Daily Business Live

Ryanair numbers rise | Omega test kit bidder | Ithaca deal


5pm: Energy stocks drive FTSE 100 higher

Volumes were light with US markets closed for Independence Day, but energy stocks fired up the FTSE 100 index which ended the session 64 points higher at 7,232.65. The FTSE 250 index closed down 0.2%.

BP up 4.8%, Shell up 4.3% and Harbour Energy up 5.2% tracked spot prices higher.

Brent oil was quoted at $113.66 a barrel at the equities close, up sharply from $110.84 at the close Friday.

9.15am: London trading higher

Traders kicked off the new week on the front foot as oil prices rose. The FTSE 100 was trading 66 points higher at 7,234.99.

“A small bounce back in the oil price was enough to give BP and Shell a lift and provide welcome support to the FTSE 100 index,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“Oil supplies have been watched closely in recent weeks amid concerns about a slowdown in the global economy.

“Fundamentally supplies continue to be tight and there is still enough economic activity to stop oil prices slumping. However, lingering recession fears could act as a ceiling on the oil price so we might not see the black stuff race ahead in value too much from current levels.”

Pets at Home tumbled nearly 7% after a broker downgrade. RBC cut its rating on the stock to ‘underperform’. The shares have now fallen by 38% year-to-date despite pet products and services seemingly being a defensive industry.

Mould said: “Beloved dogs, cats and more need feeding whatever the economic climate and owners typically view healthcare in this area as a non-discretionary spend, so in theory Pets at Home should be doing well. However, the market doesn’t seem to share this view judging by the performance of its share price.”

7am Ryanair passengers jump


Ryanair said it carried a total of 15.9 million passengers in June, a jump of 203% on the 5.3 million passengers the same time last year.

The June load factor – how many seats it fills on each flight – rose to 95% from 72% last year.

The update follows a claim at the weekend by chief executive Michael O’Leary that the cost of a plane ticket is ‘too cheap’ and that prices must rise.

He said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are ‘absurd’ and predicted that flight prices will rise for the next five years as soaring fuel costs and environmental charges take their toll.

7am: Omega chooses testing kit bidder

Omega Diagnostics, which sold its site at Alva in Scotland and pulled out of the Covid market, has chosen a preferred bidder for its remaining disease testing kit, Visitect.

The preferred bidder has been granted four weeks to complete due diligence. The transaction will include a significant up-front cash payment and a future royalty stream.

Omega, which has relocated to Cambridge, will now focus solely on its Health & Nutrition business, where it sees significant growth opportunities.  

Bank of Scotland has agreed to extend the existing overdraft facility of £2 million by an additional three months, to 30 September. This allows Omega sufficient time to reassess the funding requirement for its profitable and higher growth Health & Nutrition division.

Jag Grewal, CEO, said:  “We were delighted by the level of interest we have received for the CD4 business and look forward to announcing the completion of the transaction in due course.

“Having withdrawn from the COVID-19 market and disposed of the Alva site earlier this year, the divestment of our loss-making CD4 business will leave the Group solely focused on our higher margin Health & Nutrition division.

“The net proceeds from the sale of the CD4 business will enable our product and geographical expansion ambitions to be realised.”

7am: Ithaca completes Siccar deal

Ithaca Energy has completed its acquisition of Siccar Point Energy, announced on 7 April.  The acquisition of the part-owner of the Cambo field, positions Ithaca as one of the key E&P operators in the UK North Sea with four of the basin’s largest producing fields and some of its largest development projects.

Gilad Myerson, executive chairman, said: “Completion of the acquisition of Siccar Point marks a key milestone in establishing Ithaca as a leading UK North Sea E&P company with significant production, material growth potential, and a long-life cycle portfolio.  We are excited about the future and welcome our new colleagues from Siccar Point.”

Global markets

Markets in Shanghai and Tokyo recovered from a slow start to the day. In Hong Kong, stocks are playing catch up after being closed on Friday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was 0.6% higher. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.4%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.2%.

China placed 1.7 million people under lockdown in central Anhui province, following new rising cases of Covid. The outbreak comes as the Chinese economy begins to rebound from a months-long lockdown in Shanghai and disruptive Covid restrictions in the capital Beijing.

In New York on Friday, stocks ended higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 surged 1.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.9%.

The pound was quoted at $1.2106 early Monday in London, up from $1.2034 at the equities close on Friday.

Brent oil was quoted at $112.04 a barrel early Monday, up from $110.84 late Friday.

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