A $US20m ($30.2m) indirect investment from a fund led by American software magnate Bill Gates is enough to get investors excited in a stock.

Lithium explorer Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) by default rocketed nearly 70 per cent this morning after an indirect investment from the entrepreneur in its US partner, Lilac Solutions.


The two companies are working on a tech to extract lithium while allowing the lithium-less brine to be sent back underground. It does away with the need for large lithium ponds.

And Gates’ $1bn Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund dropped a tidy $US20m into Lilac via a Series A funding round.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which was founded by Gates in 2015, invests in emissions-cutting start ups. Over the years it has welcomed cashed up investors like Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.

Lake managing director Steve Promnitz said the investment was “quality, third party validation in Lake”.

“This is a great vote of confidence in Lake’s strategy from known successful investors to use direct extraction methods to provide high-purity lithium,” he said.

Lake will provide brine samples from its Kachi project for Lilac to use in a pilot-scale ion-exchange module. It is anticipated the first large samples will be produced late next month.


In other ASX corporate news today:

Half-yearly reports continued to land on the ASX this morning. While a few companies stood out there was only one substantial jumper.

Grooming product retailer Shaver Shop Group (ASX:SSG) announced a $7.9m profit after tax, a spike of 16 per cent, off the back of $107.5m in sales. While only 17.5 per cent of its sales were online, this was up 61 per cent. Of all the companies reporting results this morning, Shaver Shop jumped the most, climbing over 16 per cent.

Financial services group Yellow Brick Road (ASX:YBR) turned a $34m loss in the prior corresponding period to a $3.97m profit. The company credited expense control and a restructure of its business model.

Its peer Australian Financial Group (ASX:AFG) reported a profit after tax of $17.7m, a 20 per cent increase from the prior corresponding period. It reported residential settlements of $16.9bn and return on equity of 34 per cent.

Chairman of broker Bell Financial Group (ASX:BFG) Alastair Provan declared 2019 had been another successful year. The company booked calendar-year revenue of $254m and a net profit after tax of $32.4m, up 33 per cent from 2019.

Regional bank MyState (ASX:MYS) made a profit of $15.1m. It also banked $48.2m in net interest income, and both figures were a modest increase from the prior corresponding period.

Homeware retailer Adairs (ASX:ADH) announced record levels of sales and profitability. It made $178.9m in sales and a net profit after tax of $15.7m.

Health and skincare vendor BWX (ASX:BWX) made $84.1m in revenue and a profit of $4.2m. These figures were 23 per cent and 63 per cent higher, respectively, than the prior corresponding period. BWX said it was on track to meet its full-year guidance for revenue and earnings growth.