San Leon (SLE), the independent oil and gas company focused on Nigeria, announced an update on the Company’s secured $5.0 million loan from funds managed by Toscafund Asset Management LLP. SLE said its discussions with a third party in relation to securing an alternative loan facility are now at a very advanced stage and, in order to enable them to conclude, Toscafund has provided the Company with a redemption and release letter until October 13 2023.
Comment: One would perhaps be happy to conclude that if Toscafund is happy to fork out $5m then SLE should be home and dry as far as its long awaited alternative loan facility.
Critical Metals (CRTM), a mining investment company, announced that it has entered into an offtake agreement with OM Metal & Resources S.A.R.L for the sale of a minimum of 20,000 tonnes of copper oxide ore from the Company’s flagship Project – the Molulu copper/cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. CRTM said in the last few months, it has experienced significant interest from seven different buyers of our product. It is delighted to announce its offtake agreement with OM Metal & Resources, making Critical Metals the first western and London Stock Exchange listed company to produce and sell copper ore in the DRC since Glencore and Ivanhoe. This momentous achievement will provide us with short term cashflow and allows us to fast track its progress at Molulu. It is sticking to its first phase production target of producing 10,000 tonnes of oxide ore per month.
Comment: This is the big one for CRTM, and one would expect the share price to respond in kind, and return back to the highs seen at the turn of the year through 34p, well before this latest news appeared.
Zenova Group (ZED), the fire suppression and interdiction solutions Company, announced that it has been informed by MPA Dresden institute, a European Union-recognised certification centre, that both the Company’s Zenova FX fluid used in all of Zenova fire extinguishers as well as the 6 and 9 litre fire extinguishers have all successfully completed the battery of regulation EN3-7 tests required for European certification. ZED said passing EN3-7 certification for both our fluids and extinguishers, is clearly a major milestone in the Company’s short history. The team have been working hard to create distinctive products in the marketplace and gaining EN3-7 certification is a crucial endorsement of that effort and further supports the Company’s growing competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Comment: ZED shares have already delivered a tentative rebound, and today’s jump through regulatory hoops should be enough to keep the recent recovery momentum going.
Metro Bank (MTRO) announces successful capital package: £325m capital raise and £600m debt refinancing. The company said today’s announcement marks a new chapter for Metro Bank, facilitating the delivery of continued profitable growth over the coming years. Metro Bank made a statutory profit after tax in Q3 2023, and continues to demonstrate ongoing momentum as we strive towards our ambition to be the UK’s number one community bank.
Comment: Although having a banking license should be a license to print money, and not doing so represents being as incompetent as not being able to sell water to a thirsty man in the Kalahari, Metro has needed a chunky bail out. Let’s see whether it can make money in its “new chapter”.
Equipmake (EQIP), the UK-based engineering specialist, announced its selection by Perkins Engines Company Ltd, to leverage its e-powertrain technology and experience on a new off-highway hybrid system demonstration project, and the award of £3.24m of associated government funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK. EQIP said it has always been at the forefront of innovation in electric motors and inverters, and it was delighted to have been selected by Perkins for this innovative hybrid electric powertrain project. It would like to thank the APC for its foresight in granting support funding for this new project.
Comment: Although the rush to Net Zero may have been slowed a tad as the Government looks to try and win the General Election, companies like EQIP remain a virtue signalling grant magnet for the cause.
Chill Brands (CHLL), the consumer packaged-goods distribution company, announced the sale of its Chill ZERO nicotine-free vapour products into WHSmith stores. Further to this agreement, Chill Brands has now secured initial orders from UK retailers worth in excess of £350,000 since the local launch of Chill ZERO during August 2023.The company said it was delighted that WHSmith will be the first major UK retailer to stock it Chill ZERO range of nicotine-free vapes. This deal will see it products go on sale in major transport hubs throughout the country, providing exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential customers every day.
Comment: At ZaksTradersCafe the guess was that CHLL and its young thrusting CEO would scoop a distribution deal with Tesco. But thinking about it, WH Smith is better, not that one would now be surprised if Tesco did not step up to the plate soon. The key here is that CHLL has already raked in decent sales.
IQ-AI (IQAI) announced the US FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation for gallium maltolate (GaM) for the treatment of atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT). Currently the prognosis for patients with ATRT is dismal due to the lack of effective treatments. The company said this additional orphan drug determination by the FDA is another regulatory milestone towards providing an effective, well-tolerated treatment alternative for patients with limited options, and it looks forward to sharing additional information on our clinical data as the phase 1 nears completion.
Comment: One of the keys to doing well in current horrific stock market conditions is for small caps to have the ability to pull large rabbits out of miniscule hats. In this respect IQAI has delivered with its orphan drug determination by the FDA.
Hercules Site Services (HERC), a technology enabled labour supply company for the UK infrastructure sector, announced that it has been awarded a five-year contract, to provide Balfour Beatty Rail Limited with contingent labour resource which will enable it to deliver its commitments during Control Period 7. HERC said this marks the launch of a new division within Hercules’ Labour Supply business, focused on the provision of specialist rail labour on live track to clients. CP7 is a £44 billion, five-year plan for the railway in England and Wales.
Comment: Although some describe Government contracts as a gravy train, it would appear that this term is à propos as far as HERC is concerned.
Panthera Resources (PAT), the diversified gold exploration and development company, announced the assay results from the recent drilling programme at the Kalaka Project in Mali, details of which were announced by the Company on 21 August 2023. The company said significant mineralisation was intersected in the drilling at the K1A prospect, including in KRC_23_007 12 metres to the end of the hole grading 1.62 g/t Au. Mineralisation seen in the new drilling is comparable to historical drilling in the two drill holes drilled for comparison purposes.
Comment: Although the market may be more focused on PAT winning the lottery in the Rajasthan High Court, drilling results may help to drive fresh momentum to the shares near current levels.
Harland & Wolff Group Holdings (HARL), the UK quoted company focused on strategic infrastructure projects, updated on its proposed strategy regarding the ferry build and operate programme to service the Isles of Scilly, as well as an update on its maritime operations. The company say that as part of its continued growth and the route to the £500m turnover strategy, it is excited about launching its marine operations to reduce internal costs and to provide a better service at an affordable cost externally. Whilst there is no guarantee that it will win the bid to build and operate the new vessels, it is excited about the revenue generating capacity of the fast ferry and freight services offering.
Comment: There has been something of a newsflow lull at HARL over the summer, and it may be that today is something of an appetizer of what is to come. It seems rather unfair that the shares are at 11p versus 28p less than a year ago.