TRADING UPDATES: FW Thorpe "up and down"; GB Group ties up US merger

(Alliance News) - The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on ...

Alliance News 18 November, 2021 | 10:03PM
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(Alliance News) - 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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LondonMetric Property PLC - FTSE 250-listed London-based real estate investment trust - Completes fundraise of GBP175 million. Issues 67.3 million shares at 260 pence each. Funds will go towards property acquisitions and improving the company's balance sheet. Chief Executive Andrew Jones says: "We are extremely grateful to our shareholders for their excellent and broad based support in this capital raise. The amount we have raised reflects our disciplined approach and our focus on quick deployment in accretive opportunities." Earlier Thursday, reports tripled profit for the first half of its financial year, driven by a gain in the revaluation of properties and collection of rent. For the six months ended September 30, LondonMetric reported a pretax profit of GBP256.6 million, tripled from GBP85.4 million the same period a year before, driven by a gain of GBP201.2 million from the revaluation of properties, compared to a similar gain of just GBP44.3 million a year before.

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Frenkel Topping Group PLC - Manchester-based professional and financial services firm focused on asset protection - Creates joint venture between its IFA arm and law firm Ralli Ltd, taking its joint ventures to six in the personal injury and clinical negligence sector. "The group's independent financial advice division, Frenkel Topping Ltd, and Ralli will provide services jointly under the trading name Ralli Financial Services Ltd," company says. Adds: "RFS combines the specialist skills of Frenkel Topping Limited with Ralli to deliver a seamless legal and financial advice journey to clients involved in litigation after severe injury, illness or clinical negligence."

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Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust PLC - investment firm focused on positive social impact as well as long-term capital growth and income - To issue 10.3 million shares at 105 pence each. Will use proceeds from placing to invest in a near term pipeline of attractive opportunities in line with investment objective and investment policy. Chair Susannah Nicklin says: "We are delighted to have raised additional capital which can be invested in new and existing projects that assist in addressing many deep-rooted social issues, including homelessness, uneven health outcomes, rising income inequality and unequal life opportunities. The company has made good progress over the 12 months since launch having made investments supporting over 100 front-line organisations and delivering attractive returns for shareholders. We would like to thank shareholders for their continued support and welcome new investors to the company."

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Schroder UK Public Private Trust PLC - formerly Woodford Patient Capital Trust, invests in both listed and private UK companies - Makes USD7.0 million investment in market research technology platform Attest Technologies Ltd, as part of its USD64 million Series B funding round. "The investment in Attest is the third new private equity investment since the appointment of Schroder Investment Management Ltd as the company's portfolio manager and further progresses the continued rebalancing of the portfolio with Attest being the first business services sector investment to enter the portfolio," company says.

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Argo Blockchain PLC - London-based cryptocurrency miner - Closes offering of USD40.0 million of 8.75% senior notes, due 2026. The total net proceeds from the offering are approximately USD38.6 million. Company intends to use net proceeds for general corporate purposes, the construction and purchase of mining machines for its Texas cryptocurrency mining facility and other potential acquisitions.

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ASA International Group PLC - Weybridge, Surrey-based microfinance lender - Says, at end of October, liquidity remains high with approximately USD103 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents. Notes pipeline of funding deals under negotiation totalled about USD198 million. Says, excluding India and Myanmar, all other operating companies achieved collection efficiency of more than 90%. India collections improved to 70% from 64% in September. Clients remained around 2.5 million, while gross outstanding loan portfolio increased to USD440 million, up 1% from the previous month and up 2% year on year.

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Tanfield Group PLC - investment firm headquartered in Newcastle Upon Tyne - Says 49%-investee Snorkel International Holdings LLC continues to recover from the Covid pandemic and has seen sales for the third quarter of 2021 increase by around 61% to USD42.2 million from USD26.3 million a year before. Adds: "The board views the continued recovery from the impact of Covid-19 during the first nine months of 2021 as a positive development and is not aware of any reason why this improving trend should not continue. The board therefore anticipates improved results for the full year of 2021, compared to 2020."

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GB Group PLC - Chester, England-based digital identity and fraud prevention software - Proposes placing to raise up to GBP305 million to help it buy entire issued share capital of Acuant Intermediate Holding Corp, a US identity verification and identity fraud prevention business, for a cash free, debt free enterprise value of USD736 million. Following the placing, the remaining part of the deal wii be paid through issue of existing shares worth USD117 million and a combination of about USD210 million coming from a partial drawdown against a new GBP175 million revolving credit facility and existing cash on balance sheet. Chief Executive Chris Clark says: "We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Acuant. This is a business that we have worked with - and admired - for many years. The combination of our two businesses is a complementary and powerful one. Together, we are creating a global leader in identity verification as well as strengthening our capability to capitalise on the adjacent, emerging and fast growing identify fraud market."

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Mode Global Holdings PLC - London-based payment services app - Expands its Bitcoin Cashback offering to over 40 merchants in the second quarter of 2022, as part of a standalone affiliate product. "Mode's Bitcoin Cashback counters traditional loyalty and cashback programmes, which can offer rewards that are hard to withdraw, slow to redeem or irrelevant to the customer. In response, Mode is turning legacy rewards schemes on their head by providing customers in the UK with the opportunity to build a stake in Bitcoin, without taking on the risk of investing," company says.

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Fonix Mobile PLC - London-based mobile payments and messaging provider - Notes positive start to the financial year, in line with management expectations, with highlights including new partnership agreements signed with Venntro Media Group and a global payments platform provider. "With high levels of repeating revenue, significant new platform partnerships, new supplier connections in international markets and a growing pipeline of client prospects across all sectors, the board continues to be confident in the growth potential for Fonix for the rest of the financial year and beyond," company adds.

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Boku Inc - mobile payment and identity company based in California, US - Extends reach into Thailand through its M1ST Payments Network, with the addition of two mobile wallets, TrueMoney and Rabbit LINE Pay. "This milestone enables global merchants to unlock access to millions of mobile-first consumers. According to JPMorgan, 82% of all online sales in Thailand were conducted from mobile devices, with mobile wallets being used in 23% of all transactions," company says.

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Big Technologies PLC - UK-based remote people monitoring technology - Wholly-owned subsidiary, Buddi Ltd, awarded the electronic monitoring contract by the New Zealand Department of Corrections. Contract expected to start to generate revenue during the first half of 2022. The eight-year contract is worth up to USD126 million. The contract will be for an initial five-year operational period, plus two rights of renewal of two and one year, respectively.

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FW Thorpe PLC - Worcestershire-based lighting systems firm - Says business has seen "ups and downs" in start of new financial year, but revenue "marginally ahead" and order up "significantly" year on year. Chair Mike Allcock adds: "Our manufacturing continues to suffer from supply shortages and logistical complications, especially related to electronic components and LED drivers. These shortages are currently hampering our ability to lift revenues to a higher level with some factories not able to operate at optimum output." He continues: "The sales order performance suggests our group as a whole, and the market, is in good shape. We need to see material supply conditions stabilise to enable further improvement on last year's financial achievements."

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Spectral MD Holdings Ltd - London and Dallas-based predictive analytics company that develops proprietary AI algorithms and optical technology - Completes enrolment for its IRB-approved multi-center training study to support the development of its diabetic foot ulcers application for the DeepView Wound Imaging System. The data collected from the study will bolster the existing clinical database of DFU images and clinical data to train and increase the current 83% decision support accuracy of the DeepView algorithm for DFU. The study enrolled a total of 150 adult subjects and was executed successfully and on schedule across six clinical sites in the US.

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Croma Security Solutions Group PLC - Whiteley, England-based operator of four security companies - Acquires entire issued share capital of Safeguard Ltd for an upfront consideration of GBP530,000 plus a deferred consideration of up to GBP80,000. Safeguard is a Manchester based locksmith business. Chair Sebastian Morley says: "Safeguard is an excellent local business and is a natural fit with our strategy of establishing a national chain of modern security centres. We are confident we can increase the earnings from this outlet as we have with our other previous single store acquisitions. Cheshire is an affluent part of the country where home owners and businesses seek and can afford to ensure that their assets are secure."

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FIH Group PLC - Falkland Island passenger ferry company and London art storage firm - Wins GBP17.3 million contract to build a total of 70 houses for the Falkland Islands government and the UK Ministry of Defence in Stanley and at the Mount Pleasant military base. "The contract was won after a competitive tender and will involve the construction of 40 houses for FIG and a further 30 units for the MoD over a period of four years with completion targeted for the end of 2025.The contract is an NEC4 fixed price contract with the possibility of additional client variation orders and agreed protections against unexpected price inflation in labour and materials," company says.

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Invinity Energy Systems PLC - London-based flow battery maker - Raises GBP25 million through placing of 25.0 million shares at 100 pence each. For every two shares in placing, attached is one short term warrant exercisable at 150p and one long-term warrant exercisable at 225p. Notes open offer raises additional GBP4.0 million from subscription of 4.0 million shares. Chief Executive Larry Zulch says: "We are delighted at what this fundraise means for Invinity's plans to become the leader in true utility-grade energy storage. Now that we have installed the Invinity VS3 at multiple customer sites, we are poised to unlock our pipeline of commercial opportunities. We will continue to progress the joint development of the next generation of vanadium flow batteries with Gamesa Electric."

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Roquefort Investments PLC - London-based investor in early-stage medical biotechnology businesses - Enters conditional share sale and purchase agreement with Provelmare Holding SA to buy the entire issued share capital of Lyramid Pty Ltd for an initial consideration of GBP1 million payable 50% in cash and 50% in shares. To help pay for deal, proposes placing of 30.0 million shares at 10 pence each to raise GBP3.0 million. Also plans to seek shareholder approval to change the name of the company to Roquefort Therapeutics PLC. Executive Chair Stephen West says: "We have commenced marketing to potential investors to fund the acquisition and the very exciting pre-clinical drug development programme of Lyramid, with very encouraging results, and we look forward to completing this Acquisition and re-listing our shares. The teams at Roquefort Investments and Lyramid believe the Midkine global IP portfolio has significant unrealised value that can be unlocked through pre-clinical drug development utilising oligonucleotide drugs."

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PureTech Health PLC - Massachusetts, US-based clinical-stage biotherapeutics company - Subsidiary Gelesis Inc receives USD30 million fully paid pre-order for the company's first commercial product for weight management, Plenity, from US-based direct-to-patient healthcare company Ro. "Plenity was initially made available through a beta launch in 2020, and demand quickly outpaced supply while Gelesis worked to construct a larger manufacturing facility. Gelesis' first commercial-scale manufacturing line at the facility is now complete and validated," company says.

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President Energy PLC - oil & gas company focussed on Latin America - Notes subsidiary Atome Energy PLC sign MoU with Danish firm Haldor Topsoe, to partner to "identify efficient and scalable technologies" for the production of green ammonia in Iceland and to explore other business opportunities within green ammonia. As part of its plan to produce green ammonia and green hydrogen in Iceland, Atome subsidiary Green Fuel secures letter of intent to operate at Bakki Eco-Industrial Park in north-east Iceland.

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Scirocco Energy PLC - company which invests in European energy assets - Joint venture reaches agreement with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp for the payment of outstanding monies owed for past gas sales to the TPDC, that the operator, Aminex PLC, has now received full payment from the TPDC. Scirocco will get USD150,000 for its share of the gas sales net of remittance of indirect taxes and export duties. Aminex in line for USD1.9 million.

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Lekoil Ltd - oil and gas exploration and production company with a focus on Nigeria and West Africa - Notes Otakikpo oil production in October 2021 about 5,110 barrels of oil per day, which was largely interruption free. Also notes ongoing technical work for drilling of two additional production wells at Otakikpo.

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Firering Strategic Minerals PLC - Cyprus-incorporated operator of Atex lithium-tantalum mine project in Ivory Coast - Appoints experienced contractors to support a comprehensive exploration programme at the Atex lithium-tantalum project in the Cote d'Ivoire. "This exploration programme at Atex, which the board believes has the potential to become Africa's next significant lithium pegmatite and coltan resource, is fully funded from the proceeds of the recent IPO," company says.

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Wishbone Gold PLC - Gibraltar-based precious metals trading and exploration company - Completes acquisition of Cottesloe project. As a result, will issue 900,000 new shares at 14 pence each for GBP126,000 to seal deal. Will also issue 600,000 warrants at an exercise price of 14p.

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Greatland Gold PLC - gold explorer in Australia - Plans to raise USD10 million through placing, subscription and retail offer at 145 pence per share. Issue price is 11% discount to the closing mid-market share price on Wednesday. Chief Executive Shaun Day says: "Successful completion of this raising will be a significant milestone in the growth of Greatland. The raising forms part of our strategy of delivering value to our shareholders through the ongoing development of Havieron and our broader exploration portfolio. We are particularly excited by the opportunity to fast track some of our development initiatives through this financing."

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Contango Holdings PLC - natural resource development company - Raises GBP2.5 million through placing of 41.7 million shares at 6 pence each. Investors in the placing will also receive one warrant per placingsShare to subscribe for one new share at 12p. "The Placing will provide the Company with sufficient funds to bring Lubu into production towards the end of the first quarter of 2022, marking the company's transition into cashflow and profitability from operations," company says. Adds: "This development route is now feasible following the recent verification by Bureau Veritas' studies on the Lubu coking coals which confirmed to both the company and potential customers the product's attractive characteristics."

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By Paul McGowan; paulmcgowan@alliancenews.com

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