The holding company of British Airways International Airlines Group (LON:IAG) was in the spotlight today after announcing that it managed to outbid Virgin to acquire airline British Midland Limited (bmi) from Lufthansa for £172.5 million.
The acquisition will increase IAG’s Heathrow slot portfolio by up to 56 additional daily slot pairs.
“Buying bmi's mainline business gives IAG a unique opportunity to grow at Heathrow, one of our key hub airports,” said chief executive of IAG Willie Walsh.
Investors also had a raft of updates from mining companies to digest.
These included an exploration report from Horizonte Minerals’ (LON:HZM) Araguaia nickel project and the Falcao gold project in the Carajas Mineral Province of northern Brazil.
At Araguaia, the company has continued fast-tracking development, expecting to release a revised upgraded resource estimate in January 2012.
In the meantime, initial metallurgical test work to determine the ore characteristics is near completion.
At Falcao, the company has completed 15 hole 3,663 metre diamond drilling programme with positive results from the first seven holes highlighting the presence of several gold target zones within the main anomaly.
Induced polarisation geophysical survey and step out soil geochemical survey are planned for the first quarter of 2012, followed by further diamond drilling in the second quarter.
Sector peer Angel Mining (LON:ANGM) announced that a further 13.77 kilograms (kg), equalling 428 ounces, of gold doré was successfully poured at its Nalunaq mine in Greenland on December 19.
This pour brings the total gold doré poured so far in December to 29.2kg, equalling 938.8 ounces, and the total poured to date, since the first pour on 27 May, to 103.4 kg, or 3,323.8 ounces.
Angel said the latest pour provides further confidence that it will build up its production towards a target of between 1,500 and 2,000 ounces per month, hoping to achieve this in early 2012.
Staying with miners, Baobab Resources (LON:BAO) has appointed Shore Capital Stockbrokers as broker to the company with immediate effect.
“We are very pleased to have appointed Shore Capital as broker and look forward to working with their team closely, who we know well and with whom we have worked before,” said chairman of Baobab Jeremy Dowler.
In oil and gas, San Leon Energy (LON:SLE) said its partner Beach Energy has decided to withdraw from the Durresi block, offshore Albania. As a result, Beach Energy's 25 percent interest will now transfer to San Leon, giving it full ownership of the Durresi block.
Another oil and gas firm, western Newfoundland focused Enegi Oil (LON:ENEG), released its full year report for the period to end June today. The outlook was positive with chairman Alan Minty saying he was excited about Enegi’s prospects in the coming year with the workover results from Garden Hill South “eagerly anticipated.
The company is currently preparing to start work on a new “exciting” lead in Ireland.
Sector peer Gasol (LON:GAS) reported that in the six months to end September, the company has managed to reduce its loss after tax by 11 percent to £1.04 million.
The company also said that it continued with the development of its gas monetisation strategy it announced last year, particularly its project in South East Nigeria.
Although the exclusivity period in the Project Option Agreement with Moni Pulo has expired, the parties remain in talks, aiming to conclude a gas purchase agreement for the gas in the Nigerian offshore licence area OML 114.
“The board looks forward to 2012 with enthusiasm, believing that the West Africa gas monetisation strategy is focussed and will provide good opportunities,” Gasol said in the statement.
“The company will continue to work on nurturing and developing the business, including partnerships that will help to deliver its goal of successful projects.”
Elsewhere in the markets, Norcon (LON:NCON), which provides services to telecoms network operators, said that despite what it called “challenging economic times”, it continues to see high demand for its services from both existing and new clients. As a result, the company expects its results for the full year 2011 to be broadly in line with market expectations.
The final dividend for the year 2011 will be declared upon the publication of the final results, expected in April 2012, added Norcon.
In other news, supplier of bonding materials Scapa Group (LON:SCPA) has acquired WEBTEC Converting LLC based in Knoxville, Tennessee for US$30 million in cash. WEBTEC is a contract manufacturer and full-service converter, printer and packager of adhesive-backed medical devices that are distributed worldwide.
Scapa could pay a further consideration of up to US$15 million depending on the results in 2012 and 2013.
WEBTEC's unaudited revenue for the full year 2010 was US$27 million with an operating profit of US$3.6 million. Revenue for the financial year 2011 is expected to reach US$29 million. The business had operating assets of US$9.3 million at the end of 2010.
Finally, healthcare technology group Avacta Group (LON:AVCT) has placed a little over a billion shares at a price of 0.5 pence per share to raise £5.13 million before expenses. The company will also acquire of Aptuscan Limited for around £1.48 million payable in shares at a price of 0.65 pence.
The funds will also enable the group to accelerate the Avacta Animal Healthcare business through the more rapid expansion of the range of tests for its AX-1 diagnostic units as well as provide development capital for further analytical and diagnostic products.