Following US giant Pfizer’s (PFE:NYSE) high-profile failed move for Cambridge-based AstraZeneca (AZN), specialty pharmaceutical group Shire (SHP) becomes the latest drugs company to stir on takeover rumours. Shares in the Dublin-based group gain 3.5% to £36.61 on reports the rare disease specialist has hired investment bank Citi to defend it, a proactive move against any approach as large scale M&A returns to the sector.
Drug delivery systems developer Consort Medical (CSRT) improves 2.1% to 899p as results for the year to 30 April show a healthy 12.1% rise in pre-tax profit to £16.1 million. There's an upbeat update on first quarter trading too, giving Consort the confidence to hike its full-year dividend 5% to 20.7p.
Inkjet printing group Xaar (XAR) slumps 22% to 579.78p after warning that 2014 revenue will be below last year's result due to selling prices being pushed down as a result of increased competition. The share price increased by more than 40% between October and December 2013; not only have all those gains now been wiped out following weakness earlier this year, but Xaar now trades at its lowest level since May 2013.
Premier Inn and Costa coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) jumps 3.5% to £43.13 after reporting yet another bullish trading update. Group like-for-like sales increased by 6.9% in the first quarter of its new financial year with the hotels arm recording the best performance thanks to strong economic conditions.
High street sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion (JD.) jumps 44p to £16.70 after flagging a pleasing start to the year in its core sports fascias, with sales boosted by the World Cup build up over the first 18 weeks to 7 June. JD, which recently announced (30 May) the departure of CEO Barry Brown, says its outdoor business is making positive progress helped by weak comparatives, though the fashion arm is still experiencing 'a varied performance'.
International branded food and drink seller SSP, whose CEO is revered former WH Smith (SMWH) boss Kate Swann, announces its much-anticipated intention to float on London's Main Market and raise £500 million. The group runs outlets via concession deals with train station and airport owners via such brands as Upper Crust, as well as franchise agreements for Burger King and M&S Simply Food. We look at the details of the prospective IPO in detail here.
Southern-focused housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) adds 3.5% to 336.5p after the Chertsey-headquartered company's interim results to April reveal a 31% rise in housing revenue and a 90 basis point gross margin gain to 28.7%. There's also a confident outlook statement as Crest Nicholson says it is 'continuing to flourish in a good housing market'. Read our news analysis here.