Small Talk: Accsys talks tough on trees

Despite not being able to spell, Accsys (pronounced Access) Technologies is a company on the march.

The Aim-listed company has developed a very clever technique, sold under the trade name Accoya, that toughens softwood enabling it to be used as a substitute for hardwood.

So what? Well, hardwood takes much longer to grow, is more expensive and much rarer than the soft varieties. So Accoya not only gives Accsys's clients a cheaper alternative to an expensive commodity but also gives the environment a breather too.

Accsys has developed various tests showing that its treated soft wood can survive for several years submerged in water. In the Netherlands, where the company has its factory, a road bridge has been built using only Accoya, which it has guaranteed for 90 years.

Back in June, Accsys said process improvements at the plant operated by its Titan Wood subsidiary have boosted capacity by more than 33 per cent. Titan Wood's commercial-scale Accoya wood modification facility was originally designed with an annual capacity of 30,000 cubic metres. Through various process improvements, the Arnhem facility now has an interim design capacity of more than 40,000 cubic metres annually.

The company is expected to post tomorrow full-year results that are in line with its previous upbeat trading statements. The company, and more importantly shareholders, will be hoping that the numbers give the share a kick; it has dropped by 72 per cent in last 12 months.

Tanzanian prospects catch African Eagle's eye

One of the hardest-hit sectors on the Aim market in recent months has been the speculative mining explorers.

In fairness to investors, why would they be tempted, especially at the moment, to put their money into a company that while full of good intentions, is in many cases little more than a punt?

The evidence, judging by share prices of many small Aim-listed miners in the past six months, is that generally the investors are not tempted.

That is why the news from nickel hunter African Eagle Resources last week will be greeted with cautious optimism by investors. The group announced the results of a "proof of concept" scoping study on its Dutwa nickel laterite project in Tanzania.

After rather positive findings, African Eagle's chairman John Park said: "This study clearly demonstrates that the Dutwa project can be economically viable. The company will now begin work on further feasibility studies." According to the company, initial financial analysis indicates that the base case post-tax net present value of the best option is $109m (£66m) and its internal rate of return is 14.5 per cent, based on a discount rate of 10 per cent, a nickel price of $7 per pound and transport costs of $100 per tonne. Not there yet – the group still has to get at the nickel, which is no easy feat – but not bad progress.

Expanding Skywest seeks Sydney listing

Listening to reports of what' is going on at the increasingly beleaguered British Airways and the other major airlines and you would be forgiven for thinking the whole industry is suffering.

Falling passenger numbers, fewer executives travelling in business class and volatile fuel prices are all responsible for what industry bodies expect will be a woeful year for the industry.

But Skywest Airways, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market and operates in Western Australia, is trying to buck the trend.

While BA and others have spent the year churning out disappointing passenger numbers, Skywest's May figures show that passenger numbers on its charter flights jumped 41.25 per cent year-on-year. The group has the advantage of operating in an area that is rich in natural resources and, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of nowhere.

But Skywest, which carries Rio Tinto's miners and executives across Australia, has its problems. Its shares, while taking off in line with its passenger numbers, are illiquid, a problem that the company thinks is holding it back and which it hopes will be remedied when it get permission for a dual listing in Sydney.

Its brokers at WH Ireland say the group is "aggressively" competing for charter work in Western Australia: "The resources industry, in particular the gas sector, is continuing to expand, and will provide further opportunities for scheduled charter services."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'