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Moonpig prices IPO; SSE divi pledge; Virgin Money update

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4.30pm: London closes higher

The FTSE 100 closed up 50.53 points at 6,516.65.

2.40pm: Phased reopening of schools

Schools in Scotland will begin a phased reopening from 22 February.

It will begin with early learning and childcare, followed by primaries 1-3, and part-time return of some seniors for practical education.

2.20pm: Lockdown continues

The First Minister said the lockdown and stay at home measures will remain in place “at least until the end of February”.

Full story

11.30am: Legal swoop

Shepherd and Wedderburn has lured a team of 20 from Dentons to create one of Scotland’s largest private client practices.

Full story here

8am: London rises

The FTSE 100 was trading 31.61 points higher at 6,498.03.

7am: BP Slumps

Oil giant BP saw its fourth quarter profit slump as it plunged to a $5.7 billion (£4.2bn) loss in a “pivotal year” for the company.

Full story here

Moonpig IPO

The online greetings business has priced its shares at 350p, giving the company a market capitalisation of about £1.2 billion on its debut on the LSE today.

It aims to raise gross proceeds of about £20 million.

Nickyl Raithatha, chief executive, said: “Listing on the London Stock Exchange is an incredibly special milestone and will provide new opportunities for the business.

“We are confident that Moonpig Group will continue to make gifting even more effortless for millions of people across the UK and internationally.

“As the leaders of a market undergoing an accelerating shift to online, now is the perfect time for us to bring the company to the public market, and we are excited about Moonpig’s prospects for the future.”

SSE dividend pledge

Energy company SSE said the impact of coronavirus on full-year operating profit will be towards the middle of the £150m to £250m range originally estimated in SSE’s full-year results last June. 

The company intends to recommend a full-year dividend of 80p per share plus RPI for 2020/21 and continues to target annual RPI increases to 2023 as set out in its five-year dividend plan.

Donald Brown, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, commented: “SSE continues to make progress in re-shaping its business, with a greater focus on renewables and the disposal of non-core assets.

“The ‘green recovery’ from Covid-19 prioritised by governments should play to SSE’s strengths and shareholders will be pleased to see continued commitment to RPI-linked dividend increases over the next couple of years – particularly with income remaining precarious elsewhere.

“The company’s shares are basically unchanged over the year, which is a decent barometer of its success in managing the many challenges of 2020 and compares favourably to the FTSE 100, which is down 11% since January 2020.”

Weir oil & gas sale

Glasgow-based engineering company Weir Group has completed the $405m sale of its oil & gas division to Caterpillar. 

The deal was announced on 5 October and approved by Weir Shareholders on 23 November. 

Since then, the group’s joint venture partner in Saudi Arabia-based Arabian Metals Company (AMCO) has exercised its pre-emption right to purchase Weir’s 49% stake in AMCO . 

This means the cash proceeds from the sale of the division will be split between $375m received from Caterpillar and $30m on completion of the sale of AMCO, which is expected to occur in the first half of this year.

Weir Group CEO Jon Stanton said: “The sale delivers a great new home for the business and its people, and enables Weir to fully focus on our role as a provider of premium technology to global mining and infrastructure markets.”

Weir Group will announce its 2020 full year results on 2 March.

Virgin Money

Virgin Money

Virgin Money chief executive David Duffy said it had made a “good start to the year” with the launch of new customer propositions, further roll-out of the rebrand programme and a return to statutory profit.

“The group remains strongly capitalised and we have good momentum as we look out into the remainder of the year,” he said in a statement on the first quarter.”

Full year guidance remains unchanged.

It said it has aside a further £726m in bad loan provisions in the first quarter to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Customer deposits increased in Q1 by 0.9% to £68.1bn Business lending was 0.1% higher at £8.9bn. Mortgages reduced 0.2% to £58.2bn. Personal lending reduced (2.0)% to £5.1bn.

Markets

The FTSE 100 was expected to continue upwards after a positive session on Wall Street.

The blue chip index rose nearly 59 points or 0.9% to close at 6,466.42 and US stocks mostly moved higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 229 points or 0.8%.

The broader S&P 500 index was even higher, recording a 1.6% rise and the tech-fuelled Nasdaq Composite surged by 2.55%.

Quarterly earnings from Alphabet, Amazon.com and Alibaba today may give further impetus to the Nasdaq.



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