(Alliance News) - Magners cider maker C&C Group said Thursday it is seeking inclusion in the FTSE UK Index Series, following last year's acquisition of Matthew Clark and Bibendum. Since this acquisition from alcohol distributor Conviviality in 2018 for a nominal sum, a majority of the Irish company's revenue now comes from the UK.In order to become eligible for FTSE index inclusion, C&C will cancel its Euronext Dublin listing. However, it said it will remain domiciled and tax resident in Ireland, with its head office staying in Dublin.With a GBP1.21 billion market capitalisation in London, C&C would easily merit inclusion in the mid-cap FTSE 250 index.C&C, which also makes Bulmers cider and Tennent's beer, said it has seen a "solid start" to its current financial year, running to February 2020, with trading in line with market expectations."FY19 was a transformational year for the group," commented C&C Chief Executive Stephen Glancey. "The acquisition and subsequent performance of Matthew Clark & Bibendum contributed to earnings growth of over 20%. Reflecting the inherent strength of the C&C business today, our objective is to again deliver double-digit [earnings per share] growth in FY20. Thereafter, we will target EPS growth in a mid to high single digit range." Here is what you need to know at the London market open:
FTSE 100: marginally lower, 2.05 points, at 7,607.20
Hang Seng: down 0.1% at 28,825.01Nikkei 225: closed up 0.3% at 21,702.45DJIA: closed up 248.57 points, 0.9%, at 26,966.00S&P 500: closed up 0.8% at 2,995.82
GBP: firm at USD1.2572 (USD1.2564)EUR: flat at USD1.1281 (USD1.1284)Gold: down at USD1,413.94 per ounce (USD1,418.40)Oil (Brent): flat at USD63.10 a barrel (USD63.12)(changes since previous London equities close)
ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
Thursday's Key Economic Events still to come holiday US Independence Day. Financial markets closed.0900 BST UK SMMT vehicle registration figures1100 CEST EU retail trade
The UK government has been heavily defeated in the Lords over an Opposition call for a no-deal Brexit inquiry. Peers voted by 245 to 99, majority 146, to set up a joint committee of the Commons and the Lords to examine the costs and implications of leaving the EU without a deal. While having no legal effect, the vote could trigger a debate in the Commons on the impact of no deal before the summer recess.
The opposition Labour party has slumped to fourth place in a new UK opinion poll. The party is backed by just 18% of voters, two points down on a week ago, according to a YouGov survey for The Times. The Tories have climbed two points to stand at 24% while the Brexit Party is up one point to 23% and the Liberal Democrats also up one to 20%.
Iran will increase its level of uranium enrichment starting Sunday, President Hassan Rowhani said, a step described as the country's second phase in scaling back its adherence to the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. The deal capped enrichment to 3.67%. That level is sufficient for civilian nuclear activities - including electricity generation and medical research - but not enough to produce a bomb. At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rowhani said Iran would begin exceeding the limit. Experts say that in order for uranium to become "weapons-grade" it needs to be enriched to 90% or higher. US President Donald Trump tore into Iran, saying in a tweet on Wednesday: "Be careful with the threats, Iran. They can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!"
Three days after the US and North Korean leaders held a historic third meeting, Pyongyang's UN Mission accused Washington of talking about dialogue but being "more and more hell bent" on hostile acts. A press statement from the mission pointed a finger at US efforts to exert "overt pressure" and have the world's nations implement UN sanctions.
BROKER RATING CHANGES
GOLDMAN CUTS SPIRAX-SARCO TO 'SELL' ('NEUTRAL') - TARGET 7500 (6700) PENCE
MAINFIRST RAISES BURBERRY TO 'OUTPERFORM' ('NEUTRAL') - TARGET 2150 (1800) PENCE
COMPANIES - FTSE 100
AB Foods said sales in bricks-and-mortar retailer Primark picked up in June after a tough May. Group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks to June 22 was up 3% on a year ago at constant currency and 2% higher at actual exchange rates. Excluding sugar, sales were up 4% both at constant currency and actual rates. Sales at low-cost fashion retailer Primark were up 4% in the year-to-date at both constant and actual currencies, driven by increased selling space offsetting a fall in like-for-like sales. In the UK, the sales growth recorded in the first half continued in the third quarter, though like-for-like sales were held back by unseasonable weather in May. AB Foods added that it has seen an improvement in sales in June. The US continued to deliver "encouraging" like-for-like sales. AB Foods said that, overall, its annual forecasts are unchanged, expecting good profit growth at Primark and, on an underlying basis, in Grocery.
Persimmon said interim revenue slipped as the company focused on customer service initiatives. Revenue in the first half of 2019 fell to GBP1.75 billion from GBP1.84 billion a year before, as the number of legal completions fell to 7,584 from 8,072 while the average selling price edged up to GBP216,950 from GBP215,813. The lower level of completions was due to customer service initiatives via fewer sales outlets and later sales releases, the company explained. "I am pleased that there are some clear early signs that our focus on increasing the quality and service delivered to our customers is beginning to bear fruit, with some encouraging improvements being made right across the business," said Chief Executive Dave Jenkinson. He added: "We enter the second half with our build programme well progressed, healthy rates of sale on site and an encouraging forward sales position." Persimmon said it looked forward to the results of the recently commended independent review of its customer care operations.
COMPANIES - FTSE 250
Great Portland Estates said the second quarter has started well after "healthy" leasing activity in the first three months of its financial year. In the quarter to June 30, the company said it signed nine new lettings, generating annual rent of GBP2.2 million. Seven rent review were settled, while the company had twelve lettings under offer. "I am pleased to report continued positive activity over the first quarter with healthy leasing, excellent progress at our three committed development schemes, which are already more than 23% pre-let or under-offer, and further surplus equity returned to shareholders through our ongoing share buyback programme," said Toby Courtauld, Great Portland chief executive. "The second quarter has started well with encouraging levels of enquiries from prospective occupiers attracted to our brand of high quality, well located space," he added.
Wealth management firm Quilter confirmed it is considering a possible sale of its Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance unit as part of a strategic review. London and Johannesburg-listed Quilter - which demerged from Old Mutual in June 2018 - explained it was undertaking a "strategic review" of its "heritage" Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance business. Although no decision has been made, the firm did cite the possibility of a sale of the unit.
Energean Oil & Gas said it intends to purchase Edison Exploration & Production for USD750 million as initial consideration, with an additional USD100 million payable following first gas from the Cassiopea development, offshore Italy. Edison's portfolio of assets includes producing assets in Egypt, Italy, Algeria, the UK North Sea and Croatia, and development assets in Egypt, Italy and Norway. The enlarged group is expected to produce more than 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2021. Energean will fund the acquisition through a USD600 million committed bridge loan facility and up to USD265 million via a placing.
COMPANIES - INTERNATIONAL
Facebook said it was "back at 100%" Wednesday evening after an outage on all of its services affected users in various parts of the world. Online monitoring service DownDetector reported earlier the outage began around 1200 GMT and affected Facebook as well as its Instagram and WhatsApp services. "The issue has since been resolved and we should be back at 100% for everyone," the company tweeted at 0006 GMT Thursday, adding they were sorry for "any inconvenience. A Facebook spokesperson, also speaking on behalf of Instagram and WhatsApp, explained that a "routine maintenance operation" accidentally triggered a bug that made it difficult for users to upload or send photos and videos, US media reported.
NTT DoCoMo said it has partnered with LINE Pay and Merpay to make cashless transactions more widely available. In addition, the mobile phone operator said it will join an alliance of merchant stores established by LINE Pay and Merpay to further popularize cashless payments in Japan.
Thursday's Shareholder MeetingsJ SainsburyGreat Portland EstatesMcKay SecuritiesShires Income
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(Alliance News) - US-China trade optimism in markets gave way to doubts over the outlook for relations between the two, leading the FTSE 100 to slump nearly 70 points at midday on blue-chip index