Vitesse Media PLC (LON:VIS) saw its shares soar in early afternoon trading, adding around two-thirds in value, up 66% to 3.12p after the media and events company announced the appointment of a new CEO and said it is considering a placing of shares in order to raise £2mln to repay the company's current debts, fund the development of its Events business and expand the capability of its existing digital platforms.
The firm said it has appointed Simon Stilwell – a former boss and co-founder of investment bank Liberum - as its chief executive officer with immediate effect, replacing Niki Baker, who has taken up the role of managing director for Events/Marketing.
Vitesse also noted that Stilwell and Liontrust Asset Management fund manager Anthony Cross have each purchased 6.4mln and 7.0mln shares respectively, at a price of 2.5p each, with each having an 11% stake in the company.
The news came as Vitesse reported a broadly flat full-year pre-tax loss of £205,560, despite higher revenue, as the group pushed back its financial year-end to March 31.
Coca-Cola HBC continues to fizz higher
Elsewhere among the market’s minority gainers, blue chip bottler Coca Cola HBC PLC (LON:CCH) was up 1.2% to 2,622p, extending the gains seen on Thursday when it posted strong first-half results helped by positive broker comment, with Citigroup raising its target price to 2,900p after raising full-year earnings per share estimates by around 9%.
But in the FTSE 250, Domino's Pizza Group PLC (LON:DOM) shed 3.5% at 270.5p after the pizza delivery company said it has created a partnership with its largest franchisee in London in order to take advantage of the "significant growth opportunity" in the capital.
As part of the deal, Domino’s will pay £24mln to the franchisee for a 75% stake in a newly formed company, which will own the franchisee's 25 existing Domino's stores in London.
11.10am: Consultancy PHSC drops as it reports a wider full-year pretax loss
Amidst the general market clump today, PHSC PLC (LON:PHSC) was one of the worst off in mid-morning trading, dropping 12% to 11p after the health, safety, hygiene and environmental consultancy reported a wider full-year pretax loss and it warned on the effects of weak sterling and "political uncertainty".
The AIM-listed group reported a pretax loss of £720,693 in the year ended March 31, up from £337,723 a year earlier as it booked higher administrative expenses, though revenue rose to £7.2mln from £7.0mln thanks to a good performance in security-related technology sales
PHSC said it will not pay a final dividend, but may consider paying an interim dividend in the new year "if progress continues".
Further up the food chain, FTSE 250-listed Dixons Carphone Group PLC (LON:DC.) dropped 8% to 21.50p after French broker BNP Paribas double-downgraded its rating for the electricals retailer to ‘underperform’ from ‘outperform’.
Blue chip drugmaker Shire PLC (LON:SHP) was also the victim of negative broker comment today, with Barclays Capital cutting its stance to ‘equal-weight’ from ‘overweight’, while Liberum Capital reduced its target price for the group, with Shire shares down nearly 1% at 3,839.5p.
But even a broker upgrade failed to have an impact in the depressed market for financial stocks today, with Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (LON:RBS) following the sector lower, down 1.4% to 254.7p despite HSBC upgrading its rating for the state-owned lender to ‘hold from ‘reduce.’
9.05am: Johnson Press jumps on report Scandinavian media investor is plotting a rescue bid
Despite the big fallers by global markets again today, Johnson Press PLC (LON:JPR) was the biggest gainer in London, jumping 14% higher to 15p after the Daily Telegraph reported that a Scandinavian media investor is plotting to rescue the debt-laden publisher of the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post newspapers.
The Daily Telegraph noted that Christen Ager-Hanssen, whose private equity firm Custos owns the Metro freesheet in Sweden, bought more than 5% of Johnston Press on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Highlands Natural Resources PLC (LON:HNR) also moved higher, taking on 7% at 22.5p after the AIM-listed explorer said it has achieved a “major milestone” when it started drilling the first well at its East Denver shale oil and gas project in Colorado.
Only a few weeks ago, Highlands raised almost £3mln of fresh capital to fund that first well.
The 4.3p placing price represented a discount of approximately 9.3% to Asiamet’s closing middle market price yesterday, but in early morning trading, AsiaMet shares were up 3.2% at 4.85p.
The AIM-listed miner said the net proceeds will be used to fund completion of the definitive feasibility study for the company's 100% owned flagship Beruang Kanan Main (BKM) project, drilling of high priority targets nearby BKM, and expansionary drilling at the Beutong Porphyry Project.
Other proactive news headlines:
Horizonte Minerals Plc (LON:HZM) has told investors that the feasibility study at its Araguaia nickel project in Brazil is now at an “advanced stage” after making “significant progress” since the turn of the year. The study is on track to be delivered in the final quarter of 2017 into the start of 2018, Horizonte added.
Orosur Mining Inc. (LON:OMI) has seen strong demand for a funding to cover a drilling campaign on its acreage in Colombia. A placing at 14.7p was oversubscribed and the money means work can start at Anza (in Colombia) without having to divert funds from the producing San Gregorio mine in Uruguay.
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund (LON:VOF) has taken a sizeable stake in FPT Digital Retail JSC (FPTR), a leading mobile phone distributor in Vietnam. VOF has invested US$11mln into FPTR, the largest investment among a group of institutions that have bought a 35% stake from the mobile phone group’s parent FPT Group.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (LON:COPL) says discussions over funding for an appraisal well on its OPL 226 licence offshore Nigeria are advancing well. Investment bankers Cofarco and Zeus Capital are in discussions with a number of oil traders, merchant banks and service providers, COPL said.
Trinity Exploration PLC (LON:TRIN) has agreed the sale of a block of producing assets in Trinidad to neighbour Range Resources PLC (LON:RRL). The assets are offshore the west coast of the island and will release capital to invest in the company’s operations on the other side of Trinidad, said Trinity.