European markets open higher on Wednesday as a mix of corporate news and gains on commodities push stocks higher. London's blue chip FTSE 100 index adds 0.9% to 5,973 after a tumultuous start to the week in which the odds of Britain leaving the EU increased and international economic data disappointed.
In corporate news, FTSE 250 CAD-CAM software developer Aveva (AVV) crashes 13% to £16.11 as it walks away from merger talks with French suitor Schneider Electric for the second time. The pair cut off talks the first time round at the end of 2015, with speculation over the complexity of merging the software assets of the two.
General merchandise discounter Poundland (PLND) powers 6.6% higher to 208.75p as South African conglomerate and retail sector raider Steinhoff (SHFFp:J) confirms it is considering a possible offer for the pound shops chain, whose shares surged higher on Tuesday, prompting speculation over a bid. Private equity house Warburg Pincus has sold the majority of its holding, presumably to Steinhoff, whose announcement 'has been made without the consent of Poundland'.
Luxury women's shoe brand Jimmy Choo (CHOO) walks tall with a 10.7% gain at 106.2p, investors welcoming the reassuring tenor of its first quarter update. Despite the headwinds facing the luxury goods sector, resilient Jimmy Choo has 'made a good start to the year' and management is comfortable with the full-year consensus pre-tax profit estimate of £32 million, which would represent 27% growth year-on-year. We'll look at the update in more detail here later.
A $30 million proposed investment into Aureus Mining (AUE:AIM) sends the Liberia-based gold producer up 14.3% to 3p. Turkish group MNG Gold has agreed to pay a 22% premium to yesterday’s market price to secure a 55% stake in the business. Two of its managers will take over the day to day running of Aureus.
Healthcare and industrial software firm Servelec (SERV:AIM) plunges 35% to 217p after issuing a substantial profits warning. The company says it expects operating profits for full year 2016 will be significantly lower than market expectations and lower than the £13.4 million turned in during 2015. Ongoing struggles in the energy sector was largely anticipated but to hear of troubles on the healthcare side comes as a huge blow to confidence.
South East-focused, high-end house-builder Berkeley (BKG) slips 1% to £29.60 as pre-tax profit falls 1.6% to £530.9 million in the year to 30 April. Of particular concern is the 20% drop in new home reservations in the first five months of 2016. The EU referendum has been blamed as people put off buying decisions until after the votes have been cast.
Frankie & Benny's-owner Restaurant Group (RTN) edges up 1.3% to 340.6p on news it has hired former Monarch Airlines and Betfred executive Barry Nightingale as its chief financial officer. Nightingale, who starts his role on 20 June, replaces Stephen Critoph who left at the end of April in conjunction with the group's profit warning.
Ten-pin bowling operator Hollywood Bowl announces its intention to float on the main market in July. The group reckons there is scope to boost the frequency of visits to its 54 bowling centres across the UK and increase the price and spend per game by improving the customer experience. Read our web story exclusive here.
High-end interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank (WGB:AIM) cheapens 2.5p to 187.5p on news of sluggish sales in the first four-and-a-half months of the year, the top-line still suffering from the impact of December's flooding at Walker's fabric printing business.