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SMALL CAP MOVERS: Tech guru Akers on the prowl with Red Leopard in tow

Natural resources-focused Red Leopard has endured a difficult few years, during which its share price has collapsed from upwards of a penny to just a tenth of that value.

The downturn in the mining sector contributed to ever-widening losses and, for quite a while, it was in a dark hole that no one was sure it would climb out from.

Things seemed to have turned a corner this week though, with the stock more than tripling to hit 0.2p – a level not seen since the summer of 2015.

Natural resources company Red Leopard has had a difficult few years

The reason for the sudden uptick is a top-down restructuring at Red Leopard.

The company’s shares are (obviously) back trading on AIM now after it found a new nominated adviser, while a new non-exec has been drafted in and new investment found.

Serial investor and entrepreneur Chris Akers – of Audioboom and Concha fame – has pumped in £250,000 of his own money and Red said he’ll help identify investment opportunities as it moves forward.

It is likely to be a tech asset, according to one market participant who knows Akers well.

His job became a little bit easier once the company revealed it had rid itself of its one and only asset – a zinc and silver project in Idaho – giving him a clean, empty shell.

However it also puts Akers on the clock as Red Leopard is now an AIM Rule 15 cash shell and must make an acquisition if it wants to continue trading.

Jubilee Platinum’s share price rise was a little easier to explain as it gained more than 40% to trade at a three-year high of 6.52p.

The explorer had cause for celebration after the Tjate platinum project in South Africa, in which it has a large stake, was awarded a mining permit.

The execution of the right is a significant milestone in the development of the project, which means the Tjate Platinum Corporation can now start mining and processing all platinum group metals (PGMs), as well as chrome, nickel, copper, gold and various other minerals at the site.

Platinum company Jubilee Platinum has had a good week

It wasn’t one-way traffic and there were a couple of big fallers this week too.

Plutus Powergen shed almost half its value towards the end of the week after telling investors that regulator Ofgem’s plan to cut peak-time payments to local embedded generators could “cause significant harm to the UK’s industrial sector”.

Even house broker took the unusual step of downgrading the stock to ‘hold’, saying the proposed move would put “key income streams at risk”. Despite a rally on Friday, the stock was still down 41% for the week to 1.46p.

Online gaming group Webis Holdings was another casualty despite the fact its interim results suggested things seem to be moving in the right direction.

But increased sales and decreased losses weren’t enough to convince investors though, with lower margins cited as one of the main causes for concern. Shares tumbled 38% to 1.64p over the course of the five days.

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible week for the junior market. The FTSE AIM All Share gained 0.5%, or 5 points, to stand at 913 come Friday afternoon, although that wasn’t enough to get another one over its big brother, the FTSE 100.

The blue chip index, buoyed by Donald Trump’s speech on Wednesday, finished the week strongly and gained 1.6%, or 1.6%, to finish the week around the 7,356.

Trump’s speech to Congress helped equities markets this week

Another of those helping to drag the junior index higher was Purplebricks.

The online estate agent has enjoyed a strong start to 2017 and managed to build on last week’s surge by posting another 20%+ rise in its share price this week.

As you might recall, the company announced last Wednesday that the US is next on its hit list and it raised £50mln at the going rate in less than 24 hours to fund the expansion.

One firm that couldn’t quite keep with its recent sharp uptick was SerVision. The live mobile video streaming group soared last week after it raised US$2mln at a 280% premium.

The stock fell off by more than 5% to 4.2p, although the share price is much healthier than this time last month; 65% healthier to be precise.

While SerVision raised funds at a significant premium last week, media company Milestone Group lobbed out shares at a deep discount.

The firm raised just over £75,000 after it issued shares at 1.5p – the same price it had previously (and unsuccessfully) tried to place them at last year.

While that would’ve represented a decent premium, the same company that took 5mln of those shares, also subscribed for 30mln shares at 0.1p, which is the lowest price at which Milestone can issue new shares.

The net result was the group effectively received 0.3p for each share. Unsurprisingly then, the market value followed suit and more, slipping by almost a third over the week to 0.25p.