Mothercare PLC (LON:MTC) fell 6.5% to 6.88p as the troubled retailer reminded investors of changes taking place in the board room.

On January 23, the company announced a number of management changes, including Mark Newton-Jones stepping down as chief executive officer, although he remained on the board as an executive director.

The plan was that he would become a non-executive director in July and that day has now dawned.
 

1.30pm: M P Evans climbs as palm oil production continues to rise

M P Evans Group PLC (LON:MPE), the palm oil producer, climbed 4.8% to 545p after it revealed increased production in the first half of 2020.

Crude palm oil production rose 16% to 334,100 tonnes from 287,200 tonnes the year before as the company’s palms mature.

All estates and mills have continued to work normally during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.

12.15pm: Dividend payments are back at IMI

IMI PLC (LON:IMI) has reinstated dividend payments following a “resilient performance” in its first half, sending the shares 7.9% higher to 1,085p.

For the six months to June 30, 2020, the metal basher reported a pre-tax profit of £116mln, up 5% year-on-year, despite a 5% fall in revenues to £867mln.

IMI said it had benefited in the period from cost actions enacted early on, which had supported the delivery of higher margins compared to the first half of 2019 alongside productivity gains and value pricing.

11.10am: Andrew Sykes spikes after it announces special divi

Andrews Sykes Group PLC (LON:ASY) shares spiked 82% (45p) to 595p after it announced a special interim dividend of 23.7p.

The specialist hire group has cash reserves of around £29.9mln, which the board has determined is more than it needs at the moment.

The special dividend will be paid out on August 28 to shareholders on the register on August 7.

10.05am: Centrica surges as it announces sale of its North American business

Centrica PLC (LON:CNA) has struck a deal to sell its North American business for US$3.6bn, sending its shares soaring 20% to 48.6p.

The British Gas owner has agreed to offload Direct Energy to NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG) for a cash payment equivalent to £2.85bn on a debt-free, cash-free basis.

Centrica said it would use the proceeds to reduce net debt, which rose by 18% to £2.8bn during the first half of the year and to make a “material” contribution to its defined benefit pension schemes, where a £1bn increase was made in the technical pension deficit.

9.15am: French Connection says cash collection has been better than expected

French Connection Group PLC (LON:FCCN) was the top riser in London in early trade on Friday, adding 60% to 8.05p after a reassuring trading statement.

The company’s retail outlets have been hit by the lockdown restrictions but its websites in the UK and USA have seen a 24% year-on-year increase in sales over the last 15 weeks, plus it has continued to supply many predominantly online wholesale customers during the lockdown period.

“Since the general reopening of stores, we have seen a significant upturn in interactions with the majority of our other wholesale customers in the UK and Europe, who have now started to trade again. Over the lockdown period the collection of receivables from our supportive wholesale customers has been better than expected,” the fashion firm revealed.

CVS Group PLC (LON:CVS) jumped 8.4% to 1,139p after it said revenue in the year to the end of June was higher than the year before.

The veterinary services group said revenues had been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) albeit less so in its farm veterinary practices. Revenue has steadily improved since early April and has recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels.

CVS sales trends

Source: CVS Group

Proactive news headlines:

Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR), the specialist drug development company, has described results from studies of two of its small molecule inhibitors to combat lupus as “encouraging”. The company, which is focused on delivering targeted small molecule therapeutics to improve the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, said that results have been published for its small molecule dual tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) and Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) inhibitors in disease model studies of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by its collaborator, SRI International. Sareum entered into a co-development agreement with SRI International in April 2013 to develop TYK2 inhibitors in autoimmune diseases. Sareum retains commercialisation rights for these and other TYK2 inhibitors.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) has revealed additional positive results from the initial hydrogeological drilling program at the Kapunda ISR (Insitu Recovery) copper project carried out by EnviroCopper Limited. The group said the hydrogeological testing program was successful, with the tracer test showing fluid movement from well to well in a relatively short period, providing the potential for cost-saving through reducing the number of wells for optimum production. Thor Mining holds a 25% interest in EnviroCopper Limited with rights to increase that interest to 30%.

Bahamas Petroleum PLC (LON:BPC), the oil and gas exploration company has announced the appointment to its board, with immediate effect, of Peter Cannell, as an alternate director to its non-executive chairman, Bill Schrader. The appointment is solely for matters relating to the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), taking place at 10.00am BST on Friday, at the company’s registered office at IOMA House, Hope Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1AP . As such, Cannell’s appointment will terminate following the closing of the AGM. The other existing members of the Board are unable to attend the AGM as a result of restrictions and advice relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Cannell is an Advocate and Chartered Governance Professional at Quinn Legal, which has acted as BPC’s Legal Counsel in the Isle of Man for 2 years.

Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) said its subsidiary, Labskin has launched the world’s first remote clinical skin trials platform. The AIM-listed group said the platform will harvest a human volunteer’s skin and transport it to the Labskin laboratory to be transplanted onto laboratory-grown skin, creating a replica of the human volunteer’s skin microflora without them leaving their home. Integumen also said another subsidiary, software and artificial intelligence (AI) group Rinocloud, has built a remote clinical skin trial platform which allows trials to happen ethically, efficiently with all protocols being followed and distantly controlled, with data stored according to GDPR guidelines.

Sativa Group PLC (LON:SATI) said it has launched a new cannabidiol (CBD) and Vitamin D product range under its Goodbody Wellness brand. The CBD group said the products will be the only range in the UK to offer two flavours and three CBD strengths of 5%, 10% and 20% CBD and Vitamin D bottled within olive oil. Sativa said its brand positioning has been strengthened by the new products and the additional benefits associated with combining CBD and Vitamin D.

Tissue Regenix Group PLC (LON:TRX) has started the first phase of its planned manufacturing capacity expansion programme in San Antonio, Texas. The regenerative medical devices company said the capacity expansion represents a key element of its commercial development plan. The first part of the multi-phase expansion programme is expected to take about six months to complete and will include the development of operational capabilities in the new 21,000 square feet building to house freezers and distribution functions that will free up space for additional sterile packaging clean rooms to be built in the existing facility.

Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) has updated investors on its operations at the Baita Plai polymetallic mine, in Romania, where it has now received to site all awaited containers of equipment required for the continued development of the mine. Vast said it now intends to start underground production next week and it expects first concentrate production will take place in August. Additionally, the company gave details of its metallurgical testing programme which has provided encouraging results for copper and zinc, while lead and molybdenum tests are ongoing.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) has told investors that 2020 continues to be a transformational year for the international hydrogen economy. The company, in its interim results statement, highlighted its progress which included the successful launch of its electric vehicle (EV) charging solution, the start of product development for the HydroX-Cell(L)160 system and – in the current period – a £31.6mln cash raise to fund further development. “With unprecedented investment into the sector from both private and public institutions, AFC Energy remains focussed on the consolidation of its position as a leading developer of alkaline, zero-emission fuel cell systems,” Adam Bond, AFC chief executive said in the results statement.

Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF, TSE:APY), the mining royalties company, said it is expecting a better second-half performance as demand for minerals recovers with the easing of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Funds received or receivable from the group’s underlying royalty related assets – what Anglo calls the portfolio contribution – declined to between £18.5mln and £19.0mln in the first half of 2020 from £25.5mln in the preceding six months and £33.31mln in the first half of 2019.

Landore Resources Ltd (LON:LND) has highlighted continuing progress at the BAM gold deposit as it posted its full-year results, and separately revealed plans for a share consolidation. A recent funding move has set the explorer up for new drilling. In June 2020, Landore raised £2.8mln, issuing 414mln shares at 0.675p, to pay for 14,000 metres of drilling in total. In terms of financial results, the pre-revenue company reported a £2.14mln loss for the year ended December 31, 2019, with £107,688 of cash. Landore also announced plans to consolidate its share capital by reducing the number of shares in issue by a multiple of 20. Every twenty shares held by investors will be transferred into one new share under the plan, which requires shareholder approval.

Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CAL) announced that it has entered into an ‘At the Market’ (ATM) sales agreement with Cantor Fitzgerald under which the company may, at its discretion from time to time, sell up to US$13mln worth of shares. Any sales of shares would occur using ordinary brokers’ transactions or block trades, with sales only being made on the NYSE American at market prices. Caledonia expects to use the amount of any net proceeds from the sales for investment in the construction of a solar power plant to supply electricity to Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe. The ATM Sales Agreement is not a formal placing and any potential sales of new shares are not underwritten by the sales agent.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) (NASDAQ:TLSA), a biotechnology company focused on innovative therapeutics for oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases, said it has allotted and issued 88,580 ordinary shares of 3 pence each credited as fully paid in respect of an exercise of 88,580 warrants at a price of 93p per share, yielding 82,379 in cash proceeds for the company.

APQ Global Ltd. (LON:APQ) has said the company’s auditor, BDO, has advised that, due to personnel restrictions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it requires further time to complete its audit of the group’s 2019 results. The company said it now expects to publish its 2019 results by August 31, 2020. It continues to expect to report its interim accounts for the first half of 2020 around the same time. APQ Global also announced that as at the close of business on June 30, 2020, its unaudited book value per ordinary share was 31.70 US cents, equivalent to 25.65p.

Immotion Group PLC (LON:IIMO) said it has been advised that, following the acquisition of the investment activities of Cavendish Asset Management by Stonehage Fleming, that Cavendish Asset Management no longer has a notifiable interest in Immotion Group and that Stonehage Fleming now holds 33,035,010 shares in the company, representing 8.7% of the issued share capital, as a result of that transaction.

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN) a leader in the discovery, delivery, and development of novel RNA therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases with an unmet medical need announced that at its general meeting held on Thursday, July 23, 2020, all resolutions set out in the notice of meeting were duly passed on a poll.

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) announced that at the group’s annual general meeting held on Thursday all resolutions were duly passed.