Below are the key morning headlines from today’s papers, featuring the Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here.
Prospect of Brexit-free summer clears airlines’ shares for take-off. Airline stocks took off yesterday after Brussels agreed to postpone Britain’s departure from the European Union by six months, easing fears of disruption during the summer holiday season. Shares in , and the owner of British Airways, all rose. A so-called relief rally also helped domestically focused businesses such as housebuilders and banks. The latest delay to Brexit — until October 31, unless parliament approves a deal earlier — eradicated the risk of Britain leaving without a deal today. Industry leaders warned MPs not to squander the latest extension, lamenting the “serious damage” the process has already inflicted on the economy. The shares of tourism groups rose on the London market. , the German travel giant that also owns First Choice, enjoyed its best ever day of trading. Its shares were up by 8% or 59¼p to 775½p. Shares in ), the owner of BA, rose 30½p or 6% to 545½p while Easyjet was up 88½p or 8% to £11.44½. Thomas Cook Group gained 5% or 1¼p to 24½p.
Barclays urges investors to snub Edward Bramson’s ‘simplistic and flawed’ arguments for board seat. has urged investors to snub activist investor Ed Bramson’s overtures, arguing that his analysis of the bank was “simplistic and flawed” and he had little banking experience. The secretive investor, who owns more than 5% of the lender through his fund Sherborne Investors, this week urged Barclays investors to elect him on to the bank’s board next month. Mr Bramson said the issues facing Germany’s Deutsche Bank were a “cautionary sign” for the UK bank as both have “similar strategic weaknesses”. In a blistering response to the corporate raider, the lender said he “does not possess the banking experience and skills” necessary for a board seat.
Sports Direct launches share buyback with fresh swipe at Debenhams board. has announced a new share buyback that will return up to £15m to shareholders, while launching a further broadside at the directors of . The buyback equates to just under 1% of the total number of shares outstanding in Sports Direct and follows a larger £100m buyback launched by the company early last year. The move means that founder and chief executive Mike Ashley, who already owns 61% of the company, will marginally boost his control. Sports Direct has engaged Liberum Capital to conduct the buyback on its behalf.
Entertainment One signs music deal to tune of £178m. The maker of the PJ Masks and Peppa Pig cartoons is splashing out £178 million on a music publisher whose work has been used in hit television series including Bodyguard and Killing Eve. was finalising a £191 million share placing last night to fund the takeover of Audio Network, which licenses music to film, television and online video producers. It is the largest acquisition in Entertainment One’s near five-decade history, eclipsing the £140 million it paid for a controlling stake in the producer of Peppa Pig in 2015. The deal could mean life-changing payouts for Audio Network’s founders and senior staff. The company was established in 2001 by Andrew Sunnucks, 53, and Robert Hurst, 54, who were colleagues at Boosey & Hawkes, the classical music publisher. Their idea was to build a catalogue of songs and incidental music that could be licensed to film and TV production companies, sparing them the trouble of seeking permission from myriad rights holders.
Bullish lifts dividend with travel stores top of the pile. WH Smith’s statutory profits may have fallen but it said that it was in rude health as it upped its interim dividend. The newsagent and stationer said pre-tax profit dipped by 21% to £65 million even though group revenue jumped by 8% to £695 million in the six months to February 28. The group had booked £16 million of exceptional costs linked to its purchase of In Motion, an American travel rival, and a restructuring programme. At an underlying level WH Smith’s business performed solidly, particularly its travel divisions in airports and train stations, where its trading profit rose by 7% to £44 million on sales that were up 18% at £364 million. In a sign of confidence for the rest of the year, WH Smith said that it would increase its interim dividend by 8% to 17.2p.
Adhesive maker , which manufactures the sticky part of bandages and plasters as well as industrial tape and cable casing, rose after delivering record sales and profit. The healthcare side of the business did particularly well, helped along by two acquisitions. The industrials branch suffered from a slowdown in the car manufacturing and cable markets, but overall revenue was still up 7% to £311.8million.
cemented a £113million deal to acquire Dutch ironmongery business Polvo. Grafton’s boss Gavin Slark said the acquisition would increase the firm’s presence in the fast-growing Dutch market, and shares jumped by 50p, to 868p
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Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas (ECO) has released their results for Q2 2019 which featured a major oil discovery on its Orinduik license in Guyana and solid financials, including over £21 million in cash and cash equivalents.
SP Angel research note on commodities and miners, featuring: Bluejay Mining (JAY LN) 7.3p, Mkt cap £63m – Hudson’s White Mountain Anorthosite mine starts production this week in Greenland Hudson Resources (HUD CN) C$0.38/s, Mkt cap 68m Hummingbird Resources (HUM LN) 22.0p, Mkt Cap £77.8m – Interim results Katoro Gold (KAT LN) – Disposing of its Tanzanian gold projects Prospect Resources (PSC AU) – Power supply agreement for Arcadia
America’s biggest toymaker is to buy London-listed Entertainment One, A US House of Representatives committee has asked e-cigarette manufacturers to hand over details about the health impact of products, heaping renewed scrutiny on the popular devices
More waste could be sent to landfill in the UK after a no-deal Brexit, a major waste company has said. There are worries a no-deal outcome will disrupt the export of millions of tonnes of waste to facilities in the EU, so it will have to go to landfill.
The program was first launched in Mexico City in 2008 - using Symphony's plastic technology, Mexican-based Grupo Bimbo, the largest global baking company, tackles waste management with a clear mission: to make all packaging recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025.
Predator Oil & Gas provide a progress update on its CO2 EOR project in Trinidad. Galileo Resources discuss the final technical report and inferred mineral resource estimate for its Star Zinc Project. Chris Bailey covers Rank Group, Antofagasta & CRH Plc
SP Angel research note on commodities and miners, featuring: Altus Strategies* (ALS LN) 4.8p, Mkt Cap £8.5m – Proposed JV on Lakanfla and Tabakorole in Mali Anglo Asian Mining* (AAZ LN) 149.5p, Mkt Cap £171m – Comment regarding media article Ariana Resources (AAU LN) 2.175p, Mkt Cap £23.0m –Salinbas drilling and licence update Aston Bay Holdings* (BAY CN) $0.065, Mkt cap C$7.6m – Soil sampling underway at Buckingham Gold project in Virginia, USA KEFI Minerals* (KEFI LN) 1.0p, Mkt Cap £7.0m – Appointment of NED Rambler Metals & Mining* (RMM LN) 0.075p, mkt cap £12.3m – Lombard Odier convertible loan closes
Chairman Dr. Clifford Gross believes such growth was attained through the company’s “unique approach of acquiring and commercialising university IP innovations, coupled with providing a range of IP services continues to deliver strong returns on invested capital.”