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LSE news summary: Resolution, HMV, Lamprell, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Sound Oil

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Resolution (LON:RSL) announced the results of its work on the cash and capital position and policies of the Friends Life group. Key elements included a targeted return of cash to shareholders of £500 million and the potential to return further cash resulting from further capital synergies and potential releases under the currently proposed Solvency II regime.

Struggling high street entertainment retailer HMV (LON:HMV) has found some breathing space to deal with its deep woes thanks to a £220 million refinancing package. Announcing details of the rescue financing, the company said the package will replace its existing £240 million bank facility and comprise loans in tranches of £70 million and £90 million plus a £60 million revolving credit facility.

Lamprell (LON:LAM)
reported that the positive trends seen in 2010 have continued into 2011 and the performance in the year to date has been in line with management expectations.

“We continue to see evidence of improvements in our operating markets and our bid activity remains at a historically high level,” said chairman Jonathan Silver.

“We are experiencing renewed activity in the rig refurbishment and upgrade market, representing a strong improvement from the lower levels of expenditure experienced in the second half of 2010.”

After a visit to Kurdistan, broker Evolution Securities picked out two key catalysts for Gulf Keystone (LON:GKP) shares: growing resources and growing oil exports. Evolution published a detailed research note on the firm this morning after seeing the group’s Iraqi oil operation first hand. The broker repeated a ‘buy’ recommendation, which targets 200 pence a share.

Africa-focused miner Goldplat (LON:GDP) announced this morning that an independent report on its recently-acquired Banka mining lease “highlights potential for significant gold mineralisation”. Banka straddles the eastern margin of the Ashanti Gold Belt in southern Ghana. It lies 10km south west of the world’s largest gold producer Newmont’s Akyem deposit, which has around 14 million ounces of gold.

Mariana Resources (LON:MARL)
said this morning it had received conditional approval for its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The AIM-listed gold miner expects to make its debut on or around June 17.

Shares in Iofina (LON:IOF), the natural gas and iodine explorer and producer, stayed steady after it reported a narrowing of full year losses. The company struck a positive note on current trading, saying iodine demand has been strong over the first quarter. Losses for the year to December 2010 totalled £3.3million versus £4.2million last time on revenues of £8.86million, up from £3.38million. The year end cash position stood at £3.74million.

Sound Oil (LON:SOU)
has farmed into the Montemarciano gas permit in Italy’s Ancona province, currently operated by Servizi & Assistenza Ricerche Petrolifere spa (SARP). Sound Oil will pay €215,000 and fund the full cost of the Casa Tiberi-1 exploration well of up to €800,000 to acquire a 75 percent working interest and operatorship of the permit.

EMED Mining (LON:EMED, TSE:EMD)
told investors that it has identified significant underground potential in several areas in and around the Rio Tinto mine in Andalucía. Importantly it believes that one of these areas, San Dionosio, may present a second mine development opportunity.

Xtract Energy (LON:XTR)
has contracted energy and resources consultant Worley Parsons to provide a technical study to show how it might exploit oil shale in the Julia Creek tenements in Queensland, Australia.

Coastal Energy (LON:CEO, CVE:CEN)
announced further success in the Gulf of Thailand today with the results from its Bua Ban North B-04 appraisal well. The well is now being cased and will be suspended until production equipment arrives at the site in June.

Kalahari Minerals (LON:KAH)
confirmed that the Husab project in Namibia is the fourth largest uranium deposit in the world after revealing an increase in its total resource. The AIM-listed company is a major stakeholder in the project through its 42.76 percent stake in Extract Resources (ASX:EXT, TSX:EXT), which has published a significant rise from ongoing drilling.

Clinical decision support systems maker Avia Health Informatics PLC (LON:AVIA) has developed its Odyssey SelfAssess product into an application for smartphones. The products Avia sells under the Odyssey brand promise to revolutionise the way people receive health advice.

New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW)
said this morning it is negotiating a farm-out agreement with the owners of the Blue Creek oil concession in Belize. It follows the formal transfer of a letter of intent to the company from intermediary First Meadows.

Russia focused explorer PetroNeft (LON:PTR) reported today that the Kondrashevskoye No. 2 well has successfully tested oil on its Licence 61, further proving up the field. The company is currently advancing its 2011 exploration programme, which, if successful, could more than double its oil reserves, targeting over 60 million barrels on three prospects on the licence.

Shares in US Oil & Gas (PLUS:USOP) shot up over 10 percent following the appointment of Dr Karim Akrawi as its new exploration manager. The appointment strengthens the groups’ management team and adds some very specific, and valuable expertise.

Anglesey Mining (LON:AYM)
shares gained nearly 8 percent this afternoon as its 33 percent owned associate Labrador Iron Mines (TSE:LIM) signed a life-of-mine agreement with a First Nations group. LIM is currently expanding production from a group of direct shipping iron ore mines in the Schefferville area in western Labrador and north-eastern Quebec.

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