AIM tech stocks Blancco and Locations Sciences boosted by deal news

A look at some of the biggest risers and fallers in London on Wednesday.

data eraser
A data eraser deal lifted Blancco shares

‘Secure data erasure’ specialist Blancco Technology Group (LON:BLTG) shares shot up 16% as it revealed an extension to a key contract for a US-based Fortune 500 software group.

With a three year contract Blancco anticipates it will generate US$1.2mln of revenue, mainly through 2020 and 2021, but, chief executive Matt Jones highlighted that the deal boosts confidence in the strength of the company’s relationships and its ability to deliver long term sustainable growth.

Positive trading in Blancco’s mobile diagnostics business, meanwhile, lead the company to expect 2019 revenues ahead of expectations.

Another strong tech performer is Locations Sciences Group PLC (LON:LSAI), rising more than 12% on Wednesday, as it revealed it will be working with the UK’s largest independent media agency.

Simply put, the company’s Verify product helps advertisers to make sure their campaigns are targeting the people and areas that they are supposed to be.

It comes after the ad agency, the7starsm, used Verify in a recent campaign for Deliveroo in order to analyse the effectiveness of proximity-targeted ads. The run showed that just 20% of campaign impressions were actually delivered to the correct locations – then armed with the data insights the7stars was able to increase accuracy to almost 90%.

AIM-quoted financial services firm Octagonal Plc (LON:OCT) shed 16% after cautioning that its stockbroking and asset custody unit has seen a 41% fall in profits and a 17% decline in sales, and, warned of “further experienced challenging geopolitical uncertainties” which would continue to create volatility and impact market volumes.  

A profit warning also hit Redhall Group plc (LON:RHL) as the Wakefield headquartered manufacturing firm conceded that its steel fabrication business – Jordan Manufacturing – has suffered delays in projects tied to a major nuclear infrastructure programme as a result of design changes.

Consequently Redhall now expects its full year trading performance, for the twelve months to 30 September 2019, to be materially below its previous expectations. Even then, it noted that the downgraded expectations for the unit are uncertain as they rely on other contract wins which have yet to materialise.

10:40am: Just Eat and Persimmon start May in the doghouse

Just Eat plc (LON:JE. shares fell 12.8p or 1.83%, to 686.2p, as the takeaway ordering app firm continues to struggle with investor sentiment following the departure of its chief executive earlier this year.

Housebuilders were also on the back foot, with Persimmon plc (LON:PSN) losing more than 1.11% to trade at 2,211.15p.

Persimmon was cautious in this morning’s market update, released ahead of today’s AGM, flagging rising costs.

Sector peers saw mixed trading with Redrow plc (LON:RDW) and Bellway plc (LON:BWY) both receding, down 0.97% to 0.64%, meanwhile, Barratt Developments Plc (LON:BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey plc (LON:TW. were in positive ground, rising 0.66% and 0.36%.

9:30am: Sirius Minerals shares back in the dumps as equity pricing disappoints

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) looks set for back-to-back days in the red as its shares opened down some 16% in Wednesday’s early deals after the latest funding details provided fresh disappointment for retail investors.

The UK mine developer this morning revealed that it had priced its large share placing at the bottom end of the anticipated range (yesterday pitched at 15-18p), despite evident high demand. It simultaneously priced the placing at 15p and also increased the funding, raising an extra US$25mln, as the share sale was oversubscribed.

After more than an hour of dealing Sirius shares were down 1.21p or nearly 7% to 16.21p.

Small cap, Africa focussed firm Tlou Energy PLC (LON:TLOU) shares advanced more than 10% to 7.60p as it revealed that Botswana's Department of Environmental Affairs has approved the company’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for its planned coal bed methane project.

The approval was described as a “major achievement” as it represents the final environmental authorisation needed to advance the Lesedi project through to commercialisation. The approval remains valid for 30 years.

Elsewhere, supermarkets group J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) saw its shares add 4.8% to 233.10p after its full-year results revealed plans to accelerate investment in its stores and technology.

Sainsbury reported a second straight quarter of underlying sales decline although full-year profit beat forecasts.

Reporting results for the year-ended 9 March 2019, the FTSE 100-listed firm said its underlying pre-tax profit rose by 7.8% to £635mln helped by synergies from the Argos general merchandise business it purchased in 2016.

Other Proactive news headlines:

Motif Bio PLC (LON:MTFB) has partnered up with Scottish biotech Lamellar Biomedical to develop a treatment for lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) has classified its Blue Moon prospect in Victoria, Australia as a gold discovery after the final assays from latest drilling indicated more good grades. Craig Brown, chief executive, said the drilling results show that gold mineralisation intensifies further west and have given ECR a clear action plan to follow the system.

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON: BMN) has doubled its vanadium processing capacity in South Africa with the acquisition of Vanchem for US$68mln. Fortune Mojapelo, chief executive, said the deal cements Bushveld’s position as a leading global vanadium producer.

Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) told investors that talks are continuing over the gas sales agreement for the Tendrara project, and, an offer has now been received from the Moroccan government. The non-binding offer envisages Tendrara’s gas being purchased by the Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE), Morocco’s state power firm.

Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK) has received increased orders for an ongoing contract that has added US$2.7mln to its value.

Respiratory specialist Circassia Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:CIR) said it made a strong start to 2019 with revenues up 38% year on year. Annual results, meanwhile, charted a period of consolidation and operational progress.

Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG) has expanded its geographic coverage with the acquisition of French aviation security and support services company, Euro Ops International SRL for an expected maximum cost of £30,000.

Locations Sciences Group PLC (LON:LSAI) is now working with the UK’s largest independent media agency to verify the accuracy and quality of its location-based advertising campaigns. the7stars, which runs campaigns for huge global brands such as Pap Johns and Nintendo, has already enjoyed “excellent results” from using Verify – Location Sciences’ location verification product. Big Pic in April.

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) shares bounced higher on Wednesday after it delivered a “record year” on the back of increased iodine production at its IOsorb plants in Oklahoma. The iodine and chemicals manufacturer reported record earnings (EBITDA) for the year ended 31 December 2018 of US$2.6mln, 89% higher than the prior year, while revenues climbed 15% to US$24mln.

Bould Opportunities PLC (LON:BOU) has launched a discounted share placing to raise £660,000 to help it evaluate potential opportunities for a reverse takeover.

OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) said it is launching its weight management product SlimBiome Medical on May 7. Its commercial debut will be made at a conference called Vitafoods Europe 2019, being held in Geneva.

Malawi-focused Mkango Resources Ltd (LON:MKA) closed 2018 with cash of US$2.4mln, a figure boosted by its collaboration with Noble Group division Talaxis. Since then, the junior has received a further US$9mln from Talaxis following completion of a technical report on the Songwe Hill rare earth project. Big Pic in October.

Richland Resources Ltd (LON:RLD) shares were lifted on Wednesday after it extended its £400,000 and US$150,000 secured convertible loan facility to 31 May 2019.

Pembridge Resources PLC (LON:PERE) said it expects it will soon update investors on its talks to renegotiate the February 2018 agreement to buy the Minto project from the Capstone Mining Corporation. The project was put on ‘care-and-maintenance’ back in October and shortly thereafter the company began discussions with Capstone.

Base Resources Limited (LON:BSE) is to press ahead with a feasibility study for the North Dune deposit to see if it stacks up as an extension to the Kwale mineral sands mine. North Dune contains an estimated 171 million tonnes of heavy minerals (HM) at an average grade of 1.5% or 2.6Mt using a 1% cut-off grade. Big Pic in March.

KRM22 PLC’s (LON:KRM) chief executive and chairman Keith Todd has subscribed for 235,295 new shares in the company at a price of 85p each, totalling £200,000.

MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) has been showing off its CARMA cell therapy platform at an industry conference in Washington DC.

Rockfire Resources PLC (LON:ROCK), the gold and base metal-focused resource company, has announced the appointment of Nicholas Walley as a non-executive director with immediate effect. It noted that Walley has a business background spanning multiple industries including agriculture, property, construction, plant hire, food and beverage packaging, leisure and charitable work, and importantly has critical skills in logistics, infrastructure, organisational management and sales.

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