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Escape Hunt slides as UK expansion programme continues

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

Alfa Financial Software Holdings PLC -

Escape Hunt PLC (LON:ESC) dived 5.1% to 9.25p after it announced the opening of its next owner-operated site in glamorous Basingstoke.

It is the eleventh UK site operating under the 'Escape Hunt' brand and will have six games rooms, including an instance of Escape Hunt's newest Doctor Who themed game, 'A Dalek Awakens' as well as a virtual reality games room. Outdoor games are also available, the escape rooms operator said.

“Work at our twelfth UK site, at Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham, is now substantially complete and is similarly positioned in a prime location in the town, giving us confidence that it too will be well received,” said Richard Harpham, Escape Hunt’s chief executive officer.

2.00pm: Christie Group hammered as first-half revenues more than halve

Christie Group PLC (LON:CTG) lost a tenth of its value at 71.5p after it reported its revenues more than halved in the first half of 2020.

The stock & inventory systems and services specialist saw revenues collapse to £18.8mln from £38.1mln in the first half of 2019, leading to a loss before tax of £6.0mln, compared to a profit the year before of £891,000.

The interim dividend has been binned for the time being.

12.50pm: Kape Technologies slides as it taps the market

Kape Technologies PLC (LON:KAPE) took advantage of recent share price strength to raise US$155mln by placing shares at 150p a pop.

The shares fell 4.9% to 160p on the significantly oversubscribed fundraising.

“This additional funding both strengthens our balance sheet and provides the group with greater flexibility in executing on our M&A aspirations and investing in further organic growth initiatives,” said Ido Erlichman, the chief executive officer of Kape.

11.55am: Lloyds Banking returns to profit 

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) galloped 3.1% higher to 28.51p after it returned to profitability in the third quarter of 2020.

Lower provisions for bad debts counterbalanced a continued shrinkage of income.

The lender generated net income of £3.4bn in the three months to end-September, down from £4.2bn the same period a year ago and roughly flat compared to the second quarter.

11.00am: Glanbia sees a significant increase in Performance Nutrition sales

Glanbia PLC (LON:GLB) advanced 6.6% to 8.305p after the global nutrition group said trading improved in the third quarter.

Like-for-like revenues were up 3.1% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020.

“Through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic the Glanbia portfolio has been resilient, particularly the Glanbia Nutritionals segment and our joint ventures. In the third quarter, trends in Glanbia Performance Nutrition improved significantly with an increase in revenues and margins versus the second quarter as markets gradually reopened and trading patterns improved,” said Siobhán Talbot, the group’s managing director.

10.00am: Hornby on the right track as online sales surge

Hornby PLC (LON:HRN) claimed to be on the right track as it moved back into profit, sending the shares 7.4% higher to 36.5p.

The model trains and Aircraft kits firm said its sales increased by 33% year-on-year in the first half of 2020.

“We have seen more online sales than we predicted and at the half-year point we had exceeded the sales levels through this channel than we had achieved in the entire 2019-20 financial year, Families stayed at home, where they spent more time buying online and using our products,” said Lyndon Davies, the chief executive officer of Hornby.

9.00am: Alfa Financial and Malvern International set the early pace

Alfa Financial Software Holdings PLC (LON:ALFA) surged 14% higher to 141p in early trade on Thursday after a trading update included news of contract wins.

Two deals that were close to being reeled in at the time of the company’s half-year results statement at the end of September have now been landed.

One is for a leading US vehicle purchase finance customer and the other is for a leading US retail bank providing equipment finance in its home market. The first contract win ranks in the top tier by contract value and the second ranks in the middle tier by contract value relative to other Alfa contracts, the company said.

Malvern International PLC (LON:MLVN) shot up 29% to 0.135p after its half-year report allayed investors’ fears about the language courses provider’s survival prospects.

“The financing activities in June, along with strong cost-control measures, have provided the company with the head-room to continue operating and unless there is a marked deterioration in the current operating environment position until activity levels return to normal operations,” said Richard Mace, who took over as chief executive officer at the end of June in the results statement.

The first half of the year saw the company’s operations knocked for six but things are now starting to recover.

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Malvern International PLC (LON:MLVN), the educational course's partner, said current bookings are encouraging, with language student numbers starting to recover. A new cohort of University Pathway students is due to start in January with courses going ahead either face-to-face or online, depending on the prevailing coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines while language student numbers are rebuilding, with currently a quarter of the normally expected students for this time of year.

Red Rock Resources PLC (LON:RRR) has been getting things ship-shape at its licences in Kenya after they were renewed in August. "Thanks are due to our camp manager and security and maintenance staff who have kept the site safe and secure for over five years without exploration activity, safeguarding and preserving our records and core sheds. We now have once again a fully operative site as a base for our operations and from which to ramp up exploration,” said Red Rock’s chairman, Andrew Bell in an update on the group's operations in the African country.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) said the outlook for natural gas “is looking increasingly positive” after it put in a solid third-quarter performance. The third-quarter adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) rose to US$75mln from US$68mln in the preceding quarter and US$64mln in the same quarter of 2019. The US-based owner and operator of natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil wells and midstream assets declared a third-quarter dividend of 4.0 cents a share, up from the 3.75 cents paid in the second quarter.

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) has reported sharply reduced losses in its final results as its financial performance improved following a transition to focus on higher value and higher-margin revenue streams. For the year ended June 30, 2020, the esports media group reported an adjusted operating loss of £5.5mln, narrowed from an £8.6mln in the prior year, while revenues were at £4.5mln compared to £7.9mln in 2019.

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) said it has signed new contracts for two sets of Christmas assets with shopping centres in the UK. The AIM-listed media and events group said the first set of assets consisting of its Elfie Christmas bundle will be showcased at the Fort shopping centre in Birmingham from November 20, while the second set, consisting of Santa's Express and Santa's sleigh will be at The Mall shopping centre in Luton from November 17. The deal marks the first partnership with the Fort shopping centre for the group.

ANGLE PLC (LON:AG) (OTCQX:ANPCY) chairman Garth Selvey said the med-tech group is now making “strong progress” towards commercialising its breakthrough liquid biopsy. ANGLE used its interim results to restate plans outlined earlier in the week as it raised £19.6mln to fund its ambitious blueprint. The cash injection will be invested to create clinical laboratories in the US and UK and to underwrite the development of a pharma service business that will tap into the huge market potential of its Parsortix cancer cell detection technology.

Amryt Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:AMYT) (LON:AMYT) has outlined plans to share additional encouraging data on its recent successful phase III study of FILSUVEZ to the medical and financial communities. FILSUVEZ, also known as Oleogel-S10, or previously AP101, was shown to lessen the healing time of wounds in people with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), where the skin is fragile to even the slightest touch. The latest, more detailed batch of data reveals the proportion of patients with first complete closure of the EB target wound within 45 days was 41.3% in those receiving FILSUVEZ compared with 28.9% in the control group.

Kromek PLC (LON:KMK) has announced the appointment of Paul Farquhar as its chief financial officer and a director of the group with effect from November 2, 2020. The company, a worldwide supplier of detection technology focusing on the medical, security screening and nuclear markets, noted that Farquhar has almost 30 years' experience as a finance director and chief financial officer, primarily for international businesses. This includes 10 years as vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer of Sevcon Inc, which was a NASDAQ-listed designer, manufacturer and supplier of microprocessor controls for electric and hybrid vehicles through wholly-owned subsidiaries in Europe, North America and Asia and via an international dealer network.

Clear Leisure PLC (LON:CLP) said it “remains confident” in its “very promising” technology investments and legal claims as the group reiterated its commitment to improving its financial position. In an outlook statement accompanying its interim results, the investment group’s chief executive and chairman Francesco Gardin said positive outcomes are expected from its legal claims and that it will continue its investment strategy in the tech sector both directly and via an enterprise investment scheme (EIS) fund.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) has provided an update on Newcrest's drilling campaign at Greatland's Havieron deposit in the Paterson region of Western Australia which includes the best intercept at the project to date. The AIM-listed precious and base metals exploration and development company noted the release of an ASX announcement titled " Newcrest Quarterly Exploration Report"  by Newcrest Mining Ltd earlier on Thursday.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GEN) noted that DNO ASA, as the operator of the Tawke PSC in Kurdistan, in which Genel 25% working interest, has issued an update on licence activity. The group said production at the Tawke licence increased to 113,700 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in the third quarter, reversing declines resulting from a reduction in activity triggered by the instability caused in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) has said it will publish a JORC 2012 compliant Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource for the Baita Plai Polymetallic Mine in Romania in a few days at the end of October. The resource estimate will cover the first four years of production and further drilling will be conducted, with the objective of publishing an expanded JORC 2012 Mineral Resource, the group said in its latest full-year results statement.

Trident Royalties PLC (LON:TRR) said all pre-conditions for its Lake Rebecca Gold royalty acquisition have now been satisfied and that completion will occur automatically on the admission of the consideration shares. On September 24, 2020, Trident announced that it had entered into a binding agreement to acquire an existing 1.5% Net Smelter Return (NSR) gold royalty over tenement E28/1610, which hosts the entirety of the million-ounce Lake Rebecca Gold Project, currently owned and operated by ASX-listed Apollo Consolidated in Western Australia. The royalty was acquired for a total consideration of A$7,000,000 in cash (about US$5,000,000) and A$1,000,000 to be satisfied by the issue of 1,862,556 new ordinary shares of 1p each in Trident at 29.39p per ordinary share.

Supermarket Income REIT PLC (LON:SUPR)  has acquired a long-standing Sainsbury's supermarket (and adjoining commercial premises) in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne. The REIT, which focuses on stores occupied by the major grocery chains that have omnichannel or online fulfilment capability, said it had acquired the site from the  National Farmers Union for £53.1mln reflecting a combined net initial yield of 4.1%. Sainsbury's has been a long-term tenant on the 11-acre site which was originally developed in the 1980s and completely rebuilt in 2011. 

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) (TSE:TXP) said it spudded its Cascadura Deep-1 ahead of schedule at the Ortoire onshore exploration block in Trinidad and Tobago on October 27, 2020. The oil and gas firm said it is currently drilling the surface hole to a planned casing depth of 900 feet with the bottom hole location anticipated to be 1,300 feet to the south-east. The well is targeting three distinct Herrera thrust sheets and is designed for a total depth of 10,600 feet.

Oracle Power PLC’s (LON:ORCP) Thar project is even more relevant for Pakistan given the country’s drive to become self-sufficient in thermal fuel and gas for fertiliser, according to the group's chief executive Naheed Memon. Thar is being developed through a consortium of Oracle Power, China National Coal Development Company and The Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum. An application for a Letter of Intent (LOI) for 1,320 MW power plant at the mine site has been submitted, said Nemon in a statement with its half-year results to end June 2020, but has been delayed by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and administrative changes at the Power Ministry.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) the AIM-listed metals exploration and development company said it has received a notice to exercise warrants over 4,797,200 new ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the company at an exercise price of 1.0p each and subscription monies of £47,972 have been received by Power Metal in respect of these exercises.

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