Australia’s deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is supporting proposals that would see the ban on coal seam gas drilling lifted, so long as landowners are given more of the royalties from subsequent gas production.
“In our opinion, this is a significant policy shift as the country seeks to avoid a looming gas shortage,” WH Ireland analyst Brendan Long said in a note.
“It is important to appreciate that the deputy PM is also agricultural minister and we therefore believe his thinking reflects that of Australia’s rural landowning community – the people who count.”
Long added: “We believe this could pave the way for comparatively positive developments for shale gas developer in Australia, such as Falcon Oil & Gas.”
Recent figures for acreage in the Beetaloo Basin in Australia's Northern Territory produced by Falcon's partner Origin Energy suggested a gross best estimate of gas in placeof 496 trillion cubic feet (TCF). Converting that to oil equivalent, it stacks up to 82bn barrels of oil.
Total revenue of A$1.35m was down 18% on the corresponding half year, largely due to a disruption of supply due to a process change at a key raw materials supplier.
New measures have been implemented at the supplier and at CAP-XX to prevent any recurrence.
There was operating loss before tax of A$1.9m (A$1.3m).
Trading for the full year should be in line with market expectations assuming current licence and sales opportunities are realised in the time expected, the company added. Shares fell 18% to 8.3p.
13.30...Mkango pulled higher by magnet tie-up
Mkango Resources Limited (LON:MKA CVE:MKA) jumped 11% to 3.9p on a deal with Metalysis Limited to work on three-dimensional printed permanent magnets using rare earths metals.
Metalysis, a Cambridge University spin-off, manufactures metal powders and will tap into Mkango's expertise in rare earth metals.
Rare earths are much stronger than conventional magnets, which means they can be much smaller and lighter than conventional counterparts.
Music software specialist Focusrite plc (LON:TUNE) hit the right note as it forecast revenue would be approximately £32mln for the six months ended 28 February compared to £25.9mln. On a constant currency basis it amounted to a 12% sales rise, while net cash has also increased to £9.4mln (£4mln).
Tim Carroll, chief executive said Focusrite products sold well while Launchpad products from Novation also saw significant growth against the comparable period.
China–based seafood supplier Aquatic Foods Group PLC (LON:AFG) was under pressure as all if its lines bar squid saw a decline in revenues in the latest three months. Fish account for 75% of sales and lower prices meant revenues fell by 6% even though volumes improved a touch. Shares fell 14% to 12.5p.
9.00...Bushveld Minerals boosted by financing deal to secure Strategic Minerals buy from Evraz
South Africa-focused miner Bushveld Minerals (LON:BMN) leapt 25% higher to 5.58p in early morning trading on news it has agreed a deal with Wogen Resources that will provide the funds needed to buy Strategic Minerals Corporation.
Bushveld said Wogen will provide US$3.0mln in financing to its subsidiary Bushveld Vametco Group, which will support the acquisition of its 78.8% interest in Strategic Minerals from Evraz Group.
Bushveld Vametco agreed to buy Strategic Minerals from Evraz last year US$17.2mln.
Under the “worldwide, multi-year” deal, EVR is licensed to create and distribute VR content featuring Universal artists, which include the likes of Kanye West and U2.
Office productivity software developer BOS Global (LON:BOS) found strong support too, gaining nearly 14% at 14.38p on news it is to acquire 40% of Call Design, a profitable Australian provider of workforce optimisation tools.
The AIM-listed firm – which is paying £280,000 in cash plus 5mln BOS shares for the stake - says the acquisition opens up the possibility of cross-selling opportunities to both companies.
Meanwhile, EKF Diagnostics (LON:EKF) saw its shares advance nearly 7% to 19.25p after it revealed it is evaluating plans that would split the company into two separate companies which could see it delist from AIM and list on another market, and may lead the firm to make a share buy-back offer pitched at 21.5p a share.
Proactive news headlines
Ergomed (LON:ERGO) has begun recruiting for a phase IIb proof-of-concept study on Peprostat to treat a surgical complication called intraoperative bleeding. A Total of 120 people will be enrolled to the trial at 30 centres across in seven European countries.
PowerHouse Energy Group PLC’s (LON:PHE) new non-executive director has changed roles to become the waste gasification specialist’s executive director of programme development. Shares rose 13% to 1.07p.
Strong forward order commitments and a growing cash pile at debt-free specialist brick manufacturer Michelmersh Bricks Holdings PLC (LON:MBH) paved the way for a surprise doubling of the dividend.
SDX Energy Inc (LON:SDX) told investors it has now started drilling the potentially high impact SD-1X well on the South Disouq concession, in the Nile Delta area of Egypt. The SD-1X well is targeting both oil and gas reservoirs.
Clean fuel company ITM Power plc (LON:ITM) has welcomed the UK government’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) announcement at the weekend of a £23mln boost for hydrogen-powered vehicles and infrastructure.
Metals explorer Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) told investors this morning that it has started drilling at its Bromus gold and nickel project in Western Australia.
The drill programme consists of two holes that will test two “highly conductive targets” which were identified by downhole electromagnetic (EM) surveys back in November. Sahres rose 5% to 0.278p
Cell-based medicines group MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) has made significant progress operationally and financially in the year since its stock market debut here in London. The highlights included an agreement earlier this month with a Bayer joint venture to help develop gene-edited drugs that will generate an upfront and milestone payments.