Just before we start, City Bulletin will be taking a vacation break from today and will be back on Tuesday.
Next expects annual earnings to be better than expected, but is holding back from resuming shareholder cash returns until the outlook is clearer.
The retailer was targeting a profit of around £ 700m for the current financial year, which is roughly the total through January 2020 and around £ 30m above its previous estimate. Sales will remain unchanged year after year. Profitability is aided by better than expected online sales and the UK government’s extension of vacation rates for an additional three months.
Online sales rose more than 60 percent in the first eight weeks of this fiscal year compared to two years ago. No dividend or share buybacks were proposed, however, despite Next’s net financial debt declining £ 502 million to £ 610 million by the end of the year.
“We expect the consumer economy to be healthier, at least in the short term, than many believe,” said Lord Simon Wolfson, Next Chief Executive. “It is likely that a combination of pent-up demand and an overall healthy surge in personal savings will help keep the consumer economy moving.
“We assumed (perhaps optimistically) that the introduction of Covid vaccines would result in stores remaining open after the current lock-up period for the year. If this assumption is incorrect, we are unlikely to meet our core revenue and profit guidelines. “
Asset manager Quilters has agreed to sell its international business to life insurance company Utmost Group for £ 483 million. The divestment “allows us to focus on accelerating our growth and efficiency plans and further simplifying and focusing our business on the UK’s wealthy and affluent customer base,” said Paul Feeney, CEO of Quilter.
Liberty Steel Owner Sanjeev Gupta said his company owed Greensill Capital, the collapsed financial group, “many billions of pounds” and the British company would benefit from more working capital. Speaking to BBC Radio, however, Gupta insisted that there was no risk of plant closings as global operations continued to be profitable.
EquinitiThe financial services outsourcer posted a pre-tax loss of £ 6.6m for 2020 as sales fell 15.1 percent to £ 471.8m. Cheryl Millington, Managing Director, said, “While uncertainty persists, the outlook for capital markets activity in 2021 is encouraging and we’ve got the year off to a good start with a number of important new business gains.”
Betting software manufacturer Sportech said it hopes to deliver “significant” returns on investment to shareholders in 2021 after Covid-19 reported poor annual results. The company recorded an adjusted pre-tax loss from continuing operations of £ 5.2m in 2020, up from a loss of £ 2m in the previous year.
Hip forecast, the Music Royalties Fund, said HMRC had approved its application to be an investment trust company. The change will allow Hipgnosis to relocate from Guernsey to the UK but still avoid taxing its taxable profits.
Stamp collectors Stanley Gibbons Trading in the second half of the fiscal year ended March continued the trends reported in the first half, with digital sales helping to offset the effects of the third lockdown in the UK. “While the philatelic side remains challenging, there have been more ‘less bad’ months recently,” the company said. The publishing side of their business “has benefited from what we consider to be significant market share gains and from hobbies overall that have benefited to some extent from the constraints of everyday life.”
Beyond the Square Mile
Global Business transactions Activity had its strongest start to the year in four decadesThis is fueled by a multitude of US acquisitions and Spac mergers, even as the global economy has been hit by the effects of lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions. According to Refinitiv, more deals worth USD 1.3 billion were agreed in the three months to March 30 than in any first quarter since at least 1980, which exceeded the intoxicating level of the dot-com boom.
Some of the banks that had combined exposure of more than $ 50 billion Archegos Capital conduct internal inquiries whether Bill Hwang, the former hedge fund manager who ran the family office, had kept quiet about his other positions from them. Mizuho on Thursday became the newest bank to say that it has suffered losses related to its relationship with Archegos.
Microsoft won a $ 21.9 billion contract to provide at least 120,000 to the U.S. Army Augmented Reality headsetsin a significant step towards bringing the next generation of computers into play. Microsoft has been working with the Army for two years on a prototype of the product that builds on its existing enterprise smartglasses product called HoloLens.
Essential comment before you go
Not only has Deliveroo’s IPO been London’s biggest float in nearly a decade, it’s also the most embarrassing. Some fund managers see this as both a financial and a moral victory. It’s a shame their message on standards wasn’t conveyed in a more subtle way.
The FCA has opened a new consultation on Spacs, or search funds as they were once called, amid a Wall Street gold rush. That would bring these numbers together in London need a fundamental change in approach This is not achieved through token measures such as minimum market capitalization criteria.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to forward this email to friends and colleagues who can registration Here.