The FTSE closed last week broadly where it started at around 5,770 points, it had to recover from a significant early week drop (closing last Monday at 5,645 points). The AIM All share had a less troubled week, opening at 780 points and closing at 777. The markets have seen the Spanish economy slip back into recession, having contracted by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, retail sales sliding in the Eurozone with the PMI for Germany, France and Italy falling from 49.1 to 41.3 and the US economy slowing to an annualised pace of 2.2% in the first quarter of the year, from 3% in the final three months of last year. The week ahead sees manufacturing, construction and services PMI data being announced, BoE mortgage data and a speech by the BoE governor.
Affero Mining (LON:AFF 57.5p/ £60.38m)
Afferro Mining, the exploration and development Company focused on iron ore projects in Cameroon, has reported that following discussions with the Cameroon Government it will be provided the opportunity to access the proposed railway line through the south of Cameroon. In a series of meetings with the Directors of the Company recently, the Cameroon Government has emphasised its commitment that the infrastructure should also serve third party mining projects to develop the nascent Cameroonian iron ore industry. The Company is also in discussions with the Government regarding the possibility of participating in the financing of the special purpose vehicle being set up to develop the railway. Accordingly, the Company is revising its Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) to take these developments under consideration and shall be disclosing its findings in May.
Ark Therapeutics (LON:AKT) Group (LON:AKT 3.78p/£7.90m)
Ark Therapeutics Group announced that following inspection of the Company's manufacturing site, the Finnish Medicines Agency has extended Ark's Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification to include the Company's newest and largest production facility, GMP 3. The certification will greatly increase the Company's manufacturing capacity, including an automated "fill and finish" line capable of handling up to 2,000 product units/hour. In response to growing demand for the Company's bio- manufacturing expertise, earlier this month Ark appointed Dr David Venables to the Board as Executive Director - Manufacturing Services. David Venables, Ark's Director of Manufacturing Services commented: "The availability of the GMP 3 suite will allow us to continue to attract high quality clients wishing to avail themselves of Ark's unrivalled viral-based manufacturing expertise and facilities. At a time when I have been brought in to build the revenue generating aspect of this business I am very excited by this newly validated capacity coming on-line."
Avacta (LON:AVCT) (LON:AVCT 0.82p/£25.73m)
Avacta, a leading provider of proprietary analytical and diagnostic technology, consumables and re-agents, to the drug development and healthcare sectors, last week announced interim results for the 6 months to 31st January 2012. Revenues for the Company improved by 72 per cent to £1.72m (2011: £1m), and there was a slight narrowing of losses to £0.52m (2011: £0.60m). Significant growth in the revenue was in part due to an improvement in sales of the Company’s Optim 1000 analysing product, which has leapt to an installed base of 27 from 13 last year- each of these systems being sold at c.£100k, and at £240 per test. This is a protein based array system designed to be used at early stage development, eliminating potential failures and thus bringing down wasted development costs. A variation of this product for laboratory standard blood tests is being designed for use in the veterinary space (AX1), which is due to ship later this year potentially providing another boost for the Company. In both cases, the Company believes volume sales will push build-costs down, so we look carefully to see how the market responds to AX1 when it starts shipping. January 2012 saw the Company make an important acquisition, with it now owning the Affimer affinity reagents platform, which it believes has a number of clear advantages over antibodies when producing protein microarrays for drug and biomarker discovery. A very busy period for the Company which could have a very interesting future ahead.
Beacon Hill Resources (LON:BHR) (LON:BHR 8.65p/£90.95m)
A definitive feasibility study of the Minas Moatize Mine, Mozambique has demonstrated highly compelling economics for the mine expansion, whilst mining of coal has commenced from Upper Chipanga Pit allowing for the production of a high margin hard coking coal product. Continued progress has been made with respect to attaining an allocation on the Sena Rail Line to enable cost reductions and ramp up of production to 4Mtpa Run of Mine coal. A strategic partnership has been finalised with Vitol Group, including marketing agreement and provision of a $20m debt facility to the Group. The revenue is forecasted to increase following the maiden export and shipment of coking coal in mid-2012 and listing a completed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
BGlobal (LON:BGBL) (LON:BGBL 13.12p/£13.95m)
The smart energy solutions supplier announced a world first this week in the smart metering space having used an unlicensed spectrum in TV white space to read a smart meter. The Company, in conjunction with Neul who are world leaders in 'white space' expertise, used the 'white space' spectrum, which is the spare frequency of television channels that is no longer in use following the switch over from analogue to digital TV, and the move could mean a major step forwards in the roll out of smart metering technology- meters could in theory be read remotely thereby enabling consumers in remote areas for example to benefit from receiving accurate energy consumption data as well as accurate energy bills. An exciting update from Bglobal who also earlier in the month signed a deal with Energetix, a developer of alternative energy products, to assist them in the process of creating a new energy supply company with the signing of a software licence agreement for the provision of energy data management software with Utilisoft, the subsidiary of Utiligroup which is owned by Bglobal.
Biome Technologies (LON:BIOM) (LON:BIOM 0.16p/£9.4m)
Biome Technologies gave a trading update for the three months ended 31 March 2012. Total Group revenues achieved for the first three months of the year were £4.6m (£5.6m). This is ahead of the final quarter of 2011 and close to the 2011 quarterly average of £4.8m. It anticipates performance to be second half weighted this year and consequently expects sales growth to increase in both divisions as the year progresses. The Group's cash position at 31 March 2012 was £1.8m (£2.4m). The reduction of £0.6m was due to a mixture of trading performance and further working capital investments. Sales were slower to achieve than expected in the first quarter, although the progress made since Q4 2011 is significant. Biome remains confident of achieving trading objectives and performance for the full year.
Bullabulling Gold (LON:BGL) (LON:BGL 17p/£49.14m)
The Company which has a 100 per cent interest in the Bullabulling gold project in Western Australia provided a quarterly activity report for the quarter ending 31 March 2012. Significant corporate episodes during the period include the acquisition of GGG Resources plc and the appointment of Brett Lambert as MD of the Company who
commenced his new position today. On an operational front, an option agreement to acquire a 100 per cent interest in the Geko Gold Project was signed early in the year, followed by phase II results from the Bullabulling Trend drilling programme (which included new higher grade intersections) and an updated JORC estimate (based on Phase II infill drilling with 3.2 million ounces of gold, of which 2.1 million ounces is in the Indicated category). Initial exploration drilling at Gibraltar totalling 2,805m in 14 holes has also been completed with the first assay results showing new higher grade intersections, and data has also been received from the recently completed 2 D seismic survey that enhances the prospectivity of high grade mineralisation at depth along the Bullabulling Trend.
Ceres provided details of a new commercial partnership for the Itho-Daalderop Group B.V.to commit technical resources to the Ceres programme for the development of the low cost mass market CHP (Combined Heat and Power) product that will be trialed in 2014 and launched in 2016. Ceres will access Itho-Daalderop's product value engineering capability, compact and efficient condensing boiler technology and established volume supply chain. Itho-Daalderop will also distribute Ceres fuel cell CHP products into the residential mass market within the Benelux countries, the third largest boiler market in the European Union with over 650,000 units sold annually. This agreement builds on the existing supplier relationship between Ceres and Itho-Daalderop and creates a new partnership that will bring sustainable low cost energy solutions to the residential mass market. Under the new agreement, Ceres grants Itho-Daalderop exclusive distribution rights for the Ceres CHP product in the Benelux countries for a period of four years from initial sales, subject to Itho-Daalderop ordering the minimum volumes of 78,000 units over this period. In addition, Itho-Daalderop will order initial units from Ceres to support field trials in the Netherlands in 2014 and 2015.
China New Energy (LON:CNEL) Ltd (LON:CNEL 4.38p/£12.98m)
The Board of China New Energy Limited yesterday announced that the Company has entered into an Agreement of Intent with a Chinese State-Owned ethanol producer,
which has a total of 600,000 tonnes of ethanol production capacity, to convert an existing facility into a more efficient and advanced facility with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes of biofuel per year. Under the Agreement of Intent, CNE will provide technology solutions to modify and convert an existing ethanol production facility which currently converts corn into ethanol into a commercial-scale production facility capable of converting non-edible "cellulosic" plant waste into acetone, butanol and ethanol. The Agreement of Intent was entered into with a wholly owned subsidiary of Jilin Ethanol Industrial Company Limited (JEIC), a State-Owned conglomerate focused on ethanol production with an annual corn processing capacity of 2,000,000 tonnes and an annual ethanol production capacity of 600,000 tonnes. Under the Agreement of Intent, JEIC's subsidiary has the responsibility to invest 200 million RMB (circa £20m) into the conversion and modification of its existing facility. Should the project proceed in accordance with the Agreement of Intent, CNE could generate up to £20m of revenue by the end of 2013. CNE may, subject to negotiation and funding ability, be able to participate in the Jilin Biofuel Facility on an equity basis through contribution of technology and/or cash funds. Both parties will strive to complete the Project by 31 December 2013. Mr. Weijun Yu, Executive Chairman of CNE, commented: "This facility is a significant component of our plan to advance the Company's cellulosic ethanol and butanol strategy and maintain a market share of more than 50 per cent in providing technology and engineering solutions to China's bioethanol and biobutanol industry. The Agreement demonstrates CNE's fully integrated end-to-end capability, from bioscience research development and deployment through to finalising the capital project"
Cosalt (LON:CSLT) (LON:CSLT 0.82p/£3.34m)
The Financial Services Authority temporarily suspended the securities of Cosalt at the request of the Company pending notification of its Annual financial report for the financial period ended 31 December 2011. Further to the announcement made on 12 April 2012, the Board of Cosalt has agreed with Oval (a Company wholly owned by David Ross) an extension of one month to 31 May 2012 for repayment of the short term £1m credit facility provided by Oval. The Company is continuing discussions with David Ross, and the Group's pension trustees and its banks to secure a long term financing solution to ensure it has sufficient working capital to sustain the business. Any such solution is expected to involve the issue of new equity share capital. Whilst the Board has continued
to progress these discussions, their outcome remains uncertain, and the Group is not yet in a position to publish its Report and Accounts for the 12 months ended 31 December 2011 by 30 April 2012, as required by Disclosure & Transparency Rule 4.1.3. Accordingly the Company has requested that its ordinary shares be suspended from trading pending publication of its audited accounts.
Energetix (LON:EGX) Group (LON:EGX 24.75p/£20.6m)
Energetix Group which develops and commercialises alternative and efficient energy products, announced that the three DC100 compressed air batteries supplied to the Co- operative Financial Services, have gone live. This system now provides backup power to the data processing facility (Call Centre) and data centre in the prestigious Co-operative Bank Pyramid building in Stockport UK and is the prime backup system for the site. As part of the agreement Energetix can use this installation for marketing; providing a high profile demonstration site for the Pnu Power data centre solution which is both highly reliable and reduces energy costs and CO2 emissions. To date, the Pnu Power product range has been sold in to the telecommunications and grid switching markets with systems in the 2kW to 20kW range. This installation at the Pyramid Building will increase the product range up to 300 kW and will be the first system deployed in the higher powered data centre market.
Goals Soccer Centres (LON:GOAL) (LON:GOAL 128.5p/£ 62.48m)
The Annual General Meeting of Goals Soccer Centres has been held. At the meeting Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman, made the following statement: "Goals opened its first modular build centre in Chester on 18 March 2012. This centre was delivered on budget and on time. The Board will evaluate all aspects of this during the remainder of 2012 with a view to resuming the rollout of more centres from 2013, economic and market conditions allowing”. Sales and profits at Goals USA have continued to grow steadily and the Board believes there is significant potential for further growth. On 2 April 2012 the Company entered an offer period following the announcement by the Company regarding a possible offer for the Company by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The Company remains in offer discussions and at this time there can be no certainty that an offer will be made for the Company.
GVC Holdings (LON:GVC) (LON:GVC 162p/ £51m)
GVC Holdings, the B2B and B2C service provider in the online gaming and sports betting markets, has reported a 17 per cent increase in revenues for the year ending December 2011. EBITDA fell by 19 per cent; however, the final dividend was increased by 10 per cent, reflecting the confidence in 2012 trading. Trading so far in 2012 has been encouraging with a 57 per cent increase in average daily revenues, and with the Latin American business showing sports wagers 165 per cent higher than the same period last year.
Hasgrove (LON:HGV) (LON:HGV 30.5p/£7.36m)
Hasgrove, the digital and communications services group, has reported a 2.4 per cent increase in revenues for the year ending December 2011. However, due to a combination of delays in client spending and overruns on two significant projects, operating margins came under pressure, falling from 10 per cent in 2010 to 4 per cent in 2011. The Company has completed its restructuring including the disposal of Interel, the public affairs and strategic communications business. With the first quarter of 2012 getting off to a good start, the Board has proposed a doubling of the dividend.
Herencia Resources (LON:HER) (LON:HER 1.95p/£29.68m)
Herencia, the Chilean mineral exploration and development Company, provided an operational update with final results from the 2011 drilling programme. The Company said that it returned some of the highest zinc, silver and lead grades ever achieved at its Paguanta Project, with its Managing Director Michael Bohm commenting: "These final results from the 2011 drill program have returned some outstanding grades, particularly near surface. Grades of plus 20% zinc, plus 30% lead and plus 1,400g/t silver are a positive way to round out the 2011 program.” Herencia has chosen Golder and Associates to finalise an updated Mineral Resource Estimate which is due for release in late May/June 2012. The Company also announced last week that Michael Bohm is due to step down and will be succeeded by Graeme Sloan who has over 30 years of experience in the resources sector in Australia and North America.
Microsaic Systems (LON:MSYS) (LON:MSYS 32p/£12.38m)
The developer of chip-based scientific instruments announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2011: revenues of £267,999 for 2011 (£196,737 for 7 months to 31 December 2010). Microsaic Systems launched its first breakthrough product - the Microsaic 3500 MiD - in January 2011 at a major international trade show. Enthusiasm for the product is high and sales leads continue to grow. The Company is in commercial discussions with six major companies who have confirmed a strong interest in OEM sales channels. Successful admission to the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, and an institutional placing of £4.0m (gross) took place in April 2011 to fund the development and commercialisation of miniaturised mass spectrometer products based on the Company's patented chip-based technologies. Microsaic Systems has made significant progress during 2011 with cash and cash equivalents of £1,818,319 at 31 December 2011 compared to £674,212 at 31 December 2010. The year 2011 has been a good one for Microsaic Systems, one in which the Company has taken significant steps in its evolution, and recorded a number of important commercial and technological achievements. The Company launched its first major product, began manufacturing and direct product sales, and took substantial steps towards volume sales through OEM channels.
Next Fifteen (LON:NFC 96p/£55.45m)
Next Fifteen, the worldwide digital communications group, announced interim results for the six months to 31 January 2012, which saw revenues increase by 11 per cent to £45.3m (2011: £40.8m), and a 15 per cent increase in Profit before Tax to £4.3m (2011: £3.7m). This is healthy growth for the Company, which unfortunately saw some client losses during the period- HP (US, UK and APAC) Visa in the US and Boots in the UK were among those, whilst the Company also signed a number of new clients including Foursquare (US), Nokia (US, UK and APAC), Adobe (APAC) to name but a few. Growth has been seen across all key sectors and territories, and the Company is seeing continuing growth in the opportunity pipeline.
Quarto (LON:QRT 140p/£28.62m)
Quarto, an international co-edition book publisher based in London announced its Q1 Interim Management Statement for the 3 months ended 31 March 2012, in which it
announced that it is on track to meet expectations. Though the first quarter is typically no more than about one sixth of annual revenues, revenues came in at $34m (2011: $32.6m) whilst operating profit was ahead by 35 per cent at $666,000 (2011: $494,000). For the Trailing Twelve Months to March 31, 2012, revenues rose by 5 per cent to $187.4m and pretax profit was up by 4.6 per cent at $12.2m. Interestingly, post period end the Company has seen the welcoming of Mr Marcus Leaver, 42, who joins the group in the second quarter as Chief Operating Officer and who is expected to take over the role of CEO next year.
Reneuron (LON:RENE) Group (LON:RENE 3.88p/£29.35m)
On 3 April 2012, the Board of ReNeuron Group announced the details of a Placing and Open Offer where the Company had already raised gross proceeds of approximately £5.4m by means of a Placing at 4p per share and in addition they provided all qualifying shareholders with the opportunity to subscribe, also at 4p per share. The Open Offer has now closed in accordance with its terms, representing a take-up of approximately 17.43 per cent of the total Open Offer Shares being offered and providing gross proceeds of approximately £0.7m.
Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) (LON:SXX 19.5p/£261m)
Sirius Minerals, the potash development group, has announced the completion of the Detailed Scoping Study (DSS) for the Company’s 100 per cent owned York Potash Project. The DSS has confirmed the technical and economic viability of the project, and the management believes it has potential to be the largest low cost Sulphate of Potash (SOP) mine in the world and towards the bottom of the global potash cost curve after accounting for the potential value of the by-products produced. The phase 1 start-up capital cost has been estimated at US$2.7bn for mining and processing of 5m tpa (tonnes per annum) of Polyhalite ore to produce 1.4m tpa of SOP. The next milestone for the Project is to deliver the maiden JORC resource statement at the end of May 2012.
Synchronica (LON:SYNC) (LON:SYNC 12.88p/£20.43m)
On 7 March 2012, the Board of Myriad AG announced the terms of its recommended increased share offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Synchronica.
Under the terms of the Offer, shareholders will receive 4.83 New Myriad Shares for every 100 Synchronica Shares. Myriad announced that as at 30 April 2012, the third closing date of the Offer, it had received valid acceptances under the Offer in respect of approximately 90.34 per cent. of Synchronica. The Offer has been extended to 1.00 p.m. London time (corresponding to 8.00 a.m. Toronto time) on 15 May 2012. As set out in the Offer Document, Myriad confirms that it intends to exercise its rights to acquire compulsorily the remaining Synchronica Shares on the same terms as the Offer. It is anticipated that the last day of dealings in Synchronica Shares will be 15 May 2012 and that such cancellation will take effect at 7.00 a.m. on 16 May 2012.
Tarsus (LON:TRS) (LON:TRS 146.75p/£139.44m)
Tarsus Group, the international business-to-business media group, has conditionally agreed to acquire 50 per cent of the China International Automotive Aftermarket Industry and Tuning (Guangzhou) Trade Fair (GZ Auto) and other associated business assets. This JV will provide Tarsus with exposure to the rapidly growing automotive industry in China, which overtook the US in 2009 as the largest consumer of new automobiles, and fits neatly into the Company’s strategy of generating half its revenues from emerging markets in 2013.The JV and the exclusive GZ Auto-related support and services fee will be for a maximum sum of RMB112m (£11.2m) payable in cash. The JV is subject to regulatory approval in China and certain other conditions, and completion is expected within the next three months. Upon the agreement becoming unconditional, Tarsus will pay approximately RMB72m (£7.2m) in 2012, with the remaining sum payable in 2013 and 2014, subject to the achievement of certain profit targets related to future performance. The transaction will be funded from the Company’s existing cash resources and available bank facilities.
Tower Resources (LON:TRP) the oil exploration company, announced the appointment of Philip Swatman as an independent, non-executive director with immediate effect. In addition to serving as Tower's Senior Independent Director, he will join the Company's Remuneration Committee and (from May 2012) will chair the Company's Audit Committee. Under the terms of his contract with the Company, Mr Swatman has been
granted 1.5m share options at an exercise price of 2.85p per share. The Company also announces that non-executive Director, Mark Savage has informed the Company of his intention to resign from the Board once the 2011 accounts and annual report are issued and before the upcoming AGM, due to the pressure of other commitments. Mark currently chairs the Audit Committee.
Valirx (LON:VAL) (LON:VAL 0.46p/£5.79m)*
A life science company with a focus on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine last week announced its final results for the year ended 31 December 2011. Revenue for the year increased by 157 per cent to £455,000 (2010: £177,000). Significant advances were seen in the development and progress of both therapeutic compounds, VAL101 and VAL201, in their respective pre-clinical and translational programmes and towards in-human Phase I clinical trials. The acquisition from Pharmatest Services Oy of Oulu, Finland, of its biomarkers business unit, patent families and applications and related IP, by subsidiary, ValiRx Finland OY (ValiFinn) was completed. This provides the Company with exposure to both the key and increasingly exciting biomarkers market and to new revenue streams. VAL received $1.1m proceeds from the sale of Belgian subsidiary diagnostic development business, ValiBIO S.A. to Singapore Volition Pte. Ltd. The transaction, which was completed in the 2010 financial year, sees ValiRx satisfactorily exit from its investment whilst retaining a modest shareholding in Volition, whilst also retaining certain rights to use the technologies sold for use in ValiRx's therapeutic programmes and products. During the period, ValiRx was pleased to have secured several developmental collaborative agreements, with prestigious partners including Oxford University, Imperial College, and Physiomics plc (AIM: PYC).
Verona Pharma (LON:VRP) (LON:VRP 4.4p/£13.52m)
Verona Pharma, the Company focused on discovering and developing first-in-class drugs for respiratory disease, today announced the appointment of Dr Sven Jan-Anders Karlsson (aged 57) as Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 June 2012. Dr Karlsson has broad pharmaceutical and biotechnology R&D and corporate experience. He was
formerly the CEO at S*BIO, a Singapore and US based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecule anti-cancer drugs. Before S*BIO, Dr Karlsson was Executive Vice President of Pharma Global Research at Bayer Healthcare after holding senior leadership positions at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi) and Astra (now
AstraZeneca). The current CEO, Michael Walker, was one of the co-founders of Verona Pharma. Michael will work closely with Jan-Anders to ensure a successful handover of the CEO position and will continue to serve the Company as a Senior Scientific Advisor to the Board.
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