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SIG PLC (LON:SHI) has come in from the cold sooner than expected.

The insulation specialist said January and February had seen a solid start to the year, with sales volumes then picking up so that March and April traded ahead of expectations.  

So it now expects to deliver an underlying profit in the first half, turning round its losses more quickly than expected.

It said: “Whilst the evolving COVID-19 backdrop will continue to create uncertainty in the short term, more so in our EU markets than the UK, the strong demand across territories and sectors in the first four months of the year was encouraging and gives the board increased confidence for the full year performance…

“Given the prevailing macro-economic uncertainties, we retain a cautious view of the second half at this stage.  We do however continue to expect the second half to be both profitable and cash generative, and in light of the stronger than anticipated recent performance we now expect full year revenues to be slightly ahead of prior expectations, and profits also to be higher than previously expected.”

The news has sent its shares 7.95% or 3.75p higher to 50.95p.

2.51pm: Healthcare group reports positive test results

Omega Diagnostics Group PLC (LON:ODX) is in demand after announcing postive results for the Mologic COVID-19 lateral flow antigen test.

The test, which Omega has launched for professional use under its Visitect brand, has been independently verified in a 665-person study in Germany by FIND, a World Heath Organisation collaborating centre.

Omega said the test was shown to demonstrate best-in-class performance with 100% specificity and 96.4% sensitivity compared with laboratory testing.

Chief executive Colin King said: “This is great news for the Mologic test, which we are now producing under our Visitect brand. It is significant that the test has been shown to have high diagnostic accuracy on self-collected swab specimens. Rapid diagnostic tests play a crucial role in breaking the spread of infection in the community and we are delighted to be a leading manufacturer of these home-grown tests.”

Omega is up 3.8% or 2.68p at 72.18p.

1.11pm: Publisher pleases at presentation

Future PLC (LON:FUTR) has been lifted by a presentation to analysts this week on price comparison websites.

The company, which recently bought GoCompare, believes such websites can continue to add value for consumers and also product providers.

It said the integration of GoCompare was going well, according to Roddy Davidson of Shore Capital, who issued a buy note on the business.

Davidson said: “We were encouraged by the positive points stressed in yesterday’s presentation and see good structural growth prospects for the price comparison website [PCW] market through attracting more consumers and increasing conversion rates – as an example only around 30% of switching activity in car insurance is via PCW’s, despite 40%-50% of customers using a PCW to research prices. 

“We are also positive on GoCompare‘s offering/momentum and concur that bringing it together with Future’s deep content and growing ecommerce business will add value on both sides of the deal.

“More broadly, we believe that Future is increasingly well-placed to drive digital advertising and e-commerce revenues, and to capitalise on an acceleration in the evolution of consumer preferences. We also expect organic growth to be complemented by further add-on acquisition activity (not reflected in our forecasts).”

Future’s shares are up 3.22% or 74p at 2376p.

11.20am: Household products group falls 18%

One of the day’s big fallers is McBride PLC (LON:MCB) after it warned of rising raw materials costs, which would help push full year profits 15% lower than the previous year.

It is also seeing lower demand, especially for household cleaning products after last year’s pandemic inspired peaks.

The company, which supplies private-label household and personal care products to retailers such as Aldi, Asda, The Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury, has seen its shares slump 18.8% or 17.6p to 76p on the news.

It said rising costs in the first quarter were in line with expectations as reported at its first half results in February.

But it added: “In recent weeks there has been further rapid, significant and sustained price escalation for many of our raw materials, particularly core chemicals and plastics. Our current view is that we will see further double-digit increases on average across these materials and packaging items by June 2021 – more than double the rates of increase expected in mid-March 2021. Additionally, we do not see these prices returning to more normalised levels in the near future. Whilst these increases are evident across a number of the divisions, it is most impactful in our Liquids division.”

As an indication of pricing pressures filtering down, it said it had put in place targeted increases and planned other measures which should benefit the first half of next year.

On demand it said: “Since our half year results, demand for auto-dishwash products has remained strong but volumes in household cleaners have been normalising from the peaks seen in 2020. Additionally, sales of laundry and personal care products have remained very subdued across the group’s main markets. With lockdowns lasting longer and still in place across many of our markets, we do not now expect certain category volumes to pick up in the balance of the financial year and therefore the Liquids and Aerosols businesses have reduced their demand outlook for the final quarter.  As a result, the Group now expects second half constant currency revenues to be approximately 6% lower year on year.

“Consequently the final quarter of trading for the current financial year ending 30 June 2021 is expected to be significantly weaker than the first nine months of the financial year and our full year profits (measured by EBITA) are now expected to be approximately 15% lower than the previous year.”

Because of the current volatility it is not providing any guidance for next year.

10.34am: Energy group boosted by fundraising

Edenville Energy PLC (LON:EDL) is raising £2.48mln in a placing, including £1m from former Heritage Oil boss Tony Buckingham.

The fundraising will make him the company’s largest shareholder with an 18.5% stake, but he has agreed not to take that above 29.99%.

Four independent shareholders who account for around 50% of the existing shares – the Brandon Hill Group, the Pitchcroft Group, RAB Capital and John Story – are also backing the placing.

Once the fundraising is complete, the company intends to hand over operations at the Rukwa Coal Project in southwest Tanzania to its strategic partner Infrastructure and Logistics Tanzania, and bring in new assets. 

It said Buckingham’s wealth of experience and broad network of relationships would prove beneficial for this process.

Chairman and acting chief executive Dr Jeff Malaihollo said: “I am delighted to welcome Tony Buckingham as a new shareholder. His experience and network of relationships are expected to open up additional asset acquisition opportunities. The company announced earlier this year it intends to bring additional assets into the portfolio following the intended handover of operations at Rukwa to its strategic partner ILTL .

“The placing, subject to shareholder approval, should , in our view, now provide the catalyst for these exciting developments to take place.”

Edenville’s shares have added 3p or 8.57% to 38p.

9. 29am: Diamond group sparkles

Botswana Diamonds PLC (LON:BOD) is in demand after a positive update from its Thorny River property in South Africa, as a six hole drilling programme was expanded to twelve after good results.

Its shares have jumped 17.07% or 0.18p to 1.2p on the news, which could mean the new discovery linking up with its existing River Blow site.

Chairman John Teeling said: “These are very good results.  What was originally a six-hole Reverse Circulation drilling programme going eastwards from the River Blow was led westwards by good ongoing drilling indications, including one hole with an 18-metre intersection of kimberlite.

“An additional six holes brought the drilling close to the River Blow.  We fully expect the next phase of drilling to join the two discoveries into one continuous blow.  This would double the volume of ore.  It is worth noting that the kimberlite dyke system at Thorny River contains an average 60 diamond carats per one hundred tons of ore.  We expect the current discovery to maintain that pattern.”

8.27am: Clean energy deal lifts shares by a quarter

The prospect of a UK network of clean energy sources coming closer has put a spark into the shares of Getech Group PLC (LON:GTC).

The data specialist has jumped 24.58% or 5.8p to 29.4p after its H2 Green subsidiary signed a green hydrogen supply deal with Element Two to supply the latter’s refuelling stations.

Element Two plans to deploy more than 800 pumps across the north of England, Scotland, and Ireland by 2027 and 2000 by 2030.

The agreement between the two companies is designed to accelerate the creation of the UK’s first hydrogen network.

The two have agreed mutual options to co-locate their respective hydrogen refuelling stations and hydrogen production and storage assets.

Getech chief executive Jonathan Copus said: “Green hydrogen will play a key role in the decarbonisation of commercial transportation, and the development of green hydrogen hubs will be a crucial component of our cities’ plans to decarbonise and meet their net zero targets…

“To align our production and distribution strategies, the groups plan to combine H2Green’s position in hydrogen generation and storage and Getech’s state of the art location analytics, with significant data gathered by Element 2 on fuel customer habits..

“These steps are important as we believe they have the potential to accelerate the creation of the first UK-wide hydrogen network, which supports the UK government in the implementation of its energy transition objectives of decarbonisation and green job creation.”

Also heading higher is Cora Gold Limited (LON:CORA), the West Africa focused miner, after a positive update from its Sanankoro prospect.

Its shares are up 5.68% or 0.44p to 8.19p on the news.

Chief executive Bert Monro said: “Following on from our maiden results it is extremely pleasing to be reporting further strong results from Sanankoro…It is also worth noting we have updated some preliminary results reported on 22 April with final results which have also shown increased average grades. 

“We have now completed over 11,000m of drilling in this programme and during May we are mobilising two further rigs and additionally a booster compressor has just arrived on site.  We plan to start drilling deeper holes within a week as we aim to push the shallow inferred resource pit deeper.  The current inferred pit shell has an average vertical depth of only 65m, from limited drilling at the time, so we eagerly await the results from these deeper holes once drilled.” 

Proactive news headlines

Diagnostics specialist Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) said it has agreed to take back the China and Hong Kong rights to its EarlyCDT product portfolio in a deal that gives its strategic options to tap the US capital markets.

Tharisa PLC (LON:THS), an integrated platinum and chrome producer with operations in South Africa, said it bought Salene Chrome Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd for US$3.0mln. Salene Chrome is a development stage, low cost, open pit asset, located in the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe.

Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) said it has begun searching for a new chief executive as it clarified its future direction and strategy targeting growth of sales of its ProLarva face mask and the development of new products at its subsidiary Pharm 2 Farm Limited (P2F).

Redx Pharma PLC (LON:REDX) has appointed a new chief financial officer with both industry and banking experience. Peter Collum, who joins immediately and will be based in the New York area, was CFO and chief business officer of a late-stage biopharma company called Pharmnext, which he joined in 2019 after 17 years with the boutique investment bank, MTS Health Partners.

Eckoh PLC (LON:ECK) has confirmed that trading for its latest financial year has been in line with market expectations with “robust” operating profits despite the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mkango Resources Ltd (LON:MKA, TSX-V:MKA) announced that, following the release of the flotation piloting results and commencement of hydrometallurgical piloting, the company will host an investor conference call tomorrow, Thursday 6 May, at 2pm BST, to discuss the release and answer questions.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) said it has been granted a European Union-wide patent covering the production process for its G+ graphene nanoplatelets with a priority date of June 20, 2014.

Zanaga Iron Ore Company Ltd (LON:ZIOC) said the Stage One development of the Zanaga iron ore project could cost between US$2,154mln and US$2,275mln, broadly in line with previous estimates, according to a re-costing exercise.

Applied Graphene Materials PLC (LON:AGM) said it is planning to showcase its latest technological developments in graphene dispersion capabilities over the coming months at two consumer industry events, JEC Composites Connect and the CoatingsTech Conference.

The takeover offer for ADES International Holding PLC (LON:ADES) has now closed, and the remaining shares in the company will now be acquired through compulsory purchase on or shortly after 2 June 2021.

i3 Energy Plc (LON:I3E, TSE:ITE) told investors that its production in Canada outperformed expectations in the first quarter, with output averaging 8,856 barrels oil equivalent per day.

Black Bear Energy Resources Plc (BBER) has hired Tim Lines as the company’s new technical director. The company, in a statement, said Lines will lead the supervision and management of the technical aspects of the company’s critical M&A, drilling, surface facilities, and pipeline initiatives.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS)(NASDAQ:TLSA) announced an agreement with Takanawa Japan for a strategic business development plan to identify a clinical partner in Japan and other Asian countries.

NQ Minerals PLC (LON:NQMI, FSE: 44D) said its shares starting trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange today, making it one of the first companies with a primary listing on London’s Aquis Exchange to achieve a dual listing.

Scotgold Resources Ltd (LON:SGZ) said some of its directors and an unrelated third party have provided it with a short-term loan of £2mln. The lenders include non-executive chairman Nathaniel le Roux, three non-executive directors and an unrelated third party holding a 3.35% stake in the company.

Coinsilium Group Limited (AQSE:COIN) (OTCQB:CINGF) announce the release of a new investor presentation covering its new ‘venture builder’ business model and its activities in the non-fungible token (‘NFT’) space, available on its website: Chairman Malcolm Palle said: “Coinsilium is now enjoying a period of intense activity ahead of the imminent launch of Nifty Labs, its NFT development studio in Gibraltar. This new investor presentation has been designed to provide a greater market understanding of the scale of the opportunity that lies ahead for Coinsilium, as we recognise that investor awareness and engagement will play a critical role in helping the company achieve its ambitions at the forefront of the burgeoning NFT space.”

Tirupati Graphite PLC (LON:TGR) notified that executive chairman Shishir Poddar and two other board members will provide a live investor presentation via the Investor Meet Company platform on 12 May 2021 at 10am BST.