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Company Reports

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Energy firms in the news with EnQuest, Aminex & 3Legs Resources

16/11/2011 - Company Reports - 0 Comments - 222 words


EnQuest, who's share price was hit by the UK governments tax hike on North Sea oil operators, has indicated that it remains on track to deliver full year average production guidance in line expectations, at 24,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

EnQuest is currently in the process of concluding its ten well drilling programme for 2011. The firm indicated that while its Ivy prospect has proved unsuccessful, five new production wells in the North Sea have now come onstream.

Production at end of October was up 20% at 23,944 boepd from 19,876 boepd last year as the firm added that EnQuest had consolidated positions in 2011.

'Increased interests in the Broom field and the Crawford block helped to drive strong growth in our net reserves' said Chief Executive Amjad Bseisu.

In other oil and gas news Aminex reported that it expects to spud its Tanzanian Ntorya-1 exploration well next month. Aminex says it continues to make significant progress in its position within the Rufiji Delta and Ruvuma Basin regions of Tanzania.

European shale-gas firm 3Legs Resources has completed a hydraulic fracture programme at its Warblino LE1H2 Baltic Basin well. The horizontal well flowed at an initial rate of 60-90 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas.



Broker ratings : Where next for Lloyds Banking Group shares ?

06/11/2011 - Broker Recommendations, Company Reports - 0 Comments - 316 words


Lloyds Banking Group shares showed swift reaction last week to the latest event to rock the UK banking sector, the un-timely exit of the companies CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio, on doctors advice, due to fatigue.

Lloyds shares fell nearly 10% on release of unexpected news on Wednesday but recovered half that to close the day 4.5% down but still below the 30p per share mark.

The statement released suggests that the CEO was stepping down temporarily, although, by all accounts, the 'recruitment drive of the year' is already under way. It is hard to see that there will be a way back to the top job for Mr Horta-Osorio.

Brokers are mixed as Evolution Securities continue to rate the stock a 'buy' with an unchanged target of 50p and there could be some good news in the pipeline.

On Saturday, the Co-operative Group put itself back in the frame with a renewed bid for 632 branches on offer by Lloyds Banking Group which it was ordered to sell by the European competition commission.

Other bidders also remain interested with Sun Capital, NBNK Investments, Virgin Money as well as National Australia Bank said to be interested while NBNK Investments currently seems to leading the pack.

The new bid from the Co-op could raise the stakes with perfect timing in the light of Horta-Osorio's announcement of intended departure.

Nomura Securities is bearish on Lloyds impairments for the full-year while Credit Suisse cut its target price for Lloyds Banking Group ahead of last weeks statement.

Credit Suisse expects a drop earnings estimates but retains a 'neutral' rating with target price at 31p down from 40p with some of this due to untangle as early as next week.

Lloyds Banking Group report third quarter figures to market on Tuesday.

UK stock market week ahead report



UK banking sector awaits another turbulent stock market week

06/08/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 353 words


In a grim week for UK banking, Lloyds Banking Group shares carried on towards its recent cyclical low, hovering around 32p by close on Friday. The bank announced a £3.25bn loss on Wednesday.

But a number of the directors took advantage of the drop with Sir Win Bischoff, chairman buying 200,000 shares at 32.1p and António Horta-Osório, CEO paying 31p for 200,000 shares.

It was job loses that most caught the eye in worst week for the UK stock market since the credit crunch of 2008 and at a time of perceived recovery from recession.

Lloyds is currently in the process of making 15,000 staff redundant, with jobs lost since 2008 set to reach 40,000.

HSBC Holdings that said up to 30,000 staff could lose jobs worldwide and Royal Bank of Scotland Group indicated that 2,000 jobs could be lost from its RBS investment banking division in the next 18 months.

Barclays announced that a further 3,000 jobs are to go, approx 2% of its global workforce, despite a recruitment drive in 2009/10. The bank had 147,500 employees at the end Q1.

Investment bankers are now in the spotlight again after a drop in revenue at Barclays Capital of 20%, but the bank already cut 1,400 jobs so far in 2011.

Barclays were amongst other UK banks to disappoint on financial front after pre-tax profits fell 33% to £2.6 billion. Bob Diamond, Barclays CEO remains firmly bullish "Our capital, liquidity and funding position is rock solid."

Next week, the UK stock market is set to be turbulent again for blue chip stock and the UK banking sector particularly.

It was announced, after stock markets closed, that US had lost AAA credit rating for the first time in its history.

G7 finance ministers, which includes America, Britain, Germany and France, are meeting through the weekend as the city awaits the reaction on far east markets on Sunday.

UK stock market week ahead
US loses AAA credit rating



UK city news : Banks, GB Group, Carillion, Kazakhmys, Xstrata

28/07/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 297 words


World stock markets remain unsettled after the US government have so far failed to solve the countries latest debt concern. The next government borrowing limit test date approaches, on August 2. FTSE 100 was down 0.25% at 9.0AM.

UK banks Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays all continue to be under pressure despite relative strength that emerged from latest week latest eurobank stress tests. Goldman Sachs have cut ratings on the UK banking sector to “neutral” from “overweight”.

Goldman Sachs noted that 'disquiet' over the latest European deal provisions for Greece remain. 'Doubts have started to creep back into the market' said Goldman.

BT Group pre-tax profits were reported up 20% to £533m as revenues fell 5% to £4,764m and net debt fell by £294m to £8,585m and Mondi plc has reported underlying operating profit up 74% after a strong performance within the Europe & International Division.

Carillion has announced that it has won a £123m Ontario contract to construct Vaughan Corporate Centre Station, by the Toronto Transit Commission, part of the Toronto to York Spadina Subway Extension project. Northumbrian Water has issued Interim Management Statement confirming that trading has been in line with expectations.

Identity management specialist GB Group has taken over Advanced Checking Services, which undertakes electronic checking of driving licences, for an initial consideration of £0.42m as GB added that it continues to make good progress in its first four months of the company year.

In mining, Kazakhmys has reported that it remains on track to meet production targets for the year, after a solid second quarter while Xstrata Coal has made an all-cash proposal to acquire all stock in issue of First Coal Corporation shares. The offer values Canadian First Coal at approximately US$153million.



UK city news : News Corp, RBS, Lloyds, Greene King, BAA

19/07/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 287 words


The UK stock market was recovering some recent losses this morning. World stock markets had been driven down by an enduring european debt crisis that now threatens Italy while UK banks remain under pressure on concern that last Fridays bank stress tests were not stringent enough. The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 9.00 AM.

City eyes will be glued to the TV this afternoon as Rupert Murdoch, son James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks face the governments Culture, Media and Sport select committee to answer alledged involvement in phone hacking by News Corp businesses.

Standard & Poor's is threatening to cut News Corp's ratings as a result of pressure over the phone hacking scandal, citing increased business and reputation risks associated with 'broadening legal inquiries in the UK'.

Changes announced at RBS and Lloyds with Nathan Bostock leaving as Head of Restructuring & Risk at Royal Bank of Scotland Group RBS for a new role as CEO of Wholesale Banking at Lloyds Banking Group. Bostocks will remain at RBS until end February 2012 to ensure an orderly handover.

Airport operator BAA has been told by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted Airport and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. BAA currently runs Heathrow and six other airports, has been subject of the Commission investigation since 2007. Chief executive Colin Matthews said he was 'dismayed by the decision', which will hit UK jobs.

Pubs group and brewer Greene King has made a £70m, 235p-a-share cash offer for Capital Pub Company trumping a £54m, 200p-a-share offer from rival Fuller, Smith & Turner last month. Greene King added today that the acquisition would create an even stronger pub and fit well within the Greene King portfolio.



UK city news : Thomas Cook, Petrofac, Lloyds Banking Group

12/07/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 269 words


The UK stockmarket was heavily in reverse again today, as some mainstream press commentators expressed suprise that the index was holding up so well against a backdrop of bad economic and business news. FTSE100 was down 1.67% at 9.00 AM.

Banks again under pressure with Lloyds Banking Group down 4.5% at 42.3p. An article in Londons CityAM suggests that the main european banking could be in for a new round of stress testing within the next few months.

Shares in Thomas Cook Group were down over 28% at time of writing after the travel firm issued a trading statement this morning warning that third quarter results will be 'behind expectations'. TCP now expects full year underlying operating profit to be around £320m from £362.2m in 2010.

Yell Group shares continue a recovery of last week, from 5.2p to over 9p last night as Microsoft Corp and Yell announced plans to form a strategic alliance to deliver innovative online advertising and business solutions to small business.

Yell has established sales forces with locally focused internet directories as Thomas Hansen, vice president of Microsoft SMB Worldwide added "We are very excited about our plans to form a strategic alliance with Yell, as it offers us a way to better reach and serve small and medium sized businesses across the globe."

Petrofac Ltd. Offshore Engineering & Operations business has had a contract renewed by Marathon Oil on North Sea Brae assets. The base scope valued at £36 million, has been extended a further four years starting in August 2011, the extention contains both engineering and maintenance scope.



UK city news : Xcite Energy, Sports Direct, Booker

06/07/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 354 words


The FTSE 100 was holding 6000 at the time of writing, despite shop price inflation jumping to its highest level since October 2008.

The British Retail Consortium said that food prices plus higher petrol prices lifted shop price inflation to 2.9% in June, up from 2.3% in May with food price inflation at 5.7% from 4.9% in May.

North Sea oil operators were back on the shopping list after the government announced 'ring fence' changes to the surprise decision to increase tax on North Sea output during the 2011 Budget.

Statoil reported that it will reassess development plans. The Norwegian operator had shelved 10bn of projects in the wake of the tax changes. Shares in UK operators including Xcite Energy, Encore Oil and Nautical Petroleum and EnQuest all fell after the tax was announced in March.

After a strong rebound over last few sessions, shares in Xcite Energy Ltd. (CDI) finished up over 20% as investors returned and chief executive Richard Smith commented that the uplift in the supplement 'could only improve the already robust economics of the Bentley field'.

As part of its stated strategy to move upmarket, Sports Direct International has bought an 80% stake in USC clothing chain which specialises in designer leisure brands, and ladies fashion favorites such as Ugg boots and high end True Religion jeans.

Cash & carry firm Booker Group has reported total sales in the 12 weeks until 17 June rose by 9.5% on the same period last year, 7.4% on a like-for-like basis. The firm added non-tobacco sales rose by 9.1% while tobacco sales grew by 10.1% as chief executive Charles Wilson added 'After a good start we anticipate that Booker is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 30 March 2012.'

Firestone Diamonds revealed 'exceptional results' from its recent diamond tender in Botswana. Gross proceeds of approx $2m were a increase of 42% in value from April, as company added that the results reflected 'strong demand' for rough diamonds. 'With diamond prices expected to remain strong and higher than expected grades being achieved' added Firestone.



UK city news : Lloyds Banking Group, HMV Group, Debenhams

30/06/2011 - Company Reports, Stockmarket Reports - 0 Comments - 283 words


The FTSE 100 was back in positive territory again this morning on hopes of a resolution in sight for the Greece debt crisis.

The housing market received a boost after mutual lenders indicated total lending up 20% at £1.8b in May 2011 compared to £1.5b in May 2010.

Lloyds Banking Group shares were up nearly 10% at 48.5p this morning after announcing plans to cut a further 15000 jobs, in a move expected to make £1.5bn of annual savings by 2014. The part taxpayer owned bank revealed, in its strategic review, intention to refocus its business portfolio on companies newly aligned risk appetite, assets and capabilities going forward.

Shares in HMV Group remained unflustered despite announcing total sales for its company year unitl the end of April fell by just under 7.5% as the music brand-name reminded that it had successfully renewed a £220m bank financing facility until September 2013. Profit before tax and exceptional items was £28.9m from £74.2m in 2010 as net debt in the period was £170.7m from £67.6m in 2010.

Shares in Hampson Industries were under pressure after the aerospace firm reported a pre-tax loss of £31.1m compared with a profit of £23.3m last year. Companies results were affected by operational issues at its Michigan facilities although revenue were up 17% at £197.5m, as company confirmed that its bid pipeline remained strong, although timing of conversions remain 'difficult to predict'.

High Street department stores Debenhams seemed to be bucking the UK trend in retailing to report a good trading performance in companies second half as company noted that it was 'particularly pleased' with sales trends over the last two months.



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