Daily Business Live

John Lewis | Hugo Boss | Balfour Beatty | Savills | AMTE


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). The company reported a loss before tax of £2.65 million (H1 2021: loss £1.46 million)

Kevin Brundish, CEO, said: “A year on from listing we have used our proven cell manufacturing expertise to forge our clear pathway to full commercialisation as the market leader in advanced battery cells focusing on the huge global markets of energy storage and high-performance automotive sectors.

“We have invested in ongoing development, increased cell production rates, and developed commercial relationships and partnerships as well as refined our plans during the past six months. We anticipate that significant milestones will be achieved during 2022. 

“AMTE is an exciting, commercially advanced business, with a depth of operational expertise and management know-how to deliver on its plans and looks forward to engaging with key stakeholders as we achieve important steps in the business’ evolution.”

7am: Savills

Property agent Savills posted group revenue for the year to the end of December was up 23% to £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 of £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: 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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