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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

October 23, 2019

UK Sparks: Metro Bank Chairman To Step Down

Metro Bank founder and chairman Vernon Hill is to step down from his role with immediate effect. Mr Hill will remain a non-executive director until December 31 and has been given the honorary position of emeritus chairman to recognise his “extraordinary contribution” to the company. Senior independent director Sir Michael Snyder, a former managing partner at accountants Moore Kingston Smith, has been appointed interim chairman with immediate effect.

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Edison

October 22, 2019

UK Sparks: Reckitt Benckiser Cuts Growth Forecast

Healthcare and hygiene consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser Group has cut its forecast for full-year revenue growth for the second time after a “disappointing” and “slow” third quarter. Reckitt, whose brands include Dettol, Nurofen, Durex, and Cillit Bang, first reduced its revenue guidance in July.

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Edison

October 21, 2019

UK Sparks: Smith & Nephew Replaces Chief Executive

Medical equipment maker Smith & Nephew has announced that chief executive Namal Nawana is to step down “by mutual agreement” at the end of this month to “pursue other opportunities outside of the UK”. He will be succeeded by non-executive director Roland Diggelmann, a former chief executive of Roche Diagnostics. Mr Diggelmann says it is “an exciting time for the business,” adding that he has seen as non-executive director “the strength of the group’s people and its portfolio of leading technologies”.

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Edison

October 18, 2019

UK Sparks: LSE Registers 12% Income Growth

London Stock Exchange Group shook off the disruption of an unsuccessful $39bn takeover approach by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to grow third-quarter total income by 12% to £587m. Over the first nine months of this year, total income was up 9% at £1.7bn. LSE saw a robust performance across the group, with its LCH clearing business growing strongly and FTSE Russell increasing subscription revenues.

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Edison

October 17, 2019

UK Sparks: WH Smith Buys US Retailer For $400m

WH Smith has agreed to acquire US travel retailer Marshall Retail Group for $400m. The purchase will be partly funded by a proposed placing of new shares to raise about £155m. WH Smith says the deal is a “compelling opportunity to accelerate the growth of its international travel business in the $3.2bn US airport retail market.

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Edison

October 16, 2019

UK Sparks: Asos Suffers 68% Profits Slump

Online fashion retailer Asos has announced a 68% fall in full-year pre-tax profits to £33.1m on revenues up 13% at £2.7bn. Sales were up by 15% in the UK, 12% in the European Union, 9% in the US and 12% in the rest of the world. However, the group’s gross margin fell from 49.9% to 47.4% and “transition and restructuring costs” nearly doubled from £25m to £50.5m.

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Edison

October 15, 2019

UK Sparks: Bellway Breaks Through £3bn Revenues

Housebuilder Bellway has announced a 3.4% increase in full-year pre-tax profits to £663m on revenues 8.6% higher at a record £3.2bn. Housing completions rose by 5.7% to 10,892 but gross margins declined from 25.6% to 24.6% and operating margins slipped from 22.1% to 21%. Chairman John Watson says the company remains fully committed to “growing the business in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner”.

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Edison

October 14, 2019

UK Sparks: Sophos Recommends $3.8bn Takeover Bid

Computer security company Sophos Group is recommending a $3.8bn takeover offer from US private equity firm Thoma Bravo. The deal would see shareholders receive $7.40 (583p) per share in cash, a 37% premium to the 425.5p closing price on Friday. Irrevocable commitments to accept the offer have been received from shareholders holding 27.2% of the stock.

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Edison

October 11, 2019

UK Sparks: TP ICAP Pays £15.4m To Settle FCA Probe

TP ICAP has agreed to pay £15.4m to settle a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into trades by its subsidiary company Tullett Prebon (Europe) between 2008-2011. The FCA found that certain former managers in TP ICAP’s global broking division and compliance department failed to act with due skill, care and diligence. It also ruled that inadequate systems and controls were in place to deal with the risk of improper broker conduct.

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Edison

October 10, 2019

UK Sparks: Dunelm Growth Bucks High Street Gloom

Home furnishing retailer Dunelm Group has continued to buck the gloom on Britain’s high streets with a 6.4% rise in like-for-like first-quarter sales to £256m. Overall sales increased by 7.5% to £263m, boosted by a 35% advance in online revenues to £35.7m. The group warns that trading was “mixed” in September, partly reflecting a softening in the homewares market. However, its expectations for the full year remain unchanged.

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Edison

October 9, 2019

UK Sparks: GVC Upgrades Guidance After Strong Online Growth

GVC Holdings, the sports betting and gaming group that owns Ladbrokes and Coral, has upgraded its guidance for full-year underlying profits from £650m-£670m to £670m-£680m. The group reports in a trading update that it enjoyed strong growth in the third quarter, with net gaming revenues up 12%, despite the comparative period of last year including the World Cup.

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Edison

October 8, 2019

UK Sparks: Hong Kong Exchange Calls Off London Stock Exchange Bid

The owner of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has called off its $39bn takeover proposal for the London Stock Exchange Group. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing launched its unsolicited cash and stock offer for the LSE last month. However, it says in a statement that it has been “unable to engage” with LSE’s management and has therefore decided that it is not in the best interests of shareholders to pursue a deal. LSE is in the midst of its own takeover, paying $27bn for data and analytics company Refinitiv.

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Edison

October 7, 2019

UK Sparks: Two Disposals And A Profits Warning For SIG

Specialist building materials company SIG has announced two disposals totalling £235m and a profit warning. The group has agreed to sell its air handling division to France Air Management for £198m. In addition, Building Solutions, a manufacturer and distributor of building envelope solutions, will be sold to Ireland’s Kingspan Group for £37.5m.

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Edison

October 4, 2019

UK Sparks: BP Chief Executive To Retire

Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP, is to retire next year after ten years in the position. He will be succeeded by Bernard Looney, chief executive of the group’s upstream division. Mr Dudley, 64, has spent 40 years at the company. He will step down as chief executive after delivering full-year results on February 4 and will retire from the board on March 31.

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Edison

October 3, 2019

UK Sparks: Imperial Boss To Depart After Nine Years

Alison Cooper, chief executive of tobacco group Imperial Brands, is to step down by mutual agreement with the company after nine years in the position. She will leave after 20 years at the business, once a suitable successor is found. Chairman Mark Williamson says she has driven a sharper focus, halving Imperial’s number of cigarette brands to ensure higher quality growth and significantly simplifying and reshaping the company.

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Edison

October 2, 2019

UK Sparks: Change At The Top At Tesco

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis is to step down next summer after six years in the position and will be succeeded by Ken Murphy, formerly president of global brands at Walgreens Boots Alliance. The change was announced alongside interim results showing a 6.7% rise in pre-tax profits to £494m on revenues 0.6% higher at £31.9bn. Operating profits increased by 12.6% to £1.13bn, while there was like-for-like sales growth of 0.2% in the UK and Ireland.

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Edison

October 1, 2019

UK Sparks: AstraZeneca To Pocket $276m From Losec Sale

AstraZeneca is selling the global commercial rights, excluding China, Japan, the US and Mexico, to its Losec ulcer treatment to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel of Germany for up to $276m. The disposal includes the Acimax, Antra, Mepral, Mopral, Omepral and Zoltum brands and is part of AstraZeneca’s strategy of reducing its portfolio of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in its main therapy areas. Losec sales in the countries covered by the sale amounted to $98m last year

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Edison

September 30, 2019

UK Sparks: Woodford Patient Capital Trust Makes £232m Interim Loss

Woodford Patient Capital Trust has revealed a £232m loss for the first six months of this year, when its net assets fell from £807m to £654m. The loss at the trust, which invests in UK companies with potential for long-term growth, compares to a £5.05m pre-tax profit in the same period of last year. Net asset value per share fell by 26% from 97.6p to 72p. Between June 28 and September 26, there was a further 20.9% decline in the daily net asset value, representing a drop in the portfolio net asset value from £748m to £591m.

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Edison

September 27, 2019

UK Sparks: Pennon Launches Strategic Review

Pennon Group, the environmental infrastructure company that owns South West Water and waste collection and recycling business Viridor, has launched a review of its strategic focus, growth options and capital allocation policy. The group says in an interim trading statement that it is “an appropriate time” for a review, given its “strong financial performance and operational progress,” and the imminent start of South West Water’s new K7 regulatory delivery period and Viridor’s growth opportunities.

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Edison

September 26, 2019

UK Sparks: IAG Warns That BA Strikes Will Hurt Profits

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has warned that full-year operating profits will be about €215m lower than last year’s €3.49bn, mostly due to costs of industrial action. It says this month’s pilots’ strike cost it €137m, while other disruption in the quarter, including threatened strikes at Heathrow Airport, reduced profits by €33m. The company estimates that adverse booking trends at its low-cost Spanish airline Vueling will cost it €45m. Full-year capacity growth is expected to be about 4% – down from an earlier forecast of 5%.

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Edison

September 25, 2019

UK Sparks: Sainsbury’s Closures To Reduce Interim Profits By £50m

Supermarket group J Sainsbury has revealed that store closures, “unseasonal weather” and higher marketing costs will reduce interim underlying pre-tax profits by £50m. The closures, announced alongside a 0.2% decline in second-quarter like-for-like sales, include 10-15 supermarkets, 60-70 Argos shops and 30-40 convenience stores.

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Edison

September 24, 2019

UK Sparks: Tui Reassures Market After Thomas Cook Collapse

Travel group Tui has reassured investors that it anticipates full-year results in line with expectations. Issuing a trading update a day after the collapse of rival Thomas Cook Group, the company says it still expects to announce a fall of up to 26% in underlying earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation from last year’s €1.18bn. The company, which has faced challenges including the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft and airline overcapacity, says it is assessing the short-term impact of Thomas Cook’s insolvency. Chief executive Fritz Joussen says: “Our vertically integrated business model proves to be resilient, even in this challenging market environment.”

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Edison

September 23, 2019

UK Sparks: Thomas Cook Enters Compulsory Liquidation

Travel company Thomas Cook Group has entered compulsory liquidation after failing to satisfy a request by its banks for an additional £200m of funds to be raised in a proposed refinancing. The group says in a statement that the High Court has granted an order to put it in the hands of the Official Receiver, which will appoint members of Alix Partners UK as “special managers”. The company has requested that its ordinary shares are suspended from listing with immediate effect. Thomas Cook had agreed the outline of a £900m rescue led by China’s Fosun International, its largest shareholder.

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Edison

September 20, 2019

UK Sparks: Thomas Cook Asked To Raise An Extra £200m

Thomas Cook Group has been asked to secure an extra £200m of funding as it continues discussions over a proposed £900m refinancing. The travel company, which is in advanced negotiations with its largest shareholder, China’s Fosun Tourism Group, and bondholders, says in a statement that the extra funds it is being asked to find amount to a “seasonal standby facility”. It also reiterates that the Fosun-led deal is expected to result in existing shareholders’ interests being significantly diluted, with “significant risk of no recovery”.

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Edison

September 19, 2019

UK Sparks: Next Profits Up 2.7% Due To Online Success

Fashion retailer Next has again defied the gloom on the high street, announcing a 2.7% increase in interim pre-tax profits to £320m on sales 3.7% higher at £2.06bn. Full-price sales at Next’s stores fell by 3.9% but were up 11.9% online and the company expects the total for the full year to climb 3.6%, with pre-tax profits of £725m. Chief executive Lord Wolfson says: “So far, we have weathered the retail storm, we have adapted what we do and have a business model that, for the moment, works in an online world.”

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Edison

September 18, 2019

UK Sparks: Kingfisher Profits Fall As CEO Signs Off

Véronique Laury has signed off as chief executive of DIY retailer Kingfisher with a 12.5% slide in interim pre-tax profits to £245m on revenues down 1.4% at £6bn. The profits fall was due to £74m of net exceptional charges for store closures in France and Germany and exiting the Russian and Iberian markets. Adjusted pre-tax profits were 3.7% higher at £337m.

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Edison

September 17, 2019

UK Sparks: Sirius Minerals Cancels Bond Issue

Sirius Minerals has pulled plans for a $500m high-interest bond issue and will now scale back the development of its planned polyhalite mine in North Yorkshire. The company, which had warned that it could be forced into administration without the fundraising, says it does not believe the offering can be achieved in current market conditions.

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Edison

September 16, 2019

UK Sparks: John Cryan To Succeed Lord Livingston at Man Group

The Dixons Carphone chairman, a former UK trade and investment minister and BT Group chief executive, will be succeeded by Man Group non-executive director John Cryan, a former chief executive of Deutsche Bank. Man Group says it concluded that an external search process “would not deliver a more outstanding candidate” than Mr Cryan, who worked for Swiss banking group UBS for more than 25 years.

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Edison

September 13, 2019

UK Sparks: OVO Energy Pays £500m For SSE’s Supply Business

Power group SSE is selling its Energy Services electricity and gas supply business to OVO Energy for £500m. The sale, for £400m cash and £100m in loan notes, will allow SSE to focus on its renewable energy and electricity network assets. It will make OVO Britain’s second-biggest supplier, bringing together the 3.5 million households served by SSE with 1.5 million OVO customers. The deal follows last year’s collapse of an attempted merger of SSE’s supply arm with Npower.

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Edison

September 12, 2019

UK Sparks: Morrisons Profits Rise 5.3%

Wm Morrison Supermarkets has announced a 5.3% increase in interim pre-tax profits before exceptional items to £198m on revenues 0.4% higher at £8.83bn. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose by 0.2% in the period, despite a 1.9% fall in the second quarter. Statutory pre-tax profits increased by 48.5% to £202m.

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