SEC Newgate SpA (LON:SECG) rose 8% to 45p in the early afternoon after agreeing to acquire 60% of Berlin-based consultancy Orca Affairs for €700,000.
Orca Affairs’ turnover was €10.5mln with profit before tax of €2.2mln, in part influenced by short-term extraordinary business which is not continuing into 2021.
The transaction will be executed in four tranches, with the strategic communications group adding 15% per annum until 2024.
12.30pm: Immotion jumps after posting revenue increase
Immotion Group PLC (LON:IMMO) jumped 17% to 3.87p at midday after announcing revenue has increased steadily in recent weeks.
The immersive entertainment group said the launch of Let’s Explore Oceans in October contributed to a boost in revenue for October and November compared to September.
In October, the firm delivered £369,000 in sales, up 21% from September, while last month sales rocketed 87% to £573,000 compared to September.
11.50am: Marston’s cheers to agreement to operate Brains pubs in Wales
Marston’s PLC (LON:MARS) gushed 7% higher to 73.7p after agreeing with brewer Brains to operate its portfolio of 156 pubs in Wales, on a combination of leased and management contract arrangements.
Marston’s will operate the 141 freehold Brains pubs on a leasehold basis, with effect from February 2021, with rent chargeable from April 2021.
The firm added that the agreement is consistent with Marston’s long-term strategy as a focused pub operator, post the recent disposal of its brewing assets, and strengthens its presence in Wales, where it currently has 106 pubs.
10.50am: Carclo in demand after signing ten-year agreement with major original equipment manufacturer
Carclo plc (LON:CAR) shot up 25% to 15.8p after announcing its technical plastics division has signed a framework agreement with a “major global” original equipment manufacturer.
The deal is for the manufacture of complex medical diagnostic disposable devices over the next ten years.
This contract is expected to deliver incremental annual revenues of £10-15mln after the engineer will reach full production in the second half of financial year 2022.
9.55am: NMCN tumbles after revealing wider losses than expected
NMCN PLC (LON:NMCN) tumbled 13% to 248.8p in mid-morning after announcing full-year losses are going to be wider than expected.
The construction engineering company said in October loss before tax was expected to come in at £13.5-15mln but it is now forecast to be £16.5mln.
The firm said it includes adjustments from the prior year relating to errors which should have been identified and corrected at the reporting date and information affecting estimates which should have been available.
Meanwhile, Infrastrata PLC (LON:INFA) shed 7% to 48p on the back of a placing where it placed 2mln shares at 45p each, representing a 12.6% discount.
The infrastructure firm raised £6.4mln to strengthen its balance sheet and provide extra capital to buy a robotic welding panel line and other yard refurbishment programmes in preparation for the potential award and subsequent execution of fabrication contracts.
The money also provides sufficient working capital to improve negotiating position on new contract opportunities by removing the potential for an emphasis of matter statement within upcoming full year results.
8.45am: Zenith Energy top riser after being selected to operate Congo oilfield
Zenith Energy Ltd (LON:ZEN) was the top riser on Wednesday morning, soaring 89% higher to 0.85p after receiving good news from the Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of the Congo.
The oiler said its subsidiary Zenith Congo has been selected as the successful bidder for a new 25-year licence to operate the Tilapia oilfield.
Under the agreement, Zenith Congo will operate Tilapia II in partnership with the National Oil Company, Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo.
Sticking to the sector, Cairn Energy PLC (LON:CNE) surged 31% to 216.6p after being awarded costs and damages worth US$1.2bn by a tribunal in the Netherlands for a tax dispute with India.
Cairn said that the tribunal ruled unanimously that India had breached its obligations to the company under a treaty with the UK.
The complaint was filed in 2015 following a capital gains demand of US$1.4bn from India’s tax authorities that stemmed from the listing of the oil group’s Indian arm in 2007.
Proactive news headlines:
Blue Star Capital PLC (LON:BLU), the investing company with a focus on esports, payments, technology and its applications within media and gaming, has provided an update in respect of its esports portfolio as well as its investee companies – The Drops Esports Inc and Diemens Esports PTY Ltd. The group said that since making its initial £900,000 investment in six esports opportunities in November 2019, Blue Star has invested in total approximately £1,680,000 across seven companies. Follow on investments have been made in Guild Esports PLC, Dynasty eSports Pte Ltd and most recently in FORMATION Esports SaaS. Based on the current valuation of Guild, which was admitted to the standard segment of the London Stock Exchange’s main market on October 2, 2020, and the higher valuation achieved by Dynasty in its subsequent fundraises, Blue Star’s esports portfolio is now valued at £3,715,890, showing an unrealised gain of £2,035,890 and an increase of approximately 120%.
Amryt Pharma Inc (LON:AMYT) (NASDAQ:AMYT) has said therapy AP103 has received an orphan drug designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the condition Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (DEB). AP103 is based on Amryt’s gene-therapy platform technology and offers a potential treatment for patients with DEB, a subset of EB, Amryt said. Orphan drug status is granted to rare diseases that affect fewer than one in 200,000 people in the US and allows a seven-year period of marketing exclusivity on approval and a waiver of some drug licence fees.
Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) said PrEP Biopharm Limited, in which it owns a 62.6% stake, has completed a 12-week toxicology study for its novel pan-viral prophylactic asset, PrEP-001. The pharma services firm said the animal model study provides safety data needed to move PrEP-001 into longer duration dosing in clinical studies, adding that PrEP Biopharm intends to move forward with a real-world, field trial that is aiming to validate the efficacy of PrEP-001 against all circulating respiratory viruses including coronavirus (COVID-19), influenza and the common cold. PrEP-001 is a synthetic RNA ‘viral mimic’ which is designed to stimulate the body’s innate immune response in the upper respiratory tract to stop respiratory viruses. The treatment candidate is designed to be administered via a once-daily nasal spray.
MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) has said it expects financial results for its core life sciences business to be ahead of schedule, citing momentum in “transformational cell therapies” and milestone payments from licence partnerships. In the same update, the group said it continues to work with the life sciences transactions specialist Locust Walk on a strategy for and future funding of the group’s CARMA business. This subsidiary is developing immuno-oncology drugs using MaxCyte’s cell engineering technology and is aiming to become self-funding.
World High Life PLC (LON:LIFE) (OTCQB:WRHLF) said its subsidiary Love Hemp Limited has launched its 10 SKU Love Hemp product line across 880 Holland & Barrett stores across the UK and Ireland as well as on the retailer’s website. The cannabidiol (CBD) specialist said the 10 SKUS products available include multiple sprays and capsules which contain a variety of strengths from 600 milligrams (mg) CBD to 3,000mg CBD.
Critical Metals Plc (LON:CRTM) said it has “narrowed down its search” to a smaller number of potential acquisition targets that it believes have the potential to produce a combination of cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, titanium, or vanadium as the group reported its first financial results as a public listed company. In a statement accompanying its results for the year to June 30, 2020, the chairman of the mining investment firm Russell S. Fryer said preliminary discussions are ongoing with a number of “exciting opportunities” and the company will provide updates on any material developments.
Avation PLC (LON:AVAP) said it has managed to maintain profitability despite a “challenging year” affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that it is “optimistic about the medium term opportunity for air travel”. In a trading update, the commercial aircraft leasing firm reported a pre-tax profit for the year to June 30, 2020, of US$14.7mln, adding that lease revenue in the period rose by 14% to US$135.3mln. Reporting on its operations from July 1, Avation said it has provided support to 14 of its airline customers during the pandemic with agreements to defer a total of US$13.7mln in lease payments, adding that it has mitigated the impact of this on its cashflow by rescheduling US$26.5mln of loan amortisation. As of December 23, the company said seven airline customers of a total of 19 have returned to normal monthly rental levels.
United Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UOG), the growing oil and gas company with a portfolio of production, development, exploration and appraisal assets, has announced the appointment of Tom Hickey as an independent non-executive director with effect from January 1, 2021. The group noted that Hickey is known across the oil and gas industry and beyond as a significant contributor to the success of Tullow Oil PLC in his role as CFO from 2000-08. During this time he was central to the successful conclusion of major acquisitions and exploration discoveries which helped shape that company into a leading Independent oil and gas exploration and production company. Hickey is currently CEO of Boru Energy Limited, the West African focussed private oil and gas company, which is supported by The Carlyle Group.
Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX) said it has passed another important milestone with confirmation that the US regulator has accepted its new drug application (NDA). The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said the review of the company’s drug‑device combination product using hyperpolarised xenon-129 gas to enhance magnetic resonance imaging in pulmonary medicine will follow a “standard time frame”. That means the target Prescription Drug User Fee Act or PDUFA date is October 5, 2021. This is the deadline by which the FDA must review all new drug applications and is traditionally 10 months from submission. In the same announcement, the company confirmed the planned retirement of chief operating officer Ken West, who will continue as a consultant and a non-executive director of Polarean.
Powerhouse Energy Group plc (LON:PHE) said it has noted the recent increase in the company’s share price and confirms that there are no new material developments beyond those previously notified to the market. The company provided an update on operational developments in an announcement last week. Shares in Powerhouse Energy jumped by around 50% on Tuesday to close at 7.65p, having opened trade at 5.00p.
Guild Esports PLC (LON:GILD), a UK-based owner and developer of esports teams said it has received from Andrew Drake, a non-executive director of the company, notice of the exercise of warrants over 1.5 million ordinary shares in the company at an exercise price of 1.00p per share. The aggregate gross proceeds of this exercise are £15,000. The warrants are being exercised within the three-month exercise period, which expires on January 2, 2021. The new ordinary shares will be subject to a 24-month lock-in period from the date of admission, as set out in the company’s prospectus dated September 29, 2020.
Touchstone Exploration Inc. (LON:TXP) has announced that on December 22, 2020, certain executive officers exercised share options representing a total of 700,000 common shares of no par value in the company, which were set to expire on January 7, 2021. As part of this exercise, Touchstone president and chief executive officer Paul R. Baay exercised share options representing 300,000 common shares, chief financial officer Scott Budau exercised share options representing 200,000 common shares, and chief operating officer James Shipka exercised share options representing 200,000 common shares, all at a price of C$0.33 (approximately 1p) per common share. Further, on December 22, 2020, Baay sold 300,000 common shares, Budau sold 200,000 common shares and Shipka sold 200,000 common shares at a weighted average price of C$2.01 (approximately 117p) per common share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.