Aquarius Platinum (AQP) advanced 2.8% to 37p after extending a collaborative agreement with Anglo American Platinum on the Kroondal mine in South Africa. The two companies share revenues, costs and capital. The new agreement adds another three years to the mine life, meaning Kroondal will run for at least another nine years.
But it wasn't good news at sector peer Eastern Platinum (ELR:AIM), which sank 11.9% to 4.62p after confirming that it would put its Crocodile River mine on care and maintenance. Production will stop in late July. The troubled platinum miner announced in April that it would stop funding the mine because of economic issues.
FTSE 100 beverage can manufacturer Rexam (REX) was crunched by the market, down 4.5% at 444.2p, after warning its interim and full-year numbers would fall short of earlier guidance. We look at the situation in more detail here.
Van hire group Northgate (NTG) fell 2.7% to 343.5p after moving into a loss-making position (£11.4 million) after incurring £54 million of exceptional financing costs. It has proclaimed a 143% rise in the dividend, but this is somewhat misleading. While that is statistically correct, the company is coming off a low base having previously suspended the dividend due to financial problems. The comparable period only had one small dividend payment, so today's rise is certainly a one-off in terms of the scale of dividend growth.
Manufacturing and retail ERP software supplier K3 Business Technology (KBT:AIM) fell 10% to 98.5p after revealing order deferrals. Closing several new orders offers some hope, yet analysts slashed full-year earnings estimates by a third.
Printing technology specialist Domino Printing (DNO) made an expected return to top line growth at the half year. But funding threats for its egg printing joint venture, TEN Media, had investors running scared, driving the shares 3.2% lower to 578.5p, as management admit they have no revenue expectation.
The market didn't like a feasibility study on Ariana Resources' (AAU:AIM) joint venture Kiziltepe project, sending its shares down 3.4% to 1p. Investors often forget that junior miners have to raise large amounts of cash to build projects, so statements like feasibility studies can trigger new worries among investors, even though they are milestone achievements as they put firm economics on the asset. Today's study shows that Ariana can build an economical project, but there remains big questions as to where the miner can get its share of $31.1 million capital cost.
Optimal Payments (OPAY:AIM) advanced 3.9% to 167.25p as it formed a partnership with Bally Technologies (BYI:NYSE), a specialist in slot machines-to-server systems for the gaming industry. Optimal will provide payment services in the regulated US gaming market, building on earlier developments to conquer the US market.
Yet more operational problems have surfaced at ZincOx's (ZOX:AIM) metals recycling plant in Korea, sending its shares down 3.7% to 19.5p. Read our earlier stories on the company's challenges and recent director dealings.
Specialist merchant bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) City of London (CIN) rose 1.5% in early trade to 67.5p after finals revealed revenues up 104% to £5.1 million as credit starved SMEs sought out its services.
Financial services investor EW (EWG:AIM) rose 4.1% to 1.3p on news that it had broken back into the black. The £7 million cap reported net profits of almost £1.2 million for the year to 31 December 2012, versus a £600,000 loss in 2011.
Plastics Capital (PLA:AIM) rose 1.18% to 85.5p despite reporting a 12% drop in pre-tax profit to £3.3 million. The market liked news that net debt has been reduced by £1.8 million to £8.4 million and the dividend has doubled to 2p.
Byotrol (BYOT:AIM) plunged 10.4% to 7.5p after analysts downgraded numbers for 2014 following a slower-than-expected adoption of a key product by Rentokil Initial (RTO). Finncap now expects a loss for the year, compared to earlier forecasts of a small profit. There is some positive news as the group expects its products to be rolled out across around 500 Marks & Spencer (MKS) deli outlets this year. Byotrol also raised £483,874 for working capital purposes.
A final dividend held at 7p per share and a strong year-end cash position of £4.3 million saw ACM Shipping (ACMG) rise 5.6% to 160.5p as the shipbroker continued to perform well despite the current parlous state of the global shipping industry.
Advanced Medical Solutions (AMS: AIM) improved 4.1% to 75.5p after management said 2013 earnings would meet market expectations. Investec expects the group’s pre-tax profits to hit £5.8 million, up from £4.5 million.
Theme parks queuing system supplier Lo-Q (LOQ:AIM) fell 5% to 520p after losses widened in the seasonally-quiet half of its financial year due to adverse weather. With nearly 85%-odd of its business done in the summer holidays, the market is starting to get jitters over the stock trading on a price/earnings multiple of over 35 for the year to October 2013. House broker Canaccord Genuity was at paints to state that Lo-Q's interims 'are not a strongly reliable predictor of full-year results'.
Buy-and-build cyber security supplier Accumuli (ACM:AIM) is starting to look like a proper business after a busy spell of acquisitions and unit sales. Revenue run rates of £17 million are promising, while a maiden 0.4p dividend implies a 2.7% yield, a factor that pushed the shares nearly 5.5% up to 14.62p.
Industrial fastener firm Trifast (TRI:AIM) gained 2.2% to 59.25p after announcing a 35% increase in profits to £6.4 for the year to 31 March. In a show of confidence, the dividend was hiked 60% to 0.8p.
US onshore oil & gas play Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP:AIM) was unchanged at 2.3p despite announcing it had topped up its portfolio in Oklahoma by participating in a new well and bringing another producing well on stream.