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Edison is an investment research and advisory company, with offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East and AsiaPac. The heart of Edison is our world renowned equity research platform and deep multi-sector expertise. At Edison Investment Research, our research is widely read by international investors, advisors and stakeholders. Edison Advisors leverages our core research platform to provide differentiated services including investor relations and strategic consulting.  Visit www.edisoninvestmentresearch.com for more information.

Edison

August 19, 2019

UK Sparks: Mitie Group Sells Catering Arm For Up To £85m

Outsourcing company Mitie Group has confirmed that it is selling its catering and hospitality arm to specialist caterer CH&CO for up to £85m in cash. The disposal of Mitie Catering will be accompanied by the formation of a new strategic partnership between Mitie and CH&CO, ensuring that the Gather & Gather catering offer remains exclusive to Mitie clients.

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Edison

August 16, 2019

UK Sparks: Ultra Electronics Wins US Navy Contract; EN+ Earnings Slump

The US Navy awarded Ultra Electronics and its joint venture partner Sparton DeLeon Springs a contract worth up to $1.04bn to manufacture sonobuoys for at least five years. Ultra Electronics CEO Simon Pryce said the “important” contract reflects the US focus on anti-submarine warfare. A sonobuoy is a portable electronic sensor that can detect underwater sounds.

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Edison

August 15, 2019

UK Sparks: Betting Group GVC Announces £12.3m Loss After Merger Charges

GVC Holdings, the sports betting and gaming group that owns Ladbrokes Coral, made a pre-tax loss of £12.3m in the first six months of this year. The loss, which compares to a pre-tax profit of £114m in the same period of last year, came after £224m of charges, mostly for the “amortisation of acquired intangibles” relating to the integration of the Ladbrokes Coral Group.

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Edison

August 14, 2019

UK Sparks: FirstGroup Joint Venture Wins HS2 Rail Franchise

A joint venture of FirstGroup with Italian rail operator Trenitalia has been awarded a franchise to run Britain’s West Coast and new High Speed 2 train services. The 70%-30% joint venture will take on the franchise from December 8. In a first phase to March 2026, First Trenitalia will operate existing InterCity West Coast services while acting as a “shadow operator” for the HS2 programme.

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Edison

August 13, 2019

UK Sparks: Tui Profits Hit By Boeing 737 Max Grounding

Travel group Tui has reported a 46% fall in third-quarter underlying earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation to €101m, as the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft cost it €144m. For the full year, the group still expects full-year underlying earnings to be 26% lower than the €1.18bn achieved in 2018, with total 737 Max costs of up to €300m. Tui says customers have booked later than normal, following last year’s European heatwave, while demand continues to be affected by Brexit uncertainty.

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Edison

August 12, 2019

UK Sparks: SSE Confirms Ovo Energy Talks

Power group SSE has confirmed that it is in talks to sell its retail energy business to challenger gas and electric brand Ovo Energy. The discussions relate to SSE Energy Services, which supplies energy services to about 5.7 million UK households. If successful, a deal would make Ovo Britain’s second largest supplier of electricity and gas behind British Gas.

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Edison

August 8, 2019

UK Sparks: Aviva To Review Asian Options

Insurance group Aviva is to review strategic options for its Asian businesses as part of plans for the company under new chief executive Maurice Tulloch. The group announced the move alongside interim results showing a 1% rise in operating profits to £1.45bn. It says the half-year saw its business adversely affected by “market headwinds” in savings and asset management, while it faced “intense competition” in individual protection and general insurance.

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Edison

August 7, 2019

UK Sparks: Glencore Profits Fall 32%

Commodities and mining group Glencore saw adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation tumble by 32% to $5.6bn in the first half of this year. Chief executive Ivan Glasenberg says the compaaany was hurt by a “challenging economic backdrop” and operating and costs setbacks. Glencore also says it will stop production at its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s largest cobalt mine, due to low cobalt prices. It now expects full-year adjusted earnings of between $2.2bn-$3.2bn, after adjusting for $350m of non-cash cobalt losses in the first half.

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Edison

August 6, 2019

UK Sparks: Underlying Operating Profits Up 32% At Rolls-Royce

Aero-engines maker Rolls-Royce Holdings has announced a 32% increase in interim underlying operating profits to £203m on revenues 5% higher at £7.88bn. The group, which is still grappling with service issues with its Trent 1000 engines, saw underlying revenues grow by 11% in civil aerospace and by 6% in power systems.

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Edison

August 5, 2019

UK Sparks: HSBC Chief Executive To Leave After 18 Months

HSBC Holdings’ John Flint is to step down after 18 months as chief executive. The company says Mr Flint, who is 51 and has been with the company for nearly 30 years, is leaving by “mutual agreement” and will step down from day-to-day duties with immediate effect. Noel Quinn, chief executive of HSBC’s global commercial bank, will act as interim chief executive while the bank searches for a successor.

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Edison

August 2, 2019

RBS to Return £1.7bn to Shareholders; Pets at Home Raises Profit Forecast

Royal Bank of Scotland is planning to return £1.7bn to shareholders via an interim dividend of 2p and a special dividend of 12p. The Government-backed lender reported a 48% jump in pre-tax operating profit for the half year to £2.7bn and a return on tangible equity of 12.1%, boosted by the sale of its stake in Saudi bank Alawwal.

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Edison

August 1, 2019

Barclays Profits Increase By 82%

Banking group Barclays has announced an 82% increase in interim pre-tax profits from £1.66bn to £3bn. Pre-tax profits excluding provisions for litigation and conduct charges fell from £3.7bn to £3.1bn. Total income declined by 1% to £10.8bn, mainly due to margin pressure in the UK and lower income at Barclays International. Operating expenses increased by 1% to £6.8bn and the group cost-income ratio advanced from 61% to 63%. Credit impairment charges increased from £600m to £900m and the company reported a return on tangible equity of 9.4%.

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Edison

July 31, 2019

UK Sparks: PPI Compensation Dents Lloyds Banking Group Profits

Lloyds Banking Group has announced a 7% fall in interim pre-tax profits to £2.9bn after taking a provision of £650m for payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation. The charge, £550m of which was taken in the second quarter, was largely driven by a “significant” increase in PPI information requests ahead of next month’s deadline for compensation claims. Lloyds also took a charge of £182m for restructuring and £465m for “volatility and other items”. Underlying pre-tax profits fell 1% to £4.2bn, while the net interest margin held steady at 2.9%. The interim dividend increases by 5% to 1.12p.

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Edison

July 30, 2019

UK Sparks: Centrica CEO To Step Down As Company Unveils £569m Loss

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has announced the departure of chief executive Iain Conn alongside interim results showing a pre-tax loss of £569m. Mr Conn, who had been in the post for four years, will step down next year as the group moves into a “new phase” and begins to exit its gas exploration and production businesses and become a “simpler and more focused, cost-competitive customer-facing business”.

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Edison

July 29, 2019

UK Sparks: Just Eat and Takeaway.com Agree Potential Merger Terms

Just Eat and Takeaway.com have agreed the key terms of a possible all-share combination to create one of the world’s largest online food delivery companies. The proposed terms of the all-shares deal would see 0.09744 Takeaway.com shares exchanged for each Just Eat share, implying a value for Just Eat of 731p per share, based on Takeaway.com’s closing price of €83.55 on Friday.

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Edison

July 25, 2019

UK Sparks: Advent International Buys Cobham For £4bn

Aerospace engineering group Cobham, has announced a £4bn recommended takeover by US private equity group Advent International. The 165p-a-share cash bid represents a 33% premium to Cobham’s closing share price of 123p yesterday. Chairman Jamie Pike says the offer represents “an opportunity for shareholders to realise their investment in cash in the near term”.

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Edison

July 24, 2019

UK Sparks: ITV Interim Profits Fall 15%

Broadcaster ITV has announced a 15% fall in interim adjusted pre-tax profits from £354m to £301m on revenues down 5% at £1.75bn. Pre-tax profits before adjustments declined by 16% from £265m to £222m. Advertising revenues dropped by 5%, while 18% growth was reported in online revenues. ITV Studios revenues were down 6% at £758m.

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Edison

July 23, 2019

UK Sparks: Heathrow Interim Profits Rise 61%

Airport operator Heathrow has announced a 61% increase in adjusted pre-tax profits from £95m to £153m in the first half of this year. The increase was largely due to a reduction in net finance costs “before certain re-measurements”. Revenues rose from £1.4bn to £1.46bn, but pre-tax profits after re-measurements slumped from £289m to £7m.

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Edison

July 22, 2019

UK Sparks: Whitbread Completes £2.5bn Share Buyback Programme

Whitbread has announced the completion of its programme to return £2.5bn to shareholders following its £3.9bn sale of Costa Coffee to The Coca-Cola Company last year. The hotels group has purchased £2bn of its shares via a tender at £49.72 per share. Whitbread previously bought back £482m of its shares between January and May. This company says it is not planning any further returns of capital.

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Edison

July 19, 2019

UK Sparks: Barrick Gold Announces Recommended Takeover of Acacia Mining

Barrick Gold has unveiled a recommended £343m offer for the 36.1% of Acacia Mining it does not already own. The offer comprises 0.168 new Barrick shares, plus dividends, for each Acacia share, implying a value of 232p per share, a 53.5% premium to the 151p price on May 20 (the last business day before the announcement of a possible offer). The offer values Acacia, which has exploration assets located in Tanzania, Kenya, Mali and Burkina Faso, at £951m.

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Edison

July 18, 2019

UK Sparks: ASOS Announces Another Profits Warning

Online fashion retailer ASOS has issued its third profits warning since December, blaming operational problems as it restructures its distribution activities in Europe and America. The company now expects full-year pre-tax profits of between £30m-£35m. Total revenues in the four months to the end of June increased by 12% to £920m.

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Edison

July 17, 2019

UK Sparks: Online Surge Boosts GVC

GVC Holdings, the gambling group that owns Ladbrokes and Coral, has issued a first-half trading statement reporting a 5% increase in net gaming revenue, driven by 17% growth online. Like-for-like revenue in the group’s UK business fell by 10%, including a 19% plunge in the second quarter, following the regulatory move to cut the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals to £2. Chief executive Kenny Alexander says the company’s out-performance online is driven by the “sustainable competitive advantages” of its proprietary technology platform, leading product, cutting edge marketing and leading brands”. The board remains “confident” of delivering full-year underlying earnings and operating profits in line with expectations.

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Edison

July 16, 2019

UK Sparks: Boeing 737 Max Grounding To Hit Ryanair Revenues

Low-cost airline Ryanair Holdings has warned that the continued grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft will hit next summer’s revenues. The company says it remains confident that the 737 Max will come back into flying service before the end of this year. However, it now expects to take delivery of only 30 of the aircraft by May 2020 – nearly half the 58 originally scheduled.

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Edison

July 15, 2019

UK Sparks: Sports Direct Delays Results

Sports Direct International has announced that it is delaying publication of its full-year results. The retailer partly blames the “complexities” of integrating House of Fraser and “uncertainty as to the future trading performance” of the department stores business. It says another reason is “the increased regulatory scrutiny of auditors and audits,” including the Financial Reporting Council’s review of Grant Thornton’s audit of its 2017/18 financial statements.

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Edison

July 12, 2019

UK Sparks: Reckitt Benckiser To Pay $1.4bn In US Settlement

Reckitt Benckiser Group is to pay up to $1.4bn in a settlement to resolve all US federal investigations into the company in relation to the sales and marketing of opioid addiction treatment Suboxone Film by its former prescription pharmaceuticals business Indivior. The company had reached agreements with the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Indivior was demerged from the group in 2014. Reckitt says it “acted lawfully at all times and expressly denies all allegations that it engaged in any wrongful conduct”.

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Edison

July 12, 2019

UK Sparks: Thomas Cook Seeks Capital Injection; Lookers Warns on Profit

Thomas Cook has announced plans to recapitalise the business citing a “progressively more challenging” operating environment in Europe. The travel group is looking for a £750m capital investment to help them trade over the winter season and is in advanced talks with China’s Fosun Tourism (their largest shareholder) and core banks, it said.

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Edison

July 10, 2019

UK Sparks: Superdry Plunges To £85m Loss

Fashion retailer Superdry plunged to a full-year pre-tax loss of £85.4m in the 12 months to April 27 from pre-tax profits of £65.3m a year earlier. The loss was due to £130m of “onerous lease and impairment charges, ”impacting about half of the owned retail estate as a result of decreasing store revenues and a “cautious recovery plan”. Underlying pre-tax profits fell from £97m to £41.9m.

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Edison

July 9, 2019

UK Sparks: Ocado Interim Losses Increase Ten-Fold Due To Fire

Exceptional costs of £99m following a fire at the Andover distribution centre of online groceries company Ocado Group led to interim pre-tax losses increasing more than ten-fold to £143m.. The losses, which compare with £13.6m in the first half of last year, came despite revenues rising 10.9% to £882m. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation fell by 48% to £18.1m.

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