Daily Business Live

Morrisons talks | Toyota pulls Olympics ads | AG Barr | easyJet


5pm: FTSE holds on to gains

The FTSE 100 managed to claw back some ground lost in yesterday’s rout and clung to finish 36.74 points (0.54%) at 6,881.13.

11am: Further fall for Parsley Box

Parsley Box, which lost nearly 16% yesterday, was down a further 5.6% this morning at 129p, well off its IPO price of 200p in March. The fall follows a warning of slowing sales growth for the Scottish company’s ready meal delivery service as the economy reopens.

8.15am: FTSE rebounds

After yesterday’s rout the FTSE 100 regained half of its losses, trading 78 points higher at 6,922.27 (see below).

7am: Apollo in talks over Morrisons bid


US private equity group Apollo Global Management is in talks with Fortress Investment Group to join its bid for Morrisons.

It said it would not make an offer for the supermarket group on its own following its expression of interest on 5 July.

Morrisons’ board has recommended a £6.3bn offer from Fortress, a group of investors led by Softbank. Bidding was triggered by a £5.5bn proposal from rival US buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Apollo said it was in discussions “which may result in funds managed or advised by Apollo forming part of the investment group led by Fortress for the purposes of the Fortress offer.

“As a consequence of these discussions, Apollo confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Morrisons other than as part of the Fortress offer.”

Another US private equity group, Lone Star, is reported to be interested in a bid.

7am: AG Barr ahead of plan


Irn-Bru maker AG Barr said trading has been better than indicated at its full year results when it said the business was in strong financial health, with its brands and business poised for growth on a like-for-like basis.

Trading has been driven by a combination of factors, some Covid-related, including customer restocking, in the hospitality sector in particular, and some associated with underlying brand momentum, such as the positive performance of recent innovation launches.

“As such we now expect profit for the current 53-week financial year, to the end of January 2022, to be slightly ahead of the performance delivered in the 52-week year prior to Covid (2019/20 profit before tax : £37.4m),” it said in a statement.

7am: easyJet pivots routes to maintain cash flow

Edinburgh airport Easyjet

Budget airline easyJet says it will emerge from the pandemic transformed, driven by a cost programme that is delivering, industry-leading network, schedule flexibility, a step change in ancillary revenue and with easyJet holidays taking market share.

Pivoting its services to routes with the strongest demand has helped it manage the crisis and maintain revenue flow.

Passenger numbers for the quarter ending 30 June 2021 increased to three million, in line with an increase in capacity to 4.5 million seats, representing 17% of Q3 2019 capacity levels.

This led to total group revenue for the quarter ending 30 June 2021 increasing to £212.9 million (2020: £7.2m).

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “We have used our existing strengths like our network with renewed purpose – pivoting capacity to Europe where we saw the strongest demand.

“As a result, we will emerge from the pandemic with longer-term wins along-side baked in sustainable cost reductions, responding effectively and in ways our competitors don’t or can’t.”

Global marketsTokyo Games in focus

Tokyo 2020

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell to six-month low as markets in Asia-Pacific extended losses on concerns of spiking coronavirus infections worldwide and worries mounting over the Tokyo Olympics.

The benchmark index was 0.3% lower early this morning while the Japanese yen was trading higher against the dollar and the euro.

Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency which will run until the end of the games which open on 23 July. Spectators have been banned from venues while key sponsor Toyota Motor said it will not run Olympics-related TV commercials in Japan.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 1.2% as energy stock emerged as the biggest drag on the index on the back of falling oil prices following OPEC+ nations’ decision to boost supply from August.

Spread betters expect the FTSE 100 to recover some of the ground lost in yesterday’s sell-off after global markets became unnerved by resurgent coronavirus cases.

London’s blue chip index has been called 14 points higher on the IG spread-betting platform, having finished down 163.7 points or 2.3% lower at 6,844.39 in its biggest one-day fall since May.

Stocks that had expected to do well from the reopening of the economy, such as travel companies, were among the biggest victims, with cruise lines and airlines slumping, along with financial sector names.

US stocks suffered a rare down day, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.1% – its worst fall since October – while the S&P 500 slid 1.6% and the Nasdaq 1.1%.

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