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Online Blockchain climbs after plans to open Gibraltar office

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11.46am: Blockchain business boosted

Online Blockchain PLC (LON:OBC) is in demand after it announced the opening of an office in Gibraltar.

The blockchain research and development company said Gibraltar offered a number of benefits including access to EU membership, tax-free income, a low annual renewal fee and freedom to conduct business globally.

Chief executive Clem Chambers said: “Online Blockchain is particularly suited to such a benign and forward-thinking jurisdiction, and can capitalise on the many opportunities that Gibraltar affords.”

The company’s shares are up 16.05% to 47p.

10.50am: Car dealership benefits from re-opening

Lookers PLC (LON:LOOK) has turned in a strong performance since its car dealerships reopened on 12 April.

Lile for like sales in the first four months of the year rose 26.6% compared to the overall market rise of 16.2%.

So it now expects full year profits to “comfortably exceed” the current analysts forecast of £34mln, despite the continuing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

Chief executive Mark Raban said: “It’s encouraging to see our strong trading momentum continuing with a very positive customer response following the reopening of our dealerships. The steps we have taken to evolve and enhance our digital offer are being well received and we have a number of further developments in the pipeline.”

Lookers is ahead 7.19% or 4.6p at 68.6p.

9.54am: Drug development specialist sees shares slip back

Drug development group Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) has fallen back after continuing setbacks due to the pandemic.

It said COVID-19 continues to delay the final preclinical studies for its SDC-1801 molecule for autoimmune disease, which it needs to complete before filing a clinical trial application.

It now expects these toxicity and safety studies to be completed in the third quarter of this year, rather than the middle of 2021. It expects to file a clinical trial application in the fourth quarter, given no further delays, which would mean the first studies could start early in 2022, subject to financing.

Meanwhile the UKRI-funded COVID-19 research project for SDC-1801 is expected to complete on schedule with the experimental phases finishing in June and the data analysis to complete shortly thereafter. It said initial results from this research were encouraging and demonstrated that SDC-1801 reduced the levels of cytokines associated with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in human lung cells infected with SARS-CoV-2.

If the completed studies are successful, the Company plans to explore the possibility for further UK government funding from the recently launched AGILE clinical development platform, which has been established to fund Phase 1 trials and fast-track the development of potentially ground-breaking Covid-19 treatments.

Sareum shares are down 8.49% or 0.23p to 2.42p.

8.48am: Business services group buoyant

DWF Group PLC (LON:DWF) is in demand after beating expectations and unveiling a couple of deals.

The legal and business services group said full year revenues grew 13% to £338mln and profits of £34mln were around 15% better than the City had been expecting.

It also announced it was paying £1.8mln for Zing 365, a compliance training business, and £2.2mln for a Canadian loss adjuster, BCA Claims & Consulting.

DWF shares have climbed 8.79% or 8.4p to 104p.

8.27am: Betting firm jumps on US licence agreement

Shares in Webis Holdings PLC (LON:WEB) are looking a good bet after the gaming and technology group received a key US licence.

The company’s advanced deposit wagering business, WatchandWager.com, has received a one-year approval from the West Virginia Racing Commission, a licence which will be renewable annually.

The licence allows WatchandWager to accept wagers from the state’s nearly 1.8 million residents. West Virginia is the home of Charlestown Races and Mountaineer Racetrack for Thoroughbreds, as well as greyhound tracks. WatchandWager can now accept wagers from 25 states, including California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Washington. 

Ed Comins, president of WatchandWager, said: “We are delighted to receive this licence from the West Virginia Racing Commission for WatchandWager. We believe that this licecse will be mutually beneficial to both the company and the state in the forms of revenue and taxes generated from wagering. We are equally pleased to support West Virginia’s horse breeding industry by making contributions to purse funds that reward the racing and ownership of West Virginia-bred horses and greyhounds.”

Webis shares have jumped 17.47% or 0.69p to 4.64p on the news.

Also heading higher is Beowulf Mining PLC (LON:BEM).

Its shares are up 6.98% or 0.3p to 4.6p after it announced a 12.5% or 19mln tonne upgrade for its Kallak iron ore project in northern Sweden.

Chief executive Kurt Budge said: “I am delighted with the results of this upgraded Mineral Resource Estimate and the doubling of the Exploration Target, which clearly demonstrate the potential for a mine at Kallak to supply high-quality iron ore over several decades for fossil-free steel production in Sweden.”

The Kallak mine however remains controversial, with claims it would do environmental damage, and a final decision has yet to be given.

Proactive news headlines

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd’s (ASX:MXC) (LON:MXC) (OTCMKTS:MGCLF) major clinical trial programs planned for CimetrA, CannEpil and CogniCann in 2021 are actively progressing across Australia, Israel and Brazil.

Bango PLC (LON:BGO) said the first three telecoms companies offering bundled Xbox cloud gaming subscriptions in Europe are using Bango’s payments platform.

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI), the UK property investment company, has sold a retail unit in Nottingham at auction for £0.7mln, in line with the most recent valuation.

Cellular Goods PLC (LON:CBX) said it is on track to roll out its first consumer cannabidiol product range in August this year followed by a product range for the after-sport recovery market next spring. 

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN, NASDAQ:SLN) said it has received the final US$40mln from an US$80mln cash and equity investment from AstraZeneca, adding that it expects to be working on up to five drug targets in the next three years with the Anglo-Swedish giant.

Gaming Realms PLC (LON:GMR), a mobile gaming content developer and licensor, said it has been awarded an interactive gaming manufacturer licence by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, marking the group’s third US state licence.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS, NASDAQ:TLSA) said it has begun treating a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis using nasally-administered Foralumab, the company’s fully-human anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody.

Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) said it has joined the newly-formed Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC), an organisation comprised of North American cryptocurrency miners designed to promote energy transparency and improve sustainable mining practices.

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) has begun the second phase of drilling on the Hancock licence, part of the Hamersley direct shipping iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The programme follows on from a highly encouraging maiden drilling program recently completed.

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) said the next few years are set to be transformational for the company as it targets moving into new areas. In its results statement covering 2020, the iodine producer confirmed that last year was a record-breaking one for the company while the first quarter of 2021 saw record revenues, partly as a result of the sale of excess inventory.

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) told investors that equipment to complete and test the West Newton B-1Z well, in Yorkshire, has now been mobilised.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) has updated on the Cascadura Deep-1 well, in the Ortoire block in Trinidad, which has been boosted by new well pressure data.

IronRidge Resources Ltd (LON:IRR) has hit additional broad and high-grade lithium pegmatite drill intersections at new targets adjacent to the Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana. Highlights include 50 metres at 1.36% Li2O, 24 metres at 1.3% Li2O, 21 metres at 1.29% Li2O, and 17 metres at 1.48% Li2O. 

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (LON:CGH) provided an updated JORC-compliant bankable feasibility study for its Tulkubash oxide gold project in the Kyrgyz Republic and said it is in the process of starting exploration works for the 2021 season. 
The AIM-quoted company also said it was in talks to complete the financing package for the project, but warned that this could be affected by current events in the mining sector of the former Soviet republic.

AfriTin Mining Limited (LON:ATM) said the outstanding balance of the 2019 convertible loan note has now been settled in full, with £2.2mln of the £3.8mln converted into shares and the balance settled in cash, with the outstanding 2020 loan note facility of £2.25mln also settled in full, in cash. The Orange Trust will, after converting its 2019 notes, increase its holding in the company from 5.9% to 6.6%.

Destiny Pharma PLC (LON:DEST) will use the Investor Meet Company platform to allow shareholders to follow proceedings of its annual general meeting on June 3, and hear from the company via the live presentation and Q&A session immediately following the AGM. The Company will also provide an online recording, available on the platform and the company’s website after the meeting.

Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX) announced that it will attend the ‘Mello Healthcare; Invest in Good Health’ online conference on Tuesday, 25 May, from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Chief executive Richard Hullihen will present and take questions from participants.

Impax Asset Management Group PLC (LON:IPX) chief executive Ian Simm and chief financial officer Charlie Ridge will give a presentation its results for the six months to 31 March 2021 in a webinar on Friday 28 May 2021 at 11.45 am BST. The online presentation is open to existing and potential shareholders and registration is free. 

Medica Group PLC (LSE:MGP) has shared its annual report and accounts ahead of its annual general meeting on 16 June, with shareholders urged to register their proxy appointment electronically and attend the meeting remotely. The company provided clarification on the final dividend, which will be paid on 23 July 2021 to shareholders on the register as at 25 June.  

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK) chairman Peter George purchased 30,000 ordinary shares in the company at a price of 62.5apiece for his Individual Savings Account on 21 May 2021.

Diversified Energy Company PLC (LON:DEC) announced that on 24 May senior independent non-executive director David Turner acquired 124,500 ordinary shares at an average price of 113.51p apiece.

Xpediator PLC (LON:XPD) announced that its previously advised ex-dividend and record date for the declared final dividend of 1.05p have been updated, with the ex-dividend date now 17 June 2021 and the updated record date will now be 18 June.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) highlighted “encouraging evidence of oil” as it provided an operations update for its projects in Alaska.

ADM Energy PLC (LON:ADME) has commissioned consultant Xodus Group Ltd for an updated competent person’s report (CPR) to assess the Barracuda field, in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.

Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:CHAR) has raised £11.7mln of new capital to fund an appraisal well at the Anchois Gas Development offshore Morocco.

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