Market Report: Snake anti-venom puts bite into BTG

Brisk summer business usually comes in the shape of holidays, barbeques, and ice cream sales. But for BTG the summer sun boosts the flogging of snake anti-venom. BTG, the pharmaceutical group which was first created by the Government to protect British inventions back in the 1940s, shot up the FTSE 250 index after reporting that it had outperformed in the first half and was increasing its revenue expectations for the full year.

The group, which buys patents for new technologies and licenses them out, discovered a place at the top of the mid-caps with a share price rise of 30.1p to 363.2p.

The company said it expected sales of up to £215m for the year to March 2013, ahead of the £190m expected previously. Strong demand for its anti-venom CroFab, a good start to sales in the US of its cancer drug Voraxaze and growth in royalties from a prostate cancer drug helped it have a better six months than anticipated.

The update, ahead of its full-year results next month, was followed by upgrades from analysts at FinnCap and Panmure Gordon who raised their rating to hold from sell. Panmure scribes hiked their share price target to 400p from 328p.

When Liverpool's Criminal Records Bureau merges with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to form the oddly named Disclosure and Barring Service later this year, outsourcing group Capita's staff will no longer be working with them. The Home Office has picked a new supplier and Capita is out after 10 years. The decision sent Capita's shares spiralling down 12.5p to 763p.

Meanwhile, red-faced civil servants' mishandling of the West Coast rail contract prompted FirstGroup to slump more than 20 per cent.

Punters took the express train out of FirstGroup's shares, which lost 50.6p to 193.4p, following the Government's admission that due to "significant technical flaws" in the bidding process, the transport group's contract to run the franchise has been cancelled and the competition will have to be re-run.

FirstGroup won the 13-year contract on 15 August with a £5.5bn bid, promising new, faster trains and cheaper tickets.

The decision to pick the company prompted outrage from incumbent Virgin Rail and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, while investors at the time also feared that FirstGroup had submitted a risky bid and its shares lost 6 per cent in one session.

Jefferies' Joe Spooner said the "direct impact clearly falls on FirstGroup", while adding that for Virgin Group's partner on the line, Stagecoach, "West Coast was only ever a small opportunity... a second chance to compete for the franchise is a small positive". In response, Stagecoach steamed up 5.5p to 288.8p. Mr Spooner added: "In our opinion, delays in the franchising process are small negatives for Go-Ahead and National Express as they are shortlisted in other contests where the timetables look likely to slip."

Go-Ahead shares spluttered during the day but ended up 2p to 1,343p while National Express retreated 0.2p to 210.3p.

In an attempt to make up some of yesterday's falls, the FTSE 100 edged up 16.36 points to 5,825.81 as better-than-expected US services sector figures contrasted with the UK's disappointing slowing growth in the sector.

Traders on both sides of the pond gossiped about Astrazeneca's planned M&A activity. Earlier this week it suspended its share buyback programme to save money for new acquisitions and dealers think New York-based Forest Laboratories would be a good addition to its medicine cabinet. Astrazeneca's shares piled on 14.5p to 2,908p.

On Aim, Africa-focused agricultural business Agriterra has agreed a deal to sell off its legacy oil assets in Ethiopia to US oil major Marathon Oil for around £30m, but its shares lost 1.23p to 3.77p on the news. Meanwhile, oil explorer Bowleven, which has a block close by to the Ethiopian South Omo block, is the subject of vague bid rumours. Its shares gushed up 4.75p to 84p.

Private equity group EME Capital's approach to jeweller to the stars Theo Fennell has won an extension from the Takeover Panel. It has until 31 October to make a formal offer for the Aim-listed jeweller. Theo Fennell's shares gently sparkled up 0.25p to 12.25p.

Management consultancy and software group 1Spatial booked gains of 1.38p to 3.88p after confirming it has signed a five-year sales contract with an unnamed US government bureau.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea