Daily Business Live
Twitter falls in Trump scare; Dr Martens plans IPO
4.30pm: London closes lower
Worries over tighter lockdown rules saw the FTSE 100 close in negative territory for the first time this year. The index ended the session 74.78 points or 1.1% lower at 6,798.48.
Investors were also spooked by comments from Chancellor Rishi Sunak who told the Commons the UK economy will “get worse before it gets better”.
Twitter saw $5 billion wiped from its value as its shares fell by 12% amid fears its San Francisco HQ could be targeted by pro-Trump protesters.
This follows the social network’s ban on Trump after he was accused of inciting last week’s trouble at the Capitol.
9am: Forth tugs deal
Forth Ports has acquired marine services business Targe Towing based in Montrose.
8.45am: Celtic Dubai trip controversy
Former First Minister Henry McLeish has called for the Scottish Football Association and SPFL to look at what sanctions should be imposed on Celtic following the club’s training camp in Dubai.
8.30am: London slips
Shares in London pulled back from last week’s strong gains amid reports that the government is mulling further restrictions.
The FTSE 100 was trading 32 points lower at 6,841.48.
7am: Dr Martens plans float
Footwear firm Dr Martens, once associated with the ‘skinheads’ of the 60s and 70s, has announced that it is considering an initial public offering on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
The brand, which describes itself as “the iconic global brand that has empowered rebellious self-expression for over 60 years”, now sells in excess of 11 million pairs of footwear annually in more than 60 countries with revenues of £672m in the year ended 31 March 2020.
It launched its first workboot in 1960, the eight-holed 1460 boot, with a yellow welt stitch, grooved sole and black and yellow heel loop, which remains largely unchanged today.
The management team said it is looking at a direct-to-consumer (retail and e-commerce) channel strategy to enable the brand and business to reach their full potential.
The e-commerce channel has been one of the key contributors to Dr. Martens’ substantial growth in recent years, and is expected to continue to be the main driver of growth over the coming years.
The group also sells its footwear through more than 130 own retail stores as well as concessions and through a business-to-business channel.
The sportswear retailer said demand has remained robust throughout the second half, including in the key months of November and December.
Total revenues for the 22 week period to 2 January in the Group’s like for like businesses were more than 5% ahead of the prior year.
The company said it is confident that headline profit before tax for the full year to 30 January 2021 will be “significantly ahead” of the current market expectations, which average approximately £295 million. It is now anticipated that the outturn for the full year will be at least £400 million.
It expects group headline profit before tax for the full year to 29 January 2022 will be 5% to 10% ahead of the current year.
Post Office uplift
A surge in online retail driven by the pandemic led to a 17% uplift in income at the Post Office over the festive period 30 November to 27 December compared to the same period in 2019. Sales rose to £66.3m (2019: £56.7m).
Post Office chief executive, Nick Read, said: “The mails market, particularly for parcels, remains very strong driven by the growth in online retailing.”
Students will see their rents cut by half after Britain’s biggest owner of accommodation, announced a discount during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Gilbert among AssetCo buyers
Martin Gilbert, Peter McKellar, various associates and funds managed by Toscafund Asset Management have confirmed their swoop on AssetCo, acquiring a minority stake of 29.8% AssetCo at 475 pence per share.
The move on deal-making investor AssetCo, reported at the weekend, will see Mr Gilbert and Mr McKellar join the board as non-executive directors. Tudor Davies, Christopher Mills and Mark Butcher will remain as directors.
The board, when enlarged, will pursue additional investment opportunities, particularly in the financial services sector.
Mer Gilbert commented: “We believe that the next few years will see significant investment opportunities in the financial services sector as some of the pressures that the industry faces from regulation, fee pressure, technology and changing client preferences force further, and arguably a faster pace of change.
“We believe that AssetCo can be a platform to make strategic investments across the sector and to bring active management to such opportunities.”
Royal Mail board changes
Simon Thompson, non-executive director of Royal Mail becomes chief executive of the UK business with effect from today.
Martin Seidenberg, chief executive of GLS, will join the Royal Mail board on 1 April.
Mick Jeavons, interim chief financial officer for the Group since May 2020, will continue in that position on a permanent basis and will join the Royal Mail board with immediate effect.
Stuart Simpson, who has been acting as interim chief executive of the UK business since May last year, will leave at the end of January following a short handover period.
Keith Williams, who has been acting as interim executive chairman since May, will revert back to being non-executive chairman from the same date.
New Cairn shares
Following shareholder approval of the return of cash at the General Meeting on 8 January the new shares in the company will commence trading today.
Shareholders will receive 11 new ordinary shares for every 13 existing shares held.
The consolidation will reduce the number of Cairn’s issued ordinary shares to ensure, so far as possible, the market price remains approximately the same before and after the proposed return of cash and to maintain comparability of historical and future per share data.
The FTSE 100 looks set to make a subdued start following a mixed outcome in Asia.
China’s Shanghai Composite declined 0.78% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.22%.
US stock futures are indicating a similar slow start for Wall Street, which closed the first trading week of the new year in record territory.
EWM close to salvage
Edinburgh Woollen Mill administrators are believed to have sent sales contracts to a potential buyer, which would save a small number of its 400 stores.
FRP Advisory has issued sale contracts to the unnamed supposed buyer, according to The Sunday Times.
Marks & Spencer is said to be on the verge of a deal to acquire Jaeger, which was part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill group.