Petra Diamonds Limited (LON:PDL) advanced 7% to 1.71p before close after revealing that the Letlapa Tala Collection of five blue diamonds was sold for US$40.36mln.

The set weighed 85.6 carats in total and was sold as a suite of stones to a partnership between De Beers and Diacore.

“The result of this special tender affirms the very high value placed on blue diamonds, which are undoubtedly one of nature’s rarest treasures. We believe this to be the first time that five rough blue diamonds of significant size, colour and clarity have been offered for sale at one time and we are delighted that the collection has been bought in its entirety,” said chief executive Richard Duffy.

2.50pm: Genus jumps after trading tops expectations

Genus plc (LON:GNS) jumped 8% to 4,226p in the afternoon after flagging the good momentum from trading achieved last year has continued to now.

For the four months to October 31, the animal genetics specialist said trading was ahead of expectations, with adjusted pre-tax profits showing strong year-on-year growth thanks to an expansion in volumes, revenues and operating profits in its porcine and bovine genetics businesses.

Net debt at the end of October was lower than expected and reflected “strong trading and associated cash flow generation as well as normal seasonal trends”, the FTSE 250 group said.

1.10pm: Maestrano Group shots up on contract extension, appointment of senior executive

Maestrano Group PLC (LON:MNO) shot up 15% to 10.9p in the early afternoon after its contract with Australia’s ARTC rail network has been extended until 2023.

The AI platform will provide scanning and analysis services of their 8,500-kilometre network.

The AIM-listed firm also announced the appointment of rail robotics and automation expert Erik Henderson as global head of rail solutions.

12.10pm: Virgin Money UK slips after posting full-year loss amid loan impairments

Virgin Money UK PLC (LON:VMUK) slipped 5% to 139.93p at midday after tumbling to a full-year loss as it took a “cautious and conservative” approach to the UK’s economic outlook.

The challenger bank reported a statutory loss after tax of £141mln for the year to end-September 2020 due to £501mln of impairment charges for loans that may not be repaid, plus £292mln of exceptional items, including £139m of costs from the merger of CYBG and Virgin Money in August last year and £113mln of “accounting unwind” from the deal.

“Although the vaccine news is a strong cause of hope for the future, the economic benefits are still some way off when considering the immediate reality of current restrictions and so have not yet been factored into our near-term forecasts,” chief executive David Duffy admitted.

11.20am: CAP-XX rises after reporting good trading momentum

CAP-XX Limited (LON:CPX) shot up 13% to 5.7p before lunch after announcing first product shipment to customers is planned for next month.

The power energy storage devices producer said it continues to receive strong levels of enquiries for its new lines, which gives it confidence for its outlook.

Since the last update three weeks ago, the order book has grown by over 10%.

10.20am: Shearwater lower after revenue drop

Shearwater Group PLC (LON:SWG) shed 10% to 140p in mid-morning despite flagging that trading in the second half has begun strongly.

However in the first half to September 30, revenue dropped 31% to £11mln due to a delay in recognising secured orders, though underlying earnings (EBITDA) rose 9% to £1mln.

The cybersecurity and risk management solutions provider also expressed confidence in meeting market profit expectations for the full year.

Similarly, De La Rue PLC (LON:DLAR) lost 8% to 166.2p on weak interim revenue although full-year results should be in line with expectations.

In the six months to September 26, 2020, adjusted revenue dropped by 15% to £174mln, while last year’s £12mln loss before tax was turned into a £3mln profit.

The passport and banknote printer looks to pay a dividend in 2023 when the turnaround plan is completed.

9.05am: OPG Ventures an early riser thanks to contractual payment collections 

OPG Ventures PLC (LON:OPG) saw its shares rise by 7.4% to 13p in early trade on Wednesday as the Indian-focused energy firm said it has collected contractual claims payments from its customers under the power purchase agreements amounting to around £9.5mln (Rupees 0.9bn).

The group said the contractual claims were accumulated over several periods and will be recognised as income in its full-year 2021 financial statements.

It said the collection of these claims has strengthened the group’s financial position and liquidity during these uncertain times caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Elsewhere, SourceBio International plc (LON:SBI) rose 1% to 185p after renewing a key contract with Spire Healthcare as it revealed its revenues and earnings have grown significantly as a result of the “considerable ramp-up” in COVID-19 testing.

The lab services and products group also told investors that it was in a “very strong position” for Public Health England’s (PHE) Lot 4 round to provide clinical diagnostic services – and it has submitted an updated application “beyond the original target of 10,500 tests per day”.

The PHE the initiative will replace the Department of Health and Social Care’s programme under which SourceBio carried out 330,000 coronavirus tests.

Proactive news headlines:

SourceBio International plc (LON:SBI) said it has renewed a key contract with Spire Healthcare PLC as it revealed its revenues and earnings have grown significantly as a result of the “considerable ramp-up” in coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. The lab services and products group also told investors that it was in a “very strong position” for Public Health England’s (PHE) Lot 4 round to provide clinical diagnostic services – and it has submitted an updated application “beyond the original target of 10,500 tests per day”.

OPG Ventures PLC (LON:OPG) said it has collected contractual claims payments from its customers under the power purchase agreements amounting to around £9.5mln (Rupees 0.9bn). The group said the contractual claims were accumulated over several periods and will be recognised as income in its full-year 2021 financial statements. It said the collection of these claims has strengthened the group’s financial position and liquidity during these uncertain times caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (LON:NCCL) said it has raised £750,000 from an oversubscribed and premium-priced share placing. The group is issuing some 16.6mln new shares priced at 4.5p each, a premium price compared to the share’s 30-day weighted average price and the last equity raise in May 2020. The injection of funds is earmarked for general working capital purposes. Ncondezi said it will now have sufficient funds to cover corporate costs to complete the tariff negotiations with Electricidade de Moçambique and key agreements including the Power Purchase Agreement and Power Concession Agreement.

Sensyne Health PLC (LON:SENS) said it has signed a five-year non-exclusive Strategic Research Agreement (SRA) with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which will enable the ethical application of clinical AI research to improve patient care and accelerate research into new medicines. The UK Clinical AI company noted that the Hampshire Hospitals dataset covers 500,000 unique patient records, with 200,000 annual hospital admissions from a patient population of approximately 570,000 people. The Hampshire Hospitals dataset includes oncology data that will enable Sensyne to build on its existing research into rare cancers. The new SRA with the Trust brings the combined total of anonymised data available for analysis by Sensyne to 6.1 million patients.

Circle Property PLC (LON:CRC) has highlighted “strong average rent collection” in its half-year results despite disruption from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the six months to September 30, 2020, the regional office owner said rental receipts have been running at an average of 92.5% of rents due for the March and June quarters, while operating profits before property revaluations rose to £2.7mln from £2.4mln last year alongside a 10% rise in rental income to £3.9mln.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has shared what it describes as “very positive” metallurgical test results from the Ewoyaa Lithium Project in Ghana. Recovery improvements were achieved through re-crushing of an intermediate material called ‘middlings’ whilst maintaining concentrate grade. The overall plan was to improve lithium recoveries in coarse-grained type P1 and finer-grained type P2 pegmatites.

Crossword Cybersecurity PLC (LON:CCS) said its Rizikon Assurance platform has been selected by the IASME Consortium, the UK government’s national cybersecurity centre’s cyber essentials partner, as the core platform to support a new Internet of things (IoT) device security certification programme. The AIM-listed firm said the certification programme is a new scheme designed to give confidence to consumers and businesses that IoT devices have attained a minimum accepted level of security, and protect users from potential cyber-attacks, data loss and privacy invasion.

Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) has told investors it is confident that it can grow production and create value as it posted its full-year results. The bullish comments come as the company advances a sequence of operations in Texas, which recently saw success with the Falcon well. Mosman has been focussed on well work-over operations at the Stanley project plus new wells across multiple sites in the Champion and broader Stanley project areas.

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) shares rose on Wednesday as it agreed to acquire g-Net Media Inc, a Los Angeles-based provider of marketing services to the video game and entertainment industries, in a deal worth up to US$32mln. The AIM-listed firm said under the terms of the deal it will pay an initial consideration of US$14.4mln in cash and the equivalent of US$3.6mln in new shares to the sellers on the first anniversary of the purchase. Deferred consideration of up to US$14mln will also be payable to the sellers in a mix of cash and shares based on performance targets being met by the first and second anniversaries of the acquisition.

AEX Gold Inc. (LON:AEXG) (CVE:AEX) has provided an update to its 2020 exploration drilling campaign at the Nalunaq property in South Greenland, saying the results are complementary to those reported in its news release of October 21, 2020. The London and Toronto-listed independent gold company with a portfolio of gold licences in Greenland said the drilling highlights of further results from the Valley Block infill drilling programme include 52.4 grams per ton (g/t ) gold over 0.55 meters (m) (AEX2008) and 5.9 g/t over 0.5m (AEX2009), with visible gold observed in AEX2009.

Galantas Gold Corp (LON:GAL) has reported a narrowed loss in the first nine months of its current financial year as it commenced shipments of concentrate from its Omagh project in Northern Ireland. In results for the nine months to September 30, 2020, the company reported a loss of C$102,733, narrowed from a C$186,818 loss in the previous year, while it ended the period with cash of C$638,433.

Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:FOG) (CVE:FO) said it and partner Origin Energy will conduct further well operations in order to deliver a flow test for the Kyalla 117 N2-1H ST2 well. A fracking programme got underway in early October and since late October the well has undergone ‘flowback’ operations to recover the frack fluid. Some gas shows have been observed, but a measurable gas breakthrough has yet to occur, the group added.

Critical Metals Plc (LON:CRTM), a mining investment company established to target opportunities in the overlooked and under-analysed mining sector, has announced the appointment of Strand Hanson Limited as financial adviser to the company. Russell Fryer, CEO of Critical Metals, commented: “With extensive experience in the natural resources sector, Strand Hanson’s team will be invaluable to Critical Metals in achieving its immediate and long term acquisition objectives and we are delighted to announce this key appointment.”

Naked Wines Plc (LON:WINE) announces on Tuesday that Nicholas Devlin, its chief executive officer, has bought the 3,358 ordinary shares of 7.5p each in the company at a price of 508.44p per share on November 24, 2020. Following the purchase, the group noted, Devlin’s beneficial interest in the company and that of persons closely associated with him will be 72,730 ordinary shares representing approximately 0.10% of the issued share capital.

Parity PLC (LON:PTY), the technology focussed professional services business, announced that it has awarded Michael Johns, its chief financial officer, options over 2,000,000 ordinary shares of 2p each in the company. The options were granted on November 24, 2020, and represent approximately 1.9% of the company’s current issued share capital. They each have an exercise price of 7.88p, being the closing mid-market price per ordinary share on November 23, 2020. The options will vest after 3 years and are subject to performance conditions.

Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB), the leading cryptocurrency miner based in the UK said that further to its announcement on November 3, 2020, the High Court of England and Wales has confirmed the reduction of the company’s nominal share capital by way of cancellation of the share premium account. The company confirmed that, following the capital reduction, its issued share capital of comprises 293,750,000 ordinary shares of £0.001 each.

DeepVerge plc (LON:DVR), the scientific research and AI-as-a-Service company, has announced that Gerry Brandon, its chief executive officer, will be presenting at an investor webinar being hosted jointly by Turner Pope Investments (TPI) Ltd and Vox Markets. Brandon, commented: “Deepverge is expanding, with organic revenue growth alone, despite COVID, guided at £4m for 2020, including an increase in revenues by 300% in H2 2020, up from £1m in H1 2020. Following the recent acquisition of Modern Water PLC, we will now have sales offices and laboratories for Labskin and Rinocloud AI services in the US, Ireland, UK, China and Japan. This global expansion provides access to a growing list of household name clients, that includes Unilever, L’Oréal, Estee Lauder, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Amway and L’Occitane, cross-selling products and services from each division and serving the environment, cosmetics and pharma sectors worldwide. The presentation will provide an update on sales, marketing, supply chain management of products and services under development in a post-COVID world with insight into what is expected to come in 2021 and 2022.” The event will be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at 2pm.