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Panther Metals (PALM) the company focused on mineral exploration in Canada, noted the Fulcrum Metals (FMET) announcement updating the market on significant progress from its uranium projects, Charlot-Neely and Fontaine Lake, in Saskatchewan, Canada. PALM said its exposure to uranium via its holding in Fulcrum Metals is largely lost by the market but its significance is growing as it witnesses a bullish uranium market combined with Fulcrum expanding its own footprint.

Comment: Given that uranium is currently hotter than July, it is a big deal that FMET progress on its uranium projects delivers a positive read across to PALM.

Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL) announced that is has requested exemptions under Policy 4, Corporate Governance, Security Holder Approvals and Miscellaneous Provisions of the Canadian Securities Exchange with respect to the requirement for security holder approval of an offering. COPL said it was requesting these exemptions from Policy 4 on the basis of the serious financial difficulty facing the Company at this time, as outlined in previous news releases and public disclosure.

Comment: Of course, we are all familiar with Policy 4, Corporate Governance, Security Holder Approvals and Miscellaneous Provisions of the Canadian Securities Exchange. At least in terms of things not being that great for the company at the moment.

Zenova Group (ZED), the fire suppression Company, announced expansion into Spain, Portugal, and Central and South America markets through the signing of a sales and distribution agreement for its entire range of heat management and fire safety solutions with E-Z International. ZED said this agreement is a further step in executing   Zenova’s international expansion strategy through partnering with strong, experienced, regional companies to accelerate penetration of Zenova products and solutions.

Comment: While the market is yet to catch up with the expansion that ZED is currently served up, a scalable, international company expanding its footprint aggressively should be one to watch.

Cooks Coffee Company (AQUIS:COOK), the international coffee focused café chain, provided a trading update covering the Company’s franchised coffee focused stores in the UK & Ireland for the calendar year ended 31 December 2023. Group store sales up 15.8% at £26.9m (2022: £23.2m). UK store sales up 18.6% at 17.5m (2022: £14.7m) and Ireland store sales up 11.0% at £9.4m (2022: £8.5m). COOK said it was delighted with the robust sales growth within its current coffee store locations as it simultaneously progresses its expansion programme, opening new stores.

Comment: Most observers of COOK will probably have been pleasantly surprised by the strong metrics here, especially given the way that as far as discretionary consumer purchases are concerned, we are very much in a cost of living crisis.

Equipmake (AQSE:EQIP), the UK-based engineering specialist, announced that the Company has secured a contract for the next phase of its electric motor development contract with H55, an electric aerospace propulsion company, as envisaged in the collaboration agreement announced on 26 June 2023. Initial contract for a total of approximately £715,000 for the development of an electric motor, based on H55 specifications. EQIP said it was delighted to see that its collaboration efforts with H55 is coming to fruition with this contract. This is another validation of our strategy of leveraging our core IP in new markets via collaboration with leading strategic partners.

Comment: EQIP once again proves it is one of the more solid plays on Aquis with a new contract, one which should provide an ample bounty in coming months and years.

Valereum (AQSE:VLRM), the Gibraltar technology group, announced that following their recent acquisition of the GSX Group, they have resumed engagement with Vinay Gupta, Founder and CEO of Mattereum. VLRM said it is positioning itself as a leader in tokenisation, both as a technology solutions provider and as an operator of marketplaces.

Comment: Interestingly enough the new management at VLRM seems keen to retread the strategy of the old management, but perhaps looks to be better at executing it. This time we see the return of crypto guru Vinay Gupta.

Cellular Goods (CBX), a UK-based company pioneering the use of lab-based and biosynthetic production methods for wellness and sustainability solutions, announced that Michael Edwards (Executive Director of Cellular Goods) has purchased a total of 833,333 ordinary shares in the Company. Michael Edwards holds a total of 10,233,333 Ordinary Shares, representing 1.7 per cent of the Company’s issued share capital.

Comment: It is rather amusing that Michael Edwards continues to buy shares in CBX, defying the bears, and most likely ensuring an ongoing decent re-rate.

EDX Medical Group (AQSE:EDX), which develops innovative digital diagnostic products announced that Dr Michael Hudson, chief executive officer of the Company, purchased a total of 50,000 ordinary shares in the Company on January 12, 2024, at an average price per share of 8.890 pence.  Following these purchases, Dr Hudson owns 20,400,000 ordinary shares, representing 6.77% of the issued share capital.

Comment: More director buying from the CEO should ensure that EDX shares – a thin market, find their destination on the right side of 10p sooner rather than later.

Filtronic (FTC), the designer and manufacturer of products for the aerospace, defence, telecoms infrastructure and low earth orbit space markets, announced a new contract win with QinetiQ, a global defence and security company. Phase 1 of the contract, valued at £2.0m, with revenue expected to be recognised over the next two years.

Comment: The contracts keep coming in at FTC, something which is backing the ongoing breakout for the shares in recent weeks.

Union Jack Oil (UJO) a UK focused onshore hydrocarbon production announced that material net revenues in excess of $18,000,000 have been achieved from the Wressle hydrocarbon development. UJO said the recently announced 263% increase in 2P reserves has led to a material upgrade in value of the Wressle development and it looks forward to reporting on further progress at its flagship project.

Comment: The disconnect between revenues and share price at UJO continues. But at least the shares appear to be doing no worse than bumping along the bottom near 20p.

Thor Explorations (THX) provided an operational update for the Segilola Gold mine, located in Nigeria, and for the Company’s mineral exploration properties located in Nigeria and Senegal, for the three months to December 31, 2023. THX said it was able to successfully complete what was projected to be the most operationally challenging year in the Segilola mine plan. It was able to complete the year producing 84,600 ounces, however, most importantly, it has positioned the mine very strongly for the coming years.

Comment: After famously getting a big mention in the Daily Mail, it would appear that THX took its foot off the pedal as far as communication its attractions to the market. Now would be a good time to resume a PR offensive.

Iofina (IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of specialty chemical products, provided a market update regarding its activities during Q4 2023 and outlined expectations for 2024. IOF said in 2023 it continued to execute its growth strategy. Crystalline iodine production improved year-on-year, with an eight percent increase compared to 2022. Whilst it acknowledged that IO#9 took longer to operate at full capacity than it initially anticipated, it was happy that the plant is now producing at expected levels, and it is on track for H1 2024.

Comment: The slow slide in IOF shares since the summer looks as though it may be difficult to reverse, and the market probably needs further evidence that the company is back on track after delays.

Audioboom (BOOM), the podcast company, provided a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2023. Q4 2023 return to revenue growth with revenue of approximately $19.2 million, up 37% on Q3 2023 ($14.0 million) and up 5% on Q4 2022 ($18.4 million). BOOM said Q4 2023 was the highest revenue quarter since Q2 2022. Q4 2023 return to quarterly adjusted EBITDA profit of approximately $0.2 million (Q3 2023: US$1.9 million loss). It was pleased to report a successful final quarter of 2023, with the business returning to growth mode. Its Q4 revenue of over US$19 million is the highest since Q2 2022 and reflects the improvements it has made in the business across the year.

Comment: The corner has already been turned as far as the BOOM share price, with the stock having more than doubled off the lows. The question now is whether there is enough to chase here to get the shares back on the right side of £10 later this year?

Kanabo Group (KNB), the patient-focused provider of digital health services and specialist medicines, it has signed a partnership with City Dock Pharmacy in London, to launch a walk-in pain clinic offering specialised medicines, including medicinal cannabis, which is the first of its kind. KNB said this collaboration is a testament to our dedication to innovating in pain management. The combination of City Dock Pharmacy’s trusted presence and its expertise in medicinal cannabis paves the way for a new, holistic approach to treating pain and the opportunity to extend this to additional indications.

Comment: Anyone involved in the small cap area of the stock market currently would surely appreciate the concept of a walk-in pain clinic.  This could be the kind of initiative to finally get KNB shares on the front foot.

Ascent Resources (AST), the onshore Hispanic American and European focussed energy and natural resources company, announced that its JV partner’s application to enter self-declared insolvency has not been approved by the relevant court. AST said the primary points made by the company are that this application is an attempted abuse of the insolvency system by a solvent company attempting to dispose of Ascent’s valid claim against them and that Geoenergo has not engaged with Ascent, its main creditor, to understand if an accommodation (such as a settlement or Ascent taking ownership of Geoenergo or its assets) can be reached which would avoid insolvency.

Comment: AST keeps the dream alive as far as its big claim, and deserves at least some credit for putting its foot down legally in this respect.

Oracle Power (ORCP), the international project developer, updated on activities during Q4 2023, as it advances the development of a portfolio of projects. ORCP said it is rapidly pursuing and extending its objective to build a portfolio of project development opportunities, with both its green hydrogen and Western Australian gold interests being key pillars of this strategy. It is encouraged by the work and results that have been demonstrated at its Northern Zone Project, and it hoped that this will become a model for it to replicate in the future.

Comment: As the company says, getting Northern Zone over the line should be the template for its other projects. Given that they are all significantly larger, this may give shareholders something positive to look forward to.

Polarean Imaging (POLX), a commercial-stage medical device company, noted the TR-1 announcements released on 12 January 2024 showing the sale of 9.5 million Polarean shares held by Amati Global Investors Ltd to NUKEM Isotopes GmbH. This transaction highlights the significant support NUKEM Isotopes has in Polarean, and has increased NUKEM Isotopes’s Polarean holding to 10.458%.

Comment: It is just as well POLX has updated the market regarding the shareholder register in order to preserve the recent tentative recovery for the shares.

Hercules Site Services (HERC), a technology enabled labour supply company, announced its audited results for the year ended 30 September 2023. Gross profit increased 67% to £16.3m (2022: £9.8m). Adjusted EBITDA increased 79% to a record £4.1m (2022: £2.3m). Pre-tax profit of £641,321 (2022: £160,685). HERC said 2023 was a truly transformative year for Hercules.      It saw significant growth across all areas of its business and it is delighted to have exceeded market expectations and achieved record revenue and EBITDA figures.

Comment: The past year has been somewhat painful for shares of HERC. Presumably the strong metrics announced today will go some way to redressing the negative sentiment around the stock, particularly given the way that market expectations have been beaten.

Firering (FRG), an exploration company focusing on critical minerals, announced that it has commenced its 3,000m RC drilling campaign at Atex, its flagship lithium project in Côte d’Ivoire. FRG said this next phase of drilling at Atex will be crucial to Firering as it looks to rapidly advance the project and build on the highly encouraging results from the diamond drilling campaign undertaken in Q4 2022, which demonstrated the first significant intercepts from Atex, including an intercept of 64m @ 1.24% Li2O near Spodumene Hill, which is truly exceptional and amongst the best intercepts reported at that time by its global peers. Although the RC programme is expected to conclude in four to six weeks and first assay results are expected during Q1 2024.

Comment: We have a decent relatively tight timeline as far as assay results and progress at Atex over coming weeks, something which should be enough to shine a positive light on shares of FRG in early 2024.

Altona (REE), a resource exploration and development company focused on Rare Earths in Africa, announced that the Company has now received formal regulatory approval from the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy regarding the increase of its holding in Monte Muambe Mining Limitada to 51%. REE said it was very pleased with this promising progress. The speed with which approval was granted by the Ministry shows the level of support its Monte Muambe project has.

Comment: The latest news from REE coincides with the shares being marooned near recent lows, and one would hope the market will use the improved fundamentals to mark up the stock in a reasonable way.