Tuesday Update

DB Live: EasyJet flights boost; pubs warning; AA bids; Beeks

5.45pm: Johnston’s of Elgin to axe 88 jobs

Johnston's of Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin is expected to shed 88 jobs because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business. 

Full story here

4.45pm: London closes flat

London’s FTSE 100 closed flat, with BP’s shares higher despite its losses and offsetting a sell-off in drinks giant Diageo’s shares after its profits slid.

The index ended the session just 3.15 points (0.052%) higher at 6,036.

1.45pm: Baxters acquires London food company

Baxters Food Group has acquired a London-based chilled foods business, for an undisclosed sum.

Full story here

1.30pm: Dixons Carphone axes 800 jobs

Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone will cut 800 jobs as part of a shift towards more online sales. 

The company, which received £16 million from the furlough scheme, said that jobs going include retail managers, assistant managers and team leaders.

The owner of Currys PC World is creating new roles such as customer experience manager and operational excellence manager.

10.30am: Pubs warn against second lockdown

Sarah Crawford Camra

Following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s warning that pubs could be shut again following a recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Aberdeen, Sarah Crawford, national director of beer campaign group CAMRA, called for “robust evidence” that reopening pubs has increased the risk of COVID transmission.

“Pubs are already struggling to re-open, and many have invested their dwindling reserves in order to do so safely,” she said. “A second shut-down would be a devastating blow for the industry, which would likely result in permanent closures and further job losses.

“If pubs are to be closed down again, it’s essential that the Scottish and UK Governments work together to make sure they provide a new support package for pubs to help them survive, including extending the furlough scheme to protect businesses and jobs.”

10.20am: Waverley masterplan

Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson is expected to unveil plans for redevelopment of Edinburgh Waverley station (artist’s impression above) which is predicted to double its annual footfall over the next 25 years.

Full story here

10.15am: Pizza Express closures

Pizza Express intends to close 67 UK restaurants, 15% of its 449 restaurants in the UK,putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

The casual dining chain announced this morning that it will launch a company voluntary arrangement.

8.30am: London open

Investors remain hopeful of a post-pandemic recovery on the back of improving economic data, though the FTSE 100 was looking for direction in early. After opening higher it was trading almost 10 points lower at 6,023.29.

BP rose 6.3% and was on track for its best day in two months even as it cut its dividend for the first time in a decade and reported a record $6.7 billion loss in the second quarter.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.4%, led by a 5.6% jump for easyJet as it said it planned to fly about 40% of its capacity over the rest of the summer, more than originally scheduled.

But engineer Babcock International slumped 10.8% after posting a plunge in quarterly underlying profit on higher costs caused by the coronavirus downturn.

8.15am: EasyJet expands schedule


EasyJet said is expanding its schedule to 40% of normal capacity between July and September, compared with the 30% it predicted in June.

It has decided to expand its schedule for the current quarter as it flew planes that were 84% full on average in July. It expects to operate about 1,000 flights a day in August.

The budget airline reported a cash burn of £774m for the third quarter to 30 June, which was better than its guidance of £1bn.

It made just €7.7 million (£7m) in revenue.

The news sent the share price higher.

7.15am: Ryanair passengers plummet

Ryanair reported that traffic during July fell 40% to 7.7 million passengers from 14.8m in the same month last year.

7am: AA in bid sights

Motorists’ rescue service AA says it has received takeover approaches from three parties who are interested in buying the motoring group.

The business, founded in 1905, has £2.65bn in debt and wants to raise funds.

It is also considering raising the money itself from shareholders.

Diageo profit falls by half

whisky bottles Diageo

Drinks giant Diageo said reported operating profit plummeted almost by half as bars and restaurants closed around the world.

Full story and CEO comments here

BP falls to loss, cuts dividend


Oil giant BP cut its dividend for the first time in a decade after reporting a record $6.7 billion loss in the second quarter as the coronavirus crisis caused a slump in demand for energy.

Full story here

Direct Line raises dividend

Insurer Direct Line said profit before tax fell by £24.9m, or 9.5%, year on year to £236.4m.

However, it raised its interim dividend to 7.4p from 7.2p the same time last year.

Beeks trading in line with expectations

Beeks Financial Cloud Group , the Glasgow-based cloud computing and connectivity provider for financial markets, said Covid-19 has had a relatively small impact on trading which is within the range of market expectations.

Contract discussions with prospective clients remain advanced and the group has a continually growing sales pipeline.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Retail: M&Co ‘sold in pre-pack administration’, shuts shops

Law: Lawyers must learn from pandemic says Brodies’ chief as annual figures revealed

Law: Courts expect ‘tsunami’ of Covid-driven fraud cases says KPMG

Energy: People’s Energy turns up heat on Big Six with jobs expansion

Restaurants: Tony Macaroni unveils plan to create 100 UK restaurants

Food exports: Japan deal helps put Scotch beef back on world menu

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