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Primorus Investments rises after strong half-year report

A look at some of Wednesday's major share movers on the London Stock Exchange

Escape Hunt PLC - Escape Hunt rises after TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Winner award

Primorus Investments PLC (LON:PRIM) added 3% to 2.92p after announcing total assets of £8mln as at June 30, nearly double last year’s levels of £4.8mln.

The investor stressed it has no debt while operating profit for the first six months of 202 was £3mln, swinging from last year’s £418,000 loss.

The AIM-listed firm added it is confident regarding its future prospects.

3pm: TomCo Energy advances after noting progress with Greenfield joint venture

TomCo Energy plc (LON:TOM) advanced 3% to 0.85p after noting an announcement by Petroteq Energy in respect of Greenfield Energy, the joint venture between TomCo and Valkor.

TomCo confirmed Greenfield is making good progress regarding proposed upgrades to Petroteq's existing oil sands plant at Asphalt Ridge, Utah.

These include finalising the commercial trial agreement with Quadrise Fuels International PLC announced earlier this month.

1.45pm: Provident Financial climbs higher despite swinging to loss

Provident Financial PLC (LON:PFG) climbed 18% to 230.6p despite stumbling to a £28mln loss before tax in the first half of the year as its braced for bad loans from the coronavirus crisis.

Levels of arrears and payment holidays due to the pandemic have returned to more normal levels, below 4%, with the company noting that its customers are “typically less sensitive to changes in economic conditions as they are more used to managing on tight budgets and they have lower levels of debt than prime customers”.

Chief executive Malcolm Le May said group losses were “better than our initial view of Covid-19's potential impact on our businesses” and as a result, the group has decided to repay all furlough support to the government.

11.45am: 7digital shares move higher with new virtual concert project

7digital Group PLC (LON:7DIG) rose 3% to 3.3p after partnering with eMusic to launch eMusicLive, a “first-of-its-kind” livestream platform for the live music industry to stage virtual concerts.

The product will allow artists, labels, brands, venues and managers to recreate the live experience and monetise the commercial opportunities of live gigs, bundling ticketing, music sales, merchandise and collectibles in a single web-based platform.

It will be powered using 7digital's advanced technology platform, which provides access to its global catalogue of music tracks, alongside eMusic's business-to-consumer technology and functionality.

10.40am: 4D pharma shoots up after outstanding trial result

4D pharma plc (LON:DDDD) was the top riser in late morning, jumping 29% to 100.9p, on the back of outstanding results in early stage trials for patients with either advanced metastatic renal cell carcinoma or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

The pharma company used its Live Biotherapeutic in combination with Merck & Co’s Keytruda, which “far exceeded” the threshold for success set out before the study began.

Five people, or 42% of the group, experienced a clinically meaningful benefit from the two drugs. This was well ahead of the success threshold of 10% agreed at the outset of the phase I/II trial.

9.40am: Pebble Beach Systems slides on tough trading

Pebble Beach Systems Group PLC (LON:PEB) lost 17% to 10.96p in mid-morning after admitting it will be difficult to convert its pipeline into firm orders as customers are cautious with commitments with large scale projects.

The software business thinks these projects are merely planned rather than being lost, while it noted a higher than usual level of recurring business from existing customers and our backlog of orders.

In the half-year to June 30, orders fell by 25% to £3.9mln, pushing revenue down 20% to £4.5mln and adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) down 25% to £1.5mln.

Meanwhile, Jaywing PLC (LON:JWNG) slipped 14% to 2.41p after revenue for the year to March 31 is expected to be 19% lower at £24mln.

Sales have been even lower since the outset of the pandemic, though net debt was reduced to £3.9mln in July from £5.7mln in March.

The data science agency also appointed Caroline Ackroyd as new chief financial officer, who currently holds the same role at online GP services provider Push Doctor.

8.40: Escape Hunt rises after TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Winner award

Escape Hunt PLC (LON:ESC) gained 15% to 8.6p in early deals on Wednesday after its eight UK sites were awarded the ‘Travellers' Choice Winner’ denomination by TripAdvisor.

The company’s escape rooms are now among the top 10% of attractions worldwide present on the online travel platform.

“Whilst the uncertainty from COVID-19 remains, the strong support shown by our customers, evidenced by the TripAdvisor scores, coupled with the confidence shown in the business by our investors gives us cause for optimism,” said Escape Hunt chief executive Richard Harpham in a statement.

Elsewhere, EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) rose 11% to 0.68p on the back of a deal with German firm ewerGy relating to a waste gasification project in Larissa in Greece, the country’s first waste gasification plant.

The waste-to-energy technology firm will sell equipment and provide engineering & design services to ewerGy for €2mln, which will be paid in stages over 18 months.

The AIM-listed company said the financial close for the Larissa plant has occurred with the first milestone payment of €200,000 expected to be received in September this year.

Proactive news headlines

4D pharma plc (LON:DDDD) has said results of a trial using its Live Biotherapeutic in combination with an established cancer drug called a checkpoint inhibitor “far exceeded” the threshold for success set out before the study began. MRx0518 was used alongside Merck & Co’s Keytruda to treat 12 ‘end of line’ patients with either advanced metastatic renal cell carcinoma or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Five people, or 42% of the group, experienced a clinically meaningful benefit from the two drugs. This was well ahead of the success threshold of 10% agreed at the outset of the phase I/II trial. Three patients enjoyed what’s called a partial response to the combination with tumour shrinkage of 30% or greater; in the other two the disease remained stable. The median duration of treatment for the five patients experiencing the clinical benefit from the regimen is now 13.2 months. The treatment itself was well tolerated with no serious adverse effects.

EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) said it has signed an equipment sale and services deal with German EPC firm ewerGy relating to a waste gasification project in Larissa in Greece, the country’s first waste gasification plant. The AIM-listed waste-to-energy technology firm said the deal involves the sale of equipment and engineering & design services to ewerGy worth €2mln, which will be paid in stages over 18 months. EQTEC also said the financial close for the Larissa plant has occurred with the first milestone payment of €200,000 expected to be received in September this year.

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) has said it is making “continued positive progress” regarding its debt refinancing with a new US lender. The iodine maker said the necessary internal approvals have now been obtained by the lender and the transaction is in the final legal documentation phase, with the specifics of the transaction to be detailed to the market once documentation is complete and finalised. General terms include a term loan as well as a revolving line of credit which will allow Iofina to fully pay current debt holders.

Blue Star Capital PLC (LON:BLU) has said that SatoshiPay, the payment company in which it has 27.7% stake, has processed over €1mln of transactions for publishing clients. German giant Axel Springer has been an early adopter of the technology as has Börsenmedien's leading German retail investor magazine ​Der Aktionär​. The blockchain-enabled clearing platform has allowed readers to make micro-payments for premium content rather than being forced to take out subscriptions.

Panther Metals PLC (LON:PALM) said it has identified a structural zone at its Marrakai gold project in Australia’s Northern Territory. An assessment of available ground and airborne geophysical data has confirmed the presence of a 3.6 kilometre (km) by 0.5km structural zone that Panther believes might control the location of mineralisation within the project. Identified gold prospects at Steve's Hill, John's Reef Gold and Chins are closely associated to this NE magnetic trend according to the data, Panther added. Previously unrecognised high-priority magnetic targets were also present in the southern portion of the exploration licence that showed a similar geophysical response to Steve's Hill.

Emmerson PLC (LON:EML) has announced the findings of a socio-economic study which confirms that the Khemisset potash project in Morocco will provide significant benefits at local, regional and national levels. The study, authored by economics professor Sallem Koubida, estimates the mine project will lift local GDP per capita by around 40%. It will create 2,385 direct and indirect jobs during construction, the study estimates, while the operational mine will create 1,500 jobs - comprising 760 direct employees - with the company aiming to fill 90% of roles with people from the Khemisset area and surrounding communities.

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) has noted a resolution of the dispute between its fellow partners in the PEDL253 licence, which hosts the Biscathorpe project in Lincolnshire. A payment from Humber Oil & Gas has been received by Egdon Resources PLC (LON:EDR) following a confidential settlement agreement, agreed in June. Back then, Humber and Egdon had said they looked forward to co-operating in the future in the development of the licence.

ADM Energy PLC (LON:ADME) said it has raised £672,500 with the funds set to be used to support its deal to acquire an additional stake in the OML 113 asset in Nigeria. It will allow the company to satisfy the £500,000 cash payment in the agreed acquisition from EER, giving the company an additional 2.25% interest in OML 113 taking its stake to 5%, while the ‘profit interest’ increases to 9.2% from 5%. "This funding brings us a step closer to completing our first deal under the company's new leadership, increasing ADM's position in the highly strategic asset of OML 113,” said Osamede Okhomina, ADM chief executive.

ADM Energy also said it had received notification for the exercise of warrants from participants in the £200,000 loan facility announced on April 27, 2020. The exercise of warrants is over 5,208,333 ordinary shares of 1 pence each in the capital of the company at a price of 2.4p per share. The proceeds of the warrant exercise amounts to £125,000 and have been applied against the original loan amount from the lenders. The company has also issued an additional 416,667 ordinary shares at a price of 2.4p per share to one of the lenders to settle the £10,000 interest accrued on the lender's original loan. Following the exercise of warrants, £175,000 of the £200,000 loan facility has now been repaid.

FastForward Innovations Limited (LON:FFWD) said it has a “great opportunity to scale up” and focus its capital on the areas of life sciences, longevity, healthcare and cannabinoid therapies as it reported its full-year results. In a statement, chief executive Ed McDermott said over the year to March 31, 2020, that a “large portion” of the company’s investments “have continued to make positive advances and reach significant milestones in their development” and that going forward the group was “well-positioned to deliver value over the short-to-medium term” and reach a share price that was “more reflective” of the company’s net asset value (NAV), which at the end of the period stood at around £14.2mln compared to £19.07mln in the prior year.

Karelian Diamond Resources PLC (LON:KDR) has said that it was informed on Tuesday that Steve Coomber now holds 2,300,000 ordinary shares of €0.00025 in the company, equal to approximately 4.30% of the current issued share capital and voting right. 

Solo Oil PLC (LON:SOLO), the AIM-listed investing company targeting attractive production and development opportunities within the European energy market, has said it intends to report its audited annual results for the year ended December 31, 2019, on Tuesday September 1, 2020.

Alliance Pharma PLC (LON:APH), the international healthcare group, has said it will  announce its results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, on Tuesday September 22, 2020. A conference call for analysts will be held at 10.30am on  September 22, 2020; analysts who require dial-in details, please contact Buchanan at [email protected]. A recorded webcast of the analyst conference call, including investor presentation slides, will be made available during the afternoon of September 22 at this link: https://webcasting.buchanan.uk.com/broadcast/5f3fbab0b14d87262643a98b. The recorded webcast will also be made available at the investor section of Alliance's website, https://www.alliancepharmaceuticals.com/investors/

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