LSE news wrap: BP suspends relief well drilling, World Cup boosts Pepsi's Britvic


Defence and aerospace group Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC ( LON:ULE) said its Maritime Systems business, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, has been awarded a C$25 million contract by the Defence Material Organisation in Den Haag, Netherlands, to supply advanced sonar systems.

British beverage group Britvic (LON:BVIC) reported 16.2% year-on-year revenue growth in the third quarter, as PepsiCo’s (NYSE:PEP) UK franchisee was boosted by a World Cup advertising drive and continued growth in the ‘single-serve on-the-go’ market.

The US government has ordered BP (LON:BP) to suspend the drilling of the relief well in the Gulf of Mexico as tropical storm

Bonnie appears to be on course to enter the area and jeopardise the oil and gas supermajor’s operations.

Insurer Beazley (LON:BEZ) said that despite losses stemming from last year’s Chilean earthquake and increased competition in the market, its first-half profits jumped to US$115.5 million from last year’s US$30.1 million, largely as a result of a US$33.7 million foreign exchange


Broker Mirabaud has initiated coverage of Equatorial Palm Oil (LON:PAL) saying the group has the "the potential for rapid growth in an exciting region for development".

Financial Times owner Pearson (LON:PSON) is bolstering its fast growing education arm with a £326 million acquisition in Brazil. The group is buying the learning systems business of Sistema Educacional Brasileiro (SEB), one of the country’s leading education companies.

Tate & Lyle warned that demand for starches would remain at low levels, though its turnaround continues to gain traction. The group, which is in the process of selling off its traditional sugar operations, did give a more optimistic assessment of outlook for its other operations.

In an update ahead of its H1 results, Turkmenistan-operating Dragon Oil (LON:DGO) told investors that it increased average daily production by 8% in the first six months of the financial year, to reach a production rate of 46,420bopd (barrels of oil per day). In the remainder of the year, the company expects to boost production further with its ongoing development programme, and for the full-year Dragon oil is targeting up to 10% production growth.

Shares in Karelian Diamond Resources (LON) shot up after the Dublin based miner revealed it has struck an information sharing deal with industry super-major Rio Tinto (LON:RIO, ASX:RIO, NYSE: RTP).

London's only listed pure iron ore producer and FTSE 250 constituent, Ferrexpo (LON:FXPO) has decided not to proceed with a bond transaction at this time given its current robust liquidity position and other available sources of finance

, folowing a roadshow.

Oil and gas producer and FTSE 250 constituent Dana Petroleum (LON:DNX) has agreed to acquire a 50% interest in the El Manzala Offshore Area Concession in Egypt’s area of the Mediterranean Sea from BG Group (LON:BG) with drilling operations set to begin early next year.

British Airways (LON:BAY) and its partners Iberia (MCE:IBLA) and American Airlines - a member of the AMR Group (NYSE:AMR) - have received the final regulatory approval required to operate its transatlantic joint venture.

Defence contractor Cobham (LON:COB) has won a further contract worth US$26 million from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the supply of digital vehicular intercom systems for the US Army.

Consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) said it now now has an “attractive opportunity” to increase its presence in the health & personal care sector after agreeing to acquire condoms maker SSL International (LON:SSL) for £2.54 billion in cash and dividends.

Helical Bar (LON:HLCL) reported solid progress in Q1 with 15 lettings completed to add £0.3 million to its annualised income, but offered a cautious outlook, stating that the recovery in property values was stalling.
The company completed a portfolio acquisition of seven industrial estates and two offices for some £50 million, while sub-selling two of the industrial estates for £15.8 million.

Major international mining group Randgold Resources (LON:RRS, NASDAQ:GOLD) has brought forward the construction of the Kibali project in the Democratic Republic of Congo by six months, to mid-2011. The company believes that Kibali has the potential to become one of the world's largest gold mines.

Asia focused oil and gas exploration and production company Salamander Energy PLC (LON:SMDR) said its subsidiary Salamander Bualuang has reached agreement with SOCO International (LON:SIA) to purchase SOCO Thailand LLC for US$105 million.  The unit in turn owns SOCO Thailand which controls the 40 percent interest in the B8/38 licence in the Gulf of Thailand that Salamander does not already own.

Construction major Balfour Beatty PLC (LON:BBY) said its WorkPlace business has signed the Southampton Highways Service Partnership contract with Southampton City Council. The £100 million partnership, which is scheduled to commence on 1 October 2010, is initially for 10 years with the option of a five-year extension

Turkmenistan operating Dragon Oil (LON:DGO) announced the completion and initial testing of three wells, the Dzheitune (Lam) 13/144 & 28/146 development wells and the Dzheitune (Lam) A/129 sidetrack. Collectively, the three wells initially tested at over 5,000bopd (barrels of oil per day).

Water company and FTSE 250 constituent Severn Trent (LON:SVT) has said that trading has been in line with expectations and prior guidance and that no material trading events or transactions have occurred since 1 April.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LON:CW) warned investors that it anticipates slower-than-expected earnings growth for the full-year. The major UK telecoms group blamed a downturn in public sector activity for its non-contracted services and product for the downgrade.

Advertising major WPP PLC (LON:WPP) said its digital investment arm WPP Digital has acquired a minority stake in Leading Smart Holdings Limited, a BVI company, which has a controlling interest in the parent company of Moment Systems, a digital advertising measurement company in China.

Engineering company Tomkins (LON:TOMK) has confirmed a takeover approach from a consortium comprising the Onex Corporation and the Canada Pension Plan

Investment Board, which has offered 325 pence per share, valuing the company at £2.9 billion.

Retailer and FTSE 250 constituent Debenhams (LON:DEB) has signed a new £650 million credit facility to complete the refinancing of its borrowing facilities.

Shares in London-headquartered electricity generator International Power (LON:IPR) (IPR) jumped over 10% on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) today, as the company confirmed that talks are back on to consolidate its business with GDF Suez Energy’s (EPA:GSZ) international assets.

In its H1 results, SThree (LON:STHR) told investors that whilst its markets are “still some way from being fully recovered”, the company’s performance in the first half of 2010 was “very creditable”. The specialist recruiter reported a 20% decline in year-on-year gross profit to £74.3m (2H109:£93.3m).

Food manufacturer Unilever (LON:ULVR) gas agreed to sell its Italian frozen foods

business Findus for €805 million to a company controlled by Birds Eye Iglo, which will now own the 4 Salti in Padella, Sofficini, Capitan Findus and That's Amore brands and a dedicated factory in Cisterna, Italy.

British engineering giant Rolls-Royce (LON:RR) has won two new contracts totaling US$750m, with a large deal to supply Russia's national airline, Aeroflot with 24 Trent engines and a share in revenue from a deal between the International Aero Engines consortium (IAE) with Yemen Airways (Yemenia).

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