Small cap movers: Premier African top of the league this week

Shares in Premier African Minerals doubled this week on news from its Zulu lithium and tantalum project in Zimbabwe

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A round-up of the winners and losers this week on AIM

Is the bottom dropping out of the posh car market?

Autins Group PLC (LON:AUTG), which made its debut on AIM last August and which counts Jaguar-Land Rover and Bentley as customers, hit the skids this week as it warned a major customer had provided “revised volumes and introduction timings for certain platforms”.

As a result, the board said revenues for the current year will be materially lower than expectations.

On the same day, the acoustic and thermal insulation solutions provider for the automotive sector, announced that Jim Griffin has, for personal reasons, resigned as chief executive officer.

The shares shed a third of their value this week.

Also down by a similar amount was Jiasen International Holdings Limited (LON:JSI), which is to delist from AIM.

As investments go, this has not been a conspicuous success.

Floated in July 2014 at 82p a share, the Chinese wooden home furnishings maker is now, literally, a tupenny-ha'penny share.

Another company bidding adieu to AIM is Zamano Plc (LON:ZMO), the smartphone content supplier.

New regulations have been introduced in the UK changing the way mobile operators charge their users for content.

The initiative is referred to as Payforit, and Zamano shareholders are indeed paying for it, as it has disrupted its UK business.

The company, despite cutting costs considerably, has decided to throw in the towel and wind up the business, returning any surplus cash to shareholders.

The final straw for the Dublin-based company was the probable introduction of similar regulatory changes in Ireland to the UK Payforit initiative.

There is likely some value in the company’s UK and Irish listings and there might yet be a reverse takeover for this one, but for now, investors are heading for the exit.

Sector peer Adgorithms Ltd (LON:ADGO) was another software platform operator having hard times this week, as it said it expects to announce a loss of around US$8 million for 2016.

Its indirect trading business, which focuses on leveraging undervalued inventory on online advertising exchanges – it sounds like an upmarket version of flogging off unwanted tat on eBay and Amazon - continues to be volatile and challenging.

“This division is now led by two industry veterans and has continued in its effort to diversify the business and explore new growth opportunities,” Adgorithms said.

That’s all very well, but around a quarter of the value was lopped off the company this week.

Happier news from the minerals sector, where Premier African Minerals Ltd (LON:PREM) announced what it describes as encouraging initial results from drilling at the Zulu lithium and tantalum project in Zimbabwe.

Drill hole 1A has confirmed significant lithium grade, up to 2.33% lithium oxide, with lithium oxide encountered between 214 and 238 metres down hole.

Another hole, ZDD 10, encountered lithium mineralisation between 78 and 121 metres, with grades measuring up to 2.35%.

Results are still awaited from a further eight holes drilled in the recent programme, meanwhile tantalum readings are pending for all holes.

Elsewhere in the resources sector, NU-Oil and Gas PLC (LON:NUOG) shares soared by two-thirds after it told investors it anticipates a production restart in Newfoundland, Canada.

It has signed a production sharing agreement with partner PVF Energy Services, which sees the AIM-quoted group retain a 50% share of net revenue, once the partner has recovered its costs of performing its obligations.

Guscio PLC (LON:GSC), the sport-focused technology company, saw its shares surge 80% but the directors have no idea why.

The directors issued a “search me, guv” announcement on Tuesday, in response to the rapid share price rise.

It might or might not have dropped a hint, however: “The company is focused on further developing its current intellectual property, creating a solid and recurring revenue foundation, and considering complementary earnings enhancing acquisitions. This process is on-going.”

So, now we know. Or rather, we don’t.

We also don’t know much about why the shares of spread betting and forex trading platform operator London Capital Group Holdings plc (LON:LCG) shot up 48% this week.

It has been a turbulent time of late for the spread betting industry, and it may just be a case of the shares bouncing back.

It is unlikely to be because of the departure of the company’s senior independent non-executive director, Rebecca Fuller, who has left to spend more time pursuing her other business interests.

Finally, it has been a good week for Redx Pharma Plc (LON:REDX), which at the end of last week confirmed the upcoming clinical trial of its Porcupine inhibitor, RXC004, will assess the drug in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor as well as deploying it as a single treatment to tackle cancer.

Porcupine inhibitors are a new and potentially breakthrough method of fighting the killer disease.

They work by targeting cancer stems cells that can often lie dormant after traditional treatment and are associated with a recurrence of the illness. Kill the stem cells and you have a chance of eradicating the disease completely.

There is a growing bank of research that has found they may also be very effective in tandem with checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1, which lower or break cancer’s defence against the body’s immune system.

So, Redx, which is currently finalising its clinical trial application here in the UK, will build in a “combination arm” to the study, “reflecting our belief in the validity of this approach”.

The shares rose just under 30% this week.

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