There is a slow start for UK stocks on Thursday as several stocks trade ex-dividend and after weakness in Asia overnight. The FTSE 100 down 0.4% to 7,169.14.
Industrial turnaround specialist Melrose Industries (MRO) gains 4.1% to 187.4p as full-year adjusted pre-tax profit almost trebles thanks to its acquisition of British engineering group GKN last year.
It reports a pre-tax profit of £703m for 2018m, up from £258m posted a year earlier. It also posts a 36% year-on-year increase in adjusted diluted earnings per share to 13.3p. However, the required accounting for the GKN purchase meant that overall, it declares a statutory operating loss of £392m, compared with £7m in 2017.
For the 12 months ended to 31 December, pre-tax profit rose 6.3% to £2.13bn and operating earnings per share was up 7% to 58.4p.
Operating profit across its business rose to £3.12bn for the year, from £3.06bn in the year earlier.
Bakery chain Greggs (GRG) says it expects to declare a special dividend in July after reporting annual profits in line with guidance as performance improved in the second half following a weather-related lull in the first half.
Boosted by media coverage and strong sales for its vegan sausage roll, in the 12 months ended 29 December pre-tax profits excluding exceptional items rose 9.8%.
This was in line with previous guidance given in November for full year profit before tax, excluding exceptional charges, of at least £86m. The shares tick up 0.2% to £18.15.
For the 12 months ending 31 December, the company reports a loss of £50.7m from a loss of £36.3m a year earlier, while revenues rose 55% to £141.9m exceeding guidance for a 50% rise and helping the shares to a 3.2% gain to 362.4p.
Non-life insurer Admiral (ADM) says profit rose by nearly a fifth in 2018 even as its UK motor business slowed in the second half in the face of rising claims costs. Its shares are down 5.6% to £20.69 as investors focus on the latter.
For the 12 months to 31 December, reported pretax profit rose 5.2% to £282.1m, reported revenue was up 35% to £2.37bn.
It produced 80,500 barrels of oil per day last year, compared with 75,000 a year earlier thanks to increased output from its Catcher development. It shares advance 4.9% to 77.5p.