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Fusionex shares rebound amid backlash from Standard Life on plans to cancel AIM listing

A look at the biggest risers and fallers in London today
Shares in Fusionex and Velocys gained

Fusionex International plc (LON:FXI) surged 45.57% to 57.50p, following a slump last week on reports that the computer software company had drawn criticism from Standard Life plc (LON:SL.) over its plans to be taken private.

Standard Life blamed stock market rules that allowed for Fusionex to cancel its shares on AIM, saying it will leave minority investors burdened with unlisted and illiquid shares, The Times reported.

Euan Stirling, head of governance at Standard Life, said: “It feels like the company has been taken from us without our consent.”

Last month Fusionex announced that chairman, John Croft, and broker Peel Hunt were resigning following the company’s proposal to de-list from AIM after a poor performance of its shares.

Velocys plc (LON:VLS) shares shot higher after saying the US Department of Agriculture has asked the company to submit a phase II application for a loan guarantee for a commercial-scale biorefinery, which converts biomass into energy.

The company said the loan guarantee could apply to up to US$200mln of debt as part of the total installed cost of the project.

The biorefinery is being designed to produce about 19 million gallons per year of renewable diesel fuel from about 1,000 dry tonnes per day of woody biomass residues in the Southeast US.

It is part of a programme to provide loan guarantees to biorefineries to produce biofuels in rural areas.

“Today's announcement builds on the deployment of our technology at ENVIA Energy's plant in Oklahoma City; technology that will be used in our first biorefinery,” said chief executive David Pummell.

“As well as the first plant, Velocys has identified other locations in the Southeast U.S. that could host plants with capacities totalling 100 million gallons over the next 10 years.”

Shares rose 15.29% to 49.0p.


11.48am: Shares in Sainsbury's and Ocado jump

J Sainsbury’s shares rose 2.26% to 258.0p on news of a potential takeover of convenience store operator Nisa.

The supermarket is reportedly poised to sign an exclusivity agreement with Nisa, which buys and distributes on behalf of more than 2,500 independently owned stores around the UK.

Nisa has been working with bankers at Lazard on a potential sale since Tesco unveiled plans to buy its rival wholesaler Booker and in recent days has narrowed its list of possible buyers to Sainsbury's and the Co-operative Group. But Sainsbury’s is said to be front-runner despite the Co-op's attempts, The Telegraph reported.

An exclusivity agreement would put a temporary bar on Nisa courting other buyers. Sainsbury's is understood to be offering about £2,500 a share, valuing Nisa at £130mln.

The supermarket last year bought Home Retail Gropu, the owner of the Argos chain, as its core grocery business comes under pressure of fierce competition and rising inflation.

Elsewhere in the sector, Ocado Group plc (LON:OCDO) was also on the front food amid reports that the online grocery delivery group could be a takeover target after Amazon agreed to buy Whole Foods for US$13.7bn. Shares jumped 7.14% to 295.50p in late morning trading. 

Outsourcer Capita PLC (LON:CPI) shares jumped after Jefferies upgraded its rating on the stock to 'buy' from 'hold'.

Cairn Energy slumped after saying it was seeking US$1bn in damages from Vedanta to claw back US$104mln of dividends owed by Vedanta Ltd, the company founded and chaired by the

Indian entrepreneur Anil Agarwal. Cairn is taking its fight to The Hague, in the Netherlands, where final hearings for the tribunal are scheduled for January.


09.25am: Avanti Communications rallies

Avanti Communications Group plc (LON:AVN) is on the front foot after the provider of satellite data communications services secured a two-year, US$4.5mln contract with a new customer in the mobility market.

Under the deal – the first to be signed by Avanti in this particular sector – the AIM-traded group will deploy capacity from its HYLAS fleet of satellites.

The HYLAS fleet of satellites deliver high speed two-way data services throughout Europe.

The contract win follows on from a fresh US$100mln cash injection which Avanti announced on Friday.

Shares rose 6.97% to 10.75p in morning trading.

ReNeuron Group Plc (LON:RENE) shares edged 4.11% higher at 1.90p after the US Food & Drug Administration approved a cryopreserved formulation of the company’s cell therapy for degenerative diseases of the retina.

The approval means ReNeuron’s human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) can be frozen for shipping and storage and thawed at the point of use. 

“This is a further significant milestone for ReNeuron, enabling an expansion of our clinical programmes in ophthalmology as well as providing ReNeuron with a significant commercial advantage in terms of prospective cost of goods and ease of use of a retinal disease therapy," said chief executive Olav Hellebø.

Going the other way, Sky plc (LON:SKY) is under the cosh ahead of Ofcom’s report on 21 Century Fox’s proposed takeover of the broadcaster.

Ofcom has been investigating whether Rupert Murdoch’s Fox would be a “fit and proper” owner  of Sky and is expected to announced the outcome of the review this week.

Fox agreed an £11.7bn deal to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own in December.


Proactive news headlines…

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) told investors it has successfully completed the first of two planned stages of fracking in the Icewine-2 appraisal well in Alaska, where the company plans to conduct production tests in the coming weeks. In a statement, the company said the Stage 1 stimulation operation into the lower zone in the HRZ shale was a success; it was executed over the weekend as planned and all proppant was placed in the reservoir.

Atlantis Resources PLC (LON:ARL) has started negotiations over the site for the Wyre Valley tidal barrage project on the Lancashire Coast. The tidal wave group has partnered with Natural Energy Wire for a tidal power scheme with 160 Mw of generating capacity to be located on land owned by The Duchy of Lancaster. 

The American regulator has approved a cryopreserved formulation of ReNeuron Group Plc’s (LON:RENE) cell therapy for degenerative diseases of the retina. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) green light means its human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) can be frozen for shipping and storage and thawed at the point of use. 

Sareum Holdings Plc (LON:SAR) is to highlight its research pipeline at the 6th annual International Cancer Cluster Showcase at the San Diego Convention Center. Tim Mitchell, chief executive, will be showcasing Sareum as one of three companies from the UK "Golden Triangle" biotechnology cluster (London, Oxford and Cambridge).

Xtract Resources PLC (LON:XTR) has signed an agreement with two contract miners in Mozambique for the extraction of alluvial gold from the western half of its Manica mining concession near the border with Zimbabwe. The agreement allows for monthly payments against the monthly run-of-mine performance, with initial mining to take place no later than 1 September 2017, subject to environmental controls.

Work undertaken by African Mining Consultants on the Misisi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed an interim inferred mineral resource of just over 1 mln ounces of gold at an average grade of 2.27 grams per tonne gold. Misisi is owned by Casa Mining Limited, a private vehicle, in turn approximately 45%-owned by Ortac Resources Limited (LON:OTC), assuming the conversion of a loan note.

Europa Oil & Gas (Holdings) Plc (LON:EOG) told investors it has secured an extension for Frontier Exploration Licences (FEL) 2/13 and 3/13, as well as the conversion of Licence Option 16/2 into a FEL. The first exploration phase will now run to July 2019, allowing the company more time to mature the exploration inventories for the assets.

Mosman Oil And Gas Limited (LON:MSMN) has raised £600,000 though a share placing as it continues efforts to find secure new opportunities. The injection of capital is also expected to support the group following its recent acquisition of interests in two producing oil properties in the United States.

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