Tuesday Update

DB Live: BaxterStorey’s AFC deal; Ocado; Beeks; SMS; Cumulus

4.30pm: London higher

The FTSE 100 closed up 79.29 points (1.32%) at 6,105.54 as US tech stocks continued their revival and Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted at more jobs support after the furlough scheme ends.

Topping the risers board was online grocer Ocado which surged by more than 10% to 2,598p as it hailed the successful switch to Marks & Spencer and reporteds a 50% jump in retail sales for the third quarter

11.30am: Insurance payouts due

Test case on business interruption insurance cover has ruled in favour of claimants which opens door to payouts.

Full story here

11.15am: Pensions appeal lost

Women demanding the Department for Work and Pensions compensate them for the change of state pension age have lost their appeal.

Full story here

9.15am: BaxterStorey scores with AFC deal

Aberdeen Football Club has awarded its exclusive stadium catering contract for Pittodrie to BaxterStorey.

BaxterStorey, the UK’s largest independent food service provider, will provide the catering for all match day hospitality and kiosks at the stadium, as well as non-matchday conferences and events.

The contract, worth over £6m, which was previously held by Sodexo for 26 years, follows BaxterStorey securing the catering for AFC’s new training facility at Cormack Park in October 2019, following a competitive tender.

Attendances at football grounds is currently suspended pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

9am: BGF backs drinks tech firm

BGF has invested in Edinburgh-based MRM Global, a high growth provider of marketing technology to the global drinks and hospitality sector.

Full story here

8.15am: Ocado lifts London market

Ocado surged 6% and leapt to the head of the FTSE 100 risers after reporting a jump in quarterly retail sales (see below).

The blue-chip FTSE 100 up 0.2% or 12.25 points at 6,038.50 in early trade with miners also performing strongly.

7am: Ocado upbeat


Online delivery service Ocado said retail revenue for the 13 weeks to 30 August was up 52% in its third quarter while average orders per week rose 9.6%.

Retail sales grew faster compared to the second quarter as demand remained high, Ocado noted, and comes against a “seasonally softer” quarter a year ago.

It said its deal with Marks & Spencer is performing well.

Smart Metering Systems

Meter installation company Smart Metering Systems reported underlying profit before taxation for the half year to the end of June up 98% to £9.1m (H1 2019: £4.6m). Profit before tax came in at £194.5m against a £1.7m loss last time.

The Scotland-based company declared a 25p per share dividend to be paid in four instalments starting in October with an intention to increase it by 10% per annum until 2024.

Meter installations are beginning to return to a pre-COVID-19 level. This is expected to be achieved in Q4, albeit ongoing local lockdowns continue to be monitored.

It has a two million contracted smart meter order pipeline which is expected to add c.£40m index-linked annualised recurring revenue (ILARR) over the rollout period.

Alan Foy, chief executive, said: “We have delivered a robust financial performance in the face of a highly challenging operating environment in the first half of 2020.

“The completion of a disposal of a minority of our I&C meter asset portfolio in April has further underscored the attractive nature of the meter asset class, provided balance sheet strength and enabled us to substantially increase the FY 2020 dividend.”

Beeks Financial Cloud

Beeks, the Glasgow-based cloud computing firm for financial markets, remains confident of growth despite a dip in pre-tax profit to £0.68 million in the year to the end of June against £1.04m last time.

The company is proposing a final dividend of 0.15p per share equating to full year dividend payment of 0.35p (2019: 0.35p). Revenues increased 27% to £9.36m (2019: £7.35m).

CEO Gordon McArthur, said it had been “a year of considerable progress” in delivering on key objectives.

“While the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may continue to cause a delay in corporate decision making, and in spite of the wider economic uncertainties, we are confident the long-term growth drivers in our market remain intact – with financial services organisations increasingly looking to take advantage of the benefits of Cloud infrastructure.”

Unemployment rises

UK payrolls shrank by 695,000 between March and August as employers cut jobs ahead of the winding down of the Job Retention Scheme, the Office for National Statistics said

The UK unemployment rate is up from 3.9% in April-June to 4.1% in the three months to the end of July, its first rise since March.  The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.6%.

See also: Starmer wants new furlough plan as jobs market shrinks

Cumulus in spin-out deal

Europe’s first oncology drug discovery accelerator, Edinburgh-headquartered Cumulus Oncology, has become a key founder of start-up biotech company, Modulus Oncology, a University of Sheffield spin-out biotech company.

As part of the spin-out deal, executives from Cumulus including CEO and founder Clare Wareing and chairman Alan Wise have taken on senior roles at Modulus with Wise appointed CEO and Wareing taking up the post of chief business officer. 

Next month, Cumulus is set to announce a high profile advisory board and plans to grow its base in Edinburgh. 

Employee ownership trusts on rise

Tax efficient employee ownership trusts are on the rise as more workers demand a stake in the business they work for.

Full story here

Today’s agenda

Pensions: The Court of Appeal will give a ruling on pensions campaign group Backto60’s claim for back payments for millions of women

Trade Unions: STUC annual conference

Boeing’s Scottish R&D plans advance with Canmoor deal

Power group Flexitricity sold in £15.4 million deal

Cosmedicare unveils plan for cosmetic surgery hospital

New controls on Airbnb–style short term lets

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