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VR Education zooms past price target after ENGAGE commercial release

A look at the day's major movers, featuring GAME, WANdisco, Mediazest, Purplebricks and Sports Direct
Purple bricks
VR Education has been working with the likes of the BBC and the University of Oxford to develop content for the app

VR Education Holdings PLC (LON:VRE) saw its shares jump on Thursday after the firm announced the commercial release of ENGAGE – its online virtual learning and corporate training platform.

It is a significant milestone for the company, which raised £6mln when it listed on the junior market earlier this year, a large slice of which was earmarked for the launch of ENGAGE.

The platform has been designed to overcome some of the limitations of online courses by allowing for virtual face-to-face education and training in a variety of environments regardless of the geographical location of the user.

VR Education has been working with the likes of the BBC and the University of Oxford to develop content for the app, which can be found in all major VR devices such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality devices.

The app will also be available on mobile VR devices such as the Oculus Go and Vive Focus early next year.

Irish stockbroker Davy Research recently initiated coverage of VR with an ‘outperform’ recommendation, saying it believes 2019 will be an inflection point for the company’s ENGAGE platform, with a large pick-up in orders across multiple industry players.

“While early-stage developments come with risks, we believe the combination of VRE's track record, the rapid reduction in VR headset costs and ENGAGE's unique offering positions the company as a leader in the promising educational VR space,” the broker said, as it set a 13p price target for the stock.

VR’s shares were up 37% at 14p in afternoon trading.

1.40pm: Video games flogger off its GAME after announcing plans to move to AIM

Shares in GAME Digital PLC (LON:GMD) fell back as the video games retailer announced plans to move its shares from the main market to AIM.

It is hard to see why the shares retreated 6.9% to 24.6p on the news as the switch to AIM will make very little difference to the average investor, while for the company it will be cheaper.

GAME is also proposing what it calls “certain minor administrative changes to its articles of association and to its employee share plans” to make them suitable for an AIM-listed company.

12.15pm: Fading glamour stock WANdisco regains some lustre after a big contract win

Fading glamour stock WANdisco PLC (LON:WAND) regained some of its lustre on Thursday after bagging a contract with a major US health insurer.

The agreement is valued at roughly US$3 million – or the cost of a relatively straight-forward hip replacement operation in the US – and will see the client deploy WANdisco Fusion, the UK company's patented Big Data and Cloud product.

Shares in WANdisco rose 8.3% to 455p today, well below the 1,250p they hit in June.

“I am delighted to announce our largest ever cloud deal,” said David Richards, who is both the chief executive officer and chairman of WANdisco.

“This reflects our continued focus upon predictable recurring revenues. The $3 million contract initially spans three years, but there is significant potential to expand this further to meet their developing data requirements This contract illustrates the significant traction we are gaining in healthcare and other key industries. Our pipeline continues to grow, and we remain confident and excited about our future,” he added.

10.45am: Mediazest not expecting a song-and-dance when it replaces its nominated adviser

The merger between Northland Capital Partners and SP Angel is causing a little bit of aggro for many AIM-listed companies.

Northland has decided to stop being a nominated adviser – or Nomad – and seeing as every AIM company needs a Nomad, this means that every company that currently has Northland as its adviser needs to find a new Nomad.

On Tuesday, Edenville Energy slumped as it informed shareholders it would have to find a new Nomad to replace Northland; today, Mediazest PLC (LON:MDX) rose 13.3% after saying the same thing.

Go figure.

The difference seems to be in the phrasing, with Edenville saying it was planning to switch to SP Angel but noting the switch would be subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals, whereas audio-visual media specialist Mediazest accentuated the positive, saying it expects to appoint a new Nomad well before the deadline of 1 February.

SP Angel is one of the stockbrokers Mediazest is considering as its new Nomad.

9.45am: Purplebricks not enjoying a purple patch while House of Fraser is more like the house of pain for Sports Direct

The RICS residential property market survey for November did not make good reading for estate agents and neither did interims from Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP).

RICS – the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – said its monthly indicators for housing demand, supply and prices hit multi-year lows in November.

READ UK property market at weakest since 2012 as Brexit takes toll – Rics

Meanwhile, Purplebricks – supposedly a disruptive force in the estate agents sector – got a sceptical response to its half-year results, with the shares down 10% at 134.9p.

“Our UK business continues to outperform the industry, demonstrating an ability to grow strongly and win share in challenging market conditions. Whilst we expect no short-term improvement to this market dynamic, we are confident that we will continue to outperform and take further UK market share from competitors throughout the second half of our financial year,” the company said, as it narrowed its full-year revenue guidance.

Previously, the company had instructed the market to expect full-year revenue of between £165mln to £185mln but it has now lopped £10mln off the top end of that range.

The median forecast for revenue this year among analysts who follow the stock is £167.3mln.

Half-year results from cheap leisurewear flogger Sports Direct International PLC (LON:SPD) also failed to get the market excited.

Group revenue in the s26 weeks to 28 October rose 4.5% to £1.79bn from £1.71bn the year before, with the recently-acquired House of Fraser stores chipping in with a contribution of £70.1mln.

Underlying earnings (EBITDA), excluding House of Fraser (HoF), rose 15.5% to £180.3mln from £156.1mln the previous year; including HoF, they fell 4.7% to £148.8mln from £156.1mln the year before.

Underlying profit before tax plunged 26.8% to £64.4mln from £88.0mln in the corresponding period of 2017.

“The core business of Sports Direct is holding up pretty well in challenging conditions for the high street, but House of Fraser has proved to be a fly in the ointment. That’s only to be expected given the collapse of the department store because turnarounds don’t happen overnight,” said Laith Khalaf at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The longer-term success of the acquisition for Sports Direct investors will be determined by its ability to make a positive contribution to the bottom line. That also goes for the company’s more recent purchase of Evans Cycles, and its hefty stake in Debenhams.

“Raising Sports Direct’s already substantial bet on the high street would look like a brave call in a cyclical downturn, but in the structural decline we are seeing on the back of the digital shopping revolution, it looks positively Quixotic,” he added.

Shares in Sports Direct were down 3.1% at 267.8p.

Proactive news headlines:

accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO) is to implement a combination of its ticketing, guest experience and queuing solutions at The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham.

A number of potential purchasers are sniffing around the fund management business of Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH).

US regulators have confirmed they will make a decision on whether or not to approve Shield Therapeutics PLC’s (LON:STX) Feraccru drug by 27 July 2019.

A number of potential purchasers are sniffing around the fund management business of Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH). The board of Braveheart has recently been approached by a number of third parties, each of whom have expressed an interest in either purchasing outright the fund management business or entering into some form of a joint ownership arrangement.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) has announced an upgraded and increased mineral resource estimate containing tungsten, copper and - for the first time - zinc, for the Desert Scheelite deposit at Pilot Mountain in Nevada USA.

Erris Resources PLC (LON:ERIS) sees the potential for a small to mid-sized gold producer to drill the Brännberg Project in Sweden after initial partner Centerra Gold elected not to continue drilling due to the mineralised system not demonstrating the size to host a gold deposit of over 1mln ounces.

Oil and gas services provider ADES International Holding Ltd (LON:ADES) has secured an extension on its contract for the Admarine 657 offshore rig in Saudi Arabia.

Highlands Natural Resources PLC (LON:HNR) is looking forward to a happy New Year with a number of new wells due online over the coming weeks. It follows a busy and successful work programme at the East Denver project in Colorado this year.

Landore Resources Limited (LON:LND) has said the planned mineral resource estimate and report on the BAM Gold Deposit, Junior Lake Property, Ontario, in Canada is progressing well and is due to be completed and published in early January 2019.

Savannah Resources PLC (LON::SAV) has announced that ongoing metallurgical test work has successfully produced saleable quartz and feldspar products for use in the ceramics industry from its Portuguese Mina do Barroso Project.

VR Education Holdings PLC (LON:VRE) has announced the commercial release of ENGAGE – its online virtual learning and corporate training platform. It is a significant milestone for the company, which raised £6mln when it listed on the junior market earlier this year, a large slice of which was earmarked for the launch of ENGAGE.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC has confirmed that a major shareholder has divested a substantial portion of its 5.51% stake in the company via a share placing. The group said Trive Capital, and its associated entities have sold 22.5mln DGOC shares at a price of 114p for a gross placing consideration of £25.65mln.

Plexus Holdings PLC’s (LON:POS) chairman, Jeff Thrall believes the prospects for the group, both at the corporate and trading level have never been better. In a statement to be delivered at the AIM-listed oil and gas engineering services firm’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, Thrall said: “I believe that Plexus and its proprietary technology has reached a key point in time in its strategic development, and why I see an exciting future for our POS-GRIP wellhead and connector applications in larger market sectors such as surface production, and subsea exploration and production.”

Renewable fuels provider Aggregated Micro Power Holdings PLC (LON:AMPH) has posted a sharp rise in first-half sales and gross profits. Still, AMP delivered over 80,000 tonnes of wood pellet and wood chip to nearly four million customers during the period. It also provided service and maintenance to around 900 biomass boilers.

Seeing Machines Limited (AIM: SEE) has announced that it has appointed Kate Hill as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect. The group noted that Hill had a distinguished 20+ year career with Deloitte Touche Tomatsu as an audit partner where she worked with Australian Securities Exchange-listed and privately owned clients. The firm also announced that Jim Walker, a non-executive director, is to leave the group.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) announced that further to its £4mln fundraising announcement released on Wednesday, the open offer portion will allow qualifying shareholders apply for an aggregate of up to 2,009,673 shares at the 3p issue price to raise up to approximately £1.0mln before expenses. It added that qualifying shareholders will have a basic entitlement of 1 open offer Share for every 22 existing ordinary shares held.

Galantas Gold Corporation (LON:GAL) (TSXV:GAL) announced that the first part of its private placement closed on 12 December 2018, with 57,435,065 common shares placed raising proceeds of C$4,953,774 (£2,871,753). The group said subscriptions in the United Kingdom was at a price of £0.05 per common share, while Canadian places subscribed at a price of C$0.08625 per common share. It added that the second part of the private placement requires acceptance of the TSX Venture Exchange and is anticipated to be for 22,564,935 common shares for receipt of C$1,946,226 (£2,871,753).


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