Thomas Cook slumps again as debt-for-equity swap or emergency rights issue is expected

A look at the day's major movers, including Future, Capital & Regional, Tiger Resource, Metro Bank, eve Sleep, Maistro and Staffline

The precipice looms

Thomas Cook Group PLC (LON:TCG) plunged for the second day in succession, shedding 39% of its value at 11.95p after a broker downgrade.

Even 11.95p is too dear if Citigroup is to be believed; it has cut its price target to 0p – zero pence – after yesterday’s profit warning from the travel firm.

Citi said debt markets are “clearly highlighting” the risk of financial distress. It sees a debt for equity swap or substantial rights issue as probable outcomes, with the latter possibly diluting existing shareholders practically out of existence.

2.00pm: Future is bright as it reaps the benefit of Purch purchase

Future PLC (LON:FUTR) shares jumped 16% higher to 980p in afternoon trading as the specialist media firm boasted of a “step change in scale” following the acquisition of Purch last September.

The group's adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) in the six months to the end of March soared to £23.7mln from £8.8mln the year before while the adjusted EBITDA margin improved to 22% from 16%. Statutory profit before tax rose to £8.9mln from £3.3mln the previous year on revenue that doubled to £108.7mln from £53.6mln.

12.40pm: Capital & Regional avoids Debenhams fall-out

Capital & Regional PLC (LON:CAL) shares were higher as the shopping centre owner said none of the three Debenhams stores in its portfolio were among the 22 the troubled department store chain announced it will close next year.

Debenhams was taken over by lenders last month as it collapsed into administration under the weight of a £720mln debt pile.

The FTSE 250-listed group said while none of the Debenhams stores in its shopping centres are closing, it estimates the struggles at the retailer will shave £700,000 off net rental income in 2019, or £1.3mln on an annualised basis

11.50am: Tiger burning bright

Tiger Resource PLC (LON:TIR), which invests in junior resource companies – so its stake in Anglo American is stretching it a bit – surged 14% higher in late morning trading.

The shares rose 0.025p to 0.2p after the company revealed its net asset value was 0.4p per share at the end of 2018, albeit down from 0.62p a year earlier.

Since the end of the year, Tiger has sold 95,000 Rockrose Energy PLC shares, realising a net gain of £293,854 on the disposal and has also cashed in an additional amount of £142,500 as a result of a capital distribution made by Rockrose shortly after the sale of this investment.

11.00am: Metro Bank pulls its finger out and gets pat on the head from the PRA

Shares in Metro Bank PLC (LON:MTRO) had rallied 18% higher to 635p late morning as, after deliberating for months over its heavily anticipated fundraising, the lender pulled its finger out last night and raised £375mln in less than three hours after kicking off a share placing.

That was £50mln more than the lender had originally sought due to interest from investors.

The challenger bank confirmed on Friday that it closed the fundraising early on Thursday evening after the placing was “significantly oversubscribed”. It had expected to complete the placing by Friday afternoon.

10.15am: eve Sleep CFO formally steps down from the board

Shares in eve Sleep PLC (LON:EVE) roused themselves mid-morning trade, jumping 21% higher to 8.75p as the company announced the departure date of its chief financial officer, Abid Ismail.

The new bean-counter, Tim Parfitt, is not due to start until 17 June and Ismail will hang around until the end of the month to help prepare the way for Parfitt’s arrival but it was confirmed today that Ismail has formally stepped down as a director of the company.

9.15am: Maistro to end its chequered sojourn on Aim; Staffline plummets after profit warning

Maistro PLC (LON:MAIS), which operates an online business-to-business marketplace, saw its shares drop in early morning trading after the firm said it intends to delist from AIM next month. Shareholders will get to vote on the proposal in due course.

The directors said they believe the decision to exit AIM and save a pile of money on listing costs is a wise one. The company added that revenues from the company's largest customer were slower than forecast in the first quarter but a number of large UK corporates are expected to start sourcing services through the Maistro platform in the second and third quarters.

Shares in Maistro plunged 70% to 0.35p.

Shares in Staffline Group PLC (LON:STAF) also plummeted after the accident prone recruitment and training group issued a profit warning.

The company said one of the factors in a disappointing trading performance was the uncertainty created by Brexit, with companies shifting temporary workers over to the permanent payroll; the company earns a substantial crust supplying temporary workers to UK food preparation companies and a large proportion of those workers are from overseas.

The company acknowledged that some of its problems are self-inflicted, with confidence in the company rocked by an investigation into whether some of its clients have underpaid temporary workers by asking them to come in early to work to change into protective clothing before clocking in. Staffline shares were down 46%.

Proactive news headlines:

Alba Mineral Resources plc (LON:ALBA) investors will be pleased to see the latest positive results from the company’s 11.765% owned Horse Hill oil project. In a statement, the project’s largest listed stakeholder UK Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UKOG) – which has a 50.635% majority interest in Horse Hill - provided details from the production testing programme at Horse Hill and told investors that a week-long pressure build up (PBU) test was successful.

Alba also announced that drilling has commenced on its 100% owned Limerick Base Metals Project - under Prospecting Licence (PL3824) - in the Republic of Ireland.

Out of home virtual reality firm Immotion Group PLC (LON:IMM) has won a US$500,000 contract that will see it make three exclusive immersive experiences for Dutch entertainment group, iP2Entertainment.

Pan African Resources plc (LON:PAF) boosted gold production by more than 51% in the nine months to March helped by an 11% rise at the Barberton Mines complex. The South Africa-based gold miner added though that it has decided against re-opening the Royal Sheba mine at Barberton as a stand-alone project.

Film insurance and services group FFI Holdings PLC (LON:FFI) will produce underlying profits this year at the bottom of its indicated range. “Underlying EBIT will be within, but at the lower end of, the range of US$7.5mln to US$11.5mln.”  In the half year to September, FFI posted underlying EBIT of US$6mln.

Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:FOG) is raising up to US$10mln of new capital to support its participation in an anticipated four-well horizontal drilling programme in Australia. New shares are being priced at 14p each and it is expected that the shares will be taken up by institutional investors.

African Battery Metals PLC (LON:ABM) said field operations at its Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo are complete with the samples taken during the process being prepared for analysis. In all 23 staff, including two geologists and five technicians, collected earth from 663 termite mounds that will be assessed using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry technology to determine copper and cobalt levels.

SDX Energy Inc’s (LON:SDX) quarterly results have confirmed strong year-on-year production growth and an improved financial performance. The group also said chief executive Paul Welch is stepping down from his role at the end of May and as part of an ongoing succession plan he will be replaced by Mark Reid, currently SDX's chief financial officer, on an interim basis.

Oriole Resources PLC (LON:ORR) is aiming to expand its footprint in Cameroon this year as it updated on strategy at its AGM.

Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES), the AIM-traded company focusing on the development of its CS Pozzolan-Perlite Project in Nevada, USA, said a new presentation, which is being given by the Chairman, Patrick Cheetham, later today at the inaugural annual symposium of the Natural Pozzolan Association in Wickenburg, Arizona, has been added to its website.

NQ Minerals PLC (NEX:NQMI) (OTCQB:NQMLF), the mineral processing, exploration and mining company, has issued 1,367,521 new ordinary shares at a price equivalent to 6.5p per share for payment settled with shares associated with a three month extension of maturing debt.

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