Investment company Vela Technologies PLC (LON:VELA) enjoyed a b9ounce, rising 5.9% to 0.09p after it negotiated an extension of the repayment date for its corporate bonds.

The repayment date has been extended by six months to August 2020.

Meanwhile, the board remains in discussions to pull of a corporate transaction, which it said may result in a substantial investment or somebody acquiring the company in a reverse takeover.

12.45pm: Hydrodec laid low by cash crunch

Industrial oil refiner Hydrodec Group PLC (LON:HYR) plummeted 3.25p to 7p after warning its performance for 2020 will be “materially lower than previous market expectations”.

The assessment accompanied a trading update for the year ended 31 December, where the AIM-listed company reported that its adjusted EBITDA loss had widened to US$3.2mln from US$1.2mln while revenues fell to US$11.6mln from US$14.9mln.

Hydrodec blamed the falling revenues on “working capital constraints”, which it added would also be reflected in its operating performance for the first quarter of its current year.

11.30am: Mosman Oil and Gas loses a third of its value as it raises funds

Mosman Oil and Gas Limited (LON:MSMN) plunged 37% to 0.16p after it decided to prioritise the Stanley project and similar assets in Texas.

The AIM-quoted oil junior also announced plans to raise £300,000 of new funds through a share placing to support this revised strategy. The placing price will be at 0.15p per share, with investors also receiving one warrant to subscribe for further new ordinary shares at an exercise price of 0.23p with a term of 12 months.

The group also revealed that, in due course, it will seek to exit and sell its interests in the Welch and Arkoma projects.

10.30am: More like Descent Resources …

Not for the first time, Ascent Resources PLC (LON:AST) failed to live up to its name, with the shares plunging 32% to 0.07p on Friday.

The shares have been a terrible investment over the last few years – they traded just below 2.5p in 2016 – and tumbled further this morning after the company proposed to raise £800,000 by placing shares.

The board room’s revolving door continues to spin with Louis Castro, the chairman, and Colin Hutchison, the finance director and former chief executive, stepping down from the board at the next general meeting, which has been called to provide authority to the directors to issue and allot adequate new ordinary shares on a non-pre-emptive basis and to vote on a reorganisation of the share capital.

It is proposed that James Parsons takes over as Ascent’s executive chairman. Parsons and the chief executive officer John Buggenhagen have each been awarded 1,385,894 three-year vest, five-year expiry options with an exercise price of 5p per share (or 0.05p if the proposed share price consolidation does not go through).

9.30am: Air Partner doing its bit in Wuhan

Air Partner PLC (LON:AIR) shares rose 6.1% to 75p in early trade on Friday after the company revealed it had evacuated 338 people from Wuhan.

Wuhan is the area of China where the coronavirus (COVID-19) broke out. Air Partner said the bulk of the people it had evacuated were British and European Union nationals. It also arranged transportation of 607 boxes of medical supplies to Wuhan.

Meanwhile, shares in Checkit PLC (LON:CKT), which surged yesterday following a trading update, rose another 3.36p to 35.36p after the executive chairman bought 2mln shares.

Keith Daley paid an average price of 32p per share for the stock, the purchase of which lifted his stake in the technology group to 17%.

The company also noted that the Elektron 2012 Employee Benefit Trust is no longer considered by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers to be in a concert party with Daley and Checkit non-executive director John Wilson – who together control roughly 18.1% of Checkit’s shares.

Proactive news headlines:

Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) (NASDAQ:VRNA) said the results from a successful phase IIb clinical trial of its drug for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Respiratory Research carried the data from Verona’s four-week, 400-patient study first released in 2018. The results showed the company’s drug, ensifentrine, produced a clinically and statistically significant improvements in lung function at all doses.

SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) has kicked off the drilling of the Salah (SD-6X) well at the South Disouq project in Egypt. The well will be drilled down to a depth of 9,000 feet and it is expected to complete in late March or early April.

Europa Metals Ltd (LON:EUZ) said the independent geotechnical study of its Toral project in Spain has been completed. The study confirmed the cut and fill method, rather than sub-level stoping, as the best method for the mining model.

Chesnara PLC (LON:CSN) said Peter Mason has retired as chairman of the life assurance and pensions management firm. He has been replaced by Luke Savage, a highly experienced company director who was the chief financial officer of Standard Life Aberdeen PLC from 2014 to 2017; before that he was the director of finance and operations at Lloyd’s of London.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) is ploughing a further US$1.5mln into Kalahari Metals, giving it just over 62% of the Botswana-focused copper explorer. The natural resources investor will also receive a 2% net smelter royalty over Kalahari’s seven wholly-owned licences.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) has received results of due diligence drilling at the Salinbas gold project in Turkey carried out by its proposed partner at the site, Proccea Construction. The AIM-listed explorer said assay results from 600 metres of due diligence drilling had shown “good correlations” with its own drilling results at the site.

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has confirmed it has now closed the initial subscriptions into its new Bahamian mutual fund, receiving around US$914,000 (c£700,000). The fund was set up exclusively to enable investors in the Bahamas to invest in the company’s exploration campaign in the islands. Subscriptions into the fund were priced at the equivalent of 2p per underlying BPC share which was the market price at the time, early January.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO), a company focused on providing specialised services to the pharmaceutical industry, said that four of its directors have acquired ordinary shares in the company, all at 4.56p per share. It noted that three non-executive directors – Rolf Soderstrom, Dr Jim Esinhart, and Ian Johnson – all purchased 10,000 ordinary shares, while its chief operating officer, Lewis Cameron acquired 10,910 shares.