Clipper Logistics (CLG) reveals rise in cigarette stockpiling ahead of Brexit. Cigarette stockpiling has surged ahead of Britain’s looming departure from the EU, transport and warehousing firm Clipper Logistics said on Thursday. Chief executive Tony Mannix told the Evening Standard: “Brexit has created a shadow and a number of our customers are building up inventory to prepare in case there are any import problems after March 2019. Tobacco is one of the biggest sectors we have seen stockpiling so far. That includes cigarettes and vaping products.” He would not name which customers. Mannix also pointed to higher demand from some UK clients to store more products in Europe to get to customers on the Continent faster. Clipper Logistics, which works with retailers such as Asda and Asos, posted a 14.1% jump in first-half revenues to £227.9 million. Pre-tax profits rose 16.9% to £9.3 million.
Insurer Beazley (BEZ) says it will lose £31m from damage in California wildfires. Insurer Beazley’s shares weakened on Thursday after it forecast a $40 million (£31 million) loss from the California wildfires which were raging in the US last month. The devastating fires have been the west coast State’s deadliest on record, with 85 people killed in the Camp fire alone. The blazes have also attracted significant attention from the world’s media as Hollywood celebrities, including singers Neil Young, Miley Cyrus and actor Gerard Butler, losing their homes. Moody’s has estimated total insured losses at between $10 billion and $15 billion but said losses would be “manageable” for the industry. The Beazley loss, which is net of reinsurance, is around 4% of its typical half-year losses but UBS pointed out it was at the high end of a $30 million to $40 million range.
Big boxes are thing of the past, says packager to Amazon. Packaging maker Smith (DS) (SMDS) on Thursday said the scourge of oversized cardboard boxes will disappear as online retailers phase in custom-printed packages. Chief executive Miles Roberts said his clients were “electrified” by a new machine that custom prints packaging on-site to fit the product dispatched. The FTSE 100 firm’s Made2fit, a 20-foot machine costing up to €1 million that prints packaging on-site, was launched last year and interest has been strong.
Curbs plan for TV gambling adverts puts bookies on back foot
Bookies were on the back foot on Thursday as a ban on betting adverts during live sporting events moved closer. The explosion of “in-play” sports betting has boosted the bottom line of leading bookmakers. But the proliferation of advertising around matches, often promoted by celebrities like Ray Winstone on behalf of Bet365, has led to political concerns over problem gambling and encouraging children to bet. The Remote Gambling Association’s Brian Wright said the group’s members were “not averse” to a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising, although no formal agreement has been struck. Traders took the news as a signal to sell, with William Hill (WMH) down 4%, or 6.8p, to 155.9p. The owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, GVC Holdings (GVC), also lost 4%, or 25.5p, to 697p while broadcaster ITV (ITV) sank 2%, or 2.8p, to 135.5p and Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) also dropping to 6500p at one point
Former Tesco bosses cleared as £250 million fraud trial collapses. One of Britain’s biggest accounting scandals came to a dramatic end on Thursday after two ex-Tesco executives were acquitted because of lack of evidence. In another embarrassing defeat for the Serious Fraud Office, the trial it brought over a £250 million profit black hole at grocery giant Tesco (TSCO) collapsed. A judge dismissed the charges of fraud and false accounting against Chris Bush, Tesco’s former UK boss, and John Scouler, an ex-commercial director, halfway through a retrial. The SFO unsuccessfully tried to appeal and overturn that decision over the past two weeks.