TRADING UPDATES: FirstGroup extends takeover date; Tasty repays debt

Writer,

The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on Thursday and not separately reported by Alliance News:

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FirstGroup PLC - Aberdeen, Scotland-based transport provider - Extends 'put up or shut up' deadline for I Squared Capital Advisors takeover offer to July 21. On Thursday last week, it said it rejected a possible takeover offer from I Squared Capital Advisors, saying the firm cash component undervalues the company and the contingent component doesn't give shareholders enough certainty. On Thursday, says: ‘The board, having carefully evaluated the proposal from I Squared, concluded that the proposal significantly undervalued FirstGroup's continuing operations and its future prospects, and was not in a structure that provided sufficient certainty to shareholders.’ The extension, firm says, will allow ‘discussions to continue’.

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Persimmon PLC - York, England-based housebuilder - Picks date for new Chief Financial Officer Jason Windsor to start, naming July 11 as the all-important date. Appointed Windsor as its new CFO from insurer Aviva PLC to succeed Mike Killoran, who will be retiring in mid-January.

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Henderson Opportunities Trust PLC - aims to achieve capital growth in excess of the FTSE All-Share index from a portfolio of UK investments - Net asset value per share ends April 30 at 1,471.5 pence, sliding from 1,626.9p six months earlier. Raises dividend to 14.0p from 13.0p a year prior. NAV total return in the first half negative 8.7%, underperforming its benchmark, the FTSE All-Share Index, which adds 3.2%. Chair Wendy Colquhoun says performance was ‘disappointing’. Adds: ‘While the company's portfolio saw some benefit from its holdings in natural resource companies, this was more than offset by the significant de-rating of many small and medium sized companies. This size differential in how companies performed was among the key drivers of the company's underperformance. In this respect we are, to a degree, comforted that the decline in the company's NAV of 8.7% was less than that of the AIM All-Share Index at 16.0% where just over half of the company's portfolio was invested at the period end.’

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JPMorgan Japan Small Cap Growth & Income PLC - investment company focused on Japan small caps - Net asset value per share ends March 31 at 397.6 pence, sliding from 550.0p at same point year prior. Annual dividend drops to 20.3p from 21.9p. Annual NAV return negative 25%, underperforming benchmark, the MSCI Japan Small Cap Index, which sees negative 8.1% return. ‘This underperformance was the result of the portfolio's focus on quality and growth stocks,’ company says. ‘As in other major markets, high growth stocks, especially in the technology sector, were hit especially hard as investors focused on rising interest rates, spiralling inflation and the tragic events in Ukraine and tended to ignore the fundamental operational performance of businesses. Japanese growth stocks were caught up in this sell-off, even though inflation in Japan remains very low and the Bank of Japan is unlikely to raise interest rates in the foreseeable future.’

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Puma VCT 12 PLC - venture capital trust managed by Puma Investments - Shares suspended ahead of general meeting where shareholders will vote on resolution to effect the commencement of the winding up of the trust.

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Immediate Acquisition PLC - AIM-listed cash shell, formally Immedia Group PLC - Plans to relist shares after its reverse takeover of Fiinu Holdings Ltd. Expects to have market cap of £53 million after relisitng, with 265.1 million shares in issue. Relisting will be July 8. Will be renamed Fiinu Group PLC. Fiinu intends to be a provider of a consumer banking product, the Plugin Overdraft, which will provide an overdraft facility without having to change their current account or request an overdraft from their existing bank.

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Aseana Properties Ltd - Jersey-based property development company - Corrects that Director Christopher Lovell was not re-elected at its general annual meeting on June 17, after having previously reported he did. As a result, Lovell retires as a director with immediate effect. Lovell originally joined the company as independent non-executive director in March 2007, before retiring at the 2018 annual general meeting. He returned to the company as non-executive director in June 2019.

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Regional REIT Ltd - London-based real estate investment trust - Makes three separate investments in Sheffield city centre, Thorpe Business Park, Leeds, and Leeds city centre for £8.5 million, £8.6 million, and £9.4 million, respectively, reflecting attractive net initial yields of 9.2%, 7.1% and 7.7%, with an overall blended net initial yield of 8.0%. Chief Executive Stephen Inglis says: ‘The three acquired assets announced today are high quality and well located buildings, purchased at a strong accretive blended yield of 8.0%. All three assets are supported by high quality tenants in a growth region of the UK that we are keen to increase the portfolio's exposure to. The assets also provide us with compelling opportunities to drive further value through asset management activity, whilst delivering attractive income streams.’

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Scancell Holdings PLC - Nottingham, England-based cancer immunotherapies developer - Plans to develop GlyMab antibodies into T cell redirecting bispecific antibodies and take them into the clinic. ‘This is a promising new therapeutic approach to treat cancer,’ company says. ‘TCB antibodies have dual-binding specificity which crosslinks tumour cells via their glycans with an activating receptor CD3 on T cells. This results in activation of killer T cells and tumour cell death.’ Will utilise the GlyMab platform to deliver cytotoxic drugs or cell therapies.

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Tasty PLC - London-based casual dining restaurant operator - Repays, in full, £1.3 million four year term loan from its existing bankers Barclays Bank. Now has net cash balance of £8.6 million with no debt. Adds: ‘The board believes that, with its current net cash and future cashflow, it will have sufficient funds to weather the prevailing economic uncertainties and cost pressures and also satisfy its measured expansion plans for a pipeline of up to five to six new units in 2022.’

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Avation PLC - Singapore-based passenger aircraft leasing company - Says Norwegian-owned Swedish airline customer Braathens Regional Airlines collaborates to enable the first ever flight with 100% sustainable fuel in both engines on a commercial aircraft. Executive Chair Jeff Chatfield says: ‘Avation owns 28 purchase rights over new future delivery ATR72-600 aircraft. Avation believes the sustainable aviation fuel is important because CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 80% compared to non-sustainable jet fuel. Avation is transitioning to become a lessor of climate friendly low CO2 emission aircraft.’

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Fonix Mobile PLC - London-based mobile payments and messaging provider - Says certain directors, shareholders and employees of the firm sells 6.7 million shares, representing 6.7% of issues share capital, at 150 pence each. Sellers includes Chief Executive Robert Weisz, who offloaded 8.5 million shares. Company notes the placing was to satisfy strong institutional demand. Adds: ‘Following a series of meetings with both new and existing institutional investors, it became apparent that demand for the ordinary shares was in excess of those readily available for sale. The selling shareholders recognise the strategic importance of a strong and supportive institutional shareholder base, and have therefore decided to release a portion of their own holdings in order to help satisfy this demand.’

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Light Science Tech Holdings PLC - environment agriculture and technology and contract electronics manufacturing company - Expands nurturGROW lighting product portfolio with the launch of its 'slimline' Vertical Farm range. ‘Vertical Farm range, which is ideal for cultivation, is designed to maximise space within a vertical/city farm, container or research centre - broadening the reach of nurturGROW's solutions, which currently predominantly target glasshouse and polytunnel growers,’ it adds.

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Good Energy Group PLC - Chippenham, England-based renewable energy supplier - Notes resolutions 8 and special resolutions 9, 10,11 and 12 did not pass at annual general meeting. ‘Resolutions 9,10 and 11 were relatively standard authorities that UK listed companies take at annual general meetings, relating to the allotment of 5% of shares for cash on a non-pre-emptive basis and purchase of own shares. Resolution 12 was included to amend the Articles of Association to permit hybrid meetings for in person and virtual attendance at general meetings,’ company says. ‘The board is disappointed not to receive this limited additional flexibility to pursue opportunities in the interests of the company and its shareholders and to ensure general meetings can be accessible by all in future.’

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Technology Minerals PLC - London-based company focused on creating a circular economy for battery metals - Its 49%-owned battery recycling business, Recyclus Group Ltd, receives three lithium battery testbed systems, which it says is designed to measure a range of different battery chemistries of different sizes at its Wolverhampton site. ‘The LIB testbeds give Recyclus the operational capability to test the effective capacity of battery packs from a range of EV and industrial usages as well as for degradation or damage at the cell level. By charging and discharging batteries to measure capacity and capture stored energy it can also perform a number of other critical performance test criteria,’ it adds.

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Southern Energy Corp - oil and gas company focussed on the US state of Mississippi - Raises about $30.0 million from issue of 26.1 million shares from prospectus offering and placing of 18.7 million shares. Will use net proceeds for capital expenditures to extend and accelerate its planned drilling programme at Gwinville and for general working capital purposes. Further drilling at Gwinville expects to being in the fourth quarter. Notes all three of the horizontal wells from the Gwinville 19-3 padsite are now flowing to sales at highly restricted rates. The padsite is currently producing approximately 15.3 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas and all three wells are meeting company's early-time expectations.

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Atlantic Lithium Ltd - developing Ewoyaa lithium mine in Ghana - ‘Pleased’ with initial assay results from reverse circulation drilling at the Grasscutter North target at the Ewoyaa project in Ghana. Drill intersections include 22 metres at 1.25% lithium oxide from 104 metres and 15 metres at 1.35% lithium oxide from 71 metres. ‘These results, being in close proximity to the currently defined resource, give us confidence to deliver future resource upgrades for the project,’ Chief Executive Lennard Kolff says.

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Cornish Metals Inc - Vancouver-based mineral exploration company - For three months to April 30 loss narrows to C$979,427, about £615,609, from C$1.3 million in same period a year prior. Operating expends falls to C$627,115 from C$894,549, results in net loss in quarter of C$625,384 versus C$908,981 loss the year before. Chief Executive Richard Williams says: ‘The next few months will be hard but rewarding work as we build the required framework for strong and capable project execution. I look forward to reporting on progress at South Crofty in due course.’ Notes backdrop for tin pricing in the medium to long term ‘remains favourable’.

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Anglo Asian Mining PLC - gold, copper and silver producer focused in Azerbaijan - Notes making good progress at our restored contract area of Vejnaly with mining due to start later this month. Chief Executive Reza Vaziri, at annual general meeting, says ‘encouraged’ by the developments over the past year and believes it has a ‘solid foundation for further future growth’.

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Ariana Resources PLC - exploration firm with interests in Turkey - Says its Tavsan project development is being transitioned into the construction stage, with a revised mineral resource estimate and feasibility study underway. Notes, also, diamond drilling programmes underway at Kiziltepe, for up to about 14,000 metres, and at Salinbas, for an extended programme which will involve several drilling rigs. ‘Significant progress is being made across the Company's projects and interests in south-eastern Europe and further afield,’ Managing Director Kerim Sener adds.

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