Shares in a handful of coronavirus testing companies, including () and (), were sharply higher amid reports on UK problems with coronavirus testing and the government’s track and trace system.
Following reports included news that the UK will face a backlog of nearly 200,000 Covid-19 tests in government labs, a Downing Street spokesman said the government was “working hard” to increase testing capacity. Speculation was also abounding on social media.
Genedrive shares were up 23% to 110.38p and Omega’s were up 18% to 88.35p.
Neither company has released any news this week, but Genedrive is developing a test to deliver results quickly without needing to send samples to an external lab.
Diagnostics specialist Omega, which is part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium, plans to use its enhanced output to produce as many as five separate types of COVID-19 tests from lab-based to point of care assessments.
Top rising shares also included (), which is part of a government-backed consortium that is developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine, and (), which has developed a phone app that can store and share COVID-19 test information.
The gains were not consistent across the UK-listed coronavirus landscape, as, for example, shares in Novacyt, a pioneer in swab testing that is manufacturing 4mln tests per month; Avacta, which is launching a laboratory test to detect the COVID-19 protein; and Open Orphan, which is focused on antibody testing, were not much moved on the day, though are up around 2,000%, 900% and 200% this year respectively.
2.11pm: Costain and among the big fallers
PLC () was one of the bigger fallers in afternoon trade on Monday, down 10% to 42.2p, after reporting a slide into losses earlier.
The infrastructure construction group said the loss was to do with two large one-off charges and that its two operating business remained profitable on an ongoing basis.
While some doubts remain around whether the company can recover all the £49mln from its mutually-cancelled contract with , the order book remained at £4.2bn, including secured revenue of around £0.9bn for 2021, and without yet adding in its £1bn of HS2 railway contracts and another £1bn from being part of the Smart Motorway Alliance.
PLC () shares were also losing their fizz, down 4% to 887.3p, as it was revealed that a large number of the pub company’s staff had been struck down by coronavirus.
Some 66 pub workers have tested positive for COVID-19 the FTSE 250 company said, a month after reports that its pubs have not been enforcing social distancing rules and were often overcrowded.
‘Spoons said 28 of the infected employees have since returned to work and said this was out of a total of 41,564 staff, with 811 pubs having reported no positive tests as they welcomed more than 30mln customers in the 10 weeks since reopening in early July.
11.38am: shoots higher after Canadian rival goes public with possible offer
PLC (LON:) shares have marched higher after Canada’s GardaWorld announced a possible £3bn hostile offer.
GardaWorld, which claims to be the world’s largest privately-owned security services company, said its possible all-cash offer of 190p per share represented a premium of 86% prior to its first approach in June.
But it said its attempts to engage with ‘s board have been “summarily dismissed or ignored on three occasions” and so the Canadian company was now making the possible offer public to get the UK company’s shareholders on its side.
10.27am: N4 Pharma get nul points from coronavirus antibody trial
() shares have tumbled 41% to 5.67p after the failure of coronavirus-focused trials of its Nuvec drug delivery system.
Single injections of human embryonic kidney cells of Nuvec loaded with coronavirus plasmid did not result in a measurable expression of the spike protein in the target cells of the murine target, the AIM-listed company said, however, neither did the positive control.
As the initial pilot work was “narrow”, N4 boss Nigel Theobald said the decision had been made to proceed to a full study to demonstrate the capability of the delivery system to generate COVID-19 specific antibodies.
9am: zooms on big car contract
PLC () shares zoomed 61% higher to a 15-year peak of 39.4p first thing on Monday morning after it was selected as a supplier of brake disks by a “global vehicle manufacturer”.
The unnamed automotive original equipment manufacturer has ordered engineering samples for the certification process ahead of manufacture next summer and has confirmed details of pricing, volumes and payment terms for the AIM-listed company’s carbon-ceramic brake discs.
Key to the share price spike, will be sole supplier of the standard-fit brake disks on both axles of this car model, which is estimated to be worth a contract of roughly £27.5mln.
Elsewhere, shares in () scrubbed up well after positive results emerged from a test of the company’s d2p anti-microbial technology against a form of coronavirus, with its shares jumping 30% higher to 39p.
Testing polyolefin films incorporating the d2p technology for reductions in the presence of the virus, scientists at Sao Paolo’s Institute of Biology at Unicamp University in Brazil found a 99.9% reduction in the virus on the film at one hour, compared to results of a July trial that showed a virus reduction of 99.84% in 24 hours.
Concluding that the products were “shown to be virucidal”, the institute recommended the use of the technology as a potential virucidal agent against coronavirus, meaning d2p could be included in virtually any plastic products.
Proactive news headlines:
() has reported positive results from a test of its d2p anti-microbial technology masterbatch against a bovine form of coronavirus. The AIM-listed firm said the Institute of Biology at Unicamp University in Sao Paolo State, Brazil, had tested polyolefin films incorporating the d2p technology for reductions in the presence of the virus at one, two and 24 hour periods. The tests showed a 99.9% reduction in the virus on the film at one hour, which then rose to 99.99% at two hours and 99.999% at 24 hours. In a separate announcement reporting its first-half results, Symphony said it had returned to profitability. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, the company reported a pre-tax profit of £18,000 compared to a loss of £86,000 in the previous year, while revenues increased to £4.8mln from £4.1mln.
Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN) (NASDAQ:SLN) has completed its search for a chief executive by appointing industry veteran Mark Rothera to the role. It means Iain Ross, who stepped in to take day-to-day control of the business last December, will return to his former role as non-executive chairman. Rothera, meanwhile, brings with him 30-years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical sector, latterly with Orchard Therapeutics where he secured US$600mln of financing and grew the business to a US$1.7bn market capitalisation at its peak. The appointment was announced alongside the gene silencing specialist’s interim results, which charted a period of significant progress. Key among the landmarks was a deal with () to develop as many as 10 small interfering RNA (siRNA) drug targets in the cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases areas. It resulted in an upfront cash payment of US$60mln and a direct equity investment of US$20mln, which could be followed by potential milestones of US$400mln per target. As a result, Silence ended the six months to June 30 in rude financial health with just over US$64.1mln (£50mln) in the bank.
Seeing Machines Limited () has said it is planning to launch a fully supported, integrated driver monitoring system (DMS) kit on an automotive development platform (ADP) made by technology corporation Qualcomm Inc (). The AIM-listed firm said the DMS will support its full-stack DMS solution on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ADP, targeting integration into either infotainment or centralised advanced driver assistant (ADAS) systems. The kit includes an optimised DMS reference camera, an ADP interface board and Seeing Machines software, and is expected to be available before the end of the current calendar year for use by tier one suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
(), the mobile payments group, is continuing its push into Asia and has signed partnership agreements with five mobile app specialists in different countries. The new partners will use the Bango Audiences customer acquisition tool to boost their app campaigns or revenues for app developer clients.
() has reported sharply reduced losses in its first half as strong order bookings helped boost the firm’s recurring revenue by triple digits. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, the geospatial software group reported a pre-tax loss of £1.6mln, narrowed from £3.16mln in the previous year, while total revenues rose by over 50% to £3.6mln. Recurring revenues increased over 170% on the period to £1.6mln, while order bookings related to the firm’s products increased by over 120% to £5.5mln.
(), the freight forwarder and logistics group, said it is fully prepared for Brexit whatever the outcome as it posted an increase in first-half profits. Trading is almost back to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels, the AIM-listed group said, helped by good performances in central Europe and a recovery in the UK following the COVID-19 disruption. Revenues dipped 3% to £99.6mln in the half-year to June 30, 2020, while profits rose by a third top £302,000 as the good performance in freight forwarding offset dips in affinity and warehousing, which were the arms most affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
() said it has entered into a binding agreement with Australasian Gold Limited for the sale of the non-core May Queen gold project in South East Queensland, Australia. Australasian Gold is an unlisted company established in 2018, operated by an experienced geological team. It holds an additional prospective gold exploration license in the Ashburton region of Western Australia, within 30 kilometres of the Paulsens gold deposit held by Northern Star Resources Limited (). The sale will allow IronRidge to maintain focus across its core African portfolio. IronRidge will receive 4.5mln shares in Australasian Gold, representing 34.6 % of the enlarged share capital. Ironridge will also invest AUD$100,000 at A$0.10 per share to provide additional working capital, taking the total stake to 39.3%.
() told investors, in its interim results statement, that it is confident and optimistic as it remains on-track for first production from the Wressle field, located in North Lincolnshire before the end of this year. The onshore UK oiler ended the six months to June 30, 2020, with £4.6mln of cash, was debt-free and fully funded for its planned drilling, testing and development programmes. “We have seen significant progress at our three key project interests, namely West Newton, Wressle and Biscathorpe,” David Bramhill, Union Jack’s executive chairman said in the results statement.
Supermarket Income REIT () has made another addition to its growing portfolio of omnichannel sites with the acquisition of a Tesco outlet in Bracknell. The 7.3-acre site comprises a food store and a 400-space surface car park alongside several purpose-built online distribution docks that support Tesco’s online grocery business in the area. Supermarket Income REIT is acquiring the store from a client of CBRE Global Investors for £39.5mln, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.7%.
() told investors that the Stanley-4 well, in East Texas has been drilled successfully. The group said the well, which was drilled down to a target depth of 5,000 feet, showed several zones of interest during drilling and subsequent logging identified several potential pay zones in the Yegua formation, at depths between 4,600 and 4,900 feet. Stanley-4 will now undergo testing, and the company noted that flow rates will be reported when data is available.
() said its portfolio company, Fieldwork Robotics has received a continuity grant from Innovate UK to accelerate the development of its agricultural robot technology during the coronavirus pandemic. The IP investment group said the £84,000 grant will be used to support Fieldwork’s plans to expand its team and develop facilities amid what it said is “growing interest in its technology from potential industry partners”. The grant follows a previous £547,250 award from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in April 2019, as well as £320,000 raised in an initial equity funding round in January this year. Frontier owns a 26.9% stake in Fieldwork.
() told investors it has today published its inaugural comprehensive sustainability report. It comes after the oil company, with operations in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, last week launched an effort to raise up to US$300mln in debt financing. The company noted that since 2006, it has invested almost US$60 million in social projects, it has programmes (including healthcare) which benefit local communities, has prioritised local hiring and engaged local contractors in contracts with an aggregate value of around US$36mln.
US Oil & Gas PLC (LON:USOP), the oil and gas exploration company with assets in Nevada, announced on Friday that it has placed with private investors 843,431 new ordinary shares of .0001 Euro each at a price of 0.32p per share to raise gross proceeds of circa $349,653. The group said the proceeds of the placing will be used to provide it with additional working capital, including the funding of drilling operations. Since no commissions are payable, the net proceeds to be received by the company are circa $349,653.
() () is confident its Lake Way Project near Wiluna in Western Australia is on schedule to deliver first SOP production in the March quarter of 2021. The project is now 60% complete on an earned value basis with major vendor procurement packages over 90% committed with fixed costs.
Alien Metals Limited (), a minerals exploration and development company, announced that, following the receipt of warrant exercise notices, it has issued 63,333,333 new ordinary shares of no par value in the capital of the company at an issue price of 0.3p each and 29,479,167 new ordinary shares of no par value in the capital of the company at an issue price of 0.15p per share
(), a commercial-stage, pharmaceutical company with a focus on addressing iron deficiency with its lead product Feraccru/Accrufer (ferric maltol), has said it will announce its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
(), a global leader in fuel cell and electrochemical technology has said it will publish its second set of interim results for the 12 months ended June 30, 2020, on Monday, September 28, 2020, following its change of year-end to December 31. Ceres also said it will be hosting a live webcast for analysts and investors at 9.30am on the day. Further details will be made available in the interim results announcement and on the company’s website: www.ceres.tech
() has said its annual general meeting of shareholders will be held on September 30, 2020, and a general meeting of Shareholders will be held on October 30, 2020. In light of current measures relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and the UK Government advice on physical distancing measures, no shareholder, except those designated as attending for the purposes of making up a quorum, will be admitted to the meetings. Shareholders should submit a proxy vote in advance of each meeting. Shareholders who wish to ask any questions relating to the business of either of the meetings are welcome to do so by means of an email to [email protected] with AGM as its subject.