MARKET MOVERS

Market Movers is a report on stock exchange statements that are released in pre-market, which puts the most interesting news from London listed companies into one story.

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Market Movers, including Glencore, Xstrata, Bovis Homes, Sula Iron & Gold, Oracle Coalfields, Archipelago Resources

January 18 2013, 8:26am

The deal to merge miner Xstrata (LON:XTA) and commodities giant Glencore (LON:GLEN) has still not crossed the finishing line after yet another delay in the process.

The two FTSE 100 companies are hoping to team up to form the world’s largest mining group but the tie-up is taking longer than expected.

The deadline for a deal, which had already been extended until January 31, has now been pushed back again, this time to the middle of March as regulators in South Africa and China quibble over the finer points of the contract.

The two regulatory bodies must give their consent before the two parties can merge.

House builder Bovis Homes (LON:BVS) made a good start to the final day of the week after it tipped 2012’s pre-tax profits to be ahead of market expectations.

The company, which unveils the results on February 25, was lifted by 15% growth in legal completions to 2,355, a 5% increase in the average sales price and a significant rise in operating profit margin.

The update comes in the same week in which rivals Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW.) also lifted their profit expectations for the full-year.

Bovis said that assuming market conditions hold firm, it will continue to drive growth in returns in 2013.

“2012 was a successful year for Bovis Homes,” said chief executive David Ritchie.

“We delivered significant growth in profits and returns as a result of our continued strategy for growth through investment in high quality consented and strategic land.

“This strategy will be further progressed in 2013, which, subject to stable market conditions, should deliver strong improvements in the group's returns in 2013 and beyond.”

On a quiet day for the big players, the spotlight is on smaller companies to bring home the bacon.

Sula Iron & Gold (LON:SULA) climbed 10% early on after “highly positive” mapping results that prove the company is ready to start drilling its 153sq km prospect in Sierra Leone .

Initial work at the site, which is adjacent to the huge Tonkolili iron mine, has confirmed a banded iron formation over strike length of 3.1km located in Area 1, in the south-west of the licence area.

A 2,000 metre diamond drilling programme will begin before the end of March to test the strike continuity, thickness and iron grade of BIF, Sula said, with a rig contract to be signed shortly.

The exploration target is 500Mt at 30% iron for magnetite and 55% iron for haematite.

Oracle Coalfields (LON:ORCP) fell in early play despite unveiling two fundraisings in another step in its bid to develop Pakistan’s first large scale coal mine.

It has raised around £0.93mln by placing around 62mln shares at 1.5p each - the current share price is 2p each.

The company also revealed it has brought in £26,667 via its £2mln equity line facility by issuing Dutchess with around 1.13mln shares at 2p each.

This is the first time the firm has drawn down on the facility since it was announced in July last year.

Oracle is currently embarked on pre-development work at the Thar coalfield, including a corporate social responsibility programme, as it develops plans for a 2.4mln tonne per year lignite mine to support a 300MW mine mouth power plant.

Archipelago Resources (LON:AR.) this morning announced what it described as “exceptional” drill results from the Jipang prospect at the operating Toka Tindung mine in Indonesia.

In 2012, Archipelago drilled 581 holes for a total of 82,391 metres as part of its near site exploration campaign.

The highlight results from Jipang had significant intersections that ranged from 2 to 18 metres in width with high gold grades of 3.94 grams per tonne (g/t) to 17.88g/t.


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