Philip Kenny, chairman and co-founder of Firestone Diamonds, has resigned from the southern Africa-focused company.
A second-generation Irish entrepreneur, he has left the company (now producing from Liqhobong in Lesotho and the BK11 mine in Botswana, but still losing money) to ‘pursue other business interests’ at a time when its shares languish at a fraction of their 1998 AIM float price.
Lucio Genovese, a South African mining financier with experience as Moscow chief for mining and metals trading giant Glencore and at Swiss-based buy-out specialist InCentive Capital, has replaced Kenny in the chair at Firestone.
The company produced 34,000 carats in the year to last June and lost £2.8 million pre-tax on revenues of £2.4 million.
Tim Wilkes, who became London-based Firestone’s chief executive officer last year, points out that it was Kenny who spearheaded the company’s acquisition in 2010 of Liqhobong, which is hoped to play a key part in a planned ramp-up of annual production to one million carats in 2014.
Rough diamond prices have fallen some 30 per cent since their peak last summer, but the market is hoping for renewed strength in Chinese and Indian demand this year.
Floated 14 years ago at 114p, Firestone shares have fallen from 36.5p to 12.25p within the past year. They could have some speculative appeal as a recovery punt.
The most comprehensive review of AIM directors' pay available, and this year includes a record sample of 1000+ AIM-quoted companies. The full report is available to order for £385 + VAT. Click here for more info
Latest small-cap and growth company news
Daily coverage of small-cap company stocks on London's junior markets AIM and PLUS, breaking news, stock research and latest share price information for investors. Full sector coverage with all the latest news on smaller listed companies, updated several times a day with financial reports, trading statements and links to further web resources.
Omega Diagnostics results looked positive and highlighted the progress being made in getting important new products to market. The investment to support those efforts will depress profits this year; but the market seems willing to look through this with Omega being a rare stock to be trading above its pre-Brexit level.
Verona Pharma (AIM: VRP) has raised an impressive £42 million net of costs which will fund phase II trials for its RPL554 compound. This drug targets severe respiratory diseases, in particular the 65 million worldwide sufferers from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
It’s fair to say that buy-to-let landlords have been under George Osborne’s cosh. He’s introduced a raised stamp duty rate and withdrawn higher-rate tax relief. However, Belvoir Lettings has seen little change in the market as far as its core lettings agency business is concerned. Furthermore, the shares have responded positively to a major acquisition which makes Belvoir the largest UK lettings agent.
Wincanton CEO Adrian Colman feels his company is now back on an even keel after a period of fire-fighting. Debt has been brought under control, the pension deficit is being addressed, and onerous leases and contracts have been dealt with. A return to the dividend list illustrates these positive changes and the fact that management can now fully focus on growing the business.
Plant hire company VP continues to perform well against a mixed backdrop. Management said that the core infrastructure, housing and construction markets remained generally supportive and have offset weakness in oil and gas.