Hardide PLC shares soared 34% to 37.49p, rebounding to levels seen in the spring, after bagging its first coatings contract for power generation turbine blades.
As part of the order from the unnamed “major European manufacturer” for its steam and gas turbines, the blades will be processed by Hardide with the patent-protected coating, which is designed to reduce wear, corrosion and erosion, before the end of 2021 and installed in a high-efficiency, low-emission gas turbine in early 2022.
This initial contract, which has a value of around GBP200,000, will be carried out at the company’s new Longlands Road site, which allows it to accommodate larger items such as these blades.
Hardide said it believes there is “significant potential” for further developments in the gas and steam turbine sector, with boss Philip Kirkham noting it was the first order for power generation turbine blades.
“Hardide is looking forward to continuing work with this customer and others, including EDF Energy, and expects to receive further contracts for the coating of turbine compressor blades,” he said.
1pm: EasyJet bumps lower after rejecting bid
Shares in easyJet PLC slumped 11% to 703.6p after turning down a preliminary bid approach from rival Wizz Air Holdings PLC and decided to raise GBP1.2bn instead through a rights issue.
The low-cost carrier did not name which company had made the approach, but sources later confirmed it was Wizz Air.
The Luton-based airline said the all-share approach fundamentally undervalued its business and that the potential bidder had since ended its interest.
John Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said the GBP1.2bn would strengthen its balance sheet if the COVID-19 downturn continues and allow it to take advantage of any air travel recovery.
11.29am: Genus slips on China warning
Genus PLC was one of the big fallers in morning trading as investors took profits despite the company delivering an exceptional performance for the past year but the company warned of the negative effects in the Chinese porcine market.
Profit before tax at constant currencies climbed 32% to GBP87.5mln and statutory PBT jumped 21% to GBP55.8m, as the cattle-sexing specialist saw strong volume growth in its key porcine (PIC) and bovine (ABS) units as China, Brazil, India and Russia were noted as high-growth markets.
The bovine arm’s volume growth was a record, driven by the continued success of Sexcel, its proprietary technology for sexing bovine semen, and strong performance by its proprietary NuEra beef genetics index.
Boss Stephen Wilson said the outlook for the group “remains positive” but recent volatility in the Chinese porcine market “is expected to continue for some months, creating a short-term headwind in FY22, primarily for PIC China”.
“As a result of this headwind, and despite an expected strong performance in the other areas of the business, we expect Genus’s growth to be lower than our medium-term goal in the current year before increasing again in FY23.”
9.45am: Cizzle sizzles
Cizzle Biotechnology Holdings PLC (LSE:CIZ) led the early risers on Thursday, up 16% to 5.5p, after an update on a clinical trial of diabetic patients hospitalised with suspected or confirmed Covid-19.
As part of a collaboration with St George Street Capital (SGSC) agreed earlier this year, the results of the phase II, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 153 patients to assess the safety and efficacy of its AZD1656 drug showed no safety concerns and provided “strong trends in favour” with respect to mortality.
Cizzle, a spin-out from the University of York that floated on AIM in May this year, said the trial data “supports continued investigation of AZD1656 for the treatment of diabetics with COVID-19 and in light of these encouraging results”.
SGSC will carry out commercial discussions with potential licencees and/or fundraise for further clinical trials to investigate AZD1656 in a larger study, Cizzle added.
Elsewhere, Arecor Therapeutics PLC (AIM:AREC) was also on the up, rising 9% to 257p after confirming that the US drug regulator has given the green light for the company’s application for its ultra-rapid insulin for the treatment of diabetes.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given clearance for the AIM-listed group’s investigational new drug (IND) application for AT247, a proprietary and wholly owned drug.
This will allow Arecor to carry out a Phase I clinical trial in the US in around 24 adults with type I diabetes, to further explore the clinical benefits of AT247, comparing its effects with Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO)’s market leading insulin treatments.
Sarah Howell, Arecor’s chief executive, said it was “an important milestone” for the product, one of the first to be enabled with the company’s proprietary formulation technology platform, Arestat.
“We look forward to initiating the next clinical study, which will be our first study in the US,” she added.