City round-up: K3 Business Technology; Unikmind; Genedrive; In the Style; Unbound

Marco Vergani

Salford software group K3 Business Technology Group, which provides business‐critical software solutions focused on fashion and apparel brands, cut annual losses and expects to become cash generative in its current financial year, it said today.

Announcing its annual results for the year to November 30, 2022, the business revealed a five per cent increase in sales of £47.5m, and a £4m improvement on losses. Last year it made a loss of £7.8m, this year, the pre-tax loss for continuing operations and exceptionals was £3.8m. Exceptional costs included an impairment charge of £1.6m and reorganisation costs of £700,000.

Net cash stood at £7.1m, a £1.9m reduction from the previous year.

The business said recurring and predictable income now accounts for 79% of group revenue, compared with 76% in 2021.

K3 also revealed that its Viji acquisition is integrating well and has enhanced its sustainability offering.

The business has made an encouraging start to trading in fiscal year 2023, and the board expects continued improvement across both divisions.

Chief executive, Marco Vergani, said: “K3 has made very encouraging progress in its first full year of executing its new growth plan. Against a challenging trading backdrop, we have delivered good growth in revenue, recurring income and profitability, and cash generation is on an upward trend.

“Our focus on driving the growth of our strategic fashion products is yielding very encouraging results and we have enhanced our sustainability offering. This is an increasingly important area for the fashion and apparel sector, with legislation also driving the adoption of sustainability solutions. Our Third-party Solutions division grew strongly and continues to generate high cash flows.”

He added: “The new financial year has started encouragingly, with our largest ever software licence contract for our flagship fashion product. The board is confident that this progress will continue and expects the group to become cash generative this year.”

K3 also announced that Eric Dodd is to join the company and the board as chief financial officer on April 3, 2023. His appointment is made as Rob Price steps down from this role and the board, after six years with K3. In order to ensure a smooth handover, Rob will remain with K3 until May 31, 2023.

Eric Dodd has extensive experience of the software and technology sector. He was previously chief financial officer of ATTRAQT Group, which he joined in 2017. Before ATTRAQT, Eric was chief financial officer of Iptor Supply Chain Systems UK, a private equity-backed software and services business, and previously chief financial officer at KBC Advanced Technology, the software and consultancy provider to the hydrocarbon industry.

He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte, and holds an MBA from London Business School.

Tom Crawford, chairman of K3, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Robert for the significant contribution that he has made to the business over the last six years as CFO. We also appreciate the smooth handover he is ensuring with Eric, who joins the board as CFO in early April.

“We are delighted to welcome Eric. His substantial experience of our sector is especially valuable as we continue K3’s transition to a product-led business and maximise the potential of its class-leading solutions for the fashion and apparel sector.”


Ido Erlichman

Kape Technologies, the AIM-listed Isle of Man-registered digital security and privacy software business headed by CEO Ido Erlichman, is likely to de-list from AIM, majority shareholder, Unikmind Holdings said today.

Last month Unikmind made a cash offer for all the Kape Technologies shares it does not own, but it was rejected on the grounds it under-valued the business.

Today, Unikmind said it is expected that the offer will become, or be declared, unconditional during the second quarter of 2023.

However, it said it continues to believe that, while Kape’s AIM listing has served it well, Kape’s growth trajectory is now better served in the private arena, where Kape would benefit from the sizeable business support and financial resources that Unikmind and Globe Invest would bring.

It added: “Unikmind would like to remind Kape shareholders that, regardless of the outcome of the offer, Unikmind intends to pursue a delisting of Kape from AIM as soon as reasonably practicable.”


David Budd

Manchester molecular testing business, Genedrive, has confirmed that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has ratified and finalised its recommendation that the Genedrive MT-RNR1 ID Kit can be used by the NHS.

The kit can quickly and accurately identify babies with the MT-RNR1 genetic variant who may be at risk of hearing loss if given aminoglycoside antibiotics.

David Budd, Genedrive CEO, said: “We are appreciative of the thorough review conducted by the NICE team. The final report issued today entirely reflects the preliminary conclusion published in February.

“As we continue with commercial roll out and product adoption, the NICE EVA framework will give us the opportunity to support specific performance and impact data that NHS users and commissioners may look for in future guidance.

“NICE, whose guidance is formally applicable to the NHS in England and Wales, is an internationally respected health authority and the tools and data supplied in its review will be relevant to the rest of the United Kingdom and to the other international markets which we are now accessing.”


In The Style

Manchester fashion retailer, In the Style, which was sold to a Bidco last week, has had to change its proposed change of name after another company registered the name before it.

It planned to change the new company’s name to Itsum plc, but revealed that, on March 7, Maxrs Ventures Ltd changed its name to Itsum Limited.

Therefore, the company has changed its name to Itsarm plc.

Following the change of name, a new website for the company will be launched in the near future and a further announcement made when the site is launched.

The company’s registered office has also been changed from Salford to 6th Floor, One London Wall, London EC2Y 5EB.


Hotter Shoes factory, part of Unbound PLC

Unbound, the parent of Skelmersdale-based Hotter Shoes, has seen its share price recover following the takeover bid launched earlier this week by WoolOvers Group, which is owned by Verdane, a specialist growth equity investor based in Denmark and Sweden.

Shares in Unbound were valued at 4p on March 27, the day before the bid was lodged.

Unbound shareholders were told they would receive 10.5p in cash and one contingent value right per Unbound share, valuing the business at a premium of approximately 162.5% to the Unbound closing share price of 4p per share.

Shares in Unbound closed last night (March 29) at 8.50p, valuing the company at £5.54m.

Its yearly high was 39.03p per share, while its low was 3p.

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