Vp hit by Competition and Markets Authority decision

A look at the day's major movers, including The Mission Marketing Group, Sirius Minerals, 7digital, Nuformix, Defenx and Shearwater

The CMA has conducted an investigation into the supply of groundwork products for hire in the UK.

Shares in VP Plc (LON:VP.), the equipment rental specialist, slid after some disconcerting news from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA published its provisional findings in relation to an investigation into the supply of groundwork products for hire in the UK.

Long story sort: the CMA suspects there is anti-competitive conduct in the sector.

Vp, which has an excavation support systems business called Groundforce, is reviewing the CMA’s provisional findings.   

2.00pm: The Mission Marketing Group ascends after upbeat update

The Mission Marketing Group PLC (LON:TMMG) saw it shares rise 11.6% to 72p following its full-year results and the appointment of a chief executive officer.

Underlying profit before tax rose by 22% in 2018 from 2017 on revenue that rose 13% to £78.8mln.

The company said the current year has started well and prospects for organic growth remain good.

James Clifton, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the group's bigdog agency, has been appointed to the newly-created CEO role to work alongside executive chairman, David Morgan.

1.00pm: Sirius Minerals deals one in the eye to short sellers

Counter-intuitively, shares in Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX), the company developing a polyhalite mine in North Yokrshire, rose after a big share sale.

US investment house Capital Group sold off shares equivalent to 2.12% of Sirius's share capital yesterday, despite which the shares hardened 6.1% to 23.42p.

It is not the first time this year Capital Group has sold a chunk of shares – it cut its stake by 2.8 percentage points in February – but it might be the last – at least for a while.

“Maybe [Capital] has stopped selling and that is allowing the buying pressure to come through. That is just speculation though,” Shore Capital's Yuen Low told Proactive Investors.

11.30am: 7digital dives as survival fears grow

Just when shareholders dared to hope the company was out of the woods, 7digital Group PLC (LON:7DIG) issued a shocker of a business update.

The shares cratered after the digital music platform operator said that the decision by European retailer MediaMarktSaturn (MMS) to cancel its partnership with 7digital had “a marked effect on market sentiment” in the first quarter.

In the light of this, the board has taken a “more circumspect view of the sales pipeline”, as a result of which it expects it will have to raise more cash in order to continue as a going concern.

7digital shares lost two-thirds of their value at 0.36p – about half the level they crashed to in early January when MediaMarktSaturn dropped its bombshell.

READ 7digital shares halve as European retailer MediaMarktSaturn questions arrangements for Juke music service

10.30am: Nuformix on a high after signing therapeutic cannabinoid products deal

Drugs developer Nuformix Plc (LON:NFX) has signed an agreement for cannabinoid therapeutics development, licensing and commercialisation.

The company will get up to £51 million of upfront, research & development and milestone payments, plus long-term royalties of 20% of net sales from Ebers, a privately owned Canadian company.

The agreement enables Ebers to employ Nuformix's technology platforms to bring a range of therapeutic cannabinoid products to market for a multitude of consumer product and pharmaceutical applications.

Shares in Nuformix soared 42% to 3.825p.

9.30am: Cyber! Cyber! Burning bright

Cyber-security software group, Defenx plc (LON:DFX), has entered into a software distribution agreement and a software services agreement with its majority shareholder, BV Tech.

Defenx shares shot up 56% to 7p as BV Tech paid €1mln for the sole rights to sell Defenx products to certain bodies within the Italian defence, space, national security or critical infrastructures sectors, through to the end of 2023.

BV Tech has also committed to purchase Defenx's products, with a minimal value of €1.2 million, over a two year period, effective from 1 January 2019.

To put those numbers into context, Defenx’s revenues in 2017 totalled €2.93mln, down from €7.09mln the year before.

Sector peer Shearwater Group PLC (LON:SWG) also got off to a flying start, rising 20%, after it entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire certain business and assets of Secarma Limited, a provider of cyber security testing services.

The company is paying £7.4mln, most of which will be satisfied by the issue of shares, with the remaining £700,000 to be satisfied through the issue of unsecured loan notes.

"The incoming team's industry expertise and considerable experience as well as market position will be very complementary to our services businesses and provides another key capability for the group as a whole," said David Williams, the chairman of Shearwater.

Proactive news headlines:

Shares in alkaline fuel cell power technology company AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) surged in early deals after the company revealed it had improved its technology. The new high-power density alkaline fuel cell technology has the potential to be used in applications where the space and weight of power generation are important considerations and will sit alongside and complement AFC's existing large-scale stationary fuel cell system.

Collagen Solutions PLC (LON:COS) expects full-year revenue to rise more than market forecasts, driven by deals to develop collagen products on behalf of third parties. The company, which uses collagen and/ or tissue to make everything from heart valves to bone grafts through to wound dressings, estimates revenue will rise 18% to £4.15mln for the year ended March 31, up from £3.50mln last year, as growth seen in the first half continued.

AppScatter Group PLC (LON:APPS) is planning to raise funds to finance the preparation work for the proposed acquisition of US technology company, Airpush.

OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) has signed a three-year agreement for the distribution of its SlimBiome weight loss product in Bulgaria.

Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK) has appointed the chief executive (CEO) of its operating subsidiary, Feedback Medical, as its own CEO Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) remains on track to begin a Phase I clinical trial of its first Affimer therapeutic candidate next year. Affimers are small, engineered proteins that are capable of binding specific molecular targets, in a similar way to antibodies. Big Pic in November. with immediate effect.

Biotech investor Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) has confirmed that its investee company, Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:AUTL), has announced the launch of a proposed public offering in the United States.

Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT) has inked a refinancing deal which will cover the debt it assumed as part of its acquisition of Integritie (UK) Limited in April 2017 and provide it with some working capital.

Cabot Energy PLC (LON:CAB) has decided to relinquish PEL 629 onshore exploration licence in the Otway Basin, onshore Australia, where work has been suspended since June 2014. The company, in a statement, noted that it had received confirmation from the authorities that it is approved to vary current commitments for a nominal fee.

Active Energy Group PLC (LON:AEG) struck a resolute tone as it said that the commerciality of its Polish ‘SuperFuel’ venture won’t be dented by a denied application for European Union funding.

Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV) has boosted resources at the Mino do Barroso lithium project in Portugal by 17% to 23.5mln tonnes. Within that, the measured and indicated resource now totals 13.3mln tonnes grading 1% lithium oxide.

i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) told investors it has secured a drill rig for its summer drill programme, which sets the Liberator field development in motion. The company, in a statement, said it had hired the Borgland Dolphin semi-submersible drilling rig for the programme, with drilling due to start between 15 July and 15 August.

Photonstar LED Group PLC (LON:PSL) is having to rethink its plans after shareholders vetoed its latest fundraise. The company had intended to raise £200,000 but shareholders did not grant a pre-emption waiver.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (LON:BMV) has received a positive response to its application for a permit to develop the Gubong gold mine in South Korea.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has announced the appointment of Kieran Daly as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect, replacing Bastiaan Van Aswegen who is retiring. The group noted that Daly formally joins the board as part of the company's strategic alliance with mining company Assore Limited. which has a 31.27% shareholding in IronRidge.

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