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Shuka Minerals (SKA), an African-focused mine operator and developer, announced that it has signed a definitive settlement agreement with Upendo Group who hold a historic residual 10% interest in the Rukwa coal mining licence. SKA said it was very pleased to have achieved the amicable settlement with Upendo, as it enables it to review and determine the strategic direction of its coal mining interests at Rukwa, without the prospect of an overhanging legacy dispute. This clears the way for it to be more decisive and cohesive in our future decisions.

Comment: The days of Rukwa feel like they were an eon ago. Nevertheless, SKA addressing this matter is releasing what was a possible roadblock on the company, and one that is no more.

Sovereign Metals (SVML) announced the appointment of highly experienced environmental and social specialist Mr Marco Da Cunha, as its new Lead ESG Officer. SVML said its ambition, with the development of Kasiya, is to set the global standard in Climate Smart Mining by bringing its low carbon footprint rutile and graphite products to market, while realising real-world community and environmental benefits. In order to achieve this, we have attracted the best talent and experience in the ESG field. Marco’s appointment has bolstered its Owners Team’s ESG capability.

Comment: Even in a dull market, SVML continues to be one of the most undervalued and underappreciated company in its space. It will be particularly puzzling if this state of affairs continues for much longer.

MicroSalt (SALT), a company commercialising low-sodium salt, announce a marketing and export collaboration with American Trading International. This collaboration will help implement the Company’s global low sodium strategic plan and in particular its direct-to-consumer strategy. ATI, a leading US food and beverage export company representing a multitude of worldwide brands and products, brings extensive global market knowledge to the collaboration. SALT said this collaboration is vital in making MicroSalt® accessible to everyone. Excessive sodium intake is a major contributor to hypertension and heart disease both domestically and abroad. ATI will enable it to offer international consumers delicious, healthy products with reduced sodium levels without impacting product flavour.

Comment: The fact that shares of SALT had already doubled ahead of today’s announcement in the wake of this month’s IPO suggests that the market was waiting for the kind of positive development revealed today. Interestingly enough, it is likely that today’s news will merely be the tip of the iceberg. The only mystery is why shares of significant shareholder Tekcapital continue to stall at the lower levels when they should be re-rating strongly.

Poolbeg Pharma (POLB), a biopharmaceutical company, announced a change of Board role and the Remuneration Committee’s approval of the adoption of an Employee Performance Incentive Plan for a number of the key senior management, to align medium and long term objectives with those of shareholders and to encourage retention. Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman POLB said, as one of the Co-Founders of Poolbeg, and a great believer in the Company’s potential, he has been dedicating a large part of his time to supporting the Company on its dynamic growth path. Therefore, the Board felt it was appropriate that he should change my role to Executive Chairman to reflect my ongoing time commitment and the experience that he brings from his track record of value creation at both hVIVO plc and Amryt Pharma plc.

Comment: It can be argued that via Hvivo and Poolbeg, Cathal Friel has proved himself to be one of the more outstanding small cap operators in recent year. On this basis alone, moving to Executive Chairman at POLB should reap significant rewards for shareholders.

Power Metal Resources (POW), the London-listed exploration company, announced an update concerning its uranium property portfolio focused on the Athabasca Basin area in Saskatchewan, Canada. POW said it was very pleased to report this additional staking to its already significant uranium portfolio focused on the Athabasca Basin area. Competition remains extremely high for these properties, and it was very grateful to the technical team for their skilful management of the staking process. With the addition of Richards Lake, an in-basin property, it has further augmented its uranium footprint, one that it believes will add considerable value for its shareholders as corporate and investor interest in the Athabasca Basin area continues to increase.

Comment: If there is a footprint to expand these days it certainly is uranium. Even more pleasing is the way that POW is currently pushing ahead of the competition by muscling in on the best properties. One would expect the current share price trading zone near 0.9p to provide decent support for the stock.

Renalytix (RENX), an artificial intelligence-enabled in vitro diagnostics company, reported financial results for the six months ended December 31, 2023. The Company plans to issue another announcement following today’s report of financial results regarding the date and time of its conference call and webcast to discuss second quarter financial results and other key events. RENX said it had made significant progress during the quarter in revenue generation, reimbursement coverage, the publication of real-world evidence and operating cost management, setting the stage for potential future growth.

Comment: Having called the shares up from 14p last Friday to hit a 25p target by the end of the month, it was rather pleasing to see RENX shares peak on Tuesday at 71p. Not a lot of people can do that. Even more pleasing is that RENX seems to be gaining traction on the US market, something which could mean that the re-rate will have legs.

Premier African Minerals (PREM) announced a subscription today to raise £2,475,000 on before expenses at an issue price of 0.275 pence per new ordinary share for the Zulu Lithium and Tantalum Project. PREM said this placement assures Zulu of plant startup. This has and remains Premier single most important objective at this stage. That is targeted for next week and remains on target at this time. Early indications are that subsequent working capital finance will be available from commercial lenders at Zulu when production is underway as Zulu must begin to fund its operations without the assistance of Premier once commercial production has commenced.

Comment: Normally being funded to production would be a significant call to make. However, in the case of PREM raising £2m plus ahead of an event just days away is perhaps not quite in the earth moved category of statements. Nevertheless, the company has taken advantage of the recent rise in the stock, and ideally this is the last raise for a long, long, time.

Water Intelligence (WATR) a provider of leak detection solutions provided a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2023. WATR said 2023 was a year of solid performance. It is ready for its next phase of growth and it looks forward to the rest of 2024.  Over the last two years, it has navigated both persistent inflation and sharply rising interest rates. It is pleased that despite such volatility, it has maintained sales and profit growth. Given its strong balance sheet and continued performance in generating profits, it is able to invest in capital projects that sustain its long-term growth.

Comment: There are a couple of reasons for including WATR in the RNS Hotlist today: firstly, no one covers the stock, and second, there does seem to be a read across to current stock market darling Ondo (ONDO).

Quadrise (QED), the supplier of innovative energy solutions, announced the signature of a Project Development Agreement with renewable biofuels specialists, BTG Bioliquids BV and Euthenia Energy Group Limited. QED said it was pleased with the progress made with BTG Bioliquids to date, and it was delighted to be now working alongside Euthenia under this new tripartite agreement. Advanced biofuels derived from woody biomass are expected to be very price competitive net-zero feedstocks.

Comment: Shares of QED tripled in November / December and have maintained most of these gains, no mean feat in current stock market conditions. It is clear that the company is keen to maintain its fundamental momentum via the latest newsflow.

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCTP), the biotech company developing prescription cannabinoid medicines, confirmed that further to the Company’s announcement of 30 January 2024, it has raised gross proceeds of £640,000.

Comment: One might have thought that after the fundraise a few punters would have stepped up to the plate to buy in at the lower levels near 0.5p, on the basis that the company is on the runway to progress its clinical trials. Perhaps a little more oomph is required by OCTP to get this message across.

Checkit (CKT), the intelligent operations platform for the deskless worker, announced its unaudited trading update for the year ended 31 January 2024. Annual recurring revenue growth of 16% to £13.3m, in line with expectations. Focus on path to profitability is anticipated to result in better than expected losses halving year-on-year to £3.4m. Recurring revenues provide good visibility for future periods underpinned by a high net revenue retention of 111%. CKT said the second half of the year has seen further progress on our stated strategy and our drive towards profitability. Its new AI enhanced products are, we believe, best in class and a step change ahead of what’s currently available in the market. It will continue to focus on driving top-line growth in the business and look forward to FY25 with confidence.

Comment: Over the past year there have been some positive stirrings in the share price of CKT, as the market tries to factor in the company being a recovery situation. It is a shame that metrics such as ARR, and revenue retention are not ones that may people in the market fully embrace.