elcome to our FTSE live blog reporting and assessing breaking news as it happens.
Next boss joins board of Deliveroo
DELIVEROO moved to beef up its board today, appointing Next chief executive Simon Wolfson as a non-executive director.
That comes ahead of a float likely to value the food delivery giant at more than £5 billion.
Will Shu, founder and CEO, said: “Simon will bring great knowledge and insight to the company and help us in our mission to become the definitive food company.”
Deliveroo works with 140,000 restaurants and 110,00 riders.
Wolfson said: “Deliveroo is an exciting, innovative and fast-growing company that, like NEXT, relies on advanced technology to deliver a market-leading proposition.”
Bankers claim, based on the value given to rivals such as DoorDash, Deliveroo could be valued at up to £8 billion.
Shopping centres landlord Hammerson has collected just 41% of the rent it was due for the first quarter.
The firm, behind Birmingham’s Bullring, said for the December quarter date, which covers the three months ahead, it has so far collected over a third of payments.
However, that figure is higher than at the same point in previous quarters in 2020 when the pandemic first hit.
The company has seen rental income knocked after numerous retailers and restaurant owners were forced to temporarily close sites for lockdowns.
FTSE up a touch
FTSE 100 got off to a strong start up a good 40 points but that’s tailed off a little bit this morning.
We’re now up 14 at 6734. Rolls-Royce having a strong session, up 4% and British Airways owner IAG recovering some of yesterday’s losses, up 1.6%. Next, Kingfisher and Barclays are all down more than 2%.
WEF sounds alarm over Covid’s long-term business hit
The global pandemic has highlighted the gap between technology “haves and have nots” and the risk that poses to social cohesion, the World Economic Forum warns today.
Its Global Risks Report for 2021, its sixteenth, took the views of hundreds of CEOs and risk managers across the world. The WEF says the world needs to “wake-up”.
Unsurprisingly, infectious diseases are regarded as the biggest of the short-term risks”, with a possible “asset bubble burst” the greatest medium-term risk and weapons of mass destruction still the most worrying long-term risk.
But the WEF says that it has been warning about pandemics since 2006, noting “the world saw the catastrophic effects of ignoring long-term risks”.
Carolina Klint, a risk management leader at Marsh, said: “Economic and societal fallout from COVID-19 will profoundly impact the way organisations interact with clients and colleagues long after any vaccine rollout.
“As businesses transform their workplaces, new vulnerabilities are emerging. Rapid digitalization is exponentially increasing cyber exposures, supply chain disruption is radically altering business models, and a rise in serious health issues has accompanied employees’ shift to remote working.”
Moonpig shoots for the stars
Online greetings card firm Moonpig has confirmed it is going ahead with its stock market debut valuing the group at up to £1.2 billion.
The firm said at least 25% of its share capital will be made available for trading in the initial public offering (IPO), which is set to take place next month.
Investment firms BlackRock and Dragoneer have already signed up for £130 million worth of shares in Moonpig when it lists, at £80 million and £50 million respectively.
Moonpig – backed by Exponent Private Equity Partners, which owns a 41.3% stake – said last week that it was considering the move as it looks to expand and capitalise on the surge in demand for online cards and gifts amid the pandemic.
It comes amid a rush of IPOs as firms look to take advantage of stock market optimism over vaccines, with renowned footwear brand Dr Martens also revealing plans for a possible £3 billion flotation earlier this month.
Deliveroo snaps up Wolfson
Big hire for Deliveroo ahead of its expected £8bn IPO in the coming months.
It’s just announced the CEO of Next, Simon Wolfson, is to join its board as a non executive director. Lord Wolfson, arguably the most highly rated boss in retail, started in his role this week.
Lord Wolfson has been CEO of Next since 2001, and has overseen its near-seamless transition to online, thanks in part to its historic Next catalogue operations (an inheritance of the family’s Great Universal Stores catalogue business of yore).
This comes after Deliveroo appointed Claudia Arney as the company’s first chair in November.
Petra Diamonds unearths new Crown Jewel
A 299 carat white diamond has been discovered at the same South African mine that produced the two largest cut diamonds in the Crown Jewels.
Petra Diamonds said the find was the third largest high-quality white diamond recovered at the Cullinan mine since it acquired a stake in the resource in 2008.
Cullinan is well known as the source of large and high quality diamonds, having produced over 140 stones weighing more than 200 carats and more than a quarter of all the world’s diamonds of greater than 400 carats.
It is also the source of the world’s largest gem diamond ever recovered, with the Cullinan diamond at 3,106 carats being cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, the two largest cut diamonds in the Crown Jewels.
Petra expects the latest white diamond to be sold at its next tender in February.
The AIM-traded company revealed today it generated revenues of US$178.1 million (£131.2 million) from 1.7 million carats sold in the final six months of 2020, a fall of 8% due to weaker sales following Covid-19.
However, the result of a tender this month suggests that pricing has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, aided by strong demand in China and supply discipline among the major diamond producers.
Petra added that a restructuring of its balance sheet through a debt-for-equity swap should complete by next month.
AO World enjoys record Christmas
AO World has seen booming demand for electrical appliances online, helping it to boost UK sales by 67.2%.
The retailer, which sells fridges, TVs and laptops online, recorded that growth for the three months to December 31.
The FTSE 250 company, led by John Roberts, is among online firms to have seen high customer demand while a number of high street businesses had to temporarily close branches for lockdowns.
AO World cautioned of some higher costs as it negotiates “some of the operational challenges of working in a Covid compliant environment, particularly in the reverse supply chain”.
But Roberts was upbeat and said: “I believe we’ve seen ten years of change in ten months, and experienced our strongest ever peak trading period.”
Experian eyes growth
Experian, the credit checking giant, today reported a better than expected performance for the third quarter as its sales to consumers seeking their credit details fared strongly across the world.
The group said organic growth should rise 3-5% in 2021 with profits of $1.36-1.38 billion.
The company launched its Experian Boost product in the UK, where consumers can improve their score by sharing more details of their regular spending.
Mr Kipling takes America
Mr Kipling has done what we’re sure Premier Foods would call an exceedingly good deal to sell its cakes in the US.
Premier said it had tied up with Weston Foods, the North American baker, to sell and market Mr Kipling there, with the first shipments later this year.
Premier said its third quarter sales were up 9% with branded products in that period up 12.1% as it outperforms the market.
Trading profit for 2020/21 are expected to come in at £145-150 million on £132 million last year.