Altyn finds the market hard to please

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Altyn PLC (LON:ALTN) shed a fifth of its value at 112.09p, finding the market hard to please with a 38% quarter-on-quarter increase in revenues.

The East Kazakhstan gold miner saw revenues jump to US$6.31mln in the third quarter from US$4.58mln in the previous quarter, driven by higher gold prices and the claw back of accruals relating to timing differences of the sale of production to the refinery from the previous quarter.

The company said it has been granted a supplementary credit line of KZT 3bn – roughly US$7mln – at an interest rate of 6%. The loan needs to be paid off over five years.

2.10pm: e-Therapeutics unveils results of experimental testing on COVID-19 compounds

e-Therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) has unveiled the results of experimental testing on compounds for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19), sending the shares 3.3% higher to 15.75p.

The compounds were identified using the company’s network-driven drug discovery (NDD) platform.

The AIM-listed firm said analysis of its work using models of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and of data sets from human cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has revealed “a key common process which was simultaneously important to the virus and the hyperinflammatory response”.

1.15pm: Northbridge rises as pandemic impact fades

Northbridge Industrial Services Plc (LON:NBI) hardened 8.4% to 90.55p after it issued a trading and strategic update.

The industrial equipment rental firm said that while the pandemic continues to have an effect on its business, the impact is lessening as the year wears on.

This is especially noticeable at Crestchic, the group’s power reliability business, where routine testing has been buoyant and two large rental projects, in leisure and utility power support in Europe and the USA, were undertaken.

12.15pm: Ashtead the top FTSE 100 riser after lifting full-year guidance

Ashtead Group PLC (LON:AHT) firmed 3.6% to 3,345p as it raised its full-year outlook after a smaller than expected fall in half-year sales and profits.

The FTSE 100-construction equipment hire group maintained a flat interim dividend at 7.15p per share after what it said was a record level of free cash flow of £822mln in the six months to end-October, 2020.

Management said it is still waiting for “the appropriate time” to resume the share buyback programme shelved in March because of coronavirus uncertainty, but new site openings were restarted during the quarter.

11.15am: CloudCoCo getting well

CloudCoCo Group PLC (LON:CLCO) flew 12% higher to 1.175p after it boasted of resilient trading in the year to end-September.

The provider of information technology and communications systems said earnings in the second half of the year were well ahead of the first half.

“The group has made encouraging progress in the year, known internally as the ‘get well’ phase of our strategy. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic and the uncertain wider economic backdrop against which we continue to operate, we have demonstrated tangible delivery against all four of our strategic objectives – increase sales, reduce customer churn, reduce costs and return to net cash generation – and move into the new financial year a stronger, more streamlined and efficient business than we were when we entered FY20,” said Mark Halpin, the chief executive officer of CloudCoCo.

10.15am: Coral Products returns to profit

Coral Products PLC (LON:CRU) surged 13% to 6p after it released its delayed full-year results while its half-year figures showed a return to profit.

The specialist in the design, manufacture and supply of plastic products saw underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation improved to £1.62mln in the six months to the end of October from £1.34mln the same period of 2011, despite sales sliding to £10.65mln from £12.14mln the previous year.

Despite concerns over uncertainties associated with the ongoing Brexit situation and coronavirus pandemic, company chairman Joe Grimmond said he was “encouraged with the level of sales and profitability achieved over the period”.

9.15am: Studio Retail open to offers after taking the hint from Mike Ashley

Studio Retail Group PLC (LON:STU) shot 11% higher to 291p in early deals on Tuesday after it took the hint from its major shareholder and kicked off a strategic review.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS), which owns roughly 37% of Studio Retail’s equity, wrote to the company suggesting it conduct a review and after discussion with its second-largest shareholder, Schroders PLC (LON:SDR) – which owns around 19% of the company – it has decided to kick off the review process.

Among the options to be considered will be a sale of the company, although the firm gave the usual warning that there is no guarantee that a bid will materialise.

READ Studio Retail disappointed at CMA’s decision on sale of Findel Education

EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) climbed 8.4% to 1.03p after it agreed to acquire full ownership of the Deeside Refuse Derived Fuel project in Wales.

The gasification technology specialist said an initial consideration of £2.31mln, including a deposit amount of £300,000, from which an existing exclusivity payment of £100,000 will be deducted, is payable on signing of the share purchase agreement.

The balance of £2.01mln will be payable on or before a date 12 months from the date of signing.

Proactive news headlines:

EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) said it has signed a share purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire full ownership of the Deeside Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) project in Wales. The gasification technology specialist said an initial consideration of £2.31mln, including a deposit amount of £300,000, from which an existing exclusivity payment of £100,000 will be deducted, is payable on signing of the SPA and the balance of £2.01mln will be payable on or before a date 12 months from the date of signing. An additional deferred consideration of £2.29mln is also payable on the achievement of certain conditions relating to development milestones of the project.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it has expanded its coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service to the Goodbody Wellness store in Bristol following a “significant success” of the service at its store in Bath. The Aquis-listed cannabidiol (CBD) firm’s in-store clinic provides testing for people not presenting symptoms who require negative tests for travel, work, or peace of mind. Sativa originally launched the testing service in November and offers polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for travel and work, antigen testing providing results in 15 minutes as well as antibody testing for those who want to find out if they have had COVID-19.

Incanthera PLC (AQSE:INC) used its interim results statement to hail the “solid progress” of its lead asset, a cream that treats solar keratosis and helps prevent certain types of skin cancers. University College of London’s School of Pharmacy ran a study on the Bradford University-developed technology, called Sol, and the results exceeded expectations. The data revealed Sol delivered more of the active ingredient into the skin than four comparator products. They also showed that a new refined formulation of the cream was effectively better than an oral treatment (in scientific speak, it exceeded the bioequivalence threshold). Sol is being prepared for licensing to a commercial partner in the next 12-18 months.

Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK) has been awarded two contract extensions by a European government-related company. The supplier of detection technology is to provide network solutions of its D3S-related technologies to counter nuclear terrorism. The contract extensions are worth a total of £460,000 and will be delivered in the current financial year. In total, this company has put slightly more than £2.5mln of business Kromek’s way. Separately, Kromek also said that it will be announcing its interim results for the six months ended October 31, 2020, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. It added that Dr Arnab Basu, the group’s chief executive officer, and Paul Farquhar, its chief financial officer, will be hosting a presentation to analysts at 9.00am GMT on the day via webcast. To register to participate, please contact: [email protected]

Amryt Pharma PLC (NASDQ:AMYT) (LON:AMYT) said it has raised US$40mln from leading biotech investors with a tranche of the proceeds being used to in-license or invest in rare disease technologies. The group issued 3.2mln American Depositary Shares at US$12.50 each to new and existing shareholders including Stonepine Capital, Aquilo Capital Management, Amati Global Investors, Athyrium Capital Management and Highbridge Capital Management. As well as being invested in new drug opportunities, the fresh cash injection will be used for “general working capital and general corporate purposes”. 

C4X Discovery Holdings PLC (LON:C4XD) said that Clive Dix, chief executive of the AIM-listed biotech has taken over as the interim chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce following the departure of Kate Bingham. The Taskforce was set up by the UK government to find and manufacture a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine and has said it will outline the plans for its long-term leadership shortly. Dix was already deputy chair of the taskforce and C4X added that his appointment will not affect his day-to-day role as  C4X’s CEO. Separately, on Monday, C4X Discovery said it will be announcing its full year results for the year ended July 31, 2020, on Thursday, December 10, 2020.

Blackbird PLC (LON:BIRD) said it has won the accolade of emerging tech company of the year at the OTT Awards, organised by sports sponsorship and broadcasting media firm SportsPro. The cloud video editing specialist said the OTT Awards are “one of the most coveted recognitions in the sports broadcast industry” with a 29-strong panel of industry judges having carried out a deliberation process to choose winners across 14 categories. “Our judges awarded Blackbird the top prize as they felt they showed extremely good growth and had a number of very high-profile customers. The platform is a great solution for many content creators, particularly due to its ability to turn content around so quickly”, SportsPro said in a statement.

Guild Esports PLC (LON:GILD) has launched its first range of branded digital merchandise, allowing players of Rocket League to add via in-game customisation. The digital products, referred to as ‘decals’ in Rocket League, are added to players vehicles – for example, they could play with the Guild logo affixed to their car during competition. Guild noted that many top-tier professional esports teams sell their team-specific decals or ‘skins’ along with other digital customisation items. Like a digital football jersey, fans can buy and ‘wear’ these items to show their support for the teams.

IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) has secured a contract for neuroimaging solutions with a large global pharmaceutical company. The Phase IIB trial will investigate an orphan drug designated clinical asset for the treatment of Huntington’s disease (HD). The AIM-listed artificial intelligence data analytics company said the contract win was included in management’s expectations of performance for the current financial year but adds to the company’s strong order book.

ADES International Holding PLC (LON:ADES) said it has shown an ability to adapt to unfavourable market conditions as it confirmed revenue growth over the first nine months of 2020. In a trading update for the third quarter, the firm reported US$349mln of revenue in the nine months ended September 30, 2020, up 2% on the US$342mln marked at the same point last year. Third-quarter revenue amounted to US$100mln and the group’s earnings margin was described as in-line with the first half of 2020. ADES repeated its full-year guidance, which is for a ‘broadly flat’ performance.

Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) has updated investors on the regulatory and commercial progress of its MED3000 treatment candidate for erectile dysfunction (ED). The AIM-listed pharmaceutical firm said it recently received the pre-submission minutes of a meeting held on October 19, 2020, by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which has confirmed the outline design of the requested FM17 supplemental clinical trial. Futura said FM71, assuming it meets its primary endpoints, will provide the FDA with the “necessary reassurance” of MED3000’s efficacy and safety for up to six months use by ED patients.

San Leon Energy PLC (LON:SLE), the independent oil and gas production, development and exploration company focused on Nigeria, announced that Linda Beal, a non-executive director of the company, has decided to step down from the board with immediate effect. The company had previously announced that, following the appointment of Allenby Capital Limited as its nominated adviser, it proposed to appoint at least one new non-executive director and it confirmed that its search is already well underway with a consultant appointed to advise the company on suitable candidates and some preliminary interviews having already been conducted. Oisin Fanning, San Leon chief executive, commented: “Linda has been an enormous asset to San Leon, frequently fulfilling a role that goes far beyond that of a conventional non-executive in the assistance she has given us on our annual audits and ongoing financial planning. I am very grateful to her for all the support she has given the Company and I wish her well in the future.”

i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) (TSX:ITE) said that, following the completion of regulatory due diligence, John Festival has been appointed to the group’s board of directors with immediate effect. Majid Shafiq, i3 CEO, commented: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of John to our board. His knowledge and experience operating in the Canadian oil and gas sector will be invaluable as we look to optimise and grow our Canadian business.”

The Brunner Investment Trust PLC (LON:BUT) noted that, as described in the company’s latest Annual Report the board has a succession plan in place for the appointment and retirement of directors and in accordance with this plan Ian Barlow is to retire from the board on 8 December 2020. The trust’s chairman, Carolan Dobson, commented: “We will very much miss Ian who has delivered wisdom, dedication and excellent guidance over his years on the board and during his time as Chairman of the Audit Committee. We wish him well for the future.”

Impax Asset Management Group PLC (LON:IPX) said it has appointed non-executive director Sally Bridgeland as its new chair with effect from December 8. Bridgeland, who joined the AIM-listed group in 2015, is succeeding Keith Falconer, who is retiring from the position after over 15 years in the role. The firm also said it has appointed William Simon O’Regan, former CEO of the US arm of asset manager Mercer, as a non-executive director with effect from December 8.

ECSC Group PLC (LON:ECSC), the provider of cybersecurity services, said it has been informed that on December 7, 2020, Ian Mann, its chief executive officer purchased a total of 8,059 ordinary shares of 1 penny each in the company at a price of 74.45p each. The group noted that Mann now has a total beneficial interest in 2,300,948 ECSC ordinary shares, equivalent to approximately 22.99% of the company’s issued share capital.

Plexus Holdings Plc (LON:POS), the AIM-quoted oil and gas engineering services business and owner of the proprietary POS-GRIP friction-grip method of wellhead engineering has said its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held on Wednesday, December 30, 2020. at 2.30pm. Due to restrictions arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the AGM will be a closed meeting at which a quorum will be present in a secure and compliant arrangement. Shareholders are encouraged to submit their votes by appointing the chairman of the meeting as their proxy.

World High Life PLC (LON:LIFE), the AQSE listed investment company with a focus on developing business opportunities in the regulated cannabis industry in Europe, has given notice that its annual general meeting will be held at 12.00pm on December 31, 2020, at 7-9 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DE.

Alien Metals Limited (LON:UFO), a minerals exploration and development company, said that, following the receipt of exercise notices, it has issued 3,435,445 ordinary shares of no par value in the capital of the company at an issue price of 0.25p per share

Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP), the AIM listed international natural resource and power project developer has said an updated corporate presentation has been uploaded to the company’s website: http://www.oraclepower.co.uk/investor-relations/presentations/

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) has said an updated Investor presentation is available on the company’s website and may be accessed via the following link: https://www.thormining.com/sites/thormining/media/pdf/interviews/thor-mining-ppt-202012.pdf 

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