Oil minnows sent gushing as drilling potentially unearths UK’s largest onshore gas field.
The UK’s largest onshore oil discovery in almost half a century sent shares in a handful of junior explorers gushing.
On Monday, data from the West Newton A-2 appraisal well, located in East Yorkshire, had indicated the project held around 189 billion cubic feet of gas, equivalent to around 31.3 million barrels of oil.
The discovery is being touted as the largest for an onshore UK project since 1973, with Reabold Resources PLC (LON:RBD), an oil & gas investment firm that holds a 37% interest in West Newton operator Rathlin Energy, saying the resource could be “transformational” and provide a boost to the UK’s energy supplies.
Elsewhere, Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO), which holds a stake of just over 16% in the West Newton project, said the results had well exceeded their expectations.
The news sent shares in the two firms gushing higher, with Reabold surging 39% over the week to 1.2p while Union Jack jumped 23.5% to 0.2p.
If it was a good week for Britain’s oil tiddlers, the same could not be said for Mulberry Group PLC (LON:MUL), the maker of posh purses and handbags.
The collapse of House of Fraser put a £3 million hole in its bottom line, precipitating an annual loss of £5 million compared to a pre-tax profit of £6.9 million last year.
Prior to its failure in August, House of Fraser accounted for 40% of Mulberry’s UK outlets, so it may not have been a surprise that sales in the country also slipped 6% in the year to £114.6 million.
Despite this, investors took heart from some green shoots of recovery from the outlook statement, which said international and digital sales were expected to grow, as the shares were up 5.4% in the week at 275p. However, they are still trading well below the 722p level from this time last year.
Another hefty riser in the week was security and managed services firm Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG), which nearly doubled in value after it was selected as a partner for a major container port upgrade in Ghana, and then three days later signed a joint venture agreement to work on screening and security projects in Saudi Arabia. The shares rocketed 98% to 12.4p.
Takeover talk pushed a triple-digit increase for sprinkler system installer Premier Technical Services Group PLC (LON:PTSG), which shot up 118% to 208p after receiving a £265 million offer from Australian investment group Macquarie.
In the biotech’s, Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) soared 33% to 30.3p after completing recruitment for a phase III trial of its fast-acting treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Cloud video specialist Blackbird PLC (LON:BIRD) flew 19% higher to 7.8p after it agreed a six-figure, multi-year deal for its services with a joint venture between media giant Disney and US mass media firm Hearst Communications.
The AIM All-Share was down 0.6% in the week at 932 while the FTSE 100 was up 1.4% at 7,449.
Among the fallers, recruiter Staffline Group PLC (LON:STAF) lost over half its value, crashing 58% to 100p after it nearly doubled the expected costs from a previous breach of UK wage rules to £15 million.
The company also said it was scrapping its dividend and was in talks regarding a £30 million placing.
Elsewhere, tailoring firm Bagir Group Ltd (LON:BAGR) was de-bagged 17% to 1.2p after a delay to a US$16.5 million investment deal with Chinese textile giant Shandong Ruyi.
Robotic automation software group Blue Prism Group plc (LON:PRSM) left investors glum after unveiling an eightfold increase in half-year losses to £34mln, sending the shares down 20.6% to 1,468p.
AIM 100 firm IQE PLC (LON:IQE) also short-circuited, plunging 38.5% to 46.4p after the chip-maker slashed its revenue and profit margin guidance for its current year.
Author Calum Muirhead
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