Market report

Virgin Media O2 in EU pledge | Wind farms on stream


5pm: London stocks lower

Housebuilders led the market lower following the government’s demand for an extra £4 billion from property developers to fund cladding repairs on low-rise flats.

Barratt Developments fell 4.4%, Berkeley ended down 3.6%, while Taylor Wimpey declined 3.0%. Property listing portal Rightmove was also among those hit, ending 4.2% lower.

There were also heavy falls in New York equities also knocking confidence as markets kicked off the week in nervous fashion.

The FTSE 100 closed 40.03 points lower at 7,445.25.

7am: Wind farms commissioned

Greencoat UK Wind said the commissioning of Windy Rig and Glen Kyllachy wind farms and their subsequent acquisitions have been completed.

Windy Rig is a 43.2MW subsidy free project located near Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway and comprises 12 Vestas V112 3.6MW turbines.

Glen Kyllachy is a 48.5MW subsidy free project located in the Highlands, 11 miles south of Inverness and comprises 20 Nordex N90 2.5MW turbines.

The addition of Windy Rig and Glen Kyllachy increases UKW’s net generating capacity to 1,422MW and the number of subsidy free assets in UKW’s portfolio to three from a total of 43 operating wind farms.

The acquisitions were first announced in October 2019 and December 2019 respectively and both projects have been funded through reinvestment of excess cashflow and proceeds from the Equity Raise in November 2021.

Additionally, UKW has entered into an agreement with AXA to provide an 8-year £200 million debt facility which will be used to repay the revolving credit facility. This will enable UKW to continue to capitalise on the strong pipeline of opportunities in the UK wind farm market, both onshore and offshore.

1am: Mobile relief

Virgin Media O2 phone users will not be hit with EU roaming charges following announcements by other networks to reintroduce extra fees after Brexit.

Customers travelling to Europe will be able to use their mobile data and make calls and texts on the same deal as they have in the UK.

Virgin Media O1 chief commercial officer Gareth Turpin said: “We’re starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile.”

Vodafone, EE and Three will reintroduce roaming fees this year for customers travelling to Europe.

Consumer champion Which? urged the UK and EU to “strike a deal” on charges.

Global markets

London was expected to start the week on the front foot, though sentiment is finely balanced ahead of US inflation figures on Wednesday which could seal the decision on an early interest rate hikes.

Wall Street ended last week lower, with technology stocks faring the worst. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down marginally and the S&P 500 down 0.4%, but the Nasdaq Composite fell 1%.

The Nasdaq 100 lost around 5% last week, its sharpest decline in almost a year, as tech investors bet on the Fed opting to move sooner rather than later.

In Asia financial markets in Japan were closed for the Coming of Age Day holiday. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.8%.

The London market is expected to be occupied this week with post-Christmas trading updates from ASOS, JD Sports, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

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