Record on the right track with UBS partnership

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Record PLC (LON:REC) has linked up with UBS Global Wealth Management for its newly launched Emerging Market Sustainable Finance Fund.


The news has lifted shares in the currency and derivatives manager by 4.08% to 102p.


The company said: “This represents a new collaboration… as both managers seek to provide innovation in sustainable investments via exposure to emerging market local currencies…


“The fund aims for an attractive, reliable return, with the additional benefit of daily liquidity. Fund size at launch will be approximately US$750mln.”


2.45pm: Pathfinder Minerals boosted by talks over licence dispute


Pathfinder Minerals PLC (LON:PFP) has gained ground after some progress towards settling a dispute in Mozambique.


The company is at odds with the country’s government over the ownership of a mining licence, concession 4623C, and unless it is settled, it plans to refer the matter to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.


But it has now held a virtual meeting with the new title holder of the licence, TZM Resources S.A., to tell the business it could lose its investment in the licence depending on the outcome of the dispute.


While noting it was a dispute between Pathfinder and the state, the two sides agreed to keep a dialogue going and to explore alternative solutions to resolve the issue.


Pathfinder said these alternatives included TZM retaining the licence and compensating Pathfinder for its loss.


Pathfinder chief executive Peter Taylor said: “We believe the opportunity to resolve this matter and the consequences of failing to do so are clear to the Government of Mozambique and to TZM. Whilst we reserve our position with respect to the treaty claim, constructive dialogue with TZM is a positive development and we will continue to engage with them.”


Pathfinder shares have put on 9.59% to 0.79p.


12.53pm: Tasty shares on the menu after its restaurants benefit from pent up demand


Tasty PLC (LON:TAST) is living up to its name after a positive update.


Shares in the restaurant group, whose brands include Wildwood and dim t, have climbed a tasty 5% to 6.3p.


It said 49 of its 54 sites are now reopened after lockdown, with the six week period to 27 June showing strong like for like growth compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.


It said: “Trading has benefitted from significant pent-up demand, and we are encouraged by the initial strength of our overall trading performance despite the restaurants having restricted capacity due to social distancing.


“The bard believes that, as a result of international travel restrictions, increased disposable income and a general strong desire to go out, trade will remain robust throughout the summer months.”


Takeaway and delivery sales performed well during the most recent lockdown and throughout the first half, despite the restaurant re-opening.


It is taking measures to combat a number of issues faced by the sector, not least supply chain disruption, recruitment problems, wage inflation and the reintroduction of business rates.


On rents it has agreed reductions with landlords on more than 80% of its estate and is continuing to negotiate with the remaining landlords and other creditors to settle any outstanding debts.


11.25am: Lamprell slumps on proposed US$150mln fundraising amid liquidity problems


Oil and gas services group Lamprell PLC (LON:LAM) has lost a quarter of its value after it said it needed to raise up to US$150mln by the end of the third quarter.


Otherwise it warned it might not be able to meet its contractual requirements and in that case “a material uncertainty exists in respect of the company’s going concern position.”


It is in talks with banks to borrow US$90mln and plans a short term fundraising depending market conditions and the outcome of the negotiations. But if the bank talks fail – and while approval is expected it points out there is no certainty of success – it will need to raise equity for the full amount.


Meanwhile it is deferring payments to creditors to preserve liquidity.


It had net cash of US$112mln at the end of the year but this has fallen sharply during the course of 2021, leaving it short of funds to complete its current projects and invest in the business. In particular it needs funding for two International Maritime Industries rigs being built in Saudi Arabia, which will reach their peak working capital requirements in the second half of the current year.


The company has been making strategic moves to increase its business in renewables, and in its twice delayed results it said revenues had risen 30% and its net loss fallen from US$183.5mln to US$53.4mln.


But news of the liquidity problems has seen Lamprell slump 24.89% or 6.9p to 51p.


10.18am: Appreciate goes into reverse after falling profits and slow start to the new year


It may be too early to think of Christmas for most of us who are probably still struggling with how to manage this summer.


But gift voucher specialist Appreciate Group PLC (LON:APP) has little choice.


And the signs are not good, with its customers planning to spend last year’s unused Christmas vouchers rather than taking out new savings plans, meaning that the company is expecting a worse performance than previously forecast.


It said: ” As stated in our year-end trading update on 29 April 2021, the Christmas Savings’ order book has been held back by COVID-19 restrictions impacting face-to-face agent activity during the crucial renewal and recruitment period, combined with higher levels of unspent paper vouchers (up by GBP6.4mln compared to last year) due to shopping restrictions, which customers appear to intend to use towards Christmas 2021, rather than starting a new savings plan


“Whilst initiatives to recruit Christmas savings’ customers continue, the order book is now predicted to be around 14% down following the continued COVID-19 uncertainty, having quoted around 11% lower in April.”


Overall it said trading in the first 12 weeks of the current financial year had been slower than anticipated and continued to be impacted by the pandemic, with customer buying and spending patterns taking time to return to normal levels.


Billings were higher than the same period last year, but that was when lockdown hit businesses hard. Compared to 2019, they were down 8.6%.


The news came as Appreciate reported a fall in full year profits from GBP7.7mln to GBP1.3mln after costs including redundancies and stock impairments.


So Appreciate’s shares have failed to live up to their name, falling 13.17% or 5.2p to 34.3p.


9.11am: Gold mining group glitters after it buys out partner in South Korea


Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (LON:BMV) is flying high after it took full control of the Gubong and Kochang gold mines in South Korea.


It is buying out the 50% owned by Southern Gold by issuing up to 200mln shares at 3.6p each. The total price being paid is US$9.945mln.


An initial 50mln shares have been given to Southern, but Bluebird can elect to pay US$7.5mln in cash or partly in cash to settle the outstanding amount if that is considered more advantageous.


Bluebird said it expected the value of the gold projects to increase significantly as further progress is made towards gold production, notwithstanding the current higher gold price.


Chief executive Colin Patterson said: “I am pleased that we have finally waded through the lengthy legal structure and wording of the various documents and delighted that at a pre-deal market capitalization of GBP13mln the Company has just doubled the assets of the business for a cost of approximately GBP7mln.


“Now that all ownership issues have been resolved and funding is in place the BMV team can move on with construction; although COVID-19 restrictions will slow down our efforts we do have plans to start construction preparatory tasks within the next couple of months.”


Bluebird shares have soared 24.24% to 4.1p.


8.26am: Avacta says its lateral flow test can detect Delta variant better than rivals


Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) is in demand after it said a study showed its lateral flow test can detect the Delta variant which is fast becoming a major strain of the COVID-19 virus.


The company said that its AffiDX antigen lateral flow test outperformed two similar tests that are commercially available in Europe, albeit in a small sample size.


The clinical data for Avacta’s test showed 100% sensitivity for identifying infectious individuals, while one of the other tests detected half the positive cases and the other none.


Avacta chief executive Dr Alastair Smith, said: “[The Delta variant] is spreading rapidly on a global scale and therefore the ability of the test to detect this variant is paramount to our commercial roll-out.


“In comparison with other lateral flow tests on the market, Avacta’s rapid antigen test demonstrates better clinical performance…


“This excellent performance and ease of nasal sampling, coupled with the fact that the AffiDX test has been developed in the UK, is based on UK technology and is manufactured in the UK are huge selling points for customers in Europe.”


Avacta shares have added 5.75% or 11.9p to 185.9p.


Elsewhere Avingtrans PLC, which makes components and systems for the energy, medical and industrial sectors, has climbed 7.12% or 28.5p to 428.5p after its Stainless Metalcraft division received planning permission for a new training school at its Chatteris site in Cambridgeshire. Construction work on the site is due to begin imminently.


The centre, which will be funded through a GBP3.16mln grant from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, will provide training across a range of vocational subjects for between 80 and 130 apprentices a year.



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