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Oxford Biomedica shares surge after it raises its forecast for COVID-19 vaccine revenues

Oxford Biomedica PLC (LON:OXB) has been boosted by vaccine news.

The company, a key manufacturer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) COVID-19 vaccine, has doubled its expectations for revenue from the contract.

The gene and cell therapy group said AstraZeneca had increased the number of batches required for the jab in the second half.

It now estimates its revenues from the vaccine will be £100mln, up from previous forecasts of £50mln.

The company’s shares have jumped 128p or 12.77% to 1130p, making it the biggest riser in the FTSE 350.

3.15pm: Repairs group sees profits damaged

Homeserve PLC (LON:HSV) has seen its profits take a hit after writing off a customer relationship managment system.

The home services and repair business, which also owns Checkatrade, saw full year profits slump by 66% to £47.2mln, partly due to an £84.8mln write-down.

Chief executive Richard Harpin said: “One of the most difficult decisions we took this year was to halt the implementation of eServe, the UK CRM solution we procured in 2013… eServe was highly configured to our business and became costly and inflexible to implement, with further configuration issues emerging as implementation progressed. It will be replaced by a more flexible, cloud-based solution.”

It was upbeat about the outlook, saying: “With homeowners set to continue to spend on their homes and compelling plans in place to continue to build attractive customer, partner and trades propositions, the group is well positioned for further strong growth.”

But its shares have dropped 7.47% or 77.5p to 959.5p.

2.32pm: Tile specialist hopeful of second half recovery

It was a tale of two quarters for Topps Tiles PLC (LO:TPT).

In its first quarter – the three months to December – it benefited from its shops reopening as lockdown was lifted.

But as we all know, restrictions were soon imposed again and the three months to March this year bear the scars.

So overall revenues for the first six months of the tile and wood flooring specialist fell 2.8%, but adjusted profits rose from £1.2mln to £5.1mln.

And now we are back in the reopening phase, the company has seen a rapid increase in sales, giving it confidence for the second half.

Chief executive Rob Parker said: “Inevitably, our first half results reflect two sharply contrasting periods of trading.  An exceptionally strong performance in the first quarter demonstrated the ability of the business to bounce back following the initial lockdown.  Our performance in the second half, while materially stronger than in the first lockdown, was heavily impacted by the re-imposition of COVID-19-related trading restrictions at the start of the period.

“The re-opening of our stores to all customers on 12 April has once again been received very positively and we have seen a strong recovery in sales and gross margins, with retail like-for-like sales 16.8% ahead of the same period in 2019 in the five weeks since re-opening.  We are confident of a much-improved performance in the second half and believe the group remains well positioned to take advantage of an expected increase in consumer spending.”

Topps shares have added 5.55% to 74.2p.

12.10pm: Direct marketing group upbeat on prospects

4imprint Group Plc (LON:FOUR) is in demand after it gave a positive update to shareholders at its annual meeting.

The direct marketing group said the first four months of the year had seen good progress in recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

Since its results in March, momentum in the business has grown, with order intake in April above 80% of 2019 levels. In the most recent three weeks, order counts have averaged 85% against the same 2019 comparative.

The news has sent its shares 5.65% higher to 2430p.

10.46am: Network group links up with US utilities specialist

CyanConnode Holdings PLC (LON:CYAN) has signalled a new partnership and seen its shares jump sharply.

The company, a specialist in narrowband radio frequency mesh networks that facilitate machine to machine communication, has signed an alliance with California’s SEW (Smart Energy Water). SEW is an energy and water cloud platform provider serving more than 300 utilities worldwide.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will promote and sell each others products, as well as refer potential customers to each other, expanding the geographical reaches of each company.

CyanConnode chairman John Cronin said: “This partnership with SEW… will maximise sales potential in existing as well as new territories while widening the company’s global distribution channels.”

SEW founder and chief executive Deepak Garg said: “The energy and utilities industry worldwide is going through a major transformation in customer experience and mobile workforce operations. SEW is delighted to partner with CyanConnode and offer its customers CyanConnode’s intelligent communication solutions, in the knowledge that this technology has been proven by worldwide commercial scale deployments.”

Elsewhere Oxford Technology 4 Venture Capital Trust PLC (LON:OXF) has surged by 50% to 24p.

The move comes after one of its investee companies, Arecor Therapeutics PLC, said this week  it would join AIM in a £20mln IPO next month.

Oxford said: “Assuming the placing and admission takes place at a share price in the range indicated, the company’s value of its investment in Arecor is anticipated to increase. The Board intends to make a further announcement that will quantify that impact, after the admission has taken place.”

9.46am: Mining group gains after expansion news

Tertiary Minerals PLC (LON:TYM) has made another step to expanding its copper interests.

It is forming a subsidiary in Zambia – Luangwa Minerals Limited – to target exploration and development opportunities for the metal in the country..

It has retained geologist Marcel Nally, formerly a director of private Zambian copper producer Moxico Resources, and expects to appoint him exploration manager in due course. It  has also retained Shangwa Chime as Luangwa’s government liaison officer.

Tertiary will hold 96% of Luangwa, with 3% being held by Mr. Nally and 1% held by Mr. Chime.

Executive chairman Patrick Cheetham said: “Given that the Board has many years of experience with Zambian mining projects, we are excited to take this next step in the development of Tertiary’s mineral business. Copper is increasingly a focus for the company and with Zambia one of the world’s top 10 copper producing countries, producing nearly 900,000 tonnes of copper in 2020, we expect Luangwa to be a valuable addition to the Tertiary asset portfolio.”

The company’s shares have jumped 16.92% or 0.06p to 0.38p.

8.55am: Oil company boosted by regulatory approval

Egdon Resources PLC (LON:EDR) has seen its shares bubble higher after a positive update from its Wressle oil field in North Lincolnshire.

It has received the necessary consents to start a proppant squeeze operation – a hydraulic fracturing process – to optimise oil production from the Ashover Grit reservoir, one of three productive reservoirs it has been testing.

Its Wressle-1 well has been on 24 hour test production since late January with the oil produced then being  transported by road tanker to the Phillips 66 Humber refinery and sold under Egdon’s existing oil sales contract. 

The company said production rates had exceeded its expectations, with high quality free flowing oil being produced and no water present. The well will continue operating on test production until the proppant squeeze operation is started.

Egdon managing director Mark Abbott said: “We are delighted to have received all the required regulatory consents for the proppant squeeze operation at Wressle. When successfully completed, this will realise the full potential from the Ashover Grit reservoir and is expected to increase Egdon’s net production to 150 barrels of oil per day at a time of increasingly strong oil prices leading to a step change in our cash flow.”

Egdon is 18.75% or 0.3p higher at 1.9p while Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO), which has a 40% economic interest in the Lincolnshire licences has added 8.14% or 2.85p to 37.85p.

Union Jack executive chairman David Bramhill said: “The proppant squeeze operation is the final phase of achieving our targeted oil production level and generating optimum cash flows from the Ashover Grit reservoir.”

Proactive news headlines

Apollon Formularies PLC (LON:APOL) said a combined formulation of its medical cannabis treatment and medicinal mushrooms developed by Canadian firm Aion Therapeutic Inc have been effective at killing HER2+ breast cancer cells, the cause of around 20% of all breast cancers.

Union Jack Oil PLC’s (LON:UJO) 40%-owned Wressle oil field development project has been given the greenlight for a ‘proppant squeeze’ operation, which is expected to yield higher production volumes.

Sirius Real Estate Limited (LON:SRE) flagged that Fitch Ratings has published its first credit rating for the company, resulting in a BBB rating with a stable outlook. 

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) said drilling results from the Banu area of the Kiziltepe mine in Turkey confirmed the presence of higher-grade mineralisation at the south-eastern end of the vein system.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC (LON:CGNR) has begun its 2021 drilling programme at Clontibret in County Monaghan, Ireland. The first drill holes of the programme will form part of the ongoing work programme, planning and due diligence for the company’s proposed joint venture partnership with Demir Export A.S. 

Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) has reported steady profits for its 2020 financial year as the company highlighted changes in its fourth quarter that it believes have sustainably improved the business.

Shield Therapeutics PLC (LON:STX, OTCQX:SHIEF) noted a recent publication in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases of the positive long-term effectiveness of ferric maltol compared to intravenous iron in treating patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The pharmaceutical company’s focus is on addressing iron deficiency with its main product Feraccru/Accrufer (ferric maltol). 

SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (LON:SAE) has updated investors on correspondence it has received in relation to the purported appointment of receivers over all of the shares of its major shareholder, SIMEC UK Energy Holdings Limited (SUEH), a GFG Alliance member that, SAE understands, owns approximately 43% of the firm’s share capital.

Galantas Gold Corporation (CVE:GAL)(LON:GAL) has completed its previously announced placement of shares at C$0.30 per unit, and therefore raised just shy of C$8mln. In connection with closing, the chief executive’s role will be taken by Mario Stifano, an experienced mining executive who has raised significant capital for a number of mining and resource companies in exploration, development and production.

Sureserve Group Plc (LON:SUR) said it is well-positioned for further organic growth in a fragmented and regional market and expects continued strong trading throughout the year.

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK), the aquaculture biotechnology company, saw growth in revenues and earnings in the six months to the end of March, driven by a strong performance by its Advanced Nutrition business.

Love Hemp Group PLC (LON:LIFE) (OTCQB:WRHLF) said it has appointed Stephen White as chief marketing officer and Steve Horan as head of marketing as part of its strategy to become a globally recognised brand.

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) said its portfolio firm, PDS Biotechnology Corp (NASDAQ:PDSB), it which it owns a 5.75% stake, has received US$4.5mln from the net sale of tax benefits to an unrelated, profitable New Jersey corporation pursuant to the company’s participation in the New Jersey Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Net Operating Loss (NOL) program for 2020.

Applied Graphene Materials PLC (LON:AGM) said Tru-Tension, a company that designs and manufactures products for biking enthusiasts, has launched a new detailing spray paint that uses Applied Graphene’s graphene nanoplatelet technology.

Scirocco Energy PLC (LON:SCIR) has generated some £1.6mln of proceeds from the sale of shares in Helium One. Scirocco, in a statement, said it had sold an additional 7.45mln Helium One shares to reduce its holding in the Helium One to 9.95mln shares or 1.59% of the company.

TomCo Energy PLC’s (LON:TOM) part-owned operation in Ohio has been suspended following the receipt of a cessation order from the state authorities.

Personal Group Holdings PLC (LON:PGH) has appointed Liam McGrath, the former chief operating officer (COO) of Equniti, as the COO of the company.

Accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO) said it expects to ‘comfortably’ exceed its revenue guidance for the full year 2021, although it warned that rising costs would lessen the impact on its profit.

BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC) said it has commenced delivery of two new diagnostic tests for COVID-19.

Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE), the primary and secondary trading business of exchange service group Aquis Exchange PLC, has been granted equivalence status by the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s Open Market. This means companies with a quotation on AQSE can seek a dual quotation on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and vice versa.

Crossword Cybersecurity PLC (LON:CCS) is to establish a subsidiary in the Sultanate of Oman that will become its Middle Eastern regional headquarters.

3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E)(TSX:ITE) has posted a shareholder circular detailing a proposed reduction of capital, which will require approval at a shareholder meeting that has been convened for 3 June.

Coro Energy PLC (LON:CORO) will host a shareholder question and answer session on Thursday 27 May 2021 at 10am, ahead of its annual general meeting on Tuesday 15 June 2021, with registration on the company website 

Coinsilium Group Limited (AQSE:COIN)(OTCQB:CINGF) will deliver a live presentation as part of the Crypto & Digital Currency Virtual Investor Conference on Thursday, 20 May 2021.

Bango PLC (LON:BGO) will hold an in-person strategy day for current and potential shareholders, and analysts at 1.15 BST on 8 July in London. Management presentations will cover the strategy for growth and will include commentary from a selection of customers and partners, as well as the opportunity to experience and learn more about Bango products.

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) notified that its annual general meeting will be held at 2pm BST on Monday 14 June in London.

Caerus Mineral Resources PLC (LON:CMRS) said its AGM will be held remotely at 9am on 22 June 2021. 

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