Proactive news snapshot: Argo Blockchain, Ergomed, Futura Medical, CentralNic Group …

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

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Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) said it has mined a record level of Bitcoin in the first three months of 2020, adding that its operations have not been impacted by coronavirus. The cryptocurrency miner said in an update for March that it had mined 918 Bitcoin or Bitcoin equivalent (BTC) in the three months, more than double the amount mined during the previous quarter. For the month itself, Argo mined 333.8 BTC compared to 337.5 in February.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) is to work on a second clinical trial in Italy looking at ways to tackle people severely ill with coronavirus (COVID-19). The trial will target the GM-CSF cytokine using a drug currently in late-stage trials for rheumatoid arthritis developed by Oxford-based Izana Bioscience.

Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) has been asked to attend a second meeting with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to assess its topical erectile dysfunction treatment MED3000 as a medical device rather than a drug. The company met with the FDA for a pre-submission on 24 February and has now received the official minutes back. These confirm that the US regulator has agreed to a De Novo medical device application for MED3000 subject to another pre-submission meeting to discuss clinical sufficiency and/or post-marketing requirements once the clinical study report or CSR for the FM57 study is available.

CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC) said it has “not experienced interruptions in its services” during the coronavirus pandemic, and that its current trading is in line with market expectations. The AIM-listed firm said its business is “expected to remain resilient” as its services, the subscription sales of internet domain names, were procured and delivered online while the majority of its revenues are payments from existing subscribers and customers on rolling contracts.

InnovaDerma PLC (LON:IDP) said it remains “well-positioned” with a “robust business model”, though it admitted the coronavirus lockdown had “significantly slowed” sales through its bricks and mortar network, which includes Boots, Superdrug and Tesco. Counter-balancing this, the health and beauty group told investors its direct to consumer channel, which accounted for 60% of revenues last year, continued to perform “very well”.

Corero Network Security PLC (LON:CNS) said strong sales momentum in the second half of 2019 provided it with solid foundations for 2020. In its 2019 results statement, the cybersecurity firm noted that around two-thirds of the orders received in 2019 were from telecommunication service and cloud providers, markets that are anticipated to benefit from the shift to work-from-home as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The company ended 2019 with a strong balance sheet, with net cash of US$5.4mln, up from US$4.4mln a year earlier.

OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) has signed a contract manufacturing agreement with French food supplements and nutrition group, Laboratoire PYC. The new partner has the exclusive rights to manufacture meal replacement shakes for the UK firm’s GoFigure weight management range. OptiBiotix said the deal helps “de-risk” its supply chain. It follows on from a tie-up last week with Denmark’s Fipros, which will produce food additive SlimBiome under license for distribution across the EU.

Crossword Cybersecurity PLC (LON:CCS) has said it will be collaborating with security reseller and managed security services provider Satisnet Limited to provide party assurance technology to its clients. Under the partnership, Satisnet will help customers take control of third party risks through Crossword’s Rizikon Assurance platform, which it says will help them automate supplier onboarding and “gain full visibility of third party risk exposure”.

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) has unveiled changes to its board of directors and executive leadership team which sees Naseem Amin, currently a non-executive director at Arix assume the role of executive chairman with immediate effect. The group also said Jonathan Peacock, co-founder and chairman, and Art Pappas, a non-executive director, will step down from the company’s board at the 2020 Annual General Meeting.  Joe Anderson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Arix will leave the company, effective immediately, along with two members of the senior team, it added.

H&T GROUP PLC (LON:HAT) has unilaterally declared an interest holiday on outstanding secured loans while its stores are closed or until further notice. The pawnbroking company is doing its bit to support its customers during what it described as a “challenging period”. In the meantime, it is in the process of arranging to be able to accept online repayments and to make cash advances via an online portal.

Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYM) chief executive Michael Laurier has said the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of the company's anti-microbial plastics range. In a trading statement, Laurier said: "This week marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Symphony Group. Our technologies provide the ability to protect lives through our anti-microbial d2p products and also help preserve our planet through our d2w oxo-biodegradable products, which reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.”

Stobart Group Limited (LON:STOB) chief executive Warwick Brady has highlighted “significant underlying value” in the group’s aviation and energy assets as the firm takes steps to safeguard its business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “There remain significant medium and long-term opportunities to further increase the value of the assets for our stakeholders”, Brady said in a statement on Monday.

Angling Direct PLC (LON:ANG) said its online operation has seen encouraging levels of trade in both the UK and international markets in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The board declared that e-commerce sales remain robust for now, with strong levels of customer demand since 24 March 2020. It said group sales increased by 19.0% year-on-year over the first three weeks of March prior to the significant recent impact of the coronavirus crisis.

SigmaRoc PLC (LON:SRC) performed ahead of budget and analyst estimates during the first quarter of 2020 despite significant weather disruption and flooding across the UK and the Channel Islands, and the start of the coronavirus pandemic. For the quarter, the construction materials company delivered revenue of £26.5mln, an 87% year-on-year increase, and unaudited underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £5.25mln, representing a 144% year-on-year increase. The company said it has decided to remain active across its operations where it can ensure compliance with all applicable government welfare guidelines and where there is a clear strategic and financial case in the local market.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) believes it can keep its dividend when others are losing theirs. In a stock market statement, the North America-based firm updated investors on its operations in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Designated as a provider of "essential services" in each US state that in which it operates, the group said its oil and gas fields continue to produce with little-to-no impact from COVID-19.

Columbus Energy Resources PLC (LON:CERP) has announced a further interim extension to the Goudron incremental production service contract (IPSC) with Heritage Petroleum, moving the deadline out to June 30, 2020. The prior deadline was April 3, and, now the companies have more time to finalise agreements for a longer-term extension.

Jersey Oil and Gas PLC (LON:JOG) has hired project delivery specialist Dr Chris Haynes as an advisor to the board, as it seeks to advance the Greater Buchan Area (GBA) hub oilfield development project in the North Sea. Haynes has 39 years’ experience in the industry, much of which was gained at Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA), where he was responsible for the delivery of Shell's major upstream projects worldwide.

NQ Minerals PLC (LON:NQMI) produced 8,127 tonnes of lead and 4,609 tonnes of zinc from its Hellyer Gold Mine in Tasmania during the quarter ending March 31, 2020, and the mine has been designated “essential” by the Tasmanian government and is still operating during the current coronavirus pandemic. It also produced 1,081 ounces of gold and 230,441 ounces of silver as payable precious metal credits in the lead and zinc concentrate streams.

Erris Resources PLC (LON:ERIS) halved its losses in the year to December 31, 2019 to just over €530,000, down from more than a €1mln loss a year earlier. The company closed out the period with €1.4mln cash in the bank, although that figure has subsequently dropped slightly since the year-end. Erris said it is continuing with exploration projects in Ireland, Norway and Scotland.

Canadian Overseas Petroleum Ltd (LON:COPL) (CSE:XOP)  has called legal action started against its Nigeria joint venture ShoreCan “merely opportunistic”. The 50% owned vehicle is in dispute with Essar Exploration & Production Limited over a Shareholders Agreement which governs the relationship between ShoreCan and Essar in respect of the Essar Nigeria business. ShoreCan owns 80% of Essar Nigeria, which in turn owns a 100% contracted interest in OPL226, which comprises shallow to mid-water offshore acreage.

Pembridge Resources PLC (LON:PERE) is to restructure the share ownership of its Minto copper mine in the Yukon, Canada. The restructuring comes in the context of the financial uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, and in relation to a potential legal dispute with certain US investors.

Landore Resources Ltd. (LON:LND) said it has been notified by its finance director, Glenn Featherby that on March 30, 2020 and April 1, 2020 he purchased ordinary shares in the company. The group added, following these purchases, Featherby is beneficially interested in 50,678,924 ordinary shares, representing 3.8% of the company's issued share capital.

Erris Resources PLC (LON:ERIS) halved its losses in the year to 31 December 2019 to just over €530,000, from more than €1mln a year earlier. The company closed out the period with €1.4mln cash in the bank, although that figure has subsequently dropped slightly further.

Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR) has raised US$3mln of new capital and also inked a preliminary agreement for a new farm-out for its flagship Barryroe oil field project. SpotOn Energy - a Norwegian group which “takes a progressive approach to cost-effective offshore oil and gas field development” - has signed a term-sheet giving it exclusivity until the end of October 2020 to develop new appraisal plans at Barryroe, and agree binding commercial terms for the envisaged farm-out deal.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) has raised £500,000 via a placing of 100mln shares at a price of 0.5p per share. The group said the money raised will be used to support its ongoing activities, particularly in relation to its gold exploration projects in Victoria, Australia. The placing was arranged by SI Capital Ltd.

ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM), a specialist drug discovery and development company, announced that its chairman, Tim McCarthy will provide a live presentation relating to the recently announced £1.5mln share subscription and update on the company's R&D programmes, via the 'Investor Meet Company' platform. The live presentation will be held on Tuesday 7 April 2020 at 10.30am (BST).

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR), the AIM-listed investor in natural resource opportunities, announced that, on April 3. 2020, its chief executive officer, Michael McNeilly purchased 502,267 ordinary shares in the company on market, at a price of 1.05p each, for a total consideration of £5,273.80. Following these purchases, it added, McNeilly is interested in a total of 6,500,000 ordinary shares, representing 0.43% of the company’s issued share capital.

S&U PLC (LON:SUS),  the specialist motor finance and property bridging lender, announced that the publication of the group's preliminary results for the period ended January 31, 2020 will now be on Wednesday April 8, 2020. It said there will be a webinar/conference call for equity analysts at 09:30am on the day of results hosted by its chairman, Anthony Coombs; deputy chairman, Graham Coombs; group FD, Chris Redford; and the CEO of Advantage Finance, Graham Wheeler.

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