Lloyds Banking (LLOY) rises 0.6% to 78.9p as it re-introduces its dividend after a seven-year break. It will pay 0.75p a share with £130 million going to the government. The bank made a £1.7 billion statutory pre-tax profit in 2014, up from £415 million a year earlier.
Financial Times publisher and educational products provider Pearson (PSON) wins the market over with its prelims - up 1.4% to £14.16. The company pledges to return to earnings growth in 2015 as it emerges from two years of restructuring.
Events company UBM (UBM) ticks up 0.8% to 541p as it reports adjusted operating profit for 2014 of £180 million, beating £173 million consensus and flags the integration of big acquisition Advanstar as ‘on track’. The company also confirms trading in the first two months of the year has started well.
A takeover offer sends Baobab Resources (BAO:AIM) up 39% to 5.75p. The aspiring pig iron miner is being taken out by its majority shareholder Redbird for 6p a share. That’s a 45% premium to yesterday’s market price, but way below the 50p+ levels at which the shares traded in the commodities boom of 2011.
Industrial engineer IMI (IMI) falls 3% to £13.82 on a weak outlook statement at its full-year earnings update. Chief executive Mark Selway expects performance to be weighted towards the second half. Earnings per share grew 7% in the year to the end of December.
Pest control and work wear supplier Rentokil Initial (RTO) advances 1.8% to 132p as fourth quarter headline profit before tax gains 9.9% to £59.8 million and full-year earnings per share hits 8.1p. Chief executive Andy Ransom says trading in Europe continues to be ‘challenging’.
Electronics distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) completes its search for a successor to Ian Mason as new chief executive, appointing Lindsley Ruth. Ruth joins from US-based Future Electronics. Shares open flat at 225p.
Social care provider CareTech (CTH:AIM) jumps 8.5% to 221.5p on selling £21 million of shares at a 2.9% premium. The Shares pick of the year will use the proceeds of the placing to fund organic and acquisitive growth.