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STOCKS TO WATCH: Gemfields to set up sapphire mine in Madagascar

STOCKS TO WATCH: Gemfields to set up sapphire mine in Madagascar to complete ‘holy trinity’ of precious stones, boss Sean Gilbertson says

Gemfields is setting up a sapphire mine in Madagascar to complete its ‘holy trinity’ of precious stones, boss Sean Gilbertson tells us.

The miner and Faberge-owner already produces more than half the world’s new rubies at its site in Mozambique and a third of all new emeralds from its project in Zambia. 

It has been hunting for sapphire sites in Ethiopia for some time, but is now actively looking in Madagascar. 

Precious: Gemfields has been hunting for sapphire sites in Ethiopia for some time, but is now actively looking in Madagascar

Gemfields is keen to strike a deal soon for an area of land where it could start officially exploring for gemstones and build a mine. 

The price of coloured stones has soared and has hit record highs in recent years, outpacing the growth in diamond prices. 

Gilbertson, who famously listed the company on AIM on Valentine’s Day in 2020, says: ‘As soon as there’s an opportunity, we will be going.’

‘Robust’ trading update for Moonpig

Moonpig had a ‘robust’ trading update last week, say analysts at investment bank Jefferies. 

Annual sales guidance for the year to the end of April 2022 was raised to £300 million on the back of a resilient performance through Covid restrictions and beyond, including a more vibrant Mother’s Day. 

That endorsed Jefferies’ ‘buy’ rating and a price target of £4.10, though that was lower than the previous £5.10. 

Analyst Andrew Wade called the update ‘about as positive as we could have expected’. 

Surely that’s worth a thank you card from the boss.

Mulberry share structure stumps City veterans 

City veterans are stumped by the share structure of AIM-listed fashion play Mulberry. 

The handbag firm is 93 per cent owned by its two biggest shareholders – the Singapore billionaire Ong family and (you guessed it) Mike Ashley. 

Former chairman Godfrey Davis owns another 2 per cent, leaving a free float of less than £10 million. 

The shares barely move from one month to the next despite volatile markets. Maybe a safe bet, even if one jaded stock picker describes it as ‘another Ashley mystery’. 

But surely one or other of the big investors has to make a move at some point? 

Or maybe regulators should move to spirit this glacial stock off the public markets? 

Tesco shares down less than rivals 

Tesco has had a good run recently, if only because its shares are down just 8 per cent since the turn of the year. 

That compares with 11 per cent for Sainsbury’s and 36 per cent for the only other food retailer on the market – although one that also has a large clothing business – M&S. 

Chief executive Ken Murphy’s arrival in 2020 has been well received so far at Tesco. 

But when the supermarket unveils its full-year results on Tuesday, the market will be looking for signs that he can keep the company ahead of its main rivals and, at the same time, outpace inflation. 

Good luck Ken.   



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