MARKET REPORT: Just Eat rises after major shareholder launches fresh attack on management over choice of new chief exec
One of Just Eat’s largest shareholders has renewed its attack on the takeaway company, in a blistering criticism of management.
Cat Rock Capital, a US investment firm which owns around 2 per cent of Just Eat, has published the transcript of a call it held with analysts discussing Just Eat’s fortunes. Cat Rock’s founder and managing partner Alex Captain said the ‘management situation at Just Eat [was] worse than we had previously expected’.
He slammed the food delivery company for failing to contact candidates his firm proposed as chief executive, and for ignoring Cat Rock suggestions to get in touch with an expert who could help recruit a new boss.
The boss of one of Just Eat’s largest shareholders Cat Rock Capital slammed the food delivery company for failing to contact candidates his firm proposed as chief executive
Just Eat’s former chief executive Peter Plumb left in January, under pressure to improve its performance in the face of rivalry from the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
Cat Rock welcomed the departure but was disappointed interim boss Peter Duffy, who has little experience running a food business, was being considered as a permanent replacement.
Captain said a merger could quickly expand the business and match it with a ‘world-class’ management team. Investors seemed willing to hold tight, and see if Just Eat would be forced to shake its business up. Shares ended the day up 1.4 per cent, or 10.4p, at 734.2p.
McBride, which makes household cleaning products for some of Europe’s biggest retailers, slid as it issued a profit warning.
The Oven Pride manufacturer warned prices of raw materials were not improving as quickly as it thought they would, and distribution costs were also rising.
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The cash-strapped firm said it would have to tap investors for more money, issuing new shares at a ‘material discount’ to encourage buyers.
Haydale said it was sounding out institutional investors, and that a more detailed announcement would follow soon.
Shares slumped 50 per cent, or 11.5p, to 11.5p.
Profits for the year ending June 2019 will now be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent lower than the prior year’s £33.2million. Shares plummeted 32.2 per cent, or 43.2p, to 86.8p.
Investors in metals miner Acacia Mining welcomed an announcement that Barrick Gold, which owns 63.9 per cent of the company, was looking to resolve its disputes with the Tanzanian government.
Even though Acacia’s management sounded a little put-out at being left in the dark, saying it had ‘not yet received any proposal from Barrick regarding a comprehensive resolution’, shares rose 12.8 per cent, or 28.8p, to 253.8p.
Acacia has been at loggerheads with Tanzania’s ministers over a disputed £146billion tax bill.
A shake-up at the top of Barrick, which saw Mark Bristow from rival Randgold take the role of chief executive when the two merged last year, seems to have spurred Barrick into taking action over the struggling smaller miner.
He has suggested paying £230million to the Tanzanian government, and giving it royalties and taxes from ongoing operations.
Acacia will now review the proposals, which will have to be approved by Tanzania’s government.
Elsewhere on the FTSE 250 index, online trading firm Plus500 finally began to turn around its fortunes after an accounting blunder last week wiped £1billion off its market value.
Shares rose 6.5 per cent, or 47p, to 767p as hedge fund tycoon Crispin Odey continued to snap up stock. He has increased his stake from 9.7 per cent to 18.2 per cent.
The FTSE 100, which is vulnerable to international trade tensions, ended the day up 0.7 per cent, or 49.45 points, at 7228.62, after President Trump said US trade talks with China were going well.
Oil and gas explorer San Leon Energy shot up 17.3 per cent, or 5.3p, to 35.9p as it offered to buy up to 50.5m shares back from investors.
The 46p per share price it is offering was a 50 per cent premium to San Leon’s value on Tuesday, but it is understood that hedge fund Toscafund, its largest shareholder, will not sell as it believes the shares could rise even further.