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Harbour talk | Scotgold CEO | China slides | Halifax HPI

Harbour Energy rig

Harbour Energy, the North Sea’s largest oil and gas producer, appears close to a merger with Talos Energy.

Investors pushed shares in Harbour Energy 6.25p higher (2.6%) to 246p, their highest in more than a month, after reports that the FTSE 250 firm had rekindled talks with the US-based company.

The merger opens the door to Harbour listing in New York, according to news agency Reuters.

Analysts at Stifel say the combined group would be valued at $6.7 billion. Harbour has a market capitalisation of £2bn.

The FTSE 100 had an otherwise uneventful day, closing down 3.76 points at 7,624.34. 

On the FTSE 250 888 jumped 20.5p, or 25.6%, to a four-month high of 100.5p after FS Gaming Investments acquired an almost 7% stake.

In New York the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.4%.

Scotgold hires interim CEO

Scotgold Resources, Scotland’s first commercial gold producer, has appointed chief financial officer Sean Duffy as interim CEO with immediate effect in addition to his current role. He replaces Phil Day who last week announced he was leaving to return to Australia.

Mr Duffy has extensive experience in the mining industry supporting multinational and junior mining companies develop and expand operations through construction and into production.

Peter Hetherington, chairman said, “With significant mining expertise, Sean will step into the role of interim CEO until a permanent replacement is appointed.

“Sean, has the knowledge, relationships, and expertise to manage on-going workstreams, ensuring continuity in our operations to drive the long hole stope mine plan and development of our Cononish gold mine towards full production.”

Telegraph ultimatum

The owner of the Daily Telegraph faces administration after a breakdown in talks over loans the business has racked up over the years, according to a report.

Lloyds Banking Group has come to blows with Press Acquisitions, the company controlled by the Barclay family that owns the newspapers’ parent company, Telegraph Media Group (TMG), over around £65 million in loans.

According to The Times, the bank is prepared to call in a restructuring advisory group and appoint insolvency practitioners “within days”.

But a spokesperson said speculation about the business entering administration is “unfounded and irresponsible,” adding that TMG is in “good financial shape”.

Halifax house price index

House prices dropped on an annual basis in May for the first time in 11 years, mortgage lender Halifax said.

The average property price fell 1% compared with May last year, after edging up 0.1% in April. 

“Given the effectively flat month, the annual decline largely reflects a comparison with strong house prices this time last year, as the market continued to be buoyant heading into the summer,” said Kim Kinnaird, Halifax Mortgages director.

“As expected the brief upturn we saw in the housing market in the first quarter of this year has faded, with the impact of higher interest rates gradually feeding through to household budgets, and in particular those with fixed rate mortgage deals coming to an end.”

Global markets

Chinese trade data pointed to a slowing of the global economy. Its exports fell in May for the first time since February, breaking a two-month growth streak as a post-Covid rebound in the world’s second-largest economy faded.

Overseas shipments sank 7.5% year-on-year last month, a sharp drop from an increase of 8.5% in April, according to figures published by the official Xinhua news agency. Imports fell 4.5% in May.

Manufacturers struggled to find demand abroad and domestic consumption remained sluggish.

South Korean data last week showed shipments to China slid 20.8% in May, marking a full year of monthly declines, with Korean semiconductor exports dropping 36.2%, suggesting weak demand for components for final manufacture.

Despite the data, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 1.2%. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 1.1%.

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