Bushveld Minerals on the front foot, Toople on the back foot

A look at some of the biggest risers and fallers in London today

Bushveld Minerals is sitting higher on its plans for a vanadium battery plant

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN) shares charged higher as it said will move ahead with plans for a vanadium electrolyte plant in South Africa after a study predicted battery demand is set to rocket.

Demand for vanadium redox batteries (VRFB) will peak in 2025-2030 as their use in energy storage systems, according to a paper produced in conjunction with the World Bank’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

The need for vanadium electrolyte will likely be at its highest at 40-60 megalitres annually by then.

Bushveld believes a new plant in South Africa will be able to produce an initial 5-10ML of this electrolyte, which would equate to 200MWh in annual energy storage.

Toople PLC (LON:TOOP) has seen its share price topple even after saying it has met its customer acquisition targets ahead of schedule.

Earlier this, the provider of bespoke telecom services to UK small and business enterprises, passed more than1,000 customers, it said.  

The aggregate number of customer orders rose 81 % from March to the end of July, the group added.

But shares fell 23.70% to 1.03p. 

1.30pm: Balfour Beatty gets the thumbs-up as problem divisions show signs of turning things around

Infrastructure specialist Balfour Beatty plc (LON:BBY) provided some cheer to a beleaguered sector as it moved back into profit at the half-year stage.

The shares had been down on the year so far prior to this morning's interims, but are now marginally in credit after rising 9% today to 286p.

The profit before tax of £12mln compared to a loss in the first half of the previous year of £15mln.

On an underlying basis, excluding one-off items, the pre-tax profit rose to £22mln from £13mln the year before.

This was £3mln below Numis's forecast, but the broker stuck with its 'buy' recommendation and 350p target price.

“The shape of divisional contributions is as important as the growth in earnings and dividend with these interim results in our view,” the broker said.

“Services profits swing of £83m from loss last year to profits therefore drove profit growth and accounted for the majority of H1 EBIT - for the first time since 2012!

CSUK presently still only makes a small contribution to profits, but management is now signalling achievement of industry standard margins in H2 2018 (vs. previously by end 2018) which will make CSUK the driver of material profit recovery from here,” Numis opined. 

Noon: Quantum wanted after bid approach from Clinigen

Quantum Pharma PLC (LON:QP. shares jumped 23.56% to 80.31p after confirming that it has been approached by Clinigen Group PLC (LON:CLIN) about a possible takeover bid.

The company said it received an “indicative proposal” about a potential offer to be satisfied through a combination of new ordinary shares in Clinigen and cash.

Clinigen has until close of day on 13 September to make an offer. Quantum said there is no certainty that an offer will be made.

Lookers PLC (LON:LOOK) saw its shares fall 7.76% to 107.80p after the UK car dealership said it was cautious about the second half due to falling new car sales and Brexit uncertainty.

The company’s warning came as it reported a slight dip in first half pre-tax profits to £44.6mln from £46.6mln despite a 5% increase in revenue to £2.46bn. 

10.50am: Hochschild Mining slumps as half-year profits fall

Hochschild Mining PLC (LON:HOC) slumped after reporting a decline in half-year profits due to higher costs.

Pre-tax profit in the six months to the end of June came to US$39.9mln, compared with US$60.3mln the same period a year ago, on the back of increased investment in brownfield exploration, the elimination of benefits from a Patagonian port last year and higher costs at one of its mines in Peru.

Production in gold and sliver rose, 9% and 3% respectively, but revenue dropped to US$340,796 from US$339,277.

Shares fell 18.24% to 268.20p. 

Bezant Resources plc (LON:BZT)shares edged up 7.12% to 1.58p after the miner announced the start of commercial gold-platinum production at its FKJ-083 licence area in the Choco region of Western Colombia.

The company said it has achieved initial commercial production within just two months of plant commissioning through its wholly-owned Colombian subsidiary, Ulloa Recursos Naturales and operating partner, Exumax. 

9.25am: AorTech rallies, Quarto under the cosh 

AorTech International plc (LON:AOR) shares surged 90.18% to 21.11p as it swung to a full year profit.

The biomaterials and medical device intellectual property company reported an operating profit of US$55,000 in the year to 31 March 2017, compared to a loss of US$263,000 the previous year.

Results were boosted by a decline in bad debts and administrative expenses to US$523,000 from US$715,000.

While revenue fell to US$614,000 from US$901,000. AorTech said the overall quality of sales improved. Revenues recognised in the current year are recurring and supported by contracts.

AorTech has been embroiled in a long-running litigation against its former chief executive officer, Frank Maguire, and other parties for breach of contract.

“AorTech remains confident in its position and is committed to pursuing justice on behalf of shareholders,” the company said.

Greka Drilling Limited (LON:GDL) shares jumped 39.65% to 2.80p after saying it has won two new drilling contracts with PetroChina Huabei Oilfield Limited.

The contracts are for drilling at PetroChina's coal bed methane blocks - Fanzhuang and Anze – within the Shanxi Province in China, and are estimated to have an aggregate value of at least US$2mln.

Heading in the opposite direction, Quarto Group Inc (LON:QRT) shares dropped 23.53% to 119.30p after saying it has pulled out of a deal to sell the company to an unnamed bidder.

The book publishing group said talks with the potential buyer were “not progressing to the satisfaction of the board” and it became clear that regulatory approvals were unlikely in the timeline first indicated.

“Recognising the importance of delivering a strong finish to the year and after carefully considering the interests of all shareholders, the board was not prepared to prolong discussions further to avoid distraction to management at such a critical time of year for the business,” the firm said.

Epwin Group PLC (LON:EPWN) shares fell 14.74% to 81.0p after the building-products manufacturer said its full year results will be “marginally below” market forecasts due to challenging market conditions.

The company, which supplies products to the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI), new build and social housing sectors, said one of its customers had significant funding issues and is undertaking a strategic review.

Another customer has sold its plastic distribution business, which is mainly supplied by Epwin, to a rival. The two customers account for 5% of revenue but the impact of the changing circumstances remains unclear, Epwin said.

Market conditions, particularly in the key RMI market, remaining challenging while materials price inflation has also had an increasingly significant impact upon costs, the group added.

Other Proactive news headlines:

Increased revenues and prudent cost cutting helped online business-to-business marketplace creator CloudBuy PLC (LON:CBUY) to narrow its losses in the first half of 2017. Executive chairman Ronald Duncan added that full-year revenues and operating profits (excluding share-based payments), will be broadly in-line with market expectations in 2017.

Shares in Bezant Resources plc (LON:BZT) zipped higher at the opening bell after the junior miner confirmed it had achieved the first commercial gold and platinum production at its Choco project in Colombia.

Xtract Resources PLC (LON:XTR) gave investors an update on its contractor arrangements at the Manica alluvial project. The company highlighted that all of Omina Mining’s earthmoving equipment is on-site already, and two thirds of Omnia’s plant equipment is on site and installed. Almost one third of the first two Omina settling dams completed, it added.

Investment trust APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ) expects the strong performance of emerging markets to continue even with the recent tensions between the US and North Korea. “Emerging markets have been boosted in particular by a strong performance in a number of individual economies, a weakening US dollar and strong liquidity,” said Bart Turtelboom, chief executive.

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN) is to move forward plans for a vanadium electrolyte plant in South Africa after a study predicted battery demand is set to soar. A paper produced in conjunction with the World Bank’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) indicated demand for vanadium redox batteries (VRFB) would peak in 2025-2030 as their use in energy storage systems rockets.

Rose Petroleum PLC (LON:ROSE) told investors that the deal to sell its Mexican milling operation is proceeding, after the buyer Magellan Gold Corp made the extended August 15 deadline. “The company is pleased confirm that it has received from Magellan both the irrevocable commitment letters totalling US$900,000 to fund the purchase and the first US$25,000 cash payment relating to the August 2017 running costs of the mill,” Rose said in a statement.

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX), the developer of the York potash project, said development of the Woodsmith mine is on time and within budget. The company said the shaft sinking contract with Associated Mining Construction (AMC) has been finalised with costs expected to be within the allocated budget.

Harvest Minerals Limited (LON:HMI) has lauded better-than-expected agronomic results from the Arapua fertiliser project on its direct application natural fertiliser and remineraliser product, KPfértil.

European Metals Holdings Ltd (LON:EMH) is pleased with the first assay results from its infill drilling programme at the Cinovec lithium-tin project, which returned a continuous mineralized intercept of 148.30m averaging 0.40% lithium oxide.

Action Hotels PLC (LON:AHCG) today announced the appointment of Beaufort Securities as the company's Joint Broker with immediate effect.

Capital Networks has issued a note on European Metals Holdings PLC (LON:EMH) which concluded that “potential cashflow at the asset level should be able to allow for plenty of dilution resulting from the funding mix, and still leave equity investors with significant cash yield.”

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