Soaring small caps: Fintech firm Tintra, gas storage project Harland & Wolff and Cornish Metals

Tintra was one of the big winners on AIM this week as the lottery software company took another step towards its transformation into a banking technology provider.

The company, which has undergone various reinventions since floating on the junior market as The Weather Lottery in 2006, saw its shares surge 54 per cent to 103.4p after saying it has signed a deal to set up a joint venture to develop artificial intelligence investment and research tools.

Following a name change from St James House in the summer, Tintra now says its aim is to build an ‘open, integrated banking capability’ for frontier and emerging markets, which it believes are currently underserved by the financial industry.

Transformation was also in effect in the oil and gas sector, showing one man’s crisis is another man’s success, as the rise in energy prices leads many investors to reappraise London’s legion of producers and explorers. 

Transformation was also in effect in the oil and gas sector, showing one man’s crisis is another man’s success, as the rise in energy prices leads many investors to reappraise London’s legion of producers and explorers.

Several companies also lit a fire under their own shares, with positive news updates over the course of the week.

Amid the growing concerns about the UK’s gas supplies, the Islandmagee gas storage project off the coast of Northern Ireland was given the green light, boosting shares for new licence holder Harland & Wolff Group, which could eventually hold over 25 per cent of the UK’s storage capacity. 

The shares jumped 38 per cent to 24.5p.

Providing an extra boost for itself, Zephyr Energy PLC said it will start drilling next week at its flagship project in the Paradox Basin in Utah and expects to move onto production testing within a week. 

The shares climbed 11 per cent over the week to 7.46p.

On Friday, Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd jumped 15.8 per cent to 8.64p after revealing ‘very encouraging’ preliminary results on Friday from the Velkerri 76 S2-1 well in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin in Australia.

Several other facets of the wider commodities world are also sparkling, including gold.

Oracle Power’s shares glittered 20 per cent brighter at 0.47p after it completed the first phase of drilling at the Northern Zone gold project in Western Australia.

Caledonia Mining reported a second consecutive quarterly record of gold output from the Blanket mine in Zimbabwe and narrowed its production guidance for 2021 towards the upper end of its previous range, sending its shares climbing 9 per cent to 1,020p.

Topping them both was Cornish Metals, which jumped 26 per cent to 14.83p after announcing the boardroom appointment of mining engineer Stephen Gatley, a mining engineer who was general manager at the group’s South Crofty when previous owners closed it down in 1998. 

Tin prices have also been one of the best performing among metals this year.

Greatland Gold was one of the big small cap mining stories of the week as a pre-feasibility study of its Havieron project pointed to all-in sustaining costs of just US$643 per ounce. 

After the 1,000 per cent rise since the start of 2020, some profit-taking knocked the shares back 16 per cent to 18.3p.

Moving from the mines and into the lab, there was a big moves early in the week for Reneuron Group after it unveiled data that provides ‘clear pre-clinical proof-of-concept’ that its exosome drug delivery technology can effectively deliver therapeutic proteins to the specific region of the brain affected by neurological diseases. The shares were up 10% at 119.75p over the week.

Progress for Arecor Therapeutics PLC came in a patent dispute with GlaxoSmithKline, with the AIM-listed company advancing 7% to 417p after its European patent on polysaccharide vaccines was successfully upheld following an appeal by the FTSE 100 giant. Polysaccharide vaccines are known to degrade and lose potency over time but Arecor’s novel compositions prevent such degradation.

In retail there were winners and losers on the junior market, with Shoe Zone PLC among the former as the footwear seller reported solid sales despite stores being closed for 16 weeks during lockdown. Its shares skipped 15% higher to 77.22p.

Angling Direct PLC leapt 11% to 74.25 as the fishing tackle and equipment retailer said it expected full year earnings to be ahead of market expectations at no less than £5mln and that it is setting up a new European distribution centre to further expand across the Channel.

On the other side of the coin, former ‘king of AIM’ Asos PLC fell further in the ranks after parting company with chief executive Nick Beighton and warning that revenue and profits will be less than expected in the current and coming years.

More than £300mln was wiped off the online fashion retailer’s market valuation on Monday but the shares recovered a little to finish the week down 2.5% at 2,349p.

There was another boss departing with immediate effect at Carr’s Group PLC, a small cap on the main market, which dropped 10% on the day but over the week reduced this to a 2% decline to 151.75p as Hugh Pelham stepped down just nine months or so after taking the top job.

Over the week, the FTSE AIM All-Share index climbed 1.2% to 1,226.83, while the FTSE All-Share rose 1.8% to 4,120.69.