BUSINESS CLOSE: 888 profits slump; Inland Homes in administration; Deliveroo £250m buyback

BUSINESS CLOSE: 888 profits slump; Inland Homes in administration; Deliveroo £250m buyback

The FTSE 100 is down 0.3 per cent in afternoon trading. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are 888 Holdings, Deliveroo, Inland Homes, Phoenix Group and Mitchells & Butlers. Read the Thursday 28 September Business Live blog below.

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The Footsie closes soon

Just before close, the FTSE 100 was up 0.07% at 7,598.50.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 was 0.71% lower at 18,091.16.

Trading in Evergrande shares halted

Trading in shares of troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande Group has been suspended amid reports that its chairman had been placed under police watch.

It comes as concerns mount about the cash-strapped developer’s future amid growing risks of liquidation, which could have significant consequences for the Chinese and global economy.

Poundland owner Pepco cuts outlook in ‘increasingly challenging’ environment

(PA) – The owner of Poundland has downgraded its expectations for the year as it warned that its markets in central and eastern Europe were becoming “increasingly challenging”.

Pepco slashed its outlook for the second time in a month as it said that customers were not as interested as expected in its clothing and general merchandise lines – both of which are key for Pepco.

The business said that revenues in August were “lower than anticipated”, and that this has been “worsening in September”.

Like-for-like sales turned negative this month and the company’s new shops have performed worse than expected.

“It is clear that we need to refocus on delivering for our customers in our core business while delivering more measured growth,” said executive chair Andy Bond.

“We need to improve profitability and cash generation in our established business alongside a more targeted growth plan in markets where we have an existing presence.”

Shares, which are listed in Warsaw, dropped 16% after the news. So far this year they are down more than 45%.

Pepco added: “We have not, as yet, seen the expected recovery in gross margins as we continue to work through inventory from earlier in the year bought at a higher cost.”

Chancellor borrowing splurges undermine forecasts, IFS says

There is a 90 per cent chance that UK public borrowing in four years’ time will be higher than the budget watchdog has forecast, fresh research suggests.

The IFS think-tank’s report claims borrowing in the 2027/28 tax year is likely to be £40billion higher than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast in March.

CMA weighs probe of Whirlpool’s merger with Turkey’s Arcelik

Britain’s competition regulator is considering a probe into the proposed merger between part of Whirlpool and a company owned by Turkey’s largest industrial conglomerate.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Arcelik’s planned acquisition of Whirlpool’s European home appliances business might lead to higher prices and lower-quality products for consumers.

Liverpool’s owners FSG sell minority stake to American firm

Liverpool‘s owners Fenway Sports Group have realised their long-held ambition of selling a minority stake in the club to American investors Dynasty Equity.

There has been much speculation for the past 12 months about what FSG’s intentions for Liverpool were following a story that they were considering a full sale of the club they bought for £300million in October 2010.

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Ryanair cuts winter flight schedule on Boeing plane delivery delays

Ryanair has cut its winter flight schedule due to delays in the delivery of new Boeing 737 planes.

The budget airline will reduce the number of aircraft it planned to base at several airports across Europe, including East Midlands Airport and Dublin Airport.

Dealmaking falls to 14-year low

The value of mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals made with UK involvement has fallen to a 14-year low in 2023, new findings show.

M&A deals with any UK involvement have a total value of £144.7billion in the year to date, down 45 per cent on levels seen last year, according to LSEG Deals Intelligence.

Phoenix Group reports marginal profit rise in interim results

Phoenix Group profits rose in the first half, driven by demand for corporate pension scheme insurance products.

The insurance company, which has historically specialised in managing books of life insurance businesses that are closed to new customers, posted an operating profit growth of 5 per cent year-on-year to £266million in the six months to 30 June.

Mitchells & Butlers toasts rising sales as cost headwinds ease

Mitchells & Butlers sales have improved after more customers stepped out to grab drinks and food at its pubs despite a high inflationary environment.

Cost headwinds, which pose a major challenge for the UK’s hospitality industry, have also started to abate, while high inflation has not deterred demand, the group told shareholders on Thursday.

888 suffers fresh regulation and ‘customer-friendly sports results’

William Hill owner 888 Holdings has issued a profit warning after the gambling group was hit by new regulatory changes and ‘customer-friendly’ sports results.

888 Holdings shares slumped 17.4 per cent to 91.25p in early trading as the betting group told investors that earnings before nasties for 2023 would miss forecasts amid more challenging trading conditions.

Lloyds Bank partners with BlackRock to launch ETF investment Quicklist

Lloyds Bank is attempting to lure customers to the DIY investment space with the launch of its ETF Quicklist.

The bank has partnered with BlackRock to put together a list of 16 iShares ETFs for investors.

London offices in ‘rental recession’ thanks to remote working boom, analysts warn

London’s office market is in a ‘rental recession’ with empty space across the capital’s traditional business districts at a 30-year-high, according to a report.

Analysts at Jefferies estimated that office space in use across the City, West End and Canary Wharf has shrunk as much as 20pc.

Inland Homes to appoint administrators as cash dries up

Deliveroo proposes tender offer to return up to £250m to shareholders

Deliveroo plans to return up to £250million to its shareholders via a premium tender offer launching on Friday.

The food delivery group, which first outlined the plan to return the surplus capital to shareholders in August, said it plans to buy up to 217.4million existing ordinary shares for between 115p and 135p per share.

Morrisons chief executive Potts steps down after nine years

888 profits slump on regulatory shake-up

Gambling giant 888 Holdings has lowered its annual profit expectation after sales slumped by 10 per cent in the third quarter, which the firm partially blamed in tighter regulation of the sector in the UK.

Lord Mendelsohn, executive chair, said:

‘This has been an important quarter for the business with the announcements of Per Widerström as our new CEO and Sean Wilkins as our new CFO, who I am very confident will lead the business through its next phases of growth and I look forward to Per starting as CEO in mid-October.

‘We are making significant strides to improve the quality and long-term sustainability of our revenues, but performance in Q3 has been below our expectations, and this means we now expect to end the year with EBITDA below our prior expectation.’


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