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Friday Update

DB Live: SPFL verdict; TRSNMT off; Gatwick tips 4 year recovery

4.45pm: Market close

The FTSE 100 closed at 5,752.23 −74.38 (1.28%) as investors were rattled by failed trials on a Covid drug and weak retail sales.

3.15pm: SPFL investigation concludes

Deloitte’s examination of phone records, mobile communications (including texts) and email data has identified no evidence of improper behaviour by SPFL personnel concerning the submission of the Dundee FC vote.

Full story here

2.30pm: Government responds to work resumption

Scottish government ministers today insisted firms should remain in lockdown after house builder Persimmon became the latest company to announce a phased return to work.

Three professional bodies have added their voice to calls for opening up the economy.

Full story here

10am: Festival cancelled

Liam Gallagher

The TRSNMT music festival, which was due to be headlined by acts including Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi and Snow Patrol, has been cancelled because of Covid-19.

The event, due to be staged on Glasgow Green, was expected to attract an audience of up to 150,000 over three days.

Organisers said cancelling the event on 10-12 July was unavoidable following the First Minister’s statement on Thursday.

It is planning next year’s event for 9-11 July and hopes to welcome many of the artists who were due this year.

8.45am: SpaceandPeople funding and pop-ups

Glasgow-based shopping mall promotions firm SpaceandPeople said it is optimistic about raising £1m from its principal lender to help it weather the Covid-19 storm.

The company is filling vacant retail units with pop up retailers and creating enlivenment activity in vacant space.

“This will position us at the forefront of the recovery of venue vibrancy as soon as restrictions are eased. These proposals have been well received and a number of projects are being actively considered at this time.”

8.30am: Stocks fall on Covid drug setback

The FTSE 100 fell along with European stock markets as Gilead Science’s Remdesivir, a drug thought to be one of the best prospects for treating Covid-19, failed to have any effect in the first full trial. The index was trading at 5,754.38 −72.23 (1.24%)

8am: Gatwick passenger forecast

Gatwick Airport says post-COVID-19 passenger numbers will not return to recent levels for between three and four years.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said capital investment on a number of projects has been curtailed.

“Of course, any growth must be sustainable, and we also remain focussed on our ongoing efforts to reduce the airport’s impact on the environment.  I’m pleased to say that we continue to make significant progress in this area, and we are committed to reducing our environmental impact even further in the years ahead.”

7.30am: Retail sales collapse

Retail sales across the UK have fallen at a record pace under the lockdown, although demand for alcohol has soared 31.4% in volume terms.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that monthly retail sales volume fell by 5.1% in March.

It is the largest monthly fall since the series began and follows the ‘worst ever’ sales figures for Scotland published earlier this week.

7am: Frasers ‘ineligible’ for covid facility

House of Fraser Glasgow

Frasers Group, formerly Sports Direct, said it is not eligible for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

It has also resolved all remaining matters on a €674 million sales tax claim with the Belgium Tax Authority. No material sums of tax or penalties are due to be paid in Belgium by Frasers Group as a result of the settlement.

The group, which includes Jenners, said has “taken the commercial decision to settle these matters now given the uncertainty is affecting Frasers Group’s banking lines and its suppliers’ credit insurance where, due to store closures as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis, Frasers Group understands the majority of new credit insurance cover has been withdrawn for the time being.”

7am: Persimmon plans return


Housebuilder Persimmon is the latest firm to announce a phased restart to work on site with effect from 27 April, in response to the UK Government’s objective of getting the construction sector back to work.

The company said that the group’s top priority is the health and safety of the public, and its customers, colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers, and Persimmon continues to closely follow Public Health England’s guidance including instituting and maintaining social distancing practices.

Its decision comes 24 hours after Taylor Wimpey announced a resumption of work on sites south of the border.

Full story here

7am: Menzies AGM

The annual general meeting of Menzies Group will go ahead at Edinburgh Gyle on 1 May but shareholders will not be admitted in line with current guidance.

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