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Jubilee Metals Group (JLP), a diversified leader in metals processing with operations in Africa, announced its first quarter operational report to 30 September 2023. The Group has delivered a strong Q1 operational performance and remains on track to deliver against the production guidance for the 2024 financial year. The company said with the Thutse chrome project performing to expectation and offering further growth potential with the addition of Jubilee’s 9th chrome module, it anticipates consistent growth in chrome and PGMs. Its operating presence in Zambia together with the expansion of its leadership teams have allowed it to solidify its copper expansion strategy, by implementing key lessons learnt and integrating the modular expansion of its copper production profile that has achieved such great success in South Africa.

Comment: JLP continues to be under loved by the market, despite strong management and of course a strong need for chrome and PGMs. One would imagine that at 5.5p the stock is nearing a lasting base.

Ananda Developments (AQSE: ANA) and its wholly owned subsidiary DJT Plants Limited have signed a MOU with Nottingham Trent University to pursue third-party grant funding to progress DJT’s medical cannabis breeding programme and its low carbon medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing. The shared vision, beyond the MOU, is to create a formal Strategic Partnership and the establishment of a Cannabinoid Centre of Excellence at NTU. ANA said the two years of genetics research and scaled cultivation trials it has undertaken at its Lincolnshire site have put it in a position to form this partnership, allowing it to take its hard-won proprietary knowledge through to commercialisation at a lower cost than previously envisaged. With patient numbers in the United Kingdom now around 30,000 and increasing month on month, this partnership will allow us to continue to build our skills and intellectual property to ensure we are ready to take advantage of commercial opportunities when market trends permit, without incurring the significant monthly costs being incurred under the previous strategy.

Comment: ANA announces a decent MOU, with of course all in the market these days concerned about funding. The arrangement with NTU not only provides further validation of what ANA is doing, but also puts it on the path to commercialistion.

Zephyr Energy (ZPHR), the Rocky Mountain oil and gas company, provided updates on its non-operated asset portfolio in the Williston Basin, North Dakota, U.S. and on its associated borrowings. The company said following the recent completion of the associated production facilities, it has been notified by Slawson that the Wells are scheduled to be brought online today, 1 November 2023. The Wells will provide a significant near-term production boost and are expected to generate substantial cashflows for the Company which can be reinvested into the development of its project in the Paradox Basin, Utah, U.S. or into additional non-operated investment opportunities.

Comment: Shares of ZPHR continue to bump along the bottom, but one would imagine that given the latest progress at the company, recent lows at 2.5p will at least mark an intermediate floor for the stock.

OptiBiotix Health (OPTI), a life sciences business developing compounds to tackle obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and skincare, provides an update on commercial activities. The company said in addition to growing interest in it products the Company has no debt, a strong balance sheet, second generation products close to commercialisation, and retains significant exposure to the considerable growth potential of the microbiome through its shareholdings in ProBiotix Health plc and SkinBioTherapeutics plc.

Comment: At a time when most companies are strapped for cash, the magic phrases no debt and strong balance sheet shine like beacons of light at the winter solstice.

Poolbeg Pharma (POLB), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company targeting diseases with a high unmet medical need, announced that it will host a meeting for investors and analysts on the POLB 001 Oncology Programme on Monday 6 November 2023 at 2:00pm – 3:30pm GMT via the Investor Meet Company platform.

Comment: One of the more exciting aspects of POLB currently are the inroads the company is making in the oncology spece.

Hydrogen Utopia International (HUI), a company specialising in turning non-recyclable mixed waste plastic into hydrogen and other carbon-free fuels, new materials or distributed renewable heat, has been notified of director share purchases, including by Chairman Simon Mann, Non Executive Chairman.

Comment: Investors seem to be waking up to HUI’s unique funding strategy via Ohrid’s medical cannabis production, and this combined with director share buying should blow some of the cobwebs off shorters in the stock, given that these days share purchases have a disproportionately strong effect (given that most are selling / bearish.)

SysGroup  (SYS) the steady Trading Update for the Interims to September came after March 2023 finals reported a  47% increase in Turnover boosted by acquisitions.  The Interims to be announced on Monday 27th November, are expected to show revenue slightly lower at £10.9m and EBITDA declining to £1.92m. The market for managed cloud services and cyber security  is large and long term, driven by the structural move to IT outsourcing in general. SysGroup services support strategic and operational IT and it set to be AI enabled. Heejae Chae, the  newish CEO owns 14%, was formally with the £0.5billion IP Group and today has  boosted the team with four senior appointments. There is debt of around £3.42m.

Comment: The shares rose sharply in October to 44p and 52 weeks high, where the market cap is £22.1m, there is going to be a  party here but in the short term the numbers may need to catch-up.

Prospex Energy (PXEN), the AIM quoted investment company, provided an Operational Update including production rates and income for the three months ended 30 September 2023 from the Podere Maiar-1  gas facility of the Selva Field which is operated by Po Valley Operations Pty Limited, PXEN said delivering the stable production rates and moreover securing the substantial cash flows from the brand-new gas plant at the PM-1 gas facility is a significant achievement by the operator of our Selva Malvezzi production concession, Po Valley Energy.  This places Prospex in the enviable position of having stable production and income from two onshore natural gas fields one in Spain and one in Italy.

Comment: It is a shame that CEO Mark Routh and the team have not been able to get the message of what a well run and operationally sound company it is, backed by the need for energy security since the Ukraine invasion. Hopefully, this state of affairs will change soon, along with the share price.

Critical Metals (CRTM), a mining investment company established to acquire mining opportunities in the critical and strategic metals sector, would like to provide an update regarding the delay to the publication of its consolidated audited results for the financial year ended 30 June 2023. As a result of the delay in publishing the 2023 Annual Report, the Company’s shares will be temporarily suspended with effect from 1 November 2023.

Comment: In addition to companies having to grapple with the slings and arrows of stock market liquidity and sentiment, they have to faff around with a tsunami of red tape, bureaucracy as part of a 2023 Kafkaesque nightmare that public companies face.

Caracal Gold (GCAT) further to the announcement on 24 October 2023 regarding the Delay to Publication of Annual Report and Accounts, Caracal is clarifying the reason for delay in publication. The Company has made good progress on the audit for the year ended 30 June 2023. However, due to a lack of internal resource, difficulty in arranging field work with the Company’s auditors, the reduced number of auditors willing to undertake work for Public Interest Entities and the Company’s own cash constraints, the Company is unable to complete its audit within the required timeframe.

Comment: GCAT is highlighting the predicament of many small cap listed companies with regard to auditors: higher cost, more draconian auditing standards, and not enough of auditor. Not a great incentive to be a listed company, and most of this is an own goal by the regulators / government, who obviously just see the stock market as a combination of a cash cow and a clay pigeon.

Wishbone Gold (WSBN), announced results of the pre collar Reverse Circulation drilling at its Cottesloe Project. Cottesloe is considered highly prospective for precious and base metals. Preliminarily drilling indicates the relevance of Esso’s drill data which included 0.25% Copper (Cu), 4.6% Lead (Pb), 0.97% Zinc (Zn) 165 g/t Silver (Ag) and 0.26% Cobalt (Co). WSBN said these assay results from the RC drilling are encouraging as it is yet to hit the target mineralisation zone.. It is now preparing for the diamond drilling program as announced on 12th October to get underway which is partially funded by the Western Australian Government. The potential scale of Cottesloe and these promising drilling results merit the future exploration of this area.

Comment: There should be a decent end of 2023 denoument for WSBN, backed by the partial funding of the program, and the rising gold price.