Market Report: Dialight is dimmed by contract delays

  • @LauraHChesters

Just a year ago, Dialight lit up many of the events at the Olympic Games. But 12 months later, the LED light specialist plummeted to the dark depths of the bottom of the mid-tier table yesterday as it revealed a series of contract delays.

The lighting specialist, which was founded in 1938 and was once part of the Dutch giant Philips, had been hoping its new aircraft warning lighting for towers and mobile-phone masts would be a big hit.

But these new contracts have taken longer to finalise than hoped, and it warned yesterday that it does not "expect these contracts to be awarded in time to sufficiently impact the current financial year", and that will "negatively affect" its overall financial performance in 2013.

The company, which is run by Roy Burton, did reveal its lighting business had been growing very strongly with "no change in guidance for both the short and long term".

But investors turned the light out, and shares slumped by as much as 21 per cent during the morning session before closing the day down 225p at 1,150p. The fall wiped out nearly all of the gains it made in 2013.

The wider market was shining slightly more brightly but was still relatively subdued with little new data to push it on. The FTSE 100 index ticked up 0.55 of a point to 6,588.98.

Top of the benchmark index was oil services specialist Amec. It has walked away from a potential £700m deal to buy engineer Kentz and instead is looking at adding more cash returns for shareholders for the fourth quarter of this year.

Amec jumped 20p to 1,078p on the news. In contrast, investors in Kentz were less than happy. Amec said it will no longer make an offer, leaving just German group M+W in the running to make a formal bid by Monday. Amec said in August that it may make an offer of 565p-580p a share but Kentz also said it had heard nothing further from M+W, so any bid now looks unlikely.

Kentz plummeted 50.5p to 499p on the news. Although shareholders could be upset at the way the bid was handled, analysts still think the company has appeal. Oriel Securities' David Round said: "Kentz remains an attractive target, and we believe this possible bid simply flags the value that has been overlooked by the market." Analysts at Arden agreed: "Our long-held view is that Kentz has been undervalued by the market. The company has consistently delivered good results and continues to grow its order book."

Temporary power supplier Aggreko loitered around the bottom of the blue-chip index after analysts at Deutsche Bank cut their price target but kept their buy rating for the group. It powered down 41p to 1,610p.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch research whizzes were bullish on the UK. In a note entitled London Calling, they backed sectors including banks, property, energy, retail, telecoms, travel and business services listed in London. They said "consumer confidence, PMIs, and credit conditions are improving", and predicted the economy will grow by 2.2 per cent next year. The analysts forecast the capital will "do well as the recovery plays out".

It was a day for retail across the board as clothing stores and grocery and electrical specialists all updated the market. Supermarkets group Morrisons picked up 5.3p to 302.5p. Although it reported a 22 per cent fall in profits, the City liked its financial strategy.

Back on the mid-cap index, the construction services group Kier reported a drop in sales at its full-year results but Liberum Capital rated it a buy and said there were good signs of synergies with May Gurney, the waste specialist it bought this summer. Kier dipped 22p to 1,645p.

Jefferies took a punt on online betting specialist Betfair, rating it a buy with a 1,175p target because it thinks its Sportsbook business now has momentum. Betfair ticked up 5p to 1,055p.

Oil explorer Gulf Keystone Petroleum hired Deutsche Bank for its move from AIM to the main market but slipped 6p to 206.5p. Gold digger Aureus Mining secured a $100m (£63m) debt package, and was 1.375p brighter at 39.38p.