Daily Business Live

Hugo Boss | Balfour Beatty | Savills | ITV chair

4.10pm: Banks cut ties with Russia

Goldman Sachs and Western Union have become the latest multinationals to cut ties with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Goldman Sachs Group said it is closing all its operations in Russia, making it the first major Wall Street bank to exit the country. 

9.15am: Abramovich sanctioned

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, also the biggest shareholder in Russian steelmaker Evraz, has been added to the UK’s sanctions list, putting the sale of the Premier League club on hold and freezing its assets.

Full story here

8.15am: Blue chips fall

The FTSE 100 defied forecasts of a further rise by trading 56.5 points lower at 7,134.22.

7am: John Lewis

John Lewis has restored its bonus to staff after profit before exceptional items rebounded to £181m, up 38% on last year.

The department store and supermarket group reported a reduced loss before tax of £26m against £491m last time.

Full story here

7am: AMTE Power

Thurso-based battery developer AMTE said it expects a decision on the location of its gigafactory this year with production beginning in 2025.

Three potential sites have been identified in the UK, with engagement underway with local authorities and design development. Dundee is believed to be on the list.

Turnover of the half year was £ 0.81 million up 31 % (H1:2021: £0.62 million).

Full story and comment here

7am: Savills

Property agent Savills reported record annual results after a strong recovery in both residential and commercial transactional markets.

Revenue for the year to the end of December came in 23% higher at £2.15bn (2020: £1.74bn).

Underlying profit before tax was up 107% to £200.3m (2020: £96.6m). Reported profit before tax was 120% higher at £183.1m (2020: 83.2m)

The aggregate dividend of 55.4p to be paid in May 2022, includes a one-time special dividend of 27.05p.

Mark Ridley, chief executive, said: “Savills delivered a record performance in 2021 reflecting the significant recovery in both residential and commercial transactional markets supported by growth in our less transactional Investment Management, Property Management and Consultancy businesses.

“The group has started 2022 in line with our expectations and the strength of our balance sheet supports our growth strategy to pursue further complementary acquisitions and significant recruitment across our global business.”

7am: Balfour Beatty

The construction company and civil engineer said underlying operating profit came in at £187 million against £36m last time. The board has recommended a full year dividend 9p per share (2020: 1.5p).

Underlying profit from operations from the earnings-based businesses came in at £181 million which represents a significant recovery from the prior year (2020: £75m) and is also 5% ahead of pre-pandemic levels (2019: £172m).

It has announced the next phase of a multi-year share buyback programme of £150m for 2022 (2021: £150m).

Leo Quinn, chief executive, said: “In 2021, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have delivered operating profits ahead of expectations.

“Balfour Beatty emerges from the last two years with capabilities intact and a higher quality order book.  Together these provide the visibility to deliver profitable managed growth and sustainable cash generation.

“With a transformed portfolio focused on favourable infrastructure markets across our chosen geographies and our sector leading balance sheet, we are confident of delivering significant future returns to shareholders.”

7am: Parsley Box share issue

Parsley Box, the direct to consumer provider of ready meals, is tapping shareholders for a further £7 million (£5.6m net) to target new customers and prop up the balance sheet.

Full story here

7am: New ITV chairman

Andrew Cosslett, chairman of B&Q owner Kingfisher, has been appointed chairman designate and non-executive director of ITV.

Mr Cosslett will succeed Sir Peter Bazalgette and will remain chairman of Kingfisher.

7am: Hugo Boss growing

Fashion chain Hugo Boss said it expects to record a healthy increase in sales and profits in 2022 despite a temporary halt to its business in Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

The German company is now pushing more casual styles said it expects 2022 sales will grow by as much as 15% to up to €3.2 billion. Operating profit should rise up to 25% to up to €285m.

It said it was difficult to assess the impact of a further escalation of the war in Ukraine on growth in the sector, noting that Russia and Ukraine accounted for around 3% of group sales in 2021.

Global markets

US and Asia markets surged after wild swings in the oil price as major producer the United Arab Emirates said it supported increasing production.

Brent crude dropped 17% at one point only to bounce back and then slide again.

The Dow Jones closed up 2%, while the S&P 500 jumped 2.5% and the Nasdaq ended 3.5% higher.

The FTSE 100 index rose strongly, up 226.61 points (3.25%) as investors latched on to talk of a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict.

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