Daily Business Live
DIYers lift B&Q; Deliveroo hits £8.8bn value; Omega milestone
REFRESH PAGE FOR UPDATES
4.45pm: Sturgeon cleared
Nicola Sturgeon has been cleared of breaching the Ministerial Code.
4.30pm: London closed higher
The FTSE 100 closed in positive territory, up 17.39 points at 6,726.10.
4pm: Pound slips on vaccine ban warning
The pound fell against the dollar and to its lowest in six days against the euro as investors weighed the impact of the European Union’s threat to impose a ban on vaccine imports to Britain.
Analysts have attributed sterling 3.6% rise against the euro this year to the UK’s speedy vaccine rollout.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is attempting to dissuade EU leaders from imposing a ban on exports to Britain on Thursday.
3.45pm: No Confidence vote brought forward
The vote of No Confidence in the First Minister tabled by the Scottish Tories will now take place on Tuesday, a day earlier than planned, amid accusations from the Opposition that the SNP government is “in a flap” over the publication of the second inquiry report.
11am: Bus deal
More electric buses will be built by Alexander Dennis in Scotland following the latest funding award from the Scottish Government.
9am: FTSE falls on Turkey and travel
The FTSE 100 opened lower than had been predicted as events in Turkey and warnings of extended travel bans grabbed the attention of investors.
The Turkish lira took a hit as president Erdogan sacked his central bank chief and replaced him with a little-known professor of banking.
The London market was also rattled by warnings that international travel bans may be extended several months.
British Airways owner IAG lost 3.5%, while recent gainer Roll-Royce was 3.4% lower.
Risers included B&Q owner Kingfisher which took on 3.3% as its sales surged thanks to the increase in lockdown DIYers (see below).
The FTSE 100 was trading 27 points lower at 6,681.77.
“The travel sector is waking up on Monday to a dose of reality as cold water is poured on the idea of foreign travel for Britons this summer,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“Airlines and travel operators had seemingly refused to countenance the cataclysmic idea of another heavily disrupted summer and had been busily advertising to an increasingly inoculated UK population.
“However, the significantly slower pace of the vaccine rollout in the EU, a spike in infections in mainland Europe and the emergence of new variants has complicated the picture.
“The risk, and one being increasingly acknowledged by Government ministers, is this summer is even worse than last for the travel space as the UK keeps restrictions in place to avoid undermining its hard-won success with the vaccine.
“The likes of TUI, EasyJet, Jet2 and businesses linked to the aviation sector like Rolls-Royce were all descending rapidly this morning.
“Add to this the threat of an EU ban on the export of Covid jabs to the UK and a currency crisis in Turkey and it’s no surprise the FTSE 100 has fallen out of bed.”
A new generation of DIYers helped boost profits at B&Q owner Kingfisher which reinstated its dividend.
The company reported a higher demand particularly from those working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adjusted pre-tax profits for the year to the end of January rose 44.4% to £786m on a 7.2% increase in sales to £12.3bn. A dividend of 8.5p a share is proposed against 3.33p a year earlier.
“Current trading remains positive and, while visibility is limited for the year as a whole, we are confident of continued outperformance of our wider markets,” said chief executive Thierry Garnier.
“The Covid crisis has established new longer-term trends that are clearly supportive for our industry – including more working from home, the renewed importance of the home as a ‘hub’, and the development of a new generation of DIY’ers – and we expect these to endure.”
Deliveroo price range
Food courier service Deliveroo is expected to be valued at between £7.6 billion and £8.8bn in its forthcoming IPO – well ahead of forecast.
The price range for the offer has been set at £3.90 to £4.60 per share.
As previously announced, the offer will also include a community offer enabling UK-based consumers with a Deliveroo account and are resident in the UK to apply for Shares.
Deliveroo will prioritise existing loyal customers, with a mixture of new and existing customers benefiting.
Commercial roll-out of Omega’s Covid test kit is expected to start in April following the latest approval.
The Scottish company is already in discussion with a number of potential commercial partners looking to order the test post-launch.
CEO Colin King said: “This is an exciting and important next step in our COVID strategy as we now have the ability to supply both antigen and antibody lateral flow tests not only to the UK Government but also to our commercial partners.
“Having both tests available and having built our production capacity allows us to adjust our capacity to meet the demands of the pandemic. We look forward with confidence that the coming year ahead will be truly transformational for Omega.”
An Edinburgh-based pharmaceutical company has entered into a strategic partnership with a German pharmaceutical company.
Cancer drug discovery accelerator Cumulus Oncology has combined with Dortmund-based Lead Discovery Center in a move will enable the Scottish firm to accelerate the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies.
DX Group Glasgow depot
Delivery firm DX has opened of a depot at the Gartcoch Industrial Park, Glasgow.
The c.20,000 sq. ft. depot will serve the Group’s Express division, which specialises in secure, next-day parcel delivery. The division’s operations were previously at the Eurocentral Industrial Estate, located on the edge of Holytown and Mossend. This will now become a dedicated DX Freight depot, with further investment planned.
This move now provides both of DX’s divisions with dedicated facilities, and will allow the Group to increase capacity and service levels for the central belt.
The opening marks a further step in DX’s ongoing £10m capital expenditure programme, which is investing in sites, technology and equipment. It follows the opening at the start of March of a DX Express depot in Rotherham, and a number of further depot openings are planned this year.
DX sees significant growth opportunities for both DX Freight and DX Express, and is looking to expand market share.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open modestly lower following a mixed session in Asia.
Investors were watching the Turkish lira fall following President Erdogan’s decision to replace the country’s central-bank chief.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.03% while the Shanghai Composite in China gained 0.89%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell more than 2% and South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.04%.