2.35pm: Fertliser company sees share price growth
Where there’s muck there’s brass, and Harvest Minerals Limited (LON:HMI) is proving it.
The natural fertiliser company’s shares have jumped 16. 07% or 0.45p to 3.25p after it revealed a strong sales performance in the first quarter from its Arapua Fertiliser Project in Brazil.
It sold 8,872 tonnes of its KP Fértil organic remineraliser, which can be applied directly to crops without complex processing or chemical alteration, compared to expectations of 8,000 tonnes.
It plans a marketing campaign for use of the product for coffee, sugarcane, and other crops, which will be launched in May.
Chairman Brian McMaster said: “We are very pleased with our sales performance over the first quarter of the year, especially during these challenging times as the pandemic continues to impact the lives and overall economic activity within the regions in which we operate.
“Thankfully, Brazil’s agribusiness continues to show why it is considered by many as the ‘Breadbasket of the World’ and the prospects are remaining very favourable. The 8,872 tonnes sold in the period represents a significant increase compared to the first quarter of 2020 and an increase on current budget. We have built a solid platform over the past two years from which to deliver increased growth.”
11.47am: Industrial group on the rise
The Yorkshire business, whose products include machine tools, engineered components and laser systems, said revenues for the year were expected to drop 20% to $53mln, thanks to the impact of COVID-19.
But it forecast earnings of around $2.5mln due to cost savings and government assistance programmes.
The performance is better than the company expected, and a strong increase in activity in March means the order book is up 70% on the previous year to $14mln. Another $4mln worth of orders have been received so far in April.
It said the improvement in the order book was helped by a good performance from the custom laser side of the business, which has higher margins.
Chairman Paul Dupee said: “”The particularly strong order activity over the last two months, supported by a level of government assistance, has enabled the business to maintain its skilled workforce during the pandemic. This has allowed us to respond quickly to recent demand and significantly improve the size and quality of the group’s orderbook, leaving the business well placed as markets improve.”
Its shares are up 22.86% or 2p to 10.75p.
10.48am: Gold group fails to shine
The West Africa gold exploration and development company has announced a rescheduling of plans for its Akrokeri-Homase gold project.
In February it said mining and construction operations at the project – set to be the first mine in its licence area – would “commence imminently, with an estimated timeline for the first gold pour being within two months.”
Now it has updated the schedule: “For operational reasons [the company] is focusing on ramping up mining and production, which has necessitated a temporary rescheduling to the initially planned gold pour, in order to optimize profitability.
“The company is working with the new mining contractor to complete a revised mine plan and production schedule, for the coming months and will be in a position to update the market shortly.”
The uncertainty has seen its shars fall 11.13% or 1.43p to 11.38p.
9.10am: Cybersecurity specialist in demand
And we’re back with cryptocurrency, or more to the point, fraud associated with it.
BrandShield Systems PLC (LON:BRSD), a cybersecurity specialist, has climbed 12.86% or 2.7p to 23.7p after it extended its existing contract with “a leading, global financial institution specialising in cryptocurrency and blockchain.”
BrandShield provides the business with anti-phishing and online threat hunting services, as well as protecting it against fraudulent online activity including “the impersonation of the financial institution, rogue websites, impersonation on social media, executive impersonation, phishing attempts and trademark infringements.”
Chief executive Yoav Keren said : “The financial sector continues to suffer from an unprecedented increase in the prevalence of fraudulent activity and BrandShield has continued to develop a broad and growing range of clients within it.
“The cryptocurrency and blockchain industry has always been a prominent target for online fraud and phishing activities. The latest rapid growth in the cryptocurrency space is a catalyst for fraudulent activities affecting companies and users active in the field.”
Other areas where BrandShield is seeing growth include pharmaceuticals, fashion, entertainment, consumer goods and sports and leisure.
Analyst Martin O’Sullivan at the company’s joint broker Shore Capital said: “Companies are buying into brand protection and online threat hunting as ‘must have’ capabilities and there is a long runway of growth ahead in our opinion.”
8.44am: Cleaning company cleans up
The company said revenues grew by 19% to £2.5mln in the six months to the end of March, not including any contribution from recent acquisition Fidelis Contract Services.
It expects earnings (before exceptional items relating to the acquisition of Fidelis and some restructuring) to be more than £350,000, well ahead of last year’s figure of £85,000.
Apart from growth in its core business, there was also demand for COVID-19 decontaminations. As well as servicing the healthcare, rail and facilities management sectors, the company also won business in other areas such as education and residential care homes.
Chief executive Shaun Doak said: “The immediate outlook is positive, although we are mindful the seemingly ever-changing environment in which we work can bring with it both opportunities and challenges. As a management team we continue to review tactics almost daily to ensure React remains an effective solution for our customers, our colleagues remain safe, and the business profitable.
“The acquisition of Fidelis at the tail end of the period represents an exciting step forwards for the Group; marrying two strong management teams with well-matched values to provide incremental scale, resilience and capability, underpinning our ambition to rapidly become the leading provider of specialist cleaning, decontamination and hygiene services in the country.”
The company’s shares are up 7.04% or 0.17% to 2.57p.
Botswana Diamonds PLC (LON:BOD) is also sparkling after it announced positive news on its Thorny River diamond prospect in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and a further drilling programme starting on Monday.
It said: “Following the discovery of the River kimberlite pipe including 11 diamonds, the company upgraded the potential of the property. An area with a similar geological and geophysical footprint immediately to the east of the River Pipe was identified. Analysis suggests potential for a larger kimberlite body than already identified.”
The shares have jumped 9.09% or 0.08p to 0.9p.