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Oracle Power skyrockets over coal power plant negotiations

A look at today's movers, also including PZ Cussons, Pantheon Resources, Dixons Carphone, Titon Holdings, Superdry, Altitude, G3 Exploration, Columbus Energy, John Laing Group, Costain, Versarien, PetroNeft, Titon, Superdry and Billington Holdings

Petroneft Resources - PetroNeft surges after selling shares at 58% premium

Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP) skyrocketed 139% to 1.1p after confirming media speculations regarding negotiations for the development of a combined lignite coal mine and mine mouth power plant.

The project, located in Block VI of the Thar desert in the south-east of the Sindh Province of Pakistan, is being discussed with a shareholder in the company and Beijing-based firm China Coal Energy.

Oracle added there is no guarantee an agreement will be reached.

3pm: PZ Cussons dips over profit warning, boss departure

PZ Cussons PLC (LON:PZC) shed 1% to 191.97p after a mild profit warning and the announcement of chief executive Alex Kanellis’s retirement on 31 January after 13 years in his post and 26 years at the company.

The FTSE 250-listed company said full-year like-for-like revenue and adjusted profit before tax is likely to be “modestly below” last year due to “challenging” market conditions.

The shower gel maker continues restructuring its portfolio and has agreed the sale of Greek and Polish businesses, helping with debt reduction.

1.45pm: Pantheon Resources rises as exploration footprint expands 

Pantheon Resources PLC (LON:PANR) was up 7% to 15.8p after announcing new acreage in Alaska’s North Slope, staking more exploration ground in the state’s lease sale.

The AIM-quoted oiler described it as “strategically positioned” covering two areas contiguous or adjacent to its existing assets.

It noted that it had a competitive advantage going into the bidding process as it owns proprietary 3D seismic which covers the leases and was not available to any third parties.

Dixons Carphone PLC (LON:DC.) rose 6% to 140.45p as the retailer said it would cut more net debt than expected this year.

This will be achieved by delaying some spending on IT systems and copes with the foreseen “significant” loss in the UK & Ireland mobile division.

The electrical and telecommunications retailer and services company said the market has been challenging and plans are to break even by 2022, with £90mln losses in 2021.

12.30pm: Titon blown over by Korea weakness

Titon Holdings plc (LON:TON) was down 10% to 121.6p as the ventilation systems manufacturer reported lower profits and said its key South Korean market is expected to bring lower sales next year.

Full-year sales fell 9% to £27.2mln and pre-tax profits by 29% to £1.9mln. A poor performance in South Korea was partially offset by a 1% increase in UK and Europe.

Troubled fashion brand Superdry PLC (LON:SDRY) shed 4% to 480.77p after expressing caution about facing the “highly promotional and competitive” high street over the peak festive trading season.

This was despite making an “encouraging early start” with its strongest online Black Friday ever, as macroeconomic uncertainty continues.

Revenues slid 11% lower at £369.1mln in the six months to 26 October, reflecting the planned move to stop selling its clothes at discounts and reducing its reliance on promotional sales activity, and sank to a loss before of £4.2mln compared to £26.4mln profit this time last year.

11.35am: Altitude higher as it keeps racking up sales

Altitude Group PLC (LON:ALT) flew 10% higher to 55p after the technology and information services firm said revenue from the US in the past nine months grew nine-fold compared to the same period.

Annual results for the 15 months to 31 March 2020 are set to be in line with market expectations, the company said.

“Momentum has continued through the third quarter and I am confident that we will meet expectations for the year and that we have the strategy and model to drive growth through 2020 and beyond,” chief executive Nichole Stella said in a release.

Rising even higher though was G3 Exploration Ltd (LON:G3E), which rocketed 64% to 28.96p as a court in Grand Cayman granted it leeway to sort out its problems.

The court has appointed Alvarez & Marsal as joint provisional liquidators (JPL) but they will work with the existing management to devise a restructuring plan for the China-focused gas group.

The court accepted G3E’s argument that it was in the best interests of debtholders and shareholders that the JPL be appointed to facilitate a restructuring.

Columbus Energy Resources PLC (LON:CERP) enjoyed a 12% increase to 3.18p as it updated on the progress of the Saffron well in Trinidad.

Operations are continuing as planned, the oiler said, as the drilling progresses towards the total depth target.

Once achieved, the company will carry out production testing to identify the key result of the programme.

10.30am: John Laing Group investments hit by pound and power prices

John Laing Group PLC (LON:JLG) shares dropped 17% to 326.3p after warning its full-year net asset value will be “marginally” below market expectations.

The portfolio value will be hit by a further £50mln due to the stronger pound between July and November, the infrastructure company said in a trading update.

Moreover, a decline in power price forecasts and macroeconomic changes will hit accounts by £40mln and £7mln respectively.

Elsewhere in the infrastructure sector things were not going well for Costain Group PLC (LON:COST), which fell 16% to 161.17p.

The firm said that a decision made in arbitration regarding its government contract to build the A465 road had split responsibility for design information, partially reversing a previous decision that had been more favourable to the group.

The ruling will result in a £20mln hit to Costain’s full-year earnings as well as £40mln cut to its expected year-end cash balance.

Versarien PLC (LON:VRS) shed 2% to 81p after posting lower revenues and wider losses in the six months to 30 September.

Sales came in at £4.38mln, a 16% decline compared to the same period last year, while loss before tax stretched 63% to £2.12mln.

The company said the losses were due to the costs of integrating previous acquisitions and to expand in China and the US.

9.30am: PetroNeft surges after selling shares at 58% premium

PetroNeft Resources PLC (LON:PTR) surged 28% higher to 1.22p in early trade on Thursday after raising US$2.1mln by selling shares at a 58% premium.

The oiler sold 107mln new shares for 1.5p each, with directors supporting 44% of the placing.

The proceeds will be used in the firm's 2020 capital investment programme aimed at reducing operational costs, increasing production, cash flow and reserves to boost asset value.

More modestly, Billington Holdings Plc (LON:BILN) rose 6% to 340p after releasing a full-year update flagging up that revenue and profits will exceed expectations.

The engineering company said the outperformance is due to “a number of large projects” completed in the year and added that it is “well placed” to move forward.

Market consensus currently places Billington's revenue at £78mln and profits at £5.2mln.

Proactive news headlines:

Bacanora Lithium PLC (LON:BCN) has described 2019 as a critical year that has seen a number of significant developments which have added value for shareholders. In a statement, ahead of today’s AGM, the company noted that it had secured one of the world's biggest lithium producers - Ganfeng Lithium - as a cornerstone investor - with a 29.9% shareholding. Ganfeng also took a 22% direct stake in the company's flagship Sonora mine development project in Mexico.

Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK), a worldwide supplier of detection technology focusing on the medical, security and civil nuclear markets, announced that its three senior executives on Wednesday purchased a number of ordinary shares in the company. It noted that Sir Peter Williams, its chairman,  acquired 50,000 shares at a price of 22.50p each, taking his holding to 200,000 shares on 0.06% of the company; chief executive officer, Dr Arnab Basu acquired 20,000 shares at 17.95p each taking his holding to 2,972,000 or 0.86%; and Derek Bulmer, chief financial officer, purchased 20,000 ordinary shares at 17.94p each giving him a holding of 132,292 shares or 0.04%.

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) has increased its shareholding in a business called Pharm 2 Farm (P2F) to just under 52% from 33.33%. The additional £200,000 it has ploughed in will allow P2F to open a new manufacturing facility in Nottingham and to expand its sales team.

Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV) is to acquire Lovelles, a privately-owned franchised estate agency network with 19 branches in the Lincolnshire and Humber region. In an update accompanying the acquisition news, the lettings agent said that trading in the second half of the financial year to date continues to be strong and it should comfortably achieve market expectations for the full year.

Tekcapital PLC (LON:TEK) has hailed an agreement made between its portfolio company Salarius Ltd, and a food ingredient broker, to market Microsalt in US. In an update on Thursday, the intellectual property investor, which owns a 97.5% stake in Salarius, said that Accurate Ingredients was brought on board to help sell Microsalt, Salarius' product which contains 50% less sodium than regular salt. Tekcapital noted that over 20 new potential customers are in the process of testing and evaluating the use of Microsalt on their products.

Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) told investors that the drill programme for the Campo La Mata exploration well (CLMx-1), at the Tapi Aike project, has completed. In a statement, Echo said the well was drilled down to 2,513 metres and wireline logging has taken place. Drilling data and initial analysis has encouraged the exploration partners to take the next steps to move the well through completion and testing.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) told investors it has seen its ‘most significant drill intersection to date’ from the Ewoyaa lithium project, in Ghana, as it received the third and final batch of assay results from recent drilling. Broad and high-grade results were returned from the programme, the company said.

Avation PLC (LON:AVAP) has leased one of the ATR 72-600 aircraft in its order book to Swedish regional airline Braathens. The plane will be the fifth that Avation has leased to Braathens, the first of which is due to be delivered this month. Avation also announced that its credit rating had been upgraded to ‘positive’ from ‘BB’ by the Japan Credit Rating Agency.

Ncondezi Energy Limited (LON:NCCL) has selected a preferred financial advisor to prepare the project financial model and finalise tariff submission for its integrated 300MW coal-fired power project and coal mine in Tete, Mozambique. In a statement, the AIM-listed company said it has appointed  Synergy Consulting to move the project forward and drive the negotiation process with Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM). It has also appointed KPMG Auditores e Consultores S.A. to provide tax services related to the project financial model.

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) has trumpeted positive total returns in its first half despite “a struggling retail sector and continued UK political uncertainty”. David Hunter, chairman of the investment trust, added that going forward while retail was struggling, there remained “supply and demand imbalances that should continue relatively low vacancy rates and further rental growth” across the rest of the commercial property market.

Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) has issued a definitive feasibility study for its Toliara Project in south-west Madagascar that it says further burnishes the credentials of the world-class mineral sands discovery. A key development milestone, the DFS has set out formally the economic potential of mining ilmenite, together with zircon and rutile, from the deposit and was essentially consistent with an earlier preliminary assessment of the area.

Premier African Minerals Limited (LON:PREM) has raised just over £262,000 from a crowdfunding round. Shares were sold at 0.1p, with the money earmarked for its Zimbabwe tungsten and lithium operations. George Roach, the group's chief executive added that delays to electrification work at the RHA tungsten mine due to currency issues holding up parts means the re-start will be in 2020.

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has told investors it is taking steps to cut costs amid missing payments from the Congolese authorities and as such it warned it will not be able to drill the proposed TLP-103C-ST well. Some US$5.3mln is due for work at the Tilapia field in the Republic of the Congo, and the AIM-quoted company is now assessing its funding options.

Yellow Cake PLC (LON:YCA) has seen the value of its uranium holdings increase by US$29.3mln in its latest half-year. The value of the firm’s uranium holdings rose to US$246.7mln in the six months to 30 September, attributed to a US$30.4mln uranium purchase being slightly offset by a US$1.1mln loss in the period.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) said in has been informed by the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Natural Resources that payments relating to invoices for August and September oil production, due in November and December, will be received in January 2020.

Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd. (LON:FOG) (CVE:FO) said at its Annual General & Special Shareholders meeting, held in Dublin, Ireland on Wednesday, all resolutions considered and voted upon by the shareholders were approved.

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