Morning Financial Press Review 06/09/19
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -4 min read
06:39, 6th September 2019

Below are the key morning press headlines, featuring the The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here. (BOO) FOLLOW is on track to make more than £1 billion in sales for the first time after shoppers flocked to its website for cheap metallic bikinis and clingy summer dresses. The fast-fashion online retailer made an unscheduled announcement yesterday that its sales would be higher than anticipated, a welcome change for retail investors who have become used to profit warnings from the sector amid weakening consumer confidence. The company said that its performance in the first half had been ahead of expectations and it expects sales to be between 33% and 38% higher than last year, compared with its previous guidance of between 25% and 30%.

William Hill (WMH) FOLLOW announced that its chief digital officer will take over from Philip Bowcock as chief executive. The bookmaker said that Ulrik Bengtsson, a former chief executive of Betsson, an online gaming company listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, had been appointed chief executive designate and would replace Mr Bowcock at the end of the month. The departure of Mr Bowcock, 51, who will remain an employee until the end of December, comes as William Hill starts closing about 700 of its betting shops after the hit on profits from the government crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals, putting 4,500 jobs at risk.

Dixons Carphone (DC.) FOLLOW reported another slump in its loss-making mobile phone business but a boost in sales of fridges and game consoles helped the retailer to avoid another profit warning. The electricals retailer reassured investors in a trading update yesterday that its turnaround was on track and that it was sticking with its financial guidance, which boosted its share price. However, Dixons Carphone suffered a backlash from shareholders later in the day at its annual meeting. Almost a quarter of investors rebelled after ISS, a proxy adviser, recommended a vote against long-term share awards for Alex Baldock, chief executive, with a face value of £2.3 million.

Melrose Industries (MRO) FOLLOW said its revival of GKN was taking hold following its bitter £8.1bn fight to take control of the ailing aerospace and automotive parts manufacturer. Posting interim results, turnaround investor Melrose said it had boosted margins at the aerospace business, while managing to maintain profits at the car parts unit despite a global slump in the automotive industry. Melrose reported group headline revenue of £5.7bn, up from £2.8bn last time round. The increase reflected it swallowing up the much larger GKN 14 months ago, which propelled Melrose into the FTSE 100.

The boss of Redrow (RDW) FOLLOW came out in defence of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme as the housebuilder delivered record results for the sixth year running. The scheme has been criticised by many for boosting housebuilders’ profits while failing to solve the plight of first-time buyers struggling to get onto the property ladder. “There’s been lots of accusations of profits growing all off the back of Help to Buy,” said John Tutte, Redrow’s executive chairman. “That’s certainly not the case with us. “It might be the cherry on the cake but it’s not been the icing. We have driven growth in our business irrespective of Help to Buy. We’ve grown more because of it but we still would have had very commendable growth without it.”

Banks have been hammered by a rush of last-minute PPI claims that will cost them an extra £17billion. The deluge of compensation demands lodged before the August 29 cut-off date is expected to bring lenders’ total bill to more than £50billion. The previous running estimate was put at £36billion, with analysts saying the final cost was ‘well beyond people’s expectations’. As the Co-op Bank became the latest bank to warn of a late spike in claims, shares in Clydesdale Bank owner CYBG (CYBG)  FOLLOWcrashed by more than 21% after it revealed it had been hit with nearly 10,000 per day in the weeks before the deadline. It came just a day after state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) FOLLOW said it was having to lock away up to £900million more to cover the stampede of claims it was also facing.

The boss of transport giant Go-Ahead Group (GOG) FOLLOW has signalled potential interest in rival FirstGroup’s under-review UK bus arm as he revealed rail woes sent annual earnings tumbling. Speaking to the PA news agency, Go-Ahead chief executive David Brown said the group looks ‘at all opportunities that come along’ and is in the market for buying bus businesses that need turning around. While FirstGroup (FGP) FOLLOW has not decided if it will sell its UK bus business, it has confirmed aims to separate out the division and is reviewing options for ‘structural alternatives’, including a sale. Asked if Go-Ahead would be interested in FirstGroup’s bus business, Brown said: ‘We consider all opportunities. We are in the business of buying businesses on the bus side that we can turn around.’

North Sea-focused oil group EnQuest (ENQ) FOLLOW was boosted by news it has hired former BG Group operations chief Martin Houston as chairman from October 1. Enquest also said that it has chipped away at its debt pile, which stood at £1.3billion by the end of June, compared with £1.4billion at the same time last year.

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The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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