Skip to main content

Your stock market edge

Upland (UPL) said it noted the recent media speculation concerning the possibility of an offer being made for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Upland. The Board of Upland confirms that it has received an unsolicited, very preliminary approach regarding a possible offer for Upland at an indicative price of 14p from a potential offeror referred to in the approach as SEC Capital.

Comment: Today’s UPL announcement is a genuine bull market type release, especially given the way that potential offeror seems to be very generous / keen indeed, in terms of the indicative price, 3x over the Friday close.

Tirupati Graphite (TGR), the specialist Flake Graphite company, noted the recent decision by the Chinese government to impose export controls on Graphite and related products from 1 December 2023 stating that the decision would safeguard national security interests. TGR said the implications of China’s export restrictions are positive for Tirupati both in terms of the likely impact on prices, and on the long-term demand for its product given its position as one of the few Graphite producers outside of China. Western governments have initiated support for critical minerals projects, but it could be expected that policies of this nature as announced by China will further concentrate their focus on projects offering Sustainable alternatives to diversify and improve security of supply of the minerals critical to the energy transition such as Natural Graphite.

Comment: Of course, one should always expect announcements such as TGR is commenting on from authoritarian jurisdictions. At least this leaves TGR on the right side of this export restriction move, something which could have a material benefit to the company.

Metals One (MET1), which is advancing battery metal projects at brownfield sites in Finland and Norway, announced that the Company’s SRH Råna Project partner and operator, Kingsrose Mining Limited (ASX: KRM), has reported results from the first two holes drilled at the Rånbogen prospect and a further hole at Bruvann as part of the 5,000m diamond drilling programme. Drilling has delivered high-grade massive sulphide Ni-Cu-Co mineralisation in both holes over an interpreted strike length of 150m, within a previously undrilled area which is open along strike and down dip.

Comment: One would imagine that today’s news from MET1 so soon after listing will be enough to blow the cobwebs off the share price.

African Pioneer (AFP) the exploration and resource development company, updated shareholders in relation to the First Quantum Minerals Limited option agreement with AFP’s 80% owned subsidiary African Pioneer Zambia Ltd. AFP said it was very pleased to be advised by First Quantum that they have exercised their Option to commence earning in on two licences and it has agreed to extend their option period on the other two licences, where they wish to complete sufficient work to decide on the prospectivity of these licences to 17 January 2024. The initial period under the Option Agreement has been extremely successful for both First Quantum and AFP with the Western Foreland and Kamoa-style mineralising environment being established as well as near surface mineralisation in the fold- and thrust domain further to the east on some of its licences.

Comment: It is difficult to think of a better announcement and validation for AFP than the latest announcement regarding First Quantum. It would appear that the relationship between the two companies is flourishing.

ECR Minerals (ECR), the exploration and development company focused on gold in Australia, announced the results from outcrop mapping and sampling within the vicinity of the Upper Gorge Creek at the Lolworth Project, North Queensland, Australia. ECR said today’s results from Gorge Creek provides further evidence that Lolworth is becoming a bona fide exploration opportunity. Its best result of 128 ppm Gold announced in September 2023 is backed up by a number of additional high-grade samples taken within the surrounding area.

Comment: The new revamped ECR shows that it is very much on the front foot fundamentally at the moment. It would be good to see the market catch up with this new phase at the company, especially as far as the share price is concerned.

Pensana (PRE) announced that the Secretary of State for Business and Trade has offered Pensana a Grant of up to £4,000,000 towards the funding required to build a rare earth oxide separation facility in the ‘Humber Freeport’ at Saltend. PRE said it is establishing an independent, sustainable rare earth supply chain with mid-stream processing to produce magnet metal in the UK. The Saltend project will deliver 450 jobs during construction and 150 high value jobs in operation with a significant opportunity for further expansion.

Comment: It has been said that Paul Atherley is an excellent networker. Today’s RNS from PRE underlines the man’s skills, especially as HM Government is not exactly swimming in cash.

Ondine Biomedical (OBI), reported new independent research findings from Vancouver General Hospital which were presented at the IP2023 conference in Liverpool, England. The highlights here were a 66.5% reduction in surgical site infection rate in spine patients (7.98% vs 2.67%, p<0.001) despite rising anti-microbial resistance. $19.9 million net cost savings over the 8-year study period between 2011 and 2019 from reduced infection rates. Demonstration of long-term safety – no complications or adverse events specific to the administration of nasal photodisinfection.

Comment: Of course, even though OBI has more than proved the merits of photodisinfection, the market is yet to reward the company adequately in terms of its share price.

Northern Bear (NTBR) are making a Tender offer to shareholders of 62p a share for up to £3.1m. Its improved Finals to March and the Recent Trading update made the shares at 44.5p and a mkt Cap £8.3m too undervalued.  NTBR are a building services group, and its clients include local authorities, housing associations, NHS Trusts, construction companies and house builders. It reported its best figures since its IPO in 2006 with revenue   increasing 14.1% to £69.7m with Operating Profits up 13.4% to £2.9m and an increased EPS to 11.7p.  Importantly, the net cash improved by £1m to £3.2m, this is allowing a 4p dividend plus a special one-off dividend of 1p making a 5p dividend to be paid. This gives an 8% yield, and a   P/E is just 5.5x at the offer price. ( Please see previous comments.)

Comment: It a sad indictment of the inefficiency of the markets that a company is prepared to use its cash to buy back shares at a 40% premium. .. it would however seem wise to ignore the offer.

Orcadian (ORCA) announced that a six-month lock-in agreement has been signed in respect of  7,049,695 ordinary shares held in the Company by former director of the Company, Greg Harding and his wife, Nora Harding (representing 9.35% of the issued share capital of the Company). ORCA said it believes it demonstrates the belief shown in the work it is doing to progress the Pilot project, and the potentially significant value of its licences. It is working hard to promote the Company and have recently welcomed new investors to the Company. It looks forward to providing updates on the proposed farm-in to the Pilot Project and to the outcome of its applications in the 33rd Offshore Licensing Round.

Comment: Shareholders of ORCA will be delighted that Greg and Nora have agreed to sign a lock-in. And yes, ORCA has been working hard to promote itself, with an interview at ZaksTradersCafe only recently.

Fulcrum Metals (FMET), a company focused on mineral exploration and development in Canada, provided an update on the Company’s proposed drilling programme for the Tully Gold Project, Ontario, Canada. FMET said the next phase of work marks an exciting time for Fulcrum as final data reviews and targeting is underway using photon assay methods ahead of the drilling programme. Photon assay is a relatively new concept which has been adopted by several companies with coarse gold deposits and has proved to be more effective in providing accurate gold grades over larger sample sizes which has in some cases improved grades.

Comment: FMET continues to push ahead in Ontario with gusto. The shares on this basis alone deserve to be on the right side of 20p.

Horizonte Minerals (HZM), the nickel company developing two Tier 1 assets in Brazil, reported that construction activities continue to progress well at its Araguaia Nickel Project. As of 30 September 2023, $429 million has been spent on Araguaia with progress made across key work fronts and no interruptions to date on construction activities. HZM said notwithstanding the expected increase in capital, the Araguaia project remains a Tier 1 nickel project with lower quartile C1 cash costs, and a long mine life of 28 years producing a high grade, low impurity FeNi product. Discussions with the Company’s major shareholders and lenders to fund the project to completion are progressing.

Comment: If a share price could recover off the back of a RNS containing brave talk from the CEO, this would be it. One is reminded of the phrase, “Crisis? What crisis?”, with a little “we shall fight them on the beaches” thrown in.

OptiBiotix Health (OPTI), a life sciences business, announced that it has reached an agreement with Tata Chemicals Limited to incorporate its proprietary Fossence® into SlimBiome® and LeanBiome® for the Indian market. OPTI said it was pleased to report this agreement with Tata Chemicals which creates the opportunity to bring products containing Tatas proprietary Fossence® in SlimBiome® and LeanBiome® to the Indian market. SlimBiome’s® strong science, clinical studies, and excellent customer reviews will help reduce hunger and food cravings to support the weight management efforts of India’s 135 million obese men and women.

Comment: One might have been forgiven for thinking that last month’s Boots deal was the big one for OPTI. But it would appear that the Tata deal targeted at the apparently over 100 million big boned people on the sub-continent trumps it by some distance.