News Column

UK WINNERS & LOSERS: Synthomer Lifted By Dividend Increase

August 11, 2014

LONDON (Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices midday Monday.




Royal Bank of Scotland Group, down 1.5%. RBS said that it's considering options for the international arm of its Coutts private bank, including a possible sale or joint venture, although it will continue providing wealth management services to its UK resident non-domiciled clients. According to a memo sent to staff on Monday morning, RBS has already achieved a "major restructuring" of the international high net worth business, but said it faces a "challenging path" to achieve its target for return on equity due to compressed margins and the increasing need for scale. The memo said that a review of its high net worth business confirmed that it should restructure its Coutts International business.

Royal Dutch Shell, down 0.2%. The Wall Street Journal reports that Blackstone Group is close to buying Shell's 50% stake in the large Haynesville gas field in the US state of Louisiana for more than USD1 billion.




Synthomer, up 7.9%. The speciality chemical company has raised its interim dividend by 25%, despite reporting a fall in both sales and profit in the first half of its financial year, hit by weakness in Asia. It reported a pretax profit of GBP45.0 million for the six months to June 30, compared with GBP48.6 million a year earlier, as revenue in the period fell to GBP510.1 million, down from GBP558.3 million in the first half of last year. It said revenue and profit were hit by significant weakness in the Asia and Rest of World region. Despite the fall in both profit and revenue, Synthomer raised its interim dividend by 25% to 3.0 pence. "Given the strong cash generative nature of our business, the board has today updated the group's dividend policy, increasing the level of cash returns for shareholders," said Chief Executive Adrian Whitfield in a statement.

Balfour Beatty, up 2.7%. The company has said it has "lost confidence" in a successful merger with Carillion and has concluded that it is in its best interest to continue with its current plan to refocus and simplify the group, including the sale of its US project management business Parsons Brinckerhoff. The company reported that the sale of Parsons is in the advance stages and anticipates returning GBP200 million back to shareholders following a successful completion. In addition, the company surprised investors by releasing its half-year results ahead of schedule. The group reported a sharp drop in pretax profit to GBP22 million for the six months to June 27, down from GBP47 million a year earlier, as group revenue dipped to GBP4.17 billion from GBP4.31 billion.




Amur Minerals Corp, up 13%. The nickel-copper exploration and development company has reported it continues to make progress in getting a production licence for Kun-Manie deposit in the Amur region. It said Russian authorities have issued a newly updated calculation of the one-time payment for the forthcoming mining licence, which is now USD655,000, down from the previous calculation of USD818,000. The company said the finalised terms and conditions along with the required one-time payment calculation will be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development for review and approval.

Westminster Group, up 10%. The company said its joint venture with CWind Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding with an African government ahead of signing a long-term agreement for the provision of a sea ferry transfer service. Under the terms of the deal, the pair will provide a ferry service to transport passengers between key national facilities in the unnamed country. In addition, the contract is expected to expand to include a water-taxi service around the coast of the country to neighbouring territories. The group said the contract, which is initially for 25 years, will generate revenue of USD300 million over the duration, based on current market conditions and forecasted economic growth.

Roxi Petroleum, up 8.5%. The oil and gas company said it has found a deep discovery at the flagship BNG asset in Kazakstan. It said a further core of 18 metres has been taken between a depth of 4,347 and 4,365 metres, a development on the oil and gas shows found by the firm on August 5 at a depth of 4,332 metres. Initial examinations of the new core confirmed it was oil saturated over its full length, making the aggregate thickness of the gross oil-bearing interval at the site at least 33 metres. Roxi will continue core sampling until oil shows disappear, it said. It is now working on a taking a third core sample at depths of 4,365 and 4,383 metres.

Christie Group, up 6.7%. The group said its Christie + Co agency and advisory services subsidiary has successfully brokered the sale of 11 QMH UK Ltd hotels. The hotels have been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Marathon Asset Management. The portfolio includes three Crowne Plaza hotels, seven Holiday Inns and one Best Western PLUS.

Jubilee Platinum, up 6.2%. The company has said its subsidiary Tjate Platinum Corp Proprietary Ltd has submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Programme to South Africa'sDepartment of Mineral Resources for its Tjate Platinum Mine Project in the country. The company said this submission is a step forward in achieving a mining right for the Tjate Project. It also said that it is progressing towards the sale of its Quartzhill farm which is expected to generate gross sale proceeds of GBP4.1 million. In addition, the company said its Middleburg Operations sustained positive earnings for July in spite of the challenges faced at smelter operations due to the national labour strikes by employees affiliated to the National Union Of Metal Workers of South Africa.




Bellzone Mining, off 29%. The iron ore producer and mineral developer is the biggest faller on the AIM index after it said that it has been unable to secure long-term financing but that it is currently in talks with China Sonangol International in relation to the provision of a short-term loan. Bellzone said in June that it had sufficient funds to continue operations until early August, following a GBP1.1 million placing with China Sonangol. While unable to secure financing on a long-term basis, Bellzone is in talks with the company regarding the provision of a USD4 million short-term loan which would allow operations to continue to late October, though Bellzone said this is yet to be finalised.

Totally, down 20%. The digital healthcare products company said it had raised GBP400,000 before expenses through the issue of 80 million new shares with new and existing investors at 0.5 pence per share. It said the placing price represents a 20% discount to its closing mid-market price on Friday. The 80 million new shares represent more than 25% of the enlarged issued share capital of the company. "The additional funds will be used to allow the company to develop new business models within Totally Health, which will build upon its current services provided to the healthcare sector and develop further routes to market, and for general working capital purposes," said Chief Executive Wendy Lawrence.

ProPhotonix, down 11%. The GBP2.5 million market-capped company has said it has released the 3D PRO Laser Green Series, a new product within its structured light laser product portfolio. The rarely traded stock is down after the news.


By Neil Thakrar;

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Source: Alliance News

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