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Burford Capital regains some lost ground as it lambastes Muddy Waters “attack report”

A look at the notable risers and fallers in London on Thursday

GRIFFIN MINING - Griffin Mining soars as it secures Chinese mining licence

Investment manager Burford Capital Limited (LON:BUR) bounced 18.8% higher to 718.5p in late-afternoon after the AIM-listed firm lambasted what it said was an “attack report” issued on Wednesday by hedge fund Muddy Waters.

In a statement, the firm said the report was “false and misleading” and contained “many factual inaccuracies, simple analytical errors and selective use of information”.

READ: Burford Capital's mojo not working after Muddy Waters short attack

Elsewhere, virtual Reality entertainment group EVR Holdings PLC (LON:EVRH) surged 9.8% to 6.7p after its subsidiary, MelodyVR, signed a music licensing agreement with two independent labels, Beggars Group and Domino Recording.

Artists under the Beggars label include The XX and Radiohead while Domino represents performers including the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.

In the miners, there was some sparkle from Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ), which was lifted 4.2% to 137.5p following “very positive results” from exploration activity at its projects in Azerbaijan.

One of the highlights came from the group’s Gedabek licence, where drilling near the existing open pit mine indicated that the life of the project could be prolonged.

1.20pm: Xeros gushes higher as it agrees to sell US commercial laundry portfolio

Water conservation specialist Xeros Technology Group PLC (LON:XSG) flowed up 13.1% to 9p in lunchtime trading after it agreed to sell most of the customer portfolio for its US commercial laundry business Hydrofinity.

The two deals with Eastern Laundry Systems and Wash IQ will net the firm an initial up-front payment of US$109,000, which would be used to fund ongoing working capital at Hydrofinity.

The move forms part of a strategy for Hydrofinity to reduce its physical presence in the market and instead move to a licensing model whereby its machines are contracted out to firms that then lease them to customers.

Meanwhile, shares in the AA PLC (LON:AA.) motored 6.1% higher to 53.2p after the breakdown services group issued a bullish trading update and forecast that its first half earnings (EBITDA) would be ahead of the prior year.

Simon Breakwell, the firm’s chief executive, added that the group was “confident” of hitting its EBITDA growth targets for the whole year.

However, Coca-Cola HBC AG (LON:CCH) lost some fizz, falling 3.2% to 2,739p, after it reported that poor weather conditions had dampened demand for soft drinks in its first half.

The bottler of The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) said unseasonable wet and cold weather dragged on its performance in the spring an early summer compared to last year when a prolonged heatwave and the FIFA World Cup boosted sales.

Revenue rose 3.4% on a constant-currency basis to €3.35bn in the six months to June 28, below the group’s mid-term goal of 5-6% growth, while revenue per unit edged up 1.2% to €3.07.

The group still expects full-year revenue to rise in line with its guidance range as it sees sales improving in the second half, supported by warmer weather since June.

11.15am: Armadale shines as Tanzanian graphite project delivers “exceptionally high” purity grades

Shares in resource investor Armadale Capital PLC (LON:ACP) bounced 8% higher to 1.4p in late-morning following news of “exceptionally high purity” results from test-work at its Mahenge Liandu graphite project in Tanzania.

The firm said the ongoing metallurgical work had delivered graphite concentrates of up to 97.1% purity which it said confirmed “premium quality, high-value graphite concentrates” at the site, which often fetches a higher price than standard grade graphite (lower than 95% purity).

Another mining sector firm, Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV), jumped 3.9% to 4p after it was awarded mining licences over the Mahab 4 and Maqail South high-grade copper deposits near the Port of Sohar in Oman.

David Archer, chief executive, said the two deposits were examples of “high-grade copper deposits that are characteristic of the Oman Ophiolite Belt” and would be the “vanguard” of new copper mine developments in the country.

In the fallers, FTSE 250 estate agent Savills PLC (LON:SVS) dropped 2.2% to 926.5p as political instability in both the UK and Hong Kong dragged on transaction volumes and caused a 7% drop in first half profits.

The company said profit before tax fell to £24.7mln in the six months to 30 June from £26.7mln a year ago.

However, there was a glimmer of positivity in revenues, which climbed 16% to £847.0mln, driven by growth in North America.

9.45am: Griffin Mining soars as it secures Chinese mining licence

Griffin Mining Limited (LON:GFM) soared 12.9% higher to 87.5p in early trading after the AIM-listed firm secured approval from the Chinese government for its Caijiaying mine.

The company has struggled to secure the licence since it first applied in 2013 as continual changes to Chinese legislation had involved numerous processes by which the firm had to re-draft and restart its application process on several occasions.

Elsewhere, screening specialist ClearStar Inc (LON:CLSU) jumped 10.2% to 59.5p after the firm reported that its Medical Information Services (MIS) business had posted monthly sales in excess of US$1mln for the first time.

MIS revenues were US$1.06mln in July, up 37% on the same period a year ago and are ahead 27% for the year to July 31. They accounted for 47% of total turnover.

In the FTSE 100, Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL.) rose 6.7% to 1,955.5p after the group said its own business flows have “held up well” despite the Woodford Equity Income debacle.

For the year to the end of June, the firm reported that revenues had risen 7% to £480.5mln and profit before tax by 5% to £305.8mln, leading to earnings per share of 52.0p, although this was slightly short of the average analyst forecast of 52.8p.

A notable faller was housebuilder Bellway PLC (LON:BWY), which dipped 2.9% lower to 2,799p after the group issued a trading update predicting lower margins for its most recent full year.

 

Proactive news headlines

Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV) is to be awarded mining licences over the Mahab 4 and Maqail South high-grade copper deposits near the Port of Sohar in Oman.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) told investors that drilling operations have kicked off in the Ortoire block, in Trinidad.

Goldplat plc (LON:GDP) steadied in the second half of year just ended after cost-cutting and the mothballing of the Kilimapesa gold mine.

Block Energy PLC (LON:BLOE) has begun preparations to drill a second well at its promising West Rustavi field in Georgia.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) has resumed a US$10mln share buyback as part of an effort to boost its share price value.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) chief executive has told investors that the strategy to build scale within Appalachia continues to prove successful.

Motor finance and property bridging firm S & U PLC (LON:SUS) said it continues to trade well and in line with expectations despite a tough car market and a subdued housing market.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has signed a deal with Canadian listed explorer GeoDrill Limited (TSX:GEO) for a ‘drilling for equity’ program across its gold and lithium portfolio in Africa.

Screening specialist ClearStar Inc (LON:CLSU) said its Medical Information Services (MIS) business has passed a significant milestone by posting monthly sales in excess of US$1mln for the first time.

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