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Informa strikes TMT swap deal with IHS Markit

A look at some of the top risers and fallers on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, including 21st Century Technology, Thruvision, Hargreaves Services, Management Resource Solutions, SafeCharge International, IG Group, Pets at Home, and Sound Energy.

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Informa has strengthened its tech, media and telecoms division

Informa PLC (LON:INF) shares popped more than 2% higher to 786.2p in late afternoon trade on Wednesday after the events and Information group signed an agreement with IHS Markit.

The FTSE 100 group announces further management of its portfolio with the exchange if its Agribusiness Intelligence Portfolio for IHS Markit's portfolio of telecoms, media & technology brands.

After the deal, Informa Tech will have annual revenues of around US$350mln, offering a range of B2B services, which Informa said will make it “an attractive international partner for informing, educating and connecting technology businesses and professionals”.

There was also a late announcement from Diageo plc (LON:DGE) ahead of the drinks giant’s investor conference in New York, though it resulted in the stock dipping 0.2% to 3,316.5p.

As Diageo approached the end of its financial year, chief executive Ivan Menezes reiterated guidance for organic net sales growth “towards the upper end of our mid-single digit range” and 1.75% of organic operating margin improvement over the three years ending 30 June.

“As we look ahead to the end of fiscal 22, I expect Diageo to maintain organic net sales growth in the mid-single digit range and to grow organic operating profit ahead of net sales in the range of 5% to 7%.”

Elsewhere among the FTSE 350, IG Group Holdings PLC (LON:IGG) was the top riser after strong trading in May prompted the spread better to raise its forecasts.

Shares rose by more than 12% to 534p as IG also laid down a punchy sales forecast for the next three years in a strategy update, with £30mln of investment per year to take advantage of opportunities in new products and territories is expected to generate an additional £100mln of revenue by 2022, with the core business to grow by 3-5% a year.

Pets at Home Group PLC (LON:PETS) also scampered higher after the retailer performed ahead of expectations in its latest full year despite a profit plunge of nearly 40%.

Chief executive Peter Pritchard said he was confident that the firm would be able to “successfully reposition” its Vet business and that the company was “trading strongly and taking share across the pet market”.

Among small caps, Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) rallied 8% to 11.58p after the explorer revealed it may hoist the ‘for sale’ sign over its operations in Morocco.

Earlier in the week the explorer’s share had dropped 40% to a low of around 10p after it revealed that the TE-10 well had failed to yield commercial volumes of gas in tests.

Sound Energy said it is now considering whether a sale of the East Morocco acreage would be a preferred option ahead of the final investment decision for the Tendrara TE-5 production area.

1pm: Thruvision bags US pair

Thruvision Group plc (LON:THRU) shares rose almost 8% to 30.12p, close to a two-year high, in Wednesday afternoon trade as it bagged two “strategically important” contracts in the US.

Formerly known as Digital Barriers and specialising in “people-screening” security technology, the AIM-listed company said that the coming financial year would be boosted by US$2.3mln from the two new contracts, which in total amount to US$3.1mln of equipment and support.

The first is an upgraded framework deal with the US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, including an immediate order for delivery to a central American “partner nation”, while the second deal is with the operator of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a small number of screening units “to provide a new layer of employee security screening”.

Elsewhere, SafeCharge International PLC (LON:SCH) surged 22% to 426.75p after the credit card clearing company for the online gambling industry agreed to be taken out by Canadian outfit Nuvei in a £700mln deal.

This is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the booming payments processing industry, which has included Visa’s battle with MasterCard for London-listed Earthport PLC (LON:EPO) and Worldpay’s merger with US payments peer FIS in a US$35bn deal.

Investors were also seeing the light at Motif Bio PLC (LON:MTFB) after an agreement was struck to explore the possibility of using its iclaprim next-generation antibiotic to treat people with a rare eye disease.

Motif, which has tested iclparim in patients with acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, has now agreed for the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg in Germany to carry out a series of lab tests to see if the drug can help people affected by toxoplasma chorioretinitis, which causes blindness.

11.45am: Hargreaves slips on British Steel liquidation

The collapse of British Steel into liquidation has knocked shares in Hargreaves Services PLC (LON:HSP) down more than 12% to 257.4p, around a two-and-a-half-year low.

Hargreaves estimated that it has a current net exposure of roughly £4.5mln to British Steel from trade debt and work in progress, some or all of which may prove to be irrecoverable if British Steel ceases trading.

The Durham-headquartered company, which carries out services including logistics, materials handling and mechanical repairs for a wide variety of industries, said “until the future of British Steel is clarified, the potential impact on Hargreaves cannot be fully determined”.

After a breakdown in rescue talks between the government and British Steel’s private equity owner Greybull Capital, the Official Receiver took control on Wednesday morning, saying the company was "continuing to trade and supply its customers while I consider options for the business".

10:45am: MRS sees off board coup

Aussie plant hire outfit Management Resource Solutions PLC (LON:MRS) fell 15% to 3.19p after an effort to oust the board was defeated by 91mln votes to 75mln.

Shareholders Daniel Smith and Nigel Burton had sought to remove chairman John Zorbas and finance director Timothy Jones and install themselves instead, citing “questionable transactions” and the board’s “indifference” to investor concerns.

In their exhortation to investors ahead of Wednesday’s meeting in Brisbane, Smith and Burton had alleged that “many investors have long been suspicious of the relationship” between Zorbas and major shareholder Leon Hogan, saying this concern had come to a head as a result of the “astonishing” acquisition of a startup from his close business associates and a placing last July that shareholders have attempted to refer to the City regulators.

URU Metals Ltd (LON:URU), where Zorbas is CEO and owns a near 8% stake, was also down 8% to 149p.

9.44am: 21st Century Technology revs up on bus deal

Shares in 21st Century Technology PLC (LON:C21) revved higher in early trade on Wednesday as it won a three-year contract extension to provide security TV systems for Arriva buses in the UK.

The AIM-listed company will continue to provide high definition CCTV systems and nationwide engineering support and project management services for Arriva through to April 2022, with the option of an additional year’s extension. 21st Century shares, which recently sank to a 52-week low, were up 30% to 3.2p after an hour and a half of trading.

Another early riser was Bidstack Group PLC (LON:BIDS), which gained almost 11% to 19.34p after it won a deal to provide native in-game advertising in a new motor racing game from Codemasters due out in September.

Bidstack’s technology will enable advertisers to programmatically place relevant brand advertising on trackside billboards in the new GRID game, which will be available on PlayStation4, Xbox One devices and on Windows.

Live Company Group Plc (LON:LVCG) was also higher, up 10% to 63p, building on its recent momentum as it signed a licensing and merchandising agreement for its BRICKLIVE brand with Licensing Management International Limited (LMI), a marketing consultancy involved in the promotion of Game of Thrones

Under the five-year agreement, the company said LMI would identify partners for the licensing and merchandising of BRICKLIVE-branded products that would then be sold at its shows, tours and events.

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In the wake of another well disappointment, Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) revealed on Wednesday it may hoist the ‘for sale’ sign over its operations in Morocco. In a strategy update, the company told investors that the TE-10 well result, announced on Tuesday, “does not diminish Sound Energy's overall assessment of its Eastern Morocco acreage”.

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN) has revealed an updated resource estimate for the Vametco vanadium mine, in South Africa, following successful drilling operations. The company highlighted that ore reserves have more than doubled at the mine, to 279,100 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide in magnetite, notwithstanding some 5,700 tonnes of production since the last accounting period.

Motif Bio PLC (LON:MTFB) is to explore the possibility of using its iclaprim next-generation antibiotic to treat people with a rare blindness-causing disease called toxoplasma chorioretinitis. Big Pic in February.

Australian mining giant Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX:NCM) has started drilling at Greatland Gold PLC’s (LON:GGP) Havieron gold-copper project in the Paterson region of Western Australia.

IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) has swung to a profit in its first half as the company began to reap the benefits of a number of contract wins. For the six months ended 31 March, the neuroscience-focused data analytics group reported a pre-tax profit on ordinary activities of £106,000, up from a £514,000 loss in the prior year, while revenues jumped to £3.4mln from £2.8mln. Gross margins also rose by 610 basis points to 66.3%.

The commercial momentum at OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) continues to build. After a string of deals for its health products, including one earlier this week, the company said it had inked an exclusive agreement in Poland.

Westminster Group PLC’s (LON:WSG) revenues rose strongly in 2018 in spite of delays to a security screening project in the Middle East. Turnover for the year was £6.7mln, a 24% year on year increase, with underlying losses reduced to £378,000 (2017: loss £1.23mln).

Live Company Group Plc (LON:LVCG) shares surged on Wednesday after it signed a licensing and merchandising agreement for its BRICKLIVE brand with Licensing Management International Limited (LMI), a marketing consultancy involved in the promotion of Game of Thrones.

MTI Wireless Edge Ltd (LON:MWE) has seen pre-tax profits more than double in its first quarter, while also recording significant growth in its order book. The antenna maker reported that for the three months ended 31 March pre-tax profits had risen to US$560,000 from US$250,000 previously, while revenues had jumped 16% year-on-year to US$9.1mln.

NQ Minerals Plc (NEX:NQMI) told investors it has made the first bulk shipment of precious metal pyrite concentrate from the Hellyer gold mine. The shipment, which left Burnie Port in Tasmania, contained higher than forecasted grades for both gold and silver, meanwhile, the pyrite component had high sulphur and iron grades.

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) chief executive Ian Postlethwaite has reiterated the group’s confidence in its remaining portfolio companies as it said it would use its cash reserves to focus on extending its lifespan.

ValiRx Plc (LON:VAL) updated on a potential second round of funding as it provided some minor and revised guidance on the first financing round. A follow-on convertible and warrant funding arrangement with the same investor is in negotiation, though definitive documentation has yet to be inked and shareholder approval needs to be sought and given, it added.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited (LON:CGH) said that it was informed on 21 May 2019 that Labro Investments Limited held 138,337,302 shares in the company, representing 34.40% of the issued share capital, following the purchase of 316,186 shares at an aggregate share price of 30.8p each on 17 May 2019 and 1,000,000 shares at an aggregate share price of 29.8p each on 20 May 2019. It noted that Martin Andersson , Chaarat’s executive chairman is indirectly beneficially interested in the majority of shares in Labro Investments.

Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV), the resource development company, confirmed that a new corporate presentation can be viewed on its website.

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