Change for supermarket chain

Morrison’s; L&G; Regus; Aggreko; Worldpay

Morrisons> Supermarket group Morrisons and online grocery firm Ocado have unveiled an expansion of their distribution venture.

Morrisons will no longer have to share its online profits with Ocado which will also be able to partner with other grocery retailers, apart from major competitors Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl. Shares in Morrisons were up 3.5p at 9am.

> Insurer Legal & General‘s shares fell despite posting an above-forecast 10% rise in first-half operating profit to £822 million.

The firm was boosted by retirement business with annuity sales up from £1.3bn last year to 3.8bn. Most of this is from taking on the risk of defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes from companies.

“International demand for pension risk transfer solutions remains strong and is expected to continue for many years,” chief executive Nigel Wilson said in a trading statement.

Legal & General Investment Management’s assets under management rose 18% to £841.5bn. The interim dividend rises to 4p, up 16%.

> FTSE 250 workspace provider Regus reported a jump in first-half profit and revenue on Tuesday but warned of “softening revenue growth” in some of its markets.

In the six months to the end of June, pre-tax profit rose 7% to £84.3m on revenue of £1.08bn, up from £937m in 2015.

The company declared an interim dividend of 1.55p per share, up 11% from the first half of last year.

> Aggreko is acquiring most of the assets of Dryco, a specialist in moisture control, drying, heating, and cooling applications within the shipping, manufacturing, food processing, construction, and industrial painting industries. 

With ten full service locations in North America, Dryco has a strong customer list in its targeted industries.

The acquisition will add more than 60 experienced and skilled employees and more than 6,000 fleet assets to Aggreko’s rental solutions business. Dryco’s 2015 revenues were $19 million.

Chris Weston, chief executive, said: “This acquisition combines the deep technical strength of two highly respected market leaders and provides our customers with an unparalleled range of solutions. It also gives Aggreko an opportunity to further support our rapidly expanding customer base within the shipping, food & beverage, and painting & coatings industries.”

> Payments processor Worldpay reported a rise in first-half underlying earnings and pre-tax profit together with a maiden interim dividend of 0.65p per share.

For the six months to the end of June, pre-tax profit rose to £168.6m from £0.3m in the first half of 2015 as revenue jumped 10% to £2.14bn.

Net revenue was up 16% to £539.7m following expansion of business with existing customers, the roll-out of enhanced capabilities and innovation, and new customer wins. Meanwhile, underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were 19% higher at £217.9m.

Worldpay UK net revenue grew 12% and the group said it continues to increase customer numbers and product penetration through cross selling. It also benefited from the overall positive effect on product propositions and pricing following the reduction in interchange costs.

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