Source - Alliance News

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

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Wishbone Gold PLC - Australia-focused mining company - In the first half of 2023, pretax loss widens to £668,264 from £385,888 a year earlier. Posts no revenue, unchanged, with loss almost wholly determined by widening administration expenses. Chair Richard Poulden says: ‘The company continues its strategy of exploration on its properties in Australia and expects to announce further positive results from its drill program in the second half of 2023, which should create more value for shareholders.’

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Union Jack Oil PLC - Bath, England-based and UK-focused onshore hydrocarbon producer - Says the UK Environment Agency has issued the variation of the permit for the West Newton B welllsite, which allows for the use of oil-based fluids within the Permian formations during drilling and testing operations. Says independent technical studies have ‘clearly demonstrated that the use of oil-based drilling fluids will be a key factor in enhancing flow rates from wells drilled in the West Newton field’. The company holds a 17% economic interest in West Newton PEDL183 in Norfolk, England. Says plans for the proposed horizontal well from the West Newton B site are underway, with operations targeted to begin in the first half of 2024. Notes data from last September that indicated West Newton had gross 2C unrisked technically recoverable resources of 197.6 billion cubic feet of sales gas, with an estimated 86% geological chance of success. Executive Chair David Bramhill says: ‘A future West Newton development will benefit from being located in an area that provides access to substantial regional infrastructure and could deliver significant volumes of on-shore low-carbon sales gas into the UK’s energy market. Domestically produced natural gas will remain a much-needed part of the energy mix, as the UK seeks to reduce its reliance on imported products. Union Jack looks forward to the drilling of a 1,500 metre horizontal well and unlocking the significant potential of the West Newton project.’

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Camellia PLC - Kent-based agriculture and engineering services firm - Reports ‘significant deterioration’ in recent weeks regarding full-year expectations for some of its businesses. Says this is ‘due to the seasonal nature of our crops, with a substantial proportion of our tea production and sales occurring in that period in conjunction with substantive avocado and macadamia sales’. Looking ahead, expects 2023 revenue to be in the region of £283 million to £287 million from £297.2 million in 2022. For tea, says Kenya and Bangladesh production to the end of September was ahead of expectation, but was materially below expectation in India due to weather, while lower production was seen in Malawi due to ‘very dry conditions’ experienced following Cyclone Freddy in March. Total group tea estate production is now expected to be only around 7% ahead of prior year. Says average prices in India and Malawi were also ‘substantially below ’expectations, with market conditions suggesting this is ‘likely to continue for the remainder of the year’, while prices in Kenya were ‘marginally higher than expected’. For avocados, says average selling prices for its Hass crop have been ‘significantly below expectations’ and will impact full-year results, although it has observed sign that market prices are recovering ‘as we move into our peak period for deliveries into Europe’. In other fruits, says the Gala apple harvest at Bardsley is underway with fruit quality improved on that of last season. But it notes the pear and Bramley crops are 25% and 40% lower than expected respectively. In other crops, says average selling prices for maize and wheat have ‘deteriorated significantly’ during the last few weeks ‘as the scale of production in South America has become clearer’.

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Vanquis Banking Group PLC - Bradford, England-based lender - Appoints Dave Watts as chief financial officer, subject to regulatory approval. He will join the board and start as CFO in November. From this point, current Interim CFO Gareth Cronin will continue in his role as chief risk officer. Says Watts is a ‘highly experienced CFO with extensive banking knowledge’, having worked for HSBC Holdings PLC for nearly 30 years. This includes ad CFO of HSBC UK Bank PLC from 2017 to 2021, which Vanquis says was where Watts was ‘instrumental in establishing HSBC’s UK non-ring fenced bank. Notes Watts is currently CFO of HSBC’s European business. Vanquis Chief Executive Officer Ian McLaughlin says: ’Dave was the outstanding candidate in our CFO recruitment search process, and I look forward to working with him. His direct CFO and UK retail banking experience will be a great asset to the board, the group, and myself, as we move forward and grow the group as a leading specialist bank.‘ Watts comments: ’I look forward to working with Ian and the Board, as we continue to grow as a specialist banking group, helping customers who find it hard to access mainstream lenders, and deliver sustainable returns to our shareholders.‘

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Stelrad Group PLC - Newcastle-based manufacturer and distributor of steel panel radiators - Appoints Annette Boren as chief financial officer, effective from November 1 and from November 22 as an executive director. Boren will succeed George Letham, who will retire from his position as announced in late May. Letham will step down from the board on November 22 following an orderly transition period. After this, Stelrad says Letham will remain as a strategic advisor to Chief Executive Officer Steve Harvey on a part-time basis for six month. Stelrad says Boren is a ’highly experienced CFO and brings with her a proven track record in delivering financial leadership, operational excellence, and strategic growth, across different geographies and sector‘. Chair Bob Ellis says: ’Following a rigorous recruitment process supported by an external search firm, I am pleased on behalf of the board to welcome Annette to the business. She brings a wealth of experience which will enable her to make a significant contribution to the continued growth and success of the group. I would also like to reiterate the board’s appreciation for George’s contribution and commitment during his twenty years at Stelrad and wish him all the very best in his retirement. Boren adds: ‘Stelrad is a fantastic business with an unrivalled reputation in the markets where it operates combined with a strong track record of delivery over many years. I am excited to be joining the business at this stage in its development, with significant opportunity ahead of it, and am looking forward to working alongside Trevor and the team.’

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