Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) was a good gainer in afternoon trading, adding 20% at 180p after the biotech firm revealed that its milciclib drug met its primary endpoints in two phase II clinical trials for patients with thymic carcinoma and thynoma.
The AIM-listed group said milciclib, a small molecular pan-inhibitor of cyclin dependent kinases, was given for seven days on and seven off, and was found to be safe and well-tolerated in patients with continuing exposure for up to five years.
The drug is also currently being evaluated in a trial as a single agent to assess its safety and preliminary clinical responses, with further development alongside other drugs planned.
Also among the gainers on AIM, MedaPhor Group PLC (LON:MED) took on 30% at 19.5p after it said it has been granted a new £464,000 funding offer from Innovate UK for the development of a new augmented reality imaging device to improve ultrasound guided needling for medical procedures.
The group said the grant, conditional on a final review by Innovate UK, is intended to part fund the development of its NeedleGuide product.
Premaitha Health rallies on new Asian partner
And Premaitha Health PLC (LON:NIPT) rallied 17% higher to 5.13p on news it has signed an agreement with a new laboratory partner to offer its non-invasive prenatal testing product in a new East Asian territory.
Premaitha Health saw its shares plunge by 40% on Tuesday after it said the UK High Court had ruled that its non-invasive prenatal testing device IONA infringes on Illumina Inc's patents.
Premaitha warned that, if upheld on appeal, the judgement could impose restrictions on its ability to sell into the UK market - which represents around 20% of its revenue.
12:00pm: Trading disappointment weighs on Mothercare
Mothercare PLC (LON:MTC) shares shed over 16% to 70p after the baby and toddler’s products retailer fell into the red at the half-year stage, posting an adjusted loss before tax of £700,000 against an adjusted profit of £5.9mln.
The group’s like-for-like sales were mixed, with UK sales up 2.5% year-on-year as online sales rose 5.3%, but international sales were down 8.0%.
The company said its international performance “remains challenging”, particularly in the Middle East.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG noted: “Mothercare has plummeted to its lowest level in 14 years – the latest victim of the retail environment. Once it prospered overseas while failing in the UK, but now it is just failing everywhere.”
Costs weigh on Mitchells & Butlers
The company said the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union may impact business by hurting consumer confidence, causing a spike in inflation and causing a shortage of workers due to changes in immigration laws.
Inflationary cost pressures led to a 3.1% decline in adjusted operating profit to £314mln in the year to 30 September 2017.
Box office slowing at Cineworld
And Cineworld PLC (LON:CNE) lost 1.6% at 658p as a slowing box office revenues in both the UK and overseas offset a 7% increase in revenue for the past 10 months.
The mid-cap firms UK box office revenue rose 6% at actual exchange rates, easing back from the 12% gain reported in the first half, though that was ahead of the market’s 2% growth.
Overseas box office revenue grew 8% at actual exchange rates after rising 14% in the first half.
10.50am: Chinese deal suits Bagir Group
Bagir Group PLC (LON:BAGR) was the market’s biggest riser around mid-morning, with the suit maker’s shares more than doubling in value, up 109% to 2.88p after a major Chinese textile group took a majority stake and agreed to help it to win business with global clothes groups.
Shangdong Ruyi Technology, one of China’s top 100 multi-national enterprises with listed subsidiaries in China, France and Japan, will invest US$16.5mln for a 54% holding.
The Chinese firm is paying 3.5p per share for its holding, a 155% premium to the price before the shares were suspended on Monday but about the same as last December’s fundraising.
Elsewhere, Keras Resources PLC (LON:KRS) jumped 18.75% higher to 0.48p after it noted an announcement from Australian-listed investee company, Calidus Resources Ltd which said it has intersected significant widths and grades of gold mineralisation at the Fielding's Gully and Copenhagen deposits in Australia.
Keras Resources currently holds 217.3 million shares in Calidus, equivalent to 30% in the company, which will rise to 723.8 million shares once Calidus meets certain exploration milestones.
Oil encounter for Nostra Terra
Exploration firm Nostra Terra Oil and Gas Company PLC (LON:NTOG) was also in demand, adding 15.9% at 3.10p after it revealed it has encountered oil in the Twin Well of Permian Basin located in Mitchell County, Texas.
The AIM-listed group said the Twin Well was drilled to a total depth of 3,200 feet and intersected more than 113 feet of gross oil pay in aggregate across the target objectives.
And Altona Energy PLC (LON:ANT) rose by 16.7% to 0.70p as it announced that current director Nick Lyth will become its new chief executive alongside a proposed share placing.
Altona said it has raised £735,000 through the placing of 147.0mln shares in the company at a price of 0.5p each, with the proceeds to primarily be used for further exploration at its Arckaringa coal project in South Australia.
9.55am: Software firm Servelec surges as it recommends "attractive" takeover offer
It’s been a rough few months or so for the Sheffield-based group, which reported a return to revenue and profit growth in the first half of the year, but blamed a delay to some orders as it trimmed its full-year forecasts.
Montagu – which has previously invested in Biffa and Quorn – has offered 313.1p in cash for each Servelec share, which represents a 19.8% premium to yesterday’s closing price.
The board has recommended the “attractive” offer, although shareholders will still have to vote it through before it becomes official.
Although the offer is only for 313.1p, the share price has surged past that to 313.5p this morning after N+1 analyst Chris Glasper said he wouldn’t be surprised if another bid comes forward.
"We continue to see strategic value in the group (a reason we selected Servelec as one of our Key Ideas for the year) and as such, would not rule out a counter bid from a trade buyer. Await developments."
Centrica hammered as it chopes earnings forecast
The British Gas owner said its second half performance has been “disappointing” due to tough competition and warmer-than-usual weather.
Shares plunged 16.9% to 135.7p in morning trading.
The FTSE 100 group expects full year adjusted earnings per share (EPS) to be around 12.5p for the year, below the consensus estimate, largely reflecting lower-than-expected adjusted operating profit in the North America and UK businesses.
The EPS guidance includes a 0.8p one-off non-cash charge related to the reassessment of the historic recognition of unbilled power revenues in the North America division.
It also factors in the impact of warmer-than-normal in October and November also carved into earnings.
Proactive news headlines:
Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd. (LON:RBW) has reaffirmed that first production and sales of rare earth concentrate from the Gakara Rare Earth Project in Burundi are on schedule for the fourth quarter of 2017.
Tharisa PLC (LON:THS) has announced plans to reward its shareholders by recommending a substantially increased dividend and an improved dividend policy, including the introduction of an interim payout.
Shares in ANGLE PLC (LON:AGL) edged higher at the opening bell on Thursday after the medical diagnostics group said it will collaborate with healthcare and electronics giant Philips. The Dutch company has secured a research grant from the European Union worth €6.3mln, of which €0.45mln (£0.4mln) will flow to ANGLE.
The former chairman of gambling group 888 Holdings (LON:888) Richard Kilsby has been confirmed as the new non-executive chairman at Internet-of-Things specialist Telit Communications PLC (LON:TCM). Among a raft of other board changes, interim chief executive Yosi Fait has also been given the gig on a permanent basis.
E-commerce enabler blur Group PLC (LON:BLUR) is on an upward trajectory, with third quarter gross profit and revenue ahead of first half levels.
Directa Plus (LON:DCTA) and Italian group Iterchimica are to launch a new form of road asphalt enhanced by graphene. Called Eco Pave, Directa Plus believes the new product can significantly improve the durability and sustainability of asphalt road surfaces.
IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has begun trench sample work at its Dorothe project in Chad after new gold zones were exposed by artisanal workings. A new excavator will be used on an area of 1.8km x 1km at 200m trench spacing with the results to help identify drill targets.
Bushveld Minerals Limited’s (LON:BMN) Lemur coal and energy subsidiary has signed a binding power purchase agreement with Madagascar state-owned utility JIRAMA as part of the Imaloto power project on the island.
Eco (Atlantic) O&G’s (LON:ECO) balance sheet has been transformed by the recent investments from Africa Oil and Total, according to finance director Gadi Levin. Africa Oil invested £8.5mln at 29p per share, while Total paid US$1mln (£760,000) for an option over the Orinduik Block, with a further US$12.5mln to come if it is exercised by the French group.
Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN), the leading international esports entertainment group has appointed Andy MacLeod, Garry Cook and Preeti Mardia as non-executive directors of the company with immediate effect. The firm said concurrently, non-executive directors Jon Varney, Phil Shuldham-Legh and David Yarnton have stepped down from the board with immediate effect. In addition, it said, current executive director, Paul Kent, will also leave the group’s board in order to take on additional operational responsibilities within the executive team, leading development of the esports programmes and technology solutions.