Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:14:55 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Amanda Staveley reportedly eyeing up US$400mln bid for Newcastle United ]]> Amanda Staveley’s rumoured interest in snapping up Premier League football club Newcastle United from Sports Direct International PLC (LON:SPD) boss Mike Ashley seems to be firming up.

Whispers have been circulating ever since the Yorkshire-born businesswoman attended a match between the Magpies and Liverpool – another club she’s been linked with in the past – earlier this month.

A confidential source quoted by Reuters has today said that Staveley, through her PCP Capital Partners investment firm, is mulling a possible £304mln (US$400mln) bid for the club.

Eccentric billionaire Ashley, who officially put Newcastle up for sale earlier this week, is said to want nearer to £400mln (US$527mln).

PCP Capital acts on behalf of investors in the Middle East and China, where Staveley has a wide network of connections, and is one of four potential bidders for the club, according to the FT.

The investment firm is perhaps best known for its role in keeping Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) afloat during the 2008 financial crisis, when Staveley and co acted as an intermediary between the bank and a group of Abu Dhabi investors.

It is claimed that PCP values the Premier League outfit at around £300mln, with another £150mln or so needed to invest in new players over the next couple of years.

Newcastle haven’t commented specifically on this morning’s reports, but the club has made clear it would listen to offers that would be capable of “delivering sustained investment” and helping the team achieve their top-flight ambitions.

Newcastle have been relegated, and subsequently promoted, twice during Ashley’s ten-year reign.

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:56:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Opportunities aplenty for value investors' ]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:05:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Carney has a strong case to raise rates’ ]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Lidl UK to open new warehouse in Peterborough as it continues rapid expansion ]]> Lidl UK plans to open a new warehouse in central England as part of its expansion plans in Britain as the discount grocer continues to take market share away from major supermarkets.

The company said it would create 500 jobs with the new 754,000 square foot regional distribution centre in Peterborough.

It will be its 15th and largest warehouse in the country but Lidl will first need to obtain planning consent.

The expansion is part of Lidl’s strategy to invest £1.45bn in Britain in 2017-18. 

Lidl and fellow discounter Aldi have been taking market share away from the UK’s so-called Big Four, including J Sainsbury plc (LON:SBRY), WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW), Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) and Asda.

In August, Lidl overtook Waitorse to become the UK’s seventh largest supermarket chain with its market share rising 0.7% year-on-year to 5.2%, according to date from Kantar Worldpanel.

Lidl is owned by Germany’s Schwarz retail group and launched its business in the UK in 1994. It currently trades from 670 stores.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:18:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Iran and Spain weighing on markets ]]> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:40:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD founders set for big payday as Footasylum unveils plans to float on AIM ]]> The two founders of JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) and their families are set to net a tidy windfall after announcing plans to float their latest high street venture, Footasylum, on AIM.

No specific details of the listing were given in this morning’s statement, but previous reports had suggested an initial public offering (IPO) valued at up to £150mln.

The Footasylum sale – pegged for next month – will lead to a big payday for David Makin and John Wardle who own 10% of the company. Makin’s three children own the other 90% of the business which is run by Clare Nesbitt, his daughter.

Wardle and Makin pocketed around £45mln after they sold out of JD Sports – which still bears their first initials – back in 2005.

Makin used his chunk of the proceeds almost immediately to set up Footasylum and was joined three years later by his former business partner.

 Footasylum, which generated underlying earnings of £11.2mln on revenues of £147mln last year, focuses on premium ‘on-trend’ footwear and apparel and stocks brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike and Adidas, as well as several lines of own-brand products.

There are currently 60 stores across the UK but it plans to use some of the funds from the IPO to more than double that figure to 150, targeting between eight and ten new openings a year.

Cash will also be spent on improving the company’s digital offering over the next three years as part of a broader upgrade of its IT systems to support growth.

"We are thrilled to be announcing our intention to list on AIM. This is a logical next step in Footasylum’s upward trajectory as we seek to build on our exciting product-led, multi-channel expansion strategy,” said chief executive Nesbitt.

“We pride ourselves on being a dynamic, adaptive and fast-moving business with a strong competitive position, a great stable of third party and own brands, and a disciplined approach to delivering sustainable growth.

“We see substantial opportunities ahead across our retail, online and wholesales channels, and believe that we have the people, products and strategy to realise them.”

Assuming the float goes as planned, former JD chief executive Barry Brown will join the board as executive chairman next summer when John Wardle retires from the role.

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:26:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Vauxhall to cut 400 jobs at Ellesmere Port factory amid falling sales ]]> Vauxhall is putting 400 jobs at its Ellesmere Port car plant on the chopping block in an effort to lower costs after dismal sales.

The carmaker will brief workers at the site, which has nearly 1,800 employees and produces about 680 Astra vehicles a day, today.

The jobs are expected to go by Christmas, largely via voluntary redundancies.

A spokesman for the company said Vauxhall is "facing challenging European market conditions” as demand for traditional family cars, such as the Astra, falls in favour of trendier SUVs.

The decision to cut jobs comes after Peugeot and Citroen owner PSA Group bought Vauxhall earlier this year. PSA said manufacturing costs at the Ellesmere Port were much higher than those of similar plants in France.

PSA insisted the move was not related to Brexit but future investments in the plant were on hold until negotiations on the UK’s future with the European Union became clearer.

Brexit and the pound

Carmakers in the UK are concerned that Brexit will result in tariffs and trade barriers on British cars exported to the EU, which could hurt demand.

PSA said a weaker pound since the Brexit vote has also raised the costs of importing components.

“The company has every confidence in the capability and skills of the Ellesmere Port workforce to deliver the necessary improvements in financial performance,” PSA said in a statement.

“Once it has enough visibility on the future trading relationship with the EU, and the plant competitiveness has been addressed, the company will be in a position to consider future investments.”

PSA boss Carlos Tavares had previously assured the UK government and Unite union that jobs would be protected and production at Ellesmere would be assured until at least 2021. He had also said manufacturing of the Vivaro van in Luton would be guaranteed until 2025.

Unite said it would not comment on job losses until it had spoken to shop stewards at Ellesmere Port today. 

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:38:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘More pound volatility on the way after deadlocked Brexit talks’ ]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Not convinced another US rate hike is on the cards’ ]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Brexit has started a snowball effect' ]]> Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - M&S and Tesco ready meals supplier Bakkavor to float on London Stock Exchange ]]> Bakkavor, the supplier of ready meals to UK supermarkets, plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in early November.

The company, whose customers include Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS), Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) and Waitrose, aims to raise about £100mln to pay down debt and fund investment in the business.

The group will float about 25% of its capital on the LSE in a deal that could value it at up to £1.5bn.

Major shareholders to sell down stakes

Icelandic founders Agust and Lydur Gudmundsson will sell down some of their 59% stake as part of the initial public offering (IPO).

US hedge fund Baupost, which owns the remaining 41%, will also sell shares.

Both parties will remain “significant shareholders” after the IPO.

Bakkavor said it accounts for 30% of the UK market for freshly prepared meals and is the UK’s biggest maker of hummus.

The company, which employs 19,000 people and has 26 factories in the UK, reported pre-tax profits of £63.1mln last year and revenues of £1.76bn.

Agust Gudmundsson, who will remain chief executive, said: “This IPO will enable us to continue to invest to ensure we create value for all investors and stakeholders, and bring more great tasting food to our customers.”

The Gudmundsson siblings were forced into a debt-for-equity swap in 2010 that reduced their stake after the business was hit by the financial crisis in 2008. They teamed up with Baupost last year to take back control.

Glenveagh Properties begins trading on LSE

Irish housebuilder Glenveagh Properties has also launched an IPO and expects to raise €550mln. Its shares started trading on the Dublin and London Stock Exchange this morning.

The IPO marks Ireland’s second-largest since the financial crisis amid a housing slump in the nation.

Since the property crash a decade ago, Ireland has seen a sharp rise in house prices and rents on the back of a recovery in the construction sector.

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:08:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Co-op makes formal takeover offer of £143mln for Nisa ]]> The Co-operative Group has made a £143mln formal offer to buy convenience grocery chain Nisa.

Nisa said its board has unanimously recommended the takeover bid to its 1,400 members, who will vote on the deal in November.

The offer includes £137.5mln for buying the total shareholding of Nisa, plus the payment of associated deal costs of up to £5.5mln. Co-op would also take on Nisa’s existing debt of £105mln.

The acquisition is subject to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Under the offer, Nisa shareholders would receive an equal initial payment, deferred share payment payable over three years, along with additional rebates payable over four years.

Co-op plans to retain Nisa as a standalone business and brand.

Nisa’s shopkeeper members will also be given the opportunity to continue to work independently while having full access to Co-op’s product range and the option to apply to become a Co-op franchise.

Nisa says Co-op takeover is in members' best interests

"While the business has made significant strides in recent years, we firmly believe that the combination with the Co-op is in the best interests of our members," said Nisa chairman Peter Hartley.

"The Co-op offers the right blend of buying capability, convenience expertise, and respect for the heritage of our business, to enable our members to fully thrive in this new partnership.”

Nisa restarted talks with the Co-op after J Sainsbury put discussions on its own takeover offer with the convenience chain on hold until the CMA has ruled on Tesco's £3.7bn takeover of Booker in late October.

READ: Sainsbury's shelves planned Nisa takeover over competition concerns

“Over the past three years, Co-op Food has been completely transformed through a convenience-led focus on delivering great value products for our members and creating real value for them and their communities," said Jo Whitfield, Food chief executive of Co-op.

“Co-op and Nisa have achieved so much on their own to support local communities, but together I believe we can go from strength to strength."

Co-op to improve market share on Nisa deal, says Cavendish

Cavendish Corporate Finance's Jonathan Buxton believes the offer will allow Co-op to increase its market share and push back against the discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl, which are gaining ground in the grocery sector.

"Through this offer, Co-op is likely seeking to increase efficiencies within their operations and adapt to changing consumer demands," he said.

"Consolidation of this kind allows grocers to invest in companies which will dispel inefficiencies in the supply chain and enable them to absorb more price hikes, preventing a further loss of market share to discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl.

"We expect to see more acquisitions of this nature from the big four as they compete not only with each other, but also the tech giants, like Amazon, which are encroaching on their markets."

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:30:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Sterling still headed for US$1.40’ ]]> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - TI Fluid Systems revives IPO plans in latest show of confidence in markets ]]> Car parts manufacturer TI Fluid Systems Limited has revived plans to list its shares, a year after it shelved its original plans because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

The Oxford-based firm said today it is looking to raise around €425mln from floating at least a quarter of its shares, giving it an implied market value of around €1.7bn.

That would represent a fall from the €2bn or so private equity group Bain Capital shelled out for the company back in 2015.

This time last year TI – which makes fluid carrying and delivery systems for cars – cancelled its initial public offering plans, when it had been expected to raise around €600mln.

The change of heart is the latest sign that companies are sensing a little more optimism from the markets.

Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties is expected to start trading on AIM later this month, as is Alpha Financial Markets Consulting PLC – which expects to raise around £125mln from the listing.

They continue the recent hot streak which has seen several companies join the junior market.

Business-to-business app management firm appScatter Group PLC (LON:APPS) raised £9mln when it floated last month, while biotech Destiny Pharma plc (LON:DEST) raised £15.3mln when it listed on around the same time.

There have been a couple of biggies recently as well. Kettle controls maker Strix Group PLC (LON:KETL) raised a hefty £190mln when it joined the junior market in August, while investment group Warehouse REIT PLC convinced investors to part with £150mln at the end of August.

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:49:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: China ‘another growth opportunity waiting to happen’ ]]> Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Tesco on Booker situation; Morses Club, and DFS downgrade ]]> Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:37:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Alpha Financial Markets raises £125mln ahead of AIM float ]]> Wealth management consultant, Alpha Financial Markets Consulting PLC (LON:AFM), will join AIM later this month having raised £125mln ahead of its listing.

Some £35mln of the funds are new money for the company while £90mln will go to major backer Dunedin, which will no longer have any stake in the group.

At a float price of 160p, Alpha will have a market value of about £163mln.

Alpha specialises in advice on all aspects of investment fund and wealth management offices through operating systems, data, processes and the back and front-end functions.

Revenue has grown to £43.6mln this year from £6.7mln in 2011.

A new phase 

Euan Fraser, Alpha’s chief executive, said: "Today's announcement marks a very exciting new phase of Alpha's journey as a leading consultancy to the asset and wealth management industry.

“We are absolutely delighted at the strong response to the placing and the recognition from investors of the significant opportunities we have for continued global growth.”

Fund managers are being squeezed by regulatory requirements such as MIFID, rising costs, technology change and continuing consolidation. 

Shares will list under the ticker AFM on 11 October. 


Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:15:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Dutch firm TMF Group announces plans to list in London with €340mln share offering ]]> Dutch business services firm TMF Group has announced plans to list in London with a share offering to raise €340mln, around US$399mln slated for November.

TMF, which provides financial, legal and staffing administrative services to multinational businesses globally, said it aims to float at least 25% of the company's shares next month, giving it a market capitalisation of around €1.4bn.

The group said proceeds of the offering would be used to pay down net debt in order to reduce its leverage to approximately 2.5 times underlying earnings (EBITDA).

TMF, which has been owned by DH Private Equity since 2008, saw its adjusted EBITDA increase by 9.5% to €69mln in the first half of 2017, on revenue of €283mln, up from €256mln a year earlier.

The listing would be one of the biggest on the London exchange this year - Russian firm En+ and British Virgin Islands firm J2 also announced IPO plans today.

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:06:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Merlin Entertainments to bid for Seaworld; WH Smith downgraded ]]> Thu, 05 Oct 2017 11:13:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Catalan independence, Tesco, and Eagle Eye Solutions ]]> Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:15:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Dow records, bottlers, Greggs, and Purplebricks ]]> Tue, 03 Oct 2017 11:32:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Airlines on Monarch collapse; housebuilders on Help to Buy ]]> Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Trump tax reforms, ITV upgrade, London Capital Group discussed ]]> Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:47:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Dollar rally on Trump, Fed; Barclays boost; TalkTalk downgrade ]]> Thu, 28 Sep 2017 13:02:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: FTSE up as sterling eases; Dyson electric cars, easyjet electric planes ]]> Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:54:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: North Korean sabre-rattling, Carnival Corp and eve Sleep ]]> Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:07:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Merkel and Macron, Unilever deal, and Imagination Tech takeover ]]> Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:22:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - More price-cutting sees Aldi UK’s profits fall for third straight year ]]> Profits at the UK and Ireland division of Aldi fell for a third year in a row as the German discounter continued to slash its prices in response to efforts from its supermarket rivals.

Aldi and fellow German chain Lidl have led the wave of price-cutting in recent years that has driven down the margins of the likes of Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY), Asda and WM Morrisons PLC (LON:MRW).

READ: UK supermarkets sales up by over 3% for sixth month, with Tesco again leading the ‘Big Four’

The so-called ‘big four’ have fought back with price reductions of their own and moving away from multi-buy promotions.

With the traditional supermarkets chopping down prices, Aldi has been forced to do the same in order to maintain its value proposition.

While constantly trimming its prices is good for its market share – it’s now the fifth largest supermarket in the UK – it makes things challenging on the bottom line.

For the year ended 31 December 2016, operating profits at Aldi’s British arm fell to £211.3mln, down from £255.6mln in 2015.

That was despite a 13.5% rise in total sales which came in at a record £8.74bn, largely driven by an aggressive new store opening programme.

READ: Lidl now UK’s seventh biggest supermarket, but ‘Big Four’ led by Tesco also seeing sales growth

There are currently 726 Aldi stores up and down the UK and Ireland, although it plans to have more than 1,000 within five years’ time.

“The fact that more and more customers walk through our doors every day of the week gives us the confidence to carry on investing,” said Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland.

The strong performance looks to have continued into 2017, with Aldi noting that like-for-like sales were “strongly positive” in 2016 and had accelerated this year.

The grocer added that it spent around £450mln last year on adding new stores and improving its distribution centres, which takes its total investment in the UK to £2bn since 2012.

It expects to invest a further £459mln in 2017 and said its future capital expenditure plans are “entirely unaffected” by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:01:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Sterling yo-yos after stultifying but "opaque" Brexit speech by Theresa May ]]> Sterling initially dropped sharply and stocks, conversely, jumped higher after UK prime minister Theresa May gave a speech in Florence today purportedly setting out her vision of how the UK will leave the EU.

The PM said the Brexit negotiations ahead would be challenging, but it was in the interests of both sides that they succeeded. She said she is looking for a new and bold partnership and added that a Canada style model or EEA (European economic area) deal would not cut it.

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital called the speech a "bit of a dud". He said it was "as expected, a bit opaque, thin of detail and offered no new fundamental direction." 

The analyst added: “Officially the government is now advocating a transition period, and that the UK will keep paying its subs, but this had all largely taken as read. The key difference seems to be that Britain is no longer pushing for a bespoke transition deal, which ultimately kicks Brexit down the road by two more years, but it also is more likely to be acceptable to the EU and suggests we will see a smoother exit and this ultimately may prove positive for sterling.”

Sterling slid to session lows, with cable - sterling/US dollar - dropping nearly a cent to under US$1.35 as the market decided at first that the speech moved negotiations no further forward.

Once May stopped talking, however, the pound bounced back to $1.356, trading almost flat on the day.

Wilson said: “What’s interesting and why perhaps the pound is now recovering firmly is that the UK now seems to be heading for Brexit not in 2019, but in 2021.”

He added: “If the UK retains single market and pays its bills until then, arguably, it’s Brexit in name only. The shift should placate the softer Brexit voices in the cabinet to some extent and may help spur further sterling gains.“

A time of  'implementation"

A key takeaway from the speech was the much-flagged transition period, which May called a time of  'implementation" after the official date the UK is due to leave on March  29, 2019.

This, she said, would reassure people and businesses that there would be no harsh end to the UK's membership.

During this period, the UK  would still have access to the single market, and there would be some kind of regisitration period on the immigration side.

However, the Prime Minister did reiterate what she had said in her Lancaster House speech earlier in the year, that exiting the EU did mean leaving the single market and the customs union.

During the implementation phase, the UK would honour its financial commitments to the EU while it was a member and in-line with budgets already set out, she added.

A figure was not given, but this was taken as a clear hint that the Government would be willing to pay up to €20bn into the EU's budget during this period.

Neil Wilson said: “If the UK retains single market and pays its bills until then, arguably, it’s Brexit in name only. The shift should placate the softer Brexit voices in the cabinet to some extent and may help spur further sterling gains.

“What remains to be seen is how amenable the EU is to such an arrangement citizens’ rights and free movement will be key here. It’s also unclear whether this will wash with the harder Brexit camp in the Tory party.”

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:24:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance show: Fed unwinding puts rate hikes in focus ]]> Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:06:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Indian-owned Tata Steel and Germany’s Thyssenkrupp have confirmed plans for a merger ]]> Indian-owned Tata Steel – which owns the remnants of British Steel in the UK – and Germany’s Thyssenkrupp have confirmed plans for a merger.

In a statement today, Thyssenkrupp said the pair have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combine their European steel operations in a 50-50 joint venture.

The German company said the combination will lead to annual synergies of 400-600mln euros, adding that up to 4,000 jobs would have to be cut, about 8% of the joint workforce.

Merger talks are understood to have started around 18 months ago after Tata – which owns the Port Talbot Steel Works in South Wales - decided not to sell its UK steel business.

Tata hit the headlines last year when it put its entire UK operations up for sale amid a deteriorating industry environment.

But the Indian-owned firm put its plans on hold after pledges of support from the UK government and an agreement to restructure its hefty pension scheme.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:50:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Federal Reserve the focus this week, though no change expected ]]> Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:35:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Are Chinese demand figures being fiddled with in lead up to Chinese Party Congress ? ]]> Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:53:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Brexit vote, UK, US elections blamed for profits drop at accountants PwC ]]> PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP saw its UK profit fall 1% for the full year to June 30, while average executive profit at the accountancy firm fell by 8% impacted by the consequences of the 2016 Brexit vote, and elections in the UK and US.

In the firm’s latest annual report, published on its website, PwC said its profit fell to £822mln, down from £829mln a year earlier, with the average profit per partner was £652,000, down from £706,000 a year earlier.

The professional services group saw its revenue rise by 5% to £3.60bn mostly thanks to growth in its assurance, tax and consulting units.

However, revenue at its deals division fell by 1% as strong transaction services were offset by the winding down of some long-term insolvency and forensic assignments.

Kevin Ellis, PwC’s chairman and senior partner highlighted a “slowdown in some sectors due to uncertainties related to the EU Referendum result and the US Presidential and UK General elections.”

He added: “While there is uncertainty ahead and UK businesses are looking for a smooth Brexit transition to minimise disruption to the economy and their customers.”  

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:43:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: North Korean missile launch less risk-off than previously ]]> Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:09:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: BoE boat unlikely to be rocked; Prosecco bars in Next stores ]]> Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:34:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Apple’s bough bending on breezy day in London after product launches ]]> Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:03:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Risk on after record S&P close, but not for Footsie ]]> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:26:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Opportunity to be had in Tanzania for investors willing to take a longer-term view ]]> Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:09:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - L’Oréal completes sale of The Body Shop to Brazil's largest cosmetics firm Natura ]]> French cosmetics giant L’Oréal has completed the sale of The Body Shop to Brazilian beauty company Natura Cosmeticos following approval by regulatory authorities.

The agreement for the sale was in line with the terms laid out on 9 June, which valued The Body Shop at €1bn.

We’re proud of everything that we achieved alongside L’Oréal. Now we are about to start an exciting new chapter with @naturanet.

— The Body Shop UK (@TheBodyShopUK) 8 September 2017

L’Oréal put The Body Shop up for sale in February following sluggish sales at the brand, saying that it wanted to give the business the “best opportunities and full ability to continue its development”.

The Body Shop’s operating profits plunged 38% to €34mln in the year to 31 December 2016 as sales dropped nearly 5% to €921mln. In the key Christmas trading period, the sales decline steepened to 6.3%.

The founder of The Body Shop, Dame Anita Roddick, sold the business to L’Oréal for £652mln in 2006, which was seen as a betrayal by some consumers of the brand that was once viewed as a trendy eco-friendly label.

The Body Shop has more than 3,000 outlets across 66 countries, including 133 in Brazil.

The combination of Natura, Brazil’s largest cosmetics company, and The Body Shop will include about 3,200 stores worldwide and have net sales of about R$11.5bn. 


Fri, 08 Sep 2017 09:31:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Franco Manca owner Fulham Shore slumps as it becomes latest restaurant group to warn of tough trading ]]> A trading update from Fulham Shore PLC (LON:FUL) left investors with a sour taste in their mouths after the Franco Manca pizza chain owner reported a slowdown in sales during July and August which will impact full-year earnings.

The AIM-quoted group said it believed the drop-off in sales was part of a “sector-wide trading pattern” which would seem to be true: Wildwood owner Tasty Plc (LON:TAST) and Restaurant Group PLC (LON:RTN), which owns the Frankie and Benny’s chain, have both flagged tougher conditions in recent weeks.

Softer sales, higher costs

Weak sales during the key summer period – which is usually when more people eat out – is never a good sign and the market reacted swiftly, with shares shedding 22% of their value to sit at 13.5p.

“Despite hitting our Group targets for the first quarter of this financial year, during the holiday season in July and August the group has seen a slowdown in trade, primarily from our restaurants in London suburbs,” read a trading update ahead of today’s AGM.

On top of falling sales, Fulham Shore is also having to cope with higher costs to support its increased level of operations.

So far this year, the firm has opened seven Franco Mancas in the UK and another in Italy, while it has also added three The Real Greek restaurants to its 56-strong portfolio.

Expansion plans unchanged but earnings to take a hit

Unlike some of its peers who have been forced to cut back on their expansion efforts, Fulham Shore said the downturn in trading wouldn’t affect its own roll-out plans and it still expects to open another 15 restaurants between now and March.

However, the higher costs and fall in revenues will hit headline EBITDA (underlying earnings), which will be less than what the market is currently expecting.

It did add that EBITDA would still be “significantly higher” than what it achieved last time around and is confident that its brands have “significant further growth potential”.

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:02:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Eurozone at a tipping point ]]> Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Markets waiting on Trump’s response to North Korea ]]> Tue, 05 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Bitcoin and Ethereum slump as China gets tough on cryptocurrencies ]]> After hitting record highs over the weekend, Bitcoin and a host of other cryptocurrencies slumped on Monday after China’s central bank said all ‘initial coin offerings’ are illegal and that any such activity should be blocked immediately.

In a strongly-worded statement, the People’s Bank of China said that these offerings are “essentially a form of non-approved illegal public financing behaviour”.

The PBOC added that ICOs raised suspicions of “illegal selling of notes and bills, illegal securities issuance, illegal deposit-taking, financial fraud, illegal direct marketing and related criminal activity”.

The news sent the price of Bitcoin tumbling to US$4,408, meaning the digital currency has fallen more than 12% since it reached fresh highs of almost US$5,000 over the weekend.

Ethereum – the new darling for cryptocurrency investors – crashed even harder; down 15.7% for the day so far to US$296.57 and off by a third since Friday.

ICO’s are used by start-ups as a way of raising money at the beginning of their journey. Investors pay in fiat or virtual currency in exchange for coins that can be used as a form of currency in their own right in the future.

Investors who take part in these ICOs hope that the business they are backing is successful which will push up the value of the coins that can be spent through their platform or marketplace.

Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed a blistering start to 2017 with Bitcoin more than quadrupling in value in a matter of months.

On top of the news from China, there were also reports that South Korea was looking to bring in stricter regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies.

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:54:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance: Gold in demand as North Korea tensions ramp-up ]]> Mon, 04 Sep 2017 10:45:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Co-op enters exclusive talks to buy Nisa after Sainsbury's postpones potential bid ]]> The Co-operative Group has entered exclusive talks to buy convenience store chain Nisa just two weeks after J Sainsbury plc (LON:SBRY) puts its plans for a potential bid on hold.

Nisa chairman Peter Hartley wrote to shopkeeper members, telling them that the company wanted to move “as quickly as possible” and has granted Co-op a period of exclusivity.

The talks have been constructive but there are still issues to be resolved, Hartley said.

“During these discussions the Co-op has confirmed, subject to further due diligence, its intention to progress matters as quickly as possible, in the hope that a transaction can be finalised. The Co-op is willing to incur costs on its own account to do this,” Hartley wrote. 

“Should an offer of merit emerge from this process, it will be for you, the members, to decide on whether to accept it. However, it is important to stress, that there is no guarantee that an offer will be forthcoming.”

The Co-op, which has previously made an offer for Nisa, has returned with a revised bid of up to £140mln. Its move comes after Sainsbury’s postponed its talks for a proposed £130mln takeover due to competition concerns on 11 August.

Sainsbury's waits for CMA ruling on Tesco's planned Booker merger

The Competition and Markets Authority placed doubts on approval of a possible Sainsbury’s takeover of Nisa after raising worries about a similar merger between Tesco and grocery wholesaler Booker.

The competition watchdog referred Tesco’s planned £3.7bn deal for an in-depth probe in July.

Sainsbury’s said it wanted to wait for CMA’s ruling on the merger between Tesco and Booker before resuming talks with Nisa. Initial findings of the investigation are not expected until October.

Nisa hit by growing competition, loss of McColl's contract 

Nisa, which is owned by its members who operate independent shops using the brand, is considering its potential sale as growing competition from the expansion of supermarkets’ local stores has put pressure on traditional convenience stores.

Adding to its woes, its biggest customer, McColl's Retail Group, is retending its £2bn supply deal with the company. McColl's has agreed a £1bn grocery supply tie-up with Morrisons (LON:MRW) that will eventually replace its existing agreements.

A spokesman for The Co-op confirmed its exclusive talks with Nisa, adding that it will provide the opportunity for the company  to “carry out more detailed due diligence in the coming weeks”.

“After this period and subject to approval from our board, we hope to be in position where we can put forward an offer to Nisa members.”

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 13:20:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Gold crashes through $1300 on back of North Korea missile jitters ]]> Tue, 29 Aug 2017 16:08:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - AIM news and views from Andrew Hore of AIM Journal ]]> Fri, 25 Aug 2017 15:59:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - 'Trump to deliver a golden opportunity' says Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 25 Aug 2017 11:54:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Anaemic’ UK GDP needs to be stronger ]]> Thu, 24 Aug 2017 10:45:00 +0100