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Proactive news summary: African Potash, Alliance Pharma, Atlantic Coal, Challenger Acquisitions ...

A round-up of the day's company news from the small cap universe
News round-up

North Sea oiler Ithaca Energy (LON:IAE, TSE:IEA) expects to more than double production in 2016 to around 25,000 barrels and cut capital expenditure by 40%.

It comes after output last year totalled around 12,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), which just exceeded guidance of 12,000 boepd.

Arthur Millholland, president and chief executive of Canadian Overseas Petroleum (LON:COPL, CVE:XOP), has increased his shareholding in the company.

Millholland bought 1.12mln shares priced at 4.49 Canadian cents on January 8, and as a result he now holds 11.86mln shares, or about 2.5% of the company.

Moving on to a different kind of energy, clean fuel specialist ITM Power (LON:ITM) is to build a solar hydrogen refuelling station at The Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence in East London.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the two groups, which will collaborate to make the CEME campus a major hub for fuel cell electric vehicle training and information

In listing news, US-focused coal miner Atlantic Coal (LON:ATC) is set to depart from AIM after shareholders approved the resolution at a meeting yesterday.

Meanwhile, one of last summer's stock market stars, African Potash (LON:AFPO), is tapping the market for funds to spend on accelerating the expansion of trading operations.

The shares have quadrupled in the last six months to around 1.82p, and the company has satisfied demand for stock by proposing to place 48.53mln shares at 1.7p to raise £825,000.

Moving on to the pharmaceutical sector, the current year is already shaping up to be a good one for Venn Life Sciences (LON:VENN), though the foundation work for today’s €3.4mln order was done in 2015, the company said.

The contract research group, which provides clinical trial management and resourcing for the drugs industry, has struck the deal with an unnamed by leading US-based biotechnology client.

The work is an extension to an existing phase II clinical trial, so it will start immediately and run to the end of 2017.

ReNeuron (LON:RENE) has published pre-clinical research that assesses the potential of exosomes created from its stem cell lines to treat diseases such as cancer.

Exosomes are nanoparticles secreted from all cells. They play a key role in the transfer of beneficial proteins called microRNAs from one cell to another.

Researchers found ReNeuron’s specially developed CTX cell line was able to “enrich” a set of these microRNAs with anti-cancer properties.

Elsewhere in the sector, River and Mercantile Asset Management has taken a 5.12% stake in Alliance Pharma (LON:APH).

In board room news, Challenger Acquisitions (LON:CHAL) has appointed the chief executive of the New York Wheel as one of two new independent directors of the company.

Landing financier Richard Marin is a major coup for the recently relisted firm, which has a 2.4% stake in the planned new landmark in the Big Apple.

Marin is joining the board with John Le Poidevin, who is coming on board as chairman. He replaces Mark Gustafson, who exchanges the role of executive chairman for chief executive.

Le Poidevin is Guernsey and London-based with significant experience in advising businesses in relation to their strategy, investment and financing, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), corporate governance and financial management. 


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