23rd Aug 2023. 8.54am

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AstraZeneca announces heart drug Forxiga has been approved in China

Following on from its impressive Q2 trading update in July, which beat market expectations, there was more positive news from AstraZeneca (AZN) last Friday.  

The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company revealed that its heart drug, Forxiga, has been approved in China for some adults to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalisation.

Forxiga is “the first and only heart failure therapy with a proven mortality benefit,” AstraZeneca said. Besides treating heart failure, it can also be used to treat type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Ruud Dobber, executive vice president & president of AstraZeneca’s BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit said, “This broader indication for Forxiga in adults with symptomatic chronic heart failure across the full ejection fraction range is a significant advancement for patients. It represents an exciting turning point in the battle against heart failure given the unmet treatment needs and the absence until now of treatments that reduce mortality in this setting. Importantly, this development underscores our commitment to accelerating earlier detection and coordinated care, to address the complexities of heart failure across the disease spectrum.”

Following a surge higher after last month’s Q2 update, the shares have been consolidating sideways during the last couple of weeks. However, we would expect to see the recent bullish momentum resume, in line with AstraZeneca’s dominant longer-term uptrend.

AZN Daily Candle Chart

AZN Daily Candle Chart

Halma expands portfolio with £23 million acquisition of Lazer Safe

Lazer Safe, an Australian manufacturer specialising in safety equipment, has become the latest addition to Halma’s (HLMA) growing portfolio of acquisitions.

Headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, Lazer Safe focuses on producing hardware solutions designed to ensure worker safety during the operation of industrial press brakes.

Established a quarter-century ago by founders Ian Costley and Rob Appleyard, the company posted a turnover of A$21.8 million (approximately £11.2 million) for the fiscal year ending in March, boasting an impressive return on sales ranging from 18 to 22 percent.

Halma is spending A$45 million (£23 million) to purchase Lazer Safe, which will operate as a standalone business in the firm’s safety division.

This acquisition marks the fourth takeover executed by Halma this year, following a €59 million deal to buy Sewertronics, a Polish firm specialising in wastewater pipeline repair, just three months ago.

Marc Ronchetti, CEO of Halma said, “Lazer Safe is highly aligned to our purpose of protecting people and their environment to grow a safer, cleaner and healthier future for everyone, every day. We are delighted to welcome a company that will serve as an important addition to Halma’s portfolio of machine and industrial safety technology.”

HLMA Daily Candle Chart

HLMA Daily Candle Chart

New settlement brings Indivior closer to resolving legacy legal challenges

On Monday this week, Indivior (INDV) announced it has agreed to a new $30 million settlement, bringing it one step closer to ending litigation over the marketing of Suboxone, its blockbuster opioid addiction treatment.

Indivior has been battling a series of class action lawsuits over allegations it illegally suppressed generic competition for Suboxone. In June it reached a $103 million deal to resolve claims brought by 41 states and the District of Columbia

This latest settlement leaves it in dispute with just one other set of claimants, drug wholesalers that bought Suboxone directly. The pharmaceuticals firm is now preparing to go to court at the end of October over these claims, but it hopes to reach a settlement before then.

“We remain focused on helping those suffering from substance use disorders and mental illness,” Indivior CEO Mark Crossley said in a statement on Monday. “Resolving these legacy legal matters at the right value helps us further our mission for patients and creates greater certainty for our stakeholders.”

Indivior’s share price has been moving steadily higher since March and the full resolution of this legacy litigation should unlock further upside potential for shareholders.

INDV Daily Candle Chart

INDV Daily Candle Chart

JD Sports to accelerate European expansion by taking full ownership of MIG

JD Sports (JD) plans to accelerate its growth in Central and Eastern Europe after becoming the sole owner of Polish based Marketing Investment Group (MIG).

The retail giant originally took a 60% stake in MIG in April 2021, and since then has established the JD brand in five countries across Central and Eastern Europe with 18 stores.

It has now entered into a conditional agreement to purchase the remaining 40% stake in the company from its minority shareholders.

MIG trades through a wide range of well-known sporting brands and generated revenues of approximately £270 million to 31 January 2023.

Régis Schultz, chief executive of JD said, “Acquiring the remaining 40% stake in MIG allows us to accelerate the development of JD in Central and Eastern Europe, the strong foundations for which have been established alongside the outgoing shareholders. Increasing JD’s presence in the region through new store openings and further investment in our omnichannel capabilities is a key part of the strategic growth plan set out at our Capital Markets Day presentation.”

JD Daily Candle Chart

JD Daily Candle Chart

TP ICAP report rising profits, share buyback and dividend increase

Inter-dealing broking group TP ICAP (TCAP) recently published an encouraging half-year report for the six months ended 30 June 2023, revealing a strong operational performance.

Underlying profit for the period came in at £163 million, up 15% year-on-year and ahead of forecasts. This was largely driven by strong growth in the Energy & Commodities arms, as the markets normalised following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and also helped by a tightening of cost management.

The results were accompanied by the announcement of a £30 million share buyback programme and an interim dividend increase of 7% to 4.8p.

Looking ahead, CEO Nicolas Breteau said, “We are well placed to maximise the continued growth in traditional energy sectors like oil and gas.” But he also highlighted opportunities for diversification as the energy transition ramps up, adding “There is a substantial opportunity for us to grow, and diversify, revenues through an even greater focus on Environmentals, including battery metals, biofuels, and green hydrogen.”

TCAP Daily Candle Chart

TCAP Daily Candle Chart


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