SP Angel . Morning View . Sell off persists despite new government stimulus measures

SP Angel . Morning View . Wednesday 18 03 20

 

Sell off persists despite new government stimulus measures

 

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Caledonia Mining (CMCL LN) – 2019 results and 2020 guidance

Keras Resources* (KRS LN) – AGM adjourned despite 99% of votes in favour of resolutions

Savannah Resources* (SAV LN) – Annual results highlight progress on Portuguese lithium and Mozambique mineral sands

Petropavlovsk (POG LN) – IRC stake divestment and loan guarantees termination proposal

Vast Resources* (VAST LN) – Baita Plai equipment shipments update

From SP Angel Healthcare Research Team – Vadim Alexandre and Liam Gascoigne-Cohen

Regeneron advances COVID-19 antibody program

Synairgen (SNG.L): Approval to start Phase 2 trial of SNG001 in COVID-19

 

London is very quiet this morning with just a few cyclists and cars on the roads

  • UK government advice is to work from home and stay away from bars, clubs, restaurants etc…though a few hardened drinkers were ignoring that advice last night
  • A new study in ‘Science’ indicates the number of cases of COVID-19 could be 5-10x higher than has been reported indicating some 1.5m cases.
  • This may indicate the mortality rate is very much lower than currently estimated.

 

Our healthcare team produce a daily note on pharmaceutical and healthcare companies which is particularly interesting in these troubled times

Please see their comments at the end of this note on:

  • Regeneron advances COVID-19 antibody program
  • Synairgen (SNG.L): Approval to start Phase 2 trial of SNG001 in COVID-19

 

China – mainland claims zero new indigenous suspected COVID-19 cases for first day

  • Question is, do we believe the news out of China?
  • If the news is true, how has China stopped all new cases as the rest of the world slides into the pandemic?
  • As ever with China, watch what they do and don’t listen much to what they say.

 

Short selling – Short Sellers likely behind $9bn of fund flows into the S&P ETF

  • The S&P ETF tracks the S&P 500 index
  • The inflows into the ETF are likely to be part of a trading strategy supporting short positions in vulnerable stocks and sectors in the S&P
  • Short interest data showed that shorting peaked on 3 March at 7.4% in the US market and was at 5.7% yesterday (Bloomberg)

 

Aviva – suspends property fund – on uncertainty over Property Valuation

  • Property funds are likely to suffer significantly as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak as tenants struggle to pay rents, bankruptcies and falling valuations.
  • The collapse of retail portfolios and property funds will have a profound impact on pension funds and the UK and could effectively create the greatest redistribution of wealth seen since the first world war.

 

Iron ore prices have been unusually stable, propped up by supply side issues relating to Cyclones in Australia and problems in Brazil

  • While prices collapsed on the LME and traded exchanges China has maintained prices in many industrial commodities through the Coronavirus sometimes despite a lack of trade done.

China’s State Bureau of Statistics reported rising production of metals despite the impact of the Coronavirus for January and February

  • Copper refined output rose 2.8%yoy to 1.527mt
  • Zinc production rose 12.9% to 1.04mt
  • Lead output rose 10.3% to 722kt,

 

Stimulus funding relating to the Coronavirus (Updates in bold, figures in US dollars)

  • $1,000bn – IMF
  • $850bn – US Stimulus – going through Congress
  • $400bn (£330bn) UK – Government-backed loan scheme. New business interruption loan scheme up to £5m with no interest. Will add whatever is required in COVID-bill
  • $24bn (£20bn) – UK No business rates plus £25,000 cash grants for shops, pubs, clubs in hospitality sector.
  • $5bn (£3.5bn) – UK Local Authority funding to compensate for lost business rates
    • + Direct cash grants to cover rent plus support for Welfare & healthcare and 3-month Mortgage holiday
  • $333bn (€300bn)
  • $700bn – US + Fed rate cut to 0-0.25% last night. The $700bn QE program is to buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The program in two parts $500bn + $200bn  
  • $333bn (€300bn) – Loan guarantees for French business
  • $50bn (€45bn) – France just blew out the Fiscal discipline of the EU but their budget deficit has been over 3% GDP for sometime
  • France to als o
  • $50bn – US – in the form of low-interest loans to companies in affected areas through the Small Business Administration.
  • $39m – UK (£30bn) stimulus – more expected today – Govt. pledged to do more if needed. (any excuse to spend money through Brexit)
  • $120bn – ECB increased bond purchases + ECB – targeted loans to companies at an interest rate of -0.75%
  • $28.3bn (€25bn) – EU
  • $15.4bn – Hong Kong relief package
  • $13.7bn – South Korea
  • $12bn – World Bank
  • $11.4bn – Australia – likely to announce more stimulus this week
  • $10bn – Switzerland (SFr10bn)
  • $8.4bn – Italy may move to $18bn
  • $8.3bn – US House of Representatives – (US GFC stimulus totalled $2.8tr starting with $168bn in early 2008).
  • $5.5bn – Bank of Japan, ETF purchases and short term liquidity to Banks
  • $11.9bn – BoJ triples financing for small and mid-sized firms
  • $7bn – New Zealand
  • $3.5bn – Ireland
  • $2.8bn – Spain coronavirus stimulus
  • $2bn – Taiwan stimulus
  • $0.75bn – Indonesia
  • $14.2bn China, already spent. $113bn worth of bonds issued by China regional governments in January
  • $145m – $100m in cash grants and ad credits to eligible small businesses. Facebook also giving $1,000 per employee
  • China – government indicates it is not inclined to support the world this time. Might cause revaluation of the Yuan
  • Japan – to put ample package together
  • ECB ready to take targeted action
  • Germany – no numbers yet but government is likely to relax rules if businesses start to go bust
  • $4,59bn – TOTAL stimulus offered to-date. GFC fiscal stimulus within the G20 was ~$2 trillion or 1.4% of global GDP (ILO, EU, IILS)

 

Dow Jones Industrials

 

+5.20%

at

21,237

Nikkei 225

 

-1.68%

at

16,727

HK Hang Seng

 

-4.18%

at

22,292

Shanghai Composite

 

-1.83%

at

2,729

FTSE 350 Mining

 

-6.11%

at

12,061

AIM Basic Resources

 

-1.27%

at

1,598

 

Economics

Auto makers suspend production lines in an effort to contain the spread of virus and a drop in demand.

  • BMW is preparing to suspend its production lines in Rosslyn, South Africa and in Europe from the end of the week to April 19.
  • Daimler will suspend most of its production in Europe for two weeks starting this week.

 

US – US equity futures hit limit down in early trading on Wednesday.

  • Retail sales contracted 0.5%mom underperforming Reuters estimates for a 0.2%mom increase.
  • US – Trump calls Coronavirus, the Chinese virus despite WHO advice upsetting China again

 

Japan – PM Abe is planning to announce a n extensive economic stimulus package.

  • Industrial production fell 2.3%yoy in January with more declines expected amid virus related disruptions.
  • In a separate survey, nearly half of Japanese companies (47%) recorded a drop in production and sales in February, Reuters reports.
  • 42% of companies are estimating declines of up to 30% in February.
  • Two-thirds of respondents anticipate the impact from the pandemic to last several months or longer.

 

EU – Governments agreed to close the EU/s external borders for 30 days in a new effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reports.

  • Eurozone trade balance January €17.3bn vs €19.2bn estimate
  • Eurozone Trade Balance NSA Jan: 1.3B (prev 23.1B)
  • European Banks Take $36.3bn In ECB 7-Day Dollar Funding Operation
  • European Banks Take $75.8bn In ECB 84-Day Dollar Funding Operation

Italy – Italian Industrial Sales +3.8% in January yoy – suddenly the numbers seem

  • Italian Industrial Sales 5.3% in January mom

 

Germany – Investors sentiment survey collapsed in March in the sharpest drop on record, according to the ZEW research institute data.

  • Economic sentiment gauge fell to -49.5 from +8.7 in February and expectations for a -26.4 reading.
  • “The economy is on red alert”, ZEW President Achim Wambach said in a statement.
  • The institute echoed other commentators suggesting the economy is likely to post a drop in GDP in Q1 with a contraction expected in the second quarter as well.

 

UK – The government announced another stimulus package to the tune of £350bn to help businesses deal with a slump in demand as the nation battles with the coronavirus.

  • The programme includes £330bn in state loan guarantees with another £20bn in direct financial help.
  • Firms will also be given a one-year break from business rates while banks are reported to be giving struggling customers a mortgage holiday of up to three months.
  • The BoE pledged to buy commercial paper from investment grade issuers as part of the Covid Corporate Financing Facility allowing businesses to close the liquidity gap amid the virus outbreak and remediation measures.
  • The package significantly improves on the scale of rescue measures from £7bn of financial support announced in the last week’s Budget.
  • Authorities are working on additional measures including some form of support for workers who suffered a sudden loss of job/income, FT reports.

 

Australia – Queensland businesses to benefit from AU$500m tax deferral 

  • The Queensland government is set to create a $500m loan facility to extend the coronavirus payroll tax deferral to all companies across the state.
  • The facility comprises of interest free loans up to $250,000 in order to help businesses retain jobs (Australian Mining).
  • Queensland Resources Council (QRC) welcomed the initiative, stating it would benefit junior mining companies across Queensland.
  • This tax referral is on top of the Australian Government’s commitment to a $6.7bn cash flow boost for employers. 

 

Peru – government decree on national emergency causes miners to wind down production

 

Iran – releases 85,000 prisoners to help contain Coronavirus 

 

 US futures – limit down again as sellers look for buyers and automated trading winds offers down

  • Analysts may put a brave face on corporate forecasts while awaiting evidence on lost sales and collapsed earnings
  • The Bank of England has allotted $8.2bn in 7-day USD Repo operation
  • Brave buyers are likely to pick up bargains in this market providing they avoid corporate bankruptcies and companies that emerge mortally wounded.

 

Currencies

US$1.1007/eur vs 1.1125/eur yesterday.  Yen 107.48/$ vs 106.67/$.  SAr 16.864/$ vs 16.579/$.  $1.202/gbp vs $1.223/gbp.   0.594/aud vs 0.608/aud.  CNY 7.024/$ vs  7.009/$.

 

Commodity News

Gold US$1,491/oz vs US$1,484/oz yesterday

   Gold ETFs 86.1moz vs US$86.2moz yesterday

Platinum US$658/oz vs US$637/oz yesterday

Palladium US$1,576/oz vs US$1,590/oz yesterday – China’s automobile slowdown may result in 200,000oz drop in palladium demand (S&P Global)

  • China’s auto manufacturing slowdown as a result of the coronavirus outbreak could see palladium demand dropping by around 200,000oz this year according to precious metals analyst Suki Cooper. 
  • The palladium market was in a supply deficit of over 1 million ounces in 2019, and the shortage was was initially expected to be worse in 2020 (Johnson Matthey). 
  • According to Cooper, the IHS forecast of 1.7 million units lost if plants were closed until-mid March results in a loss in palladium demand of around 200,000oz. 
  • Car sales in China have dropped drastically, as the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced that car sales in February had fallen 82% YoY.
  • This fall in demand for the metal by the sector which consumes the vast majority of the metal has resulted in the price falling nearly 50% from its February all-time highs (Kitco). 

Silver US$12.40/oz vs     US$12.42/oz yesterday

 

Base metals:    

LME to suspend all ring trading

  • The LME intends to suspend all ring trading and move to full electronic pricing from next week due to the UK’s new directives restricting the movement of people. 
  • Prices are set to be calculated through the LME’s electronic trading platform, LMEselect. 

 

Copper US$ 4,912/t vs US$5,299/t yesterday – Copper falls below $5,000/t on Wednesday morning

  • Copper prices on the LME fell below $5,000/t for the first time since November 2016 early this morning as other base metals on the LME were also down.
  • Three-month copper on the LME rose 0.9% this morning, before suddenly falling as much as 3.7% to $4,952/t (Reuters). 
  • Base metals were lower across the board on the LME, with the exception of tin which was up by 1.1% to $14,100/t. 
  • Collectively, base metals were down an average of 1.5% this morning, and now down an average of 20.3% since the 17th of January (Fastmarkets MB).

Aluminium US$ 1,622/t vs US$1,669/t yesterday – Aluminium – Production climbed 2.4%yoy in the first two months of the year as smelters maintained operating rates avoiding challenges of shutting down/restarting and feeding supplies of refined metal amid a slump in demand.

  • Downstream consumers such as semi-finished aluminium product producers have been slow to restart following a virus related disruption, Reuters reported.
  • An increase in supply and weak demand saw SHFE inventories more than doubling this year to 0.5mt with another 0.3mt estimated to be sitting at smetlers’ warehouses waiting for shipment.
  • Production of other refined metals have also increased including:
    • Refined copper +2.8%yoy to 1.5mt;
    • Refined zine +12.9%yoy to 1.0mt;
    • Refined lead +10.3%yoy to 0.7mt.

Nickel US$ 11,640/t vs US$12,080/t yesterday

Zinc US$ 1,859/t vs US$1,945/t yesterday

Lead US$ 1,648/t vs US$1,720/t yesterday

Tin US$ 14,125/t vs US$15,290/t yesterday

 

Energy:            

Oil US$28.3/bbl vs US$30.6/bbl yesterday

  • Brent oil has broken through the US$30/bbl resistance today to be down 17% so far this week, as the outlook for fuel demand further weakened amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the Coronavirus epidemic
  • A drop in US inventories of crude, gasoline and distillates has provided some support to prices, but the demand outlook remains subdued amid the Saudi/Russia price war
  • The impact on oil demand is starting to show in official statistics with Japan’s trade bureau saying on Wednesday that crude imports into the world’s third-biggest economy fell 9% from a year earlier in February
  • Elsewhere, Iraq’s oil minister pleaded for an emergency meeting between members of OPEC+ to discuss immediate action to help balance the oil market

 

Natural Gas US$1.672/mmbtu vs US$1.795/mmbtu yesterday

  • Natural gas prices fell nearly 5% yesterday as warmer than normal weather is expected to cover most of the US for the next 6-10 and 8-14 days according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
  • Additionally, the dollar moved higher on Tuesday putting downward pressure on the commodity complex
  • Since natural gas prices are quoted in dollars a stronger dollar makes commodities less valuable in other currencies
  • The drilling rig count in natural gas fell one rig in the latest week
  • Net withdrawals of stockpiles are expected to continue to ease less than normal which could generate headwinds for prices

 

Uranium US$24.00/lb vs US$23.90/lb yesterday – Ceramic could help slash lithium extraction costs by as much as 80% 

  • Researchers in China and the US have shown that incorporating a layer of solid ceramic electrolyte into the cell used to extract lithium enables the production of cheaper and environmentally friendly lithium (Chemistry World).
  • Researchers at Tsinghua University and Stanford University have added a layer of the ceramic known as LLZTO which only lithium ions can pass through, leaving impurities behind in the extraction phase.
  • Before this technology, other metal ions such as sodium and magnesium had to be separated from the lithium chloride before electrolysis or they would be deposited at the cathode alongside the lithium. 
  • This layer of solid ceramic reduces energy needs by lowering temperature required for the process to take place, and also removes the need to use toxic reagents.
  • The addition of aluminium chloride to the salt reduces the melting point of the mixture, enabling the operator to save energy by operating the cell at 240˚C rather than the usual 400˚C. 
  • Overall, the researchers estimate that they produced metallic lithium at 20% of the cost of conventional methods.

            

Bulk:    

  • Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$88.0/t vs US$86.6/t
  • Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$536.5/t vs US$536.7/t
  • Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$55.2/t vs US$56.3/t
  • Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$160.0/t vs US$160.0/t

 

Other:   

  • Cobalt LME 3m US$30,000/t vs US$32,100/t
  • NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$38,727/t vs US$38,808/t
  • Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$5,695/t vs US$5,707/t
  • Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$28.0/kg vs US$28.0/kg
  • Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.1/kg vs US$5.2/kg

                

Battery News

Triodos Bank to provide funding to Pod Point EV charge point rollout

  • Ethical Finance firm Triodos Bank has provided a finance loan to Pod Point to facilitate installation of 100 EV charge stations across 600 Tesco stores. (Energy Live)
  • The debt facility joins funding from Tesco and VW who formed a partnership with Pod Point in 2008. (Edie)
  • The charge points installed at Tesco stores will include 7kW media chargers, free to use and 50kW rapid chargers priced at market rates. (Business Green)
  • Pod Point was founded in 2009 and since has installed 62,000 charging points in the UK and 6,600 in Norway. 2018 saw the Company sign a deal with Tesco to install 2400 charging points at 600 Tesco supermarkets around the UK. (Fleet News)
  • Last month EDF purchased Pod Point together with Legal and General, the latter taking a 23% stake in the JV.
  • The deal forms part of its long term strategy to grow its presence in the EV space under its ‘Electric Mobility Plan’, a commitment to serve 600,000 EVs across Europe by 2022. The acquisition was EDF’s largest move in the EV market to date. (Current Hub)

 

Round up of disruption to EV plants due to the coronavirus (Electrek)

  • Volkswagen has suspended production at its factories across Europe, including Zwickau in Germany where the ID.3 is produced.
  • Audi, VW’s luxury brand has halted production at its plants in Belgium.
  • Daimler has suspended the majority of its production for an initial period of two weeks.
  • PSA is closing its European factories until March 27th.
  • Renault has suspended activities in France, closing 12 sites.
  • Ford closed a plant in Spain after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus and the Company has said vehicle and engine production at sites across Europe will be down for a number of weeks.
  • GM has begun work to retool its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to make EVs. The plant is being staffed by a small workforce of 70 who are regularly screened for signs of illness.
  • Nissan has suspended production and it Sunderland facility where the Nissan Leaf in produced.
  • After suggesting production would continue as normal at its Fremont factory, Alameda County Tesla has been ordered to curtail normal production by the County Sheriff. (Reuters)
  • The San Francisco Bay area has begun a 3 week lock-down under a shelter in place order which suspend all activity except the most essential.  
  • Tesla has been defined as a non-essential business and as such can only maintain minimum basic operations. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The San Francisco Bay area has to date reported 273 cases and California has reported 12 deaths related to the coronavirus.

 

 

Company News

Caledonia Mining (CMCL LN) 650p, Mkt Cap £75m – 2019 results and 2020 guidance

  • Caledonia Mining reports an XX% increase in EBITDA for 2019 to US$29.9m (2018 – US$19.1m) at an improved margin of 39% (2018 – 28%). Gross profit margins also showed an improvement to 41% on US$31.1m compared to a margin of 32@ in 2018.
  • The result reflects the production of 54,511oz of gold (2018 – 54,511oz) including record Q4 output of 16,876/oz at a cash cost of US$651/oz (2018 – US$690/oz) and all-in-sustaining costs of US$856/oz (2018 – US$920/oz).
  • Costs benefitted from lower electricity costs during the early part of the year and also by lower local administration costs as a result of the devaluation of the Zimbabwean currency.
  • Caledonia Mining points out, however, that ʺAll in sustaining costs (“AISC”) for the Year are not directly comparable with the AISC reported in 2018 which benefited by approximately $120 per ounce due to the export credit incentive scheme (and its successor, the gold support price) both of which were terminated in the course of the Year.  After adjusting for the effects of these schemes (which were government grants intended to encourage increased gold production), AISC per ounce in the Year was approximately 7 per cent lower than in 2018ʺ.
  • The company is expecting production of 53-56,000oz of gold at an on-mine cash cost of US$693-767/oz and AISC in the range US$951-1,033/oz in 2020 as the commissioning of the new Central shaft is completed during the final quarter.
  • The company also confirms the previously announced acquisition of an additional 15% interest in the Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe was completed during the current quarter bringing its interest to 64%.
  • Commenting on the outlook for 2020, CEO, Steve Curtis said ʺThe Central Shaft continues to be the main focus of our investing activities: when the new shaft is commissioned towards the end of 2020, Blanket will be able to increase production to the target rate  of approximately 80,000 ounces of gold per annum from 2022 onwards.  The shaft sinking phase of the project was completed in July 2019 and work has commenced on equipping the shaft; the substantial capital investment period is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2020ʺ.
  • Mr. Curtis also commented on improvements to the operating environment in Zimbabwe, saying that ʺAlthough the country continues to face challenges, the introduction of the interbank rate early in 2019 allowed us to better protect our workers from the effects of high inflation.ʺ 
  • He also referred to the improving electricity supply situation; ʺThe interruptions to the supply of electricity from the grid which we experienced in July and early August have largely been addressed following the conclusion of an agreement whereby Blanket (and other gold producers) purchases power which is imported into Zimbabwe.  This power is cheaper than under the previous arrangements prior to the devaluation of the Zimbabwe currency and Blanket can manage the reduced incidence of power interruptions using its increased suite of diesel generators.  We are also well-advanced in the evaluation of a solar project to provide some of Blanket’s power supply and reduce its dependence on imported power during daylight hours.ʺ
  • The company is describing 2020 as a pivotal year for the business ʺwith the commissioning of the Central Shaft and the improved operating performance. The level of the gold price and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being closely monitored and I look forward to keeping our shareholders updated on our progressʺ. We observe, however that, with the expected completion of the new Central Shaft later this year, Caledonia Mining is nearing the  successful completion of a long-term development project which secures the future of the Blanket mine into the mid 2030s.

Conclusion: Improved margins, increased production levels, including a record Q4 performance, and cost reductions at the mine level set Caledonia Mining on course for the completion of the equipping phase at the new Central Shaft later this year which underpins the longer term 80,000oz pa production target into the 2030s

 

Keras Resources* (KRS LN) 0.085p, Mkt Cap £3.5m – AGM adjourned despite 99% of votes in favour of resolutions

Recommendation and Valuation under review

(Keras hold an 85% interest in Societé General des Mines which holds the Nayega manganese project license in Togo)

(the Republic of Togo is entitled to a carried interest of 10% in SGM after the issue of the exploitation licence, which will have the effect of diluting Keras’ 85% interest)

  • Keras Resources reports the adjournment of tomorrow’s AGM due to Coronavirus restrictions.
  • The company reports 99% of votes received are in favour of each resolution and the proxy votes will remain valid unless countermanded.
  • Keras has put a business continuity programme in place to protect employees and ensure the safe operation of the Company.  
  • All non-essential travel has been cancelled
  • All activities at Nayega in Togo and the regional office in Lomé have been reduced to essential staff only. The Company has also asked any employee feeling unwell to stay at home. 
  • Keras continues to work to complete the final documentation related to the Nayéga exploitation permit. 
  • The re-election of President Faure Gnassingbé combined with Covid-19 has delayed the permitting process indicating that mining is unlikely to being by end-March.
  • Togo is just 600 miles north of the Equator and may or may not suffer much from the Covid-19 virus. If this is the case then mining may start relatively soon after the mining license is awarded.

*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Keras Resources

 

Petropavlovsk (POG LN) 15.7p, Mkt Cap £520m – IRC stake divestment and loan guarantees termination proposal

  • The Company agreed with Stocken Board, a Liechtenstein-incorporated investment company, for disposal of a c.29.9% interest in IRC (of total 31.1%) for $10m subject to a number of terms and conditions.
  • Most importantly, the agreement is conditional on the release of the Company from all loan guarantees given to Gazprombank regarding the $240m loan facility agreed in 2018.
  • The facility guarantee comprises a staged structure with Petropavlovsk guaranteeing $160m worth of the facility through 2020-21.
  • Should the binding share sale and purchase agreement (SPA) be signed, the release of the guarantees is expected within 180 days and a consideration is payable up to 31 Dec/21.
  • If the release of guarantees is not agreed within 90 days of the signed agreement and the issue is not resolved within 10 business days, the SPA may be terminated by Petropavlovsk.
  • The preliminary agreement also includes a put option issued to Stocken to allow it to complete necessary due diligence.
  • Stocken will not be able to exercise the option should the IRC financial position deteriorate during the period (among conditions mentioned: net debt remain <$275m, Net Debt/EBITDA does not increase more than 35% from the agreement date, market capitalisation does not fall more than 50% from levels at the date of signing) offering Petropavlovsk some downside protection.

Conclusion: The proposal is a positive news for the Company as the deal would potentially eliminate the Gazprombank loan facility guarantee improving its credit profile and the positively affecting its cost of capital.

 

Savannah Resources* (SAV LN) 0.90p, Mkt Cap £12.0m – Annual results highlight progress on Portuguese lithium and Mozambique mineral sands

  • Savannah Resources has reported a loss of £3.8m (2018 – £3.4m loss) and a cash balance of £3.5m at 31st December 2018 as it moves ahead with its Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal and the Mutamba mineral sands project in Mozambique. Progress on the copper licences in Oman has been slower but the company has received a formal notice of the Government’s intention to grant two licences.
  • At Mina do Barroso, the company has moved to 100% ownership of the project through the acquisition of the 25% minority interest. In addition, in June 2019, Savannah Resources secured an option for additional, adjacent ground covering 2.94km2 in the Aldeia lease area.
  • During the year, the company increased the lithium resource at Mina do Barroso by 37% and added an additional by-product resource of some 14.4mt of quartz and feldspar which could brovide an important secondary revenue stream.
  • The company is close to submitting an EIA totalling some 3000 pages as part of the Portuguese permitting process and continues with metallurgical test-work and further evaluations.
  • The award of three mining licences over the Mutamba mineral sands project in Mozambique sets the scene for the company to make ʺpreparations to accelerate work on the Mutamba Pre-Feasibility Study.ʺ

Conclusion: The impending submission of the EIA in Portugal and the  award of licences in Mozambique, coupled with the Oman Government’s intention to award licences for the Block 5 copper projects all poinbt to busy year ahead for Savannah Minerals.

*SP Angel acts as Nomad to Savannah Resources

 

Vast Resources* (VAST LN) 0.20p, Mkt Cap £21m – Baita Plai equipment shipments update

  • Initial shipments of equipment sailed from Shanghai port and is bound for delivery in the port of Constancia on 23 April.
  • Additionally, a further shipment of 3-4 containers is due to depart later this week.

*SP Angel acts as Broker to Vast Resources

 

From SP Angel Healthcare Research Team – Vadim Alexandre and Liam Gascoigne-Cohen

Regeneron advances COVID-19 antibody program

  • US drug developer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals inc., is progressing an antibody-based treatment for COVID-19.
  • The Group has isolated multiple virus-neutralising antibodies generated from the company’s VelocImmune® mice model system and humans who have recovered from COVID-19.
  • From this pool, Regeneron aims to select two antibodies based on potency and binding ability to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to be used as a treatment for COVID-19.

Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the current COVID-19 outbreak, have a single glycoprotein on their surface called the spike protein. The virus uses the spike protein to bind to the host cell and is required for infectivity. Regeneron’s SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment aims to target the spike protein and block its ability to interact with the host cell thus neutralising the virus. The Group aims to have doses available for clinical testing by summer and is working with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Defense Authority (BARDA) to upscale manufacturing.

 

Synairgen (SNG.L): Approval to start Phase 2 trial of SNG001 in COVID-19

Share Price: 24.5p; Market Capitalisation: £26.8m

  • Synairgen, a respiratory drug development company, received expedited approvals from the UK MHRA and Health Research Authority to conduct a Phase II trial of SNG001 in COVID-19 patients.
  • SNG001 is an inhaled formulation of interferon-beta-1a, which is delivered to the lungs.
  • The trial, expected to commence imminently, aims to recruit 100 COVID-19 patients as part of the pilot phase.
  • In February 2020, SNG001 was identified in a WHO analysis of therapeutics as the only Phase 2 therapy delivered by the inhaled route (link here).

Interferon beta (IFN-β) is a cytokine protein involved in the body’s antiviral responses as part of the innate immune system. Coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, have mechanisms to suppress IFN- β production to evade the body’s immune system. A deficiency in IFN-β production by the lung may explain why certain patients develop severe lung diseases during respiratory viral infections, such as COVID-19. Synarigen believe the addition of IFN-β 1a in COVID-19 patients should reduce viral replication and host cell damage. The Group previously completed two Phase 2 trials in asthma which showed that inhaled SNG001 treatment activated antiviral pathways in the lung along with improving lung function in patients with a respiratory viral infection. 

*one of the authoring analysts has an interest in Synairgen shares

 

 

Analysts

John Meyer – 0203 470 0490

Simon Beardsmore – 0203 470 0484

Sergey Raevskiy – 0203 470 0474 

 

Sales

Richard Parlons – 0203 470 0472 

Abigail Wayne – 0203 470 0534 

Rob Rees – 0203 470 0535 

 

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*SP Angel are the No1 integrated nomad and broker by number of mining brokerage clients on AIM according to the AIM Advisers Ranking Guide (joint brokerships excluded)

+SP Angel employees may have previously held, or currently hold, shares in the companies mentioned in this note.

 

Sources of commodity prices

 

Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver

BGNL (Bloomberg Generic Composite rate, London)

Gold ETFs, Steel

Bloomberg

Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt

LME

Oil Brent

ICE

Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore

NYMEX

Thermal Coal

Bloomberg OTC Composite

Coking Coal

SSY

RRE

Steelhome

Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Antimony

Asian Metal

Tungsten

Metal Bulletin

 

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