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Small-cap Spotlight: Bid speculation for Capital & Counties, Rainbow Rare Earths on the charge

JIM ARMITAGE

The great Mark “Shappers” Shapland has had the temerity to take a couple of days off, so I’m filling in with Monday’s hot news for Small-cap Spotlight.

First out of the traps is the happy fact for followers of our Monday Market Minnows that Rainbow Rare Earths (ticker: RBW) shares are up another 4% at 19.5p. We tipped them in February at 14p and they’ve been going like a train ever since thanks to hot prospects from its Burundi mines. Here’s how we covered its prospects back then.

The shares came back in recent days from even higher levels, helped, one presumes, by a potential Russian ban of sales of certain rare earth metals to the US. Don’t ask me about the science, geology or whatnot, but rare earths are the kind of highly prized minerals that go into your mobile phone or laptop. I guess the thinking is, if the Americans can’t get it from Russia, all other sources should be in much demand.

Monday’s Minnow in the Evening Standard is One Media IP (ticker: OMIP) which is one of the new breed of tech minnows hoping to make a fortune from music streaming. One Media buys the rights for old school music tracks and sells them on to Amazon, Spotify and Google, taking a cut each time. It’s 8.6p right now but broker Panmure reckons 15p isn’t too much of a stretch.

Good bit of gossip around on Capital & Counties (ticker: CAPC), the London property company which demerged from Intu a few years back. Intu’s supposed to be getting bought by Hammerson (though that’s now looking in doubt), and now the word is that CapCo could be getting a bid in at 330p a share. That’s some way up on today’s 280p price, even after this morning’s 3% jump. Volumes traded by noon were already 1 million more than all day Friday. Watch this space.

Vectura (ticker: VEC), the pharmaceuticals player, had a good day after rumours of a broker upgrade. Up 4% at 98p, it’s having something of a rally lately after bottoming at 68p last month. Could be time for a re-rating of the inhaled medicines expert, say brokers. Again, bid stories might be helping it up after pharmaceuticals giant Shire sold its oncology business for a bumper sum. Volumes are big today, too. An insider at the firm tries to spin it that investors are buying into the strategy being pushed by the company in a pre-Easter roadshow that a push into more generic medicines will reap big rewards. That doesn’t chime with today’s spike though. Summat’s going on…

The company with the worst ticker code in London – ARS – has been making some good gains. The metals mining company prefers to be known by its full name, Asiamet, and is up 2% today after a breakthrough at its Beutong mine. Its explorers have intercepted high grade copper mineralisation near the surface at the Indonesian site. Could be lucrative.

Not so cheery stuff out of Frontera Resources (ticker: FRR) which fell 5% after confirming reports it may have to relinquish some of its assets in Georgia. That’s Georgia as in former Soviet Republic Russia, not as in Midnight Train To… The state mining company out there seems to be claiming Frontera should give up part of its production sharing contract with it. Expect legal battles and no end of arm twisting. Could get nasty.

Empyrean (ticker: EME) fell 10% after what looked like an upbeat report on gas flows at its Dempsey spot in onshore California. This is the third out of seven to have been tested and the company was upbeat about the report but the shares plunge suggests investors were less so. A lot of anger about this statement on the chatrooms out there but the company would urge doubters to be patient and look at the whole group of seven rather than focus on today’s news.

That’s all folks. I’ll be back, filling in for Shappers again in tomorrow’s Small-cap Spotlight. Happy hunting.