Founders could make £32m from Boost transfer to AG Barr
The husband-and-wife founders of Boost energy drinks will need to raise at least £20m after selling the brand to Irn Bru owner AG Barr.
Simon and Alison Gray, who founded the business in 2001 and are the sole shareholders, will continue to run the business after the sale. The Grays are also in line for up to £12m in performance-related payments over the next two years.
Leeds United sponsor Boost, known for its budget sports and energy drinks, recently branched out into canned iced coffee and AG Barr said it sees “significant potential” to add to the brand’s portfolio.
AG Barr CEO Roger White said: “Consumers are looking for functionality benefits, not just liquid freshness. [of a drink]such as energy or protein. We believe this is an area of the market that will continue to grow.”
Persimmon and Savills dropped their shares
Persimmon was left out in the cold today after the City bank focused on rivals Berkeley Group and Bellway instead of looking at the best value stocks in construction.
Jefferies’ move to drop its ‘buy’ recommendation on Persimmon sent shares in the housebuilder down 17p at 1,278.5p at the top of the FTSE 100.
Shares are down about 55% this year, with the US bank saying a recent change in dividend policy has removed Persimmon’s “previous predictability”.
Jefferies, on the other hand, is optimistic that a stabilization of declining mortgage rates and foreclosure trends will boost investor confidence in 2023, as valuations have been crushed this year by fears of rising costs and home prices.
Berkeley, which is behind a number of London Brownfield regeneration schemes, added 10p to 3859p as it posted a target of 4554p in today’s note. Bellway rose to a “buy” position with an estimate of 2,458p, helping the FTSE 250 stock rise 2%, or 42.5p, to 1,986.5p.
The FTSE 100 index was little changed – 14.38 points higher at 7570.61 – but that masked a strong performance in Asia-focused shares after China eased Covid restrictions in more key cities.
An improved demand forecast helped Rio Tinto add 3%, or 157p, to 5,741p, while insurer Prudential rose 5%, or 54.5p, to 1,085p.
The FTSE 250 rose 55.18 points to 19,418.46, with a 4% gain for Fidelity’s China Special Situations. Estate agency chain Savills led the way, falling 7%, or 68p, to 871p after Peel Hunt removed its ‘buy’ rating to reflect lower operating performance.
He still sees Savills as a high-quality business with attractive long-term prospects, but is lowering his brokerage target to 1,000p for now. International Delivery Services also lost 7p to 227.5p as the Royal Mail holiday shutdown continued into a key trading month.
Thames Water made a profit of around £400m in the first half
Thames Water has reported a first-half profit of almost £400m, which comes amid a nearly 40% rise in the number of burst pipes and a ban on long-haul pipes during a prolonged drought.
He said that the summer heat caused the leakage to increase “due to hot weather and dry soil”. The 15-million-customer company faced public criticism for its hosepipe ban between August and September, when almost a quarter of the 2.6 billion liters of tap water it supplies daily in a typical year was lost to leaks.
Its chairman, Ian Marchant, said the summer of 2022 had marked “one of the worst droughts ever, causing an unprecedented reduction in the reservoir” and that the company was “working around the clock to fix leaks and bursts”. increased as a result of drought”.
Profit after tax was £398m, down from a loss of £581m in the same period a year ago.
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EV demand is helping the new car market rebound
Growing demand for electric vehicles helped the UK new car market grow by 23.5% in November, as the Tesla Model Y was the second best-selling car of the month, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). About 25,000 have been sold since January.
The 32% increase in electric car registrations comes despite Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement removing the road tax exemption for new electric cars, which could add £500 to their running costs.
SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “As the sector tries to ensure growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent action is needed – at the very least a fair approach to EV adoption that recognizes these vehicles.”
Vodafone shares rise on CEO speech, FTSE 100 flat
Shares in Vodafone rose 1.5p to 92.65p after the mobile phone giant’s chief executive Nick Reid announced he would step down later this month.
The reopening of more key cities in China also boosted trading in a number of Asia-focused stocks, including miner Rio Tinto, which gained 109p to 5,693p, and insurer Prudential, which rose 23.5p to 1,054p.
The FTSE 100 was unchanged at 7,556.02, with housebuilder Persimmon the biggest loser after analysts at Jefferies withdrew their ‘buy’ recommendation and cut their price target to 1,436p. Shares fell 35.5p to 1,260p.
Estate agency business Savills shed 19.10 points to 19,344.19 after the FTSE 250 fell 5%, or 42p, or 897p.
Royal Mail owner International Delivery Services lost 7p to 227.5p after electrical retailer Currys said it had temporarily stopped using the company for parcel deliveries amid the impact of ongoing strike action.
Standard Chartered warns that Bitcoin prices could fall by 70% next year amid declining investor confidence.
According to a note released by the Standard Chartered bank, bitcoin prices could fall by up to 70% next year.
Prices falling to $5,000 in 2023 could be a scenario where markets are “underpriced,” said head of research Eric Robertsen, adding that we could see more cryptocurrency “bankruptcies and a collapse in investor confidence in digital assets.”
That decline in confidence could cause investors to shift away from digital assets and into real assets like gold, Robertsen added, cautioning that the possible scenario does not constitute a market forecast.
The price of Bitcoin has already fallen by 60% since the beginning of the year.
A barrel of Brent oil is $86, while the FTSE 100 remains stable
Sunday’s decision by OPEC+ ministers to keep output at current levels came as little surprise to traders, with Brent crude firming at $86 a barrel today.
The policy, which would cut monthly output by two million barrels per day, follows the EU’s decision on Friday to cut the price of Russian crude oil to $60 starting today.
Other factors weighing on Brent crude prices today include a potential increase in demand from China after Shanghai and Hangzhou followed other cities in easing some Covid restrictions over the weekend.
US markets were broadly closed on Friday after a stronger-than-expected non-farm payrolls figure fueled interest rate hike jitters.
The reading of 263,000 for November was well above forecasts of 200,000, while growth in average hourly earnings beat expectations.
The FTSE 100 rose 0.9% last week, with CMC Markets predicting a rise of three points to 7,559 ahead of this morning’s updates from Europe’s services sector.
National Express names Stamp as next CFO
Transport business National Express has appointed James Stamp as its next permanent finance director.
Stamp has served as interim CFO since September and joined the company in July 2017. He was previously a partner at KPMG, where he led the firm’s transportation practice.
CEO Ignacio Garat said Stamp “brings highly complementary skills to the executive team and will be central to the next phase of National Express’ development”.
Nick Read as CEO at Vodafone
VODAFONE shocked investors today when chief executive Nick Read abruptly left the company.
The immediate appointment of Margherita Della Valle as “interim” CEO suggests that the decision on Read was made quickly, as there is no successor lined up.
Read’s departure package is likely to be extensive. He owns 17.2m Voadfone shares and was paid £4.1m last year and £3.5m in 2021.
He joined Voda as CFO in 2001 and became Group CEO in October 2018.
The stock has struggled recently, down 60% over the past five years. Today they open at 91p, holding a business worth £25bn.
Vodafone said Della Valle will “accelerate the execution of the company’s strategy to improve operational performance and deliver shareholder value.”
Read said: “I agreed with the Board that now is the right time to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone’s strengths and seize the significant opportunities ahead.”
Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, Vodafone’s Chairman of the Board, said: “During his four years as CEO, he has led Vodafone through the pandemic by ensuring our customers stay connected to their families and businesses. He has led the industry in Europe in unlocking value from the connectivity provider and tower infrastructure. did