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Ian Pollard – Sirius Minerals #SXX Sharks Out On A Feeding Frenzy

Sirius Minerals SXX Short selling against Sirius hit a record high last week as it tried to secure funding for its huge potash mining project in North Yorkshire. Sirius hoped to raise £2.4bn by April but in September it warned that it would need to raise an additional £400m.. Last week it issued its fourth quarter update and the sharks started a feeding frenzy led by. hedge fund Citadel, which  is one of the top six short sellers to disclose a position against Sirius. Last week Sirius became one of the top 10 most shorted stocks in the UK, with 12.36pc of its shares on loan. Other famous names to join the feast included JP Morgan Asset Management and Och Ziff . Meanwhile the Telegraph reported that Citidel founder Ken Griffin last week “snapped up” a Grade II listed mansion near Buckingham Palace for £95m, and “just days later” paid a record $238m (£182m) for a New York apartment. As for the shares they have halved in value since September from a high of 38.7p to Fridays closing price of 19.87p and it seems there may be little prospect of an improvement despite the huge potential.

TI Fluid Systems plc TIFS expects to report revenue of approximately €3.5 billion for the year ended 31 December 2018. On a constant currency basis, revenue growth is expected to exceed growth in global light vehicle production by approximately 3.0%. Full year results are expected to be in line with the expectations announced in the third quarter up date but as a result of strong second half cash generation adjusted Free Cash Flow for the full year is now anticipated to exceed expectations.

Minds & Machines Group Limited MMX updates that for the year to the end of December domains under management grew by 37% to over 1.81 million. Operating EBITDA for the full year is expected to be marginally ahead of market expectations. “The CEO says that strong sales in quarter 4 allowed management to deliver on its strategy of transforming MMX into a stable, growing, cash generative business and that the significant momentum  created last year has continued into the early part of 2019.

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Ian Pollard – Singles Day at Primark

Alibaba invented Singles Day as a shopping celebration for the unattached as opposed to the romanticism of Valentines Day. It is now the world’s biggest online sales event, exceeding the combined totals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yesterday saw sales hit a record $1bn in 85 seconds and the total spend for the day came in at $30.8bn, a 27% rise on last year. UK High streets were probably closed for the day unable to think of anything to celebrate and Primark no doubt steadfastly maintaining that online sales damaged its business.

PS; I remember when Archie Norman became boss of ASDA, he introduced a singles night, so that the unattached could exchange erotic glances with each over  the frozen peas. It was in the nineties on a Thursday night and was very well attended. Oh for the sound of trolleys gently bumping into each other.

Diageo DGE  has agreed to sell nineteen brands to Sazerac for $550 million. The net proceeds of approximately £340 million, after tax and transaction costs, will be returned to shareholders through a share repurchase. Completion is expected early in 2019.

Babcock International Group BAB confirms that it strongly refutes the contents of a report issued by Boatman Capital which so far has ensured that it remain anonymous and untraceable. The report included many false and malicious statements and the Group is continuing to seek to discover the identities of those behind Boatman Capital. Babcock is currently delivering 128 contracts for the UK Government. Underlying earnings are in line with expectations and the outlook is confirmed for the financial year ending 31 March 2019.

Amur Minerals AMC admits that the completion of the Pre Feasibility Study has taken longer than initially expected and that the  delay has caused concern. The release of the PFS is now scheduled for Q1 2019. AMC believes that the additional time taken to address points which are of interest to a number of potential partners has greatly enhanced the quality of the content of the Pre Feasibility Study and allowed for the creation a document that more readily meets their expectations. 

Sirius Minerals SXX announces a significant milestone for it in the completion of its major construction procurement programme to support its stage 2 senior debt financing process. Final lender commitment letters are expected to be received in December and January  and  the Company is targeting quarter 1 2019 for the financial close of stage 2 financing.

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Brand CEO Alan Green talks Bacanora Lithium #BCN, Salt Lake Potash #SO4 & Great Portland Estates #GPOR on Vox Markets podcast

Brand CEO Alan Green talks Bacanora Lithium #BCN, Salt Lake Potash #SO4 & Great Portland Estates #GPOR with Justin Waite on the Vox Markets podcast. Interview is 8 mins 17 secs in.

Balfour Beatty transforming itself

Balfour Beatty BBY is increasing its interim dividend by 33% to 1.2p per share after underlying operating profit for the six months to the 30th June more than tripled from £11m to £39m, as the transformation of the company continues. Underlying revenue rose by 8% at constant exchange rates, profitability is rising and orders from the US and the UK are strong.

Sirius Minerals SXX announces that excellent progress has been made during the last six months in the development of the Woodsmith Mine and its associated infrastructure. Highway works have been completed and commencement of shaft sinking is now eagerly awaited. Worldwide interest in future supplies of POLY4 remains strong.

Lookers LOOK claims and excellent set of results for the half year to the 30th June with growth across all areas of the business and the interim dividend is to be increased by 10%. On a like for like basis profit before tax rose by 14% and earnings per share by 15%

Hochschild Mining HOC suffered from the volatility of precious metal prices during the first half of the year  and saw profit before tax slump from $60.3m to $39.9m. The outlook for the second half is that it is still on track to deliver its full year record production target of 37m silver equivalent ounces. An interim dividend of 1.38 cents has been declared.

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Sirius Minerals SXX Set to Soar After Planning Approval

SXXLast night Sirius’ planning application for a potash mine in the North Yorks Moors National Park, was finally given the go ahead after an all day hearing.  The planning committee’s approval brought to an end years of argument and tension as to whether the project was so exceptional that it should be allowed despite the fact that it is in one of the countries most loved National Parks.

This is not just any old potash mine. It is huge. It will create a thousand jobs in an area which is desperate for work. It is one of the worlds largest deposits of potash and all the production will be exported, helping to bring life back to  towns in the north east. For one project It will make a massive contribution to the UK’s balance of payments.

The decision by a majority of 8 – 7, was touch and go but it now means that the shares of Sirius, which were suspended yesterday morning, should be set to soar as soon as the suspension is lifted this morning, bringing to an end the long period of mixed doubt, despair and hope for the long suffering shareholders. Over the last few weeks the shares have declined from 24p to yesterdays pre suspension level 15.5p, as doubts grew about a successful out come for the application.

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Sirius Minerals SXX – The Planners Disgrace

SXXThe members of the NYMP planning committee are complete amateurs. They have no experience and they have no qualifications which would enable them to reach a decision even about the erection of a garage. They are all  appointees, political or otherwise, who have managed to avoid upsetting the people who matter. Yet here they are entrusted with reaching a decision on one of the countries most important planning applications of the last decade.

And that is why they employee highly paid planning experts to advise them. And what have these experts done – firstly they have abrogated their prime responsibility of advising the committee. Secondly they have let it be known for weeks in advance and almost proudly, that their recommendation would be an open one – in other words it would not be a recommendation at all, it would not constitute advice for which they could be held responsible if it were wrong, or praised if it were right.

And they have failed in their duties because they have found, as experts, that there are no “exceptional circumstances” to justify the granting of the application, which means that as a matter of law, it must be refused. So why are these so called experts afraid to say so. Why are they falsely pretending that their decision is an open one when it was their duty to advise the committee to issue a refusal. Why have they not taken and published legal advice as to the consequences of their findings and made sure that the committee has the benefit of that legal advice.

The answer is probably quite simple. They were too weak willed to be seen giving the advice which they are being paid to give because it would have upset one side or the other and they preferred to claim they were sitting on the fence – so that nobody could be upset with them.

Unless the committee has guts ( and which committee does) the committee will, in similar fashion pass the buck on the 30th June and refuse the application so that they can leave it to somebody else to make the decision, perhaps in a year or twos time, if we are lucky.

If the committee had any sense ( and which committee does) it would have called for the heads of the planning officers who have sought to so mislead t hem ( but being a committee, it won’t)

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Where Are They Now – The Golden Oldies of 2010 (1)

The simple answer is, that as with Amur Minerals (AMC), mentioned in a separate post ten days ago, some of those golden oldies of 2010 which promised to make shareholders rich overnight, are showing definite signs that hopes and expectations may, given enough time,  begin to bear fruit.

Sirius Minerals (SXX) has already stirred itself and risen from 6p in 2014 to a dizzy 24p only last week. Sirius is waiting for the planning decision to be announced for its huge potash mine on the North Yorkshire Moors, which if granted will transform not only the company but the North Yorks Moors and employment prospects in the region. The date for determination of the planning application has been fixed for the 30th June and if the committee needs more than  a day, then the 31st has also been set aside, as has an additional overflow room in which the crowds will be able to see the meeting on a video feed.

For those with a good sense of timing, Sirius has been a good money spinner ever since 2009, when the sp was 15p, tumbling to 2p in 2010 and then soaring back up to 32p and a nasty looking double top in 2012 before the plunge to 6p in 2014. Even earlier today it was down as much as 15% on last Fridays close.

The main problems for Sirius are twofold. Firstly planning law requires that applications of this nature must be refused unless there are exceptional circumstances and for politicians, being politicians, this is a thorny issue. Secondly there is a fairly strong voice against any development of this sort in a very beautiful national park – a bit like Wordsworth and his views on the construction of the first railway line through the heart of his beloved Lake District.

As against that are the employment needs not just of the immediate area but of the region as a whole – because potash has to be shipped and it would be shipped worldwide – in ships – so there promises of jobs for the old industrial towns along the east coast. Whichever way they jump, the local worthies on the planning committee are going to be unpopular with one or other section of the community.

This could be a tight run race but the steady recent rise in the shares is an indication that investors are beginning to gamble on the application being granted.

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