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Monday update

DB Live: Fishers; Ted Baker; Business Stream; Loganair

9.30pm: Hunter Boot saved

Hunter, the Scottish-founded bootmaker popular with festival-goers, has secured a £16.5m rescue deal after seeing its sales savaged by the COVID-19 crisis.

Full story here

5.45pm: Aston Martin share sale

One of Aston Martin Lagonda’s biggest shareholders has cut its stake in the luxury carmaker by nearly 5%.

Italian private equity firm Investindustrial Advisors has reduced its holding from 19.92% to 14.99%. There was no explanation as to why it had sold the shares.

5.30pm: Charles River Laboratories

Trade union Unite is offering support to 60 workers whose jobs are under threat after Charles River Laboratories said it will close its biologics operations in Scotland.

The company’s operations are based across two sites in Riccarton and Tranent. The work at the sites focuses on the support of the manufacture and release to market of biopharmaceutical products.

The proposal is to close the operations in stages over the next year with the company citing that Brexit has been the decisive decision to take the work outside of the UK.

Graeme Turnbull, Unite regional officer, said: “This is devasting news for the workforce based at Charles River Laboratories.

“The company is citing Brexit as being the decisive factor in this announcement rather than the Covid-19 pandemic so they have not listened to our pleas to furlough the workers.”

4.45pm: London close

Stock markets resumed their upward momentum following Friday’s sell-off, buoyed by the return to work and reopening of shops in England. The FTSE-100 posted a gain of 89.82 points ( 1.48%) to close at 6,166.42.

4pm: Football talks

The SPFL has held ‘positive’ talks with investment management veteran James Anderson after his offer to pump millions into the Scottish game.

Full story here

3.30pm: Lloyds app fixed

Bank of Scotland customers were assured by owner Lloyds Banking Group that an app used for internet banking is back up three hours after an outage left thousands locked out of their accounts.

Many said they were automatically logged out of their accounts when they were using the app and that transactions couldn’t be completed.

Customers all over the UK were struggling with the service, particularly in Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

2pm: Laundry to close

Scottish laundry group Fishers has confirmed that its Perth plant will close with the loss of up to 84 jobs.

The company said it had been “significantly impacted” by the shutdown of the hospitality and tourism sector during the coronavirus lockdown.

Fishers intends to consolidate its Scottish hospitality business into its Cupar and Glasgow laundries.

The business was acquired in a £35m deal in November 2017 by Canadian company K-Bro Linen.

1.40pm: Furlough talks

Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would apply for new borrowing powers if its lockdown lasted beyond the dates set by the Treasury for providing support to UK companies and workers.

Meanwhile, she has warned that lockdown measures will be re-imposed if the public continue to ignore the guidelines as traffic levels soared over the weekend and thousands flocked to public parks.

Full story here

11.30am: STV to make royal series

STV Productions is to explore the often combative relationship between the royal family and the press in a four-part series for Channel 5.

Full story here

11am: Retailers issue demands for recovery

Retailers are calling on the Scottish Government to cut taxes, encourage councils to abolish town centre parking charges, and introduce a scrappage scheme for household items.

Full story here

10am: Business Stream contract

Edinburgh-based water retailer, Business Stream, has been awarded the Ministry of Justice water and wastewater services contract following a highly competitive tendering process. 

The contract, worth more than £70 million, is one of the largest public sector contracts awarded since the English market opened in 2017.

Under the three-year agreement, Business Stream will manage over 900 sites, including the Home Office and National Probation Service, Courts and Tribunals Service and the HM Prison Service in England.

8.15am London open

Shares rose more than 1% as retailers began reopening stores in England. Primark owner Associated British Foods surged 3.1%, although Ted Baker crashed 23.7% after announcing a loss and capital raising.

AstraZeneca was almost 2% higher as the biggest riser in the FTSE 100. The index was trading 95.26 points (1.57%) higher at 6,171.86.

7am: Begbies Traynor acquires Scottish team

Begbies Traynor Group, the business recovery, financial advisory and property services consultancy, has acquired a portfolio of 503 Scottish personal insolvency cases, including a team of five fee earners, from Grant Thornton UK.

Full story here

7am: Ted Baker loss, announces placing

Ted Baker girl

Fashion retailer Ted Baker said it is raising new capital after announcing a £79.9 million loss in the year to 25 January from a £30.7m profit in the previous 12 months.

The board described the loss as “disappointing” and a result of booking £84.6m of non-underlying expenses, mainly charges of £45.8m related to inventory.

Underlying profit before tax and IFRS 16 was £9.8m (2019: £63.0m)

It is raising £95m (gross) in a placing and open offer and up to £10m (gross) in an offer for subscription.

The new capital will strengthen the balance sheet, allowing the company to navigate through the COVID-19 disruption and invest in its transformation plan.

BDO has been appointed as auditor, replacing KPMG.

Total revenue was down 1.4% to £630.5m, (down 2.4% in constant currency) impacted by significant discounting as seen across the apparel industry, particularly in the UK, in response to weak consumer spending and channel shift to online.

Store revenues fell 5.3% and e-commerce by 2.5%.

In a statement, the board said it “recognises that last year’s performance was disappointing for all of Ted Baker’s stakeholders, reflecting a challenging external environment as well as significant internal disruption, driven by a number of senior leadership departures.”

The board has announced a comprehensive strategy (Ted’s Growth Formula) to transform the company in the coming years and see Ted Baker become a more profitable, cash generative business delivering higher returns on capital employed.

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty had a strong first quarter of the financial year, building on the positive momentum from 2019. Thereafter the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown have had a material impact on financial performance across all divisions.

Nonetheless, the Group has achieved important successes through the determination and dedication of its people. Acting as principal contractor, Balfour Beatty converted Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) into the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital providing 1,300 beds for patients requiring treatment for COVID-19.

The group’s order book as at 30 April 2020 was £17.4 billion (2019: £14.3 billion), over 20% higher than the prior year end position.

This increase is due to the addition of over £3 billion of HS2 contracts following Notice to Proceed in April. 

6.30am: Loganair resumes flights

Logan is resuming flights connecting Aberdeen, Birmingham and Newcastle from today.

During the lockdown it has been operating a minimal service to get vital supplies, mail and key workers to its regional destinations. It has also operated a contract to transport emergency crews working offshore from Latvia and Poland to Aberdeen.

6am: Oil price

Oil could hit $40 a barrel if the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decide to extend the cut in output, say analysts.

The oil producers group may meet this week to discuss a three-month extension to its record production cuts beyond the end of this month.

Prices edged lower in the latest trade. Brent crude fell 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $37.69 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $35.36 a barrel, down 13 cents, or 0.4%.

Today’s top Daily Business stories

All universities except Oxbridge ‘could go bust’

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Rolls-Royce braced for tough week after credit downgrade

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