Weekly Brief 13th March 2020

Welcome to the Weekly Brief – your whistle stop tour of the week that was.

The week began with the Indian festival of Holi, a tradition that celebrates love, happiness, and the arrival of spring – although it might not seem like spring is here in rainy Britain. Two days later we had Budget Day in the UK then fast forward to the end of the week, and today some readers might be lucky enough to be enjoying the Cheltenham Festival.  Punters be warned – it might not be the best day to bet the ranch: amidst all the panic loo roll and hand sanitiser buying, you may have missed that today is Friday the 13th, the second of the three to occur this year. But while Friday 13th may bring with it centuries old legends of bad omens, at least it marks the end of the working week and the start of the weekend! Hurrah! And to set you on your way have a read of the news our clients have put out this week…


Client News:

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX: MXC) announced the first patients have begun treatment this week in the Phase II Clinical Trial in partnership with the University of Notre Dame Australia in Perth, evaluating the effects of CogniCann® in treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The Trial is looking to confirm the clinical efficacy of the drug (CogniCann®) and determine the therapeutic individual dose response. Results of the trial are conservatively expected by the end of Q3 2021.

Armadale Capital Plc (AIM: ACP) announced positive results from an Improved Mine Plan, which incorporates a staged ramp up to 500,000 tonnes of processed ore per annum after two years and to 1 million tonnes ore after four years at its 100% owned Mahenge Liandu graphite project in Tanzania.  This anticipated production profile increases production output by 100% compared to the March 2018 Scoping Study and is anticipated to significantly transform Definitive Feasibility Study economics currently being finalised.  Crucially, significant further upside remains as this Improved Mine Plan is based on less than 25% of the Resource over a mine life of 17 years.

Oracle Power Plc (AIM: ORCP) noted the strong support for the development of a mine and 1,320MW power plant, in addition to a coal gasification plant, at the Company’s 100% owned Thar Block VI Project in Pakistan, as highlighted in a letter from the Minister of Energy for the Government of Sindh to the Chairman of the CPEC Authority.  The Company will shortly submit the final LOI application documents to the Private Power and Infrastructure Board and a Joint Investment Agreement and Shareholders Agreement will be drafted is expected to be signed in mid-2020.

United Oil and Gas (AIM: UOG) has appointed Rockhopper Exploration Plc CFO Mr Stewart MacDonald as a Non-Executive Director of the company.  The appointment follows United’s recent acquisition of a 22% interest in the producing Abu Sennan field in Egypt from Rockhopper.  The deal was part settled in shares and as a result, Rockhopper now holds 18.5% of United.  Under the terms of the transaction, for as long as Rockhopper has a stake of 10% or more, it is entitled to appoint a director to the Board of United.  A win win all round, as United stands to benefit from Mr MacDonald’s intimate knowledge of Abu Sennan and his experience in Egypt.

Board moves at Europa Oil and Gas (Holdings) Plc (AIM EOG) this week.  In comes current co-CEO of Reabold Resources Stephen Williams as a Non-Executive Director and out goes Roderick Corrie who is stepping down after 12 years of service.  The change also prompted the appointment of Brian O’Cathain, who has been on Europa’s Board since January 2018, as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director. Mr Williams come with a great track record at Reabold, where he has overseen the building of a diversified portfolio of investments in the UK, Romania and the US and the company’s participation in nine wells, eight of which resulted in discoveries.

You may have missed…

Colin Firth’s production company Raindog Films received investment with BFI to expand into streaming content.

Tesco has sold its Asian Lotus chain in a £8billion deal.

The second person in history has been cleared of HIV.

HSBC’s gender pay gap his 47.8%.

No or low alcohol beer sales are up 30% since 2016.

Recent surveys show Britain misses its empire more than other colonial powers.


Friday the 13th is shrouded in superstition and bad luck, inspiring secret societies, novels, and horror films, but have you ever wondered why it has such a bad rep?

One of the most obvious origins is the Last Supper: attended by 13 people on Maundy Thursday before Judas betrayed Jesus Christ which led to his crucifixion the following day – Good Friday. This gave rise to the Christian superstition that 13 guests at the table invites death. Similarly, in Norse mythology, a dinner party for 12 gods was destroyed by the 13th god, Loki, who plunged the world into darkness after shooting the god of joy, Balder.

The number 13 alone is considered unlucky due to its imperfection in the natural and numerology world: 12 months in the year, 12 zodiacs, 12 hours for half a day, 12 day of Christmas and 12 disciples, 12 gods of Olympus and 12 labours of Hercules. Despite us all looking forward to Fridays, it has long been seen as the unluckiest day of the week. In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales he says: ‘on a Friday fell all this mischance’, and was known as Hangman’s Day in Britain. The pairing of the two superstitions has led to Friday the 13th as being branded as the unluckiest day – also perhaps due to its novelty, as the longest our calendar can go without one is 14 months, and the most that can occur in a single year is three.

It also can find its roots in Medieval Times when King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of Knights Templar on (you guessed it!) Friday 13th October 1307. Some unfounded claims were made against the Catholic crusaders by an excommunicated member and gave King Philip the opportunity to persecute them (conveniently allowing him to seize their wealth) and burn them at the stake. The Grand Master of the knights cursed those that persecuted them whilst burning: ‘God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death’ – and cursing all Friday the 13ths with bad luck thereafter.

Of course, the association between the number 13 and the devil led to its association with witches who were sad to have 13 members in a coven – and thirteen women were executed for witchcraft in the New England witch hunts of 1647-63 before the Salem trials took place.

The superstition is so widespread that fear of the date is called Paraskevidekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia. One of the most famous people that suffered from this phobia was former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was mildly superstitious and would never start an important trip on a Friday and would avoid sitting at a table of thirteen, if he could avoid it.

In pop culture, it gained its infamous status after Thomas Lawson’s novel Friday, the Thirteenth from 1907, telling the tale of a stockbroker who deliberately crashes the stock market on the date. It reached the peak of its infamy in 1980 when the Friday the 13th movie franchise begun with its main villain Jason inspiring Halloween costumes, merchandising, TV shows, and video games decades on. And in the Harry Potter series, the divination teacher Sybill Trelawney refuses to sit at a table with 12 people: ‘Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!’

People’s superstitions have a strong effect: most buildings will not have a thirteenth floor marked (91% of New York buildings), hotels will skip out the thirteenth room, and planes are unlikely to have a thirteenth row. It is estimated that there is a routine loss of $700-900million in revenue on Friday the 13ths with people being more cautious buyers, and stock prices tend to fall as well. Flying is of course much cheaper on Friday the 13th as people tend to avoid it. And of course, some tragic events have occurred on this fateful date such as the 1940 bombing of Buckingham Palace, Tupac’s death, and the Andes plane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. However, let us not forget that there is a silver lining: it means the start of the weekend!


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