Webis weak on limited California license renewal; Kier Group drops on cash call

A look at some winners and losers in the UK equity market on Friday

Webis unit WatchandWager.com saw its wagering licence in the US state of California renewed for another three months

Webis Holdings PLC (LON:WEB) saw its shares drop 19% to 2.55p in late afternoon trading as the gaming company's unit WatchandWager.com saw its multi-jurisdictional advance deposit wagering licence in the US state of California renewed for only another three months

The AIM-listed group said there will be a full renewal hearing by the California Horse Racing Board in February 2019 where WatchandWager expects the licence, which allows California residents to bet on worldwide horseracing, to be renewed to December 2020.

Kier Group PLC (LON:KIE) saw its shares plunge 23% to 579p on news it is tapping shareholders for around £264mln to accelerate its net debt reduction plans and strengthen the infrastructure services firm’s balance sheet.

The FTSE 250-listed group is raising the cash via a 33-for-50 rights issue at a price still to be determined.

And, on the FTSE 100 index, accounting software provider Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) saw its shares shed 2.2% at 592/80p as Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating for the stock to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ following the firm’s recent full-year results.

1.25pm: Cathay International unit to offload Starry stock 

Shares of Cathay International Holdings (LON:CTI) climbed 10% to 8.00 as the company, which invests in the Chinese healthcare sector, said its subsidiary plans to dispose of its remaining shares of Zheijang Starry Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, or Starry.

Main market-listed Cathay said the further disposal of Starry shares by its Lansen Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd. subsidiary will be completed over a 12-month period. Cathay owns 50.56% in Lansen, and Lansen owns a 10.65% stake in Starry, whose shares are listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Also advancing was Predator Oil & Gas Holdings PLC (LON:PRD), up 16% to 6.75p as the company landed an exclusive licence for hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal onshore northern Morocco.

The eight-year licence for AIM-quoted Predator will start with an initial 30-months exploration phase across 7,269 square kilometres to the east of producing gas fields and northwest of Sound Energy PLC’s Tendrara gas project. Predator will have a 75% stake in the project.

READ: Predator Oil & Gas Holdings shares rise as it lands Morocco exploration project

At the same time, BTG PLC (LON:BTG) shed 0.3% to 832.50p following a ratings downgrade to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ at Jefferies, which said it doesn’t believe another company will top Boston Scientific Corp.’s (NYSE:BSX) offer of £3.3bn to buy BTG.

READ: Jefferies downgrades BTG as it rules out bidding war for pharma group

11.35am: Lansdowne partner faces site-survey delay

Lansdowne Oil & Gas PLC (LON:LOGP) shares fell 12% to 1.65p after the company’s partner, Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR), said it has decided not to act on site-survey permission at the Barryroe oil field in Ireland’s Celtic Sea. 

Providence said a planned offshore work programme at the Barryroe field has been delayed by a legal dispute launched by An Taisce, Ireland’s national trust. “We share Providence's conclusion that it makes sense to reschedule the Barryroe Site Survey for Q1 2019 and take comfort from the fact that this will not unduly change the delivery of the overall multi-well drilling programme,” said Lansdowne CEO Steve Boldy in a statement. Providence shares fell 6.4% to 12.50p. 

READ: Providence Resources frustrated as environmental challenge delays Barryroe schedule

Meanwhile, Bioquell PLC (LON:BQE) shares rocketed up 37% to 575.30p following a deal by US hygiene giant Ecolab Inc (NYSE:ECL) to buy the infection-control company in a deal valued at £140.51mln. 

The FTSE All Small index component, accepted an offer of 590p, which represents a 40.48% premium to Thursday’s closing share price of 420. Microsoft founder Bill Gates owns about 12% of Ecolab.

READ: Bioquell agrees to £140mln buyout by Ecolab

Another big percentage gainer was Mobile Streams PLC (LON:MOS) as shares of the mobile entertainment content provider more than doubled to 1.32p following a direct billing deal with Indian telecoms giant BSNL.

The new billing agreement will give AIM-quoted Mobile Streams access to more than 100mln new customers. The BSNL agreement marks Mobile Stream’s fourth billing connection signed in India.

READ: Mobile Streams sign new direct billing deal with Indian telecoms giant

9.35am: Quadrise inks new MSAR-related agreement

Quadrise Fuels International PLC (LON:QFI) shares perked up 6.4% to 3.00p early Friday after the company reached a co-project development and co-marketing agreement with US-based Freepoint Commodities LLC.

The AIM-listed Quadrise will work with the Connecticut-based physical commodities merchant to further commercialize Quadrise’s MSAR technology. MSAR is a second generation, oil-in-water emulsion fuel used in power generation and industrial and marine diesel engines. The companies, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July, will initially focus on the Americas, the Middle East and Asia under the 36-month agreement.

Also on the upside, Live Company Group PLC’s (LON:LVCG) shares soared 15.5% to 67.00p after its Bricklive Touring Limited (BTL) subsidiary signed a lease agreement with a South Korean firm for its Mythical Beasts touring assets.

Live Company, quoted on AIM, runs events involving LEGO statues under its BRICKLIVE brand. The agreement between BTL and AWC Asia will run until December 2021 and involve the lease of 50 models created and built by Bright Bricks, the world’s largest LEGO statue builder which was acquired by LVCG in October. AWC will pay BLT a US$1.3mln content and license fee in cash up front.

READ: Live Company's touring subsidiary clinches lease deal for Mythical Beasts models

But STM Group PLC (LON:STM) shares fell 7.8% to 53.00p after the cross-border financial services provider said one-off costs in its existing life assurance business will hurt profitability, although its full-year performance will be in line with expectations.

AIM-listed firm STM said that STM Life Assurance PCC during the second half of 2018 incurred a number of one-off costs stemming from uncollectable policy fees amounting to £0.2mln as well as a policy cancellation and closure exercise for uneconomical policies amounting to £0.1mln.

READ: STM says one-off costs in life assurance business to impact profitability

Other Proactive news headlines:

The first pre-clinical data for Redx Pharma PLC’s (LON:REDX) RXC006 drug candidate has suggested that the compound has “great potential” as a fibrosis treatment.

Local government officials have said Active Energy PLC’s (LON:AEG) Canadian forestry operations will help to revitalise the sector in Newfoundland and Labrador. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Fisheries and Land Resources of the Crown Province of Newfoundland and Labrador awarded two five-year commercial timber to Active’s Timberlands subsidiary.

Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR) has revealed that a planned offshore work programme for the Barryroe field has been delayed by a dispute between the Irish authorities and an environmental group. The company, in a stock market statement, told investors that the Barryroe partners have decided voluntarily to not act on consents granted for a well site survey, which had been due to get underway before the end of 2018.

Pan African Resources PLC (LON:PAF) expects to complete a definitive feasibility study for the Royal Sheba project at flagship Barberton Mines in February after exploration results exceeded expectations.

Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) shares were in demand on Friday morning after Sierra Oncology, the US firm which has licensed Sareum’s SRA737 checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) inhibitor candidate. Chk1 controls a cancer cell's response to DNA damage, which could be caused by the disease itself or intentionally caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

BlueRock Diamonds PLC (LON:BRD) has disclosed a further claim against the company by its former chief executive Riaan Visser, which the firm said legal advice says has “no merit” and it intends to defend “vigorously”. The AIM-listed diamond mining company, which owns and operates the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, said Visser has submitted a claim for 975,000 rand (approximately £55,000) in relation to the use of a generator in 2016.

Galantas Gold Corp (LON:GAL) has received subscription agreements for a private placing that will see it secure £4mln in funds to fuel development of its Omagh gold mine in Northern Ireland.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) has doubled its exploration acreage in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana. An earn-in agreement has been signed with Resource Exploration and Development (RED) over five recently granted exploration licences covering 4,661sq km.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) also said it expects to resume operations in Thailand following the recruitment of the final six members of the country’s new Mineral Committee. Exploration effectively came to a halt in 2017 while a new Minerals Act was introduced.

Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) has reported a solid third quarter for its Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe with tonnes mined and milled ahead of the record achieved in the last three-month period.

Mosman Oil And Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) told investors it expects to see results from the Stanley-2 well during the month of December. The junior oil company, in a stock market statement, said its contracted rig is ‘in the area’, and, that the drilling will start for Stanley-2 once present operations are complete for another operator’s project.

Eland Oil & Gas PLC (LON:ELA) on Friday confirmed the refinancing of its reserve-based lending facility. A new US$75mln facility has a five-year maturity and it initially carries interest at LIBOR plus 7.5%.

Range Resources Limited (LON:RRL) has published an updated company presentation, accessed at: https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20181130/pdf/440vq9dlldf0k9.pdf

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) said the presentation given to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting of the Company held on 28 November 2018 is available on the company's website.

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