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ANGLO ASIAN MINING PLC (AAZ.LN), a gold producer in Azerbaijan, said it sees a promising year ahead, after higher gold prices boosted its 2011 earnings by 60% and it slashed its debt, despite higher operating costs, a decline in production and a drop in ounces sold.
In addition, it said it has implemented exploration and development programs across its 1,962 square-kilometer portfolio of prospective copper and gold assets in Azerbaijan, in line with its strategy of building a company with multiple gold mines.
At 1430 GMT, Shares + a penny, or 1.5%, at 34.0 pence.
COVE ENERGY PLC (COV.LN) shares rose over 10% in early trade on hopes of a bidding war after it agreed a 240 pence a share offer from Thailand firm PTT Exploration & Production Public Company Ltd. which values it at GBP1.22 billion.
Last month, Cove had agreed a 220 pence a share offer from Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) unit Shell Exploration and Production (XL), which it has now withdrawn its recommendation of.
Cove shares +26 pence, or 11.6%, at 250 pence.
BTG PLC (BGC.LN), the U.K specialty pharmaceutical company, is looking to spend the roughly GBP40 million it has at its disposal on bringing in specialty, late-stage drugs that will help to continue its growth.
"We are constantly looking at adding to our portfolio" the company's Chief Executive Louise Makin told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview this week, adding that BTG would ideally like to stick with specialty pharmaceutical products.
Shares a penny, or 0.19%, at 364.6 pence.
SOLOMON GOLD PLC (SOLG.LN) shares fell after it posted a lower gold resource estimate for its Rannes project in Queensland, Australia, but said the deposit is now better defined, the estimate is more robust and it remains confident of reaching its target of defining a 2 million ounce resource.
Shares -0.25 pence, or 5.0%, at 4.75 pence.
HOGG ROBINSON GROUP PLC (HRG.LN), the U.K. travel, expense and data management services provider, said it has a strong pipeline of new business opportunities but expects trading conditions to remain challenging, as it reported an 18% rise in full-year profit.
Pretax profit for the year ended March 31 rose to GBP34.1 million from GBP28.9 million the previous year. Revenue increased to GBP374.2 million from GBP358.0 million.
Shares -2 pence, or 3.17%, at 61 pence.
OPTIMAL PAYMENTS PLC (OPAY.LN), a payment and money transfer services provider, said it has started 2012 strongly and is confident about its prospects and outlook for the rest of the year.
The company said its NETBANX Straight Through Processing, or STP, business has seen good growth in volumes processed in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2011, particularly from Asia, with a strong pipeline of business from both existing and newly signed merchants. The STP business now represents more than two-thirds of total revenue.
Shares + a penny, or 0.7%, at 72.0 pence.
ALLIANCE PHARMA PLC (APH.LN), a London-listed pharmaceutical company, said it sees a healthy pipeline of acquisition opportunities, as it reported a drop in turnover for the first four months of the year.
The company also said that discussions are underway in Ireland about changes to pricing, adding that it expects a move toward generic substitution which could impact sales of Nu-Seals, its low-dose aspirin.
Shares -0.1 pence, or 0.4%, at 28.75 pence.
HORIZONTE MINERALS PLC (HZM.LN), a Brazil-focused miner, said it has signed a tentative joint venture agreement for Magellan Minerals Ltd. (MNM.V) to earn up to a 70% interest in Horizonte's Agua Azul do Norte gold property, in return for a cash payment and the funding of exploration costs and a share of potential development costs.
Under the agreement, Magellan will have the option to earn an initial 51% interest in Agua Azul for $320,000 in cash staggered over a 36-month period, together with a minimum exploration expenditure of $1.5 million over the same period, including a minimum of 2,000 meters of drilling.
Horizonte shares -0.1 pence, or 1.4%, at 8.6 pence.
MEDICX FUND LIMITED (MXF.LN), a London-listed primary care infrastructure investor, said it has agreed to buy a new primary care medical centre in Kingston-upon-Thames, in southwest London, for GBP2.9 million.
The acquisition is due to be completed in November. The property will be let to one general practice on the basis of a 25-year lease, subject to three-yearly rent reviews to market value.
Shares +1.5 pence, or 1.9%, at 79.5 pence.
AVEVA GROUP PLC (AVV.LN), which provides engineering software for plant, power and marine industries, announced the acquisition of the Belgium and Germany-based Bocad group of companies for GBP14.0 million on a debt and cash-free basis.
"This acquisition further extends Aveva's position in the engineering and design market providing the most comprehensive 3D [three-dimensional] design software for plant and marine. We're excited about the opportunity to unlock the commercial potential for Bocad's leading technology in a number of markets in which Aveva already has a strong presence," said Chief Executive Richard Longdon in a statement.
Shares -50 pence, or 3.2%, at 1492.0 pence.
FTSE Small-Cap -0.8%
-By Jana Weigand, Iain Packham, Ian Walker and Simon Varcoe, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0) 20 7842 9296; email@example.com