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African Battery Metals back on track after 'turbulent' first half

Reporting interim results for the six months period ended 31 March 2019, ABM said its assets at the period end were £3mln, up from £2mln as at the end of September 2018.
african battery
ABM plans to release an update of its strategic review later this month

African Battery Metals Plc (LON:ABM) said the first half was a “turbulent time” for the company but it is back on track after completing a restructuring and refinancing.

The exploration company’s shares were temporarily suspended in December, pending the clarification of its financial position after it was unable to secure equity finance from its shareholders on any terms. But in February, ABM shareholders approved a resolution to raise £1mln via a placing of 200mln shares. 

READ: African Battery Metals shares resume trading on AIM after shareholders approved refinancing Friday

The refinancing allowed the group to pay all of its material creditors and to become essentially debt free with a “robust” cash position for at least 12 months of operation.

Reporting interim results for the six months period ended 31 March 2019, ABM said its assets at the period end were £3mln, up from £2mln as at the end of September 2018. The loss for the period, attributable to owners of the parent company, was £0.32mln, against £0.79mln in 2018, resulting in a loss per share of 0.17p versus a 1.05p loss.

Board restructuring 

At the same time, the group carried out a restructuring of its board. Chief executive, Roger Murphy, and executive director, Matt Wood, stepped down while Andrew Bell was appointed executive chairman and Paul Johnson joined as executive director.

ABM then kicked off a review of the business, which included an assessment of each project.

In March, the group said it would be continuing with the existing Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company has been undertaking field operations including sample testing (across 663 samples) and preliminary analysis has identified a 7 kilometres zone anomalous for copper.

In April, the company said it would be continuing with its Cameroon cobalt-nickel project interests in ground near to the substantial Nkamouna deposit.

A month later, ABM announced that it would exercise an option with Katoro Gold PLC (LON:KAT) to buy a 25% interest in its Haneti Nickel project in Tanzania.

Around the same time, ABM bought about 18% of Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Limited, a private company in Botswana, and has an option to earn-in to a 40% direct project interest by supporting the costs of a four-hole drilling programme, ground geophysical surveys and related exploration.

In the Ivory Coast, the firm is reviewing additional opportunities with “potentially exciting natural resource projects”, it said.

'Extremely well positioned'

“Despite the challenges in late 2018, ABM is now, in the opinion of the board, extremely well positioned for what we expect will be a strong natural resource sector recovery, particularly in respect of battery and electrification metals and storage metals,” executive director Paul Johnson said.

“Notwithstanding the cleaning up of the outstanding creditors following the refinancing in February 2019, relaunching exploration programmes across two of our main projects, and acquiring new business interests we remain in a robust financial position. “

He said ABM plans to release an update of its ongoing strategic and operational review later this month.

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