Thu. Jul 7th, 2022

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GlaxoSmithKline boss Emma Walmsley promised a “step change in growth” this year as she unveiled targets for its standalone pharma business ahead of the long-awaited demerger of its consumer health unit.

The rejection of a trio of bids for its consumer health business from Unilever has done nothing to alleviate the pressure on the GSK chief executive.

This morning she set out forecasts for 2022 adjusted operating profit growth for “new GSK” – the biopharma business – of between 12 and 14 per cent, stripping out exchange rate fluctuations, and sales growth of between 5 and 7 per cent. The forecast excluded sales from Covid-19 products, but include income from a recent IP settlement with Gilead. Last year GSK reported 9 per cent growth in adjusted operating profit at constant exchange rates.

Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 25.6p were better than analysts had anticipated. Pharma correspondent Hannah Kuchler has the full story.

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Mutual insurer LV, which on Monday said it was in talks with rival Royal London after failing to sell itself to private equity house Bain Capital last year, has said the discussions have ceased. LV said it had become clear that “our different mutual models mean such a merger would not be in the best interests of LV members”. Royal London said its offer had been “based on an understanding that LV did not have a viable future as an independent company”.

Housebuilder Barratt benefited from resilient demand despite the phasing out of Help to Buy and the end of the stamp duty holiday. Barratt said it would complete 250 more homes this year than previously planned. In the six months to December revenues and completions fell 10 and 11 per cent respectively, but that reflected pandemic-distorted building and demand patterns in 2020. Profits were up 0.6 per cent on the previous year.

Retailer Dunelm reported a record profit for the first half of its financial year and said it would pay another special dividend after strong sales of both homewares and furniture. Pre-tax profits rose 25 per cent year-on-year to £ 141mn, while margins climbed 0.8 percentage points thanks to lower discounting of festive products.

The UK government flagship productivity-boosting scheme for small business has signed up less than a tenth of its target, my UK colleagues report. The government said it wanted to give 30,000 SMEs access to world-class training, but six months after launching only 2,500 have signed up amid criticism the Help to Grow program excludes many of the companies it aimed to support.

Shapes KPMG auditors say the UK accounting watchdog failed to give them a fair chance to respond to the allegations around their work for collapsed outsourcer Carillion in a potential blow to the regulator’s case against the Big Four firm and six accountants. The tribunal has been running since January 10 and is due to end this week, Michael O’Dwyer reports.

Beyond the Square Mile

The next head on the block at Credit Suisse may be its vice-chair. Severin Schwan had planned to step down before the scandal-hit bank’s annual meeting in April, but had been asked by other board members to reconsider to provide stability at the bank after António Horta-Osório’s abrupt departure as chair last month. But two top 10 shareholders told the FT they would vote against Schwan if the bank sought to extend his tenure.

The bumpy start to the year on global stock markets is putting off US companies from going public, our US correspondents report. Private investments and buyouts are gaining favor instead. “Everything is on hold” said one capital markets lawyer.

And Fidelity’s little-known index fund business Geode hit $ 1tn in assets last year, helping a money manager that has been synonymous with stockpicking leapfrog rival State Street Global Advisors to be the world’s third largest asset manager.

My colleague Helen Thomas picks over BP’s earnings yesterday – and argues that the climate plans it laid out alongside bumper profits are its best defense against a windfall tax raid.

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