Petra Diamonds has issued a desperate plea for shareholders to approve its £133million fundraising drive, warning it could run out of cash.
The diamond miner wants to issue 332.8m shares at 40p each, a 47 per cent discount to Wednesday’s closing price, to balance the books.
Up to £90million of the rights issue will go towards paying down its crippling debts, which have ballooned to more than £500million.
If shareholders do not approve the rights issue, it may not have enough working capital to last the next 12 months, it said.
Petra Diamonds wants to issue 332.8m shares at 40p each, a 47 per cent discount to Wednesday’s closing price, to balance the books
Over the past year it has been battered by a combination of production delays, weak diamond prices, strikes and a strengthening South African rand.
On top of that, in September it was unable to export a batch of diamonds following a row with the Tanzanian government.
Petra owns the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which is famous for providing two diamonds for the British crown jewels. Yesterday, its shares plummeted by 20.3 per cent, or 15.45p, to 60.55p.
Utility and telecommunication companies dragged the FTSE 100 0.92 per cent, or 71.70 points, lower to 7716.74, while the FTSE 250 was off by 0.07 per cent, or 15.41 points, at 20,989.49.
Deutsche Bank raised St James’s Place to ‘buy’ and lifted its target price from 1310p to 1430p.
Stock Watch – Katoro Gold
Shares in Katoro Gold flew after the miner revealed it is ready to press ahead with its Imweru project.
The Aim-listed firm halted a study last month while it assessed whether the Tanzanian site was economically feasible.
The Tanzanian government has been squeezing miners operating in the country for more cash.
However, yesterday Katoro said it believed it was worth sticking with the mine, and shares exploded 143.8 per cent, or 1.15p, to 1.95p.
The FTSE 100 wealth manager has increased its funds under management by an average of 17.5 per cent a year since 2006 and Deutsche believes its ‘remarkable track record can continue’. SJP shares rose 0.8 per cent, or 10p, to 1210p.
In the mid-caps, Electrocomponents soared after a whopping 32.7 per cent increase in profits to £168.6million and a 12.8 per cent rise in sales to £1.7billionn.
The electrical component distributor, often dubbed the ‘Amazon for engineers’, is planning a full-year dividend of 13.25p, up 7.7 per cent on last year.
In a separate announcement, the FTSE 250-listed firm announced the £88million purchase of IESA, which helps businesses reduce costs and inventory.
Henry Carver, an analyst at Peel Hunt, which increased the firm’s target price from 650p to 690p, said: ‘This has been another strong year for Electro and we are encouraged by the progress being made.’ Shares shot up 16.2 per cent, or 101.6p, to 730p.
A surge in passenger numbers sent Wizz Air shares flying. The budget airline carried 29.6m people in the year ending March 31, up 24.7 per cent on the year before.
Over that period, Wizz increased revenue by 24 per cent to £1.7billion and profit by 11.8 per cent to nearly £251million.
In a statement, Jozsef Varadi, the chief executive of Wizz Air, boasted the firm was ‘one of the most exciting airline businesses in the world’.
However, analysts believe the airline has made a rod for its own back following a string of impressive results.
In a note to investors, Investec said: ‘Wizz Air has had a very good year, but expectations were too demanding, such that its results are slightly below our forecasts and some way below consensus.’ Nevertheless, shares hopped 2.7 per cent, or 85p, to 3229p.
Property investment firm New River completed the £106.8million purchase of Hawthorn Leisure, which owns 298 community pubs. New River shares ticked up 1 per cent, or 3p, to 291.5p.
On AIM, online trading platform Plus500 wants to apply for admission to London’s main market. In a statement, the firm said: ‘A premium listing will provide a more appropriate platform for the continued growth of the group and further raise its profile and status.’ Shares motored ahead 3.8 per cent, or 62p, to 1682p.