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Proactive news summary: Shaft Sinkers, OPG Power, StatPro, Quindell

It has been a tough year for long-suffering shareholders in Shaft Sinkers (LON:SHFT).

But today they finally had something to cheer about as the mine contractor signed a £37mln contract to excavate the vertical shaft at Kazchrome’s Skipovaya project in Kazakhstan.

Talks over the details have been underway since last year, but Shaft Sinkers will now start work next month on an 8-metre diameter skip shaft to a final depth of 1,453 metres.

The shaft, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will access a ferrochrome ore-body which will be mined to supply ore to the Donskoy processing plant in the Aktujbinsk region of Kazakhstan. 

Kazchrome supplies ferroalloys to steelmakers in the Americas, Europe, and Central and South-East Asia.  

Alon Davidov, Shaft Sinker’s chief executive, said he was delighted that the contract had been finalised.

“This contract represents both an endorsement of the company's unrivalled shaft sinking capabilities and an exciting new challenge in terms of commodity and country,” said Davidov.

“We look forward to developing a long and successful working relationship with Kazchrome as we deliver on the project.”

The contract is some good news in a year that has seen Shaft Sinkers battling the effects of the prolonged strike across the platinum industry in South Africa, a legal battle with Eurochem and financial pressures.

It helped the share price spike 28% today to close at 7.7p. It is still down 60% this year though.

No such issues for OPG Power Ventures (LON:OPG), which appears to be going from strength to strength.

It has agreed an expanded relationship with Noble Group which will see the company take greater control of logistics involved in the supply of coal to its operations.

Freight charges currently make up between 25% and 40% of the costs for coal imported to feed OPG’s Indian power plants, the company said.

It has however now agreed a new long term freight arrangement with Noble’s chartering unit which has until now handled OPG’s coal shipments.

This is expected to deliver cheaper shipping rates than currently available under long term contracts.

The StatPro (LON:SOG) machine keeps on rolling as the financial analytics group’s half-year figures showed continuing momentum in sales of its cloud-based offering.

The number of clients increased to 332 by the end of June, compared to 220 in the same period the year before, while the recurring annual revenue contract value for the product was up 85% to £3.98mln (2013: £2.15mln).

Revenues and pre-tax profits however were hit by currency headwinds and the ongoing investment into the cloud.

The firm revealed it had recruited more sales staff and spent cash on R&D and on additional marketing activities to promote its cloud solutions, which are being snapped up by its clients.

The Quindell (LON:QPP) saga continues as the firm issued an unscheduled trading update in which it insisted that “certain contracts” – meaning the RAC deal which is reportedly on the rocks – were being restructured to ensure the “optimum” return on cash resources.

The insurance outsourcer, whose shares were hammered in April when short seller Gotham City Research published a highly critical note on the business, watched its shares recover from an early dive as it revealed operating cash flow turned positive last month.


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July 31 2012

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