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Proactive news snapshot: Argentex, Faron Pharmaceuticals, Frontier IP Group, Westminster Group …

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

Argentex Group PLC (LON:AGFX) shares jumped on Wednesday as the foreign exchange specialist said “strong client demand” has been maintained during recent volatility caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a trading update for the 12 months to March 31, the company said it expected to report a 30% increase in revenues to £29mln, up from £21.9mln last year, with forex turnover exceeding £12bn compared to £10.8bn in 2019.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) (NASDAQFIRSTNORTH:FARON) said its drug Traumakine has been admitted to a large-scale global programme that will assess its potential in treating severe pneumonia, including patients with coronavirus (COVID-19). Faron said its interferon beta-1 formulation will be delivered intravenously, which the company reckons offers the best “delivery route” for critically ill patients.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) has noted that portfolio company Exscientia, a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) driven drug discovery, is to progress compounds that could rapidly become viable drugs for treating coronavirus (COVID-19) in a joint initiative with Diamond Light Source and Calibr, a division of Scripps Research (USA). Frontier IP, a specialist in commercialising intellectual property, said that through the transatlantic alliance, Exscientia has gained access to Calibr's collection of 15,000 clinically-ready molecules, those which have already been shown to be safe for use in humans or have passed pre-clinical safety studies. Frontier IP holds a 3.3% equity stake in Exscientia.

Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG) has said it continues to trade satisfactorily with a surge in orders for fever screening equipment offsetting reduced activity at its guarding arm and the Sierra Leone airport security contract. Overall, and in spite of coronavirus disruption, the business has performed well and been profitable in the three months to March, it said. Revenues were more than £4mln, an increase of 30% over a year ago, while cash holdings were £2.2mln.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) has revealed that its partner at the Havieron gold project in Western Australia, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) has completed stage 2 of the farm-in agreement by spending US$20mln on exploration. Newcrest is now embarking on stage three of the farm-in, and in accordance with the agreement now holds 40% of Havieron, with the remaining 60% interest retained by Greatland. In order to complete stage 3 of the farm-in, Newcrest must spend an additional US$25mln and deliver a pre-feasibility study.

Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP), the GP practice owner, said it is working with health authorities to utilise its properties better during the current coronavirus crisis, The outbreak had demonstrated the need for modern, integrated, local primary healthcare facilities to relieve the pressures being placed on hospitals and A&E departments, it said in a statement. The FTSE 250-listed firm noted that it has all of its rents effectively guaranteed by the governments in the UK and Ireland and there has been little impact on rental collection.

Primary Health Properties also announced that at its Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, all of the resolutions were duly passed on a poll by the requisite majority. 

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC (LON:GSF) expects to meet its dividend commitment this year as all of its units continue to operate “The operational assets require minimal human intervention, with typically no staff on-site, and therefore there has been no significant impact at the current time," it said in a statement, "Energy storage assets continue to provide a critical service to the grid in maintaining its stability,” the group added.

Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) has inked a pre-production licence deal for its driver monitoring system (DMS) technology with a major automotive tier one partner. Under the agreement, the AIM-listed firm will receive a pre-production licence fee of US$5mln before June 30, 2020, in addition to future volume-based royalty payments.

Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) said it is “increasingly excited” about the commercial potential of its fast-acting gel for erectile dysfunction as discussions with potential partners continue “in earnest”. With its annual results, Futura confirmed that the EU filing for MED3000 is likely by the end of July, with the US Food & Drug Administration submission expected by the end of the third quarter.

FastForward Innovations Ltd (LON:FFWD) has highlighted news that 43%-owned investee company Fralis - which trades as Leap Gaming - is set this month to launch its virtual tennis game in partnership with IMG Arena and the ATP Tour. IMG Arena is launching the official virtual tennis product, developed in partnership with Leap. It is the first-ever officially branded virtual tennis product - featuring logos from the ATP Masters 1000 series and official tournament names, delivering authenticity to gamers.

Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) has reported reduced losses for the first half of its current year, as predicted, fueled by an increase in demand for its online content. For the six months ended December 31, 2019, the company reported a loss of £848,233, down from a £1.18mln loss a year ago, while also recording revenues of £2,500.

Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:ECO, CVE:EOG) told investors it ended March with a strong balance sheet and remains funded for its anticipated share of appraisal and exploration drilling at Orinduik block, offshore Guyana. The explorer had US$18.8mln (C$26.5mln) of cash and equivalents at the end of the month. In a statement, the firm said its "board believes Eco will be in a robust position to progress its exploration strategy when market conditions improve and operations are able to resume.”

CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC) has reshuffled its leadership with a number of new appointments and director changes. Among the changes, the group’s chief operating officer, Alex Siffrin has said he will step down from the role and his position on the board and there is a new chief people officer and a new head for the firm's reseller division.

Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) has revealed that it now no longer expects official confirmation of the community joint venture agreement at the Chiadzwa diamond project to be delivered by the end of March. Although the company does expect the community joint venture to complete shortly, the process has been disrupted by the declaration of a 21-day lockdown by the government of Zimbabwe.

BB Healthcare Trust PLC (LON:BBH) has appointed Bellevue Asset Management (UK) Ltd as its Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM). The group added that the termination of its AIFM agreement with its previous fund manager, Mirabella Fund Services, had resulted in “a small cost saving”. The firm said that its investment strategy was unchanged.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC (LON:GSF) expects to meet its dividend commitment this year as all of its units continue to operate “The operational assets require minimal human intervention, with typically no staff on-site, and therefore there has been no significant impact at the current time," it said in a statement. "Energy storage assets continue to provide a critical service to the grid in maintaining its stability,” the group added.

Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) said it has drawn down the full US$75mln available under its existing revolving credit facility. As at February, 29, 2020, Base had cash reserves of US$37.7mln and no debt.  It added that, supported by sound customer demand, production at the company’s Kwale mineral sands operation in Kenya has continued uninterrupted, with broad health and safety procedures implemented to minimise the risk of coronavirus to personnel and surrounding communities.

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has provided a further financing update, noting the receipt of £50,000 from strategic investor Forum Energy to allow the company to satisfy near-term creditors. The company has in turn issued 22.72mln additional shares to Forum, at a price of 0.22p each.

Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE) has said it has “prepared the business to operate on a much-restricted cost base” to bolster itself against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Nick Tulloch, chief executive of the cannabidiol (CBD) specialist, said the company was “fortunate to be entering this period as much more streamlined and focused business” and that its two CBD brands and inventory of feminised hemp seeds were “significant assets for the business and that will remain the case throughout this difficult time”.

Materials technology company planarTECH (Holdings) Limited is to distribute graphene-enhanced bulletproof body armour for its Thai partner IDEATi. IDEATI’s 2AM range is already in production for the Thai military and the global market for body armour is expected to reach US$3bn by 2025. PlanarTECH is currently in the process of raising £350,000 through a funding round on the Seedrs platform.

Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CMCL) (TSE:CAL) said its board has resolved to defer approval of a declaration of the group's second quarterly dividend of 2020.  The group has paid a quarterly dividend since 2014 and the payments are an important element of the company's strategy to create and enhance shareholder value.

Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) has updated on its debt restructuring negotiations, noting that debt holders have indicated support - albeit with interest payments for March not paid. It said amendments to the terms have been agreed for Echo’s £1mln loan facility, which carries 12% interest. Interest will roll up into the loan's principle over the coming months, and as such quarterly cash interest payments are suspended until after March 2021.

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG), the provider of services and technologies for digital learning and talent management, said that, further to its announcement of March 24,  all conditions relating to the acquisition of Open LMS have been satisfied and that the transaction completed on March 31.

Afarak Group PLC (LON:AFRK) said it has temporarily shut all its mines in response to a lock-down order from the South African government which went out last week. Some sites, however, like Stellite and Zeerust, continue to treat tailings and to undertake toll treatment for third parties, it added. The move follows a difficult 2019 for the company, in which chrome prices were low.

Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX), the medical-imaging technology company with a proprietary drug-device combination product for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) market, announced that all the resolutions set out in the circular dated 13 March 2020 were duly passed at the General Meeting of the company held on Wednesday. It said the resolutions include those necessary to implement its fundraise to raise a total of £8.4mln (before expenses), which includes the £2.2mln subscription from new strategic investor Bracco Imaging S.p.A.

INTOSOL Holdings PLC (LON:INTO), the award-winning international luxury travel company, said it has appointed Nigel Brent Fitzpatrick as its chief financial officer (CFO) effective from April 2, 2020.

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC), a leader in the development, manufacture and commercialisation of personalised immunodiagnostics for the screening, detection and care of cancer, said it has been notified that its chief executive officer, Adam Hill has purchased 21,321 ordinary shares in the company at 46.9p per share on April 1. Following this transaction, the group added, Hill has a total interest in the company of 21,321 ordinary shares, representing approximately 0.03% of the issued ordinary share capital. 

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) the AIM-listed exploration and development company operating in Europe, has announced the completion of a detailed independent assessment of the Kiziltepe, Tavsan and Salinbas projects by international consultants of the Proposed Partner, following completion of the Memorandum of Understanding announced on November, 25, 2019. Dr Kerim Sener, Arian’s managing director, commented: "We are pleased to report the completion of the due diligence work of the technical consultants.  A period of internal review will now be conducted by the Proposed Partner and Proccea. In addition, draft definitive legal documentation has been prepared and is being reviewed by the Parties.  We look forward to reporting further on the proposed deal in due course."

Capital Drilling Limited (LON:CAPD), a leading mining services company focused on the African markets, has announced the appointment of Berenberg as its joint corporate broker with immediate effect. It added that Berenberg will work alongside the company's existing corporate broker, Tamesis Partners

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