Verditek dims after delay to Pakistani contract

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Yourgene Health PLC (LON:YGEN) slipped 7.7% to 15p after its half-year report revealed losses almost doubled.


The molecular diagnostics group said the loss before tax in the six months to the end of September was GBP2.61mln, compared to a loss of GBP1.34mln in the same period of last year.


The company said its core business was affected by the first of the two COVID-19 waves but with its UK COVIF-19 testing offerings now launched, it is hoping for better times ahead.


2.40pm: Tremor International finds the market hard to please


The share price of Tremor International Ltd (LON:TRMR), down 15% at 321p, was shaken by what was ostensibly positive news for shareholders.


The video advertising technologies, company said it has received approval from the Israeli court authorising the distribution of a dividend and the repurchase of up to US$20mln of the company’s shares, should the company elect to do so.


The company gave no clue whether it was contemplating to take up either option.


1.40pm: Watches of Switzerland ticks higher after lifting full-year guidance


Watches of Switzerland Group PLC (LON:WOSG) ticked 4.4% hitherto 545p after upgrading full-year guidance.


The luxury watches retailer now expects revenue to be GBP900-925mln, up from GBP880-910mln guided previously, with an underlying (EBITDA) margin 1.5-2% higher than last year, against a 1-1.5% rise previously forecast.


The firm plans to repay money received under the UK furlough scheme while it has planned a new elevated store design for Goldsmiths luxury locations to be rolled out from Summer 2021.


12.45pm: Contract delay casts shadow over Verditek


Cleantech play Verditek PLC (LON:VDTK) tumbled 15% to 6.85p after it announced a contract delay.


The solar panel maker said the order from SAG International, announced back in August, has hit a snag because SAF’s end-customer, the Sindh regional government, has been forced to divert its resources to manage the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged this region of Pakistan.


Verditek admitted it has experienced similar delays from other prospects as a result of the second wave of COVID-19 and general economic uncertainty but the board remains confident that a strong market exists for its products.


11.50am: Ding-dong! Avon falling


Avon Rubber PLC (LON:AVON) shares were 14% lower at 3,230p after the protection equipment maker said a contract to make body armour plates had been delayed.


The FTSE 250 firm said the product approval process for the armour plates, which had been expected to conclude in the first half of next year, has been delayed due to a failure in first article testing, and as a result, first deliveries under the contracts are now expected to begin in the first half of 2022.


Avon also said a protest has been made against the US Army’s next-generation integrated head protection system sole-source contract announced on September 24, which has also caused a delay although is not expected to have a material impact on group expectations for the 2021 financial year.


10.55am: Octagonal share price goes pear-shaped as directors signal intention to delist


Octagonal PLC (LON:OCT) shareholders were bent out of the shape after the investment company’s shares plunged 72% to 0.625p on news of plans to delist.


The Octagonal directors have conducted a review of the various benefits and drawbacks to retaining the listing on AIM and have come down firmly on the side of going private.


A listing on AIM costs money and requires some administrative burden and seeing as the company has no plans in the near-term to tap the market for funds, the directors no longer see the point of being a public-quoted company.


10.00am: TalkTalk succumbs to 97p a share offer from Toscafund


Talktalk Telecom Group PLC (LON:TALK) edged up 2.6% to 98.75p after it agreed to a GBP1.1bn takeover offer by Toscafund, the asset management firm.


Under the terms of the acquisition, shareholders will receive 97p per share in cash, which is a small premium to Wednesday’s 96.25p closing price and a 16.4% premium to the closing price of 83.3p on October 7, which is when the offer period started.


Tosca Penta believes that TalkTalk has demonstrated resilient performance during 2020 and notes the material decrease in its share price over the last 12 months, so it concluded that operating in the public listed markets is not optimal for TalkTalk and it can best deliver as a private company.




9.15am: Surgical Innovations perks up on US distribution deal


Surgical Innovations Group PLC (LON:SUN) has signed a US distribution agreement with Adler Instrument, sending the shares 17% higher to 1.7p.


The designer, manufacturer and distributor of innovative medical technology for minimally invasive surgery said the five-year distribution agreement is worth in the region of US$12mln.


The AIM-listed company said the deal would ensure the future success of the LogiCut and EcoCut scissor brands as well as providing a route into the US for the anticipated growth of new Logi-branded products.


Also racking up a 17% rise (to 43.1p) was Safestyle UK PLC (LON:SFE), the replacement doors and windows maker, after an upbeat trading statement.


Since the group’s interim results announcement on September 17, the business has continued to increase its operational capacity..This response delivered 9% year on year revenue growth in the third quarter and is expected to deliver year-on-year revenue growth of around 20% in the fourth quarter.


This revenue growth was achieved despite major supply chain issues attributable to the overall increase in industry demand, reduced third party supply chain inventories and specific global and European supply constraints, Safestyle said.


Proactive news headlines


Powerhouse Energy Group plc (LON:PHE) says its project partner has begun groundworks and infrastructure preparations for the landmark first DMG waste-plastic-to-hydrogen plant, at the Protos hub in north-west England. The AIM-listed company has also been busy, having developed a design that will enable the plant to export larger volumes of hydrogen, strengthened its operational team and made progress on procurement and contracts in preparation for subsequent stages of the project’s construction and operation.


ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) shares jumped on Thursday after the company said the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted it a patent entitled: “Low oxygen culture conditions for maintaining retinal progenitor cell multipotency”. The AIM-listed firm said the patent will protect both the composition of its hRPC cell-based therapy candidate and its method of use, so constitutes a “principal layer of intellectual property” pertaining to its retinal disease programme.


Keyword Studios PLC (LON:KWS) acquired Jinglebell, a boutique audio studio in Milan, as one of two acquisitions announced on Thursday. The other is Indigo Pearl, a London-based video game centred PR agency.


Coinsilium Group Limited (LON:COIN) said it has signed an agreement with the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau for the creation of a commemorative limited edition cryptocurrency postage stamp for release in the second quarter of 2021. The blockchain and crypto venture firm said the crypto postage stamp will be tied to the release of a blockchain-based digital collectable, or non-fungible token (NFT) counterpart, to be exclusively produced by Coinsilium in collaboration with RedFOX Labs under an agreement announced on December 10.


Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT) said Ministry of Health reimbursement approval has been granted for its Lojuxta cholesterol-reduction medicine in Saudi Arabia.


Kodal Minerals PLC (LON:KOD) has acquired the Fatou Gold Project in southern Mali. Fatou already has a historical compliant NI 43-101 resource of more than 350,000 ounces that is expected to increase based on a funded nine-month drilling programme, Kodal said.


Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CMCL, NYSEAMERICAN:CMCL) has now entered into an additional option deal to acquire new prospecting acreage in Zimbabwe. On top of the Glen Hume option deal announced last week, the company now has an additional option for an area known as Connemara North which is also located within the Gweru mining district in the Zimbabwe Midlands.


Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES) said it has started extracting a large bulk sample of natural pozzolan from its CS Pozzolan-Perlite project in Nevada as part of a collaborative concrete trail with a large cement and ready-mix company. The AIM-listed company said it will mine a 500-ton sample of pozzolan which will then be ground in the cement firm’s existing mill and used in a number of separate commercial concrete pours where the natural pozzolan will be substituted for a proportion of ordinary Portland cement in the concrete mixes.


IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR ) told investors it has completed the acquisition of the Bodite and Bianouan gold licenses in Cote d’Ivoire. The company, in a statement, confirmed it has acquired Major Star SA to gain 100% ownership of the licences – issuing 1.5mln new shares priced at 18p each.


Panthera Resources PLC (LON:PAT) said it expects to see the results from exploration at a number of projects in the coming months. Panthera undertook a major restructuring earlier in the year that saw its interests in the Labola and Kalaka gold projects, in Burkina Faso and Mali respectively, spun out into Moydow Holdings. A gain from that transaction helped Panthera post a net profit of US$2.232mln in the six months to end September, 2020.


Panther Metals PLC (LON:PALM) has completed the acquisition of the Merolia Gold Project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia from White Cliff Minerals. Panther paid the ASX-listed firm A$112,500 plus 734,470 Panther shares, on top of which White Cliff will be entitled to a payment of A$1.25 per ounce of gold contained within any JORC (or similar reporting code) mineral resource estimate derived from the acquired project.


Trident Royalties PLC (LON:TRR) told investors that Calidus Resources Limited’s (ASX:CAI) Warrawoona gold project is “on-track to production”. The project – for which Trident is acquiring a 1.5% net smelter royalty covering the ‘eastern part’ of the deposit – has successfully passed a number of important development and finance milestones, the AIM-quoted company said.


SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (LON:SAE) said it looks forward to “an exciting 2021” following the GBP12mln funding deal announced on Wednesday. Chief executive Tim Cornelius said in a statement that the new funding facility will allow the renewable and sustainable energy firm to capitalise on new opportunities and ensure it has access to a pool of capital, so it is not “left second-guessing what will happen with equity capital markets post Brexit”.


Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:FOG) has highlighted an announcement by the Australian government, which intends to back exploration in the Beetaloo sub-basin with up to A$50mln of funding. AIM-quoted Falcon is among the early movers in the Beetaloo, via its partnership with Origin Energy, with some 4.6mln acres worth of permits covering what is believed to be the most prospective core area of the sub-basin.


Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) told investors that the Duff-2 well, part of the Greater Stanley project, is back on production. It comes after a workover programme was successfully completed, to replace a pump and a broken rod.


RM Secured Direct Lending PLC (LON:RMDL) has said it has reclassified its interim dividend of 1.625p per share in respect of the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020 in order to reduce its taxable income and negate additional tax liability for 2019. The payment will now consist of a payment of 0.258p per share in respect of the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020, and another payment of 1.367p per share in respect of the period from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. RM said as a result of the reclassification any additional tax for this year is expected to be minimal and addressed in 2021.

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