Hochschild Mining Plc (LON:HOC) jumped 11% to 210.44p on plans to return to its Inmaculada gold and silver mine in Peru next week after implementing safety measures.

A number of the miner’s operations are currently halted due to a number of cases of coronavirus with a reduced workforce performing care and maintenance activities. 

In the quarter to June 30, gold production fell to 25.17 kilo ounces (koz) from 68.42 koz year-on-year while silver output dropped to 1,482 koz from 3,536 koz.

2.15pm: Aminex higher after update on Ruvuma farm-out

Aminex PLC (LON:AEX) gained 6% to 0.82p in the early afternoon after announcing the long stop date in the Ruvuma farm-out transaction has been further extended, and it now has an extra fortnight to close the transaction – with the new date set as July 31.

At the same time, the oiler detailed some additional cost-saving measures including the waiving and surrendering of rights to director share options.

There are also proposals, set out a week ago, which will see key employees sacrifice salary in return for share options. The moves aim to reduce the group’s overhead and are subject to shareholder approval

12.25pm: Air Partner slips as emergency freight flights dwindle down in July 

Air Partner PLC (LON:AIR) lost 9% to 88.6p at noon after announcing business is starting to revert to pre-pandemic levels after “a very strong first five months” to June 30.

The aviation services group saw fewer emergency freight flights and less repatriation work during July, although it anticipates a profitable month.

The firm did not provide further guidance amid economic and regulatory uncertainty.

11.20am: Arcontech Group shoots up on dividend promise

Arcontech Group PLC (LON:ARC) shot up 17% to 190p in late morning after announcing it plans to pay a dividend for the year to June 30.

The AIM-listed provider of services for real-time financial market data said profit for the year is expected to be in line with market expectations.

Net cash at year-end was 19% than in June 2019 at £5mln.

10.15am: Hydrogen Group drops after admitting it has yet to see recovery

Hydrogen Group PLC (LON:HYDG) shed 5% to 29.9p in mid-morning trade after admitting the six months to June 30 have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Although activity levels have broadly stabilised during the second quarter, the recruiter said it is yet to see a recovery in demand, so net fee income for the first half of the year dropped by 24% to £11.7mln.

However, the AIM-listed firm saw cash rising by 48% to £6.5mln thanks to cost-saving measures and state support.

In the FTSE 250 index, Dixons Carphone PLC (LON:DC.) slipped 10% to 77.25p after the UK lockdown hit mobile phone sales hard.

For the year ended May 2, the electricals retailer reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £166mln, down from £339mln in the prior year, while revenues fell 3% to £10.2bn.

Dixons said sales of mobile were “worse than expected” during the year as a result of store closures and a low transfer of sales online.

8.50am: Carr’s rises on plans to pay deferred dividend

Carr’s Group Plc (LON:CARR) added 4% to 122p in early trade on Wednesday after revealing it has not seen any material financial impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The agriculture and engineering group said it is planning to pay the deferred interim dividend for the half-year to February 29, 2020, in conjunction with what would ordinarily be the second interim dividend in October.

Investors will receive a single interim dividend of 2.25p per share, the same as in 2019.

Elsewhere, Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) advanced 7% to 15p after announcing its earnings are likely to exceed expectations after a strong year.

Net revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 2020, were £78.2mln, up 6%, it said, while the firm was in a strong financial position with £37mln in the bank at the period end.

Chief executive Manuel Llobet praised his team’s “robust and rapid response” to the strictures imposed by the outbreak. Part of this response was to create a COVID-19 diagnostic facility, which has now been approved by Spanish authorities.

Proactive news headlines:

Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) has said its earnings are likely to exceed expectations after a strong year. Net revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 2020, were £78.2mln, up 6%, it said, while the firm was in a strong financial position with £37mln in the bank at the period end. The performance of the group, which develops and sells short course allergy inoculations, was particularly impressive given the challenges in the closing quarter of the year posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) is getting into the zero-emission motorsport business by teaming up with Extreme E, the team behind FIA’s Formula E racing championship. Extreme E is planning a hydrogen-fuelled electric SUV rally racing series that is slated to launch in early 2021, and AIM-quoted AFC will provide off-grid power to the racing series – including its zero-emission charging system. The series is designed to be a practical and symbolic showcase with the off-road race events taking place in remote locations which, according to AFC, will highlight important climate issues and also show how hydrogen can be used as a viable alternative fuel all environments.

Bezant Resources PLC (LON:BZT) told investors that due diligence for its proposed acquisition of the Hope Gold project in Namibia, is “progressing as anticipated” as it provided new details from ongoing technical work. The company, in a statement, noted historical drilling information that has come to light during due diligence which creates further excitement and confidence for the project. “This is an exciting potential project for the company and the more we dig into the archives, it becomes evident that resources quoted were the subject of extensive drilling programmes which gives us added confidence,” Colin Bird, Bezant chief executive said in a statement. “It is also evident that the contribution of gold has been neglected which in today’s times could in our view be quite significant.”

BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC) has launched three new diagnostic kits which it said will “significantly advance” the diagnosis of coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses. The networking and medical laboratory systems group said one of the new kits is a serologic test, which has been upgraded to measure the quantity of antibodies in the blood rather than just their presence or absence. The second new kit is an upgraded antigen test to detect spike gene and enable the diagnosis of coronavirus in people with low viral loads, increasing testing accuracy. The final new kit is a molecular diagnostics test that has been developed to rapidly identify the specific respiratory virus or bacteria in someone presenting with symptoms of, or suspected to have pre-symptomatic respiratory illnesses. BATM said it expects to begin sale and production of the kits at its Adaltis facility in Italy at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter of 2020.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) said it has signed an option agreement to acquire a company called CHIMagents for a nominal sum. The business designs, manufactures, and tests agents for use in challenge studies, which complements the work carried out in the infectious diseases field by Open Orphan subsidiary hVIVO. CHIMagent’s Adrian Wildfire, who has over 20 years of industry experience, will join hVIVO as a director. Open Orphan chief executive Cathal Friel said the option agreement was an “important strategic step as we rapidly grow our pipeline of challenge studies”.

MaxCyte PLC (LON:MXCT) said its revenues grew by 30% to US$10.9mln in the first half of 2020 and told investors that its research and development operation was expected to be self-funded by the end of the year. The company licences out its technology, which generates a revenue stream and potential milestone payment, currently worth an estimated US$800mln, from life sciences companies that use its cell engineering know-how in drug development. It has also begun advancing its own potential treatments, creating an R&D business called CARMA Cell Therapies.

Galileo Resources PLC (LON:GLR) has announced the appointments of two highly experienced and successful Kalahari Copper Belt exploration geologists,  Dr Quinton Hills and Fred Nhiwatiwa as members of the company’s senior management to provide assistance with its exploration projects in Botswana. The company noted that the new team members have previously discovered mineral deposits that have led to the development of mines in Botswana. Galileo said it will shortly commence a comprehensive and targeted exploration program utilising geochemical and geophysical techniques that have been routinely used to find copper-silver deposits in the Kalahari Copper Belt.

Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ) has reported that it raked in an extra US$3.2mln in cash in the second quarter of 2020. In the three months to June 30, 2020, the Azerbaijan-focused miner said its cash balance stood at US$29.2mln at the end of the period, while gold production in the quarter had come in at 12,048 ounces (oz) compared to 17,149 oz in the prior year. Anglo Asian said the lower figure was due to lower ore grades processed from its Gedabek open pit operation, which had been its efficiency impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and less ore from the Gadir underground mine.

Woodbois Limited (LON:WBI), the African forestry and timber group, has raised £13.1mln from existing investors, retail investors – via the PrimaryBid platform – and institutions as part of a debt restructuring and refinancing. Through the debt restructuring, holders have agreed to convert 75% of US$30mln of outstanding convertible bonds into new ordinary shares and new non-voting shares. The new shares were issued at 2p, a 43% discount to the close last night. In a statement, Woodbois said the fundraise and debt restructuring will position the company to grow its timber production and trading activities rapidly.

Kodal Minerals PLC (LON:KOD), the mineral exploration and development company focused on its Bougouni Lithium Project in southern Mali, said it has secured sufficient funding resources to accelerate completion of the next phases of its development projects and to evaluate exciting new opportunities via a US$1.5mln unsecured convertible loan agreement with Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC and YA II PN Ltd. It said the £1.5mln loan agreement, with an initial advance of US$750,000, will have a 15-month term and carry interest at a rate of 9.85% per annum payable monthly. The investors will have the option to convert outstanding principal and interest into new ordinary shares in the company. Kodal can repay the loan at any time in cash, and the investors will also be issued with warrants exercisable into ordinary shares in the company at a premium to the current share price.

Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK) has announced the appointment of Philipp Prince as a new independent non-executive director, effective immediately. It noted that Prince is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in senior finance roles in both private and listed technology companies and runs his own financial consultancy business, is a board adviser at Overmore Limited, a marketing technology firm, and recently joined BCB Group Holdings Limited, a financial services challenger, as its non-board CFO. He was previously the CFO of Defenx PLC, an AIM-listed mobile cybersecurity company, where he managed the IPO process, fundraising and investor relations and Interim CFO at Enecsys PLC, a private equity-backed solar micro-inverter developer. For over 20 years, Philipp worked at BDO LLP, where he was a corporate finance partner from 2002-2013. Rory Shaw, chairman of Feedback, commented: “Philipp has strong experience within the technology sector, especially fundraising, capital markets and M&A. His input will be invaluable as we look to deliver shareholder value with the rollout of Bleepa to the NHS and other healthcare providers.”

e-therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) has announced that further to the fundraise it announced on July 7, 2020, Numis Securities has exercised the broker option in respect of 2,875,000 new ordinary shares raising gross proceeds of approximately £0.35mln for the company. The broker option shares are being issued at a price of 12p per share, being the placing price and will be issued on the same terms and conditions as placing shares. With the completion of the broker option, the company said it can confirm that a total of £11.6mln in gross proceeds has been raised; comprising of a firm placing of £6.3mln, a share subscription of £2.8mln, a retail offer via the PrimaryBid platform of £750,000 and £1.69mln via the broker option.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP), the precious and base metals exploration and development company, said it has received notice from Numis Securities that it is closing its natural resources division. As a result, Numis will cease to act as joint broker to the company with immediate effect. The company added that is in advanced discussions to appoint a new joint broker to focus on further growing Greatland’s institutional investor shareholder base, in the meantime, SI Capital is sole broker to the company.