Sirius Minerals blooms after signing agribusiness deal

A look at the day's major movers, including Image Scan, Water Intelligence, Laura Ashley, Gulf Marine, Synectics and Synnovia

Polyhalite mine
Thedeal was signed with BayWa

Stock market darling Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) was on the rise after the firm revealed the latest sales agreement for its potash mine in Yorkshire.

READ Sirius Minerals shares up as it inks new sales deal with German agribusiness

Under the ten-year deal, European agribusiness, BayWa AG, will receive a minimum of 2.5mln tonnes of polyhalite fertiliser per year by year five.

The agreement takes the Sirius future contracted sales up to 10.7mln tonnes, which approximately equates to the mine’s first phase capacity.

Sirius's shares were up 3.7% in afternoon trading.


2.00pm: Picture less cloudy for Image Scan 

It's less than a couple of months since Image Scan PLC (LON:IGE) disappointed the market with a trading update but it restored some faith today.

The company, which sells security and industrial inspection equipment, released half-year results that it admitted were slightly behind expectations but importantly restated its confidence that the full-year performance would be in line with the the City is forecasting.

READ Image Scan says first-half sales undershoot management expectations

"The recent decline in the share price is clearly disappointing for all shareholders,” said Bill Mawer, who is both chairman and chief executive officer of Image Scan.

“We start the second half with a £1.0m order book and sufficient activity in our pipeline for the board to expect the company to meet market expectations for the year to 30 September 2019," he added.

Shares in Image Scan were up 9.4%.

12.50pm: Water Intelligence wins municipal contracts in North America

Leak detection specialist Water Intelligence PLC (LON:WATR) advanced 5.1% to 310p after good news on the contract front.

The company said that five contracts in the US and Canada worth at least US$300,000 will be started between 29 April and 11 June.

The group said the wins underscore the growth synergies from cross-selling solutions with American Leak Detection - its core subsidiary focused on water leak solutions for residential and business-to-business customers such as insurance companies.

11.35am: Laura Ashley rolls out another profit warning

In another sign of turmoil in the retail sector, Laura Ashley Holdings plc (LON:ALY) has issued a profit warning.

A terse statement from the chintzy fashion firm said the board has reviewed revised forecasts for the year to the end of June and now expects the results to be “significantly below market expectations”.

READ Laura Ashley slumps on profit warning as it swings to first half loss

Those market expectations have already been revised downwards following February's profit warning.

The shares collapsed to 2.25p from 2.8p overnight before recovering to 2.7p.

10.30am: Gulf Marine dips after its CFO designate is forced to cry off

Shares in Gulf Marine Services PLC (LON:GMS) dipped after it revealed it has resumed the hunt for a new chief financial officer (CFO).

The man they had hoped would take the gig, Stuart Jackson, is no longer able to take up the post because of family health reasons.

John Brown, who is currently the company's CFO, will remain in the post until 28 May.

Shares in Gulf Marine were down 6.7% at 12.6p.

9.30am: Two stocks in the syn-byn

Traders were keeping a close eye on the shares of surveillance systems specialist Synectics PLC (LON:SNX) ahead of the company's annual general meeting today.

Synectics' chairman, David Coghlan, was set to warn shareholders that, although the global gaming security and surveillance sector continues to perform strongly, new business in other sectors has been generally quite subdued.

Coghlan said the company had experienced “a pattern of order deferrals and, in some cases, customer-led delays in the progress of existing contracts” in the UK since the beginning of March, which the company suspects might be partly due to uncertainty caused by the Brexit foul-up.

Shares in Synectics were down 17.5% at 162.5p.

Also occupying time in the sin-bin – or syn-byn, if you prefer – was Synnovia PLC (LON:SYN), the company formerly known as Plastics Capital.

The shares fell 10p to 83p after the company, which issued a trading update this morning, notified the market of a non-material overstatement of revenue for the financial year ended 31 March 2018.

The overstatement amounts to £1.62mln, which represents circa 2% of reported revenues.

Proactive news headlines:

Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK), the specialist medical imaging technology company, is expecting to report significant revenue growth in the current financial year.

BigDish PLC (LON:DISH) will launch its restaurant booking app in Basingstoke, Exeter and Brighton in the coming weeks.

Scancell Holdings PLC (LON:SCLP) is to kick off the UK arm of the phase II clinical trial of its flagship skin cancer drug within weeks after receiving approval from regulators.

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) has revealed its latest sales agreement for its new mine in Yorkshire with BayWa AG, a European agribusiness, signing a ten year deal. Through the deal, which is expected to ramp up over the term, BayWa will receive a minimum of 2.5mln tonnes of polyhalite fertiliser per year by year five.

Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) has confirmed phase III trials of its short-course inoculation for grass pollen-induced hay fever will get underway in the second half of next year.

IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) has reiterated its guidance for the full year after forecasting a revenue rise of over 20% for its first half.

Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) has developed and launched a new dandruff test on its animal-free Labskin platform.

Silence Therapeutics, PLC (LON:SLN) has appointed Iain Ross as a non-executive director and its chairman with immediate effect, with the experienced director returning to a role he held from 2005 to 2010.

Live Company Group Plc (LON:LVCG) has announced the upcoming launch of its latest touring asset, BRICKLIVE Ocean, at Edinburgh Zoo.

KR1 PLC (LON:KR1) has netted US$205,851 from the sale of its stake in blockchain-based finance network OmiseGo (OMG), which it described as one of its “most successful investments to date”.

Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF, TSX: APY), the mining royalty company, continues to see meaningful revenue growth in 2019, having notched up another record quarter.

Falcon Oil & Gas PLC (LON:FOG) boasted a strong financial position ahead of new well drilling programme, due to start in June. The company highlighted that it had US$6.9mln of cash and it was debt free. It added that the company has continued to focus on strict cost management, and, efficient operation of the portfolio. General and admin expenses decreased US$1.91mln.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (LON:BMV) has provided an encouraging update on the permitting process for the reopening of the Gubong and Kochang gold mines.

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) said it has accepted today the resignation of François Martelet as its CEO, who will depart on 30 April 2019 in accordance with the terms of his service agreement. The group noted that Martelet has resigned to assist the company in reducing its central costs and to pursue other career opportunities. It added that Ian Postlethwaite, currently Netscientific’s CFO and company secretary will henceforth combine these roles with that of CEO.

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