SMALL CAP MOVERS: Argo Blockchain falls further

SMALL CAP MOVERS: Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain falls further; Battery maker Invinity Energy Systems surges

Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain had a wild week on the AIM market.

Shares were suspended last Friday when the company inadvertently published a test page on the its website that implied it was filing for bankruptcy.

While a spokesperson assured shareholders that Argo ‘has not filed for bankruptcy at this time’, the statement did concede that it might have insufficient cash to support its ongoing business operations within the next month, although it is in advanced negotiations with a third party to shore up its balance sheet.

Argo Blockchain shares have fallen today, adding to last Friday’s losses when the bitcoin miner inadvertently published a test page on its website that implied it was filing for bankruptcy 

Come Friday morning, ARB shares were down nearly 50 per cent since the suspension. That may sound bad on paper, but it speaks more to dire market conditions than Argo’s specific business operations.

The crypto mining sector has been absolutely pummelled in 2022, with tumbling bitcoin prices and soaring energy costs shaking up a deadly macro cocktail.

Bitcoin mining might appear to be an esoteric sector, but its revenue model is simple: generate revenue through minting new bitcoins by expending a ton of energy to power the massive banks of computers that perform the mining functions.

So it should come as no surprise when the sector takes a hit on soaring energy costs and plummeting bitcoin prices.

Is there a way for Argo and its competitors to claw their way out? Sure! But it all depends on whether peak energy inflation is behind us, and whether the bottom has finally been reached on the bitcoin market.

Argo, though was not the biggest faller of the week, that badge fell to Trackwise Designs, which saw its shares plunge 81 per cent on a heavily discounted fundraising plans that would see the AIM-listed group raise an initial £5.15million.

In a statement, Philip Johnston, Trackwise chief executive said it was ‘a matter of deep regret that we have found ourselves forced to come to the market on these terms’.

Advertising platform Dianomi, was another slider, down 12 per cent in response to the group’s latest trading statement while peer Mirriad fell more than a quarter on Wednesday following the group’s latest trading statement.

Revenues for the year are expected to fall between £1.52million and £1.75million, Mirriad said, slightly short of market expectations, pending a number of late deals which may be won and delivered before the year end.

AIM’s top 100 shares also had down week, shedding around 1.1 per cent to 3,926 though this was slightly better than Footsie, which gave up 1.2 per cent.

Some companies did see some pre-Christmas cheer. 

In the mining segment, Oriole Resources surged 35 per cent, catalysed by news that the Africa-focused exploration company had delivered a first-ever JORC mineral resource estimate for its gold prospect at Bibemi in Cameroon.

JORC is the Australian mining industry standard for reporting exploration results.

In a statement, chief executive Tim Livesey said ‘We are very pleased to have delivered an initial JORC mining resource estimate of significant size in a cost-effective manner and within such a short timeframe, despite the impacts of the covid pandemic.

‘This was the first drilling ever carried out at Bibemi and it clearly demonstrates the massive opportunity that exists in this underexplored region.’

Oriole’s rally brought its market value up to £4.4million.

Also on the up was construction safety firm Billington Holdings, which soared 30 per cent after forecasting full-year pre-tax profits would be significantly ahead of previous expectations.

The company said trading has continued to improve since it reported half-year results in September when it highlighted a strong order book at improving margin levels and a significant pipeline of opportunities.

Invinity Energy Systems meanwhile jumped 17 per cent after announcing the sale of a 1.5 MWh flow battery system to Hyosung Heavy Industries.

The AIM-listed global manufacturer of utility-grade batteries said the sale was an important next step in the formation of its global partnership with Hyosung, first details of which were announced in April.