A round up of the day’s news brought to you by the team at small-cap broker and advisor Hybridan.
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Abingdon Health 46.5p £44.5m (ABDX.L)
The international developer and manufacturer of high quality and effective rapid tests, welcomes the recent publication of two peer-reviewed studies conducted by Ulster University and involving AbC-19™, a lateral flow test for the detection of neutralising IgG antibodies to the full trimeric spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Highlights from the studies include: Excellent laboratory validation performance metrics for the AbC-19 ™ rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein IgG antibody detection and semi-quantitative correlation with laboratory ELISA methods assaying IgG antibodies to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. AbC-19 ™ showed sensitivity of 97.58% and specificity of 99.59% when using evaluation methods as defined by the MHRA for Target Product Profile of an antibody test. In addition, the study notes that IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus were detected 10 months after infection. Understanding the longevity of COVID-19 antibodies is important both immunologically and in helping to guide pandemic exit protocols. Positive user experience score from 1,544 participants who used AbC-19 ™ as a ‘self-test’ in the second study.
Arc Minerals 4.45p £49.13m (ARCM.L)
Arc Minerals announces that the Exclusivity Agreement with Anglo American, signed on 13 July 2020, lapses from today. Discussions with Anglo American have been positive and continue. Against a backdrop of very strong copper fundamentals, the Company has been approached by a number of interested groups to commence discussions regarding a potential commercial transaction. Nick von Schirnding stated: “As we have always said, any transaction has to sufficiently compensate Arc shareholders for allowing a major to take over an asset which we believe has significant potential to become a major tier-one copper discovery. We will continue our discussions with Anglo American which have been going well but will also commence discussions with other major mining companies that have approached us. In the meantime, we continue with our very exciting drill programme and development of the Cheyeza East plant, against the backdrop of a very strong copper market.”
Bluejay Mining 10.13p £98.4m (JAY.L)
Update on its Outokumpu Project in eastern Finland, where the Company’s 100% owned subsidiary, FinnAust Mining Finland Oy has defined multiple targets for Outokumpu-type copper-cobalt- gold-silver deposits. Five initial drill targets identified, on the Outokumpu Belt, following re-evaluation of all available data. Confirmation of existing drill targets, as well as new conceptual targets which require further re-modelling and evaluation of multiple geophysical datasets. The first stage of the drilling programme will focus on the Haapovaara target, located north of the historical Kylylahti mine, where 1,500 metres of drilling (‘m’) is planned, and the Haaponiemi target, a deep target with a planned drilling programme of 2,500m. The Company is in early discussions with various parties interested in partnering on this Project. The metal basket the Outokumpu Belt provides means it is a compelling exploration target in the context of increasing demand for base metals related to the battery industrial ecosystems, electrification and the green transition.
Essensys 300p £158m (ESYS.L)
The provider of mission critical software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms and on-demand cloud services to the flexible workspace industry announced that, further to the announcement made on 8 July 2021 regarding the Fundraising, an aggregate of 10,984,552 Primary Placing Shares have been successfully placed at an Offer Price of 285 pence per Placing Share to raise gross proceeds for the Company of approximately £31.3m. Following the deduction of associated fees and expenses, the net proceeds receivable by the Company will be approximately £30m and will be used to accelerate the Company’s growth strategy and product development as further described in the Launch Announcement.
Evgen Pharma 5.1p £14m (EVG.L)
The clinical stage drug development company, announces the results of the interim safety and futility assessment readout of the first 100 patients treated in the STAR COVID-19 (SFX-01 Treatment for Acute Respiratory infections) trial. The double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled Phase II/III trial was to assess the Company’s lead asset, SFX-01, plus standard care in patients initially hospitalised with community acquired pneumonia (including patients investigated for suspected COVID19 infection). The trial has been co-sponsored by the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside and funded by the UK charity LifeArc. An interim analysis of the efficacy and safety data on the first 100 patients who received SFX-01 or placebo was reviewed by an independent data management committee, and this was extended to incorporate the full 133 patients recruited to date. Evgen was informed this week that the committee had concluded the analyses did not meet the interim futility hurdle required to continue the study, and that active treatment would not be likely to show an overall statistically significant improvement. Recruitment into the trial will therefore be halted. Importantly there were no safety issues observed relating to active treatment, further underlying the excellent safety profile of SFX-01. The original hypothesis was that upregulation of the transcription factor Nrf2 would lead to reduction of the severity of respiratory disease. This will be investigated further as part of a deeper analysis of the full unblinded clinical and biomarker data set, including an assessment of the association of variables such as patient demographics and changes in standard treatment options over time. These results will be reported in due course.
Gemfields Group 13.35p £151m (GEM.L)
The Company notes the recent increase in its share price and confirms that there is no disclosable unpublished price-sensitive information relating to the Company at the present time. The Company’s operations in both Mozambique and Zambia remain materially uninterrupted. The Company is closely monitoring the global Covid-19 situation and presently expects to hold three further gemstone auctions this year. The Company expects to announce robust financial performance for the six months ending 30 June 2021 as a result of the strength of the gemstone auctions held in March and April 2021, combined with the cost cutting measures which were in place until end March 2021 (including the suspension of principal operations at its emerald and ruby mines). The Company expects revenue to be in the region of USD 95m for the six months ending 30 June 2021. The Company expects to announce its half year results by the end of September 2021. Notwithstanding the welcome increase in the Company’s share price, Gemfields still trades at a significant discount to its net asset value. In addition, the Company notes that, at its recent VAGM on 24 June 2021, shareholders rejected a resolution which would have granted the Company’s board consent to issue at its discretion up to 5% of the Company’s share capital at the higher of (i) ZAR 3.00 per share and (ii) the then prevailing 30-day volume-weighted average price. The ZAR 3.00 per share floor price proposed in that resolution remains a significant premium to today’s closing share price.
Keras Resources 0.1p £6.5m (KRS.L)
Commercial production has commenced at the high-grade organic phosphate mine, Diamond Creek in Utah, USA owned by the Company’s 51% subsidiary, Falcon Isle Holdings LLC. Commissioning is complete and the milling plant is now at steady-state operational capacity. Stockpiled material from the 2020 mining season is now being crushed and processed, producing a range of premium products to be sold directly into the US organic fertiliser market and marketing discussions are being held with a number of existing clients and a wide range of new interested parties. Work is also continuing at the mine site to ensure everything is production ready to commence the 2021 mining season later this month.
Open Orphan 26.5p £177.8m (ORPH.L)
The rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research organisation (CRO) and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials , announces that hVIVO, a subsidiary of Open Orphan plc, has signed a significant contract with AIM ImmunoTech Inc (“AIM IT”) to test its antiviral candidate, Ampligen, using both the human Rhinovirus HRV (common cold virus) and Influenza human challenge study models as part of a single study. This antiviral study will be conducted by hVIVO. AIM IT will be the study sponsor of the Phase 2 human challenge trial, which is expected to commence in Q4 2021. The Company expects the majority of revenue from the contract to be recognised in the current financial year. The AIM IT contract demonstrates the breadth of Open Orphan’s service offering and its ability to test multiple pathogens at once in its state-of-the-art zoned unit, reinforcing its status as the world leader in its field. The Company expects to sign more contracts in this area due to the increased international focus on respiratory and infectious diseases following the outbreak of COVID-19 and as attention turns to potential future outbreaks of other viral diseases.
Oracle Power 0.47p £10.5m (ORCP.L)
A proposed drilling programme has been designed for the Northern Zone Gold Project, located only 25 km east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The first phase is to complete 7 Reverse Circulation (‘RC’) drill holes, each up to 260 metres deep, for a total of ~1,500 metres specifically targeting gold mineralisation within a series of stacked porphyry intrusions. The Company’s consultants will now submit a programme of work to Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and seek a drilling company to undertake the programme. Targeting drilling anticipated to commence in 6-8 weeks, depending on programme of work approval timing and sourcing a drill rig. The drill programme will be funded from current cash resources. Interpretation of geology based on magnetics supports the model of a sequence of mafic and ultramafic volcanic rocks, with interbedded sediments and felsic volcanics that have been intruded by granitic and porphyry intrusions. Gold mineralisation identified to date is associated with these felsic intrusive porphyry bodies. The RC drill holes will target the porphyry along both strike and dip extensions.
Parkmead Group 51.7p £56.5m (PMG.L)
Parkmead has agreed to purchase a historic royalty associated with the Group’s existing interests in the Drenthe IV, Drenthe V and Andel Va licenses in the Netherlands from Vermilion Energy. These licences contain the Grolloo, Geesbrug and Brakel onshore gas fields, respectively. This royalty was previously held by NAM (a Shell and ExxonMobil joint venture) and came with the licences when they were acquired by Parkmead. The consideration for this acquisition is EUR565k and will be satisfied through a part cash payment of approximately EUR150k with the balance being paid from part of the remaining 2021 net revenue from Parkmead’s working interest in the Geesbrug gas field. The acquisition removes the royalty associated with the existing producing gas wells. The effective date of the transaction is 1 January 2021. The revenue associated with this royalty for the year to 30 June 2020 was EUR325k. Through this acquisition, Parkmead will increase its net gas production from these wells, doubling the Group’s effective financial interest from 7.5% to 15% (in line with Parkmead’s working interest in the licences). It is also expected that this step will extend the producing life of these fields through greater partner alignment. The Drenthe VI licence, containing the large Diever West gas field, is not affected by this royalty.
What’s cooking in the IPO kitchen?
Bridgepoint Group to float on the Premium Segment of the Main Market. Bridgepoint is the leader in middle market investing, with a global reach that leverages its strong pan-European footprint and Bridgepoint’s ability to deploy meaningful amounts of client capital across several well established strategies. Raising £300m. Timing TBA.
HydrogenOne Capital Growth to IPO on the Premium Segment of the Main Market. HGEN is targeting a raise of £250m. First London listed investment fund dedicated to clean hydrogen. Due by the end of July.
Forward Partners Group to join AIM. The Group has made 65 equity investments in early stage, high growth British companies, to build a portfolio that has a net asset value of £103.0m as of 31 March 2021. Offer TBA. Due mid July.
Bradda Head Holdings to join AIM. Bradda Head, previously called Life Science Developments Limited and before that Copper Development Corporation, is a delisted company previously quoted on AIM. In January 2018 Bradda Head acquired Bradda Head Limited, a lithium focused exploration company established to develop a portfolio of USA based lithium projects. Raising £6.2m. Mkt Cap £16.1m. Due 19 July.
Seraphine Group, intends to IPO on the Premium Segment on the Main Market. Seraphine, and together with its subsidiaries, is an international digitally-led maternity and nursing wear brand. The final offer price will be determined following a book-building process. Admission expected July.
Literacy Capital PLC, announces its intention to seek admission of its ordinary shares of £0.001 to trading on the Specialist Fund Segment of the Main Market. The Company was created in September 2017 as a permanent capital vehicle to allow longer term decision making and with the intention to generate substantial investment returns. As at 31 March 2021, the Company’s unaudited Net Asset Value is approximately £96.4m. Literacy Capital Asset Management LLP is the Company’s investment manager.
Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC, a newly established closed-ended investment company which will invest in a diversified international portfolio of early and growth stage Space Tech businesses, announces the publication of its Prospectus in connection with the IPO to the Premium Segment of the Main Market. The Company is targeting gross proceeds of up to £180m through the issue of up to 180m Ordinary Shares by way of the Initial Placing, the Offer for Subscription, Direct Subscriptions and the Intermediaries Offer at 100 pence per Ordinary Share. The Company will subsequently also acquire stakes in four Space Tech businesses upon the completion or termination of currently pending corporate activity in relation to those assets. Assuming the successful completion of these transactions currently underway, the Company’s investment manager, Seraphim Space estimates approximately £70m of value relating to the Retained Assets could be acquired by the Company.
Future Biogas Group plc, is a newly formed holding company which will acquire 100% of Future Biogas Limited (“FBL”). Future Biogas is a clean energy company that operates biogas plants in the UK. It is one of the largest biogas producers in the UK, delivering approximately 5,000 cubic metres per hour of green gas to the Gas Grid. FBL was formed in 2010 in order to develop and operate biogas plants. The Group has deployed over £125m and built 12 biogas plants in the UK since then, largely through tax efficient funding such as VCT and EIS. In 2020, the ten biogas plants operated by the Group generated over 426 GWh of renewable energy. TBC ordinary shares of £0.01 each in the capital of the Company. In addition to the biogas plants it operates on behalf of third parties, the Company intends to build on its experience by constructing its own portfolio of new bioenergy plants with carbon capture storage (“BECCS”). Target fundraise up to £35m. Anticipated market cap TBC. Admission date early July.
Poolbeg, Proposed AIM listing and demerger from Open Orphan (ORPH.L). Funds raised as part of Admission will be used primarily to fund the clinical trial costs associated with the development of the Company’s POLB 001 asset as a treatment for severe influenza and to acquire and develop new portfolio assets. Offer details and timing TBC.
Orcadian Energy, the North Sea focused, oil and gas development company, announces its intention to seek admission to AIM. The Company’s key asset is the 100% interest in the Pilot oilfield, with audited proven and probable reserves of 78.8m barrels (audited by Sproule BV). Orcadian plans to raise gross proceeds of c. £5m to progress its assets. Expected early July.
The UK Residential REIT, a proposed closed-ended real estate investment trust established to invest in a diversified portfolio of affordable, privately rented residential real estate assets in attractive locations outside of London, announces its intention to IPO onto the Premium Segment of the LSE. URES is targeting Gross Issue Proceeds of 150m before expenses by means of a placing, offer for subscription and intermediaries offer of 150m Ordinary Shares plus an Issue of up to 50m Consideration Shares in connection with the acquisition of Seed Assets at an issue price of £1.00 per Ordinary Share. Expected market capitalisation following the completion of the acquisition of Seed Assets of £200m. Due 16 July.
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