City briefs: Pebble Group; Otaq

Christopher Lee, chief executive of Pebble Group

Stretford-based corporate promotions specialist Pebble Group said it “is firmly on track” and is looking ahead at possible acquisitions next year.

Pebble Group provides promotional products and services through two businesses – merchandise business Brand Addition and software-as-a-service business Facilisgroup.

It said it is “actively seeking opportunities” to build on the success it is seeing with Facilisgroup, which it acquired in December 2018, “by strengthening its services organically and through acquisition”.

The group also has “real confidence” in Brand Addition because of the current order patterns from its blue-chip client base.

In a statement, it said: “We are confident in managing the Group responsibly through the current volatility, meeting market expectations for FY20 and continuing to deliver on the group’s strategy in FY21 and beyond.”

Pebble Group has had a challenging first year on the Alternative Investment Market after it floated last December at 105p-per-share. It quickly rose to nearly 160p in February, but earlier this month had fallen to a low of 70p. Last night it closed at 87p, giving the business a market value of £145m.



Marine technologies group OTAQ expects to report annual sales of £4.0m and adjusted EBITDA of £0.5m for the year to March 2021 after a solid first half of the financial year.

Lancaster-based OTAQ supplies the aquaculture and offshore oil and gas industries.

In March it completed its reverse takeover by Hertsford Capital in March, which saw it join the main market.

It raised £1.5m in an equity placing at the same time, at 57.5p per share, but by last night had seen the price continue its steady fall since summer and closed at 30p.

Alex Hambro, non-executive chairman of OTAQ, said: “Whilst Covid-19 is expected to continue to impact operations and business development for the remainder of the financial year, we believe that the group is well placed to return to a normal level of operations and business development activities once travel restrictions are lifted.

“Furthermore, we believe that the business will be in a strong position to further grow its market share once the regulatory requirements across its target markets are clarified.”

It increased revenues by 16% to £2.03m and adjusted EBITDA up 22%, to £390,000, in the six months to September.

Hambro added: “While trading conditions have been impacted by wider issues, we remain excited by the potential to diversify revenue streams both geographically and through further enhancing our product portfolio.

“Importantly, the business remains well placed to trade through this period of uncertainty and take advantage of strong growth opportunities as conditions allow.”