Market report

Harbour mix eases tax impact | ITV looks to Euros


Rates held

The Bank of England has held interest rates but given a strong indication that there will be a cut at its next meeting in June. Full story here

The FTSE 100 continue to push ahead following a series of record highs. It closed 27.3 points higher at 8,381.35.


Harbour Energy

Harbour Energy rig

Harbour Energy, the largest North Sea independent, said its transformational acquisition of Wintershall should complete in the fourth quarter.

The $11.2 billion deal was announced in December and will, when completed, it will add assets in northern Europe, South and Central America and Africa.

It said it will create “one of the world’s largest and most geographically diverse” independent oil and gas companies – with a combined production profile in excess of 500,000 barrels per day.

Significantly for Harbour, the diversification eases its exposure to the UK’s windfall taxes.

Harbour proposes a final 13 cents per share dividend for 2023, which the company noted was in line with its previously stated plan to payout $200 million for the year.


Wood Group

Wood Group CEO Ken Gilmartin said the Aberdeen-based firm is now in the second year of its growth strategy and is making good progress, with EBITDA growth, margin expansion and an order book 9% higher than a year ago.

The company has revealed that it rejected another takeover offer last month.

Shares surged yesterday and 10am today were treading water at 193.6p.

Full story here


ITV/STV

ITV reported a fall in first-quarter revenues on Thursday, dragged lower by the production arm which was hit by the US writers’ and actors’ strike.

In the three months to the end of March, total revenue declined 7% to £887m, with growth in total ad revenue offset by a 16% slump in revenues to £382m at ITV Studios, which reflected the phasing of deliveries and the expected impact of the US strike.

Total advertising revenue grew 3% in Q1 to $432m, in line with guidance. ITV said it expects good momentum to continue into the second quarter, benefiting from the Euros in June.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said: “The company’s digital strategy looks to be delivering. ITVX got a negative reception when it was first announced a little over two years ago but the platform is attracting users and advertising at an impressive rate, helping to make up for declining traditional ads.

“The Euros football tournament this summer will provide the usual kicker to advertising spend and ITV is looking to become a more streamlined and focused operation. For example, it is taking out costs and sold its Britbox International joint venture earlier this year.

“It’s a long road back for ITV to the share price highs achieved in the mid-2010s, after a previous turnaround under Adam Crozier, but there is evidence of genuine progress.”

Johnathan Barrett, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “Guidance for Q2, boosted by the Euros in June, is for 12% growth resulting in H1 guidance of 8%.”

He said this provides some significant comfort for STV estimates. STV yesterday announced three series of commissions for a total of 56 episodes. They include Antiques Road Trip, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, and The Travelling Auctioneers.

“We estimate the gross value at between £5-10m,” said Mr Barrett. “These were included in the £87m contract value update in March at the final results stage.”




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