Well here’s something for IG Design Group PLC (LSE:IGR) to celebrate.
The specialist in celebrations, craft, gifting, stationery and creative play products, has seen its shares jump 20.81% to 72p after it unveiled a new finance boss.
Paul Bal will become chief financial officer on 1 May, joining from Stock Spirits where he had held the same position since 2017. Stock was taken over by private equity firm CVC last November.
A chartered accountant, he has held management roles at British American Tobacco, Rothmans International and Tupperware Brands
Non-executive chairman Stewart Gilliland said: “We are delighted to have attracted someone of Paul’s calibre to Design Group. His wealth of experience across global consumer markets could not be more relevant for both now and the long term future of our group.”
12.25pm: Poolbeg Pharma jumps as it lists its shares on US venture market
Poolbeg Pharma PLC (AIM:POLB, OTCQB:POLBF) has moved higher after listing its shares in the US.
The pharmaceutical company will begin trading on the OTCQB Venture Market from today.
It is not raising any funds, and it will retain its listing on AIM, where its shares have jumped 6.67% to 6.4p on the news.
It said the move would give it access to one of the world’s largest investment markets and allow it to expand its reach into a broader pool of investors. Poolbeg shares will be available to US investors during US working hours and priced in US dollars, potentially allowing greater liquidity in Poolbeg shares on AIM by easing cross-border trading for potential US investors.
Chairman Cathal Friel said: “We believe that having a US cross trading facility is important for the development of Poolbeg. It gives us the opportunity to widen our potential investor base, which we believe may help future liquidity, and capitalises on the interest in European stocks from US investor.
” In our view, OTCQB is a good complement to our AIM listing. The OTC markets have expanded in recent years beyond pink sheet listings, and now include a premium market (OTCQX) for companies such as Danone (OTCQX:DANOY) and Roche, and a venture market (OTCQB) for companies of Poolbeg’s size.”
11.09am: Bowleven slips after warning it may need new funds for Etinde project
BowLeven PLC (AIM:BLVN), the oil and gas company with interests in Cameroon, is under pressure after it warned it may need to raise funding for its Etinde project.
The partners for the project include Lukoil PJSC, which has been impacted by the recent imposition of Russian sanctions.
Bowleven said: “Their participation in the Etinde PSC is as a non-operating minority partner. Notwithstanding being a private sector concern, we are as yet uncertain of how the Ukrainian conflict will impact the timeframe for obtaining final investment decision (‘FID’) for the project.
·”At this stage, we remain satisfied that the joint venture partners could be able to reach a final investment decision during 2022 however, we also recognise that the outstanding commercial and political issues are not within Bowleven’s or our joint venture partners’ control and may therefore in practice require further time to negotiate and receive the relevant approvals to reach FID.”
It added; “As the timing of progress towards FID is not within the control of the group, should the commercial and regulatory issues not be resolved as anticipated in our modelling, it is likely that Bowleven would need to raise additional short-term funding to bridge expenditure to FID.”
Meanwhile it made a six month loss of US$1.2mln compared to US$0.9mln for the same period last year, mainly due to lower interest income.
Chief executive Eli Chahin said: “The recent Ukrainian crisis has adversely impacted the pace of the new chapter in the Etinde development, however we remain optimistic that all the joint venture members are aligned to bring to fruition the more economic Etinde development option.”
Bowleven is down 9.72% at 3.25p.
10.11am: Keras Resources takes full control of US phosphate mine
Keras Resources PLC (AIM:KRS) has seen its shares nearly double after agreeing a deal to take full control of a US phosphate mine.
It has paid US$3.2mln for the 49% of Falcon Isle it did not already own, and now has full control of the Diamond Creek organic phosphate lease and mine, and the Spanish Fork processing facility in Utah.
Production has now restarted at the processing facility, allowing it to meet demand for fertiliser in the key spring season.
The vendor is Helda Living Trust, and the deal counts as a related party transaction since a beneficiary of the trust is also a director of Falcon Isle.
Keras said the deal avoided a lengthly and costly litigation process in the US. It said: “Keras had been looking to resolve the funding shortfall at Falcon Isle and engaged local US legal representatives to enforce its rights of the terms of the transaction agreed in June 2020, under which Keras secured a 51% stake in Falcon Isle effective 29 December 2020.
“Further to these discussions, agreement has been reached whereby Keras has purchased the outstanding 49% equity interest in Falcon Isle for a total consideration of US$3.2mln including loans repaid to the vendor of Falcon Isle of US$1,816,527.
“To preserve cashflow for developing the project, this will be paid in four annual instalments of US$800,000 commencing on 1 July 2022 with the final payment on 1 July 2025.”
Chief executive Russell Lamming said: “We are delighted to have acquired 100% of Falcon Isle, securing the high-grade Diamond Creek phosphate mine and strategically located Spanish Fork processing plant in a very buoyant organic fertiliser market.
“Although processing operations were temporarily suspended whilst we sought this resolution, our management team has been on site regularly to oversee sales from our inventory of processed material and ensure business continuity, specifically retaining our customer base and maintaining relationships with key contractors. The payment terms have been structured to use cash generated from the operation and minimise additional funding.
“We have a 3-month window to explore financing options before the first tranche is due and have already initiated discussions with key customers to look at funding solutions.
“This acquisition has brought what has been an incredibly frustrating period for the company to a close and results in Keras now having complete autonomy over all mine to market activities. With a total mined inventory of over 10,000 tons, including 4,000 tons of processed, saleable product available, we are extremely well placed to convert this to cashflow and increase our market share. We will also be consolidating the long term future of the company through a targeted exploration programme to underpin future production. The organic phosphate market is on an upward trajectory, with robust long term fundamentals, operations have recommenced and we look forward to realising the full and true value inherent within the Diamond Creek asset.”
Keras shares have jumped 81.25% to 0.07p.
8.43am: Belluscura unveils transformational Chinese manufacturing agreement
Belluscura PLC (AIM:BELL) has unveiled what it called a transformational deal to boost its manufacturing capacity.
The medical device developer, which specialises in lightweight and portable oxygen enrichment technology, has signed an agreement with InnoMax Medical Technology to manufacture its X-PLO2R portable oxygen concentrator in the People’s Republic of China.
The move will more than double its manufacturing capacity next year and accelerate its international expansion by opening up the Asian market in 2023 and beyond.
InnoMax is a joint venture between MaxNerva Technology Services Limited and the National Center for the Advanced Medical Devices, the only innovation center set up by the Chinese government in the field of medical devices.
Chief executive Robert Rauker said: “Manufacturing X-PLO2R products at the national innovation center for medical devices with an affiliate of the world’s leading electronics manufacturing company is transformational for the group. The agreement will more than double our manufacturing capacity and will provide access to the significantly larger Asian market – in China alone there are five times the COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] cases than in the US.”
The company’s shares have climbed 13.64% to 112.5p.
Elsewhere Empire Metals Ltd (AIM:EEE) is in demand after positive drilling results from its Gindalbie gold project in Western Australia.
Of four holes drilled at the Homeward Bound target, three reported very high grade intercepts and the other also showed positive results. There were also significant intercepts at the Bud’s Find and Laurel-Bulletin sites.
Managing director Shaun Bunn said: “We are extremely pleased with the results from our initial drilling campaign at Gindalbie, which was a purely speculative effort aimed at identifying priority targets for further, more detailed exploration activities. To hit such high-grade shoots at Homeward Bound on the first pass is very encouraging, and to have a 100% success rate on all four holes drilled at this target bodes well for future, more targeted drilling campaigns.
“In addition, we have encountered significant gold mineralisation at depth, below the small open pit at Bud’s Find and we have intercepted a 3m wide mineralised lode at Laurel, both of which merit follow-up drilling.”
Empire’s shares have soared 35.9% to 1.33p.