WH Ireland today maintained a “buy” recommendation at client company Office2office (LON:OFF) on news that the managed procurement and business critical services group had extended a supply framework with HMRC for ‘at least 12-months’. The broker said this was an encouraging development and, given the potential for additional government departments beyond those already on the agreement to move across, would at least help to underpin volumes at O2O’s Banner business in 2011. Elsewhere, WHI marked down Topps Tiles Plc (LON:TPT) to “market perform” from “buy” following a 20% rise in the company’s share price in recent weeks. It said that while the business remained a good quality cyclical recovery play, the absence of a clear positive catalyst to drive a re-rating from present levels meant it was switching to neutral on the shares.
Meanwhile, Fox-Davies Capital maintained a “buy” rating at Hochschild Mining Plc (LON:HOC) on reports that International Minerals Corporation had unearthed an excellent sequence of drill holes from the Angela vein at its 51% owned Inmaculada gold/silver project. This project is currently 49% owned by Hochschild and lies approximately 25km southwest of the Pallancata silver mine. The only downside is that IMZ can increase its interest in the Inmaculada project from 51% to 70% by completing at its sole cost a feasibility study by September 2013 and issuing 200,000 common shares to Hochschild over five years. Nevertheless, FDC said the project remained “very interesting”.
Astaire Securities gave the nod to news that cleantech group Acta Spa (LON:ACTA) had received project consent for the first three applications in its won developed, Italian Photovoltaic project pipeline. The three consents cover 2.7MW and have a market value of approximately €870,000. Acta estimates the applications currently in progress have potential sales value of approximately €7.5m on a consent only basis. Astaire said the company was developing a measured and pragmatic approach to achieving a return for shareholders. Elsewhere, Astaire expressed concern about Helesi Plc (LON:HLS), the Greek group that makes plastic waste containers. Interim revenues are expected to slip to around €25.0m against €39.2m in 2009, while net debt remains “stubbornly high” at €73.0m. Astaire said there appeared to be no signs of the business stabilising, with end markets continuing to deteriorate and increasing levels of debt. There are also fears that €9.3m owed by the Greek public sector may not be forthcoming.
Evolution Securities pointed to Premier Foods Plc (LON:PFD) as a share to “buy” for contrarian investors prepared to be patient. Premier has endured a poor share performance this year triggered by concerns over its debt levels, declining headline sales and the tough UK consumer environment. However, it appears to be on course to hit its target of generating around £100m of free cash flow. Elsewhere, Evo shifted to “neutral” on Salamander Energy Plc (LON:SMDR) after the oil and gas group downgraded the reserves estimate of its 50%-held Kambuna field because of lower downhole pressure. Net working interest reserves fell from 16.6m barrels of oil equivalent to 9.1m barrels. The broker said it was now awaiting re-assurance on production guidance and an update on the 2011 exploration campaign at the interim results on August 26.
Staying with Salamander, which also today reported that it was abandoning the unsuccessful Bang Nouan-1 exploration well, Westhouse Securities urged a “hold” rating but said the Bang Nouan-1 well had not been significant to its valuation on a risked basis. Meanwhile, Westhouse reiterated a “buy” recommendation for BP (LON:BP.) which said it was making progress towards permanently sealing its MC252 well in the Gulf of Mexico. Westhouse said the latest news together with yesterday’s announcement that BP was making good progress on its disposal programme was “clearly a positive development”.
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