Babcock International (BAB) is in talks over a joint venture with Avincis, a large provider of aviation services for activities like search and rescue, medical emergency and fire fighting. The Sunday Times reported that Babcock was lining up a £1.5 billion takeover of Avincis, suggesting this would be structured £1 billion in cash and taking on £500 million of Avincis debt. The shares fall 0.8% to £13.14.
Lloyds Banking (LLOY) improves 0.8% to 75.2p in anticipation that it could sell more of its 22% holdings in wealth manager St James’s Place (STJ). The lock-in agreement following the sale of £450 million of its share in May expires today. The bank also signals that TBS could be floated next year.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rises 0.6% despite the bank being referred to the Financial Conduct Authority over accusations it forced viable small businesses into default to boost its own profits. The bank has launched its own investigation through law firm Clifford Chance.
Indian power firm Essar Energy (ESSR) falls 5.1% to 95.5p as it sees losses in the six months to 30 September widen despite an increase in revenues. Essar, which operates the Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, see revenues nudge up 5% to £8.3 billion but losses increase from £174 million to £307.8 million on weak margins, adverse currency movements and depreciation and financing costs associated with new projects.
Interserve (IRV) has won a 10-year, £150 million facilities management contract with the University of Sussex. The deal is structured as a partnership whereby Interserve will provide management and administration services. The news fails to excite investors as the shares dip a mere 1p to 622.5p. Read our griller interview from August with Interserve.
Firestone Diamonds (FDI:AIM) has made progress towards getting the $185.4 million required to build a new processing plant for its mine in Lesotho so it can recover larger, more valuable diamonds. It has got approval for up to $82.4 million although that's conditional on raising the rest of the cash needed for the project upgrade. The shares rise 4% to 3.25p.
Online dating provider Cupid (CUP:AIM) has promoted its managing director for dating services, Phil Gripton, to chief executive officer. This means Bill Dobbie moves from the boss to non-executive director. The shares are unmoved at 57.5p.
Set-top box maker Amino Technologies (AMO:AIM) tumbles 7% to 88.75p as it steers revenue guidance down for next year as lower priced kit sales boom. But margins and profits hold-up for one of Shares' running Plays of the Week, allowing the company to stick to its 15% payout rise promise.
Identity verification software supplier GB (GBG:AIM) beats expectations with £2.6 million half-year operating profits, although most of the top line growth came from acquisitions. The shares respond positively, up 4.5% to 137.5p, the market seeing GB as well-placed in this growth space.
Zambian agri-business Zambeef Products (ZAM:AIM) is pegged back 0.25p to 33.5p on disappointing annual numbers. A combination of an imported beef contamination scare and cost escalation means the beef, chickens and milk producer and retailer reports a 63% drop in taxable profits to $6 million on a weaker-than-expected 18% rise in revenue to $300 million.
Fresh pork and bacon producer Cranswick (CWK) firms 26.5p to £11.27 as well-flagged half-time figures reassure. Like-for-like sales sizzle 13% higher year-on-year, taxable profits rise 4% to a better-than-expected £23.2 million and the food producer flags partial success with recovering rising pig prices.
Healthcare real estate investment trust Assura (AGR) rises 3.4% to 37.7p after agreeing to sell seven local improvement finance trusts which develop medical centres, for £22.4 million – a 100% premium to book value.