Petra Diamonds lost some sparkle this week over fears that the miner will soon need an equity financing.
At the start of the week Petra confirmed that it had unearthed 3.87million carats of the sparkling gem during the year to 30 June, including the huge 424.9-carat rock recently discovered at its renowned Cullinan mine in South Africa, which it sold for just under $15million.
But the diamond finder warned that the market ‘remains difficult’ and that cutting debt ‘would be slower than we had anticipated.’
Tough week: Petra Diamonds lost some sparkle this week over fears that the miner will soon need an equity financing
Having been tipped the wink, analysts at Berenberg cut their rating to ‘sell’ and cautioned that Petra will need to drum up extra funds to refinance roughly $475million of forecast debt as cash flow will be weakened due to falling diamond prices.
Elsewhere, various tech companies were noticeable for their ups and downs this week.
Idox, a software supplier to the government and local councils, dropped 12pc to 29.5p despite slashing first-half losses to £2.2million as new boss David Meaden said his first 12 months in the business has been focused on sorting out legacy issues and creating a ‘more stable platform’ from which to build.
Enterprise software specialist Sopheon fizzled 21 per cent to a year’s low of 800p for following news that a few licence sale delays have hit profitability in the first half of the year.
Quadrise Fuels slumped 40 per cent to 3.8p, wiping out all the gains made in the last couple of months, as the synthetic fuels specialist confirmed it is looking to raise cash.
Slump: Quadrise Fuels slumped 40 per cent to 3.8p, wiping out all the gains made in the last couple of months
Tymnan, an engineer of components for doors and windows, saw its shares creak 13 per cent lower to 214.5p as like-for-like sales edged down 1 per cnt in the first half.
There was much better news for North Sea explorer Jersey Oil and Gas, which saw its shares more than double to 190p this week after what it said was ‘by far the most significant event’ since its inception.
In the latest North Sea licence auction, the AIM-listed outfit bagged three blocks neighbouring the Verbier discovery, where the AIM tiddler shares half ownership with Norwegian giant Equinor.
Winning the new licences puts the 4.5million barrels of oil equivalent share of resources in Verbier in the shade with an estimated 105 mmboe of discovered resources as well as further prospective resources.
Another big winner was Shield Therapeutics, which shot up 75 per cent to 175p after receiving US regulatory sign-off for its iron deficiency treatment.
After the Food & Drug Administration gave the green light to Shield’s Feraccru, the Newcastle-based company said this was a ‘big step towards exploiting the very large commercial opportunity.’
With a prescription market for iron replacement therapies Stateside estimated to be worth over US$1billion annually, Shield is already in talks with potential partners to help it exploit this significant opportunity.
Elsewhere, it was a good week for several other tech tiddlers, with IDE Group, a managed IT services provider, seeing its shares more than triple in value as they returned from suspension after publishing its delayed full-year results, despite a swing to losses for last year but a profitable trading since the year end.
Also bouncing back was semiconductor supplier IQE, which rose 27 per cent to 68.1p on the back of some much-needed good news from Asia.
The Cardiff-based outfit won some ‘significant’ follow-on orders from one client and has qualified to supply a new customer with ‘heterojunction bipolar transistors’, which are components used in mobile phone handsets, Wi-Fi hotspots and other wireless devices.
One possible end user might be Beeks Financial Cloud, which buzzed up 13 per cent to 88.1p after the cloud computing and connectivity provider snaffled a couple of its own big contracts, one with a global bank and the other a global investment manager.
Operating in a less complicated area of technology, Learning Technologies added 28 per cent to 120.6p over the week after the digital learning group revealed that full-year underlying earnings are likely to be ‘materially ahead’ of market expectations.
Fevertree Drinks ended the week 10 per cent higher at 2,385p as investors digested half-year results that showed sales growth of 13 per cent, significantly watered down from the top-line growth of 45 per cent last year and 77 per cent the year before that.
However, the posh tonics maker said that while UK turnover growth was slowing, overseas revenues were still expanding fast, while the dividend was also topped up 23 per cent.