Optos shares jump 23% as eye machine sales improve

Stock returned to form yesterday after chief executive Roy Davis said the company was back on track to hit revised full-year forecasts. Picture: Neil Hanna

Stock returned to form yesterday after chief executive Roy Davis said the company was back on track to hit revised full-year forecasts. Picture: Neil Hanna

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TRADERS were drawn back to Optos yesterday after the Fife-based eye scanner maker reassured the market with positive third-quarter sales figures.

Shares plunged by 17 per cent in March following a warning over “softer” sales of its devices, followed by a similar-sized drop in May after half-year profits collapsed by 90 per cent.

But the stock returned to form yesterday, climbing by 22.7 per cent or 27.25p to close at 147.25p, after chief executive Roy Davis said the company was back on track to hit revised full-year forecasts.

Optos installed 322 of its Daytona units – desktop-mounted versions of its machine that are cheaper to make and sell – in the three months to 30 June, up from 267 in the first quarter and 133 in the second quarter.

Analysts noted that the company now only has to sell a further 100 Daytona instruments during its final financial quarter in order to meet the revised full-year City forecasts.

Davis, pictured below, said: “With our traditionally-strongest quarter ahead and good progress with Daytona installations, we remain on track to deliver against the market’s revenue expectations for the full year.”

Julie Simmonds, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said: “Optos has underperformed since the results in May. We believe this should be seen as buying opportunity as the underlying growth drivers remain intact.

“Wider geographic penetration, a broadening of the product portfolio and increasing data driving adoption of wide field imaging are creating multiple opportunities for growth.”

Sebastien Jantet, an analyst at Investec Securities, added: “Optos delivered a solid third-quarter interim management statement and, whilst there is still plenty to do in the fourth quarter, the company looks to be on track to meet the revised full-year guidance.

“Daytona is making good progress, although it is still taking longer than expected to convert additional corporate deals.”

But Shore Capital analyst Brian White pointed out: “While better news on Daytona, we note that the high-spec 200Tx instrument sales remains ‘soft’.”

Optos also revealed that Louisa Burdett is standing down as chief financial officer (CFO) after just over a year in the role.

Robert Kennedy, currently group director of finance and company secretary, will take over as interim CFO. Kennedy had previosly spent four years as director of finance at Dundee University, after spells at construction firm Balfour Beatty, and accountancy practice PwC.

Investec’s Jantet described Burdett’s departure as “rather surprising”, but added: “We understand it is an amicable parting. Although we don’t believe there is anything to read into this news, it may take the shine off an otherwise reassuring statement.”

Optos was launched in 1992 by Douglas Anderson after his then five-year-old son went blind in one eye when a retinal detachment was detected too late. It floated in 2006.

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