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Tuesday Update

DB Live: London falls as pound rises; M&S Ocado JV kicks off

6.30pm: New lockdown

London Stock Exchange

New lockdown rules will be enforced in Glasgow from midnight tonight following a spike in coronavirus cases, Nicola Sturgeon announced.

Under the reinforced rules – which also apply to West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire – residents are no longer allowed to meet up with other households.

4.45pm: London closes lower on strong pound

Traders returned to their screens after the holiday in no mood to keep up the buying momentum of recent weeks. The FTSE 100 index closed firmly lower as stronger sterling and a weak dollar hit those firms deriving most income from overseas.

The index closed down over 101 points, or 1.7% at 5,862 – the weakest close for three months. The FTSE 250 also plunged, shedding over 202 points, or 1.14%.

Big overseas earners such as Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Ashtead and Unilever were among the day’s losers.

2.55pm: Indy bill

First Minister reveals that she will publish an Independence Bill before the Scottish elections.

It will set out the proposed terms and timing of an independence referendum, as well as the proposed question that people will be asked in that referendum,” she says.

“And then at next year’s election, we will make the case for Scotland to become an independent country, and seek a clear endorsement of Scotland’s right to choose our own future.”

2.50pm: SNIB follows up leads

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the new Scottish National Investment Bank, which will begin work this year, has been in discussions about a number of projects regarding funding support, including supporting supply chains for zero-emission public transport.

She also announced that there would be an inward investment plan with the aim of creating 100,000 jobs.

Ms Sturgeon referred to the UK government’s refusal to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period as “an act of sabotage”.

2.45pm: Green deal

The first minister announces a £100m Green Jobs Fund.

She says half will be dedicated to helping businesses and organisations grow to significantly increase employment in low carbon sectors. The other half will help businesses take advantage of public and private investment in the low carbon economy.

There will be:

  • a £62m Energy Transition Fund will help oil and gas businesses diversify.
  • government investment of a further £60m to support the industrial and manufacturing sectors’ transition to net zero
  • a Grangemouth Future Industry Board to support a Just Transition at that cluster

2.40pm: Tech report supported

Nicola Sturgeon has committed the government to implement Mark Logan’s report on the tech eco-system, including a nationwide network of incubators and a new fund.

The first minister confirms that she intends to implement his recommendations in full:

  • A network of tech incubators will be established to mentor and train tech start-ups.
  • An ecosystem fund is intended to help those start-ups succeed
  • Reskilling opportunities for people whose employment has been affected by Covid will be provided
  • The government will work directly with the technology sector to deliver the recommendations

8.15am: London opens lower

The FTSE 100 was pushed lower by a rising pound and weakening dollar, down 24.5 points or 0.41% at 5,939.09.

Oil prices reversed overnight losses, as investors moved into risk assets and stayed away from the safe-haven US dollar which hit multi-year lows. Brent crude futures this morning climbed 47 cents, or 1%, to $45.75 a barrel.

7am: Saga confirms placing plan

Senior citizens travel company Saga has announced that it is at the advanced stage of a prospective £150 million equity capital raise likely to be be a placing and open offer announced with interims on 10 September.

Former owner Sir Roger de Haan is to invest £100 million at a big premium to the share price.

“It should prove a better outcome for investors than the 33p takeover offer recently tabled (and subsequently rejected) by a pair of US investors,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“De Haan is invested both financially and emotionally in the business, given it was founded by his father more than 70 years ago. His decision to return to the board as chairman should be taken positively by the market.”

STV advertising revenue hit

Simon Pitts

STV has acquired a production company as it announces a £4.9 million half year loss from a £9.1m profit. Revenue was hit by the advertising downturn.

Adjusted profits before tax, which is before exceptionals, fell 56% to £4.4m (£10.1m)

Full story here

6.30am: Ann Summers ‘poised for CVA’

Lingerie firm Ann Summers is poised to launch a CVA after suffering increased losses in its latest reported year, according to retail sources.

Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold, told Retail Week that some landlords refused to work in partnership.

Today’s Agenda

* Furlough: Firms have to pay 10% of the costs of the furlough scheme

* Politics: Nicola Sturgeon outlines Programme for Government (see below)

* Media: BBC Studios’ chief executive Tim Davie succeeds Tony Hall as Director General of the BBC and will spend his first day in Scotland

* Food retail: Online retailer Ocado has added 10 Percy Pig-branded vans to its national fleet in preparation for today’s launch of its customer deliveries of M&S food. The joint venture replaces Ocado’s tie-up with Waitrose.

M&S has developed 750 new products in time for the launch and is making more than 6,800 products exclusively available through the channel. M&S is set to pay Ocado £750m for a 50% share of the new venture.

Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, is in the process of building its own warehouses and finding delivery partners, and last week announced a 12-week trial with Deliveroo.

* Rail report: An interim report on the Stonehaven rail crash will be delivered

* Wealth management: M&G completes its acquisition of the UK Wealth Management platform Ascentric from the Royal London Group. The acquisition, which was announced in May, brings £15.5 billion of assets under administration to M&G as well as relationships with more than 1,500 UK advisory firms acting on behalf of over 90,000 individual customers.

* Asset management: Stephen Bird replaces Keith Skeoch as chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Recovery to be focus of FM’s legislative programme

Hope rests on vaccine for declining Scots economy

Trio set up fund to take equity stakes in startups

Ross and Jack press PM on Alexander Dennis bus order



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