Shares in Nucleus Financial Group PLC (LON:NUC) soared 38.5% to 183.5p in late-afternoon trading after the financial advisory firm confirmed takeover approaches from both Integrafin Holdings PLC (LON:IHP) and private equity group Epiris LLP.
The group said discussions were ongoing with both parties regarding possible cash offers, adding that its majority shareholder, Sanlam UK, is “supportive” of the engagement with the possible suitors.
Meanwhile, fishing tackle retailer Angling Direct PLC (LON:ANG) was also reeling in gains, turning 7.2% higher to 67.6p as the company said it will beat its profit expectations this year after sales continued to be strong despite the second coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions.
Angling said all of its 38 stores will reopen fully today with the end of the lockdown in England, adding that despite its shops operating on a call and collect basis during the second lockdown, demand was strong and it did not use the government’s job retention scheme.
Sales have grown across all channels, it added, and for the nine months to October 31, 2020, had risen by 30.5% compared to a year earlier to £54.5mln.
1.00pm: Xtract Resources a bright spot as it secures drilling approvals for Bushranger project
Xtract Resources PLC (LON:XTR) saw its shares lifted 5.4% to 1.2p in lunchtime trading after the explorer said it has received all governmental approvals to proceed with a maiden Phase One drilling programme at the Bushranger copper-gold project located in New South Wales in Australia.
The company said the drilling is scheduled to begin in the first week of December and will consist of three diamond drill holes for 2,290 metres with the objective of testing the potential extensions to the northwest of the Racecourse mineral resource.
Xtract added that if the programme is successful it may potentially be followed up with the drilling of a further six diamond drill holes for 3,995 metres.
Elsewhere on the mining front, Capital Ltd (LON:CAPD) was up 2.9% at 64.8p after landing what it said was a transformative new deal with Centamin in the form of a conditional open-pit waste mining services contract for the Sukari gold mine in Egypt.
The 120mln tonne open-pit waste mining contract sees the company provide load & haul and ancillary services. At the same time, Capital has also extended an existing contract with Centamin for drilling services at Sukari.
Altogether the contracts are forecast to generate incremental revenues of US$235mln-£260mln over a four-year period (starting January 1 2021).
11.00am: Hummingbird Resources descends as it warns of potential production miss at Yanfolila gold mine
Shares in Hummingbird Resources PLC (LON:HUM) were flying lower in late-morning trading, down 7.5% at 29.1p, after the company warned that due to “cumulative headwinds” experienced during the year there was now a material risk that 2020 production from its Yanfolila gold mine will fall below its guidance of between 110,000-125,000 ounces.
The group attributed the expected production miss to a number of factors including several “extreme weather events” including the wettest rainy season on record as well as a military coup in Mail which caused additional border closures in addition to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the FTSE 100, shares in supermarket giant Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) also fell 1.6% to 225.2p as the company said it will not accept its £585mln of business rates relief, which the government offered all retailers to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
The company said it plans to repay the rates relief it has received, although the move was highlighted by some analysts at a hostile move towards shareholders and set a precedent for its peers in the grocery sector.
9.00am: Osirium surges following significant contract win from UK communications firm
Osirium Technologies PLC (LON:OSI) was one of the early risers on Wednesday, climbing 12.2% to 23p after the vendor of cloud-based cybersecurity software group announced a significant contract win with a major UK communications and mobile services firm for its Privileged Access Management (PAM) technology.
The company said the customer has purchased an initial 36-month term enterprise licence for the PAM platform, which was selected in a “competitive bid” against other vendors as part of a sales initiative led by Osirium and fellow cybersecurity provider Infradata. Osirium also said it anticipates bookings for 2020 to be ahead of current market expectations.
Also on the up in early trading was UK property franchise Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV), which jumped 9.2% to 155.6p as it said trading has been ahead of even its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) expectations in the ten months of its financial year so far.
Gross profit in the property and the financial services divisions grew year-on-year by 10% and 11%, respectively, the firm said in a trading update.
Management services fee income (MSF) from its lettings arm rose on 2019 and level in sales with helped by the acquisition of the Lovelle chain and a strong bounce-back once the first lockdown ended.
Agreed house sales are also running significantly ahead of the previous record level and strong sales revenue should continue during the last two months of the year, it added.
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Angling Direct PLC (LON:ANG) said it will beat its own profit expectations this year after sales continued to be strong in spite of the second coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions. All its 38 stores will reopen fully today with the end of the lockdown in England, said the fishing equipment specialist. During the second lockdown, the group’s shops operated on a call and collect basis, but even at this restricted level demand was strong said the AIM-listed firm and it did not use the government’s job retention scheme.
Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV), the UK’s largest property franchise, said trading has been ahead of even its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) expectations in the ten months of its financial year do far. Gross profit in the property and the financial services divisions grew year-on-year by 10% and 11%, respectively, the firm said in a trading update. Management services fee income (MSF) from its lettings arm rose on 2019 and level in sales with helped by the acquisition of the Lovelle chain and a strong bounce-back once the first lockdown ended. Agreed house sales are running significantly ahead of the previous record level and strong sales revenue should continue during the last two months of the year, it added.
Capital Limited (LON:CAPD) has landed what it described as a transformative new deal with Centamin, inking a conditional open-pit waste mining services contract for the Sukari gold mine in Egypt. The 120mln tonne open-pit waste mining contract sees the AIM-quoted company provide load & haul and ancillary services. At the same time, Capital has also extended an existing contract with Centamin for drilling services at Sukari. Altogether the contracts are forecast to generate incremental revenues of US$235mln-£260mln over a four-year period (starting January 1 2021).
IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) saw its full-year earnings more than double as revenues hit record levels thanks to multi-year contracts for phase III clinical trials. Results for the year ended September 30, 2020, showed the artificial intelligence (AI) data analytics firm reported underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £1.3mln, up from £0.5mln in the prior year, while revenues rose to £9.5mln from £7.6mln. The company also reported a 36% increase in its contracted order book to a record level of £21.7mln, adding that it has secured net £15.4mln of additional multi-year contracts across all phases of clinical development, including its single largest contract signed in April in Huntington’s disease (HD) for £10.5mln.
Inspiration Healthcare Group PLC (LON:IHC) said a respiratory device used in neonatal intensive care can now be validated across the EU after being granted a European patent. The protection covers Project WAVE, which uses a technology acquired under licence last year from an unnamed “major US West Coast university”. WAVE has already secured US Patent Office sign-off, while the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has approved it for clinical testing.
Bango PLC (LON:BGO) said it has signed a partnership to distribute memberships for IN10 Media Network’s international global documentary focused video-on-demand (VOD) platform, DocuBay. The AIM-listed firm said under the agreement its Bango Resale technology and partnerships will power DocuBay’s growth plans to increase availability to more audiences around the world, expanding its global presence and user base. Through the partnership, Bango said telecommunications companies, retailers and other mass-market consumer businesses can now offer their users bundled subscriptions to DocuBay’s entertainment suite using its technology.
Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) told investors that the first crude oil liftings have taken place from the Sarta field in Kurdistan. The company owns a 30% interest in the field which began producing in November. Presently, the field is producing from one well – Sarta-3 – which is flowing more than 5,000 barrels of oil per day. The performance is in line with expectations.
TomCo Energy PLC (LON:TOM) has confirmed the completion of work programmes to upgrade the capacity of the Petroteq oil sands plant (POSP) at Asphalt Ridge in Utah, USA. The work, conducted under the Greenfield Energy venture, is part of a project to demonstrate the commerciality of processes to recover oil from oil sands. Operations to restart the plant is now underway as scheduled, the company added. This programme will take up to two weeks to complete.
Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) said it has reached a conditional agreement for the sale of its remaining projects in Turkey to Zenit Madencilik ahead of the planned completion of its agreements with Özaltin Holding and with Proccea Construction concerning a proposed expanded joint venture (JV). The AIM-listed company said its operating subsidiary has agreed to sell its three remaining Turkish projects to Zenit for US$2mln in cash, payable over 20 months. The projects are considered to be satellites of the Kiziltepe mine processing plant. Ariana added that the sale agreement will become effective on the satisfactory completion of the JV deals with Özaltin and Proccea.
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust PLC (LON:SIGT) has said that Pzier/BioNtech’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine might mark the tipping point for a switch away from tech and towards value-based strategies. The value-focused trust said its net asset value (NAV) total return per share was 12.4% in November as markets rallied following the Pfizer announcement, adding that it is now possible to imagine a timetable for recovery from COVID-19 even if it takes many months. “Whereas before 9 November this was not possible and so the reaction of investment markets makes sense,” it added. SIGT posted a total return of 10.5% in the six months to October 31, 2020, compared to 3.6% for its benchmark.
Zephyr Energy PLC (LON:ZPHR) has provided an update on its project in the Paradox Basin in Utah, USA, where the company is preparing to spud the ‘dual-use’ State 16-2 well before the end of the year. The Rocky Mountain oil and gas company focused on responsible resource development, said it has now received all the final approvals required to proceed with the spud of the State 16-2 well. These approvals include surface rights and rights to drill from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, federal Right of Way approvals from the Bureau of Land Management, and Application to Drill approval from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
Tissue Regenix Group PLC (LON:TRX) has said first delivery of its new OrthoPure XT product has taken place with further orders expected to be shipped early next year. The regenerative medicines specialist noted that this represents a quick turnaround from approval (it received its CE Mark in June) to the sale of the first decellularized tendons. Interest in Tissue’s technology was such that it landed its first UK order in August with a speciality supplier of orthopaedic and biologic products.
InnovaDerma PLC (LON:IDP) has announced that, as planned, Joe Bayer will step down from his executive chairman role to become the group’s non-executive chairman with immediate effect and has notified the board that he will resign as a director with effect from January 31, 2021. The UK developer of beauty, personal care and life science products said Bayer, previously the firm’s interim CEO, will remain an employee of the group until May 31, 2021, to ensure an orderly handover of responsibilities.
Redx Pharma PLC (LON:REDX), the drug discovery and development company focused on cancer and fibrosis, said it has conditionally raised around £25.5mln before expense from a placing an open offer to shareholders. The company said it was placing 45,603,575 new ordinary shares with both new institutional investors and existing shareholders and up to a further approximately £2.2mln by way of the open offer. The transaction will be effected at a price of 56p per ordinary share, the group added, representing a discount of approximately 2.6% to Redx’s closing price of 57.5p on December 1, 2020. The net proceeds of the transaction will allow the company to continue to progress its pipeline, it said.
Woodbois Ltd (LON:WBI) said it has “continued to make solid progress” across both its trading and production businesses as well as making “two notable hires” over the last few months. In an operational and corporate update, the Africa-focused forestry and timber firm said since its third-quarter update in early October global demand for sustainably produced hardwood has “started to rebound” and that its production division has increased output in October and November by 41% over the previous quarter’s average.
ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM), a specialist drug discovery and development company, has announced that Dr Tim Franklin, its chief operating officer, will be presenting at the prestigious Biotech Showcase Digital 2021. The event will be virtually held between January 11 and 15, 2021. As part of ImmuPharma’s participation, an on-demand Company presentation has been provided in advance to the opening of the event. This will allow registered attendees to get access to presentation material prior to the start of the showcase on January 11, 2021. Biotech Showcase, produced by Demy-Colton and EBD Group, is an investor conference focused on driving advances in therapeutic development by providing a sophisticated networking platform for executives and investors that fosters investment and partnership opportunities. The conference takes place each year during the course of one of the industry’s largest gatherings and busiest weeks.