Volution dips as it brings forward chairman changeover

A look at some of the day's major movers on Monday, 20 January

Distil -

Traders were not big fans of news from Volution Group PLC (LON:FAN) that chairman Peter Hill would be stepping down earlier than previously indicated.

Shares in the ventilation products outfit fell 4.1% to 236p after it revealed that Hill would be stepping down on 1 February to concentrate on his chairman-designate role at Petra Diamonds.

The new departure date means Paul Hollingworth will now take over at the start of the second half of Volution’s financial year.

12.45pm: Glamour stock no longer at fever pitch

Fallen glamour stock Fevertree Drinks PLC (LON:FEVR) lost more of its allure, slumping 25% to 1,500.5p after a profit warning.

The carbonated mixer drinks maker said results for 2019 will be lower than expectations due to softer trading across its markets with the UK especially weak.

Full-year sales rose 9.7% to £260.5mln (£237.4mln) compared to an earlier forecast of 12-13% growth.

11.30am: Lamprell's shares jacked up after confirmation of contract award

Shares in Lamprell PLC (LON:LAM) were 3p higher to 37.1p after the oil rig supplier confirmed the award of a previously announced contract.

The contract is for the fabrication and delivery of two jack-up drilling units, to be built collaboratively by IMI and Lamprell.

Lamprell's share of the project value amounting is around US$350mln.

10.30am: Not all OK at Coral

Shares in injection-moulded plastic products maker Coral Products PLC (LON:CRU) were being recycled after reports of softer demand lopped 6.2% off the share price.

“There was a softening of demand during November and December 2019, possibly related to General Election uncertainties,” reported the company’s chairman, Joe Grimmond.

On the plus side, the current month has seen a renewed strengthening of demand.

9.30am: Distil dispels fears of Monday morning hangover; Aptitude flags after signalling delays

Spirits maker Distil PLC (LON:DIS) dispelled fears of another woozy trading update this morning, sending the shares 11% higher to 0.775p in early trading on Monday.

On a day when Fevertree, the once-trendy mixer drinks maker, suffered a Monday-morning hangover after a profit warning, Distil had traders raising a glass to the news that the crucial Christmas trading period was a blast, with revenues in the final three months of 2019 up 7% year-on-year.

“The outlook for the final quarter to 31 March 2020 remains positive with full-year profit out-turn expected to be ahead of last year and broadly in line with market expectations," said Don Goulding, the executive chairman of Distil.

Elsewhere, financial management software specialist Aptitude Software Group PLC (LON:APTD) tumbled 92p to 546p after it warned contract delays have hit annual recurring revenue.

Expected orders for the Aptitude Insurance Calculation Engine, which allows an insurer to perform the calculations and detailed accounting movements required to be compliant with the new insurance accounting standard IFRS 17, have been hit by expectations that the introduction of IFRS 17 would be delayed by 12 months.

“These delays have had minimal impact on 2019 recognised revenue but have suppressed annual recurring revenue … growth as at 31 December 2019 from what would otherwise have been achieved,” the software firm said.

Proactive news headlines:

Anglo American plc (LON:AAL) today confirmed it has now made a formal offer to acquire Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX), priced at 5.5p per share, and, the offer has been recommended by the Sirius board. In a stock market statement, the multinational mining major said that the proposed transaction values Sirius at £404.9mln.

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has given consent to the sale of shares held by Riverfort and YA in transactions worth £420,205. The transactions will result in the company receiving £361,376 from the pair of investment groups. AAOG told investors that the proceeds will be applied to its creditors, and, alongside separate £250,000 proceeds received from Zenith Energy the company now expects it will have sufficient working capital for the next six months “absent of any unforeseen legitimate claims”.

MaxCyte Inc’s (LON:MXCT) chief executive Doug Doerfler said the life sciences group’s outlook for the current year and beyond was “exceptionally positive” after its full-year revenues exceeded market expectations. The company is at the cutting edge of cell-therapy and immuno-oncology, with commercial deals worth more than US$650mln in milestone payments.

Rockfire Resources PLC (LON: ROCK) has started a new round of drilling at the Plateau gold project in Queensland. The aim is to expand on gold mineralisation encountered recently in earlier drilling, in particular at hole BPL025, where an intercept of 177 metres grading 0.5 grams per tonne gold was returned.

IQ-AI Limited (LON:IQAI) said Korea’s regulator has cleared the company’s StoneChecker Software for sale in the country. The sign-off by the KFDA means the local distributor’s marketing plans can now be “fully implemented”.

88 Energy PLC (LON:88E) says it is on schedule to spud the Charlie-1 well with contracting and logistical work proceeding as planned. Approval to drill has been submitted and is expected this month, with drilling scheduled to start in February and flow testing to conclude in April. Charlie-1 will intersect seven stacked prospects, four of which are considered appraisal targets.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) told investors that the first stage of testing at the Cascadura-1ST1 well, at the Ortoire exploration project in Trinidad, has been suspended so the company can source alternative equipment capable of handling higher volumes of both natural gas and liquids. The company, in a statement, said that significant pressures and natural gas volumes were encountered upon commencement of ‘clean up’ flows.

Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) has reported a ten-fold increase in revenues for 2019 as it concluded its first full year of operations. The cryptocurrency mining firm said in a trading update that it expects revenues for the year ended 31 December to be £.8.5mln, up from £760,000 in 2018.

Scancell Holdings PLC (LON:SCLP) shares surged on Monday as it signed the third collaboration agreement for its AvidiMab technology with a US antibody company. The AIM-listed firm said the research deal will see both groups assess monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting tumour-associated glycans (TaGs), including those that have been enhanced by the AvidiMab platform.

Hydrogen power generation technology company AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC), has raised £1m by issuing shares to a single shareholder. The shareholder subscribed for 5.88mln shares at 17p a pop. AFC Energy shares closed at 21.8p on Friday. The funds raised have been earmarked to pay part of the cost of the manufacture of AFC Energy’s largest electrical vehicle charger unit with a nameplate capacity of 160 kilowatts (kW), which will support demonstration and commercial activity this year.

Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) told investors that drilling and wireline logging is now complete for the Campo Limite exploration well (CLix-1001), and, amid encouraging results the explorer and its partners will now move the well into testing. The company, in a statement, revealed the CLix-1001 encountered the targeted Springhill formation, at a depth of 2,124 metres, and, wireline logging has highlighted a zone of interest which coincides with elevated gas shows.

Revenues generated by the royalty portfolio held by Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF) (TSE:APY) hit £57.6mln in 2019, a 20% increase on the revenue generated in 2018, and another record. Five years earlier the portfolio generated just £3.4mln. Significant volume increases at the Kestrel coal mine in Australia were central to the performance.

Tekcapital PLC’s (LON:TEK) portfolio firm, Lucyd, is to launch the third edition of its Loud range of Bluetooth-enabled glasses on 27 January. The prescription compatible eyewear allows wearers to make calls and listen to music through their glasses as well as use smartphone functions such as voice assistants, ride-hailing and money transfers.

The Vaccine Group, one of the companies backed by Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP), has raised £680,000 in its first equity funding round. The intellectual property commercialisation company said the fundraising values the University of Plymouth spin-off at £9.5mln, thus giving an assumed value of £1.6mln to Frontier’s 17% stake.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) said it expects to extract £3.1mln of “operational synergies” this year from the merger with hVIVO PLC (LON:HVO), as shares began trading again after the deal was completed. The company has proposed a £5mln fundraising, of which up to half is being underwritten by executive chairman Cathal Friel, designed to provide the stronger balance sheet to help hVIVO to convert its pipeline of proposals.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA), the graphene nanoplatelets-based products developer, has signed a research & development (R&D) agreement with Comerio Ercole, the Italian rubber products specialist. The two companies will pursue joint research and development projects using Directa Plus’s G+ technology to develop products in the rubber and tyres, plastic and non-woven materials industries.

ADES International Holding PLC (LON:ADES), a leading oil & gas drilling and production services provider in the Middle East and North Africa, announced that it has extended the contract for ADMARINE 261 in Saudi Arabia. The group said the performance of the high-efficiency jack-up rig ADMARINE 261 has resulted in a contract extension of one-year tenor, which will be effective upon the expiry of the current contract in February 2020, with the same daily rates.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO), a company focused on providing specialised services to the pharmaceutical industry, confirmed that, as announced on 2 December 2019, Lewis Cameron today commenced his role as the group’s chief operating officer and his appointment to the board has been effected.

Three of the directors of W Resources PLC (AIM:WRES) have converted short-term loans provided to the company in November into shares. The conversion price was 0.307p per share, the volume-weighted average for the week ended 10 January 2020.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (LON:CGH) has issued just over 1.3mln  new ordinary shares of US$0.01 each in settlement of loan agreement fees and following the exercise of warrants. The loan agreement was with Labro, a company in which Martin Andersson, the executive chairman of Chaarat, is directly beneficially interested. Following the issue Labro holds 165 mln shares in Chaarat, representing 35.15% of the company.

Eden Research plc (LON:EDEN), the AIM-listed company that develops and supplies breakthrough biopesticide products and natural microencapsulation technologies to the global crop protection, animal health and consumer products industries, today announced the appointment of Hawthorn Advisors as its financial and corporate public relations adviser with immediate effect.

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