Mobile Tornado shares blown higher on back of solid trading update

Some of the major news-driven risers and fallers on Wednesday …

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The tests included formulations of Integumen’s STOER men’s skincare range

Shares in instant communication software firm Mobile Tornado Group Plc (LON:MBT) stormed up 15% to 3.8p in late-afternoon as it issued a solid in-line update.

The company said a good performance in the second half of its fiscal year had resulted in a “significant improvement” to its adjusted earnings (EBITDA) loss for the period, and as such revenues and the EBITDA loss for the year ended 31 December would be “in line with market expectations”.

Summit Germany tumbles as major shareholder has offices searched

In the fallers, commercial real estate firm Summit Germany Ltd (LON:SMTG) dropped 12% to 1.2p after the offices of its largest shareholder, Summit Real Estate Holdings Ltd (SREH), were searched by the Israeli Security Agency in connection with an investigation into possible use of insider information relating to the shareholder firm.

“A number of SREH's officers have been interviewed including Zohar Levy, Managing Director of Summit Germany”, the company said in a statement.

“The Company understands that this is part of a broader investigation into an individual's securities dealings in a number of companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and does not directly involve Summit Germany” it added.

Harvest Minerals surges as Arapua project plugged into the mains

Shares in fertiliser producer Harvest Minerals Limited (LON:HMI) surged 7.6% to 14.2p in mid-afternoon trading after its Arapua project in Brazil was connected to the main electricity grid.

The firm said that following its connection to the grid, the current capacity was 15% higher than the amount needed for the project and that this could “easily” be upgraded to 2,500 kilowatts, compared to the 600kw gained from the installation of a power substation and two transformers at the site last year.

"The plant upgrade and expansion we installed last year is working well and by switching from diesel to grid power we will be able to continue to control costs and maintain our position as one of the lowest cost producers in the world," said executive chairman Brian McMaster.

Premier African jumps as it reaches agreement with Zimbabwe over RHA Tungsten mine

Premier African Minerals Limited (LON:PREM) shares jumped 8% to 0.14p after it said it had reached “a general agreement” with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Industry regarding the financing and restarting of production at the RHA Tungsten mine.

The firm said agreements were in the process of being drafted and that it expects to announce details and a return to production schedule “as soon as possible”.

McBride tumbles on profit warning

McBride PLC (LON:MCB) shares tumbled 31% to 90p after warning full-year pre-tax profits will be 10% to 15% lower than in 2018.

In a trading update ahead of the publication of its interim results tomorrow, the manufacturer of private label products cleaning products said it had continued to see pressure on its cost base.

“We continue to expect the overall raw material pricing outlook to show improvements in the second half, but not to the extent anticipated in early January”, the company said, adding that distribution costs had continued to rise “beyond our previous estimates due to market rates and efficiency challenges driven by logistics capacity shortfalls and internal service gaps.”

Integumen soars as CBD-infused skin creams kill 99% of bacteria

Shares in Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) have soared after its cannabinoid-infused skin creams killed more than 99% of skin bacteria during in-lab testing.

Management said the results, more of which are planned, “provide clear evidence” of how the addition of CBD to skin-care treatments and cosmetics can lower the incidence of skin disease.

The tests, which included formulations of Integumen’s STOER men’s skincare range, were carried out on bacteria known to cause infections and some of which are resistant to antibiotics.

To test its creams, Integumen used Labskin – a special laboratory-grown human skin that takes away the need for animal testing. Integumen owns a 9.35% stake in Labskin.

Integumen shares more than 40% to 1.3p on the back of the news.

Sainsbury’s down as Asda merger in jeopardy

Shares in J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) plunged more than 16% to 240.4p after UK regulators identified “extensive competition concerns” with its proposed £10bn merger with Asda.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it found that food and petrol prices might rise if the deal is waved through, while it is also concerned that the quality and number of ranges on offer might reduce.

A number of remedies have been mooted, such as selling off dozens of stores or even one of the brands, but the CMA said it is “likely to be difficult for the companies to address the concerns it has identified”.

While these findings are just provisional and Asda and Sainsbury’s still have the chance to make their case, the market is taking the view that the deal is now dead.

“Investors are rightly accepting that this deal is dead in the water,” said markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

ReNeuron rises on encouraging Phase II eye disease trial

ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) said its cell-based therapy is showing signs that it can improve the vision of sufferers of a disease that causes blindness.

Researchers in the US are currently carrying out a Phase I/II clinical on people with retinitis pigmentosa.

The first three patients in a group taking part in the Phase II portion of the study were able on average to read an additional three lines of on the standard ETDRS eye chart after receiving treatment, ReNeuron reported.

Doctors used human retinal progenitor cells developed by the AIM-listed life sciences company.

ReNeuron shares rose 20% to 57p on Wednesday morning.

Laura Ashley out of fashion as it warns on profits

Much like Burberry’s ‘noose’ hoodie, home and clothes retailer Laura Ashley Holdings PLC (LON:ALY) was strictly out of fashion on Wednesday after warning that its full-year results will fall short of expectations.

Like-for-like sales at the firm, famous for its floral prints, fell 4.2% in the first half of its financial year, not helped by a Japanese partner scrapping a license agreement.

Laura Ashley broke even during the six-month period, compared to the profit of £4.3mln it reported this time last year.

Chairman Andrew Khoo said trading had been “challenging”, a trend he expects to continue throughout 2019.

“Given the continued market turbulence and having reviewed the revised management forecast for the second half year, the board now holds the view that the performance for the entire year will fall short of market expectations.” Shares dropped 6% to 3p in early deals on Wednesday.

Intu swings to £1.2bn loss

Intu Properties PLC (LON:INTU) slumped to a £1.2bn loss last year after it was forced to slash the value of its shopping centres.

The FTSE 250 group, which owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, saw the value of its portfolio of 20 malls in the UK and Spain fall by £1.41bn in 2018.

It said the sharp drop-off reflected “adverse conditions” in the UK retail market as well as “weakening sentiment” among property investors ahead of Brexit.

As a result of the hefty write-down, Intu swung to a loss before tax of £1.18bn in the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. That compared with a profit of £203.3mln in 2017. Net asset value fell to 271p a share, down from 349p a year in earlier.

Shares were down 10% to 107.3p early on Wednesday morning.

Enteq gushes higher on bullish update

There is some good news out there this morning …  A revival in US drilling activity has generated a sharp upturn in sales at oil well technology specialist Enteq Upstream PLC (LON:NTQ).

“Full year revenue and underlying EBITDA are expected to be materially ahead of its expectations,” said the company.

In its statement, Enteq added second-half turnover will rise by 25% over the US$4.2mln reported for the first six months, while full-year revenues will be 50% ahead of the US$6.5mln seen last year.

Shares jumped 12% to 28p.

Proactive news headlines:

ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) said its cell-based therapy is showing signs that it can improve the vision of sufferers of a disease that causes blindness. Researchers in the US are currently carrying out a Phase I/II clinical on people with retinitis pigmentosa.

Bango PLC (LON:BGO) shares jumped in early deals Wednesday after it appointed Paul Larbey, a former executive from Finnish telecoms giant Nokia, as its new chief operating officer.

Landore Resources Ltd (LON:LND) has revealed the findings of a preliminary economic assessment of the BAM gold project, at Junior Lake in Ontario, Canada. The project is deemed to have 951,000 of contained ounces of gold, including 701,000 ounces in the indicated resources category.

Eden Research PLC (LON:EDEN) has said its nematicide biopesticide formulation, which is marketed as Cedroz by its commercial partner, Eastman Chemical Company has EU product authorisation from the Regulatory Affairs Directorate in Malta.

Eco Atlantic Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:ECO) (CVE:EOG) has contracted the Stena Forth harsh-environment drill ship for its upcoming exploration well, offshore Guyana. Stena Forth will drill the Jethro-Lobe prospect on the Orinduik Block offshore Guyana, in the neighborhood of Exxon’s multi-billion barrel discoveries.

Eland Oil & Gas PLC (LON:ELA) has announced it will start paying dividends to shareholders following a successful period of production growth in Nigeria. The AIM-quoted company said it plans to pay it dividend based on free cashflow generation, whilst at the same time maintaining balance between new investment and debt repayment.

Collagen Solutions PLC (LON:COS) has raised around £215,000 from the sale of its stake in Jellagen Ltd. the private marine biotechnology company focused on developing collagen biomaterials from jellyfish in a private transaction.

Haydale Graphene Industries PLC (LON:HAYD) has confirmed it is talking to institutions about a funding round at well below last night’s closing price. The funding would also include an open offer to existing shareholders, said the composite materials specialist.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) said its portfolio company, The Vaccine Group (TVG), will partner up with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the US Department of Defense, for a project to protect US military forces from Ebola.

Golden Saint Technologies Limited (LON:GST) said its wholly-owned subsidiary, EMS Wiring Systems Pte Ltd has signed a signed a strategic co-operation agreement with IT Care Ltd, a Shanghai-listed public company that has developed cutting edge hologram technology.

OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) said it was pleased with the scientific and commercial interest around presentations made to an industry conference held in Copenhagen last week. The company, which is developing compounds to tackle obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, provided three separate updates at ProBiota, an event for the prebiotic, probiotic and the microbiome-focused food and pharma industries.

Afarak Group PLC (LON:AFRK) is to take a €6.5mln write-down of its metal alloys plant at Mogale due to ongoing tough conditions in the steel additive market. Mogale, in South Africa, has been affected by technical problems, including stoppages and low-quality ore while the price of ferrochrome has continued to decline.

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK), the aquaculture health, nutrition and genetics business, has announced the appointment of Kristian Eikre as a non-executive director of the company, to take effect immediately after its AGM on 14 March 2019. The group noted that Eikre is currently co-head of Ferd Capital, a division of Ferd AS, a Norwegian investment company which owns a 26% stake in Benchmark.

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