Dairy Crest shareholders hoping to milk more money from Saputo takeover

Some of the main news-driven risers and fallers in London on Friday...

bahamas beach
BPC shares are certainly enjoying a day in the sun

Dairy Crest Group PLC (LON:DCG) has risen to the top today after the Cathedral City cheese maker agreed to be taken out by Canadian dairy giant Saputo in a deal worth £975mln.

But are investors in the FTSE 2015 company gambling on a rival bid coming in?

Well, the shares are up 13.1% today to 627.5p, slightly above the offer of 620p put forward by Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

As yet, there are no rumours swirling round about another potential suitor, but it is very rare for a share price to go above an offer if the market isn’t expecting the bid price to increase.

Of course, it could also be shareholders’ way of telling Saputo they want more of a premium. With no speculation of other bidders, that seems more likely.

Dairy Crest’s board seem happy enough with the proposal, though. Chairman Stephen Alexander said the top brass are “unanimously recommending” the offer given its “attractive” 12% (?!) premium.

Provident Financial set to be taken over by ex-boss

Subprime lender Provident Financial PLC (LON:PFG) has received a takeover offer from Non-Standard Finance PLC (LON:NSF), the consumer finance provider headed by its ex-chief executive John van Kuffeler.

The all-share deal, which values FTSE 250 Provident at around £1.3bn, has been backed by one of its major shareholders Woodford Investment Management, which owns a 25.3% stake in the company and is headed by high-profile fund manager Neil Woodford.

On a per share basis, the offer values each Provident share at 511p, equal to its last close price on 21 February, with Provident’s shareholders owning around 88% of the newly enlarged group post-transaction.

Provident has endured a torrid couple of years during after its credit card diviosin, Vanquis, was fined £2mln by the FCA and ordered to pay £169mln to customers for mis-selling a repayment option plan (ROP).

Shares are up 13% to 578p in mid-afternoon trading on Friday.

Haydale Graphene to reboot with big discount fund raise

Haydale Graphene Industries Group PLC (LON:HAYD) is raising up to £7.8mln at a huge discount to the market price to shore up its finances.

Of the money, around £3.8mln has been raised through an oversubscribed placing of 188.125mln new ordinary shares at 2p each, with a further £0.2mln coming from a share subscription for 11,875 mln shares.

Meanwhile, a 7-for-1 open offer to qualifying shareholders at the same price is designed to bring in up to a further £4mln. Just a month ago, the shares were changing hands at 27.4p. In afternoon trading, shares in Haydale Graphene were changing hands at 2.46p.

The graphene and composite materials specialist lost £3.5mln (£2.67mln) in the six months to December on sales of £1.6mln (£2mln).

Bahamas Petroleum soars on exploration licence extension

Bahamas Petroleum Company plc (LON:BPC) shares have shot up 25% after it told investors that it extended its exploration licence until 31 December 2020.

It secures the company’s four southern licences in the territorial waters of The Bahamas.

"The confirmation from the government of the Bahamas that the current term of our four southern licences extends to 31 December 2020 provides the company with a certainty of tenure over the company's licences, replacing any perceived ‘above ground’ issues with complete clarity in fact and law,” said Simon Potter, BPC chief executive.

Subject to exploration results, at the end of the exploration period the company will have the right to apply for a production lease over all or part of the company.

Shares flowed 25.5% higher to 1.6p.

Metro Bank surges on £120mln grant win

Metro Bank PLC (LON:MTRO) shares are well up so far today after the challenger bank was the big winner in the first round of funding from an RBS-funded competition scheme.

Metro has been awarded £120mln, sending the stock up 5% to 1,369p. Rivals Starling Bank and ClearBank were the other victors, bagging £100mln and £60mln, respectively.

That is all that has been dished out so far, but there’s still another £495mln left in the pot will be doled out later this year.

Still, CYBG PLC (LON:CYBG) investors weren’t happy at missing out on the first round of grants, with the Virgin Money owner down 5.2% to 187p.

The funds are coming from Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (LON:RBS) as part of the terms of its £45bn government bailout back in 2008.

After the state-backed bank scrapped plans to sell off its Williams & Glyn business to Santander, it was forced to set aside the funds to encourage those customers to switch to other lenders.

Flybe nosedives as it becomes cash shell

Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB) shares are flying low after it completed the sale of its main trading assets to Connect Airways – the regional airline recently set up by Virgin Atlantic.

The £2.8mln sale leaves Flybe as just a cash shell, while it also rules out any possibility of shareholders receiving a better offer than the penny-a-share Connect put forward last month.

Investors had been unhappy at the takeover price which they felt undervalued the firm and their had been murmurings that they would look to block the sale.

Shares are down 20% to 1.65p, although they had been as high as 6p at the end of January, when the cut-price sale looked to be in doubt.

Webis puts on a spurt after licence renewal for race track

Webis Holdings PLC (LON:WEB), the totalisator betting specialist, said its WatchandWager Cal Expo track has had its licence renewed.

The two-year licence renewal from the California Horse Racing Board is strategically important to WatchandWager as the state legislature is about to consider bills legalising sports wagering in the state of California.

The current Adam Gray (Democrat) sponsored Sports Betting Bill is now approaching the committee stage in Sacramento, the capital of the state of California.

Webis reckons it is “highly likely” that sports betting will be approved, given the initial success in other states and the tax benefits from regulated gaming.

Shares in Webis were up 7.1% at 3.32p in morning trading.

APC on a charge, Vast celebrates end of convertible securities deal with Bergen​

APC Technology Group PLC (LON:APC), the provider of specialist electronic components, has some good news for shareholders at today’s annual general meeting.

The company released a statement ahead of the meeting saying that the board is pleased with the start to the new financial year. It said it continues to trade within management expectations.

APC shares were up 3.7% at 6.35p.

Also on the rise were shares in Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) as the threat of share dilution from its loan facility with Bergen was removed.

The AIM-listed mining company with operating mines in Romania and Zimbabwe, announced that the convertible securities issuance between the company and Bergen Global Opportunity Fund, dated 19 December 2018, has been terminated by the parties by mutual consent, effective as of 21 February 2019.

Following the termination, the group said no further funding will be provided to the company under the agreement. The stock advanced almost 9% to 0.185p.

Other Proactive news headlines:

Mobile games developer Gaming Realms PLC (LON:GMR) is to sell Bear Group, the company's real money gaming operating subsidiary for £11.5mln. The buyer is River iGaming, a company listed in Oslo.

BlueRock Diamonds PLC (LON:BRD) shares sparkled in early deals after netting over US$150,000 from the sale of two diamonds recovered from its Kareevlei mine in South Africa.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) managing director, Kerim Sener, hailed the “excellent” performance of the company’s Kiziltepe gold mine in Turkey after it delivered another strong quarter of low-cost production.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) has updated on the drilling operations at the Winx-1 well in Alaska, telling investors that the surface casing has been run down to 2,500 feet. It now expects to start drilling the intermediate section of the well next week.

Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) has completed the sale of its regional airline to Connect Airways – the joint venture it set up with Virgin Atlantic which has also finalised the £2.8mln acquisition of Flybe Group PLC’s (LON:FLYB) main trading assets.

Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) has welcomed the European Parliament’s announcement that driver-monitoring technology such as its FOVIO system will become mandatory in all road vehicles. On Thursday, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted to approve a range of new vehicle safety standards proposed by the European Commission last year.

Haydale Graphene Industries Group PLC (LON:HAYD) intends to raise up £7.8mln at a huge discount to the market price to shore up its finances. Of the money, £3.8mln is being raised through a placing at 2p per share while an open offer will bring in up to a further £4mln.

Advanced Oncotherapy PLC (LON:AVO) has announced that its Remuneration Committee has approved the grant of share options over a total of 4,000,000 new ordinary shares at an issue price of 100p each – a 141% premium to Wednesday’s closing share price - with a five-year term, expiring on 20 February 2024. Of the Options, 545,000 have been granted to the group’s executive chairman, Dr Michael Sinclair, 1,400,000 to its chief executive officer, Nicolas Serandour, non-executive director 215,000 to Professor Stephen Myers and the remaining 1,840,000 to members of key management.

Europa Metals Ltd (LON:EUZ) (ASX:AUZ), the European lead-zinc explorer, said it has now received formal approval for its securities to commence trading on the AltX of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with effect from the commencement of business on Friday, 1 March 2019.

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd. (LON:ECO) (TSX-V:EOG), the oil and gas exploration company with licenses in highly prospective regions in Guyana and Namibia, has been ranked second in the Energy Sector on the 2019 TSX Venture 50, up from fifth in 2018. This marks the second consecutive year Eco has been included in the TSX Venture 50, an annual ranking of the top-performing companies on the TSX Venture Exchange over the last year.

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