City round-up: Yourgene; Byotrol; boohoo; Unilever

Yourgene labs

Manchester-based medical research group, Yourgene Health, said its 2023 revenues are above market expectations, in a trading update for the year ended March 31, 2023, today.

It expects to report revenues of £19m, above market expectations and at the mid-point of the guidance range stated in the interim results released on December 21, 2022. The adjusted EBITDA loss for 2023 is also expected to be in line with market expectations.

International revenues are up 70% year-on-year with strong performance in the Americas and Asia Pacific (APAC). This is driven by increased take up of the group’s Ranger Technology as an enabler for third party NIPT (non-invasive pre-natal testing) workflows as well as in proprietary Yourgene workflows in the Americas and the establishment of new NIPT laboratory customers in the region, and steady growth from Yourgene’s reproductive health and DPYD chemotoxicity tests.

Strong growth was also seen in the APAC region, driven by sales of products and NIPT services. European sales remain suppressed due to the loss of a single NIPT account in FY22. However, new NIPT wins in Europe commencing in late FY23, reversed this trend and revenue is expected to show ongoing signs of recovery in FY24. UK revenues for core products and services is up 20% year-on-year.

In January this year the company completed a capital raising generating net proceeds of approximately £6.8m. As well as delivering near-term working capital and funding for Yourgene’s regulatory approval and product enhancement programmes, these funds have been used to cover the one-off costs of further restructuring of the group’s cost base. Since the fundraise the company has already delivered the first phase of its reshaping plans delivering an annualised 10% operating cost reduction. A further annualised 15% saving has been identified for the planned second phase.

As at March 31, 2023, the company had cash of £2.8m. As announced on March 17, 2023, Peter Charles was appointed as interim chief financial officer. He is focused on enhancing the financial systems, planning and analysis within the business until a successor chief financial officer is found.

Negotiations relating to the potential divestment of the Taiwanese laboratory are progressing as expected. Following the equity fundraise, the board’s immediate focus has been on the internal reshaping of Yourgene’s business. While the relationship with the potential strategic partner at the time of the fundraising remains strong, the board said it is mindful of pursuing any further dilutive initiatives and it is therefore unlikely that such an investment will take place in the near term.

Chief executive, Lyn Rees, said: “It was difficult to reset the business plan earlier this year, but the team and the company have worked really hard to right size the opportunity, to focus the company and restructure the organisation in order to build a sustainable and long term business.

“We are pleased with the more robust performance from our core business which has delivered strong year-on-year growth. This performance, alongside our fundraising and actions to realign our cost base, places us in a stronger position to drive growth from our core offerings of NIPT, Ranger Technology and PCR testing.”


Daresbury-based hygiene group, Byotrol, said results for the year ended March 31, 2023, should be in line with market expectations, in a trading update today.

It said key highlights are: Sales of £4.6m, comprising £4.3m from product sales and £0.3m from IP sales and royalties; significant improvement in gross margin on product sales – 41% compared with 37% (FY22), reflecting sku rationalisation and multiple improvements in operating processes; adjusted EBITDA of -£0.8m; and cash at year end of £0.7m with a key debtor paid just after year end, taking underlying cash to more than £0.8m

The IP side of Byotrol continues to progress encouragingly, particularly in the US. The business is hopeful of formal approval this summer from the EPA for Byotrol24 with enhanced long-lasting efficacy claims against viruses, and the company is then expecting its previously-announced sub-licensee to commence a market launch in the US under its own branding shortly afterwards. All other IP initiatives including participation in Solvay’s Actizone, remain on plan.

Byotrol said it remains confident in delivering significant growth in the current financial year and returning to profitability.

To reflect the increasing importance of product sales to the company’s results, the board structure of Byotrol is evolving further.

Dr Trevor Francis will with immediate effect become non-executive chairman of Byotrol. Dr Francis was CTO of Byotrol (2014 – 2021), following which he moved to non-executive director. Prior to Byotrol, Dr Francis was at Unilever for 29 years, including five years as Global VP R&D Homecare. He is also a non-executive director of Velcro Companies, the privately-owned, global fasteners business.

David Traynor, executive chairman of Byotrol since November 2022 and prior to that CEO for nine years, remains on the board full-time as an executive director. In his new role he will focus on solidifying, commercialising and developing the company’s IP portfolio, and will seek to build commercial alliances across the company’s business activities.

All other board positions remain the same. A search is under way to add an additional independent non-executive director to the board.

Dr Trevor Francis said: “I am looking forward to overseeing the continued development of Byotrol and supporting the executive team of Vivan Pinto, CEO, Chris Sedwell, CFO, and David Traynor, ED.

“Since the acquisition of Medimark Scientific, a lot of good progress has been made within the company, especially in operating processes and I am convinced we now have the right structure and team to drive the business forward and create value for all stakeholders.”


Mahmud Kamani

Manchester online fashion retailer, boohoo, has appointed John Goold to the board as an independent non-executive director with effect from today (April 27). John will become chairman of the audit committee and he will also be a member of the nomination, remuneration and risk committees.

John began his career by qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1996 with Touche Ross (which became Deloitte) in London. He has advised public companies for more than 25 years, with significant experience across corporate finance and corporate broking having co-founded Arden Partners, before joining Zeus Capital as chief executive. John is currently CEO of Kelso Group Holdings and non-executive director of Oncimmune Holdings.

Mahmud Kamani, boohoo group executive chairman, said: “John has deep operational and advisory experience at board level gained over an extensive career that has seen him found, run and support businesses across a variety of sectors.

“He is held in very high regard throughout the public markets and we look forward to benefitting from his insight and rigour both as a non-executive director and as chairman of the audit committee. John will strengthen the board and be a great asset.

“With a well balanced and high quality set of executive and non-executive directors we are in a strong position as we set about achieving our ambition to be the global fashion leader.”


Alan Jope

Consumer goods and foods group, Unilever, issued a first quarter trading update today, showing that underlying sales growth (USG) accelerated to 10.5%, producing turniver of €14.8bn. driven by progress against strategic priorities.

Price growth remained elevated at 10.7%, with an improved quarter-on-quarter volume performance at (0.2)%.

The group’s third €750m share buyback tranche, announced in March, will complete in July 2023.

The quarterly interim dividend for Q1 2023 is maintained at €0.4268

Chief Executive, Alan Jope, said: “Unilever has had a good start to the year, delivering another quarter of strong topline growth. Underlying sales growth accelerated to 10.5%, driven by price growth in response to continued high input cost inflation and an improved volume performance.

“We are continuing to execute well on our strategic priorities. Growth was broad-based across the five business groups, underpinned by strong performances from our billion+ Euro brands.

“We have stepped up both the effectiveness of our innovation and the investment behind our brands. We continue to shift our portfolio into higher growth spaces, with the delivery of another quarter of double digit sales growth in Prestige Beauty and Health & Wellbeing, and the announced sale of Suave in North America.

“Our new operating model is driving focused resource allocation, and is unlocking a culture of bolder, faster decision-making and disciplined execution.”

He added: “We remain focused on navigating through continued macroeconomic uncertainty and are confident in our ability to deliver another year of strong growth, which remains our first priority.”

The group operates a key home and personal care manufacturing site and research and development facility at Port Sunlight, Wirral.

Roberto Rivero, market analyst at finance firm Admirals, said: “Given the high levels of inflation around the world, it is unsurprising to see Q1 turnover increase. Remember, inflation doesn’t just affect consumers, it also raises input costs for businesses such as Unilever, who need to pass these costs onto consumers if profit margins are to be kept intact.

“Consequently, higher prices tend to result in higher turnover, unless they become high enough to deter consumers.

“However, fortunately for Unilever, its stable of globally respected brands and consumer staples grant it a high level of pricing power, as evidenced by its sales volume, which remained fairly flat overall despite rising prices.”

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