Trainline on the right track with new commission charges31 Mar 2022 09:16
31 Mar 2022 Trainline on the right track with new commission charges
A look at the major movers on the London market on Thursday Trainline PLC -
Trainline PLC (LSE:TRN) shares are steaming ahead as the company reached an agreement over the amount of commission it receives for selling rail tickets.
After a review by the rail industry, Trainline and other ticket sellers said they would cut commission rates by 0.5% to 4.5% but offsetting this, industry costs will fall by 0.25% meaning an overall reduction in Trainline's take of 0.25%.
But given this is a relatively small reduction overall, Trainline shares are up 19.54% at 236.92p.
This agreement will take effect if the retailers cannot agree new contractual terms with the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators.
Chief executive Jody Ford said: "This is a step forward in providing greater certainty to Trainline. It allows us to invest further in product innovation and marketing to encourage more people back to rail. We are committed to continuing to work constructively with the Rail Delivery Group and the government to reach agreement on a future retail framework that works for the customer, the industry and rail retailers like Trainline."
S4 Capital lost more than a third of its market value after Sir Martin Sorrell’s advertising business issued a notice saying that its auditor had not been able to sign off on its results just hours before they were due to be published.
The London-listed group said on Wednesday afternoon that PwC had informed the company it was unable to complete “the work necessary” for S4 Capital to go ahead with a planned release of its preliminary full-year results on Thursday morning.
“As a result, [S4] will release its preliminary results for 2021 as soon as PwC have completed their work,” the company said, adding that it expected its 2021 results to “remain within the range of market expectations”.
S4’s share price fell by just under 35 per cent after the statement.
The company, which had spent Wednesday preparing for its results to be released the next day by arranging media and analyst calls, appeared to have been blindsided by PwC’s decision.
It is the second time this month that S4 has delayed its results. On March 1, the company said PwC had requested more time to complete its audit “because of the impact of Covid and Omicron on travel and resource allocation, particularly in the Netherlands”.
Sorrell, who launched S4 in 2018 following his acrimonious departure from WPP, declined to comment beyond the company’s statement.
PwC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Big Four accountant has audited S4’s accounts since the financial year ending in December 2018.
Delays in audit sometimes indicate disagreement between management and auditors. Increased regulatory pressure and fines on UK auditors have resulted in auditors becoming more selective about the clients they work for and asking more questions of company management before they sign off the accounts.
One analyst, who declined to be named, said it was unusual for an auditor to let a company know it would not sign off its results the evening before a planned release.
“It clearly sounds very suspicious, but it could be a minor thing — we just don’t know,” the analyst said.
S4 is the second PwC client in the UK to announce a delay to the publication of its accounts this week. Randox, the Northern Ireland-based medical diagnostics company, said on Tuesday that its audited accounts would be released later than planned because PwC and its own finance team had been affected by Covid-related absences.
Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday said negotiators had made “substantial progress” in peace talks with Ukraine, but Kyiv cast doubt on the assertion saying the Kremlin was still insisting on unacceptable Ukrainian territorial claims.
Sergei Lavrov told Russian state media that he saw “positive movement forward” in the talks taking place in Istanbul, though they were “not yet the final result”.
He said Ukraine’s negotiators “confirmed the necessity to ensure Ukraine’s non-nuclear, [neutral] status and its security outside of Nato” and “understand that the issues of Crimea and Donbas have been settled for good”.
But Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, said Kyiv was only willing to discuss the final status of Crimea and Donbas — southern and eastern Ukrainian regions where Russia has annexed territory — once Kyiv “restores its sovereignty over them”.
Lavrov’s comments were the latest in a series of declarations by Moscow signalling Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, had scaled back his ambitions in Ukraine after a more than month-long invasion that has been stymied by fierce Ukrainian opposition.
The US and its western allies have cast doubt on Moscow’s claims to be substantially refocusing its offensive on Ukraine’s eastern border regions with Russia, calling it a “repositioning” rather than a “real withdrawal”.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby on Wednesday said the US believes Russia is repositioning just a “small percentage”, about 20 per cent, of the forces it had positioned around Kyiv.
He added that while those troops are moving away from Kyiv, and some have entered neighbouring Belarus, none are heading back to their home bases — a signal that Russia may not be committed to a sustained withdrawal.
“If the Russians are serious about de-escalating?.?.?.?then they should send them home,” Kirby said.
Reports from Ukrainian officials on Wednesday that Moscow was continuing to bombard neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv further undermined Russian claims that it was reducing its activity in the region.
“Kyiv is still very much under threat,” Kirby said.
Still, Russia’s defence ministry on Wednesday continued to emphasise that it was withdrawing from population centres in Ukraine’s north and west, including Kyiv. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesperson, said Russia was conducting a “planned rotation” near Kyiv and Chernihiv after “achieving all the main tasks” in Ukraine’s north.
Konashenkov also said the Russian military was moving into the “final phase” of its operations in eastern Ukraine, a move aimed at focusing on “operations in priority theatres and?.?.?.?complete the operation to fully liberate the Donbas”, the mostly Russian-speaking border region in eastern Ukraine.