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Calnex profits up 34% | Petrofac CEO | Babcock boost

Tommy Cook of Calnex

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5pm: Oil drives blue chip index

A positive start on Wall Street helped push the FTSE 100 to its highest level in more than two months. It closed 75.99 points higher at 7,452.84.

Oil companies were among the main risers following a rebound in the crude price after Monday’s falls.

The rise on Wall St came despite expectations that the US Federal Reserve will confirm more rate rises alongside publication of the minutes from its November meeting tomorrow.

On AIM, shares in Scottish meals delivery firm Parsley Box, whose board last week announced it wanted to quit the stock market, have been on a roll since then and were up 1.17p (27.34%) today at 5.45p. They are up 167% since the board’s statement last Friday.


Calnex Solutions

Linlithgow-based telecoms equipment company Calnex Solutions is seeing an easing of the component shortages, said founder and chief executive Tommy Cook (pictured).

Speaking to Daily Business after the group’s half-year figures, he said it was in a “robust position”. He added that the company was managing to hire the people it needed.

Calnex posted a 38% increase in revenue to £12.7m (H1FY22: £9.3m) and a 34% increase in profit before tax to £3.1m (H1FY22: £2.3m).

Shares in the company closed 2.50p (1.62%) higher at 157.5p. Full story here


Petrofac CEO

Sami Iskander, group chief executive of oil services group Petrofac, will leave the business at the end of March 2023 in order to pursue other interests.

He will be replaced by Tareq Kawash from 1 April, following an orderly handover and will join the board.

He joins from McDermott where he was most recently senior vice president of its onshore and offshore business lines, and a member of McDermott’s executive committee.

Chairman René Médori commented: “Sami’s contribution to the company over the last two years has been invaluable.

“Having overseen the resolution of the SFO’s historic investigation and led a comprehensive refinancing programme, Sami has reshaped the business and put it firmly on a path to growth.”


Babcock

Shares in UK defence engineer Babcock surged 6.6%, or 19.2p, to 309.2p after it reported a rise in interim profits and held full-year expectations.

The company expects to benefit from governments bolstering national security spending amid the war in Ukraine.

The company posted underlying operating profit of £121.7m for the six-months ended to 30 September, compared to £115.3m last time. The group won 20 contracts across its energy and marine business.

“We are operating in a macroeconomic and geopolitical environment that remains volatile,” said chief executive David Lockwood.

“We are focused on effectively addressing the challenges our business faces, most notably inflationary pressures, whilst also ensuring we maximise the increased opportunity set we are seeing in a market backdrop that is supportive for defence.”


Penguin merger off

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest book publisher, and US company Simon & Schuster have scrapped a $2.2 billion deal to merge, Penguin owner Bertelsmann has confirmed.

Bertelsmann, a German media group which owns Penguin, initially said it would appeal a US judge’s decision that said its purchase of Simon & Schuster would be illegal because it would hit authors’ pay.

But Bertelsmann said in a statement that it “will advance the growth of its global book publishing business without the previously planned merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.”

Reuters reported on Sunday that the German company was unable to convince Paramount Global, Simon & Schuster’s owner, to extend their deal agreement and appeal the judge’s decision.


Global markets

A resurgent Brent oil price was expected to give European markets a lift despite worrying Covid-19-related developments in China.

Brent oil spiked to $87.60 a barrel early today, surging from $83.07 at the London equities close on Monday.

Saudi Arabia on Monday denied a report that oil producers were discussing a production increase for their next meeting, saying a cut approved last month would stay in place until the end of 2023.

Beijing posted a record number of new Covid cases on Tuesday, with the city under tightening restrictions that have sent schools online, closed many restaurants, and forced employees to work from home.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 8.67 points, or 0.1% at 7,376.85 after a subdued session on Monday.

The pound was quoted at $1.1848 early Tuesday in London, up from $1.1794 at the equities close on Monday.

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