Market Report: African Minerals falls as mine falters

It is usually retailers that blame the weather for bad business but it was the turn of Frank Timis's African Minerals to blame wet weather for a cut in production targets at its Sierra Leone flagship mine.

AIM's largest company by market cap became one of its largest fallers after it lowered targets at its Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone. The slash in production forecasts is African Minerals' second this year. Its shares sank 16.6 per cent, down 49.75p to 250p.

Mr Timis, the Romanian-born executive chairman, is well-known in the City for his colourful, if controversial career. The resources investor rose to prominence again three years ago for his association with Regal Petroleum, which was handed the largest ever AIM fine for misleading announcements during his tenure. At his newest venture, African Minerals, Mr Timis last month oversaw the sale of a 25 per cent stake in the mine in a $1.5bn deal with China's state-owned Shandong Iron & Steel Group.

Jefferies' analyst Seth Rosenfeld said: "While these moves are clearly a negative, we believe that current targets are now significantly more attainable." He cut the mineral exploration group's price tag to 550p from 800p.

Analysts at Merchant Securities argued that the company "has achieved a lot during the last 18 months in bringing the Tonkolili mine on-stream, and the potential of new management should not be overlooked as the company ramps up production."

Those traders still at their desks after lunch were woken up with a jolt when Marks & Spencer's share price shot up again on renewed reports that a private equity bid could be in the offing. The shares, having climbed around 11 per cent over the past month, rallied again and finished up 15.2p to 371.7p after a Bloomberg report revealed that the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners had previously taken a look at the retailer. City spinners played down the rumours, but the chat was enough to leave the high-street bellwether as the biggest riser on the FTSE 100.

It might have been a pretty quiet week in the run-up to the August bank holiday, but David Lenigas has been keeping busy. Mr Lenigas, a serial entrepreneur with a busy schedule (he has scores of directorships as well as the chairmanship of Africa-focused Lonrho), still found the time to hire lawyers over a dispute on the sale of oil wells near the sleepy island of Malta.

Mr Lenigas is one of the larger-than-life characters in the penny share world. His Leni Gas & Oil is seeking legal advice following a sale of a stake in oil wells off the coast of Malta.

Leni Gas said it is "surprised" by Mediterranean Oil & Gas's deal with Genel in Malta and said it "is seeking immediate advice" from its litigation lawyers, Mishcon de Reya.

The source of the dispute is thought to be Leni Gas's sale last week of its 10 per cent interest, for a nominal $1, in wells near Malta to a subsidiary of Mediterranean. Just over a week later and Mediterranean agreed a multimillion-pound deal to sell a 75 per cent stake in these wells to Genel.

Leni Gas and Mediterranean, both advised by the PR firm Pelham Bell Pottinger, refused to comment any further on the quarrel, leaving AIM watchers to speculate for themselves.

Mediterranean's shares fell slightly, 0.5p to 13.6p. Leni Gas ended static at 0.68p. Developing, as they say ...

Another AIM-listed oil and gas company, Faroe Petroleum, plummeted 8.8 per cent, down 14p to 145.25, on disappointing results from the Cooper well in the Norwegian sea.

In the wider markets, uncertainty was still swirling as eurozone bigwigs continued to negotiate. The FTSE 100, down most of the day, ended flat at 5776.6, helped by the boost in activity at Marks & Spencer.

The heavyweight miners dragged down the index, with the copper miner Kazakhmys sinking again. It lost 20p to 660.5p. Kazakhmys confirmed on Thursday that an outright sale of its 26 per cent stake in rival Kazakh copper miner Eurasian Natural Resources has become less likely, given uncertain equity markets. Eurasian dipped further yesterday, down 12.6p to 338.9p. Analysts at ING said Eurasian may need to consider selling some assets or raise capital via new equity due to its climbing debts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones