The market applauded news that Rentokil Initial (RTO) has finally sold its troubled City Link delivery business. The shares jumped 6.7% to 103.1p despite Rentokil only getting a mere £1 for the subsidiary. Investors were no doubt pleased that the worst-performing part of the group has been offloaded and that this should improve the overall financial results from the parent. Private equity group Better Capital has bought City Link and will invest £40 million to complete a recovery programme.
Efforts by large miners to streamline operations continues to gather pace with BHP Billiton (BLT) getting another cash injection. It nudged up 1% to £18.33 after announcing the $650 million sale of its Arizona-based Pinto Valley copper mine and rail operations to Capstone. BHP has now sold $5 billion worth of assets over the past 12 months.
Banking group Lloyds (LLOY) was up 0.9% to 53.4p after stepping up plans to reduce its international business. The bank has agreed to sell its Spanish retail operations to Banco Sabadell for a 1.8% stake in the acquirer worth £72 million. Up to £17 million cash could be paid in the next five years depending on the performance of it mortgage business. The deal comprises £1.5 billion of mainly mortgages and deposits, but does not include Lloyds’ corporate banking business in the country. The 39% state-owned bank’s first quarter results are due tomorrow (April 30).
Asian-focused fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) pleased the market with this morning’s half-year results, sending the shares up 8.7% to 453p. Assets under management finished the period at £212.3 billion, up 13% on the 30 September full-year end point.
Weekend press speculation that US activist hedge fund Value Act Capital could snap up Invensys (ISYS) pushed up the FTSE 250 engineer by 2.1% to 365.8p. Value Act Capital last week continued to increase its stake and now holds 8.16% of Invensys.
As we predicted in the latest issue of Shares, the market has ignored a temporary drop in sales at Greene King (GNK) caused by this year's prolonged cold snap. The shares added 3p to 717.5p as investors focused on upbeat management commentary.
Insurance management software supplier Innovation Group (TIG) hit a five-year high 26.5p as a strategic alliance with AXA in France caught the market's eye. This could see a rise in motor accident claims processing for the giant insurer, possibly taking revenues from the agreement from roughly €5.6 million a year to nearer €10 million, based on Innovation's target of increasing the number of claims by 75% by the end of 2015. Innovation last week unveiled a contract win worth £1m a year for seven years.
The market was unmoved by Pinewood Shepperton’s (PWS:AIM) news of a joint venture (JV) with US family trust River’s Rock. The JV proposal to develop 288 acres of land in Atlanta, America into a new studio is clearly too distant a prospect to be given much weight by a market with the stock static at 278p.
Shares in car dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) revved up 6% to 26.5p on healthy half-year figures to 28 February. The £22 million cap's taxable profits motored 27% higher to £1.4 million, helped by strong new car sales, and the franchised motor retailer also pleased punters with news of strong March trading and by declaring a maiden interim dividend of 0.1p.
Independent butcher Crawshaw's (CRAW:AIM) shares rose 10% to 4.12p on well-received full-year figures to end-January. The Rotherham-based meat retailer reported a £300,000 (2012: nil) pre-tax profit for the year and having cleared net debt, announced a maiden dividend of 0.2p.
Industrial engineer Corac (CRA:AIM) advanced 11.6% to 13.25p after winning a contract with Tullow Oil (TLW). It will conduct a feasibility study looking at wellhead compression on a gas production platform in the North Sea.
Geology-mapping minnow Vialogy (VIY:AIM) has struck a potentially-significant agreement with £3.2 billion geoscience giant CGG (CGG:NYSE), sparking a 22% share price hike to 1.52p. The collaboration deal will see Vialogy's QuantumRD technology integrated into CGG's geoscience products, giving the UK £15.8 million cap access to potentially hundreds of CGG oil and gas industry customers. This could start to reverse a terrible year for Vialogy, which has seen its' shares more than halve.
Mining services group Shaft Sinkers (SHFT) collapsed 18.8% to 34.5p after a terrible set of full-year results. There's no dividend after pre-tax profit fell 75% to £3.4 million.
Specialty chemicals company Hardide (HDD) surged 20.4% to 1.48p after announcing a supply agreement involving a next-generation superabrasive coating technology covered by new UK & overseas patent applications. Hardide signed a mutually exclusive five-year agreement for its use in oil and gas applications with hardfacing specialists Cutting & Wear Resistant Developments Limited of Sheffield.