UK TRADING UPDATE SUMMARY: Schroder Funds Watch US Ban On China Deals

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(Alliance News) – The following is a round-up of updates by London-listed companies, issued on Monday and not separately reported by Alliance News:

Schroder AsiaPacific Fund PLC – investment firm focused on capital growth through investment primarily in equities of companies located in the continent of Asia excluding the Middle East and Japan – Says, alongside, Schroder Asian Total Return Investment Co PLC, will abide by US executive order which prohibits US persons from engaging in any transaction in publicly traded securities in Communist Chinese military companies, which will first become effective on January 11. “Schroders, the company’s investment manager, as a group complies with US Sanctions and hence will be taking steps to comply with the executive order. The board and investment manager are closely monitoring this matter as it continues to evolve. None of the company’s current portfolio holdings are affected by the executive order,” company adds.

RTW Venture Fund Ltd – New York-based investment company focussed on life sciences, biopharmaceutical, and medical technology companies – Investee Immunocore Ltd completes USD75 million series C fundraising. RTW confirms it took part in fundraising, which follows positive Phase 3 trial interim analysis data for tebentafusp in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma that Immunocore presented in December.

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC – provides asset-backed lending to businesses with aim of long-term, sustainable income generation – Says special purpose acquisition company, VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, enters into a definitive agreement to combine with Bakkt Holdings LLC, a company launched by Intercontinental Exchange Inc in 2018. Through VPC Sponsor, VPC Specialty Lending Investments currently owns 2.2 million Class B Shares and 2.7 million private placement warrants in VIH, held at an aggregate cost basis of USD2.7 million. “The transaction implies a USD2.1 billion post-merger enterprise value at a USD10.00 price per Class A Common Stock. Upon the consummation of the transaction, VSL’s Class B Shares shall be automatically converted into one share of Class A Common Stock of Bakkt with an aggregate implied transaction value of USD22.2 million to the company,” VPC says.

Argo Blockchain PLC – London-based cryptocurrency mining – Says 1,058 S19 and S19 pro miners from the company’s order of 4,500 leased mining machines, made in November 2020, will be delivered ahead of schedule. These machines will be fully installed and hashing by the week of January 25, three weeks early, Argo says. These units will add 103 petahash to the company’s current SHA-256 mining capacity of 645 petahash, bringing the total to 748 petahash before the end of January. The remaining 3,442 machines in the order are expected to be delivered on time, and to be fully operational by mid-February 2021. Chief Executive Peter Wall says this is “great news”. He adds: “At a time when our mining margins for the first 10 days of January are well over 70%, having these new, efficient machines up and running early will increase our monthly revenues and help to continue to achieve these excellent margins. 2021 is off to a great start.”

Supply@ME Capital PLC – fintech company providing monetisation service – Enters into an agreement with Lenovo Financial Services META LLC. Says own platform “will be positioned as an alternative solution to compliment LFS’s existing vendor programme offerings to their network of customers in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region.” Company adds: “The purpose of the co-operation agreement, made with the strategic support of iMASS, is to deliver a dedicated inventory monetisation programme to LFS’s customers which may also allow them to evaluate the opportunity to adopt the upcoming Shari’a version of the platform.”

AdEPT Technology Group PLC – information technology provider based in London – Says it has helped the UK National Health Service succeed in a major technology transformation. In November, the NHS transferred hundreds of NHS and social care sites from a legacy data network to an updated version in a project expected to save the heath service GBP75million a year. “The credibility arising from delivering such a substantial programme positions AdEPT to secure further infrastructure projects across the UK; whilst the presence AdEPT now has facilitates conversations about additional services from the AdEPT portfolio across the NHS,” company adds.

Block Energy PLC – development and production in Georgia – Completes construction and commissioning of the early production facility and gas gathering line at West Rustavi field. Now gas sales hinge on Bago LLC and include finalising the construction of the compressor station, which is well underway, and hooking it up to the state’s main gas line. Delivery of first gas is now forecast to occur by late January or early February.

Octagonal PLC – financial services firm – Strongly disagrees with complaints filed by the US Securities & Exchange Commission against subsidiary Global Investment Strategy UK Ltd. Despite this, believes it would not be “beneficial to the business or GIS’s clients” to “engage in a protracted dispute” with the SEC and has elected to cease the conduct cited by the SEC. “As a result, GIS will no longer carry accounts for, or provide financing services to, US persons and believes that this action should eliminate any future concerns the SEC,” company adds. Notes the subsidiary remains in “good standing” with UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. Also notes Hong Kong subsidiary is attributing positive earnings to the group and expects trend to continue through 2021. Finally, says if shareholders vote to delist firm it plans to offer to shareholders a scheme to buy back shares from those shareholders who wish to dispose at a fair market rate.

Zenith Energy Ltd – independent oil & gas company with production, exploration and development assets in Africa and Italy – Enters cooperation agreement with Fleet Oil & Gas SA, a privately owned oil and gas company led by the former Egyptian petroleum minister, Mahmoud Latif Amer. The purpose of the deal is to jointly identity and pursue oil and gas production and exploration acquisitions in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. “Under the terms of the CA, Zenith and Fleet will jointly identify certain potential acquisition opportunities and conduct due diligence on any transaction that is deemed to be a suitable potential acquisition,” company adds.

Keras Resources PLC – AIM-listed mineral resource company – Completes USD2.5 million loan to Falcon Isle Holdings LLC first agreed in July, allowing to up stake in Faclon to 51%, which owns Diamond Creek phosphate mine in Utah, US. Keras notes positive results from third party granulation tests, with commercial production and associated sales planned for mid-January. Says processing plant is currently in transit to the US and expected to arrive in Utah by the end of January with commissioning on track for the first quarter. Chief Executive Russell Lamming says: “Keras Resources CEO, Russell Lamming said: “It is less than six months since the transaction was concluded and commercial production commenced, so progress from a standing start to a fully integrated mine-to-market project has been very encouraging. The commissioning of the Utah processing plant will increase both our production capacity and flexibility to produce a variety of high grade, organic phosphate products, which will underpin the drive to grow market share whilst driving down costs.”

Ascent Resources PLC – onshore energy in Caribbean and Europe – Receives warrant notice for 833,333 new shares for a total of GBP62,500. The warrants are being exercised by Align Research, Ascent says, in consideration for surrendering an equivalent value of loan notes. Additionally, the company has agreed to issue 66,667 new shares at 7.5 pence, being the coupon conversion price, in lieu of the 8% cash coupon that is incurred on the converted loan amount. The company has therefore today issued 900,000 new shares and admission of these shares is expected to take place on or around January 15.

By Paul McGowan;

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