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Tech minnows Blackbird and Cloudbuy flap skyward

A run-down of the biggest market risers and fallers on Wednesday, including Bahamas Petroleum, Regal Petroleum, Gulf Marine Services and Nostrum Oil & Gas

Cloudbuy has been seeing growing interest from NHS England
Cloudbuy has been seeing growing interest from NHS England

Shares in Blackbird PLC (LON:BIRD) flapped 9% higher to 8.43p on Wednesday afternoon after the cloud video platform operator said it would be presenting alongside Google at an upcoming media trade fair.

The AIM-listed company, which formerly known as Forbidden Technologies, trumpeted the news that it will be appearing at the Google Cloud Partner Pavilion at the IBC 2019 conference in October.

“Google Cloud and Blackbird working closely together on solutions for the sports, news and entertainment industries delivers enormous productivity gains for companies,” said Blackbird boss Ian McDonough.

Another cloud-related player was on the up, with Cloudbuy PLC (LON:CBUY) saying it expects operating losses and cash outflows will continue to reduce during the remainder of 2019.

This comes as it sees a "demonstrable" increase in interest from clinical commissioning groups in its PHBChoices online healthcare marketplace, driven by a requirement for personalisation in care in the NHS as part of a long term-plan published in January.

A loss before tax of £1.0mln for the six months ended 30 June was down slightly on the £1.3mln from a year ago as revenue climbed 11% to £0.5mln.

Rising even higher was construction group Costain (LON:COST), which jumped 12% to 162.6p despite first-half profits crumbling 58%.

Costain was forced to pay out almost £10mln to fix the roof on a building it helped to construct over a decade ago and the carnage wasn’t quite as bad as the market had been anticipating,

Management remains confident in meeting the revised operating profit target of between £38mln-£42mln for the full year, with the group continuing to secure “significant” new work during the half.

11.40am: Gulf Marine reveals gulf in profit guidance

Gulf Marine Services PLC (LON:GMS) has revealed a deep gulf between its previous guidance and its new full-year expectations, which has led boss Duncan Anderson to jump ship.

The company, which provides support vessels to the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors, said a review by its new chief financial officer had established that underlying earnings (EBITDA) for 2019 will now be around 17%-22% lower than last year at US$45mln-$48mln.

GMS chief executive Duncan Anderson, who had said as recently as May that EBITDA was expected to be flat this year, has resigned from his role with immediate effect, with chairman Tim Summers taking over as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.

The profit warning is on the back of new CFO Stephen Kersley’s first “prudent, revised assessment” of existing contracts and new business prospects for GMS’s fleet, which the company proposes will be how it assesses its business going forward. 

Other big fallers on Wednesday included Nostrum Oil & Gas PLC (LON:NOG) as it tanked 17% to 29.1p after Berenberg double-downgraded the shares to ‘sell’ from ‘buy’.

Hopes for a turnaround on the back of drilling at the Chinarevskoye field in Kazakhstan have been dashed after one of the two wells failed to flow at commercial levels.

“In the absence of further upside from the core producing area of the Chinarevskoye field, all hope was on the northern area,” analysts at the German bank said, but the northern area disappointed as well.

With “significant” risk from a refinancing process made more challenging by the lack of operational turnaround so far, Berenberg absolutely smashed its target price down to 25p from 200p.

While shares in Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited were also lower, they were dipping to the 0.1p level at which the company will issue new shares as part of a £500,000 fundraising.

The new funds will help bridge the financial gap until the company can conclude its project financing plans.

In May, COPL said it had conditionally agreed a package worth up US$50mln that would help it and its local partner to bring three to four wells offshore Nigeria into production by the end of next year at rates of 6-10,000 barrels of crude per day.

9.35am: Bahamas impresses with big names

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) jetted to the top of the leaderboard in early trading on Wednesday, up 50% to 2.4p, as it trumpeted its “rapid progress” towards first drilling next year.

The cost of the initial exploration well has been cut to US$25mln-US$30mln, the AIM-listed explorer said, and it will cover around half this cost with a US$12.5mln convertible loan investment agreed with Bizzell Capital Partners.

Some big names have been hired to work the well, which is pencilled in for the first half of next year, with Halliburton providing well services on a Seadrill drilling rig, and BakerHughes providing other equipment.

Chief executive Simon Potter said there had also been “considerable progress on financial arrangements to fund the drilling, whether that be via a farm-in on acceptable terms, or by other means”.

Ukraine-focused Regal Petroleum PLC (LON:RPT) was also on the front foot as it updated on the reserves and contingent and prospective resources at its 100%-owned Vasyschevskoye gas licence.

Proved gas and condensate resources totalled 1.895mln barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), calculated independent consultants DeGolyer & MacNaughton, with a proved, probable and possible resource of 3.89mmboe.

Regal shares flared up 17% to 36.9p in early trade before settling slightly lower.

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