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Miner Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) shot up 32% to 15p this week after it declared a maiden dividend of 35 Australian cents per share.

It is somewhat of a rare breed in the junior market, with companies paying dividends plummeting over the course of 2020 after managers opted to save cash to get through the coronavirus crisis.

In the three months to last June, 64 AIM firms issued a payout, while in the same period last year 145 of them did the same.

The dearth of distributions has been a common theme across the world throughout the pandemic, with global dividends sliding 22% to US$382bn in the three months to June, according to research by Janus Henderson published earlier this week.

North America was the only region showing growth thanks to resilience among Canadian companies, while Europe and the UK were hit the hardest.

The whole year may see a decline between 27% or 23% for a total of around US$1 trillion.

“A temporary halt in dividends does not change the fundamental value of a company, though it can affect short-term sentiment,” said Jane Shoemake, investment director at the asset manager.

“It remains important for income investors to be diversified both by geography and sector.”

Looking at the wider market, the AIM All-Share advanced 0.7% to 963, outperforming the FTSE 100 index, up 0.2% to 6,015.

Among the risers, green energy firm EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) rose 25% to 0.6p after reaching financial close for a waste gasification project in Larissa in Greece, the country’s first plant of this kind, with construction expected to begin in September.

Meanwhile, water monitoring company Modern Water PLC (LON:MWG) climbed 22% to 3p after agreeing a takeover by tech firm Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) for £21mln or 4.05p per share, a 44.6% premium to the previous closing price. The pair have been working together for six months to detect coronavirus in wastewater and sewage.

Elsewhere, 4D pharma plc (LON:DDDD) jumped 18% to 93p on the back of stunning results in early stage trials for treatment of advanced metastatic renal cell carcinoma or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The pharma company used its Live Biotherapeutic in combination with Merck & Co’s Keytruda, which “far exceeded” the threshold for success set out before the study began.

In the entertainment sector, Escape Hunt PLC (LON:ESC) surged 22% to 7p in early deals on Wednesday after its eight UK escape rooms were awarded the ‘Travellers’ Choice Winner’ denomination by TripAdvisor.

Oiler Egdon Resources PLC (LON:EDR) gushed 21% higher to 2p after completing its farm-in agreement with Shell on two licences in the North Sea.

Turning to the fallers, it was a bad return to AIM for investor Asimilar Group PLC (LON:ASLR), which came from suspension 60% lower at 27p after assigning a holding company called MESH its interest and rights to invest in data science and behaviour change firm, Sentiance.

Fellow investment specialist Tanfield Group Plc (LON:TAN) slipped 14% to 2p after half-year operating loss widened 62% to £333,000 due to legal fees for its 49%-owned aerial work platforms manufacturer Snorkel.

Software provider Pebble Beach Systems Group PLC (LON:PEB) shed 9% to 11p after admitting it will be difficult to convert its pipeline into firm orders as customers are cautious with commitments with large scale projects.

The junior market is set to see a new addition next week – like dividends, another rare event in pandemic times – with digital mental health provider Kooth PLC launching its IPO on 1 September with an expected valuation of £26mln.

Its platform provides self-help tools, online moderated forums to connect with peers and online text-chat based professional counselling. 

With the pandemic shining a light on the importance of mental wellbeing, Kooth’s float is perhaps set to draw some attention: only on Thursday, World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organisation called for a massive scale-up in investment in the sector.