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
News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
people

Mike Tyson branded 'superhero' after a surprise good turn

Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

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

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes