MOVERS OF WEDNESDAY 20 JANUARY 2021

Francesca Morgan
Market Report
16:09, 20th January 2021

WH Smith (SMWH) FOLLOW shares ticked up 9.32% to 1,699p after strong Christmas period 

In a trading update for the 20 week period to 16 January 2021, the group hailed its good performance over the Christmas trading period, which it said came in ahead of expectations.

"In our High Street business, we worked hard to navigate our way through the evolving Covid restrictions as we approached the Christmas trading period. This positioned us well, resulting in a better than expected Christmas with sales in December at 92% of 2019 levels,” it said.

Despite a strong period, however, the retailer said sales so far in January have been 46% of that in 2019. The Group expects its underlying monthly cash burn for the period January to March 2021 to be around £15m-£20m per month assuming the current conditions continue.

As a result of the good performance in November and December, this will leave the Group in around the same liquidity position at the end of March 2021, as it had previously expected.

“We remain well placed to navigate our way through this ongoing period of uncertainty and benefit from the recovery of our key markets in due course,” added CEO, Carl Cowling,

SMWH price chart

Faron Pharmaceuticals (FARN) FOLLOW shares jump 26.09% to 435p following new trial findings

The biopharmaceutical company announced new observations from its ongoing MATINS trial which is investigating the tolerability, safety and preliminary efficacy of bexmarilimab, Faron's wholly-owned novel precision cancer immunotherapy, as well as an update on the study.

Latest scientific observations from the trial include the identification of a new role for soluble Clever-1, related to its capacity to control T-cell activation. Clever-1 is the receptor known to be expressed on immunosuppressive macrophages in the tumour microenvironment.

This suggests that the inactivation of Clever-1 as an immunosuppressive molecule could be even broader and more important than previously thought as the immune-stimulating effects are not only limited to tumour associated macrophages (TAM) but may also act systemically.

"The new discovery of the role of soluble Clever-1 as an immunosuppressive molecule is striking, indicating the soluble part of this receptor could cause systemic inhibition of T-cells in all locations of the body, therefore controlling the general immune capacity in cancer patients. 

We hope to be able to overcome this inhibition just by increasing the dosing frequency of bexmarilimab to provide maximal binding and the removal of Clever-1 from body fluids and tissues, including tumours,” said Dr. Markku Jalkanen, CEO of Faron Pharmaceuticals.

FARN price chart

Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) FOLLOW shares rose 22.22% to 1.65p as it secures loan facility

The oil and gas exploration, development and production group has entered into a £225,000 unsecured loan facility with William Ahlefeldt, Non-Executive Director of the Company. 

The Board recently concluded that it would be prudent to increase the Company's headroom to fund any cost overruns or funding shortfalls that may arise at the Wressle development.

Operations to re-complete and reperforate the existing Wressle-1 well are underway and are expected to be completed prior to the end of January 2021 in line with the revised schedule.

Wressle is expected to commence production from the Ashover Grit reservoir at a constrained gross rate of 500 barrels of oil per day ('bopd'). At this rate, Europa's existing UK onshore production would more than double to over 200bopd. 

With an estimated breakeven oil price of US$17.6 per barrel, production at Wressle is expected to be very profitable at current oil prices of over US$50 per barrel.

EOG price chart

Edenville Energy (EDL) FOLLOW shares were up 20.00% to 39p following recent placing 

Despite shares falling by more than 35% last Friday morning after the group announced that it had placed 3.6m shares at a price of 25p to raise £0.9m, shares in the company which operates in the Rukwa Coal Project in southwest Tanzania jumped recovered that afternoon.  

The company said it will use the funds to pay off its debts to asset management firm, Lind Partners LLC. Edenvilles owes the firm a total of $0.58m from a previous funding agreement. 

EGL price chart

John Wood Group (WG.) FOLLOW fall again by 4.90% to 312.85p despite new partnership

The international energy services company announced yesterday that it has been hired by Centrica’s Spirit Energy to deliver ‘late-life solutions’ to the Morecambe Bay gas fields. The group stated that Morecambe Bay gas field is one of the UK's largest gas accumulations. 

Although shares fell again during Wednesday afternoon trading, the stock has risen by over 130% in value since the beginning of April 2020 from 143p to open this morning at 339.3p. 

The five-year consolidated services contract is valued at $130m and will see Wood extend field life, lower costs, and reduce late life carbon intensity across the Hub's offshore assets in the East Irish Sea and the Barrow onshore gas terminal on the northwest coast of England. 

President of Operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Craig Shanaghey, said, "Our shared ambition is to leverage the greatest value from the Morecambe Hub in its late life phase, by focusing on driving down operational costs and creating opportunities to extend field life." 

John Cowie, Morecambe Hub Asset Director at Spirit Energy, commented, “The Morecambe Hub has produced gas for the UK for more than 30 years, and remains a key asset in our portfolio as we continue to maximise economic recovery from the area.” 

He added, “There is still more we can do to extend Morecambe's field life while reducing its emissions and contribute to the UK's Net Zero targets, and we look forward to working with Wood on both of these goals." 

WG. price chart

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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