Find out which Scottish companies were the best performers on the stock market last year.
WEIR GROUP +98.1%
The Glasgow-based engineer topped the list of Scottish share risers with a gain of more than 98 per cent. The rise came despite first-half results in July showing a 25 per cent slide in pre-tax profits to £82 million, down from £108m a year earlier. Weir, which makes pumps, valves and crushing equipment for the energy and mining industries, also saw a change in leadership, with chief executive Keith Cochrane handing over the reins to former finance director Jon Stanton at the start of October. Analysts at Numis said: “The company appears to be through the bottom of the minerals cycle, with oil and gas expected to follow the rig count recovery in 2017.”
• Shares started the year at 954p and finished at 1,890p
FAROE PETROLEUM +88.2%
The oil and gas explorer, based in Aberdeen, also saw it shares turn in a strong performance despite the industry market downturn taking its toll on earnings. The company, which focuses its efforts in UK and Norwegian waters, posted a pre-tax loss of £35.9m for the six months to the end of June, compared with a £365,000 profit for the same period a year earlier. But Faroe, led by chief executive Graham Stewart, insisted that it was “well placed for growth” following its “transformational” acquisition of a number of fields from Danish group Dong. The purchase was completed last month at a price of about $26.7m (£21.7m), almost half the previously announced original consideration of $70.2m.
• Shares started the year at 55p and finished at 103.5p
FRONTIER IP +85.5%
The Edinburgh-based company, which helps universities to commercialise their research, last month took a 20 per cent stake in biotech firm Tarsis Technology, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge. Frontier is also an investor in Heriot-Watt spin-out Nandi Proteins, which is to take part in a study funded by a £1m grant from Innovate UK to help develop new “processes and products that lead to the availability of healthier food choices for consumers”. The project is also supported by Moodiesburn-based sausage skin maker Devro and Irish foods group Kerry.
• Shares started the year at 20.75p and finished at 38.5p
House broker Peel Hunt has earmarked the Edinburgh-based company among its top three technology sector picks. Craneware develops billing software for the US hospitals market and told investors in September that it was in a “stronger position than ever” as it unveiled a 10 per cent rise in full-year profits. Speaking at its recent annual meeting, chief executive Keith Neilson told shareholders: “With our expanded offering and market opportunity, high levels of revenue visibility and favourable market backdrop, we believe we are just at the start of a long-term growth trajectory and are confident in the future success of Craneware.”
• Shares started the year at 797.5p and finished at 1,325p
JOHN MENZIES +46.4%
Having come under pressure from activist investors to consider breaking itself up, the Edinburgh-based logistics group struck a “transformational” $202 million (£164.4m) cash deal to buy Florida-based aviation services firm ASIG in a move that would add plane fuelling to its range of services and double the size of its operations in North America. However, the UK competition watchdog last month raised concerns over the takeover, arguing that it could lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” in the supply of ground services at Aberdeen Airport, including de-icing and baggage, cargo, ramp and passenger handling.
• Shares started the year at 407p and finished at 596p