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Mitchells & Butlers confirms £351m open offer

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4.30pm: FTSE cuts losses

After a weak start, the FTSE 100 clawed its way back to close just in negative territory after the Prime Minister unveiled his plan to ease England out of lockdown.

The index ended the session just 11.78 points lower at 6,612.24.

3.30pm: Boris Johnson outlines lockdown easing

The Prime Minister has announced that shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality in England will reopen on 12 April and set a date for the ending of all lockdown measures.

Scotland’s First Minister will announce changes to lockdown on Tuesday amid accusations that she left a four-nations meeting early to appear on television.

Full story here

8.30am: London lower on lockdown

The FTSE 100 index of blue chip stocks opened the week sharply down ahead of latest lockdown announcement which is expected to confirm swathes of the economy remaining closed until mid-April. The index was trading at 6,552.35, down −71.67 points (1.08%).

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7am: Mitchells & Butlers

Pubs chain Mitchells & Butlers says its monthly cash burn is between £30 million and £35 million and it has confirmed a £351 million open offer of shares.

It says this is critical for the continued operation and financial stability of the group and for managing the business through the current pandemic.

Phil Urban, CEO said: “M&B was a high performing business coming into the pandemic and with the support of our main stakeholders, including the equity injection from this Open Offer, we have every confidence that we can emerge in a strong competitive position once current restrictions are lifted.

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“The hospitality industry has done everything that has been asked of it to date and, now that the vaccines are being rolled out and infections are dropping, we are hopeful that pubs and restaurants will soon be allowed to reopen safely so that we can start to serve our customers again.”

Agreement has been reached with the trustee of the group’s pension funds to delay monthly contributions from January to March 2021, inclusive, with these becoming due in April 2021.

Markets

The FTSE 100 was called lower ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining plans to ease some of the lockdown restrictions.

However, non-essential shops, pubs and salons may be forced to wait until mid-April before being allowed to reopen.

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was flat while the Shanghai Composite in China dipped 0.76%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.46% while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.90%.



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