1p, to 387.1p.

Premier Oil pumped up its production guidance, after reporting year-to-date production climbed 14 per cent compared with the same period in 2018.

The international oil and gas exploration business, which has had a tricky few years, said it expected to produce 75,000 to 80,000 barrels, extending its forecast from 75,000.

It is also reducing its massive debt pile faster than expected, and since the end of last year has pushed its borrowing down from £1.8billion to £1.75billion. 

For the whole year, Premier had been aiming to cut its debt by between £195million and £273million. It now expects to achieve the upper end of this.

Shares rose 8.8 per cent, or 7.92p, to 98.28p yesterday.

But Mysale, the online flash-sale retailer part-owned by Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley, plunged as it completed the sale of its Cocosa website.

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Because the two retail titans own so much of the firm – 26 per cent altogether – the shares are not easy to buy and sell.

It took only three trades during the day – two in which an unknown seller offloaded a hefty chunk of 15,000 shares each time – to push the stock down by 16.7 per cent, or 2.05p, to 10.18p.

At the end of last year, Mysale issued an unexpected profit warning which wiped off almost half of its market value. 

With the sale of UK-focused Cocosa to rival Brandalley for £1.5million, Mysale plans to operate entirely in Australia and New Zealand.

The FTSE 100 index ended the day 0.8 per cent, or 56.56 points higher, at 7353.51, as investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown climbed 3.8 per cent, or 90p, to 2433p.

Investors seemed to be digesting its positive results earlier this week, which saw the business pull in £2.9billion of new business in the first four months of the year.



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