Market Report

Royal Mail delays delivery of annual results

Royal Mail and post
IDS results held up by KPMG demands

International Distributions Services, the owner of Royal Mail, saw its shares slide 12.75p, or 3.9%, to 314.75p after it said the publication of its financial results had been delayed. 

Amid rumours that some form of intervention had taken place after the prime minister called a general election on Wednesday evening it finally confirmed the delay to the stock market, seven hours after the scheduled announcement.

The company is subject to a proposed £3.5 billion takeover by Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech energy tycoon best known in Britain as a co-owner of West Ham United Football Club.

“The group’s auditor, KPMG, has requested additional time to complete the usual standard procedures after their internal reviews were late in the audit timetable, thereby delaying their final audit process,” it said.

“The board confirms that it expects adjusted operating profit (excluding voluntary redundancy costs) for the 53 weeks to March 31, 2024, to be broadly in line with previously published guidance. A further announcement on updated timings for the publication of results will be made as soon as reasonably practicable.”

Its shares advanced 30p, or 3.5%, to 900p after the Edinburgh-based company reported an 11.5 per cent increase in the net asset value on its holdings for the year to the end of March.

The FTSE 100 fell 31.1 points, or 0.4%, to 8,339.23, weighed down by a fall in utility companies.

“It’s been some twenty-four hours and UK investors might be forgiven for feeling both shaken and stirred,” says Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

“Whilst US markets have basked in the megawatt fallout from Nvidia’s barnstorming performance, which has seen the chipmakers’ shares hit fresh highs, London markets are still dealing with the rain-soaked election surprise delivered by the PM yesterday.

The fair wind blowing from across the Atlantic could only do so much, with Scottish Mortgage one of the obvious beneficiaries.”

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust advanced 30p, or 3.5%, to 900p after the Edinburgh-based company reported an 11.5% increase in the net asset value on its holdings for the year to the end of March.

Hewson noted that a bounce back of housing stocks including Persimmon and Barratt Developments on suggested optimism that Labour will tackle the sector’s underlying challenges.

“Utility stocks were always likely to come under pressure on the news that National Grid was shaking its tin to fund network upgrades, but there must also be questions asked about the Labour Party’s plans for energy and where a publicly owned renewable energy company will fit into the mix,” said Hewson.

“What kind of pressure might it heap on water companies to invest in crumbling infrastructure whilst protecting the public from significant price hikes, and how will the country’s public transport network evolve?”

Randy Neely, the chief executive of Edinburgh-based oil and gas firm Capricorn Energy, told the firm’s AGM that it is continuing “to actively evaluate opportunities to create shareholder value in the UK North Sea.”

In December Capricorn announced it would acquire a stake in the Columbus gas field in the UK Central North Sea under a revised deal with Waldorf Production UK.

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