Arc Minerals on downward trajectory after Casa Mining sale falls through

A look at some of the major movers in the stock market on Thursday

Blue Prism Group PLC -

Shares in Arc Minerals Ltd (LON:ARCM) were on a downward trajectory, slumping 11% to 2.75p, after the proposed sale of its Casa Mining interests collapsed.

The reason for the termination was that an updated legal title opinion was not able to be completed by the long-stop date; however, the company's title opinion, which has been independently audited, confirmed that all Casa title issues were in good order, and this information was conveyed to Century Capital Management, the company that was looking to bu6y Casa Mining.

On the plus side, Nick von Schirdning, the executive chairman of Arc, said that the sales process had elicited interest from other parties who were interested in buying the gold asset, which is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

2.00pm: Another CEO exits at Mothercare

If you thought shares in Mothercare PLC (LON:MTC) could fall no further, think again. They fell 11% to 14.8p after the chief executive officer quit.

Mark Newton-Jones is to leave the struggling babywear retailer, with the chief financial officer, Glyn Hughes, taking over on an interim basis.

Clive Whiley, who took over interim executive chairman in April 2018 will remain as chairman but in a non-executive capacity.

1.00pm: REACT scrubs up well

REACT Group PLC (LON:REAT) scrubbed up well, rising 4.8% to 0.55p after the company won a half a million-pound contract.

The contract is to provide specialist deep cleaning services to one of its heavyweight customers operating in the rail sector.

The contract is for a discrete service covering a 15-week period and is incremental to work that REACT carries out for this customer on a regular basis.

11.45am: Smartspace Software warns on profits

Smartspace Software PLC (LON:SMRT) was the biggest faller in London, losing a third of its value after it issued a profit warning.

Unlike many software companies, the company, which designs software for “smart buildings”, has not moved over to a software-as-a-service model as a result of which its revenue stream can be “lumpy”, dependent as it is on upfront payments when it wins new contracts or secures renewals on existing contracts.

The company said it has been slower to conclude contract negotiations than it had anticipated, as a result of which revenues in the year to 31 January 2020 will be little changed from the year before, with a knock-on effect on underlying earnings.

10.30am: Tills jingle at Gear4Music over Christmas

Gear4music Holdings PLC (LON:G4M) rose 12% to 272.5p after it hit the right notes for investors with its Christmas trading update.

The online musical instrument retailer saw total revenues rise 7% to £30.4mln in the two months to 31 December.

Gross margin improved by 2.6 percentage points to 26.5%, contributing to an 18% increase in gross profit at £8mln.

9.30am: Blue Prism steams higher after strong second half

Robot automation specialist Blue Prism Group PLC (LON:PRSM) clanked 23% higher to 1,510p in morning trade on Thursday after reporting better than expected results for 2019.

Revenues increased by 83% to £101m from 2018 while monthly recurring revenue had improved to £10.6mln by the end of the year, up from £6.2mln at the end of 2018.

The second half of 2019 saw the group enjoy record quarters across each of its key geographies, with the momentum beginning to reflect the 2018 investment programme.

Shares of kettle safety controls designer Strix Group PLC (LON:KETL) came to the boil this morning, rising 3.8% to 195.2p, after an upbeat trading update.

As a result of strong cash generation and an improvement in cash outflows in 2019, the group will report a better than expected net debt figure of around £26.3 million.

Profit after tax is expected to be in line with market expectations.

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Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) said revenues and cash were ahead of forecast as the life sciences specialist reconfirmed plans to take its first drug into the clinic later this year. The developer of antibody-like proteins called Affimers said it had benefited from collaborations with companies such as LG Chem and ADC Therapeutics, which funded its R&D activities.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) has had its borrowing base reviewed and its credit limit set at US$650mln. Presently, DGOC has drawn borrowings of US$437mln from the facility. The redetermination of the borrowing base comes shortly after DGOC’s US$200mln securitisation financing, completed in November.

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX), the venture capital company focused on the biotechnology sector, said its portfolio company, Autolus Therapeutics (NASDA:AUTL), has priced its offering of new American Depositary Shares (ADS). In total it has put up for sale 7.25mln ADSs at a price of US$11 each in an underwritten offer that will bring in a ‘gross’ US$80mln.

Mobile phone owners are increasingly reluctant to share their location data, which is having a significant impact on advertisers trying to plan digital media campaigns, according to research by Location Sciences PLC (LON:LSAI). The AIM-listed group’s State of Privacy and Location Marketing report found over two-thirds (68%) of Apple iOS 13 users opted out of always-on location data affecting indicators such as audience quality, attribution and footfall confidence and multi-touch attribution.

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) is continuing its transition toward higher-margin forms of esports entertainment and has reshuffled its commercial leadership to drive its growth ambitions. In a trading update for the six months ended 31 December, the esports media firm said after “significant growth” in its higher-margin revenue streams it now expected gross profits to rise 300% to £2.1mln, while adjusted operating losses will be cut to £2.4mln from £4.4mln.

ECSC Group PLC (LON:ECSC), the provider of cyber-security services, returned to underlying profitability in the second half of last year. In a brief trading update covering 2019, the group revealed it was cash generative in the second half of the year, with positive adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of around £200,000.

Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG) has commenced a staged redemption programme of its existing £2.245mln convertible secured loan notes. The redemption programme is scheduled to be completed well before the 15% loan notes are due to mature at the end of June this year. Westminster said the redemption programme would save the company money on both interest and management fees.

ADM Energy Plc (LON:ADME) told investors that it is “well-positioned for a period of aggressive growth”, albeit the firm also noted the negative impact of project delays at the Aje field offshore Nigeria. Following on from significant changes to its board last year, including the appointment of Nigerian oil specialist Osamede Okhomina, the company is now seeking to expand its asset portfolio.

Europa Oil & Gas PLC’s (LON:EOG) big Irish Atlantic oil and gas ambitions have taken another dent as an unnamed sector ‘major’ walked away from farm-out talks. The ‘major’, via its NW Europe division, had been in engaged in Europa’s farm-out process for more than a year, but, amidst an internal strategic review the would-be venture partner has now told Europa that the project is no longer under consideration. Europa said talks with other parties continue.

Electronic queuing and e-ticketing specialist accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ASCO) has taken down the “up for sale” sign. The company kicked off a formal sale process in July of last year after receiving approaches from parties interested in acquiring the company but announced this morning that none of the approaches resulted in an offer that the board feels values the company appropriately. In a separate announcement, accesso also revealed that Steve Brown, who was formerly president and chief executive officer of the company between 2016 and 2018, will replace Paul Noland as chief executive officer.

Immotion Group PLC (LON:IMMO) has unveiled plans for a share placing to accelerate its growth plans after inking a revenue-sharing deal with the MGM Mandalay Bay resort and casino in Las Vegas. The firm, which specialises in ‘out of home’ virtual reality (VR) experiences, said it plans to raise around £2.85mln through the issue of 39.3mln new shares at a price of 7.25p each, an 11% discount on Wednesday’s closing price.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) confirmed that as previously announced it is currently undertaking meetings with investors in connection with its proposed placing of £5mln. The company said while it hopes to complete the placing at, or close to, the implied offer price of 6.3p per ordinary share in line with the authorities granted by shareholders to raise up to £10mln at the general meeting on 6 January 2020, there can be no certainty as to the outcome of the placing until such time as the placing is concluded. The group added that discussions with potential investors remain ongoing and a detailed announcement will be made in due course.

MTI Wireless Edge Ltd. (LON:MWE), the technology group focused on comprehensive communication and radio frequency solutions across multiple sectors, has announced that its share repurchase programme which commenced on 28 January 2019 and was originally put in place until no later than 26 July 2019 and then subsequently extended until 26 January 2020, has now been extended until 26 July 2020.

APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ), the AIM-listed emerging markets growth company announced that as at the close of business on 31 December 2019, its unaudited book value per ordinary share was 93.98 US cents, equivalent to 70.94p. The group also said it’s board has declared a dividend of 1.5p per share in respect of the quarter to 31 December 2019 which is payable on 2 March 2020 to shareholders on the register as at the close of business on 31 January 2020.

Tally Ltd, the company which offers customers the chance to buy currency backed by physical gold, said it will be holding its third live shareholder Q&A with the group’s two co-founders, Cameron Parry and Ralph Hazell on the online Tally Community, Thursday 23rd January 7pm-8pm.

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