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LONDON MARKET PRE-OPEN: S4 Capital buys in Brazil after strong quarter

Tue, 4th May 2021 07:49

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are seen opening higher on Tuesday following the long holiday weekend, as investors continue to monitor the Covid-19 health crisis in India.

In early company news, Centamin awarded contracts to build a solar power plant at its Sukari gold mine in the Egyptian desert. Martin Sorell's advertsing firm S4 Capital reported strong first-quarter results. Doorstep lender Provident Financial, pointing to a weekend press report, said the review of its Consumer Credit arm has neared completion.

IG futures indicate the FTSE 100 index is to open 19.79 points higher at 6,989.60. The blue-chip index closed up 8.33 points, or 0.1%, at 6,969.81 on Friday.

Centamin said it has awarded engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the 36 megawatt solar farm and 7.5mw battery-energy storage system at the Sukari gold mine in Egypt to juwi and Giza Systems.

Centamin said the Sukari solar plant is expected to reduce diesel fuel consumption at Sukari by an estimated 22 million litres per annum and lower carbon emissions by an estimated 60,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. The project is scheduled to be commissioned late in the first half of 2022.

"Centamin's decision to integrate sustainable solar power at Sukari is fully aligned with our commitment to responsible mining. It has enabled us to marry up our environmental stewardship philosophy with our strategic objective of maximising returns for all stakeholders. With phase one of the project near complete, including completion of the pioneering works across the 85-hectare site, concluding these definitive engineering, procurement and construction contracts was the next significant milestone in delivering the Sukari solar plant," said Chief Executive Officer Martin Horgan.

"Working with our partners we will deliver the largest hybrid solar project of its kind, which will reduce our fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from 2022 onwards," Horgan added.

Domino's Pizza Group said the sale of its entire shareholding in Swedish business PPS Foods AB completed on Sunday. Earlier this year, the pizza delivery chain had said it would sell the loss-making business for EUR2 million to a company controlled by Birgir Bieltvedt, the indirect owner of another Domino's franchiser, DP Norway.

S4 Capital said the strong rebound in global economic growth in 2021 and 2022 will drive 20% per annum growth in digital advertising, as the pandemic accelerates digital transformation.

The advertising firm also said it delivered a strong first-quarter performance.

For the first quarter to March 31, revenue rose 71% to GBP122 million from GBP71 million in the first quarter of 2020. Gross profit also increased 71% to GBP104 million from GBP60.7 million a year ago.

S4 Capital raised its like-for-like gross profit growth target to 30% from 25% previously.

In addition, S4 Capital announced a the acquisition of Brazil-based Raccoon Group, which will be combined with S4's MightyHive in a move to expand the capabilities of its data and digital media practice in Latin America.

Provident Financial said the operational review of its Consumer Credit Division is nearing completion and the outcome will be announced with the full year results, to be published on Monday.

Over the weekend, The Mail on Sunday reported Provident would close its its doorstep lending business and online lending business, Satsuma, leaving Provident to focus on its credit card business, Vanquis Bank, and its car finance operation, Moneybarn.

In the US on Monday, Wall Street ended mostly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% and the S&P 500 added 0.3%, but the Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.5%.

John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve's New York branch, predicted Monday the US economy would expand by 7.0% this year as it bounces back from the Covid-19 pandemic, its fastest rate since the early 1980s.

Williams also sent another dovish signal on monetary policy, saying the world's largest economy still "has a long way to go" and needs to see several months of strong employment growth to achieve a full recovery. He warned against the tendency to "overreact" to price spikes caused by the unique circumstances of the recovering economy this year, while predicting inflation would return to the central bank's 2% target in 2022.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.3% on Tuesday. Financial markets in Tokyo and Shanghai are closed for public holidays. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.5%.

"Asian equities are mixed this morning in a session still affected by the public holidays in mainland China and Japan. European and US futures slightly lower. UK futures are higher as they are catching up from the close yesterday," said analysts at Danske Bank.

The UK has agreed a GBP1 billion trade deal with India which the British government says will create more than 6,500 new jobs.

Around GBP533 million worth of investment into Britain will come from India, which includes GBP240 million of investment into vaccines by the Serum Institute of India. Around GBP446 million worth of export deals have also been agreed by the two nations as Britain looks for various agreements across the world having exited from the EU.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss future co-operation between Britain and India with regards to trade, health, climate and defence.

The UK government added that the partnership already agreed will double the value of British-Indian trade by 2030.

The trade agreement comes as India's coronavirus caseload topped 20 million on Tuesday as it struggled to contain a huge outbreak, in stark contrast to gradual reopenings in the US and Europe.

Rapid immunisation programmes in wealthier nations have helped suppress outbreaks, and the EU was even looking at allowing vaccinated foreign tourists into the bloc as early as next month.

The European Commission proposed Monday that travellers who are fully vaccinated with EU-approved shots - Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca - should be allowed to enter the bloc if they are coming from countries where Covid-19 is under control.

The pound was quoted at USD1.3873 early Tuesday, higher than USD1.3827 at the London equities close Friday.

The euro was priced at USD1.2036, flat from USD1.2035. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was trading at JPY109.35, up from JPY109.26.

Brent oil was quoted at USD67.51 a barrel Tuesday morning, higher from USD67.32 late Friday. Gold was trading at USD1,784.60 an ounce, up from USD1,768.81.

The economic events calendar on Tuesday has UK manufacturing PMI at 0930 BST.

By Arvind Bhunjun; arvindbhunjun@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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