UK stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday despite news that the UK had become the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use with vaccinations expected to start next week. Shares in Frankfurt listed BioNTech jumped 8%
In early trading the FTSE 100 was off 0.1% at 6,382 points.
Sterling traded 0.4% lower against the US dollar at $1.33. Brent Crude prices were 0.1% lower at $47.4 a barrel.
GardaWorld upped its takeover offer for G4S (GFS) by 23.6% to 235p valuing the company at £3.68 billion. The threshold for acceptance was reduced to 50% plus one share while the company also secured agreement with the pension fund providing a £770 million support package.
The deadline for acceptances is 16 December at 1pm. The shares added 7.25% to 245.5p.
Chief executive Ken Murphy said, ‘While business rates relief was a critical support at a time of significant uncertainty, some of the potential risks we faced are now behind us.’ The shares dropped 0.7% to 227.2p.
The company said it had a strong opening order book of $101.7 million (£79.8 million) which provides excellent visibility and confidence for 2021. Despite the positive news, the shares dropped 7.4% to £42.87.
AIRLINES LOSE ALTITUDE
Passenger volumes in November amounted to 456,487, down from 2,974,812 in November 2019.
Flying capacity dropped 79% and the company’s load factor shrank by around 25 percentage points to 68.2%. The shares dipped 0.4% to £45.55.
Passenger volumes in November fell to 2.0 million, down from 10.9 million in November 2019. The shares dropped 1.5% to €15.56.
The bonds would be issued at par and expected to carry a coupon of between 0.50% and 1.25% a year payable semi-annually in arrear in equal instalments.
The initial conversion price was expected to be set at a premium of between 35% and 40% above the volume weighted average price of an share on the London Stock Exchange between launch and pricing of the offering on 2 December. The shares sank 5.5% lower to 330.5p.
In a trading update for the year to December, performance nutrition company Science In Sport (SIS:AIM) said underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year through December was expected to be around £1.0 million, compared to a £0.3 million year-on-year loss.
The improvement was expected despite an anticipated modest fall in annual revenue to £49.8 million, down from £50.6 million in 2019.
The company said total online revenues were 39% ahead year on year at £23 million to the end of November and are expected to grow to approximately 51% of total revenue for the full year, compared with 38% in 2019. The shares rallied 12% to 31.5p.
Shares in bars/cafes/restaurants operator Loungers (LGRS:AIM) jumped 9% higher to 241p after saying it has seen a strong recovery since reopening. For the 24 weeks to 4 October revenues declined 33% to £26.3 million reflecting 11 weeks of lockdown.
Like-for-like sales grew 25.1% from 4 July to 4 October with strong trading maintained until the second lockdown on 5 November.
The company said it had 60 sites in England that will remain closed under Tier 3, with 91 sites trading in Tier 2 and three sites trading in Tier 1. In Wales it has 14 sites that will be subject to increased restrictions from 4 December.
Loungers said it expected to return to an annual run-rate of opening 25 new sites a year during the next financial year to April 2022.