Star Phoenix "rises from the assets"

A look at some of the major movers in London on Thursday

Tertiary Minerals PLC -

Star Phoenix Group Ltd (LON:STA) shares doubled to 3p after it completed a debt restructuring and the sale of Range Resources Trinidad Limited.

The oilfield services provider said following the sale, all of the company’s debt and payables (US$95.1 million as at 31 March 2020) to LandOcean have been offset and repaid, and all debt agreements with LandOcean have been terminated.

In addition, as previously announced LandOcean has paid the company a total cash consideration of US$1,508,000 to date.

1.30pm: Carnival gets that sinking feeling

Carnival PLC (LON:CCL, NYSE:CUK) has upped its proposed recapitalisation to US$6.25bn, triggering a 19% plunge in the share price to 630.2p.

The crisis-torn cruises operator has cut the proposed equity element of the fund-raising to US$500mln from US$1.25bn but increased the debt element to US$5.75bn from the US$4.75bn announced two days earlier.

In the equity placing, 62.5mln shares will be issued at a price of US$8 per share.

12.30pm: Bakkavor withdraws guidance and suspends the dividend

Bakkavor Group PLC (LON:BAKK), the ready meals supplier, slipped 8.8% to 89.9p after it said its business has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

In the UK, which represents around 90% of the group’s adjusted underlying earnings, the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in a reduction in orders across all of its categories but especially in its salads and food-to-go products.

Given that market conditions are likely to remain highly uncertain for the foreseeable future, Bakkavor is withdrawing its guidance for 2020, and committing to a number of important actions to preserve liquidity, including the cancellation of the proposed final dividend.

11.30am: Centrica cuts its dividend

Centrica PLC (LON:CNA) shares fell 8.4% to 34p as the owner of British Gas cut its dividend and unveiled £400mln in spending cuts.

Management bonuses have also been withdrawn, while the sale of Spirit Energy has been put on hold, the FTSE 100-listed group said in a statement.

Gas demand from businesses has fallen sharply as businesses temporarily shut down though there has been a modest pick-in residential usage, Centrica noted, however, there has also been a rise in bad debts as people and businesses struggle to pay bills.

10.30am: Coro Energy cuts costs and ties with its CEO

Coro Energy PLC (LON:CORO) sank 31% to 0.45p after it said it expects approval of the sale of its Italian assets will be delayed.

To conserve cash, the company has temporarily suspended production on its Sillaro, Bezzecca and Casa Tiberi fields but production at Rapagnano will continue.

It has also proposed to the executive directors that they either take an unpaid sabbatical, receive three months’ notice or become non-executive directors (NED). The chief financial officer, Andrew Dennan, has opted to become a NED while the chief executive officer, James Menzies, has chosen to get on his bike and quit with immediate effect and without payment. Nick Cooper has resigned as a NED.

9.30am: Tertiary Minerals soars after securing cash injection

Tertiary Minerals PLC (LON:TYM) shot up 47% to 0.265p in early trade on Thursday after Precious Metals Capital Group agreed to inject £600,000 into the mineral exploration and development company.

The US-based institutional investor has agreed to subscribe for a chunk of Tertiary shares. The number of shares to be issued as a result of the placing will be determined by the issue price, which will be linked to the prevailing share price over a five-day period before the share issue, or 0.42p a share – whichever is lower.

Further investment may be made by Precious Metals Capital within 12 months after the date of this share issue, but only with the consent of Tertiary, for no more than (an additional) £600,000.

Investors were in tune with Gear4music (Holdings) PLC (LON:G4M) on Thursday, with the shares rising 21% to 205p after it lifted profits guidance for the year just ended.

The online retailer of musical instruments and other bits of muso kit said the outperformance was as a result of commercial operational progress made over the 12 months to the end of March.

"Whilst it is impossible to predict what further operational actions may become necessary during the coming weeks and months, we remain committed to operating safely and serving our valued customers for as long as Government guidance allows. In addition to the economic benefits of uninterrupted trading, we are driven by the knowledge that learning a new instrument or improving musical skills can bring enormous mental well-being benefits to people of all ages, particularly in challenging times like these,” said Andrew Wass (not Was), Gear4music’s chief executive officer.

Proactive news headlines:

United Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UOG) shares rose on Thursday as the firm highlighted strong production growth in Egypt whilst detailing its response to “considerable challenges” across the industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic and weak crude prices. In a statement, the group said production in Egypt measured around 8,400 barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd) gross, or 1,850 boepd net, reflecting a doubling of output since this time last year. Significantly, the volumes are materially higher than they were when United agreed to acquire the Abu Sennan assets from Rockhopper Exploration PLC (LON:RKH).

Corero Network Security PLC (LON:CNS) has revealed it had a record quarter for order intake, securing US$2mln of additional customer wins in March. The cybersecurity group said the customer wins for its SmartWall DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection product included a new customer won through its relationship with Juniper Networks, and additional purchases from existing customers.

OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) has signed a contract manufacturing deal with a Danish company called Fipros. The agreement allows Fipros to manufacture the weight management product SlimBiome under licence. OptiBiotix said this latest commercial accord de-risked the business in the event of a hard Brexit, providing a source of product supply within the EU.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) has announced that full payment has been received from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for oil sales during October 2019. It said the Taq Taq partners have received a gross payment of $10.3mln, with Genel's net share of the payment being $5.6mln. The company also said it has received an override payment of $8.6mln from the KRG, representing 4.5% of Tawke gross licence revenues for October 2019, as per the terms of its Receivable Settlement Agreement. Taken together with the payment announced on Tuesday for Tawke licence exports in the month, Genel has received payments relating to exports in October 2019 totalling $33.2mln.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) has highlighted the early results from the study of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Bergamo, the centre of the crisis in Italy. Sponsored by the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, the study is observing responses to siltuximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody targeting human IL-6 as a treatment for COVID-19 patients who develop serious respiratory complications. Ergomed is providing clinical development and research services including significant involvement in the study's design and implementation.

KRM22 PLC (LON:KRM) has said it still expects to be adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) positive at the end of 2020 despite the “uncertainties and unknowns” relating to the coronavirus pandemic. In a trading update, the risk management software firm said it had “continued to see interest” for its products in the first quarter of the current year, and that several multi-year contracts were in “advanced stages of negotiation”.

AdEPT Technologies Group PLC (LON:ADT) employees have been designated as key workers by the government during the coronavirus pandemic and are dealing with a deluge of calls, the group said in an update on Thursday. The provider of managed services for information technology and unified communications said all of its employees have made a seamless transition to working remotely using Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Avaya IX technologies. Call volumes to AdEPT’s support teams have increased by 85% over the last few weeks but the company expects the level of calls to ease off as people get used to working at home.

Digitalbox PLC (LON:DBOX) has said the coronavirus pandemic may bring “opportunity” for its business which it said will be “well placed to exploit” over the year. In an outlook statement accompanying its full-year results, the owner of the Entertainment Daily and The Daily Mash websites said the pandemic had caused changes in people’s lifestyles which “may provide more opportunity for audience engagement”, although it warned that the advertising market “is [also] going to become much tougher”.

Tekcapital PLC (LON:TEK) noted that investee company Salarius Ltd sees an opportunity after front of packet labelling was mandated by authorities in Mexico warning consumers if food products exceed strict thresholds for sodium as well as spelling out calorie content, and providing information on saturated fat and sugar. Salarius is the creator of MicroSalt, an all-natural product made with micron-sized particles with an increased sensation of saltiness that has around half the sodium of the normal food condiment.

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK) has said its trading performance is likely to be negatively affected by the coronavirus (COVD-19) outbreak. The aquaculture genetics, health and advanced nutrition company said trading in its Genetics division has not been materially affected by the current crisis but it is bracing itself for a significant impact on its Advanced Nutrition business as a result of reduced consumption leading to lower levels of production and disruption to logistics.

e-therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) has announced the appointment as its chief business officer of Dr Laura Roca-Alonso, formerly with Silence Therapeutics PLC, where the group’s executive chairman used to be in charge.

 It noted that from 2014 until 2019, she held positions of increasing responsibility at Silence Therapeutics, a publicly listed RNAi company, culminating in her role as VP, Head of Corporate Development, and she was instrumental in the transformation and growth of the business.

FastForward Innovations Ltd, (LON:FFWD) said it has been notified by investee company, Factom Inc. that in a meeting on March 31 its board concluded that, in the absence of further funding, they now needed to begin the process of assignment of assets for the benefit of creditors and, as a result, receivers will be appointed. In a statement, the AIM-listed group, which is focused on making investments in fast-growing and industry-leading businesses, noted that the action will be treated as a Dissolution Event under the terms of its $6mlm Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) and, as such, FastForward will become the largest creditor representing well over 90% of the creditors.

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) has raised £2.25mln through a share placing that it said will support growth in its “three core strategic areas” including motorsports, building its own community of gamers, and helping others to build communities. The esports specialist said it had raised the funds through a placing of 225mln shares at a price of 1p each, a 33% discount to its closing share price on Wednesday. Gfinity said the placing had been oversubscribed following demand from both new and existing investors, and chief executive John Clarke said the fundraising marked “the final step” of a strategic review process.

Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN) (OTCMKTS:BSHVF) is to take an 8.71% interest in a newly-created entity called Invinity, created by the proposed merger of RedT Energy with Avalon Battery Corporation which has now received shareholder approval Bushveld revealed in November that it would support the merger in the form of a US$5mln convertible loan. That loan will now convert into just over 3mln shares.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) has completed a programme of rock-saw channel sampling at Kepez North, a likely satellite feeder project for the company’s Kililtepe mine in Turkey. Among the highlights from the results were 14.2metres at 10.77 grams per tonne gold and 93 grams silver, 10 metres at 11.45 grams gold and 73 grams silver, and four metres at 3.64 grams gold and 34 grams silver. A larger area of highly mineralised and broken material has been identified at the surface through scree sampling.

Galantas Gold Corporation (LON:GAL)(CVE:GAL) said it is set to complete a one-for-ten consolidation of its shares on April 9, subject to the approval of the Canadian Venture Exchange, with shareholders having already voted in favour. Meanwhile, the company said it is adhering to UK government guidelines in regards to the operation of its Omagh gold mine in Northern Ireland. A small number of essential staff are continuing to provide safety, security, maintenance and fulfilling statutory obligations on site. Essential staff are to operate under the health protocols advised by the authorities.

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of speciality chemical products, has announced the appointment of Mary Fallin, a former Governor of the State of Oklahoma in the United States, as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect. Before serving as the first female Governor of the state for two terms, from 2010 to 2018, Fallin held many prominent state and federal positions, including serving as US Congresswoman for Oklahoma's 5th district between 2007-2011 and serving as Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma between 1995-2006.  Commenting on the appointment, Tom Becker, president and CEO of Iofina said: "Mary brings invaluable experience in natural resources, crisis management and corporate governance, as well as a wealth of connections. Throughout her time in politics, she has been a great advocate of small and medium-sized enterprises like Iofina and so to have her join the team during this next phase of growth is really exciting for us."

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has advised shareholders of the allotment and issue of 561,511 depositary interests of no par value each to Geodrill Limited, as partial satisfaction of invoiced costs to date associated with drilling at the company's projects in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) has told investors that it won’t be having a physical AGM and instead it will take place online, via webcast, as the explorer seeks to comply with Australia’s coronavirus social distancing rules. Amid a ban on public gatherings, the company said in a statement: “88 Energy understands the importance of the AGM to its shareholders, however, the health and safety of shareholders, employees and the broader community is paramount.”

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN), a leader in the discovery, development and delivery of novel RNA therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases, said that Dr Rob Quinn, its chief financial officer, will conduct a virtual presentation at the 19th Annual Needham Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at 2.20pm BST (9.20am ET). A live webcast of the virtual presentation can be accessed by visiting 'Results, reports & presentations' in the investors' section of the company's website. Silence also confirmed that it will announce its final results for the full year ended 31 December 2019 on April 14.

Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LON:CWR), a global leader in fuel cell and electrochemical technology, has announced its intention to change its financial year-end reporting date from 30 June to 31 December. It said this change has been considered by the board for some time and it will bring the company's year-end in line with most companies and also avoids having a year-end during the summer period.  As a result, the company said, its next sets of results will be issued as follows: unaudited interim results for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 in late September 2020; audited final results for the 18-month period ended 31 December 2020 by the end of March 2021; unaudited interim results for the 6 months to 30 June 2021 in late September 202; and audited final results for the year ended 31 December 2021 by the end of March 2022

Keyword Studios PLC (LON:KWS) said that, following the announcement on March 25, that the group would postpone its results in line with the moratorium guidance issued by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Reporting Council, its results for the year to December 31, 2019 will be announced on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) announced that, as required under the listing rules of the Australian Stock Exchange the following unlisted warrants have lapsed: Date granted: 28 July 2017, date of expiry: 31 March 2020; exercise price: 1.8p each; the number of warrants: 15,000,000. It noted that 3,000,000 of the warrants were held by its executive chairman Mick Billing.

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