Proactive news snapshot: i3 Energy, Bidstack Group, Faron Pharma, Integumen …

A glance at some of the day's highlights from the Proactive Investors newswire

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Your daily round-up from the world of Proactive

i3 Energy PLC (LON:i3E) shares jumped on Monday as it announced a new strategic acquisition, picking up producing assets in Canada at a discount, amid industry uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and following the collapse in crude oil prices. In a statement, the company said it has secured terms to acquire Toronto listed Toscana Energy Income Corporation which owns assets in Alberta and Saskatchewan, within the ‘Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin’ (WCSB).

Bidstack Group PLC (LON:BIDS) has said its in-game advertising technology is seeing “high levels of inbound demand” from ad agencies as the coronavirus pandemic leads to record numbers of video gamers. The AIM-listed said that it had also received “some exciting and unexpected commercial opportunities” as a result of the surge, highlighting that spending on video games in the US had soared 60% year-on-year in the week of 16 March.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) (NASDAQFIRSTNORTH:FARON) has been given the green light to broaden the scope of its phase I/II cancer trial after a review of the interim data. The MATINS study of the immunotherapy Clevegen will now take in eight further strains of the disease besides the two already assessed - colorectal and ovarian.

Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) and its partner Modern Water Plc (LON:MWG) have begun production of the latter’s monitoring bacteria reagent six weeks ahead of schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two companies announced a three-year deal on March 18 for Integumen to manufacture and provide logistical support for Modern Water’s monitoring reagent consumables, which is expected to be worth a headline £3.12mln.

ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM) has raised £1.5mln from a share subscription to fund an expansion of its research & development (R&D) programmes. The drug developer said it has raised the funds through the issue of 15mln new shares at a price of 10p each, a 6.5% discount to its closing price last Friday.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) has said it is to provide drug safety services to assess the effect of a rheumatoid arthritis treatment on patients with severe COVID-19 infection caused by coronavirus. The company is providing the services through its specialist pharmacovigilance provider, PrimeVigilance, as part of an ongoing clinical trial.

DP Poland PLC (LON:DPP) said it is trading ‘relatively well’ through the coronavirus lockdown in the central European country. Poland imposed similar restrictions to the UK on March 14, since when DP Poland has shut its eat-in capability, though all 69 of its stores are still trading and making deliveries. In 2019, 82% of orders were made online and the company has introduced a contactless delivery and contactless carry-out process.

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) has urged shareholders to take their dividends in shares rather than cash to help maintain its financial strength during the coronavirus crisis. The franchise group still intends to pay a final dividend of 0.65p per share but it wants shareholders to follow the board’s lead and accept shares. Franchise Brands’ B2B operations - MetroRod, Metro Plum and Willow Pumps - have been deemed essential operations by the government and continue to operate normally.

W Resources PLC (LON:WRES) has secured a £4mln convertible bond facility from Atlas Capital Markets. The bond has a coupon of 5% and a term of three years. The facility can be drawn in tranches of up to £500,000 at the election of W Resources, with an agreed period between subsequent drawdowns.

Quadrise Fuels International PLC (LON:QFI) told investors that it has started to see the effects of the rapidly developing global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, though it noted that the only definitive impact was the delay to a pilot trial project for a client’s site in Morocco. Posting first-half results for the 6 months to December 31, 2019, the company said that its London based staff are working remotely with “little, if any” impact on normal activities and similarly business development activities continue remotely, supported by in-country agents and representatives.

Quadrise also announced that as part of its continuing communication with shareholders, clients and other stakeholders, a new company website was being launched after the close of the market today. The group said the new website will provide a clearer showcase of MSAR technology, with improved integration of video and other media.  It will also have better responsiveness and enable updates to be made without any additional cost.

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) has revealed the findings of a new assessment of the Biscathorpe project including an economic review which concludes that it is a financially robust project at current oil prices. The 55% owned project is estimated to have a break-even full-cycle economics at US$18.07 per barrel.

ZAIM Credit Systems PLC (LON:ZAIM), a microfinance lender predominantly operating in Moscow, has told investors that at present Russia is “relatively less affected by the virus outbreak than most of the other developed countries”. Russia’s response to the pandemic presently includes travel restrictions, social distancing initiatives, and a ‘holiday week’ from 30 March to 5 April (potentially extendable) and the closure of non-essential businesses. The company noted that it’s lending business, Zaim-Express, is not impacted by Russia’s closure of non-essential business and that the microfinance sector is deemed to be critically important in meeting the needs of the Russian population.

Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) has launched Infotagion: Covid-19, an online and social media fact-checking service to counter misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. The media firm said the service, launched in partnership with Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee chair Damian Collins MP, will be provided on a not for profit basis with the aim of combating fake news around the virus which it said can cause “misinformation, and panic and potentially cause governments and health services to divert resources away from where they are needed most”.

Chesnara PLC (LON:CSN), the life assurance group, has proposed a final dividend of 13.87p in respect of the 2019 fiscal year, up 3% year-on-year. The company said it remains well capitalised with a solvency ratio, as at 20 March, of around 164%. The corresponding value of surplus above its solvency capital requirement is estimated at around £193mln, while the estimated Chesnara parent company cash balance as at 20 March 2020 was £73.5mln.

Frontier IP Group PLC’s (LON:FIPP) portfolio firm Elute Intelligence, in which it holds a 43% stake, has launched a free online coronavirus document reader to support scientists researching the disease. The intellectual property (IP) investor said the reader, which uses Elute’s advanced software tools to search large and complex databases, will allow researchers to search for articles mentioning terms related to the outbreak.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) has revealed the results of a testing programme at the Creswick gold project in Victoria that was designed to test for ferroan carbonates. Drill cuttings, or chips, from the 2019 drilling at Creswick were used for the tests. The results show ferroan dolomite in wallrock and as quartz-carbonate composite chips in five drill holes. Ferroan dolomite is characteristic of alteration around central Victorian gold deposits and indicative of gold-related hydrothermal fluid flow.

Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV) lifted profits for a record 23rd year in 2019, but said it expects severe disruption in the current year due to the shutting down of the UK housing market. The letting agent is readying for reduced levels of property sales and mortgage transactions and a higher risk of bad debts and non-payment of rent due to coronavirus restrictions.

Ashley House PLC (LON:ASH) has agreed with a debtor to receive a part of the £1mln it is due in receivables. The health and social care property developer said it continues to “urgently pursue legal remedies to recover long overdue receivables”.

Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) has told investors that it is still possible to spud the NJOM-3 well before 15 September 2020 despite the current Force Majeure, caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), but added that this is “inherently uncertain”. In any event, the company said it remains committed to drilling NJOM-3 - a test of the Njoni project located inside the Thali PSC area - as quickly as possible.

Redx Pharma PLC (LON:REDX) confirmed that, further to its announcement on February 28, it has entered into a £5mln short term loan agreement with one or more entities controlled by Redmile. Interest is payable at 10% per annum from the date of signing, and then from and including the date 3 months from signing, the interest rate will be 20% per annum.

Tissue Regenix Group PLC (LON:TRX) has said it continues to work on a funding deal, which it hopes to conclude in the “near future” and added that it was “encouraged by a number of ongoing discussions with potential investors”. However, it also cautioned that there could be no guarantee its efforts would be successful. The regenerative medicines specialist said its cash runway takes it to at least the end of the second week of May, having implemented control measures.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR)(ASX:THR) said it has received indicated offers and has entered into an exclusivity agreement with regard to the sale of the royalty it holds in respect of the Spring Hill gold project in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The royalty entitlement comprises A$5.70 per ounce of gold produced from the Spring Hill tenements, where the gold produced is sold for up to A$1,500 per ounce, and A$13.30 per ounce of gold produced from the Spring Hill tenements, where the gold produced is sold for amounts over A$1,500 per ounce. The gold is currently trading at around A$2,600 per ounce.

IronRidge Resources Ltd (LON:IRR) is winding down exploration activities early at its operations in West Africa in the wake of the coronavirus threat, the firm revealed as it posted a half-year financial report. "In light of developments regarding COVID-19 IronRidge has acted to adjust its activities and is winding down drilling and field programmes a few weeks earlier than originally planned before the upcoming wet season, in order to ensure the health and safety of all of its employees and contractors at this time,” IronRidge chief executive Vincent Mascolo said in the update.

ValiRx PLC (LON:VAL) has said it is reviewing its options to reconvene a meeting to vote on resolutions that could lead to a cash lifeline for the company. The cash-strapped firm is in discussions with a number of potential funders who have indicated conditional willingness to invest in the company in the event that certain resolutions are passed but the meeting that was called for March 25 to vote on these resolutions was adjourned as a result of the coronavirus (COVD-19) situation.

OPG Power Ventures PLC (LON:OPG) said demand for power from the group has dropped following the closure of all commercial and industrial operations in India from March 25. Accordingly, OPG expects minimal load over the coming weeks.

Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CMCL)(TSE:CAL) has said that the lockdown in South Africa declared by President Ramaphosa is likely to have knock-on effects for operations at the company’s Blanket gold mine across the border in Zimbabwe although is currently continuing to produce gold. The supply chain for the procurement of a significant portion of mining consumables and capital equipment comes from South Africa. A lock-down in Zimbabwe was declared on 27 March, but Blanket is continuing to operate as it has applied for an exemption on the grounds that it is able to operate in a manner that contributes to the management of the spread of the coronavirus.

Pan African Resources plc (LON:PAF) has shut its gold mines in South Africa, in accordance with the requirement of a government decree that sets out to tackle the coronavirus crisis. As part of essential services, the company said it is conducting limited surface re-mining and processing activities at its Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant and at its Barberton tailings retreatment plant. These operations are currently operating at approximately 70% of normal capacity.

Europa Metals Ltd turned in a net loss after tax of A$1.4mln during the six months to December 201. During the period the company announced a first indicated resource of 2.7mln tonnes grading 8.9% zinc equivalent and a 12% increase in the total resource estimate at its Toral project in Spain.

Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd (LON:RBW) has said in commentary accompanying results for the six months to 31 December that the coronavirus is thus far having a limited impact on its operations in Burundi, but that the situation is being monitored closely. During the six months in question the company revised its development strategy significantly, and is now planning a much larger operation based on a production rate of at least 20,000 tonnes of concentrate per year.

Greencoat UK Wind PLC (LON:UKW) said it has completed the acquisition of Slieve Divena II wind farm from SSE Renewables for a consideration of £51mln. Slieve Divena II has a capacity of 18.8MW and load factor of 31.3%, receives 0.9 ROCs per MWh, and has been operational since June 2017.  The acquisition was funded by UKW's acquisition facility plus reinvestment of portfolio cash of £24mln.

Brunner Investment Trust PLC (LON:BUT) said that, following the Prime Minister's announcement on 23 March 2020 of further restrictions and the continuing impact of COVID-19 its AGM cannot go ahead as planned with Trinity House closed and no access to the AGM  venue.  The group said its board has resolved to postpone the AGM and will send a new notice to shareholders of the revised time, date and venue.

Alliance Pharma PLC (LON:APH), the international healthcare group, said it will announce its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2019 on Tuesday 7 April 2020. A conference call for analysts will be held at 10.00am on the morning of 7 April 2020.  A recorded webcast of the analyst conference call, including investor presentation slides, will be made available during the afternoon of 7 April 2020 at this link. The recorded webcast will also be made available at the investor section of Alliance's website.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC), a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, has announced that its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 October 2019 and the Notice of AGM have been posted to shareholders and are available, together with the arrangements for the AGM, on the company's website. The AGM will be held at 12.00pm on 23 April 2020 at AFC Energy's offices, Dunsfold Park, Cranleigh Surrey GU68TB.

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