CLS Holdings PLC (LON:CLI) dipped 3% to 286.52p in mid-afternoon after announcing the acquisition of multi-let office space in Staines, Surrey, as well as the sale of a London building to a private developer.

TWENTY was bought for £19mln, is currently let to four tenants and has a vacancy of 23%, while Quayside Lodge in Fulham, London, was sold for the same amount.

“TWENTY Kingston Road offers strong reversionary potential with a yield of 7% once fully let and the acquisition is in line with our opportunistic approach,” chief executive Fredrik Widlund said in a release.

J Sainsbury PLC’s (LON:SBRY) lost 2% to 227.01p after posting like-for-like sales including fuel fell 1.1% in the 15 weeks to 4 January, while total retail sales slipped 0.9%.

The LFL sales slip was slightly worse than analyst expectations which had predicted that sales in the period would be mostly flat.

The FTSE 100 grocer is another major name in the sector suffering sales declines over the so-called ‘golden’ Christmas quarter.

2pm: Breedon Group rises on acquisition of Cemex’s UK arm

Breedon Group PLC (LON:BREE) gained 6% to 86.63p in early afternoon trades on the back of an acquisition from Cemex SAB de CV ADR (NYSE:CX).

The AIM-listed construction materials company will snap up the UK arm and some operation of the Mexican company for £178mln in cash, debt-free.

It will add 170mln tonnes of mineral reserves and resources while adding to the development of Breedon’s national asphalt strategy and increasing footprint in areas where it is underrepresented.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) rose 7% to 0.41p after updating investors on the Bonya tungsten and copper deposit in Australia resource potential.

Thor is drilling to establish Bonya as a source of ore to extend the life of its nearby Molyhil project.

Latest holes to be drilled showed best results of a 23m intersection at a grade of 0.58% WO3 (tungsten) from the surface at White Violet and a 9m copper band at Samarkand.

1pm: Pharos Energy slips over slashed dividend

Pharos Energy PLC (LON:PHAR) slipped 5% to 55p at lunchtime after informing investors that the 2020 dividend will be halved compared to the 2019 payment.

The oiler will issue 2.75p per share, a yield of 5% on yesterday’s close of 58p, to focus on capital investment in the expanded portfolio.

Production in Egypt came as a disappointment as well, with 6mln barrels of oil per day (boe/d) as opposed to the 6.5mln boe/d guidance.

Shoe Zone Plc (LON:SHOE) lost 4% to 156.5p as the footwear retailer posted lower profits but managed to keep the final divi at 8p per share.

The AIM-listed firm attributed the decline to “government imposed increases” in its operating costs.

For the year ended 5 October, the company reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £9.8mln, down from £11.4mln in the prior year, while revenues edged up 0.9% to £1.62bn.

11.30am: MPAC Group jumps with second profit upgrade in four months

MPAC Group PLC (LON:MPAC) shares were trading 16% higher at 240p in late morning after upgrading full-year profit expectations for the second time in four months.

The company, which provides high speed packaging and automation services, attributed the continuing momentum to “a strong Q4 order intake and accelerated project execution”. 

“I am confident that we will be able to report an excellent financial performance for 2019 and improved outlook for 2020 which gives us confidence for the future progress of the business,” chief executive Tony Steels said in a release.

Midatech Pharma PLC (LON:MTPH)(NASDAQ:MTP) hiked 24% to 3.4 on the back of positive results from additional studies on its MTD201 cancer drug.

The analysis revealed the candidate can be delivered via an injection under the skin rather than into the muscle.

It is a “key” advantage paving the way for approval, while a “pivotal” study is planned for later in the first half with preparations already underway.

10.20am: Trans-Siberian Gold falls as estimated resources at Asacha Gold Mine get slashed

Trans-Siberian Gold PLC (LON:TSG) topped the losers list with a 21% stumble to 65.35p as the mineral resource estimate for its Asacha Gold Mine was reduced after further analysis.

As of 20 December, the asset is estimated to hold 312,558 ounces of gold, as opposed to 553,052 ounces a year before.

The AIM-listed miner is now undertaking a new drilling campaign to upgrade the resources, while formal guidance for the current year will be published “shortly”.

Travelex owner Finablr PLC (LON:FIN) was not doing much better with a 16% fall to 130p after updating on the Sodinokibi Windows ransomware attack.

The FTSE 250-listed firm was asked to pay US$6m (£4.6m) to restore the customer data they claimed to have swiped from Travelex’s systems, or else they would sell it on the dark web.

Finablr said there was “no evidence” that personal customer data has been encrypted and “no evidence that any data has been exfiltrated”, adding that Travelex has successfully contained the spread of the ransomware.

China New Energy Limited (LON:CNEL) lost 14% to 2.5p after announcing the process for listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is taking longer than expected.

The AIM-listed engineering and technology solutions provider to the bioenergy sector said admission to trades will occur in the first half of 2020.

Management added trading in the second half of 2019 remained “strong” and is “optimistic” for the current period.

9.20am: Asimilar Group rises with £6.8mln placing at 15% premium

Asimilar Group PLC (LON:ASLR) jumped 25% higher to 40.66p in early morning trade on Wednesday after launching a placing at a premium to Tuesday’s closing share price, hot on the heels of last month’s change of name from YOLO Leisure.

The AIM-listed big data and Internet of Things firm raised £6.8mln by placing 17mln new shares at a price of 40p each with existing and new investors, a 15% premium to Tuesday’s closing price of 33.8p.

Chairman John Taylor said in a release the proceeds will be used to pursue “potentially bold and transformative” investment options.

Ramsdens Holdings PLC (LON:RFX) was also on the gainers list with a 5% push upwards to 247.9p after announcing full-year profit before tax will be “comfortably” ahead of market expectations.

The financial services provider and retailer mentioned “strong” trading during the Christmas period, when the jewellery segment recorded double-digit revenue growth.

The company noted that a high gold price boosted profits in the precious metals segment while its pawnbroking and foreign currency divisions continued to produce “good” results.

Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) also nudged higher, up 4% to 18.25p as it set up a joint venture with Korean firm Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co.

The firms will develop new cell and gene therapies using Avacta’s Affimer proteins which will specifically target the development of a new class of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

The AIM-listed company said its research and development costs for these targets “will be fully covered by the joint venture which is funded by Daewoong”.

Proactive news headlines:

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) has confirmed that it has received a premium-priced takeover offer from Anglo American plc (LON:AAL), and, it is now in advanced talks with the FTSE 100-listed miner. The offer is pitched at 5.5p per share, which is a 34.1% premium to yesterday’s closing price of 4.1p. In a statement released after the market close on Tuesday, Sirius’s management team said it would be prepared to recommend an offer at that price.

Midatech Pharma PLC (LON:MTPH) (NASDAQ:MTP) has hailed the positive results from a study assessing the potential to deliver one of its drugs via an injection under the skin rather than into the muscle. MTD201, which is being developed to treat carcinoid cancer and the growth hormone condition acromegaly, was able to maintain the correct levels of plasma octreotide over six to eight weeks using this subcutaneous method, researchers found.

Shield Therapeutics PLC (LON:STX) has signed an exclusive agreement worth up to US$63mln for its iron deficiency treatment Feraccru to be sold in China. The deal with ASK Pharm (Beijing Aosaikang Pharmaceutical), covers China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and will involve an upfront payment of US$11.4mln and up to US$51.4mln in milestone and royalties. ASK Pharm will also pay for the marketing authorisation process and commercialising of Feraccru, which is branded as Accrufer in the US.

Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) has set up a joint venture to develop new cell and gene therapies using its Affimer proteins. The new JV with Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co will specifically target the development of a new class of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), multipotent cells where functions can include being agents for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Eden Research plc (LON:EDEN) has signed a one-year exclusive evaluation agreement with Corteva Agriscience. The American giant, valued at US$21bn, wants to assess the potential of the UK biopesticides specialist’s encapsulation technology, focusing on formulations for seed treatments.

ADM Energy Plc (LON:ADME) said it has now completed the fundraising it announced on 30 September 2019, which in total raised approximately £412,000, with the final stage raising £150,360 via an issue of 2,148,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 7p each to Zark Capital Limited. Following the issue, Zark will hold 6,000,000 ordinary shares, representing 9.7% of ADM’s issued share capital.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) is to trial its graphene-enhanced asphalt Gipave at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Gipave will be tested for six months on the airport’s Alpha taxiway, which handles intercontinental aircraft such as Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s.

Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT) said it has won two large contracts for delivery of Knowledge Capture, part of its information management suite of products, with a minimum combined contract value of £0.9mln over their minimum term. In a statement, the leading global big data technology company noted that the latest contract wins add to a growing list of multi-national clients for both the group’s RAPid supply chain analytics and information management solutions, adding £200,000 to the company’s annual recurring revenue.

AdEPT Technology Group PLC (LON:ADT) announced that it has delivered network services to more than 100 hospital and specialist care sites as part of a government contract with the NHS. AdEPT was contracted in 2018 to improve network and bandwidth capacity, to allow for financial savings and better access to clinical systems, after the previous connection managed by BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) was deemed obsolete.

Impax Asset Management Group PLC (LON:IPX) has seen strong inflows of new money in the first three months of its current year. The sustainable investment specialist said funds under management rose 7% to £16.1bn in the quarter to December with £771mln of new funds and a £289mln gain from market movements.

Nektan PLC (LON:NKTN) has sold its UK B2C business for £200,000 as part of its restructuring plans. In an announcement after the close on Tuesday, the online gaming platform operator said the B2C business was sold by administrators to Grace Media Limited, and the firm had now entered a B2B partnership with Grace Media to facilitate continued delivery of its B2C services to its white label partners, through which it will receive monthly royalties

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) on Wednesday confirmed the receipt of US$6.7mln in oil payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In a statement, the Iraq-based crude producer reported that the partners in the Taq oil field were paid US$6.7mln gross for oil sales in August 2019, and, its 44% net share amounted to US$3.6mln.

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has released a statement informing investors that it has received notice of a potential claim against the company from a former energy advisor, Askell Limited. In a brief statement, the small cap oiler said: ““AAOG believes the Askell claim is without merit and the company intends to defend the claim vigorously.”

W Resources PLC (LON:WRES) has announced the appointment of Oscar Marin Garcia as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect. The group noted that Garcia has over 20 years’ experience, specialising in retail business in the Extremadura region of Spain and managing family office investments, and is co-founder and CEO of Lider Aliment, SA, a €200mln sales family owned company. W resources pointed out that Garcia has a beneficial interest in 114,655,600 ordinary shares, representing approximately 1.8% of the company’s share capital.

Malvern International PLC (LON:MLVN) said that, further to its announcement on 23 December 2019, the sale of its Malaysian business to AAA Management Science Academy PLT for a total cash consideration of MYR 400,000 (approximately £75,000), payable over a 13 month period, has duly completed. Sam Malafeh, CEO of Malvern, commented: “We are delighted to have completed this transaction, as we can now bring greater focus to growing our UK and Singapore operations.”

Seeing Machines Ltd. (LON:SEE) said it, has collaborated with BMW Group to integrate its FOVIO driver monitoring technology into the BMW i Interaction EASE. It noted that this integration will be featured at the CES 2020 technology show in Las Vegas at the BMW booth Tech East Outside Area. The firm noted that BMW i Interaction EASE leverages Seeing Machines’ technology as a component of their innovative HMI (Human-Machine Interface) concept, visualized through a windshield projected Head-up Display (HUD). It added that Seeing Machines’ SVP of Fleet and Human Factors, Dr Mike Lenné, will also be conducting daily presentations on BMW’s CES booth from Wednesday through Friday.

Victoria Oil & Gas PLC (LON:VOG) announced that it has terminated its broker services agreement with GMP FirstEnergy. Shore Capital Stockbrokers Limited is now the company’s sole broker and Strand Hanson Limited continues to act as the company’s Nominated & Financial Adviser, the group said.

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (LON:BMV) announced that its Annual General Meeting, held on 28 December 2019 in Jersey, all resolutions were duly passed.