SMALL CAP MOVERS: Simec Atlantis Energy; Bluerock Diamonds


Many of the big jumps seen in the junior market this week were from companies that will hope their luck has changed after more downs than ups in recent years.

Simec Atlantis Energy, which has tumbled 98 per cent over the past five years, made a splash this week as it won a UK government contract to deliver tidal power in Scotland, in what it said will be the largest site of its kind in the world.

It was one of four tidal projects to win backing in the latest ‘contracts-for-difference’ auction from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where each will be guaranteed a price floor and stable prices for their output for at least a decade.

Simec won a UK government contract to deliver tidal power in Scotland, in what it said will be the largest site of its kind in the world

With the award for Simec’s MeyGen tidal project giving the company a pathway to develop the full 400 megawatt tidal stream array, which has been in planning for more than a decade, the shares rose 59 per cent to 1.98p.

‘The significance of today’s announcement cannot be downplayed,’ said chief executive Graham Reid.

Rising even higher was Nanosynth, which under its former name of Remote Monitored Systems got investors excited during the pandemic with its plans for an antiviral face mask.

It saw its shares climb 1500 per cent from less than a third of a penny to almost 5p in late 2020 but dropped back to earth with a bump after delays and the removal of mask rules.

Having refocused to specialise in its nanotechnology business since last summer, the shares climbed 78 per cent to 0.47p this week on the back of a wide-ranging update on Monday.

It included mention of an ‘exciting pipeline’ of interest in its spray-on copper nanomaterials to enhance the antiviral properties of medical masks and other filters, for which it is planning an application with the UK Health and Safety Executive.

Other developments include the formation of a new e-commerce subsidiary that will be the ‘largest nano producer’ in the market, as well as news that talks are ‘at various stages’ over potential partnerships for some of the 37 business research & development projects it identified last month.

Another riser was Tekmar, which, after sinking over 96 per cent since the start of the pandemic, bounced 90 per cent on Friday morning to 11.89p after bagging a ‘significant new contract’ of unspecified size for an offshore wind farm project in Japan next year.

In another corner of the green energy market, EQTEC rose 25 per cent to 0.75p after moving into the liquid fuels market through a framework agreement to collaborate on waste-to-fuel projects with gas-to-liquids specialist CompactGTL.

The pair plan to design, develop, construct and operate waste-to-fuel projects and other synthetic fuel and energy infrastructure projects, with an initial focus on small-scale, modular, waste-to-fuel plants.

Elsewhere, Deepverge climbed 23 per cent to 12.27p as it revealed its consumer offering, Skin Trust Club, has now generated more than £1million in sales.

Products ‘powered by’ its Labskin technology this year saw 20 new sales and marketing agreements with ‘new era skin care companies’.

Filtronic jumped 15 per cent to 14p after winning a new contract to design and manufacture what it said was a series of filter related developments for an existing aerospace & defence customer.

But gains such as these were balanced by almost as many losses during the week, leaving the AIM All-Share index only marginally above flat, up three points at 880.28, though this was marginally better than the 31-point decline for the FTSE 100.

The biggest faller was Bluerock Diamonds, which lost 42 per cent of its sparkle to 7.5p after unveiling a refinancing which could see existing shareholders heavily diluted.

It has signed a £1million loan note with Teichmann Co, which will later be converted to equity at 7p a share and take Teichmann’s stake from 17.4 per cent to 51 per cent, but with a waiver to be sought from the Takeover Panel so Teichmann would not have to make a mandatory offer.

Executive chairman Mike Houston said, ‘The need for financing has arisen as a result of the excessive and extended rainy season this year which has delayed the ramp up of production and the development of our main pit leading to significantly lower production levels and lower grades than expected.’

A profit warning from Supreme, which distributes batteries and lightbulbs, saw its shares power down 36.2 per cent to 79.88p.

The company, which floated in February last year, said it was also slashing its dividend payout ratio in order to invest more in the business, including in potential mergers and acquisitions.

A ‘marked’ slowdown in lightbulbs and light fittings in the past year led it to warn that revenue and underlying earnings are likely to be below last year, with guidance for the new year also trimmed.

Novacyt, one of the small cap stars of 2020, fell 32 per cent to 108.72p after being hit hard by a fall in Covid-19 related business

The clinical diagnostics specialist said first half revenue was hit by a 73 per cent decline in pandemic related sales compared to the same time last year, which was a faster fall than the company expected.

If the rate sales decline seen in the second quarter continues for the remainder of the year, it said full-year revenues would be around £20million less than previously expected.

Novacyt also said it plans to discontinue its Lab21 Healthcare and Microgen Bioproducts businesses and is taking steps to further rationalise its cost base.

Sports nutrition firm Science in Sport fell 30 per cent to 31p on Friday after saying its first-half revenue growth missed forecasts and warning of loss for the year.

It said it estimates a margin loss for the year due to higher prices and closure of its Russian operations, while first-half revenue growth will be ‘lower than expected’.

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