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Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of FairFX Group, said the firm was still targeting...
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Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of FairFX Group, said the firm was still targeting profitability in 2017 after a solid first half, which saw a gross profits and turnover rise at the currency and payments firm. In the six months to June 30, revenues rose 26% and gross profit was up 30%. This was down to a switch to higher margin products. "We started to focus in 2015 more on the card products and the international payments product," said the company boss. Meanwhile, the decision of the UK to exit the European Union has certainly led to interesting times in foreign exchange markets and has led to some economic uncertainty, but the board of FairFX continues to be confident of meeting market expectations for the full year. Strafford-Taylor said the firm had been "phenomenally busy" im the run up to June 23, but then there was a lull as people were shocked by the vote and now things were picking up again. The second half has started well, he said, with turnover for July and August 32% higher than the same time last year.
FairFx on track to achieve profitability in 2017
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
UK banks are being 'assaulted on all fronts' and have to find a new normal, says Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Keith Baird. He was speaking to Proactive Investors, the day it emerged that Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) was to pay US$1.1bn to settle two claims it sold toxic mortgage-backed securities in the US ahead of the global financial crisis eight years ago. Under the cosh Deutsche Bank has also been in the news this week- facing an eye watering US$14bn bill for the same kind of claims. "Regulators have been slapping fines on the banking sector, and to my way of thinking, without much in the way of due process, but the banks have got no option from a reputational point of view, but just to pay up..," said Baird. "But it must be coming to an end," said the analyst. "Otherwise, banks, I think, are going to be forced with commercial decisions about what markets to participate in." Baird noted that US$14bn was a "very great deal of profits". Baird believes there to be a "highly political" element to these fines and going back to the financial meltdown of 2008, it would be wrong, he believes, to lay the blame solely at the feet of the big banks. He believes UK banks are on a journey to find a new normal in terms of profitability, having been very profitable, pre- the financial crisis. "All in all, investors I think, don't really know at this point, what the future profitability of the banks is going to be and therefore, it';s very hard to put a valuation on bank shares." But Baird added he believed UK banks were "quite a long way" down the path to recovery..
Banks being
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Boss of recyclable plastics group Symphony Environmental Technologies plc (LON:SYM) Michael Laurier said the group was "incredibly encouraged" by news of a new product listing with a leading UK retailer. The listing of the d2p finished product is for delivery to the unnamed retailer in early 2017, and could be a very big "game changer" for the company, he told Proactive's Stocktube team. "This is the first listing ever that Symphony has had for a d2p product in a major retail group so we are extremely encouraged..," said Laurier. Earlier the firm said an initial order and letter of credit for $160,000 had been received for a new application in the d2p range. The firm is "extremely encouraged on these two fronts alone," declared Laurier. The firm's six months to end June showed a move into profit as its cost cutting measures take hold. Revenues in the six months to June dipped to £3.23mln (£3.42mln), but costs were reduced by £342,000 which enabled the group to post a profit of £19,000 (loss £181,000). Symphony added that over the full year its cost programme will save around £750,000. Laurier said: "Cost cutting has shown to that its working and the research and development programmes as a result of that, hasn't been affected."
Symphony Environmental Technologies plc says first product listing could be
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Michael Karg, chief executive officer of Ebiquity PLC (LON:EBQ), talks about plans for accelerating growth as the company seeks to become the leading independent, technology-enabled marketing and media analytics consultancy in the world. “We have increasing client demand for independent and objective advice in marketing,” Karg asserts. The key to satisfying that demand is increasing use of technology. “If we look at the business today, outside of our MI [market intelligence] practice, where we have a core product, we have very limited use of technology in the business,” Karg says. “Going forward, we want to make sure that Ebiquity is truly technology-enabled and that technology is embedded into all of our service offerings. “Unlike other consulting companies, who are purely based on people, we need an element of technology to enable us to be different and to do the services we do so well today,” Karg says. The chief executive outlines a milestone plan to create a “more robust, higher quality and more global business,” targeting sustainable top-line and profit growth. “The time is now to grab that opportunity and grow organically,” Karg says.
Ebiquity PLC outlines plans to accelerate growth
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Things are falling into place for Berkeley Energia’s (LON:BKY) Salamanca uranium project in Spain with the latest news the appointment of heavyweight engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler to design the mine. It follows quickly on from last week’s offtake agreement that will guarantee a price of US$41 per pound of uranium produced. As operating costs are estimated at US$15 per lb, it should mean an ‘incredibly good margin’ says Hugo Schumann, corporate manager. Next steps will be finalising the US$100mmln funding to build the mine alongside more offtake and marketing deals where the publication of the definitive feasibility study has generated a stack of interest, he says.
Salamanca will have' incredibly good' margins says Berkeley's Schumann
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Demand for shares in Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy’s (LON:FARN) was strong when the company tapped the City last week for £8mln to fund the development of its two lead drugs. Faron’s chief executive (CEO), Dr Markku Jalkanen, tells Proactive Investors the fund-raising has brought “quite a number of UK institutional investors” on to the shareholder register. Some of the new funding will pay for a phase I/II trial in the US of Traumakine, its lead product, in patients with a heart condition called rupture of abdominal aorta aneurysm. “It’s really important for us to get activities on the US side, specifically for our lead product. We want to conduct a safety trial there, which was the advice given by the [US] Food and Drug Administration, and this will take up maybe half of the proceeds raised at this time,” Dr Jalkanen said. Some has been kept aside for the pre-clinical and early clinical development of Clevegen, an antibody that could help the body’s own immune system tackle cancer. “Clevegen is becoming more and more interesting,” the CEO said. Early stage biotechs are no strangers to fund-raising and there may be another share issue in the offing next year but it is not the only option on the table, Dr Jalkanen said, opening up the possibility of partnership or licensing activities.
Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy’s options widen after fund-raising
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
David Bramhill, chairman at Union Jack Oil (LON:UJO) talks to Proactive Investors after the company increased its stake in the Wressle field. Given the project's potential, Bramhill feels the company paid "a very nice price for this". "The cashflow we'll be getting from this will make a big difference to our balance sheet. "We are over the moon with this acquisition, and make no secret we'd like more" he says.
Union Jack Oil
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Allergy Therapeutics (LON:AGY) chief executive Manuel Llobet said: “It’s been quite a good year, we have progressed on all of our strategic goals, namely progressing on our businesses in Europe.” Allergy Therapeutics said the global allergy treatment market had seen some “turmoil” affecting the competitive market environment in Europe and the US, but the group said it would likely see mid to long-term benefits in terms of its US market share. “We are building a nice, thriving, sound company in the European market,” says Llobet, but focus remains the US. “The biggest opportunity we want to tap is the US, that’s our focus,” he says. The group plans to add two or three new markets a year to expand its portfolio franchise.
Focus remains US, says expanding Allergy Therapeutics
Wed, 28th Sep 2016
Clive Dix, chief executive at C4X Discovery Holdings (LON:C4XD) talks to Proactive Investors after the AIM-listed pharma firm entered into a multi-target, risk-sharing alliance with Germany's Evotec AG with whom the company already had a collaboration agreement. "We have moved a step closer to a partnership. We now get a much deal in terms of the costs of what we do with them. For that they get a small level of ownership" he explains, adding the alliance will see a minimum of three projects active at any point in time. Dix also commented on the £5mln fund raise the company recently completed. "That will help fund the programmes we are currently running," he says, "when we get these programmes running with Evotec, we will have eight moving at a rate that will surprise people when we announce the next milestone. We are very excited. We expect within the next year to move some of these programmes significantly".
C4X says drug discovery alliance with  Evotec will help reduce operational costs
Tue, 27th Sep 2016
Sareum Holdings PLC's (LON:SAR) chief executive Dr Tim Mitchell told Proactive that the licensing of its cancer drug Chk1 Inhibitor CCT245737 to New York listed ProNAi Therapeutics validate the group strategy and provided it with useful cash. Under agreements with Cancer Research Technology (CRT) and the CRT Pioneer Fund, the drug discovery group will receive US$1.9mln as an up-front payment and potential future milestone payments of up to US$88.4mln, some of which will be paid within the next year. From future royalties of sales of the drug, the group could make 2/ 2.5% on royalties on a drug, which could sell hundreds of millions of dollars. "Our model is to take our drug research through the discovery process and early clinical trials and then look for licensing deals and that's exactly what we've done." Dr Mitchell said that strategy would not change, with the other programmes in its pipeline. Earlier the firm had said: “ProNAi is in a strong position to further the development of PNT737 and plans to expand its development into the United States and with broader clinical studies. We look forward to reporting on their progress."
Sareum Holdings' chief says licensing deal with ProNai validates strategy
Tue, 27th Sep 2016
Harvest Minerals Limited's (LON:HMI) Arapua fertiliser project in Minas Gerais, Brazil is a "fantastic one", according to Capital Network analyst Sam Catalano. Speaking to Proactive's stocktube team, he said the project should be coming into production later this year. Among its credentials, it is a very low capex start up, costing only up to $400,000 to get going, he says, since it's a case of simply digging the potash up from the ground and putting it on a truck. It will be able sell the fertiliser at around $50 per tonne, while operating costs are less than $10 a tonne. At a profit of around $40 a tonne, he reckons the project could yield free cash flow in double digits within the next couple of years. The analyst added that Brazil was a faster growing market for fertiliser than the rest of the world.
Capital Network's Catalano spells out potential of Harvest Mineral's Brazil project
Tue, 27th Sep 2016
Biomedical and healthcare incubator NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) had a busy first half to the year, focusing on “execution, execution, execution”, according to chief executive officer François Martelet. Backed by its world class scientific advisory boards, the investment company’s emphasis has been on accelerating its core portfolio companies - Wanda, Vortex Biosciences, Glycotest and ProAxsis - towards the commercialisation stage. That will set them up nicely for time when external funding will be needed to capitalise on the market opportunities. ProAxsis is already on the cusp of fund-raising, and will seek external backers before the end of the year while Wanda, which now has an experienced CEO on board, also plans to seek external funding to capitalise on the significant opportunities in the digital healthcare space. Martelet said the second half is set to be just as busy for those companies, and as they emerge from the development stage Martelet said the company would be looking to replenish the pipeline. “We are certainly looking at organic growth … but we are looking at game changing technologies in the UK, in Europe and in the US as well to achieve that goal.”
NetScientific PLC focused on “execution, execution and execution”