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UK Sparks: Imperial Boss To Depart After Nine Years


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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.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker has announced a £23m interim pre-tax loss after £17.4m of exceptional charges on flat sales of £304m. The group, which issued a profits warning in June, says it continues to face “significant challenges” impacting its sector. These include weak consumer spending, macro-economic uncertainty and “an accelerating channel shift towards e-commerce”.

Transport operator Stagecoach Group has warned in a trading statement that 1% like-for-like revenue growth at its regional UK bus operations was lower than expected in the 20 weeks to September 14. The group’s London bus operations achieved a “strong performance” in the period. On the railways, the company’s legal claims against the Secretary of State for Transport’s decisions to disqualify it from three rail franchise competitions are due to be heard in the High Court in early 2020.

Gold mining group Centamin has announced that chief executive Andrew Pardey is to retire. He will continue in the post until a successor is in place. The company, which previously warned that third quarter production was behind expectations, says there have been “significant changes” to its operational team and 490,000 ounces of full-year production, the lower end of its guidance, “remains achievable”.

Mining group Anglo American says the value of rough diamond sales at its De Beers unit was $295m during the eighth cycle of 2019. This is higher than the $287m figure for the seventh cycle but lower than the $482m achieved in the eighth cycle of 2018.

Spreadbetting group CMC Markets says in a trading statement that net trading revenues were “strong” during the first half of its financial year. Interim revenues from the company’s stockbroking business are expected to increase from £5.5m to about £14m, while net trading revenue from contracts for difference are anticipated to increase to £85m from £63m in the first half of last year. CMC says full-year group net operating income will exceed £170m, while pre-tax profits are expected to increase from last year’s total.

Finally, property company CLS Holdings has unconditionally exchanged contracts to acquire two office buildings in London for £66.7m. The properties, 6 Lloyds Avenue in the City of London and the Clockwork Building in Hammersmith, have a blended annual passing rent of £4.2m and a net initial yield of 6.2%.

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