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Ex-CBI boss joins BAE Systems; Royal Mail retains ‘temps’


4.30pm: London treads water

The FTSE 100 barely moved throughout today’s session, closing up just 4.36 points at 6,528.72.

8.30am: Former CBI chief joins BAE Systems

Carolyn Fairbairn

Former CBI director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, pictured, and mathematician Dr Ewan Kirk will join the board of BAE Systems as non-executive directors from 1 March and 1 June respectively.

Dame Carolyn was previously a non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group and Capita. She is also a former non-executive director of the Competition and Markets Authority, the Financial Services Authority and until 2016, a Trustee of Marie Curie.

She worked in government as a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit during the 1990s, following which she became a partner at McKinsey specialising in digital and media, and held senior executive roles at the BBC and ITV.

Dr Kirk has led multiple ventures to commercialise, apply and leverage technology and mathematics research in both business and philanthropy.  He brings extensive experience in rapidly identifying and leveraging emergent scientific research, especially in data science and quantities analysis, to drive commercial results and identify new lines of business.

7.45am: No bid for Marston’s

Platinum Equity Advisors has said it does not intend to make an offer for brewer Marston’s.

The board of Marston’s said it continues to believe it is well placed to benefit from the opportunities in a post-COVID 19 trading environment, following the completion of the SA Brain transaction and harnessing factors such as a reduction in on-trade industry supply, and increased home-working that will benefit pubs in suburban locations.

Marston’s has a strengthened balance sheet following the joint venture with Carlsberg and significant cash headroom, enabling it to continue to absorb the impact of the temporary Government restrictions.

7am: Royal Mail retains ‘temp’ staff

Royal Mail parcel post box (pic: Royal Mail)

Royal Mail has kept on 10,000 out of the 33,000 seasonal workers who joined for the Christmas peak to deal with increased traffic during the latest lockdowns.

It has delivered more parcels than ever before during the quarter spanning Christmas.

The company delivered 496m parcels during the last three months of 2020, 30% higher than the same period in 2019, it said.

Letters volumes were down by 14% but parcel numbers up by 30%. On its busiest day in the last quarter the company delivered 11.7m parcels, a third more than the busiest day during the first national lockdown in 2020.


Shell carbon target

Royal Dutch Shell has revealed a new set of targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, with carbon intensity reductions to include third party oil and gas the company sells as products.

The energy company said a “comprehensive carbon management approach” it was undertaking would “deliver value for our shareholders, our customers and wider society.”

It had already set a goal to be a net zero emissions energy business by 2050 and it restated its belief on Thursday that total carbon emissions for the company peaked in 2018 while oil production peaked in 2019.

Omega contract and new chairman

Omega, the Scottish medical diagnostics company, has confirmed a contract with the Department of Health and Social Care to provide manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 lateral flow antigen tests.

In a trading update the company said revenue is expected to be approximately £9.3 million with an EBITDA loss in the region of £2.1m to £2.3m.

Omega has also announced the appointment of Dr Simon Douglas as non-executive chairman with immediate effect.

Full story here


On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed just 61 points (0.2%) higher, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were slightly lower as traders awaited developments on the stimulus package.

Japan’s Nikkei was also only slightly up – 0.19% – while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.45% before its early close for the national holidays.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange was closed for the Chinese New Year holiday.

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