Rambler Metals and Mining rises after positive update from Canadian mine


Grafton Group PLC (ISE:GFTU) unveiled record first half profits and was positive about the overall outlook, although it warned that much depended on whether further COVID-19 restrictions were needed.

The building materials distributor and DIY retailer also highlighted that supply chain issues were a continuing problem and would remain so for some time.

Adjusted pretax profits jumped by 340% to GBP148.6mln in the six months to 30 June, with revenues rising 46% to GBP1.02bn.

It said: “Each of our market leading businesses in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands contributed to these record results with a notable record profit contribution from the Woodie’s DIY, Home and Garden retail business in Ireland…

“The overall outlook for the Grafton businesses is positive following the successful rollout of vaccines to date in the four countries where the group now operates. Risks nevertheless remain that a further spread of Covid-19 in communities following the lifting of most restrictions or the emergence of new vaccine resistant variants could require restrictions to be reimposed and slow or reverse the international recovery that is now becoming established.

“It is expected that supply chains will continue to be disrupted to some extent over the coming months and we will continue to work with our partners to minimise the impact on our customers…

“We are very encouraged by the strong first half performance across the group and, while our markets are not without risk concerning how demand will unfold, we are confident in the delivery of full year group adjusted operating profit in continuing operations of approximately GBP240mln, as previously guided, subject to increasing property profit by GBP10mln related to the retention of four investment properties as part of the divestment of the traditional merchanting business in Great Britain.”

Its shares have added 3.9% or 51p to 1360p.

2.38pm: Altus Strategies gains ground on hopes for Morocco project

Altus Strategies PLC (AIM:ALS, TSX-V:ALTS, OTCQX:ALTUF) has added 6p or 8.33% to 78p after it started a geophysical survey at its 100% owned Agdz copper and silver project.

Agdz is located 14km southwest of the Bou Skour copper and silver mine in Morocco.

Chief executive Steven Poulton said: “The commencement of this high resolution, IP [induced polarisation] geophysical survey is a notable milestone for our 100% owned Agdz copper-silver project in the Eastern Anti-Atlas of Morocco.

“The survey will be used to define, as well as prioritise, targets for trenching and drilling within the four key prospects discovered to date. These prospects have a combined mapped strike length of 5.6km and have returned numerous encouraging rock chip results.. Terratec Geophysical Services of Germany is undertaking the survey, which should be completed in September. In parallel to the IP survey, our field team is undertaking further mapping and sampling across the key prospects..

“While mineralisation hosted at Bou Skour is not necessarily indicative of that at Agdz, the project is clearly exceptionally well located in an established and highly prospective mining district.”

12.13pm: Velocys motors ahead on news of Japan e-fuels project

Velocys Plc (AIM:VLS) has accelerated on news it has been selected for an e-fuels project by Japan’s Toyo Engineering and its consortium of five other companies.

The company’s Fischer-Tropsch technology generates aviation and road transport fuel from sustainable feedstocks such as residual woody biomass and municipal solid waste.

It said: “E-fuels are a promising set of sustainable fuels synthesised from hydrogen that is generated with renewable power and carbon dioxide that is captured from existing sources or the atmosphere.

“Velocys’ role in this e-fuels project demonstrates the diversity of feedstocks that can be used in conjunction with the FT technology.”

Alongside Toyo, the other five companies are Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd, Japan CCS Co Ltd., and All Nippon Airways Co Ltd.

Velocys’ participation in the project remains subject to contract with Toya.

Its shares have jumped 7.01% to 5.03p.

11.07am: Contango jumps on confirmation of talks with stainless steel giants

Contango Holdings (LSE:CGO) PLC, a natural resource development company, has seen its shares climb on talk of a deal.

They have jumped 23.1% or 1.34p to 7.14p, prompting the company to issue a statement saying it is indeed in discussions with two large stainless steel producers but cannot provide more information yet.

It said: “The company notes the recent share price movement and press commentary with respect to a potential offtake deal with Afrochine, the Zimbabwean subsidiary of Tsingshan Group.

“Non-Disclosure Agreements limit Contango’s ability to directly comment on individual discussions but the company can confirm it is in discussions with two of the largest stainless-steel producers in the world, as well as several other interested parties, and expects to be in a position to provide a full update in the near term.”

Tsinghan would seem to count as one of largest stainless-steel producers in the world.

10.16am: Rambler Metals and Mining rises after positive update from Canadian mine

Rambler Metals and Mining PLC (AIM:RMM, TSX-V:RAB) is in demand after a positive drilling update from the Ming copper-gold mine in Canada.

Chief executive Toby Bradbury said: “”We aimed our 15,200 metre program at 4 key targets important to the confidence of near-term mine production planning. As announced on 7 May, 2 August, and now 25 August, we have completed drilling on two of these targets, started drilling on the third, and have planned drilling for the fourth.

“Copper assays have been received and announced to date on only a portion of the intercepts drilled, and no gold or silver assays have been received yet at all.

“These four target zones were scheduled for mining in the next 18 months based on Indicated level of confidence; with the intercept results to date, we anticipate not only that the targets will be upgraded to Measured confidence in new block models to inform final stope designs, but that size and possibly average copper grades will improve.

“Our confidence in the resource we will be mining in the near term is growing, and associated geotechnical data being obtained by the drilling will help us optimise the mining method while reducing operational risks.

“Drilling is proceeding ahead of plan, and we may be able to exceed the goal of drilling a total of 15,200 metres by the end of the year.

“As we proceed with our exploration program and receive copper and precious metal assays, we will update the market as material new assay information is received. Historic gold assays in the massive sulphide are of added interest.”

The news has seen Rambler shares climb 5.02% or 1.1p to 23p.

9.10am: Augean (AIM:AUG) jumps as new bidder trumps Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) offer

Hazardous waste services are clearly a big thing, with bidders battling to take over Augean (AIM:AUG) PLC.

Investment managers Ancala and Fiera Infrastructure of Canada have teamed up as Eleia Limited to offer 325p a share or GBP341.2mln in total for Augean (AIM:AUG). This beats out a previous agreed bid of 280p a share from Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Infrastructure.

Augean (AIM:AUG) is now recommending the Eleia deal.

Its executive chairman Jim Meredith said: “The Augean (AIM:AUG) board believes that Ancala and Fiera Instructure are well-respected as long-term investors in the infrastructure sector and will be able to support Augean (AIM:AUG)’s strategy of providing the highest level of customer service and safe operations in niche and highly regulated hazardous waste markets. We recognise the increase in the price offered to Augean (AIM:AUG) Shareholders under the Offer when compared with the MSIP Offer and have accordingly recommended the Offer to Augean (AIM:AUG) Shareholders.

“As Ancala and Fiera Infrastructure intend to maintain the same strategy and footprint, we also believe that the acquisition is a good outcome for all Augean (AIM:AUG) stakeholders, including our employees, our customers and the wider UK economy.”

In the market Augean shares are up 16.67% or 47.5p to 332.5p, suggesting that investors believe there could be more to come in this one.

Elswhere marketing services group Jaywing PLC (AIM:JWNG) is up 13.04% or 1.5p at 13p.

It’s never a good thing for a company to have to worry about being a going concern, but investors have taken heart that this issue appears to have been resolved as far as Jaywing is concerned.

The company said: “At the beginning of the financial year being reported, the impact of COVID-19 indicated the existence of a degree of uncertainty which cast significant doubt, as with many other organisations, about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern. The outcome for the year and the forecasts prepared by the business show that we do not consider there to be same level of uncertainty now as there was 12 months ago.”

The company has completed a restructuring under new chief executive Andrew Fryatt, with costs amounting to GBP488,000, mainly relating to staff redundancies.

Underlying earnings for the year came in at GBP2.18mln compared to a GBP35,000 loss despite a 16% fall in revenues.

The recovery is continuing with a 23% increase in first quarter revenues.


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