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Norcros says profits likely to beat market expectations

Norcros PLC (LON.NXR)  has built up a good gain after saying its results would be better than previous expectations.

The bathroom and kitchen products group said that trading since 7 February – when it last issued an update – had continued to be strong despite what it called the “testing external environment.” By that it meant of course COVID-19 and disruptions in the supply chain.

So it is now forecasting underlying profits for the year to be no less than £31m, compared to the previous guidance of £28m. It also expects to end the financial year with no debt, compared to borrowings of £36.4m a year ago.

The shares have climbed 4.3% or 11p to 267p..

2.56pm: Exchange group upbeat

Aquis Exchange PLC (LON.AQX) has seen its own shares move higher after the company unveiled a maiden profit.

The stock exchange operator made a full year pretax profit of £0.5mln compared to a £0.9m loss, helped by a 50% increase in average monthly users.

With an upbeat assessment of the outlook, the company’s shares have climbed 22.5p or 3.95% to 592.5p. 

1.23pm: Minerals group in demand

Strategic Minerals PLC (LON.SML) has moved higher on hopes of approval of a copper mining application in Australia.

The company’s subsidiary, Leigh Creek Copper Mine, announced it had lodged a response to an information request from the South Australian Department of Energy and Mining, relating to an application to mine its Paltridge North deposit.

Managing director John Peters said: “The submission of the further information sought reflects the on-going dialogue that LCCM has maintained with the DEM and reflects the prudent policies the South Australian government follows in ensuring mining projects are environmentally robust.

“It is the board’s view that this is likely to be the final submission required for approval and that this is likely to occur in the second quarter of 2021. 

“Subject to receipt of the…approval and funding, the company expects to commence mobilisation and mining in the third quarter of 2021 with revenue commencing in the last quarter of 2021.”

Its shares have added 5.76% or 0.024p to 0.45p.

Meanwhile UK Oil & Gas PLC (LON.UKOG) has jumped 17.02% or 0.02p to 0.14p after the company, which has assets in southern England, was given a three month extension by AIM to report its results. They were due by today but have been delayed by COVID-19. 

12.09pm: Sleep company board changes 

Eve Sleep PLC (LON.EVE) has changed its chairman and seen its shares rise, which may perhaps be a little hurtful to the outgoing executive.

The departee from the company – which likes to call itself a sleep wellness business – is Paul Pindar who will be replaced by Mike Lloyd, currently chief operating officer at McCarthy & Stone.

The announcement of the appointment can only be called a bit of a love-in.

Pindar said chairing the company for five years had been a privilege. He said now that the company’s rebuilding strategy was complete – it started revamping its business in 2018 – it was time to inject fresh thinking and called Lloyd an exceptional candidate.

Chief executive Cheryl Calverley said working with Pindar had been “unexpectedly delightful” and added: “Mike will bring a different energy to the role, challenging and stretching the eve business to accelerate for growth. He’s a remarkable character, and is the perfect fit to help eve take advantage of what lies ahead. I’m personally both excited, and slightly awed by the opportunity that having Mike as chairman places in front of us.”

And Lloyd said: “Eve is at a positive inflection point – having now created sound foundations it can look to profitable growth. I am excited to be joining at this time, and to be able to put my experience and energy into supporting eve in grasping this opportunity.”

The shares are up 12.24% or 0.6p at 5.5p.

10.58am: Biogradeable technology group positive on outlook

Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON.SYM)  is in demand after an upbeat results statement.

The company, which develops additives to turn ordinary plastic into a biodegradeable substance, is up 13.8% or 2.25p to 18.5p after it reported a fall in full year losses from £0.7mln to £0.44mln. Revenues rose from £8.22mln to £9.77mln.

During the year its d2p (designed-to-protect) antibacterial technology was approved by US FDA for bread packaging while its antimicrobial product was proven by an independent laboratory to kill coronavirus within one hour of contact.

It has launched legal action against an EU directive which it says incorrectly includes its technology: “We believe that the EU’s unsubstantiated ban on what they call “oxo-degradable” plastic has caused unwarranted confusion about the proven efficacy of our d2w oxo-BIOdegradable masterbatch. More importantly this confusion has denied the opportunity for European consumers and businesses to utilise one of the most effective and economic technologies to address the problem of plastic pollution on land and at sea. The EU institutions have until 14 April 2021 to serve their defences.”

9.48am: Parsley Box drops 7.5%

It’s not a good day for food delivery companies to join the market.

Deliveroo has slumped around 20% on its market debut and Parsley Box Group PLC (LON.MEAL) is also heading in the wrong direction.

Parsley Box, founded in 2017, specialises in delivering ready meals which do not need to be stored in a fridge or freezer to what it calls the “underserved Baby Boomer+ consumer”, i.e. people aged 60 and over.

As part of its entry to AIM it raised £5mln for the company and £12mln for shareholders who sold part of their stakes.

At the placing price of 200p, it was capitalised at around £83.8mln. But it is worth 7.5% less than that now, with the shares down 15p to 185p

8.27am: Mining group upbeat after rock sample results

Rockfire Resources PLC (LON.ROCK) has attracted attention after an update from its Lighthouse site in North Queensland, Australia .

The company said it had received positive rock samples from the Bell Rock gold prospect at the 100% owned area, and also confirmed an early stage copper discovery.

Chief executive David Price said: “The receipt of multiple, highly encouraging rock sample results from Bell Rock…is an exciting advancement of the prospect.

“A new copper prospect within the Lighthouse tenement, called “Otway”, was identified from structural interpretation by Rockfire’s geologists.. During Rockfire’s first exploration visit to conduct mapping and sampling, one rock sample returned 0.25 % copper and a highly unexpected result of 0.28 % cobalt. Three other rock samples returned elevated copper above 300 ppm Cu. Further work is needed to understand the geology of this early-stage prospect.”

Rockfire’s shares have risen 6.45% or 0.05p to 0.83p.

Bigblu Broadband PLC (LON.BBB)  has bounced 5p or 4.65% to 112.5p after what it described as “a transformational year.”

It said: “We commenced the year with a reconstitution of our entire debt facilities at highly competitive rates with our lead banking partner Santander Bank UK plc. During the year, we successfully disposed of the UK and European Satellite operations to our industry leading partner Eutelsat for maximum aggregate consideration of up to £39.3m, a value that the Directors believe was extremely attractive. We ended the year with the announcement of three substantial contract wins in Quickline and a fourth just after the year end worth a combined total of around £30m under the BDUK Superfast Programme to improve connectivity in deep rural communities to around 30,000 premises using a combination of fixed wireless and fibre technologies.”

Full year like-for-like revenues rose 4.3% with earnings up 29.7% to £6.2m. 

Proactive news headlines

DeepVerge PLC (LON:DVRG) has reiterated its guidance for 2021 as it said the year looks to be “promising” as it ramped up progress with its projects.

Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) said it expects 30 car models to be fitted with its driver monitoring technology within the next two calendar years just from existing customers.

One Media IP Group PLC (LON:OMIP) said it split off its anti-piracy business TCAT into a new subsidiary to capitalise on the evolving music streaming market.

Amryt Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:AMYT, LON:AMYT) said has completed the rolling submission process that it hopes will end with the fast-track sign-off from the US Food & Drug Administration a gel for a rare and distressing skin disease.

Eden Research PLC (LON:EDEN) said its partner has received authorisation in Spain for its bio-fungicide.

Scotgold Resources Ltd (LON:SGZ) said it raised £1.5mln through a placing and will use the proceeds for working capital through the current production ramp up at the Cononish gold and silver mine in Scotland. It still expects production for calendar year 2021 to be within the guidance range previously provided.

Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYM) said it is aiming for continued growth in 2021 as the plastics specialist reported revenue growth last year despite the challenging conditions in the global economy.

InnovaDerma PLC (LON:IDP) remains “confident” that consumption levels for its products will “return quickly” as the UK’s eases lockdown measures ahead of peak tanning season, it said in an outlook statement accompanying final results.

IronRidge Resources Ltd (LON:IRR) sees 2021 as a pivotal year as it continues exploration programmes in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Chad, the company said alongside its interim results.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP, TSX:TXP) said it encountered light oil at Chinook-1, part of the Ortoire block, and that further evaluation is required to determine commerciality.

Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) told investors the Cameroon authorities are supporting the company’s plans for the Thali license and it is working with its contractors to organise a schedule for the NJOM-3 well.

Condor Gold PLC’s (LON:CNR, TSX:COG) key objective this year is to continue to advance La India project in Nicaragua to production, the company said alongside its 2020 financial results. Pretax losses narrowed to £1.3mln, from £1.5mln in 2019, for the exploration and development company. 

Mineral & Financial Investments Limited (LON:MAFL) the mining and metals investor, increased net asset value 6% to a record 16.1p in the half-year to end-December.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E, ASX:88E) has confirmed that wireline logging operation are now underway for the Merlin-1 well, in Alaska. Hotly anticipated ‘preliminary’ results are expected over the weekend, it noted.

The Tavistock Investments PLC (LON:TAVI) board has reiterated that the takeover approach by Team PLC is “without merit”.

A new service has been launched by commodity broker SCB Group to help individuals offset their car’s CO2 emissions, called ClimatePositive. 

Mode Global Holdings PLC (LON:MODE) has appointed Ariane Murphy as its new chief investor relations officer.

NextEnergy Solar Fund Ltd (LON:NESF) announced that Sue Inglis has decided to step down as a director of the company with effect from 31 March 2021.

Capital Limited (LON:CAPD) said this year’s annual general meeting will be held at The CORE, 9th Floor, Ébène CyberCity, Mauritius on Wednesday 28 April 2021 at 10am GMT.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR, ASX:THR, OTCQB:THORF) said a webinar will be hosted by OTC Markets and Murdock Capital Partners at 3:30pm US Eastern Standard time on 30th March 2021.

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