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Cineworld loss; Enquest upbeat; SMS third dividend

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4.30pm: London lower

The FTSE 100 closed 38.06 points lower at 6,674.83.

Oil prices continue to slide, maintaining the pressure on the FTSE 100 which is laden with companies sensitive to commodity prices.

Brent crude has fallen 4.47% to $61.53 a barrel as investors fret about further lockdowns dampening economic demand, especially in Europe.

1pm: New head of UKHospitality Scotland

UKHospitality Scotland has appointed an executive director, to succeed Willie Macleod who is retiring.

Full story here

11.50am: New IoD Scotland director

The Institute of Directors Scotland has announced that Louise Macdonald has been appointed National Director, replacing Malcolm Cannon.

Full story here

9.30am: Santander branches to close

Santander has announced it will close 111 branches across the country by the end of August this year.

Full story here

8.15am: FTSE 100 ticks up

After opening 30 points lower, the FTSE 100 was trading 10.25 points higher at 6,723.15.

7am: Cineworld

Tenet was one of the top grossing movies

Cinema owner Cineworld said there can be no certainty as to the future impact of COVID-19 on the group.

“Governments strengthening of restrictions on social gathering may lead to closure of cinemas or studios delaying movie releases,” it said in a statement with annual results showing a $3bn (£2.2bn) loss.

“This would have a negative impact on the group’s financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.”

The loss compared to a $212m profit in 2019 and came in a year when UK and Ireland admissions decreased by 76.3% and box office revenue plunged by 75.5%.

The top three grossing movies were “1917”, “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Tenet”, which grossed $96.1m. This compares to the top three titles in 2019 which were “Avengers: Endgame”, “The Lion King” and “Toy Story 4”, which grossed $273.2m.

The company, which announced earlier this week that it will reopen screens in the coming weeks, said it had cash in place to see it through this year.

Enquest

Oil and gas explorer Enquest posted EBITDA of $550.6 million for 2020, down 45.3% compared to 2019 ($1.006.5 billion). This was driven by lower revenue, partially offset by the lower cost of sales.

Revenue for the year to the end of December was $856.9m, 49.9% lower than in 2019 ($1.7bn), reflecting the materially lower oil prices, a reduction in production following the decision to cease production at Heather, Thistle and Alma/Galia and moving from a net overlift to a net underlift position.

Chief executive, Amjad Bseisu, said: “Our quick and decisive actions in early 2020, combined with our reorganisation, have transformed the Company. We generated $211.1m of free cash flow in the year, having significantly lowered our cost base and free cash flow breakeven, enabling us to reduce our debt to its lowest level since 2014.

“The proposed acquisition of the low-cost Golden Eagle area will strengthen our business, providing additional production and strong cash flows which will partially utilise our UK tax assets.

“Our focus on extending the useful lives of existing assets through operational improvements and reducing emissions is well suited to operating through the energy transition and I am confident that EnQuest is well placed to succeed in a changing world.”

Smart Metering Systems

SMS will pay a third interim cash dividend of 6.25p per share on 29 April to shareholders on the Scottish company;’s register at 6 April, with an ex-dividend date of 1 April.

No Scrip alternative will be offered for this third interim dividend.

Markets

The FTSE 100 is expected to open lower after US equities dipped and European traders continue to fret over vaccine distribution and warnings of a new wave of Covid.

In New York, the Dow Jones was down slightly whilst the S&P 500 dipped 0.55% and the Nasdaq by over 2%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rallied 1.14% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.05%.



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