London’s blue chip index trades close to a two month high this morning as the London Stock Exchange becomes the centre of a bidding war. The FTSE 100 trades 21 points higher to 6,118 after New York Stock Exchange-owner Intercontinental Exchange is reported to be preparing a bid for the London Stock Exchange, which could derail Deutsche Borse’s £20 billion merger.
The high street bank’s shares dive 10% to 154.6p on pre-tax profits falling 8% to £2.1 billion in 2015 after paying £2.2 billion in payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling compensation, £1 billion more than it did in 2014. The bank is selling its business in Africa and Asian wealth management operations as part of the new CEO’s restructuring. The bonus pool was cut by 10% year-on-year to £1.6 billion.
Oil services play Rotork (ROR) gains 15.6% to 184p despite an 8.1% slump in revenue and 21% decline in earnings per share. Investors are focusing on bullish commentary from management alongside full-year results which indicate market share gains, product investment and results from its cost management programme are delivering faster than expected results.
Bakery food-on-the-go retailer Greggs (GRG) gains 7.6% at £11.14 after rolling out better-than-expected finals and flagging a cracking start to 2016, like-for-like sales 4.2% ahead in the eight weeks to 27 February. There’s also a tasty 30% hike in the total dividend to 28.6p to keep investors satisfied.
Takeaway ordering system Just Eat (JE.) surges 6.3% to 409.9p on a 58% rise in revenue to £247.6 million in 2015, with underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) 83% higher at £59.7 million. The group says strong trading has continued and it expects 2016 revenue of £350 million and underlying EBITDA of between £98 million and £100 million at current exchange rates.
Packaging group Smurfit Kappa (SKG) soars 7,907% to £16.30 after it makes its first step to a full primary listing on the London Stock Exchange by switching trading in its ordinary shares from euros to sterling.
US-focused equipment rental play Ashtead (ATH) slides 12.6% to 808p as management flags caution on future capital expenditure initiatives after a £1 billion investment splurge in 2015. Earnings per share (EPS) gained 18% in the third quarter to 17.2p while rental revenue growth declined to 14% from 17% across the nine months as a whole.
Bar operator Revolution Bars (RBG) gains 1.8% to 168p on a 2.7% rise in like-for-like sales in the six months to 31 December 2015. The group has opened three new Revolucion de Cuba bars and will open a further one plus a Revolution bar in the second half.
E&P company UK Oil & Gas (UKOG:AIM) is up 12.9% to 2.85p following positive results from the latest flow test on its Horse Hill discovery near Gatwick Airport. Executive chairman Stephen Sanderson says this and a previous test have 'shown that moveable oil exists within the Kimmeridge (the targeted reservoir), but more importantly, that it can be extracted at commercial rates even from vertical wells without significant stimulation'.
Personal care-to-beauty products supplier Swallowfield (SWL:AIM) sparks up 4.1% to 179.5p on better-than-expected interim results, underpinned by a stronger gross margin. Investors also welcome the reinstatement of the half-time dividend. For more on Swallowfield, read our article from December here.