In a week where the tit for tat trade war between US and China has dominated headlines, the big news this morning again involves operations from across the Atlantic, but this time it’s about a bus company.
FirstGroup (FGP) has signalled that it’s considering breaking itself up and selling its Greyhound bus operations in the US.
The under fire firm is also seeking to spin off its UK bus arm First Bus, and said its First Rail business is also under review depending on future government strategy.
FirstGroup has been under pressure from activist investor Coast Capital, which has a 9.8% stake in the company and has previously threatened to stage a boardroom coup to get it to change its ways.
Losses in the firm have also narrowed to £97.9m, compared to £327m the year before.
Operating profit and pre-tax profit were in both the upper end of guidance indicated to the market, rising by 48% and 53% to £531m and £488m respectively, while revenue was up 5% to £10.75bn.
The firm also gave investors the update they were looking for regarding its material for electric vehicle batteries, saying that commercial production was on track, while its Clean Air division – which accounts for 70% of its overall operating profits – also did well.
But it wasn’t enough to stop the share price sliding this morning, and underlying operating profit in its New Markets division, a key area of focus for investors, plunged by a massive 85% to just £2m, compared to £17m the year before.
One company not having a great morning is printing company De La Rue (DLAR), whose chief executive Martin Sutherland has quit after the firm failed to win a juicy £490m contract to print the controversial post-Brexit blue passports.
Its shares have spiralled down over 26% to 338p as it also revealed in its full-year results pre-tax profit fell 77% and warned that tough competition would most likely mean ‘somewhat lower’ profits next year.
Shares in water utility Pennon Group (PNN) are down 1% to 726.6p despite what it called a ‘robust’ performance in its full-year results, as underlying pre-tax profit jumped 8.3% to £280.2m and revenue rose 6.1% to £1.48bn.
The FTSE 100 edged 0.17% higher in morning trading to 7,197.69.