Share Talk Weekly Small Cap Movers & Shakers, Saturday 23rd September 2023

This week, the markets witnessed significant fluctuations, influenced by interest rate decisions from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the Bank of England on Thursday.

Both institutions decided against hikes, with the decisions being characterized as hawkish pauses, leaving room for potential future hikes.

The AIM All-Share Index dropped close to a percentage point, ending the week 0.8% lower at 739.65, while the FTSE 100 managed to close flat at 7,717.

This week saw a surge of interest in Corcel PLC (LSE: CRCL). The Angola-centric mining group received a £10 million convertible loan at an 80% premium to the market, courtesy of Extraction srl, an investment group predominantly owned by Corcel’s chairman, Antoine Karam.

Since the previous week, the company’s shares have been on an upward trajectory, currently standing 75% higher compared to last Wednesday’s closing price.

In the energy sector, Orcadian Energy PLC (AIM: ORCA) spearheaded progress with a remarkable 300% surge in shares. This followed the announcement of a tentative agreement with a prospective operator for its principal North Sea asset. If concluded, the agreement will concentrate on exploiting the Pilot field, recognized as one of the substantial unexplored regions in the Central North Sea.

Chariot Ltd (AIM: CHAR, OTC: OIGLF), focusing on transitional energy in Africa, also emerged as a significant player in the energy sector. The company witnessed a 32% increase post its interim earnings announcement on Tuesday. Investors showed a keen interest in Chariot’s advancements at the Anchois gas development project in Morocco, with management indicating that partnership discussions are nearing completion.

Further notable performers in heavy industries included Arkle Resources PLC (AIM: ARK), experiencing a 38.5% rise, ECR Minerals, escalating 28% following a £580,000 direct subscription, and Premier African Minerals Ltd (AIM: PREM), which saw a 24% increment after releasing an encouraging update on its Zulu Lithium and Tantalum Project.

Changing lanes both metaphorically and literally, the bus transportation company Rotala PLC (AIM: ROL) swiftly ascended to the pinnacle of the movers list. This development came in the wake of an announcement that the firm had received a bid proposal from a team led by management, potentially valuing the company at approximately £19.4 million.

Subsequently, shares of Rotala experienced a significant leap of 40%, reaching 59p.

In another sector, biotechnology firm Scancell Holdings PLC (AIM: SCLP, OTC: SCNLF) enjoyed a highly prosperous week, with its share price soaring by over 63%.

Scancell attracted the spotlight of City brokers, Stifel in particular, following the release of promising initial results from the phase II SCOPE trial focusing on advanced melanoma. Delving into the results of the vaccine trial disclosed on Tuesday, analysts from Stifel expressed their support for the AIM-listed biopharmaceutical entity with a buy rating.

On a different note, the 20% decline in the share price of restaurant operator Comptoir Group PLC (AIM: COM) on Friday highlighted the current challenges engulfing the hospitality industry.

“Trading remains influenced by considerable events beyond our immediate control,” commented non-executive chair Beatrice Lafon during the group’s interim statement. She referenced ongoing issues such as sustained public transport industrial action entering its second year and suboptimal summer weather affecting terrace dining.

Lafon also shed light on broader economic challenges, encompassing elevated inflation and the conclusion of government assistance related to business rates and value-added tax.

This week witnessed the cybersecurity small-cap firm, Brandshield Systems plc, publicizing its delisting from the London Stock Exchange.

This development hardly comes as a surprise, considering the ongoing trend of AIM delistings as we step into the fourth quarter.

What adds a twist to Brandshield’s decision is the simultaneous £2.68 million share subscription involving several investors, notably including the former Tesco chief, Sir Terence Leahy.

Sir Terence, who has held investments in Brandshield for a minimum of 12 months, contributed £403,000 to the subscription, showcasing his significant trust in the company’s management to bolster its financial position in the private domain.

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