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Johnston Press shares pull back as publisher moves to sell itself

A look at some of the UK market's winners and losers in Thursday's trading session
oil rig
Johnston Press has been battling debt trouble

Johnston Press plc (LON:JPR) fell 7.6% to 3p as the UK newspaper publisher said it’s put itself up for sale.

The move comes after Johnston exhausted all options to restructure or refinance its hefty debts. The main market traded company, which has a market cap of less than £5mln, had been exploring ways to refinance its £220mln bond debts when they mature next June.

READ: Newspaper publisher Johnston puts itself up for sale 

Also falling was Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd. (LON:CHAR), plunging 58% to 3.35p as the AIM-listed O&G explorer released disappointing results from a well in offshore Namibia.

Chariot said its Prospect P exploration well didn’t encounter hydrocarbon accumulation. The well encountered its targeted stacked reservoirs within pre-drill prognosis, but they were found to be water-bearing.

READ: Chariot Oil & Gas reveals disappointing Prospect S well result

Meanwhile, Fox Marble Holdings PLC (LON:FOX) shares picked up 3.5% to 0.25p as the stone extraction company said it bought joint venture partner Gulf Marble Investments.

Gulf Marble is Fox’s partner at the Prilep Alpha Quarry in Macedonia. AIM-listed Fox will pay €1.8mln through issuing an unsecured convertible loan note. The note is repayable on October 1, 2020, and has an interest rate of Libor plus 1.5% a year.

Dunelm Group PLC (LON:DNLM) climbed 5.2% to 570.50p as the homewares seller said its new fiscal year has started well.

The FTSE 250-listed company said in the 13 weeks to September 28 that like-for-like shop revenues rose 1.3% year-on-year, and total group revenue edged up 0.1% to £248.2mln from the year before.

READ:  Dunelm cautious over the short-term despite solid start to new financial year

N Brown Group PLC (LON:BWNG) shares sank 23% to 106p, with the fashion retailer posted disappointing product sales for the first half.

The FTSE All-Share component said product revenue, excluding the stores that have closed, fell 3.1% to £304.5mln, with offline revenue down 22.4% and online revenue up 3.8%. 

READ: N Brown slumps as tough retail market and offline business weigh on revenue

At the same time, FFI Holdings PLC (LON:FFI) slumped 15% to 48.37p following the resignation of the film services company’s chief financial officer.

The AIM-listed company, which provides financing services to film and television producers, said Timothy Trankina stepped down with immediate effect, and that it has promoted its financial controller to the CFO role.

READ: FFI Holdings promotes financial controller as CFO steps down

Keller Group PLC (LON:KLR) stumbled 28% to 694p after the ground engineering contractor said it now expects its Asia-Pacific division will swing to a full-year loss.

The FTSE 250 component said it foresees its APAC division posting a pre-tax loss of between £12mln to £15mln in the full year to 31 December 2018, compared with its previous forecast for a “small profit.” The warning comes in the face of deteriorating ASEAN market conditions, notably in Malaysia, and changes in two business units. Keller said it will conduct a strategic review of the affected business units.

In other decliners, Hays PLC (LON:HAS) shares sank 9.7% to 159p Thursday after the recruitment firm posted weaker-than-expected quarterly gross profit growth.

The FTSE 250-listed company said first-quarter net fee income, a measure of recruiters’ gross profit, rose 9% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis, which was 2 percentage points below analysts' expectations.

READ: Hays shares drop as first quarter gross profit misses analysts' expectations

But on the upside, Mobile Streams PLC (LON:MOS) shares gained 20% to 0.15p, with the company saying it’s in a new partnership with one of India’s largest payment gateway providers.

The AIM-quoted company said its association with the payment gateway will enable it to generate revenue from customers on networks with no billing connection and users with low or zero balance prepaid wallets. India could become a US$1trn market for transactions by 2025, based on the country’s current growth trajectory, said Mobile Streams.

Proactive news headlines

Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) has unveiled plans to include the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, on its mining platform from the start of next month.

Film services group FFI Holdings PLC (LON:FFI) has promoted its financial controller, Billy Cheung, to the position of chief financial officer following the resignation of Timothy Trankina.

The value of Circle Property PLC’s (LON:CRC) portfolio has increased by £14mln over the past six months. 

Customised electronics maker discoverIE Group PLC (LON:DSCV) remains on track to meet market expectations this year after enjoying a “strong” second quarter.

Shanta Gold Limited (LON:SHG) said drilling at Bauhinia Creek (BC) East has converted 27,240 ounces into indicated resources from 33,746 ounces of inferred resources.

Avacta Group PLC’s (LON:AVCT) chief technology officer, Dr Matt Johnson, will present new data for the firm’s Affirmer range of research tools and diagnostics reagents at the Biomarkers and Precision Medicine Congress (BPMC) in San Diego on 12 October.

Telit Communications PLC (LON:TCM) has signed an agreement with China Unicom to provide the telecoms firm with its deviceWISE internet of things (IoT) platform.

Base Resources Limited (LON:BSE) said Pacific Road Capital has notified the company that its voting power in ordinary shares has decreased from 22.1% to 20.8%. This is due to dilution following completion of the retail component of the company’s capital raise in January 2018 and the issue of shares upon vesting of performance rights pursuant to the Base Resources Long Term Incentive Plan announced on October 4.

Zinc and gold explorer Erris Resources PLC (LON:ERIS) has appointed Anton du Plessis as its new chief executive after the resignation of Merlin Marr-Johnson.

Azerbaijan-based gold, silver and copper miner Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ) expects production to be at the upper end of guidance following another strong quarter.

Africa-focused mining contractor Capital Drilling Limited (LON:CAPD) saw another uptick in activity in its latest quarter as exploration picked up.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP, CVE:TXP) has achieved a key production milestone, with its Trinidad assets breaching a targeted rate of 2,000 barrels per day.

Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:CHAR) revealed that the Prospect S exploration well, offshore Namibia, did not encounter a hydrocarbon accumulation.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) has announced its latest US acquisition, with a $183mln deal for Core Appalachia Holding Co LLC.

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) on Thursday said Harry Hill, its non-executive deputy chairman, will leave the board of the e-learning group.

The majority of shareholders in Chagala Group Limited (LON:CGLO) have backed a takeover offer from Kazakhstan-based firm Realty Invest Holding LLP (RIH), and the offer period for acceptance has been closed.

Results from a second batch of rock chip samples have confirmed gold mineralisation at ECR Minerals PLC’s (LON:ECR) Bailieston project in Australia.


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