LIVEBUSINESS LIVE: TRG to Sell Loss-Making Frankie & Benny’s Unit
By Live Commentary
Updated: 08:18 BST, 11 September 2023
The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Vistry, The Restaurant Group, Heathrow, BMW and WANdisco. Read the 11 September Business Live blog below.
AstraZeneca Boss Sir Pascal Soriot Looks to Step Down
AstraZeneca boss Sir Pascal Soriot has privately expressed his desire to leave the largest company in the FTSE 100, according to The Mail on Sunday. Sir Pascal Soriot has been instrumental in the development of one of the first Covid-19 vaccines and successfully fought off a takeover bid from US rival Pfizer.
Investors Embrace a “Measured Return to a Risk-On Approach”
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, noted that markets in the UK opened positively, with investors adopting a cautious “risk-on” approach. Mining stocks were the top performers, despite mixed Chinese demand. Meanwhile, insurance shares rose due to broker upgrades, with Prudential, Aviva, and Legal & General benefiting. The housebuilding sector also showed signs of tentative interest.
Vistry Focuses on Partnerships Business to Strengthen Balance Sheet
Vistry, a UK housebuilder, has announced a strategic change to shift its operations solely towards the more defensive Partnerships business, which focuses on affordable housing. The Housebuilding division will be fully merged into Partnerships, freeing up capital to strengthen the balance sheet, facilitate shareholder returns, and support further growth in the Partnerships division. This move comes as the Housebuilding sector has faced challenges due to reduced affordability for buyers caused by recent interest rate hikes.
John Lewis Expected to Narrow Losses
John Lewis is set to report reduced losses this week, under new CEO Nish Kankiwala. The retailer has faced significant challenges from the pandemic, inflation, and the cost-of-living squeeze. However, losses in the six months to July are expected to be lower compared to the same period last year.
Vistry Group to Merge Housebuilding and Partnerships Businesses
Vistry Group, one of the largest British housebuilders, has announced plans to merge its affordable housing business, Partnerships, with its Housebuilding operations. This move comes as Vistry retains its annual profit forecast, thanks to resilient demand in the affordable homes segment. In the first half of the year, Vistry saw adjusted pre-tax profit of £174 million.
BMW to Invest in UK for Next-Generation Electric Mini
BMW has committed to building its next-generation electric Mini in Oxford after securing a funding package from the UK Government. The investment will support the transformation of the existing plant and is expected to create 4,000 high-quality jobs.
IMF Boss Predicts Uneven and Slow Recovery
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed a downbeat outlook, suggesting that the global recovery will be slow and uneven. The IMF highlights several factors contributing to this prediction, including rising inflation and ongoing challenges from the pandemic.
The Restaurant Group to Sell Frankie & Benny’s Unit
The Restaurant Group (TRG) has agreed to sell its loss-making leisure business, which includes the Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito brands, to Big Table Group, the owner of Cafe Rouge. As part of the deal, TRG will pay £7.5 million to Big Table. TRG CEO Andy Hornby emphasized that the sale aligns with the company’s strategic plans to increase earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) margins and reduce leverage.
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