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Novacyt tumbles after revealing dispute with UK government over supply contract extension

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Novacyt SA (LON:NCYT) tumbled 36% to 442.1p before the weekend after warning on revenues because it is in dispute with the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The DHSC did not extend a supply contract for COVID-19 tests so the diagnostics firm has taken legal advice, adding it believes “it has strong grounds to assert its contractual rights”.

Without this contract, the AIM-listed firm said revenue and profit for 2021 may be lower than current market expectations, while it continues to have limited visibility over future sales because of the “ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and diagnostic testing demands”.

2.05pm: Open Orphan higher after launching data platform on infectious diseases

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) rose 6% to 42.7p in the afternoon after its hVIVO operation has officially launched its Disease in Motion platform.

It is a collation of clinical, immunological and virological biomarkers as well as information taken from wearable technology.

The pharma company said data from multiple infectious disease types is likely to be used by big tech, wearables, pharma and biotech companies, investors were told.

12.55pm: SRT Marine Systems shoots up as it waits to start new contracts worth £125mln

SRT Marine Systems PLC (LON:SRT) shot up by a tenth to 34.5p at midday after announcing full-year revenue is expected to come in at £8.2mln with loss before tax of £5.8mln.

It compares to a revenue of £18.9mln and loss before tax of £3mln in the year to March 2020.

The provider of maritime surveillance, monitoring and management systems said it has been hit hard by COVID-19, but there are now seven new contracts worth £125mln in total that will start as soon as restrictions are relaxed in the relevant countries.

11.50am: TUI slides after tapping market for more cash

TUI AG (LON:TUI) slid 6% to 372.45p at lunchtime after tapping the debt market for further €350-400mln of liquidity to see it through the latest phase of the global pandemic.

The tour operator, which has been severely hit by COVID-19 restrictions, will also use proceeds to repay existing financing instruments.

The coupon will pay 4.5-5% per year twice annually. The conversion price for the debt will be at a 25-30% premium to the volume-weighted average share price between the launch and pricing of the offer.

10.45am: Alpha Growth jumps after upbeat update

Alpha Growth PLC (LON:ALGW) jumped 15% to 4.21p in the late morning after announcing the trend of growth and improved operational and financial performance continued in the first quarter of 2021.

The Black Oak Alpha Growth Fund saw US$5mln (£3.6mln) of additional inflows during the quarter. Assets under management (AuM) at the end of the quarter stood at US$25.5mln; at the end of 2020, AuM were said to be “over US$22mln”.

The specialist in the senior life settlement class plansto substantively increase the marketing of the Black Oak Alpha Growth Fund in 2021, which has achieved a net return of 15.65% since being established in 19 months.

9.45am: Babcock drops in light of reports of potential £700mln write-downs

Babcock International Group PLC (LON:BAB) lost 8% to 217.44p following a Financial Times report suggesting it was preparing to make wholesale asset write-downs.

They could be as high as £700mln, analysts estimate.

The FTSE 250 engineer warned in January a review of its balance sheet could lead to “negative impacts”.

Elsewhere, Alba Mineral Resources PLC (LON:ALBA) shed 6% to 0.32p after completing a structural review of its Limerick Base Metals Project in Ireland, which identified three main target zones for follow-up exploration activities, including drilling.

However, the prospectivity of one of the targets depends on the preservation of Waulsortian Limestone in the hanging-wall of the Coonagh Castle Fault.

Short exploratory drilling is being considered to confirm the bedrock stratigraphy, followed by deeper exploration drilling.

8.40am: Versarien rises early after new partner South Korea’s Graphene Lab buys shares for £1.9mln

Versarien plc (LON:VRS) was an early riser at the end of the trading week, surging 12% to 43p after South Korea’s Graphene Lab subscribed for shares worth £1.9mln.

The buyer, which specialises in chemical vapor deposition graphene, including sensors, OLEDs and flexible transparent touch panels, now owns 2.2% in the advanced materials engineering group.

The pair also entered into a “wide-ranging” series of agreements, the AIM-listed firm said, for activities in South Korea.

Elsewhere, PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE) advanced 8% to 542p after announcing that business had picked up month-by-month throughout the first quarter of 2021 with March just 2% below a year ago.

The white-collar recruiter posted £184mln gross profit, which was up 2% quarter-on-quarter but down 9.9% on a year ago.

The FTSE 250 group said it is not clear whether the improved performance is the result of pent-up supply and demand, or the beginning of a sustainable trend.

Proactive headlines: 

Next Fifteen Communications PLC (LON:NFC) announced the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of data-led business Shopper Media Group (SMG) for £15.7mln.

Open Orphan PLC said its hVIVO operation has officially launched its Disease in Motion platform, a collation of clinical, immunological and virological biomarkers as well as data from wearable technology.

Alpha Growth PLC (LON:ALGW) said the trend of growth and improved operational & financial performance continued in the first quarter of 2021. Assets under management, which at the end of 2020 were said to be in excess of US$22mln, rose to US$25.5mln at the end of March.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) said it has strengthened its management team through the appointment of Mark Schild as full-time Group Financial Controller.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR), the gold exploration and development company focussed on Australia, has raised £2mln through a share placing.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) has announced the appointment of Giorgio Bonfanti, who will take up the position of chief financial officer at the end of May. Bonfanti has been employed by the global accountancy network PwC since 2014, working out of their Milan office.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it has closed the first tranche of its non-brokered private placement of units in the company raising gross proceeds of C$3.6mln.

Custodian REIT plc (LON:CREI) has unveiled the constitution of an environmental, social and governance (ESG) board committee. The committee comprises Hazel Adam as Chair, Elizabeth McMeikan and Chris Ireland, all of whom are independent non-executive directors of the company.

Bezant Resources PLC (LON:BZT) said AsiaPhos Ltd has terminated its proposed acquisition of MMJV Pte. Ltd, which if successfully completed would have triggered a payment of around £5.6mln in AsiaPhos shares being issued to Bezant.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) said it has secured a short extension to its option to acquire First Development Resources (Pty) Limited, an Australian private company with a portfolio  of copper-gold focused exploration interests in the Paterson Province in the eastern Pilbara Region of Western Australia. Late on Thursday, the company said the exercise period of the agreement has been extended to April 16, 2021, from its original date of April 8.

Tirupati Graphite PLC (LON:TGR) said production and sales from its Sahamamy deposit in Madagascar ran at record levels during the first three months of  2021.

San Leon Energy PLC (LON;SLE) said a drilling rig has been contracted for the Oza-1 re-entry well in Nigeria.

Walls & Futures REIT PLC (LON:WAFR) has advised shareholders to take no action regarding a cash offer from Virgata Services. Directors of the supported housing specialist said the offer was opportunistic and substantially undervalues the company.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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