Shares in mid-cap oil services group Hunting PLC (LON:HTG) flowed up 6.4% to 457.2p in late-afternoon trading after growth across its Asia Pacific, US, and Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) segments helped drive its first-half profits higher.
For the six months ended 30 June, Hunting reported underlying earnings (EBITDA) of US$77.4mln, up from US$72.6mln the year before, while revenues surged to US$508.9mln from US$442.8mln.
It also hiked its interim dividend by 25% to 5 US cents per share.
On the junior market, new AIM listee Brickability Group PLC (LON:BRCK) performed strongly in its first day of trading, with the shares rising 5.4% to 68.5p from the 65p price tag used in a £57mln placing shortly before the float.
A brick supplier based in Bridgend, Brickability counts Redrow and Berkeley Group among its customers but also sees regional housebuilders as “hugely important” to its business.
1.15pm: TLA Worldwide turns positive as shareholders approve sale of Australian business
Sports marketing agency TLA Worldwide plc (LON:TLA) sprang 20.6% higher to 2p in lunchtime trading after a resolution to sell its Australian business was approved by shareholders at a general meeting.
The AIM-listed firm, which counts sports stars such as swimmer Rebecca Adlington and cyclist Chris Hoy among its client roster, agreed earlier this month to sell its Aussie subsidiary to QMS Sports Holdings (ASX:QMS) for an enterprise value of A$28.3mln (£15.6mln).
Adjusted pre-tax profits rose to £9.1mln in the six months ended 30, up from £6.7mln in the same period of last year, while revenues were up by a quarter at £74.0mln (H1 18: £58.3mln).
The growth was driven by an 11% rise in memberships, which totalled 796,000 at the end of June (H1 18: 720,000), while revenue per member hit £15.47 per month (H1 18: £14.65), reflecting the increasing popularity of the premium LIVE IT membership.
A lunchtime faller was FTSE 250 firm Tullow Oil plc (LON:TLW), which dipped 3.5% to 209.7p after it terminated a farm-down agreement with French major Total and China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
The company said it had been forced to terminate the agreement after being unable to agree “all aspects of the tax treatment” with the Ugandan government over the sale and purchase agreement for the Lake Albert project in the country.
11.30am: Bushveld Minerals bounces as it gets green light for Vanchem acquisition
Bushveld said it had received approval from the Competition Commission of South Africa to acquire Vanchem’s vanadium processing assets, with the transaction expected to be completed by the end of October.
The company is hoping to significantly expand its processing capacity and unlock more of its resource base to make products for the steel, chemicals and energy storage industries.
A mid-cap faller was loan company Amigo Holdings PLC (LON:AMGO), which tumbled 41.7% to 85.2p after it warned that impairments would be higher than expected while also predicting flat growth in its loan book compared to a previous target of high teens percentage growth.
Amigo also ditched its commitments to lowering its net debt and increasing its dividend in the short-term.
Recruiter Hays PLC (LON:HAYS) was also on the slide, falling 2.3% to 135.9p after it posted a 3% drop in pre-tax profits for 2019 while also warning of lower business confidence in Germany and Britain as clients cut back on costs and delayed decision making amid economic uncertainty.
Pre-tax profit fell to £231.2mln in the year to 30 June from a year ago due to higher commission payments, the cost of restructuring operations in Europe and new rules that require companies to equalise pension benefits for men and women.
However, net fees – a key measure of gross profit for recruiters – rose 5% to £1.1bn, led by growth in Germany – its largest market.
9.45am: Horizonte Minerals shares go vertical as it secures US$25mln funding deal for Araguaia project
Shares in nickel miner Horizonte Minerals PLC (LON:HZM) soared 49.6% to 5p in early trading following a US$25mln deal with investment firm Orion Mine Finance to develop its Araguaia project in Brazil.
Orion is one of the market’s largest financiers of mining projects with around US$5.1bn currently under management.
Horizonte said Orion will provide the funds up front in exchange for a 2.25% royalty on the project, which would apply to the first 426,429 tonnes of nickel produced and sold, equivalent to the estimated nickel production over the life of the Araguaia mine according to a feasibility study at the site.
The funds from Orion would enable the company to build out its owner’s team at Araguaia as well as advancing engineering and early works packages before starting full construction of the mine.
In the oilers, Union Jack Oil gushed 11.4% higher to 0.3p after it told investors that partners in the West Newton project now believed it is a “significant oil and gas discovery”.
The company noted that it is now deemed more significant than simply a ‘pure gas discovery’ as was previously perceived.
Meanwhile, in the fallers, FTSE 100 IT firm Micro Focus International PLC (LON:MCRO) tumbled 27.6% to 1,126.8p after it announced plans to accelerate a strategic review of the business and slashed its revenue guidance for the year.
The group said weak sales execution has been compounded by a deteriorating macro environment, which has led customers to delay buying decisions.
“There remains a significant pipeline of business opportunity being pursued but to be within the current guidance range a highly challenging percentage of this pipeline would need to close prior to year-end,” the company said.
It now expects a revenue decline of 6% to 8% for the year to 30 October, down from a previous forecast for a drop of 4% to 6%.