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FTSE 100 Live 13 May: Index steady after record run, marketing firm Mission rejects takeover

FTSE 100 Live 13 May: Index steady after record run, marketing firm Mission rejects takeover

The FTSE 100 index continues to trade near record territory as the focus turns to a big week of corporate results.

BT Group, Vodafone, Burberry and easyJet are due to report, with tomorrow’s employment and earnings report among other key events.

In today’s session, digital marketing group Mission said it rejected a takeover approach from a company backed by former Tory Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft.

FTSE 100 Live Monday

  • Mission rejects Brave Bison bid

  • FTSE 100's Diploma upgrades guidance

  • Heathrow passenger numbers up again

Areas to watch as Vodafone unveils results tomorrow

Monday 13 May 2024 14:47 , Simon Hunt

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Vodafone reports its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2024 tomorrow, in what could be the telco’s last full year of results before a potential merger with rival Three in the coming months.

The firm’s shares have fallen some 21% compared to this time last year, but the stock has stayed relatively flat since the start of the year.

Here are some key areas to keep an eye on as results are disclosed.

Voda-Three merger

Vodafone unveiled plans for its £16.5 billion merger with telecoms rival Three last year. If it is approved, it’s hoped the deal will close by the end of this year.

The firm last week cleared the first regulatory hurdle to getting the deal over the line: The UK government conditionally approved the merger following a national security assessment of the telecom deal in light of Three’s Chinese owners.

But Vodafone still needs to clear a much bigger regulatory hurdle: getting the deal past the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The CMA began its ‘phase 2’ investigation into the merger last month and has a deadline of 18 September to make a decision.

Will there be hint’s as to the investigation’s progress? The tie-up is not a done deal and the CMA has expressed concern about the risk of less competition for consumers. And a previous merger between O2 and Three ultimately fell apart after it was blocked by the EU.

Read more here

Asda to enter the London property market

Monday 13 May 2024 09:39 , Simon Hunt

Asda today became the latest supermarket to enter the London property market after unveiling plans for a huge 1500 home development in Park Royal.

The plans, which were put together in partnership with housebuilder Barratt, will feature a series of high-rise tower blocks sat on top of a new 60,000 square foot flagship Asda Superstore and up to 400 car parking spaces.

It follows a similar move by John Lewis last year, with the retailer submitting plans to build a 24-storey tower on top of its Waitrose shop in Bromley, alongside a nineteen-storey block to provide 353 new homes. A second development in West Ealing is also planned.

The Asda development, which has yet to receive planning permission, would mark the supermarket’s first foray into mixed use property development in signs the supermarket is seeking to diversity its income.

Craig Carson, Managing Director of Barratt West London, said: “This transaction is a sign that there is still land to be unlocked in the capital and reflects one of the markets largest land transactions since 2019.

“The redevelopment of Park Royal will have a huge impact on the area, with the new town centre unlocking new commercial opportunities for local businesses.”

FTSE 100 holds firm as Flutter, BT and Diploma rise, BAE Systems lower

Monday 13 May 2024 08:24 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is 5.69 points higher at 8439.45, with Diploma the best performing stock following its upgrade to earnings guidance.

The controls, seals and life sciences business rose 6% or 230p to a fresh record of 4132p, having already risen by about a fifth this year.

Other stocks on the risers board included the gaming group Flutter Entertainment, which lifted 115p to 16,360p.

At the start of a big week for results in the telecoms sector, Vodafone rose 0.4p to 69.8p and BT Group lifted by 1.2p to 106.6p.

BAE Systems was the biggest top flight faller, dropping 2% or 29p from last week’s record high to stand at 1365p.

The FTSE 250 index improved 15.11 points to 20,660.49.

FTSE 100 stock Diploma upgrades earnings guidance

Monday 13 May 2024 07:51 , Graeme Evans

FTSE 100-listed Diploma, whose businesses span controls, seals and life sciences, today upgraded 2024 guidance after posting strong half-year results.

Revenues rose 10% to £638.3 million, up 5% on an organic basis, while the operating margin improved from 18.8% to 19.6%.

Diploma now expects full-year constant currency revenue growth of about 16%, made up of 6% organic growth and 10% from acquisitions.

The company, which has a 3,500-strong workforce, has grown annual earnings at an average of about 15% over the past 15 years.

Chief executive Johnny Thomson said: “We’ve delivered another strong first half with good volume-led organic growth in a more challenging market environment.

“Our momentum is encouraging going into the second half, underpinning our upgrade to full year guidance.”

Heathrow passenger numbers up again in April

Monday 13 May 2024 07:42 , Jonathan Prynn

Heathrow had its busiest day for flights since October 2019 last month with 1,337 aircraft landing or taking off from the airport.

The total number of passengers using the airrport during the month rose 4.8% to 6.7 million, a slower rate seen than in previous months largely due to the timing of the Easter weekend which began in March.

Just over 25.2 million passenger have traveled though Heathrow so far this year up 8.2%, while the rolling 12 month total is 81.1 million, up 15.5%.

East Asian and Middle Eastern routes have seen double-digit percentage increases in passengers. A surge in passengers to Delhi and Mumbai has made these the 6th and 8th most popular destinations so far this year with New York, Dubai and Doha taking the top three slots. Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said: “It takes an extraordinary team to deliver this strong performance and I’m proud of what everyone across the airport has achieved so far this year.

“As we continue to grow, our focus is on making Heathrow fit for the future, delivering reliable journeys for all our customers today and getting ready for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. But to unlock our full potential to help grow the country’s economy, we need the Government to implement policies that support UK aviation’s ability to compete globally, and thus make the UK more competitive overall.”

Mission rejects Brave Bison takeover bid

Monday 13 May 2024 07:40 , Simon English

Digital marketing group Mission today rejected a £22 million takeover bid from Brave Bison, a rival which is backed by former Tory Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft.

Brave Bison is offering 29p a share, higher than the 22.7p at which the shares will open today.

Mission said in a statement that “following consultation with its financial and legal advisers, unanimously rejected the Possible Offer which it believes to be opportunistic and significantly undervalues the Group and its prospects”.

Mission shares are down 55% over the last year.

Brave Bison is run by the sons of former Carlton TV boss Michael Green. It was previously run by Ashley MacKenzie, the son of former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

Lord Ashcroft has a 20% stake.

Mission does marketing for clients who include Porsche and Speedo. It said in March it had received “a number” of takeover bids without naming the bidders.

The statement added: The Possible Offer is earnings dilutive for MISSION's shareholders. Brave Bison anticipate that MISSION's shareholders would enjoy more value from the combination based on a re-rating of the proposed combined group. There is no certainty of a re-rating.”

In the year to December Mission had revenues of £86.3 million and profits of £4.2 million. That contrasts with revenue of £20.9 million for Brave Bison and profit of £3.6 million.

Mission has been in talks with lenders to cut its debts.

FTSE 100 seen lower after record run, Brent Crude below $83

Monday 13 May 2024 07:20 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is set to open slightly lower after Friday’s 0.6% rise took London’s top flight to a record closing high of 8433.76.

Today’s forecast fall of about ten points follows Wall Street’s lacklustre finish to last week ahead of Wednesday’s release of US inflation figures.

Economists are expecting April’s headline year-on-year rate to have dropped slightly to 3.4%, with core inflation down by two-tenths to 3.6%.

The update and tone of a speech due tomorrow by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will influence bets on when US interest rates might begin to fall.

Expectations that this may not happen until the autumn has weighed on the oil price and left Brent Crude trading at $82.73 a barrel this morning.

Monday 13 May 2024 06:49 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

In a world full of reasons to be gloomy, perhaps we might make a few concessions to optimism.

The economy is going the right way, up, and faster than most commentators expected.

Taxes are going slowly down, so is inflation, which means interest rates should follow soon-ish. We can leave the City pointy heads to argue about whether that will be in June or perhaps not till September.

Moreover, the London stock market, moribund for so long, is finally showing some signs of life.

One sour point remains the state of the IPO market – the new floats on the stock market that elude London because CEOs think they can get better values in New York, with reason.

Even there, if you delve into the weeds there are glimmers of hope.

It would be nice if London could land a huge tech float at a tasty valuation -- and Shein offers that possibility. Until then, perhaps the lesson for the smaller fry coming to the market is a simple one: don’t be so greedy up front.

If you really are a good business, you will be seen as such in time – forget, mostly, about the value the bankers give you on day one.

~

Here’s a summary of our top headlines from Friday:

And in City Spy: