Tying-up loose ends

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 11 September 2023

Tying-up loose ends
Image source: Tying-up loose ends
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

Food on the Move: FFF’s weekly roundup of listed FoodTech’s movers & shakers

Loose ends. One or two to tie-up after last week’s theory binge. Refresher? Food on the Move’s Three theories for the price one explains all.  Theory#1, an old chestnut.  FFF’s listed foodtech space rarely bucks the Nasdaq. Week ended 1 September, Nasdaq up.  Week ended 1 September, more share price risers than fallers in FFF’s listed foodtech space.  What about the week ended Friday 08 September 2023? Nasdaq off 1.9%.  FFF’s listed foodtech: 14 risers, 30 fallers, three non-movers. An emphatic no.  Theory#1 still intact. First loose end dealt with.

Next up, the feel-good factor brought on by a positive week on Wall Street. Markets up. People feel richer. More treat themselves to tasty takeaways courtesy of online food delivery cos.  Cue across the board share price gains for the online foodies.  Last week, Nasdaq up.  Online foodies up.  One week on, Nasdaq down.  Online foodies?

Ocado off 5%; DoorDash off 2%; Grab off 3%; Just Eat Takeaway off 9%; Dada Nexus off 15%; HelloFresh off 1%; Delivery Hero off 10%. No material news out from any of the above either.  Previous observation around Theory#2 still stands.  Or does it?

A spanner in the works in the form of notable absentee, Deliveroo.  Shares closed up 2% on the week. Beware of that extreme sport…erm…habit - conclusion-jumping. For the ROO put out not one, not two, not three, not four, but five press releases between 4 Sept and 8 Sept.  One for every day of the week, all saying the same thing – share buybacks.  In all, 1,267,444 Deliveroo shares bought back by the company.  Enough to keep the sellers at bay and enough of a reason to discount ROO as Theory#2 debunker.  Theory#2 continues to have legs.

That leaves the third straggler. Theory#3 centred around Opticept Technologies’ share price almost halving over the course of the week ended Friday 01 September.  As Food on the Move reported at the time “No news out from the food and plant industry tech provider, at least nothing on the corporate website.  No negative research notes out on the stock, at least none that could be found.  No insider sales, at least none that have been announced.” A spike in number of Opticept shares traded noted though: “Total shares traded during the week: 2,017.89k. Compare that to the previous week’s total of 258.52k shares traded.  Mr Market got a whiff of something?  Equity raise on the cards perhaps?”

Step-up Theory#3: “Companies planning a fund raise can be tempted to put out a press release or two to generate interest ahead of the launch of a rights issue or similar. A little buying activity can give the share price a little boost.  A higher share price can help get a raise away.  Could be the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful outcome…Opticept, one to keep an eye on then.”

One week on, anything to report? Short answer: yes. Long answer: two press releases issued by Opticept. Press release#1: 5 September 2023 - “OptiCept Technologies enters agreement with a juice producer in Central Europe”. Announcement goes on to say: “OptiCept Technologies has today entered into an agreement with a leading juice producer in Central Europe. The goal is to verify that the CEPT platform can improve the shelf-life of the customer's juice products.”

Press release#2: “OptiCept Technologies enters into a Letter of Intent in partnership with FPS Food Processing Solutions”. According to the announcement: “OptiCept Technologies has begun negotiations with the Canadian company FPS Food Process Solutions Corp…and the parties have signed a Letter of intent. The partnership aims to jointly develop, manufacture, and sell PEF applications to the solid food industry.” PEF? “Through patented technology in PEF (pulsed electric field) and VI (Vacuum Infusion), the technology opens up new business opportunities for the food and plant industry worldwide. OptiCept's vision is to contribute to a sustainable world by offering efficient green cutting-edge technology that is easy to use in the areas of FoodTech and PlantTech.”

Early days for both initiatives.  Too early to announce perhaps?  After all, a Letter of Intent is no final agreement. As press release#2 states: “Work on the final agreement starts immediately to be ready within one month.”  Why not release when final agreement in place? Management scrambling around for anything to release to get the share price moving? Shares did rise almost 6%. Press releases did the job, it seems.

Of course, only half time for Theory#3.  First part – Opticept putting out a fluffy announcement or two. Tick.  Second part - equity raise to follow?  Time will tell.  One loose end that can’t be tied up…just yet.