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RNS Hotlist August 29: Andrada, Argo Blockchain, Arrow, Aquila, BATM, 88 Energy, Empire, Fusion, hVIVO, Longboat, Optiobiotix, Pantheon, Pensana, Zenith


RNS Hotlist August 29: Andrada, Argo Blockchain, Arrow, Aquila, BATM, 88 Energy, Empire, Fusion, hVIVO, Longboat, Optiobiotix, Pantheon, Pensana, Zenith

Aquila Services Group   (AQSG)  last Thursday, 24 August, a total of 100,000 shares were purchased at 20p by Derek Joseph, the Chaiman, taking his holding to 9.12%. There are three subsidiaries providing professional consultancy and support services to organisations and businesses involved in the affordable housing, education, sports, and community services sectors. Its finals to March were ignored as it reported a lower PBT of £518k for and EPS of 1.29p giving a P/E of 19x at 25p, while yielding 3% and net  cash is £2.4m giving an Enterprise Value of around £7.5m.

Comment:  A worthy sector but it is not proving to be scalable and organic growth is ‘intermittent’ it would have been a stronger if the Chairman had paid the market price.

Argo Blockchain (ARB), a cryptocurrency mining group, announced its results for the six months to 30 June 2023. Revenues of $24.0 million for H1 2023, a decrease of 31% from H1 2022, driven primarily by a decrease in Bitcoin price and the increase in the global hashrate and associated network difficulty. Net loss was $18.8 million for H1 2023, compared to a net loss of $39.6 million in H1 2022.

Comment: It would appear that there is quite a fundamental turnaround to achieve here at ARB, and that the oil tanker is taking a while to turn around. Holders will be hoping that the worst of the past issues has already been factored into the share price.

88 Energy (88E) announced that it proposes to raise up to £4.5 million pursuant to a conditional placing at a price of £0.0031p. The company said the funds raised through the Rights Issue and the Placing will be used to fund ongoing activity across its portfolio of oil and gas exploration assets, located on the North Slope of Alaska and onshore Texas.

Comment: Shareholders of 88 Energy have had quite a ride in the recent past, and it looks as though this journey is set to continue in a high profile way, given the rather chunky raise of £4.5m. One supposes that the thinking here is that if you are going to raise in current cash strapped markets, why not ask for a big amount?

Faron Pharmaceuticals (FARN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on tackling cancers via novel immunotherapies, today announces unaudited half-year financial results for January 1 to June 30, 2023. The company said it was extremely proud of the progress it made in the first half of 2023. It continued to execute on advancing its clinical Phase I/II BEXMAB study of bexmarilimab, its wholly-owned immunotherapy asset, in hematological malignancies.

Comment: There was a big rally for FARN in the autumn, and given the progress reported for H1 2023, one might expect a similar result for the latter part of 2023.

Andrada Mining (ATM), an African technology metals mining company, provided lithium assay results for a channel sampling and geological mapping programme undertaken within the ML133 mining license area located approximately 35km southeast of the Uis mine. The company said it was very encouraged by results received to date from the regional exploration programme, highlighting the potential upside of its mining licence portfolio. Lithium mineralisation has to date, now been identified within the pegmatites in all its mining licences.

Comment: This latest news is good timing for ATM, in order for the shares to continue their decent recovery which started at the beginning of the summer. We should see the stock in double figures over coming weeks as the lithium angle is accentuated.

Zenith Energy (ZEN), the international energy production and development company, announced that it has acquired control of Cyber Apps World Inc. by way of a Securities Purchase Agreement signed with Janbella Group LLC. The company said it was pleased to have acquired control of a listed company in the US. Its intention is to complete various potential acquisitions currently under review in the US by way of CYAP, as well as attracting investment from North American investors to finance their acquisition and future development.

Comment: ZEN has certainly pulled a decent rabbit out of the hat with the latest US listed company news. It has been noticeable that ZEN has been rather better at attracting finance abroad than in this country.

Pantheon Resources (PANR), the oil and gas company operating on Alaska’s North Slope, advised that it has received an Independent Expert Report which provides an estimate of contingent resources recoverable from its 100% Working Interest Kodiak project. The company said this really is a big deal. A credible third-party estimate of nearly one billion barrels of recoverable liquids for a company the size of Pantheon is an incredible achievement, validating its geological model. This is the first IER conducted on our largest asset and will have enormous value in financing discussions and in attracting potential partners.

Comment: Shares of PANR have been stirring in a positive way in recent days, something which makes today’s news not too surprising. The question now is whether the shorters of the stock believe the credible third part resource estimate? Even if they do not, they may not have the stomach to take the chance.

Arrow Exploration (AXL), an operator with a portfolio of assets across key Colombian hydrocarbon basins, announced the filing of its Interim Condensed (unaudited) Consolidated Financial Statements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2023. Highlights were $10.3 million of total oil and natural gas revenue, net of royalties, more than double compared to the same period in 2022 (Q2 2022: $5 million). Adjusted EBITDA of $5.8 million, more than double compared to 2022 (Q2 2022: $2.8 million). The company said it continues to gain momentum with strong Q2 2023 results. Our exciting drilling program, including the drilling of three RCE wells and three CN wells, is adding significant production and reserves, as well as establishing a new core area.

Comment: Doubled EBITDA and doubled revenues versus the same period last year, should mean a doubled share price versus last year. This should be the target for AXL’s stock for the remainder of 2023.

Empire Metals (EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, announced the results of the airborne gravity survey recently flown at the Pitfield Project, located in the premier mining jurisdiction of Western Australia. The company said that as expected, the higher resolution achieved by its close-spaced survey has identified a large, very dense core which it believes to be indicative of the thicker and higher-grade parts of this extensively altered, giant titanium-rich mineral system.

Comment: Just when you thought it could not get much better either in terms of the share price or the news at EEE, it has. One would be looking for a decent move towards 10p over the course of the autumn.

BATM (BVC), a provider of real-time technologies for networking solutions and medical laboratory systems, announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2023. The company said it achieved growth in all key financial parameters and operational progress in each business unit. It has also undertaken a comprehensive review of each business unit and their market opportunity, and now has a clear focus on which entities are core to the future success of the Group and that can drive a step change in its financial performance.

Comment: It is a shame that BVC has not exactly been in the limelight as far as getting its message across, apart from a mention here today. Nevertheless, the progress it has made is starting to gather decent momentum.

Longboat Energy (LBE), an emerging full-cycle E&P company with activities in Norway and Malaysia,  noted the following announcement made by Equinor confirming the production start for the Statfjord Øst project: With this project, Equinor and its partners expect to increase production by 26 million barrels of oil equivalents from Statfjord Øst. Production starts six months ahead of schedule.

Comment: Hopefully, being six months ahead of schedule should be something which allows the share price of LBE to reinstate the recent rally in the stock.

Fusion Antibodies (FAB), specialists in pre-clinical antibody discovery, announced that it has received a first purchase order for its AI/ML-AbTM (pronounced AIM-Lab) services. The company said it was delighted to be able to announce the first order for its AI/ML-AbTM service offering. This confirms that we are pursuing the right strategy at Fusion and that the market values the services we offer. As its industry rapidly evolves to find new ways to hasten the discovery of better bio-therapeutics to take to the clinic, Fusion is well positioned at the forefront of Antibody discovery and development processes, including those using AI/ML, and with all the resources required to meet the growing need for our services.

Comment: It is to be hoped that “pronounced AIM-Lab” could eventually be more famous than “pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd”, something which those of a certain age will remember. The timing of the first purchase order here is right on the money in terms of driving the share price back into double figures.

OptiBiotix Health (OPTI), a life sciences business, announced that further to the recent overview of its SweetBiotix® product range announced on 19 July 2023, the company provides an overview of commercial progress of its first-generation products range. The company said it is making good progress on its aims of getting existing partners returning to forecast, bringing in new partners, particularly in the USA and Asia, and expanding e-commerce channels to grow online sales and reduce partner dependency. This is all part of plans for each business unit (USA, India, Ecommerce, B2B) to reach operational profitability, at least on a monthly basis by the end of the calendar year.

Comment: A decent progress report from the newly revitalized OPTI, something which will reveal whether the stock is still taking up the slack of the recent mega rally.

Pensana (PRE) reported on analytical results received from sampling at the Sulima West and Benge Novo targets completed in 2022. The company said it was extremely happy with the results of the soil sampling over Sulima West which identified an area of roughly 15 hectares with greater than 2% TREO in soils. The soil anomaly includes the Trench 1 where very encouraging REE results were sampled (14 Nov 2022: Exploration Results from Coola Exploration License).

Comment: Shares of PRE have managed to get back on the right side of 20p, something which one would expect given some of the deep pocketed contenders who have bought the dip in the stock. It would be surprising if we had not now seen the bottom in the shares.

hVIVO (HVO), the world leader in human challenge clinical trials, announced its plans for a new consolidated facility at the fast-growing life sciences hub in Canary Wharf, London. The company said the expansion, largely funded by hVIVO clients, comes in response to its growing orderbook and increasing demand for its human challenge trial services.

Comment: It is no surprise given the number of contract wins the company has delivered in recent months, HVO is having to increase capacity to meet demand. Getting a mention off the back of this news in The Times, could also help the share price along.

Polarean Imaging (POLX), a commercial-stage medical device company, announced that the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has established a new reimbursement code for the Polarean XENOVIEW™ (xenon Xe 129, hyperpolarised) technology, effective from 1 October 2023. The company said it has been working diligently with CMS, its clinicians and hospital-based billing stakeholders over the past several months and view this as an important step towards enhancing accessibility to this innovative technology. It looks forward to learning the payment details tied to the new code, in the coming weeks, as it continues to increase access to XENOVIEW™ MRI for patients suffering from ventilation-associated lung diseases.

Comment: There has been a tentative recovery at POLX over the past few weeks, something which may be helped along by today’s new code news from the CMS.

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest:
The information, investment views, and recommendations in this Zaks Traders Cafe interview are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this interview should be construed as a promotion or solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or referred to or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engage in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the commentator but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. The commentators may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.



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