11.16am: Mining group’s shares under pressure

Kefi Gold and Copper PLC (LON:KEFI) has dropped sharply despite what on the face of it is a positive update on its operations in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

It said approval and execution of detailed finance documentation for the Tulu Kapi gold project was expected in the current quarter, and it had started a feasibily study for the potential start of development of the Hawiah deposit in Saudi Arabia in 2023. 

However it said in January that “financing [for Tulu Kapi] remains on track with the project finance consortium for financial closing in March 2021.” So perhaps disappointment with that is one reason why its shares are down 14.79% or 0.33p at 1.9p.

Still executive chairman Harry Anagnostaras-Adams is relentlessly upbeat in this latest update. Echoing his phrasing from January he said: “It is all systems go in both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

“Despite the various challenges of maintaining progress in today’s COVID-hampered world, we continue to successfully drive for starting full development of our Ethiopian Tulu Kapi Gold Project in mid-2021 and for project commissioning late 2022. Given the excellent drill results to date at Hawiah we have also accelerated operations to enable the start of development in 2023 in Saudi Arabia.

“The combination of these two potential production operations, each of which today reports JORC-Compliant Resources with in-situ metal value in the order of US$3 billion (at today’s metal prices), provides excellent potential for returns to shareholders. This is reinforced by the two projects’ respective exploration programmes.

“Our projects taking off during a cyclical upturn in gold and copper is indeed refreshing after many years of preparatory work during the sector’s cyclical doldrums. It is also timely given our host countries’ proactive steps to boost their respective mining sectors and the preparedness of Kefi for rapid growth.” 

10.10am: Move to technology investment does the trick

The listing of crytocurrency exchange Coinbase later on Wednesday has put the spotlight back on Bitcoin, blockchain et al – as if it is ever really off these days.

So congratulations to Clear Leisure PLC (LON:CLP) which has chosen this perfectly timed moment to announce it will change its name to Quantum Blockchain Technologies PLC.

The investment company currently has historically been buying stakes in businesses in the leisure, hospitality, media and technology sectors. But over the past five years, since the appointment of Professor Francesco Gardin as chief executive, it has been moving its investment focus away from the leisure and hospitality sectors, and towards the technology sector.

In a notice calling a general meeting, it has confirmed that technology alone is where it really wants to be in future, specifically in the areas of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and quantum computing.

And with all those buzzwords, its shares have jumped 11.32% or 0.3p to 2.95p

8.40am: Record performance for podcast specialist

Podcast specialist Audioboom Group PLC (LON:BOOM) is living up to its name with a booming first quarter.

It produced record quarterly revenue of US$9.5mln, up 49% on the same time last year and up 12% on the fourth quarter. It also made a first time profit of US$0.03mln compared to a US$0.5mln loss in the first quarter of 2020.

Average global monthly downloads were up 37% on this time last year. The company said it was on track for full year revenues well ahead of current market expectations. It has already signed advertising bookings representing more than 90% of the current market forecast for 2021 group revenue.

Its new launches included RELAX! with Colleen Ballinger and Erik Stocklin – which reached number 1 on the Apple US podcast chart – and Dark Air with Terry Carnation – a show written by and starring Rainn Wilson from The Office (US).

Chief executive Stuart Last said the first quarter was “a breakthrough period” for the company.

He said: “Our record performance is driven by our content focused expansion strategy. New content partnerships and successful Audioboom Originals Network launches delivered strong growth in our Global Downloads key performance indicator, with more than 90 million downloads in March

“As a result, Audioboom became the fourth largest podcast publisher by number of average weekly users in the US on the Triton Digital ranker.”

The company’s shares are up 50p or 7.14% to 750p.

Also toasting a gain is gin, rum and vodka group Distil PLC (LON:DIS).

Its shares are up 3.33% or 0.1p to 3.1p after it said full year revenues rose 48% and sales volumes 30%, with exports surging 81%. It expects like-for-like earnings growth for the full year to be around.55% to £302,000.

Executive chairman Don Goulding said: “I am pleased to report strong results at the end of a challenging 12 months which saw us cope with global lockdowns, significant operating restrictions in the on-trade channel, and a tricky Brexit transition… 

“We ramped up investment in new product and new brand development with the launch of further RedLeg variants and a new botanical spirit brand TRØVE…

“The outlook for the coming year is positive as restrictions are eased, consumer confidence grows, and social activity is restored. Against this backdrop we will confidently continue to drive growth and invest in new products which offer shareholder value.”



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