It boasted that its investment in its people, cloud-based technology and infrastructure has allowed it to move quickly to an operating model that includes implementing home working for more than 600 of its staff.
“We are confident we can continue to deliver all our core services and maintain high service levels to clients throughout this period of disruption.,” it said.
2.00pm: Royal Mail’s gains on the swings not enough to compensate for losses on the roundabouts
The pandemic has weighed heavily on its UK and Italian markets.
The company expects its UK post business to be “materially loss-making” for its 2020-21 financial year due to the pandemic as marketing campaigns, particularly from the travel sector, have been cancelled.
12.45pm: Capita defends itself against accusations of gaming the system
The controversial outsourcing company has defended its working practices against criticism is was classifying staff as essential workers to keep them coming into its offices.
Guidance for 2020 of modest organic growth and sustainable free cash flow of at least £160mln, issued just three weeks ago, has been withdrawn despite being issued on 5 March.
11.30am: Balfour Beatty bins the divi
The infrastructure group announced it has postponed the annual general meeting, initially scheduled for 14 May, when the proposed final dividend for 2019 of 4.3p per share was due to be approved.
It added that it is keeping UK sites open “where it is practical” while US and Hong Kong operations follow local government guidance.
10.30am: Boxing Dev Clever
The company said all of its employees are now working remotely.
Current trading remains strong, the developer of mobile software said, with subscriptions for the company’s software as a service-based career guidance platforms, Launchyourcareer.com and VICTAR VR, increasing by more than 223% since the end of February 2020.
9.30am: Gattaca and Provident Financial under the cosh
Gattaca PLC tumbled 18% to 36p in early trade on Friday as it said it is placing over a third of its UK workforce into the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The recruitment firm, which focuses on the engineering and technology sectors, revealed in its half-year results statement that it is currently experiencing a significant reduction in permanent placements and a reduction in active contractors.
Levels in its core business are down by roughly 20% from pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels.
The moneylender said it expects its credit issued and collections performance to be adversely affected during the period of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“It is too early to quantify the potential financial impact of COVID-19 on the group’s financial performance and, therefore, we consider it prudent to withdraw any forward guidance for 2020,” Provident said.
Proactive news headlines:
Supermarket Income REIT plc (LON:SUPR) has joined the precious few companies maintaining their dividends through the coronavirus crisis as it also reported growing rental income. The investment company, which owns a portfolio of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons supermarket stores, said it had received 100% of its expected rent payments for the March quarter, in stark contrast to some other more prominent property companies in recent days.
The City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) has unveiled plans to raise £22mln to strengthen its balance sheet after the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of its pub estate. The AIM-listed firm said it will raise around £15mln through a share placing at 50p each, a 10.7% discount to its Thursday closing price, to certain existing shareholders and other institutional investors. It will then raise another £7mln through an open offer to qualifying shareholders and the same price.
Chaarat Gold Holdings PLC (LON:CGH) said demand for its output has remained “relatively healthy” and production uninterrupted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In fact, it said weakness in the currency in Armenia, home to its Kapan mine, and a sharp fall in the price of fuel used on-site, prompted by the collapse of crude, would likely have a positive impact on the economics of the operation.
Plexus Holdings Plc (LON:POS) has told investors that it anticipates annual group revenues will be in line with market expectations, though it acknowledged the potential for disruption due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Posting interim results on Friday, the company said: “It is important to acknowledge the ongoing disruption to the general global economy and resultant uncertainty for companies and workforces caused by the COVID-19 virus and the impact this may have on Plexus. Like many companies, the full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet known, and it is difficult to evaluate all of the potential implications on the company’s trade, customers, suppliers and the wider economy.”
Woodbois Limited (LON:WBI) has said it has coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency plans in place, though so far it has been unaffected by the outbreak. In a statement, the Africa-focused timber and forestry specialist acknowledged there is a possibility, however, that its sawmill and veneer factory sites in Mouila, Gabon, may need to be operated by a reduced workforce, or even halted for an “indeterminate period”.
Scotgold Resources Limited (LON:SGZ) has stopped work on the Cononish gold and silver mine in the Trossachs due to the coronavirus outbreak. Torrential rain in Scotland over the winter and early spring had already meant it would miss its target of first gold in May, but the Scottish Government has now advised that all non-essential construction sites be closed down until further guidance is issued.
Regency Mines PLC (LON:RGM) has pledged to minimise the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on its operational targets this year. In its half-year report, the company acknowledged that the outbreak would slightly delay or alter the timing of some of the commercial objectives it intended to pursue during 2020. Executive chairman James Parsons said that the second half of 2019 was a period of “great positive change in the company, leaving Regency with brighter prospects than it has had in many years as it entered 2020”.
European Metals Holdings Limited (LON:EMH) has reached a final agreement for Czech state power utility CEZ to take a 51% stake in the Cinovec lithium project. The amended terms will see CEZ pay €29.1mln for its stake compared to the original proposal of €34mln.
Arkle Resources PLC (LON: ARK) said it has undertaken a conditional placing with existing investors to raise £252,000 and plans a share capital reorganisation. The AIM-listed Irish gold and zinc exploration and development company noted that 50,400,000 new ordinary shares were issued at a placing price of 0.5p each. It’s shares closed trade on Thursday at 0.80p. The company said the funds raised are expected to provide working capital sufficient for requirements for the remainder of 2020 as well as maintaining ongoing exploration activities.
Europa Metals Ltd (LON:EUZ) said there has been a delay in completing the last metallurgical test on material extracted from its Toral project in Spain. The delay has been caused by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Tharisa PLC (LON:THS) told investors it remains fully supportive of South Africa’s initiatives to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As South Africa last night entered a 21-day lockdown, the AIM-quoted firm confirmed that its platinum group metals (PGM) smelter is on care-and-maintenance.
Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP) has confirmed that its 2020 annual general meeting is intended to proceed as planned at 10.30am on 1 April 2020 at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6AF, however, shareholders are strongly encouraged to vote by proxy. The company’s attendance in person will be limited to two persons in order satisfy the requirements of a quorum, and as the venue is officially closed to the public, no other persons will be permitted to attend. In order to provide an opportunity for shareholders to raise questions is arranging for an audiocast with the company’s board to be held at 3.00pm on April 1.
Blue Star Capital PLC (LON:BLU), the investing company with a focus on esports, technology and its application within media and gaming, has said that, for administrative reasons the venue for its Annual General Meeting has changed and it will now take place on 31 March 2020 at 12pm at 272a Westbourne Park Road, London W11 1EJ. However, the group added, in the light of the impact of coronavirus (COVID 19) and the government announced travel and other restrictions, shareholders are strongly urged not to attend the AGM in person but rather to attend by way of the audio link, details of which are: UK Number 0330 336 0491; International Number +44 844 4 73 73 73; Access Code 220869.
Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR), the AIM-listed investor in natural resource opportunities, announced that, on March 26, its chief executive officer, Michael McNeilly, purchased, in aggregate, 750,000 ordinary shares in the company on market, at an average price of 1.098p per share, for a total consideration of £8,235. Following these purchases, the group added, McNeilly is interested in a total of 5,997,733 ordinary shares, representing 0.39% of the company’s issued share capital.
Panther Metals PLC (LON:PALM), the company focused on mineral exploration in Canada and Australia has announced the appointment of Keelings Limited as its auditors with immediate effect, subject to approval by the company’s shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting to be held in 2020.
Alien Metals Limited (LON:UFO) has announced the resignation of its auditor RSM UK Audit and the appointment of Jeffreys Henry. The group said that, in its letter of resignation as auditor of the company, RSM confirmed that there were no circumstances connected with its resignation which they considered should be bought to the notice of the members or the creditors of the company.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (LON:COPL) (CSE:XOP), an international oil and gas exploration and development company focused on sub-Sahara Africa, has announced that following the recent relief granted by the Canadian Securities Administrators due to the challenges caused by the Coronavirus crisis, it has elected to defer the filing of its year-end 2019 and first quarter 2020 documents. The CSA has said there will temporary relief from some regulatory filings required to be made on or before June 1, 2020, as well as blanket relief which will provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings.