Fri 24 May 2013 Shares of BTG have been held back since the start of the year due to concerns regarding impending acquisitions. Nevertheless, now that these – and a 106.3m pound capital issue - are out of the way the stock should progress, says The Times’s Tempus. The company will acquire North America based Ekos and one of the business units of Nordion, for a total amount of up to 280m pounds. That for a company with a market capitalisation in the 1.1bn pound area. Critically, non-organic growth is a pillar of the firm's strategy – although this is its most ambitious step yet.
Fri 24 May 2013 According to The Guardian, the 1.9bn-dollar settlement deal that HSBC agreed with US authorities over money-laundering offences, could be at risk, meaning that the bank could face criminal charges. The original settlement meant that HSBC wouldn't face prosecution but the judge overseeing the case is now thought to be considering rejecting the deal.
Thu 23 May 2013 At a 33 per cent premium to their net asset value one could be forgiven for worrying that shares of Great Portland Estates are considerably overvalued. After all, that was the valuation reached just before the Great Bubble burst, with an all too familiar ending. Further, the company is essentially a big bet that the London office market will continue to thrive in the long-term. Having said that, the current Chief Executive has 'called the market' correctly before and in the last downturn the company bought land on the cheap. Significantly, 81 per cent of the firm´s assets are in the West End and not just in London. This area has not seen the sort of rental growth witnessed during the early Noughties. Even so, there is no harm in taking some profits on shares that have outperformed, says The Times´s Tempus.
Thu 23 May 2013 The Telegraph says that Waitrose head Mark Price is refusing to meet with Ocado chief Tim Steiner after the online grocery group agreed to help rival Morrison develop an online shopping website.
Wed 22 May 2013 Despite the falls evident in yesterday´s quarterly results, in what has traditionally been its main performance metric -organic service revenues - any weakness in Vodafone´s share price looks like it would be a buying opportunity, says The Times´s Tempus. Above all, it is hard to see how the situation with Verizon will not work itself out in its favour. Furthermore, the telecoms operator will likely bid for spectrum licenses when they come up for sale in countries such as Hungary, South Africa and India, for example. Then there are the prospects for Voda´s share of profits out of Verizon, which increased by almost a third in 2012.
Wed 22 May 2013 The Bank of Japan has held off on new monetary easing, according to the Financial Times, "judging that the huge stimulus unveiled in April will be enough to spur price gains in the world’s third-largest economy". The central bank said that Japan has "started picked up".
Tue 21 May 2013 While it may be true that ENRC may be worth more as a privately held company than as a listed concern minority owners deserve more than the 260p per share offered by the group’s founding oligarchs and the Kazakh government, which amounts to daylight robbery, the FT’s Lex column muses. For one, said bid price values the company at barely 2.5 times its 2013 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation costs (EBITDA) versus the 5 times EBITDA on which Kazakhmys and Rio Tinto are now trading, for example. And on a ‘sum-of-the-parts’ basis ENRC may be worth 6 pounds, some analysts think. On the other hand, the paltry sum on offer may be the only thing propping the share price up.
Tue 21 May 2013 Business Secretary Vince Cable has demanded that part-nationalised lender RBS increase its lending to Britain's small- and medium-sized companies to take more responsibility for the economy recovery, The Times says.
Mon 20 May 2013 Chancellor George Osborne is expected to face opposition from Treasury civil servants over his plans to sell the government's stake in part-nationalised lender RBS to the public, reports The Times. Senior officials are said to be against the idea, saying that they are over-complex and have raised concerns about the effect on the deficit.
Sun 19 May 2013 The London Stock Exchange is considering buying a stake in Istanbul’s fast-growing stock market as part of a deal that could see Turkish trades settled in the City. Borsa Istanbul has been seeking an international partner to overhaul its technology and improve the market’s access to foreign investors for several months. The LSE’s proposal would see Borsa Istanbul start to clear its trades through LCH Clearnet, the financial plumbing system now majority-controlled by the LSE. The Turkish exchange would also use the LSE’s Millennium Exchange software, The Sunday Times reports.
Sun 19 May 2013 Thomas Cook still has a long flight ahead of it, but the new Captain at the controls seems to have stabilised the craft. In fact, things now look normal. Above all, the company needs to sharply improve the experience of its customers, quite a challenge. However, the 1.6bn pound capital restructuring announced last week means that the outfit now has a fighting chance. Then there are the upwardly revised cost-savings targets and plans to rationalise its airlines and dealings with hotels. The travel tour operator may be headed for a sunnier future, says The Sunday Times´s Matthew Goodman.
Fri 17 May 2013 Stock of Bovis Homes, along with its peers, saw an extraordinary surge in its share price yesterday, up 12p to 765p, almost twice where it was last June. The stock is approaching a 30% premium to their estimated net asset value; this seems to be building in an awful lot of the future growth expected by analysts. "Not a bad time to take some profits," writes The Times’s Tempus.
Fri 17 May 2013 The head of the Confederation of British Industry has warned about the risks of Britain quitting the EU, saying that the Conservative party's desire for a referendum on the issue has been a "distraction from securing growth and jobs, which have to be the UK's top priority", reports The Guardian.
Thu 16 May 2013 Financial Times reports that the pace of Japanese economic growth in the first quarter was its fastest among the Group of Seven countries at 3.5 per cent. "Solid growth in consumer spending and exports suggest[s] the expansionary policies of Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, are delivering quick and tangible results," the paper says.
Thu 16 May 2013 Change is in the air at HSBC. The lender has been right to concentrate on cost-cutting, having exited 50 businesses and announced roughly 44,000 lay-offs since 2011 – even if its cost-to-income ratio has risen over the past three years. Indeed, banks have been at pains recently to show investors that they can still grow, but HSBC does have greater exposure to emerging markets, while “soggy” top lines are being me with a renewed focus on efficiency and returns, with the lender’s pay-out ratio having improved from 47% in 2010 to 55% last year, the FT’s Lex column writes.
Wed 15 May 2013 Icap is fighting to restructure and survive. Hence the very positive market reaction on Tuesday when it announced that it would beat its target for cost savings. Far more important even, traders breathed a sigh of relief that it did not cut its dividend payment. Nevertheless, a 12 per cent revenue decline alongside pre-tax profits off by 20 per cent at 284m pounds shows how difficult it is to align costs with declining markets. In addition, there are pending regulatory changes the impact of which, positive or negative, is hard to discern. Icap has been dragged into the Libor scandal, and if found guilty, could face a fine of up to 25m dollars. "The yield of 6.5 per cent may look attractive, but, given the uncertainties, I would be in no mood to chase," The Times´s Tempus says.
Wed 15 May 2013 BP, Shell and a number of other oil majors are under investigation by European regulators into whether they rigged the price of oil for over a decade, writes The Telegraph. Authorities raided offices of the companies yesterday after MPs and officials suggested that the oil price could be vulnerable to being manipulated in the same way as LIBOR was rigged by the banks.
Tue 14 May 2013 Authorities attempts to create a challenger to the main established lending groups – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC - are in a state of disarrray after Moody´s six notch downgrade of Co-op last week. Simply put, creating a large new lender is far more difficult and risky than many appreciate. In any case, the fact remains that the sector´s main players continue to dominate the current account market, of which they still possess over 70 per cent. The lesson to be drawn from the above may be that a bunch of focused, niche banks - such as Aldermore – could be a bigger threat to the big four banks than any Frankenstein-like creation which the government may try to spawn, says the FT´s Lex column.
Tue 14 May 2013 According to The Times, Severn Trent could be the target of a bid worth up to 5.3bn pounds. The utility company is said to be in talks with Canadian infrastructure investors Borealis and the Kuwait Investment Authoirty
Mon 13 May 2013 Sir Win Bischoff, the Chairman of Lloyds since September 2009, is expected to announce his resignation ahead of Thursday's shareholder meeting as the bank readies for privatisation, reports The Guardian.