Morning Financial Press Review 13/09/19
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -3 min read
06:43, 13th 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.

Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) FOLLOW is to extend its online partnership with Amazon as it reported disappointing sales compared with those in last year’s hot summer. Like-for-like sales fell 1.9% in the second quarter, against a 6.3% rise a year ago when they were boosted by the World Cup and royal wedding. The figure was better than expected, however, as was a 5.3% rise in pre-tax profits to £198 million in the half year to August 4. Ocado operates after a deal between the two companies while Morrisons products are also sold on Amazon, the US online giant, through a wholesale arrangement. Morrisons has now signed a multi-year agreement with Amazon, rather than its current rolling contract, and will expand its same-day delivery service to Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield and Portsmouth. The service is already available in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, parts of London and the home counties.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) FOLLOW, the target of a £32 billion bid from its Hong Kong rival, is considering moving its headquarters out of the Square Mile for the first time in its history. The business, which emerged from 17th-century coffee houses in the City of London, has appointed Make Architects to design an office on land it owns in Hackney, east London. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, which revealed its cash-and-shares tilt at its London rival on Wednesday, is understood to have contacted No 10 in attempt to head off a political storm over its proposal.

Trainline Plc (TRN) FOLLOW expects to rake in higher full-year revenues after the popularity of mobile tickets led to a surge in sales. The rail fare-selling website, which will join the FTSE 250 index later this month, estimates revenue will grow by more than 20% this year. This was up from a previous forecast that growth would be in the high teens. The firm also said turnover climbed to £129million in the six months to August 31, up 29% on the same period of last year. Trainline said this was down to an increase in sales of virtual tickets that are sent to customers’ mobile phones rather than printed out.

British American Tobacco (BATS) FOLLOW is cutting 2,300 jobs as it focuses on vaping under chief executive Jack Bowles. Around a fifth of senior roles at the cigarette maker will face the axe in the shake-up. BAT, which has around 55,000 employees worldwide, said the restructuring will make it a more efficient and simplified company with fewer, but larger, divisions. Major tobacco firms have been ramping up investment in new products such as so-called e-cigarettes, as health concerns and changing habits have led to a rapid decline of smoking in the West. Bowles, who has been boss for five months, said he wants to rapidly boost expansion in these products. But the proposal was overshadowed by President Trump announcing that his administration plans to toughen its stance on e-cigarettes after several deaths.

Botswana Diamonds (BOD) FOLLOW sparkled after a company in which it is invested edged closer to getting a mining permit in South Africa. Vutomi, in which Botswana Diamonds has a 40% stake, has been given environmental authorisation over an area of gravel next to a mine believed to contain sellable diamonds. Botswana Diamonds said it is a critical step towards getting permission to mine.

BP (BP.) FOLLOW plans to axe some of its oil projects and reduce investment in others in a bid to be more environmentally friendly, its chief executive has said. Bob Dudley said one way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions was to sell some of its most carbon-intensive projects, although he would not say which assets BP was targeting. Earlier this year shareholders voted to force BP to explain how it is aligning its operations with the Paris climate change agreement of 2015 by issuing a report on the matter before its annual general meeting in May next year. This puts senior managers under pressure to come up with solutions.

The online fashion retailer behind Jacamo and Simply Be has become the latest company to warn investors about a jump in potential payment protection insurance liabilities. Shares of Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) FOLLOW fell by 2½p to 108p after it estimated it would have to make an additional PPI provision of between £20 million and £30 million in its results for the half-year to the end of August. The group has so far paid out £108 million to settle claims, a figure that includes an additional provision of £22.6 million booked in the second half of last year to cover claims up to the August 29 deadline.

Hurricane Energy (HUR)FOLLOW  has earmarked the Lincoln Crestal well as a future producer after successful flow tests. Investors had cheered an update this week when the Aim favourite revealed it had struck oil at the site, the second in a three-well programme in the Greater Warwick Area, which bosses believe could hold up to 1.5 billion barrels of oil. After a couple of days of testing, Lincoln Crestal flowed at an average rate of 4,682 barrels of oil per day, peaking at almost 10,000. The well will be capped off until the new year, when it will be tied back to the Aoka Mizu floating production, storage and offloading vessel. “We are delighted with the results of the Lincoln Crestal well,” Robert Trice, chief executive, said. “We have confirmed the presence of light oil, which can be produced at commercial rates.” Light crude oil, which is less “sticky” than heavy crude, fetches a higher price on the markets because it produces more gasoline and more diesel per barrel when refined. Analysts at Berenberg described the results as “excellent”. Centrica (CNA) FOLLOW investors also had Hurricane to thank as the British Gas owner found itself climbing 2p to 74¾p. Its Spirit Energy subsidiary, which it is trying to sell, owns a 50 per cent stake in the Greater Warwick Area following its farm-in agreement this time last year.



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