This article is an on-site version of our City Bulletin newsletter. Sign up here to get the newsletter sent straight to your inbox every weekday
Irn-Bru maker AG Barr raised its profit forecast after soft drink sales surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
The group said it expects revenue of £267mn for the year ended January, up year on year by 17.5 per cent and slightly ahead of a target set in November. Cost controls and price hikes had offset the rising cost of packaging and energy so pre-tax profit before exceptional items will also be marginally ahead of prior guidance, it said.
Tell me what you think. Email us at [email protected]
Cineworld said it has begun talks with shareholders of Regal Entertainment over rescheduling its payment obligations related to its $3.6bn reverse takeover of the US group in 2017. The cinema operator, which has a guaranteed convertible bond due 2025, said it has obtained waivers of undertakings from creditors to waive any events of default.
Virgin Money raised its net interest margin guidance even after reporting a weaker than expected first-quarter loan book. The lender targeted a net interest margin of about 1.75 percentage points in the current year, with higher-yielding lending expected to be offset by mortgage competition and a normalisation of the savings market. Net loans were down 0.5 per cent quarter on quarter as mortgages, and small business lending contracted.
Software group Micro Focus said it has completed the sale of its archiving and risk management portfolio, first announced in November, to US based peer Smarsh. Net proceeds of $335mn will be used to reduce group debt.
Joules, the clothes and homewares brand, warned that revenue in January has been weaker than expected. It said that with continued pressure on margins from rising freight, duties and distribution costs, full-year adjusted profit is expected to be not less than £5mn, or approximately half the consensus forecast.
Tesco will shut seven of its Jack’s discount stores, while the remaining six branches will be converted into Tesco superstores. The supermarket launched Jack’s in 2018 to tackle the threat from rivals Aldi and Lidl.
Beyond the Square Mile
Joe Biden’s administration has drawn up sanctions targeting Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and its ties to the west as Washington broadens the list of financial penalties it and European allies will impose if Russia invades Ukraine.
US stock markets suffered their worst start to the year since the global financial crisis as the threat of rising interest rates, slowing corporate earnings growth and geopolitical tensions sent stocks stumbling across the board.
In one of the largest awards made by a UK employment tribunal, ex-BNP Paribas banker Stacey Macken is to receive £2mn in compensation after the lender paid her significantly less than male colleagues over a four-year tenure at the bank’s London office.
Rio Tinto has revealed that 21 women have been raped or sexually assaulted at its mines over the past five years in a report that outlined “systemic” bullying and high levels of racism across its global operations. The London-based miner had commissioned the report by Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, last year to investigate its workplace culture.
Activist investor Cevian is likely to push for more urgency in shaking up Vodafone’s sprawling international portfolio, but it may be in for the long haul, writes Helen Thomas. Vodafone has one obvious star market, Germany, and tackling the rest will require testing the unproven appetite of regulators for mobile consolidation deals squarely designed to raise prices.
Thanks for reading. If you have friends or colleagues who might enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them. Sign up here
The Lex Newsletter — Catch up with a letter from Lex’s centres around the world each Wednesday, and a review of the week’s best commentary every Friday. Sign up here
Unhedged — Robert Armstrong dissects the most important market trends and discusses how Wall Street’s best minds respond to them. Sign up here