Small caps round-up: Netcall, Animalcare, Porvair...

Also covered by this round-up are: Oxford Pharmascience, Planet Payment, Hydro International, and International Greetings.

Netcall, a customer engagement software provider, has continued to trade strongly in the second half of the year, seeing growth across all markets. In particular, the company says it has seen a strong increase in cross and up sales, reflecting the growing value attributed by its customers to its enlarged product portfolio. The company continues to benefit from cost management and efficiency programmes and the board expects the trading results for the year to be at the top-end of market expectations.

Veterinary products group Animalcare has warned that the impact of the weak revenue trend in companion animal identification means that profit before tax is now expected to be materially below market expectations, with second half pre-tax profit now expected to be similar to the first-half. This is partly the result of the fact sales in its companion animal identification business in the year-to-date are around 32% lower than the comparable period and that it expects sales in this area will remain subdued for the rest of the current financial year. The core veterinary business is performing in line with expectations, with revenues in the year-to-date around 4.0% higher, and excluding the effect of the temporary supply disruption of Buprecare ampoules, the progression in veterinary medicines is around 15% above last year. The group retains a confident outlook and has implemented several measures to improve gross margin in 2013 and beyond.

Porvair, a specialist filtration and environmental technologies group, has reported a good start to 2012 and said it expects to report interim profits well ahead of 2011. Microfiltration and Metals Filtration have both grown strongly and group revenue is expected to be more than 10% above the first six months of 2011 at constant currency rates. Order books and the pipeline of potential projects are "encouraging" in Microfiltration, the firm said, while market share gains have been made in Metals Filtration. Operating cash levels remain "healthy".

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Oxford Pharmascience, a specialty pharmaceutical company that uses advanced pharmaceutic technologies to reposition medicines, has signed a license agreement with Bayer Consumer Care to allow them to manufacture a calcium and Vitamin D soft chew using the Company's "OXP chew" technology. Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer is being granted a 10-year license to manufacture the product. The company said the partnership was further evidence of its credibility in commercialising its technology platforms with major pharmaceutical companies. "This is our first commercial relationship with a major global pharmaceutical company and their commitment and interest in our technologies is further evidence that our new strategic direction is working," the firm added.

Planet Payment, an inernational payment processing provider, has completed the purchase of Branded Payment Solutions (BPS), an Irish payments company based in Dublin for €3.1m (around $4m) consisting of €1.4m in cash and 488,337 shares issued between BPS shareholders. The number of consideration shares to be issued to BPS stockholders was determined based on a price of around $4.50 per share. These shares cannot be sold for a period of up to 11 months. At the same time the company has established Planet Labs, from which it plans to develop new services and solutions, to be offered through existing and new channels to market.

Water treatment provider Hydro International has admitted trading remained challenging through the early part of 2012, resulting in delays of the timing of some projects and, ultimately, a lower first half-year performance than that seen in the corresponding period. Full-year results will consequently be heavily weighted towards the second half of the year. The firm was keen to emphasise both that record levels had been seen in the same period the previous year and that new enquiry levels remain buoyant and the pipeline of potential opportunities is strong.

International Greetings, a stationary manufacturer, has confirmed that its second-half performance was in line with expectations with full-year sales coming in at over £220m. Its focus on gross margins has continued to show benefits, with adjusted profit before exceptional items and tax towards the upper-end of market expectations. The firm has continued to reduce net debt and expects to report levels of £42m at the year end (2011: £44.4m). Exceptional costs associated with relocation its factory in China were higher than expected, but the company said anticipated payback on the project remains favourable at two years. In the coming year the firm will continue to focus on improving its operating margin.