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SMALL CAP MOVERS: Synairgen and Alien Metals impress

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small cap movers synairgen and alien metals impress

Synairgen this week completed an £80million share placing to support its lead drug through final-stage COVID-19 clinical trials.

Nothing unusual until there – except for the fact the business was valued at just over £14million a year ago. Now it’s worth £301million.

The shares have zoomed up 2,082 per cent to 194p in the past twelve months, earning Synairgen entry to the ‘ten-bagger’ club of high growth stocks that have risen at least ten-fold in a short space of time.

Synairgen this week completed an £80 million share placing to support its lead drug through final-stage COVID-19 clinical trials

Synairgen this week completed an £80 million share placing to support its lead drug through final-stage COVID-19 clinical trials

The latest cash injection will allow the life sciences group to fund a phase III trial of SNG001, an inhaled interferon-beta powder. It will also allow it to ramp up production next year to 100,000 treatment courses a month.

Also in the ‘ten-bag club’ is Alien Metals, which continued to enjoy its otherworldly run this week with a 34 per cent jump to 2p. The stock has rocketed 1,830 per cent since July with the silver price providing the catalyst – this and a greater investor appreciation of the true potential of Alien’s Elizabeth Hill project in Western Australia.

Polarean Imaging – up 42 per cent this week to 69p – hasn’t quite scaled those heights. But you’d have tripled your initial investment had you invested just six months ago with the price driven higher by a steady stream of positive news flow.

The med-tech group, which has created a drug-device combo that allows doctors the scrutinise lungs using MRI, this week signed up the world-famous MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas as its latest research client.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM-All Share dipped 1 per cent to 977, but still outperformed the FTSE 100, which was down 2 per cent to 5,890.

In the mining sector, GCM Resources climbed 38 per cent to 14p after establishing a joint venture with China’s NFC for the Phulbari coal project in Bangladesh.

Elsewhere, surveillance systems developer Petards Group crackled 26 per cent higher to 8p on the back of a new contract to supply software to trains operated by Great Western Railway.

Among the fallers, security and cleaning specialist STM Group dropped 26 per cent to 26p after warning full-year profits will be hit by weak trading but it should recover next year.

In the online space, ASOS shed 14 per cent to 4,688p despite posting a four-fold increase in profits after a strong lockdown performance. The decline marks an intensification of profit-taking after shares rallied almost five-fold from their post-pandemic nadir.

n the online space, ASOS shed 14 per cent to 4,688p despite posting a four-fold increase in profits after a strong lockdown performance

n the online space, ASOS shed 14 per cent to 4,688p despite posting a four-fold increase in profits after a strong lockdown performance

Meanwhile, hostels operator Safestay dipped 8 per cent to 11p after announcing the temporary closure of eight hostels, reducing bed capacity across the chain to 45 per cent of normal. FTSE 250-listed competitor Hostelworld forecast a slow recovery this week.

Upcoming are two new issues that should offer a little variety to the normal diet of natural resources, tech and biotech stocks found on AIM.

According to reports, Chrystal Capital Partners plans to have Verdite, Europe’s largest cannabis-focused private equity fund, running by the end of the year.

MailBox REIT might, meanwhile, is taking a completely new route to market.

Rather than being quoted on the LSE it is expected to become the very first listing on the IPSX, the world’s first regulated stock exchange dedicated solely to property.

The single-asset real estate investment trust owns the Mailbox in Birmingham, a 698,000 square-foot office, retail and leisure development. 

Making its market debut in early November, the trust is raising £62.5 million, giving it a market capitalisation of £116 million at £1 a share. The building has been independently valued at £179 million.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Top shareholder backs Boohoo chiefs amid call for founder to quit

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top shareholder backs boohoo chiefs amid call for founder to quit

Boohoo’s billionaire founder has been backed by his largest independent investor.

MPs called for Mahmud Kamani to step down as an executive director after an explosive report found illegally low pay and life-threatening conditions for workers in its Leicester clothes factories.

Shadow health minister Liz Kendall wrote to major shareholders – Jupiter, Invesco and Baillie Gifford – saying they must remove Kamani and chief executive John Lyttle.

MPs called for Boohoo's founder Mahmud Kamani to step down as an executive director after an explosive report found illegally low pay and life-threatening conditions for workers

MPs called for Boohoo's founder Mahmud Kamani to step down as an executive director after an explosive report found illegally low pay and life-threatening conditions for workers

MPs called for Boohoo’s founder Mahmud Kamani to step down as an executive director after an explosive report found illegally low pay and life-threatening conditions for workers

Jupiter, which owns a 9.6 per cent stake, rejected her call, but warned bosses to improve governance. 

In a letter seen by the Mail, Jupiter chief Nichola Pease said Jupiter expects problems to be fully addressed with ‘meaningful and permanent’ measures.

In August Kamani dismissed some of the allegations against it as ‘another lot of b******s’.

An independent probe found Kamani ‘covertly owns or controls many of the factories [in Leicester]’.

The Kamani family’s 18.6 per cent stake was worth £655million last night after the shares rose 5.5 per cent.

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Lexus on the charge: RAY MASSEY tests the new UX 300-e electric SUV

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lexus on the charge ray massey tests the new ux 300 e electric suv

The first Lexus battery-powered SUV is raring to go – with order books opening up at the start of the month.

Named the UX 300-e, the family- oriented off-roader comes in three grades: the standard UX priced from £40,900, Premium Plus Pack from £44,400 and the top-end Takumi Pack (which I tried) from £50,500.

Prices are after the Government’s £3,000 plug-in vehicle grant is taken off. One trick worth knowing is that the taxpayer-funded grant is normally capped at £50,000. 

Family friendly: The new Lexus UX 300-e - seen here in Celestial Blue - is the company's first fully electric vehicle

Family friendly: The new Lexus UX 300-e - seen here in Celestial Blue - is the company's first fully electric vehicle

Family friendly: The new Lexus UX 300-e – seen here in Celestial Blue – is the company’s first fully electric vehicle

But, as the standard UX 300-e costs less than that, customers are not penalised for adding the Takumi Pack (which bumps the gross pre-grant price up to £53,500).

So what’s it like to drive? Though technically it is a compact urban SUV, it feels roomy and high-riding. 

It’s sprightly enough and smooth, refined and well-balanced to drive. It whizzes along dual-carriageways and A-roads, and has a bit of poke thanks to its friction-free early electric acceleration. 

It’s quiet most of the time but with some road noise on uneven surfaces – maybe enhanced by the 18in wheels on my car’s trim level (17in is standard). 

Test run: Ray poses with the new Lexus which can be ordered from November 1 for deliveries in March

Test run: Ray poses with the new Lexus which can be ordered from November 1 for deliveries in March

Test run: Ray poses with the new Lexus which can be ordered from November 1 for deliveries in March

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34767314 8873267 image a 11 1603486073698

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34767310 8873267 image a 12 1603486077072

Plug in: The Lexus has two charging ports - one for a domestic wall-box, the other for a fast DC version. Charging to 80 per cent takes 50 minutes on a rapid charger or eight hours at home

Plug in: The Lexus has two charging ports - one for a domestic wall-box, the other for a fast DC version. Charging to 80 per cent takes 50 minutes on a rapid charger or eight hours at home

Plug in: The Lexus has two charging ports – one for a domestic wall-box, the other for a fast DC version. Charging to 80 per cent takes 50 minutes on a rapid charger or eight hours at home

Powered by a 150kW/204hp motor and 54.3kW battery, it goes from rest to 62mph in 7.5 seconds to a 100mph top speed. Total range is 196 miles, which is fine for commuters.

It has two charging ports – one for a domestic wall-box, the other for a fast DC commercial version. Charging to 80 per cent takes 50 minutes on a rapid charger or eight hours at home. 

People will love or hate the quirky infotainment touch-pad in the centre console, which gives a reassuring clunk when activated. 

People will love or hate the quirky infotainment touch-pad in the centre console, which gives a reassuring clunk when activated.

People will love or hate the quirky infotainment touch-pad in the centre console, which gives a reassuring clunk when activated.

People will love or hate the quirky infotainment touch-pad in the centre console, which gives a reassuring clunk when activated.

The boot is roomy enough for a small family’s luggage, with 367 litres of space before the rear seats are put down. 

Hi-tech kit includes a pre-collision system with night-time pedestrian protection.

First orders on November 1 will be delivered in March. By 2025, Lexus will have electric versions of all of its models.

Ex Morgan man’s one to watch 

There’s long been a close relationship between motor cars and watches.

Now car designer-turned- watchmaker Matthew Humphries – former chief designer at British sports car firm Morgan – is setting the pace with a new limited-edition £745 MHD Type 1 wristwatch, inspired by a 1920s Bugatti.

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34760968 8873267 image a 2 1603471778922

Classic lines: The £745 MHD Type 1 wristwatch is inspired by a 1920s Bugatti racing car

Classic lines: The £745 MHD Type 1 wristwatch is inspired by a 1920s Bugatti racing car

Classic lines: The £745 MHD Type 1 wristwatch is inspired by a 1920s Bugatti racing car

Former Morgan designer Matthew Humphries

Former Morgan designer Matthew Humphries

Former Morgan designer Matthew Humphries

Humphries became a designer for Morgan aged 21 and his credits include the AeroMax and Supersport cars.

He got into timepieces almost by accident when a Swiss firm asked him to design a watch. 

He enjoyed it so much he set up his own business in 2014.

Cars such as the Bugatti, three-litre Bentley and Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeo 8C have all been influences. 

He says: ‘I take my sketch pad with me everywhere, because you never know when something will inspire you.’

That includes often using seatbelt material for watch straps.

Veterans’ Brighton run cancelled

Unfortunately, the Royal Automobile Club has had to cancel the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday, November 1, because of Covid-19. 

Chug-a-bug rally: The Royal Automobile Club has had to cancel the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday, November 1

Chug-a-bug rally: The Royal Automobile Club has had to cancel the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday, November 1

Chug-a-bug rally: The Royal Automobile Club has had to cancel the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday, November 1

The event has run, uninterrupted, since 1947.

A little bit of me hopes that, in the never-give-up spirit of Genevieve, the 1953 film of the run, the club secretly sends a car out early – when no one’s awake – to maintain the unbroken thread.

Skoda sweeps the board 

Plaudits: Skoda's Octavia clinched best compact family car and best estate in the annual Auto Express Awards

Plaudits: Skoda's Octavia clinched best compact family car and best estate in the annual Auto Express Awards

Plaudits: Skoda’s Octavia clinched best compact family car and best estate in the annual Auto Express Awards

Skoda’s Octavia has been crowned Car of the Year in the annual motor industry ‘Oscars’. 

It also clinched best compact family car and best estate in the annual Auto Express Awards.

The Skoda Octavia Estate was also named Best Family Car in the rival Autocar awards.

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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London Stock Exchange’s £20bn merger with Refinitiv delayed to 2021

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london stock exchanges 20bn merger with refinitiv delayed to 2021

The London Stock Exchange has admitted that its long-anticipated deal with Refinitiv will be delayed into the new year.

It had hoped to complete the £20billion merger this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators.

But in a third-quarter update, the LSE said it was now expecting approvals to be delayed until the first quarter of next year.

Delayed: The London Stock Exchange had hoped to complete its £20bn merger with Refinitiv this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators

Delayed: The London Stock Exchange had hoped to complete its £20bn merger with Refinitiv this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators

Delayed: The London Stock Exchange had hoped to complete its £20bn merger with Refinitiv this year, as soon as it got the green light from European competition regulators

It comes just weeks after the LSE agreed to sell Italian stock exchange, Borsa Italiana, to its rival Euronext for £3.9billion, to appease regulators at the European Commission. 

They are worried that a merger of the LSE and Refinitiv will reduce competition and push up prices of the critical data used by global markets.

LSE chief executive David Schwimmer said: ‘We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and believe the potential divestment of the Borsa Italiana group will contribute significantly to addressing the EU’s competition concerns.’

LSE reported strong numbers for the third quarter. Income rose 2 per cent to £600million, and so far this year is up 6 per cent to £1.8billion.

It has benefited from market volatility as the pandemic has boosted trading activity.

Russell Quelch, an analyst at Redburn, said: ‘LSE has some large client contracts up for renewal before the year-end and it will be important that it is able to continue to show underlying business can grow revenues in advance of the Refinitiv transaction.’

The acquisition of Refinitiv would boost LSE’s position as one of the world’s most influential financial institutions, expanding its reach into data provision. 

Shares in LSE slipped 0.9 per cent, or 78p, to 8438p.

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