Oil and gas fans were treated to a plethora of news today as companies big and small updated on projects and issued financial results. Leading the pack was £1.9 billion cap Premier Oil (PMO) which advanced 3.7% to 376.1p after the group flagged a 'potentially significant' oil discovery in Norway. The Luno II prospect in the Norwegian North Sea will now be flow tested to establish if it is a commercial find.
Small cap Xcite Energy (XEL:AIM) advanced 8.7% to 118.5p after a bullish update on its Bentley heavy oil field in the North Sea. Investors should expect news on a farm-out deal and amended borrowing facilities, as we discuss in detail here.
Oil explorer Faroe Petroleum (FPM:AIM) slipped 3.1% to 133.7p after its Darwin well came up dry. Kazakh oil firm Max Petroleum (MXP:AIM) fell 0.6% to 4.05p despite commencing drilling on its latest development well in the country. New Zealand based energy minnow Kea Petroleum (KEA:AIM) was in demand, up 3.9% at 10.9p, after announcing a successful result from a flow test on its Puka 2 well.
Outside of the oil industry, European regional newspaper publisher Mecom (MEC) slumped 32% to 57p following a disappointing trading update. The company revealed that advertising revenues in the Netherlands in March and April continued to contract in excess of 20%. Albeit a deceleration on January and February’s 28% decline, the numbers were worse than feared. Investors are now fretting about follow-on impact of a reducing EBITDA (earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for 2013 might have on debt covenants.
The market liked full-year results from Russian gold and silver miner Polymetal (POLY) despite it missing forecasts because of a $116 million one-off tax provision. The FTSE 100 resources group grew pre-tax profit by 51% to $617.4 million.
News that Gemfields (GEM:AIM) may be forced to sell all of its emeralds in Zambia, where it operates the Kagem mine, has dragged its share price down 12.6% to 26p. Analysts say this could reduce interest in its goods, having historically sold them in places like Singapore and India, and potentially hurt earnings, as we discuss in detail here.
Don't be surprised if this year is every bit as busy for Quindell Portfolio (QPP:AIM) as 2012, with the insurance claims specialist eyeing more industry consolidation. The bulletin board favourite saw its shares rally 4.5% to 13.83p after confirming first quarter EBITDA of £25 million, well on the way towards likely £125 million full-year forecast by analysts. Coming just days after announcing a deal with the RAC, its biggest contract win to date (read our recent story here), Quindell also plans to keep an iron grip on its current 100% pipeline conversion success rate. It is also gearing up for more acquisitions, with around £80 million of cash fire power.
A joint venture with gold giant Randgold Resources (RRS) in Senegal has pushed up small cap Goldstone Resources (GRL:AIM) by 14.9% to 2.12p. Randgold will pay for all the early-stage exploration costs and is taking a 51% stake in the venture.
Horticulture and garden products play William Sinclair (SNCL:AIM) softened 0.5p to 118.5p. In a first-half trading update, the £20 million cap warned of a delayed start to the key Spring selling season caused by the cold snap in March and over Easter. While the late start to the selling season and pent up consumer demand means sales will be compressed into a shorter period, William Sinclair could be at an advantage, arguing 'our industry leading logistics cope better than those of some of our competitors.'
It was a busy 2012 for Globo (GBO:AIM), finally off-loading most of its Greek IT business millstone and launching mobile ERP suite GO!Enterprise. Full-year results show revenues and EBITDA of €46 million and €24 million show growth of 67% and 42% respectively. The shares stayed flat largely as the figures were previously flagged but they're up 99% since Shares called a big year for the company in January.
Optics technology developer Gooch & Housego (GHH:AIM) is eyeing new growth opportunities in satellite laser communications after telling the market that first half trading in bang on track. The order book is up 19% to £29.6 million despite US defence spending cuts, news that pushes the shares nearly 3.5% higher to 454.8p.
Home shopping-to-education supplies business Findel (FDL) was a non-mover at 5.9p. The £101 million cap, which selling its healthcare business for £24 million to private equity firm LDC, posted a close period update for the year to 29 March which contained no nasty surprises. It says forthcoming (5 June) finals will meet market expectations and show encouraging year-on-year debt reduction.
News of a three-year deal win fails to inspire buyers in voice recognition tech specialist Eckoh (ECK:AIM). Its shares drifted 0.12p to 15.38p, possibly on lack of any sort of meaningful revenue guidance. The identify of the client (a business outsourcing provider) also remains a mystery.
There was a relief rally in international investment banking and broking business VSA (VSA:AIM), up 11% at 1.25p, when shareholders found out today they would still be able to trade stock via a matched bargain facility. Trading of the firm’s ordinary shares will still be facilitated despite the imminent cancellation of trading on Aim.
Water-based cleantech company PuriCore (PURI) advanced 9% to 48.5p after signing a $14 million deal. Management expect to receive the majority of this revenue this year from a US supermarket chain to use its Sterilox Fresh system, which extends the shelf-life of fresh produce.