Oakley Capital Investments Limited (LON:OCI) bounced 10.2% higher to 212.6p in late-afternoon as the private equity group completed the sale of its remaining investment in private school group Inspired, netting it £99mln.
The company added that the sale will result in its net asset value (NAV) increasing by 10p per share.
Elsewhere, Katoro Gold PLC (LON:KAT) jumped 7.1% to 1.5p following news that it has struck a deal to offload its Imweru gold project to Lake Victoria Gold for a staged consideration of US$1mln and a 1.5% net smelter royalty on all future gold production.
The sale was also good news for Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW), which owns a 4.38% stake in Katoro Gold, along with 10mln warrants and a 25% interest in Katoro's Haneti polymetallic project in Tanzania.
1.00pm: D4T4 climbs as it sees no ‘significant interruptions’ to business from pandemic
Shares in D4t4 Solutions PLC (LON:D4T4) climbed 14.9% to 177p in lunchtime trading as the data services firm said it “does not expect any significant interruptions” to its services as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm also said while its revenue and profitability is expected to be “behind earlier expectations” for the year ended 31 March, several recent contract wins had provided “additional recurring revenue visibility over the next three years”.
Elsewhere, online media specialist Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) soared 109.2% to 0.04p as it announced that its service to counter misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has reached 1mln readers in a week.
The website, Infotagion, was established last week in partnership with MP Damian Collins, former chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Media and Sport and is receiving support from governments and organisations.
Also on the rise was On The Beach Group PLC (LON:OTB), up 22.5% at 245p after saying it is resilient to the current coronavirus crisis thanks to its asset-light model and cost-cutting measures.
Following a stress test assuming there would be no bookings until September, the firm said it would end the half-year to June 2021 “with only a limited drawdown of its facilities and significant headroom”.
11.00am: Upland Resources sinks as it relinquishes North Sea licence
The company the dry Wick well at the site had downgraded the potential of three other blocks on the licence, while the results of 3D seismic reprocessing were “not encouraging” and the firm had relinquished the licence at the end of March.
In the FTSE 100, insurance giant Aviva PLC (LON:AV.) dropped 7.7% to 246.1p after it joined other insurers in scrapping its upcoming dividend payment due to the uncertainty around the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
After withdrawing its proposal to pay its 21.4p final dividend that had only been proposed last month and scheduled for 2 June, Aviva said it “expects to reconsider any distributions to ordinary shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2020”.
In the risers, Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) soared 116.2% to 0.4p after reporting that its Cloudveil subsidiary has received an “unprecedented level of enquiries” for its services over the last two months.
RMS also said its GyroMetric business, in which it owns a 58% stake, has secured an order for 10 units from a global leader in marine propulsion systems.
9.00am: Oxford Biomedica surges as it joins coronavirus vaccine consortium
Oxford Biomedica PLC (LON:OXB) was one of the early risers on Wednesday morning. jumping 13.8% to 637.5p after it announced that it is joining a consortium to rapidly develop and manufacture a potential vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCov-19, is expected to be the UK’s first coronavirus vaccine to enter clinical trials later this month.
Meanwhile, diagnostics firm Novacyt SA (LON:NCYT) surged 15.8% to 249p as it announced that it will be collaborating with AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK) and the University of Cambridge to support the UK’s efforts to increase coronavirus testing.
As part of the collaboration, Novacyt SAid it will ensure an effective workflow process within the facility for coronavirus testing, as well as providing its test to generate results data.
The company said its test is now also eligible for procurement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for one year.
The company also warned its wholesale market had suffered a downturn due to its customers in the leisure and restaurant sectors having to close their doors due to quarantine measures.
Proactive news headlines:
Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) has said its Cloudveil subsidiary has received an “unprecedented level of enquiries” for its services over the last two months. The company said Cloudveil, which provides security, intelligence and risk management services, has recently won a contract to deliver a governance framework for the security programme of a prominent London based academic institution and is currently bidding to provide a security testing programme to one of the largest public sector institutions in the UK financial services sector. RMS also said its GyroMetric business, in which it owns a 58% stake, has secured an order for 10 units from a global leader in marine propulsion systems.
SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) has announced a new discovery at the South Disouq project in Egypt, with the SD-12X (Sobhi) well encountering 108 feet of net high-quality gas-bearing sands. "This is an excellent result for SDX and fully justifies our confidence to drill this well on a sole risk basis,” Mark Reid, SDX chief executive said in a statement.
S&U PLC (LON:SUS) has increased its profits for the twentieth year running and the car finance specialist's chairman forecast that it would come out of the coronavirus crisis in better shape than ever. The group's profits in the year to January rose by 2% to £35.1mln on revenues 8% higher at £89.9mln. S&U said sales fell in March, however, and its collections performance was just below normal, though cash generation remained strong.
Tekcapital PLC (LON:TEK) said its portfolio company Guident has made four significant new hires, including the appointment of Harald Braun as chairman and chief executive. He was previously CEO of both Siemens Networks USA and Aviat Networks as well as serving as a senior executive at Nokia Siemens Networks, North America. Guident, which develops technology for autonomous vehicles and drones, also announced the appointment of Daniel Grossman as chief revenue officer; Michael Trank as vice president of software development; and Dr Gabriel Castaneda as lead architect of artificial intelligence software.
Tavistock Investment PLC (LON:TAVI) has said its two protected unit trusts have proved themselves during the current market volatility caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Trading results for the year to March will be in line with market expectations, said the fund manager, with the highlight the performance of the two ACUMEN protected funds. These funds fell by less than 5% and 3%, respectively, between January and March, said Tavistock, a period when the FTSE 100 dropped 24%.
Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) has unveiled a new US$110mln acquisition of upstream and midstream assets in the Appalachia region of the United States. The deal, with Carbon Energy Corporation and its affiliates, sees DGOC pick up some 9,900 barrels oil equivalent production in 6,500 “mature, low decline conventional” wells. It noted that 97% of the production is gas. “This proposed complementary acquisition, if completed, remains consistent with our commitment to pursue prudent growth that enhances our dividend per share to shareholders,” Rusty Hutson, DGOC chief executive said in a statement.
Enteq Upstream PLC (LON:NTQ) has told investors that its financial results for the twelve months ended March 31, 2020, will be “broadly in-line” with expectations, though it cautioned over the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on its current and future trading environment. The oil services firm, in a statement, said revenue for the year would be in the region of US$11mln and underlying adjusted earnings (EBITDA) is expected at around US$3mln. It ended March with US$10.3mln of cash.
Greencoat UK Wind PLC (LON:UKW) has said its unaudited net asset value as of March 31, 2020, was £1,839.5mln, or 121.2p per share. The FTSE 250-listed company also announced a quarterly interim dividend of 1.775p per share with respect to the same quarter.
European Metals Holdings Limited (LON:EUZ) has sent out a notice ahead of its shareholder meeting to approve a £25.6mln investment in the company’s Cinovec battery-grade lithium project. The Czech state power utility CEZ has agreed to plough in the cash. The formal notice being circulated to investors outlines the full details of the funding obligations and right of CEZ to withdraw from the project on reaching one of two “specified milestones”.
Supermarket Income REIT PLC (LON:SUPR), the real estate investment trust providing secure, inflation-protected, long income from grocery property in the UK, has declared an interim dividend in respect of the period from January 1, 2020, to March 31, 2020, of 1.460p per ordinary share, payable on or around May 22. The group said the dividend will be paid as a Property Income Distribution (PID) in respect of the company's tax-exempt property rental business to ordinary shareholders on the register on May 1 and the ex-dividend date will be April 30.
Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) (NASDAQ:VRNA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for respiratory diseases, said its upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held at the offices of Shakespeare Martineau at 60 Gracechurch Street, London at 10.30am on April 16, 2020, will be held as scheduled, however, given the UK government’s present restrictions on public gatherings of more than two people, the board requests shareholders to vote by proxy rather than attend in person. Any shareholders seeking to attend the AGM in person will be refused entry.