The FTSE 100 ended the week 46.43 points higher, closing at 7,069.04 on Friday.
Paper and packaging group Mondi has signed a new €750m five-year revolving credit facility agreement to refinance an agreement due to mature in July 2022. The RCF incorporates key sustainability targets linked to MAP2030 - Mondi’s Action Plan to meet 2030 sustainability goals and designed to tackle global issues across the value chain with commitments focused on circular-driven packaging and paper solutions, created by empowered people, taking action on climate.
Packaging group Smurfit Kappa said it had bought Cartones del Pacifico in Peru for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition expands the company’s footprint in the Americas from 12 to 13 countries. As part of the deal Emusa Group has acquired Smurfit Kappa’s flexible packaging business in El Salvador.
ContourGlobal, in partnership with Energy Infrastructure Partners, has agreed to buy Green Hunter Group, a portfolio of solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) assets in Italy totalling 18 MW for €49.7m. The acquired assets will contribute around €8m of adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation on an annual basis, the company said.
Pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca has appointed Aradhana Sarin as chief financial officer on Friday, succeeding Marc Dunoyer upon the closing of its acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals on 1 August. Sarin, currently executive vice-president and CFO Alexion, will relocate from the US to the UK to take over the role held by Dunoyer for more than seven years.
Music intellectual property investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund has acquired the music catalogue of Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer and musician Joel Little, it announced on Friday. The FTSE 250 company said Little was recently presented with his fourth APRA-AMCOS ‘One Million List’ award for Taylor Swift's hit Me!, following his previous honours for Young Dumb & Broke by Khalid, Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons and Royals by Lorde.
Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty said it had sold its 70% interest in the BC Children's & BC Women's Hospital Redevelopment Project in Vancouver, Canada for £20m. The company on Thursday said the pre-tax profit on disposal is £7m, adding that the deal marked the first disposal from the group's £1.1bn infrastructure investments asset portfolio since 2019.
Chemring posted a rise in interim profit and revenue on Thursday as it announced the acquisition of Cubica Group, a Surrey-based research and development company specialising in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data fusion and autonomy. In the six months to 30 April, underlying pre-tax profit increased 12% to £27.2m on revenue of £198.5m, up 4% on the same period a year ago. The company declared an interim dividend per share of 1.6p, up 23%.
JD Sports Fashion said it had sold its Sports Unlimited Retail unit for €16.5m to its 50%-owned Spanish subsidiary Iberian Sports Retail Group (ISRG). Sports Unlimited Retail is based in the Netherlands operating under the Aktiesport and Perry Sport fascias. JD Sports said it felt ISRG was more focused on the sporting goods sector than the core JD brand and “therefore JD feels that the management team of ISRG will be better placed to drive growth and higher returns in SUR longer term”.
Workspace Group reported a 52% decline in trading profit after interest in its full-year results on Thursday, to £38.7m, from a 33% decrease in net rental income to £81.5m, which included £19.9m of rent discounts given to customers. The FTSE 250 company’s total dividend for the year ended 31 March was 17.75p per share, down from 36.16p in the prior year.
Insurer Hiscox said on Thursday that it has agreed a legacy reinsurance deal with Enstar. Under the terms of the deal, Enstar's Syndicate 2008 will assume historical liabilities for selected lines of Hiscox Syndicate 3624, including the majority of Hiscox USA's surplus lines broker business.
Property franchise Belvoir Group has exchanged contracts to acquire Nottingham Mortgage Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nottingham Building Society, for a total consideration of £600,000. Belvoir said on Wednesday that the acquisition, satisfied in cash from existing resources, was scheduled for completion on 31 July and was expected to be immediately earnings accretive.
Primary care property investor and developer Assura has reached legal completion on a development funding agreement for a £22m ambulance hub in the West Midlands, it announced on Wednesday. The FTSE 250 company said the hub, let to the West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) on a 30-year lease with five-yearly rent reviews linked to RPI, would contain essential facilities for the hazardous area response team, a specialist equipment distribution warehouse, training facilities and space for 70 ambulances.
Tullow Oil said on Wednesday that non-executive Chair Dorothy Thompson has decided to step down from the board. A search process to find a new Chair has been launched and is expected to conclude towards the end of the summer. Thompson will stay on in the role until a new appointment has been made and "an appropriate handover has taken place".
Home improvement retailer Kingfisher has entered into a £550.0m three-year revolving credit facility agreement with a group of its banks. Kingfisher said on Wednesday that under the terms of its new credit facility agreement, which has a duration of three years and the possibility of two one-year extensions, it would benefit from a lower interest rate if it can deliver specific targets related to its "ambitious" responsible business plan.
Active Energy Group announced on Wednesday that production of ‘CoalSwitch’ has started at its facility in Ashland, Maine, following the construction of the five tonnes-per-hour production facility. The AIM-traded firm said deliveries of the first CoalSwitch fuel to PacifiCorp's Hunter Valley power plant would begin this week for use in their testing programme, which was scheduled for the week of 14 June.
JD Sports denied that it was searching for a successor to chief executive and chairman Peter Cowgill after reports on the weekend that investors were unhappy with his dual role. The FTSE 100 retailer on Tuesday said the board “is not engaged in a process to recruit a chief executive officer or chairman”.
Digital technology company Kainos Group said it had bought Cloudator Oy's Workday division for an undisclosed sum. Cloudator was founded in 2011 in Helsinki, Finland and offers payroll, staff and financial management services, with offices in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Estonia and the Netherlands and employees based across 11 countries.
Micro Focus has appointed Matt Ashley as its new chief financial officer with effect from 28 June. The software company said on Tuesday that Ashley, who was previously CFO of William Hill, brings "considerable" experience to the group. He also held several positions at National Express, including group CFO and president and CEO of the North America business.
Biffa reported a 10.4% decline in net revenue in its full-year results on Tuesday, to £988.1m, as its EBITDA slid 20.6% to £138.2m, although it still ended a tough year ahead of its expectations. The FTSE 250 waste management company said its operating profit was 51.2% lower year-on-year for the 52 weeks to 26 March at £44.2m, while its operating profit margin camne in at 4.2% for the year, down from 7.8% in the 2020 financial year.
Infrastructure investment company BBGI Global Infrastructure has secured a new committed multicurrency revolving credit facility of £230m, it announced on Tuesday, from ING Bank, DZ Bank, KfW IPEX-Bank and SMBC Bank. The FTSE 250 company said the facility would replace the current £180m facility with ING, DZ, and KfW, which started in January 2018 and matures in January 2022.
UK new car registrations soared in May as showrooms reopened after the national Covid lockdown, but were still lower than 2019 pre-pandemic levels, industry figures showed on Friday. New car sales rose by 674% in May year on year, but were down 15% compared to the same month in 2019, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The UK government has launched the First Homes scheme that will help first-time buyers who are key workers and local residents access discounted homes. First Homes properties with a discount of at least 30% in price went on the market Friday as part of the first phase of an early delivery project in the Bolsover district, East Midlands.
Activity in the UK construction sector grew in May at the fastest rate in nearly seven years amid a record jump in new orders, according to a survey released on Friday. The IHS Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index rose to 64.2 from 61.6 in April, coming in ahead of consensus expectations of 62.3.
Data released on Thursday morning showed footfall at retail destinations had continued to strengthen since non-essential retail opened in April, but further gains following the reopening of indoor drinking and dining in May were muted. Research outlet Springboard said footfall in the month was 27.5% lower than the 2019, pre-pandemic level, improving from the 32.7% lower figure in April.
Growth in the UK services sector hit a 24-year high in May as coronavirus restrictions eased, according to a survey released on Thursday. The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for services rose to 62.9 from 61.0 in April, coming in ahead of the initial estimate of 61.8 and marking the strongest rise in business activity since May 1997.
Travel stocks slumped on Thursday amid reports the government will not be adding any new destinations to its quarantine-free green list when it updates Britons later in the day. It had been hoped that travel hotspots such as the Spanish and Greek islands and Malta would be added to the government's green list.
Net mortgage borrowing and consumer credit growth both undershot economists' forecasts in April, although mortgage approvals for home purchases continued at a "relatively strong" pace. According to the Office for National Statistics, net mortgage borrowing slowed from £11.5bn in March - a record amount - to £3.3bn for April.
Member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday officially agreed to allow the UK to start the joining process. Japan’s economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, told reporters that he welcomed the UK to the start of the process after holding a meeting with the 10 other countries who are already members of the pact.
Annual house price growth hit double digits in May, rising 10.9% year-on-year to a new record average price of £242,832 - its highest level in almost seven years. On a monthly basis, prices were up 1.8%, following a 2.3% rise in April, with the market seeing a complete turnaround over the past twelve months after housing transactions fell to a record low of 42,000 in April 2020 in the wake of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
UK manufacturing growth surged to a new record high in May as Covid restrictions eased, according to a survey released on Tuesday. The IHS Markit CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 65.6 from 60.9 in April. Although this was a little weaker than the flash estimate of 66.1, it was above July 1994's previous record high of 61.0.
Eurozone retail sales fell more than expected in April, partly due to stricter Covid-related lockdown measures in certain countries, according to figures released by Eurostat on Friday. Retail sales declined by 3.1% on the month following a 3.3% increase the month before and versus expectations for a 1.5% drop.
European finance ministers of the four biggest economies said that a landmark agreement to curb tax abuse by multinational companies is within reach and will be closed at the G7 meetings in London on Friday. In a letter sent to the Guardian, the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain said time was of the essence to crackdown on tax avoidance as governments around the world attempt to rebuild following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hiring in the US bounced back by a bit less than expected last month, led by a jump in leisure and hospitality as the economy continued to reopen. According to the Department of Labor, non-farm payrolls grew by 559,000 in May, undershooting economists' projections for a gain of 663,000.
Top Japanese sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics are calling privately for the Games to be postponed for several months in an attempt to allow more spectators in. Businesses are being affected by the value of their marketing campaigns for the big event after backing the games.
Growth in China’s services sector slowed in May, according to a survey released on Thursday. The Caixin services purchasing managers’ index fell to 55.1 from 56.3 in April, coming in below consensus expectations for a reading of 56.2 but above the 50.0 mark that separates contraction from expansion.
Growth in the eurozone services sector hit a three-year high in May as Covid-related restrictions eased, according to a survey released on Thursday. IHS Markit’s eurozone services purchasing managers’ index rose to 55.2 from 50.5 in April, coming in just above the flash estimate of 55.1. This marked the third successive month of expansion and the best level recorded since February 2018.
Israel’s opposition leaders have agreed to form a government that would see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ousted after 12 years in power. According to the Financial Times, parties straddling the political spectrum cut a deal on forming a government on Wednesday but face a key vote in 10 days.
Private employers hired at an accelerated pace in May, driven by heightened demand amid a rapidly reopening US economy, but a lack of both workers and raw materials continued to weigh on the labour market's recovery. Private payrolls increased by 978,000 jobs last month, according to ADP's national employment report on Thursday, marking the largest increase since June 2020, while data for April was revised down to show 654,000 jobs being added instead of the initially reported 742,000.
German retail sales fell much more than expected in April as further Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, according to figures released on Wednesday by Destatis. Retail sales declined 5.5% on the month following a 7.7% increase the month before, and versus expectations for a 2% drop.
The state of the US labour market is worse than it might appear so policymakers should focus more on signals of weakness. According to a research paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, signals for the US labour market were diverging to an "unprecedented" degree.