The AIM-listed firm, which provides workplace training services, said following the end of January it had experienced “a material impact on revenues” from the outbreak and as the virus spread to more regions it had “observed an increased number of cancellations of booked sessions from clients and a material reduction in new bookings”.
As a result of what the company said was a “sudden fall in revenues” so close to the end of its current financial year, it now expected growth to be below its previous expectations for the year at between 10-15% growth.
1.00pm: LiDCO lifted by surge in Chinese demand for heart monitoring technology
The AIM-listed company said its distribution partner in China, Beijing Gloryway Medical, had sold a small number of its monitors in Wuhan, where the virus originated, as a direct result of the epidemic.
LiDCO said the purchase will provide additional intensive care monitoring capabilities to treat the most acute cases of the infection, which has now infected over 100,000 people worldwide.
12.05pm: Oiler dominate fallers
Oil companies dominate the fallers as the market continues to react to the collapse of the OPEC+ cartel and the ensuing plunging price of crude prices.
10.30am: Premier Oil and Tullow Oil plunge as Saudi Arabia starts crude price war
“Saudi Arabia has declared war on their Russian OPEC+ partners,” according to Joshua Mahony at IG Group.
Fortunately, this is not a military war that Saudi Arabia has declared; rather it is an oil price war, with Saudi Arabia announcing it would cut its oil prices while increasing production by as much as 20%.
“In the largest one-day drop since the 1991 Gulf War, oil prices fell by as much as 30% due to the threat of a price war between oil exporting group OPEC and its main ally Russia,” reported SP Angel.
Bjarne Schieldrop, the chief commodities analyst at Nordic investment bank, SEB, said the Saudis have “created a race to the bottom to sell Crude into the market”.
“Saudi Arabia basically offered its oil on a fire-sale as it dropped its Official Selling Prices (OSPs) to all regions by $6-8/Bbl – the sharpest decline in Saudi Arabia’s OSPs in decades. Saudi Arabia is undercutting everyone else by a mile, and as such it has created a race to the bottom where everyone must undercut each other in order to be able to sell their crude oil into the market.
“In a market where demand is collapsing due to the unfolding coronavirus outbreak, the only way to push more oil into the market is to push it into storage. To achieve this, producers must offer their physical oil at a large discount to longer-dated prices so that the difference can pay for the storage of the oil surplus, i.e. spot crude oil prices needs to be very low versus longer-dated prices.
“Several OPEC ministers have stated that further discussions will take place in the coming days and weeks in the run-up to the end of the current production-cut agreement in March, so there could still be a slight hope for a deal. Saudi Arabia’s announcement of an oil fire-sale might be a negotiation tactic. If this ends with an outright price war with a large production increase against collapsing demand (due to the coronavirus), then oil will fall even more than we have seen this morning,” Schieldrop predicted.
Proactive news headlines
Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN, First North:FARON) said the US regulator has accepted the protocol design for a trial of Traumakine, a treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Open Orphan PLC’s (LON:ORPH) hVIVO virology and vaccine operation has begun the world’s first human coronavirus challenge study. hVIVO owns Europe’s only quarantine clinic with an onsite virology lab where the challenge model will be developed and used.
Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has agreed to extend the deadlines attached for its £10.25mln loan note offering, as the explorer continues to advance towards the start of drilling for the Perseverance-1 well.
Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) chief executive Rusty Hutson has described 2019 as a significant year with multiple key milestones reached and exiting with production of around 94,800 barrels oil equivalent per day.
Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN) has signed a joint venture agreement with redT energy PLC (LON:RED) to form a vanadium financing partnership to supply vanadium electrolyte for third party-owned vanadium redox flow batteries in projects developed by redT.