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City round-up

Aston Martin; Beeks Financial; RSA; Rolls-Royce; BA

Aston Martin DB11Aston Martin

The luxury car make reported an adjusted operating profit (ebitda) 18% higher at £146.9m, although costs associated with the IPO led it to a £68.2m adjusted pre-tax loss.

Aston Martin shares fell more than 9% after the company set aside £30m to handle Brexit headwinds.

Group chief executive Andy Palmer called 2018 an “outstanding” year for the firm, despite a 35% drop from its debut share price of 1,900p to 1,223p by the turn of the year.

“Our well-defined expansion plans, that combine outstanding high-performance cars with iconic brand-status, are on track as we manage through the uncertainties and disruption impacting the wider auto industry,” he added.

“We are confident that Aston Martin Lagonda will deliver another year of growth. Whilst we are mindful of the uncertain and more challenging external environment, particularly in the UK and Europe, we remain disciplined in our execution and maintain our guidance for financial year 2019, whilst also reconfirming our medium-term objectives.”

Beeks Financial Cloud

The cloud computing and connectivity provider for financial markets, has announced a collaboration with BeQuant Exchange, a cryptocurrency exchange based in London and Malta. Beeks will be hosting BeQuant’s matching engine in London, within its dedicated network.

Gordon McArthur, CEO of Beeks Financial Cloud, commented, “The cryptocurrency market is constantly expanding, and by adding exchanges such as BeQuant to our portfolio, Beeks is able to facilitate access to these markets for our customers. Guaranteeing that no customer will have greater access speed than another is a unique offering and we are delighted to announce this new partnership with BeQuant.”

Bovis

Housebuilder Bovis has reported a a 47.4% increase in full-year pre-tax profits to £168.1m, ahead of market expectations.

The company said it completed 3,759 properties last year, up from 3,645 the year before, with the average selling price edging up to £273,200 from £272,400.

The government’s Help to Buy scheme “remains important”, Bovis said, and was used in 38% of its private completions last year.

RSA

Insurer RSA said its full-year 2018 operating profits fell due to adverse weather costs and problems in its commercial insurance business.

Group operating profit fell 19% to £517m for full-year 2018.

“Adverse weather costs and challenging Commercial Lines results exposed us to more volatility than expected. This was most intense in the ‘London Market’ business which accounted for substantially all our underperformance in the second half,” said, chief executive Stephen Hester, formerly CEO at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Despite the underlying results representing the company’s “first year down since 2013”, RSA said it strongly believed that 2019 would show a bounce back and said it was taking decisive action to that end.

Mr Hester said: “We announced significant portfolio exits and initiated major pricing and re-underwriting programmes during the year. We have also made management changes and increased reinsurance coverage for 2019. Our performance ambitions for RSA are high, and unchanged. We recognise the need to demonstrate resumed progress against them.”

Rolls-Royce

Engineering firm Rolls-Royce swung to an annual pre-tax loss of £2.9bn, down from a pre-tax profit of £3.89bn the previous year. Revenue rose to £15.72bn from £14.74bn.

Rolls-Royce said it had withdrawn from a competition to power Boeing’s planned mid-market aircraft because it could not meet the timetable.

IAG-British Airways

British Airways owner International Airlines Group has reported a 9.8% jump in profit in 2018.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “This was a very good performance despite three significant challenges: fuel prices increasing 30%, considerable Air Traffic Control disruption and an adverse foreign exchange impact of €129m.”

However, it said there would be no growth in 2019 as earnings would be in line with the previous year’s results.

 



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