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Inflation rises; Pure Gym; Kier cash call; Pension Bee IPO


9pm: Aggreko deal doubt

Temporary power company Aggreko’s £2.3 billion takeover by private equity firms could be in doubt, according to sources close to the deal.

Full story here

4.30pm: London closes higher

The FTSE 100 made up some of the lost ground lost in yesterday’s rout, closing at 6,895.29, up 35.42 points (0.52%).

12.30pm: Ayrshire financial firm acquired

Troon-based financial planning company Affinity has been acquired by Leeds-based group Progeny, which already has an operation in Edinburgh.

Progeny said the acquisition of the five-strong firm would extend its “multi-disciplinary professional services offering in Scotland”.

10.10am: Scottish GDP

Scotland’s onshore GDP grew by 0.9% in February, according to statistics announced today by the Chief Statistician. Output remains 7.4% below the pre-pandemic level in February 2020, and has fallen by 3.3% during the recent restrictions since October 2020.

In February there was growth in each of the production, construction and services sectors, but output remained relatively subdued while restrictions continued for many consumer services such as retail and hospitality.

Overall, output in the services sector grew by 1%, with the largest contribution to the increase coming from the education sub-sector due to the return to school for primary year groups 1 to 3 on 22 February. 

Output in the production sector increased by 0.9% in February, including 0.2% growth in the manufacturing subsector.

Output in the construction sector is estimated to have increased by 1.6% in February.

9am: Hammerson exits retail

Property group Hammerson has sold seven retail park assets to Brookfield for £330 million, concluding its exit from the sector. Among them is the Central Retail Park in Falkirk.

8.30am: FTSE 100 rebounds

The FTSE 100 rebounded more strongly than expected from yesterday’s steep fall, trading 37.5 points or 0.55% higher at 6,897.33.

The blue-chip index was boosted by gains in BP, after Azerbaijan’s energy ministry said the firm’s oil output was 5.9 million tonnes in the first quarter. Cybersecurity firm Avast rose 4.7% after striking  a partnership with Recorded Future, one of the world’s largest providers of intelligence for enterprise security.

7am: Inflation

Consumer price inflation rose to 0.7% in March from 0.4% in February, reflecting higher fuel and clothing prices, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said some food “staples were lower than at the start of the pandemic”.

Inflation is forecast to rise in the coming months, due to higher domestic energy bills and rising oil prices.

The Bank of England has forecast that inflation could reach 1.9% by the end of 2021, with other experts saying it will exceed 2% before the end of year.

7am: Pure Gym

Pure Gym

Pure Gym said more than a million member workouts took place in the first week of reopening in England, similar to levels in the equivalent week in 2019.

The business has retained 1.4m members across the group as at 31 March 2021, 82% of December 2019 pre-Covid levels 

Group group income fell by £177m in the year to the end of December. Adjusted Ebitda fell 92% from £132m to £11m.

7am: Kier Group

Chief executive Andrew Davies Davies said a proposed £240m equity raise in the coming weeks, subject to market conditions, together with the continued support of the group’s lenders, will further strengthen its balance sheet.

“With the announcement of the sale of Kier Living on 16 April , we have achieved many of the milestones required to improve cash generation and reduce net debt . The process of simplifying the Group has been substantially completed.”

Adjusted half-year pre-tax profit came in at £27.8 million (2019: £30.7m).

7am: Pension Bee IPO

Pension Bee has priced its IPO at 165p per share, giving the company a market capitalisation of approximately £365 million ahead of conditional dealings today.

Overnight markets

The FTSE 100 was expected to stabilise after yesterday’s heavy selling and ahead of inflation data for the UK. The blue chip index ended Tuesday’s session down 140 points at 6,859.

Concerns have re-emerged over the strength of the post-pandemic economic recovery and the increased fear of new coronavirus variants potentially untreatable by vaccines.

The downward trend was evident on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.75% lower, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.68% and the Nasdaq fell 0.92%.

It was a similar picture in Asia this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 1.99% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.84% lower.

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